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17 Jan 08. International guided weapons leader MBDA has taken another step towards consolidating the UK’s complex weapons design capability with the transfer of warhead design engineers from BAE Systems.

Under the deal, involving the transfer of warhead expertise to MBDA’s Lostock site in Lancashire and access to IPR and technology from BAE Systems, MBDA and BAE Systems have agreed that the future of this part of the UK’s remaining indigenous warhead design capability should be held by MBDA. The transfer to MBDA is in keeping with both the Defence Industrial Strategy and Defence Technology Strategy papers, published in 2005 by the Ministry of Defence, which identified warhead technology as a key sovereign capability. BAE Systems’ warhead manufacturing capability will continue with support from the design engineers being transferred to MBDA.

The transfer of personnel to MBDA and access to IPR now makes it possible for MBDA to secure the future of an important component of the Complex Weapons supply chain.

Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA said: “Acquiring this capability also signifies another important step in MBDA’s strategy to consolidate Europe’s missile systems expertise to optimise the research, design and development of guided weapons to meet the future needs of armed forces”.

“Preserving this sovereign UK design capability will ensure the continued support both to current programmes where the warhead technology is in service with the armed forces of the UK and overseas countries and for future programmes where the skills and expertise of these engineers can be made available to Team CW”, said Steve Wadey, Executive Group Director Technical and MBDA UK’s Managing Director.

“This acquisition is a demonstration of how key UK capabilities can be sustained in accordance with the Defence Industrial Strategy”, he added. Wadey is also the co-chair of the joint MoD/industry Team Complex Weapons, formed to ensure the MoD retains the ability to exercise sovereign control over its complex weapons via the retention of key sovereign capabilities within the CW sector.

Key programmes undertaken by the newly-acquired business assets include support to the BROACH warhead for the world-renowned Storm Shadow conventionally-armed stand-off cruise missile in service with the Royal Air Force, warheads for the Rapier ground-based and VL Seawolf naval air defence systems as well as future warhead technology. The UK capability will add a complementary capability to MBDA’s TDW warhead business based in Germany.

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