22 May 07. The Ministry of Defence has today announced its decision to merge the Army Base Repair Organisation (ABRO) and the Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA) to form a new, in-house defence support group.
The new group will formally merge by April 2008. It will focus on providing a cost competitive, in-house maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade capability in support of the Armed Forces, operating where appropriate in partnership with industry.
Lord Drayson, said,” I am announcing today, subject to trades union consultation and appropriate Parliamentary consent, the creation of a new defence support group by merging together ABRO, retained DARA business units and certain other defence support facilities. This new group, operating as a trading fund, will begin formal trading by April 2008 and will focus solely on the delivery of the Defence Industrial and Technology Strategies by being a flexible, responsive, operationally excellent organisation that provides a cost competitive in-house maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade capability in support of the Armed Forces, operating where appropriate in partnership with industry.”
“In ABRO and DARA, the MoD owns two maintenance, repair and overhaul businesses that have considerable and in some cases unique practical know-how in maintaining land and air based military equipment. Today’s announcement will ensure that the MoD retains the intellectual property and design skills required to maintain operational sovereignty in key areas as set out in the Defence Industrial and Technology Strategies. We will consult closely with staff and trades unions as the plans for the new organisation develop during the course of 2007.”
ABRO’s Head Office is located in Andover and provides strategic direction to business units at Bovington, Catterick, Colchester, Donnington, Stirling and Warminster. Smaller sites are located at Bicester, Edinburgh, Sennybridge and York. ABRO is a Government Trading Fund, originally established to repair and maintain military equipment.
ABRO employs approximately 2,100 staff offering the following services:- Fleet Management; Workshop Management; General/Complex Service & Repair; Remanufacture; Assembly & Integration; Diagnostics; Electronics; Electro-optics; Calibration; Mobile Support; Obsolescence Management.
Launched on 1 April 1999, the Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA) brought together the RAF Maintenance Group Defence Agency (MGDA) and the Naval Aircraft Repair Organisation (NARO). DARA’s head office and large aircraft facility is based in St Athan in Barry, Wales. The rotary wing element is based in Gosport, Hampshire. The DARA electronics is based in Deeside, Flintshire. The components facility is based in Almondbank in Perth.
DARA is undergoing a major transformation programme: the Fast Jet and Engines businesses closed in March 2007; the Rotary Wing and Components businesses are currently going through a sale process; and we have already announced the retention of the electronics business at Sealand. The VC10 business unit at St Athan has also been subject to a market testing exercise. However, as it is now apparent that sale is unlikely to offer best value for defence, the sale of the VC10 business unit will not now proceed. By retaining ownership, MOD will better manage the interface between the VC10 business and the Defence Training Review, both of which are based at St Athan in South Wales. A decision will be taken shortly on whether the best value for defence can be secured by transferring the Rotary and Components businesses outside the MOD. If not, these business units will also form part of the new defence support organisation.
The VC10 business unit at St Athan has also been subject to a sale process. However, as it is now apparent that sale is unlikely to offer best value for defence, the sale of the VC10 business unit will not now proceed. By retaining ownership of this bus