BAE Systems has been awarded a new 15-year contract for the supply of munitions to the British armed forces.

The contract, worth £2.4bn, will sustain approximately 4,000 jobs across the UK say BAE.

“This new agreement, which will supersede the current contract due to conclude at the end of 2022, will guarantee the delivery of munitions products and engineering support to the UK Armed Forces. BAE Systems directly employs 1,260 people who are involved in either munitions manufacturing or test and evaluation at five sites across the UK; Glascoed in Monmouthshire, Radway Green in Cheshire, Washington in Tyne & Wear, Bishopton near Glasgow, and Ridsdale in Northumberland.”

Accirding to the firm, it is anticipated that the contract will also help sustain a further 1,500 jobs in the UK supply chain and support a further 1,300 jobs induced by consumer spending in economies local to sites.

“The agreement enables BAE Systems to invest £70 million on the refurbishment and upgrade of manufacturing lines, with 75% of this value being invested by 2026. The Company will also spend up to £350m with UK-based companies on raw materials and machine components.”

Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, BAE Systems, said:

“This contract secures the future of a highly technical and critical industry which supports thousands of manufacturing jobs in several areas throughout the UK. By investing in new technology and skills to further develop our expertise, we can continue to deliver essential sovereign capability to the Armed Forces at competitive prices.”

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said:

“This vital multi-billion pound contract will provide our service men and women with fire power on the front line for years to come whilst investing in British industry, British jobs and British infrastructure. Defence underpins hundreds of thousands of jobs across all four corners of the nation, and ongoing investment is crucial as we work together to build back better and stronger from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The contract, called the ‘Next Generation Munitions Solution’ (NGMS), is due to commence in January 2023 and will succeed the current ‘Munitions Acquisition, the Supply Solution’ (MASS) contract, which commenced in 2008.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
61 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
David
David
20 days ago

£2.4Bn over 15yrs is £160M/yr – and that’s across all the Armed Forces. Is that really all that much when you consider a single Meteor missile by itself is £1M?

Andy a
Andy a
20 days ago
Reply to  David

Think it will be small arms not big ticketstuff?

eclipse
eclipse
20 days ago
Reply to  David

We could only get 2400 Meteors for that… or 100 SM-3s.

Andy a
Andy a
20 days ago
Reply to  David

Just checked it’s small arms,mortars and artillery shells

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
20 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

Yes, bullets, shells, for the army primarily.

Sean
Sean
20 days ago
Reply to  David

This contract is for munitions from BAE.
Meteor made by MBDA, different company, different contract. Not to mention all the other munitions not supplied by BAE 🤷‍♂️

Last edited 20 days ago by Sean
Johan
Johan
14 days ago
Reply to  David

BAEs don’t make Meteor, this will be for smaller easier to produce items, that are idiot-proof .

BC
BC
20 days ago

Is this article a follow on to last years (Nov 2020) contract award?

Steve
Steve
20 days ago

On a semi related note, I wonder what the plan is for arming the t23, considering tomahawk has stopped production and we know from recent experience that our supply of them is extremely low, around 50 in total, and that is before the ones fired since the last order.

eclipse
eclipse
20 days ago
Reply to  Steve

If you’re referring to Type 23 I’m assuming you’re talking about Harpoon as opposed to Tomahawk. If you are talking about Harpoon, the plan is to use an interim canister-launched ISSGW (of which 5 sets will be procured) on the Type 23s. Once the Type 31 comes in to service, I’m guessing the ISSGW will be transferred to them, since I doubt the quantity is a coincidence, while Type 26 will receive the more capable, VLS launched FC/ASW.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
20 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Hi Steve, I think you mean the T26. Yes they’ll need to fill the 24 Mk41 silos with something. The RAN here is putting the Tomahawk on their Hobart AAW destroyers so maybe the RN might be considering these as well for the T26 as well as the USN getting a top up. Not sure if the FC/ASW can or will be brought forward and we are still having to wait on the news for the choice of the Interim ASM.

Steve
Steve
20 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Yeah typo, t26. If the US are getting a top up we need to get in fast and piggy back on the order. Although my guess is we will just spread the small number we have across more platforms to look good and therefore not actually increase the capability to fire them.

eclipse
eclipse
20 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

If MoD cancel FC/ASW RN are screwed, full stop. It’s planned to have land attack capability so that would also replace tomahawk.

BB85
BB85
20 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

Yeah that project really needs to deliver a family of missiles. A lowish cost long range sub sonic TLAM to be launched from ships and the air and a hypersonic antiship missile.
For land targets we need range and numbers air defence will only be an issue on a limited number of targets while naval ships are well equipped to combat anti ship missiles which why we need a hyper sonic option.
We have wasted a lot of time arguing over which one when it’s clear we need both.

eclipse
eclipse
20 days ago
Reply to  BB85

Shouldn’t it be the other way around? I’ve heard a lot about issues with hypersonic missiles being that they are not very manoeuvrable due to their speed and hence losing track of the moving target for even a few seconds can mean the missiles angle will be quite far off by then. So shouldn’t the AShM be subsonic, low-observable with better loiter capabilities in case the target is lost while the land missile hypersonic since the target will never be moving?

Andrew Baty
Andrew Baty
19 days ago
Reply to  BB85

MBDN are in the process of developing two options, a subsonic (favoured by the U.K.) and a hypersonic (favoured by France) one of these will be chosen and used by both parties
I believe the subsonic will be a smarter munition that follows the contours of the ground evading radar, while a hypersonic needs to fly high where the air is thinner using its speed not to be intercepted!

Im not sure what the range difference is between them if any

Andy a
Andy a
20 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Tomahawk is still produced

Steve
Steve
20 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

ah ok, i thought i had read the production line had been closed, must be thinking of another missile.

Daveyb
Daveyb
20 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Tomahawk has not stopped production, just stopped producing the Block IV version. This is the version the RN use from the SSNs. It is more than likely that the UKs Tomahawk land attack missile TLAMs will be replaced by the Block V version. This is because the USN are current moving from the Block IV version to the Block V. This is adds the ability to attack moving targets at sea. In regards to an actual Tomahawk (TLAM) replacement. There are three trains of thought within the USN. A new upgraded TLAM, a modified version of LRASM, or a new… Read more »

netking
netking
20 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Great Post. Keep in mind that LRASM was what came out of the OASuW program. The USN has since began the initial steps for OASuW Increment 2 which will compliment or even replace LRASM.

Daveyb
Daveyb
20 days ago
Reply to  netking

Yep, OASuW increment 1. Increment 2 is looking at LRASM version 1.1. There isn’t much to go on what the updates to 1.1. are, though the speculation is to reduce the warhead size, so more more fuel can be added. Though the USN are also pushing for the BAe RF detector that went onto the JSM, to be included as a modification for the NSM.

netking
netking
20 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

It is my understanding that OASuW Inc 2 is a totally new program and LRASM 1.1 is a software and hardware upgrade to LRASM to bridge the gap until OASuW Inc 2 comes online towards the end of the decade.

DaveyB
DaveyB
20 days ago
Reply to  netking

Yes, that’s what I read also. But I have also seen USN quotes saying LRSAM 1.1 will also be included in increment 2. I think this is because it can be used in a MK41 with just an additional booster strapped to it. But also Lockheed Martin are looking to include a sub-launched version. The issue it does have, is the range is pretty poor compared to the TLAM. Hence why they were also looking at reducing the warhead size so more fuel can be squeezed in.

netking
netking
20 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

What makes this really interesting for me is that it is all but certain that the USN navy has a classified anti ship missile either in development or already operational. There was some congressional testimony earlier this year where a USN official when questioned stated that the LRASM was the only new anti ship missile the USN has that he could discuss in an open forum.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
20 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Problem that makes the Block V less useful to a British sub is its branched into Land Attack and Maritime attack versions rather than being universal like Block IV was. Block Va has sensors to track moving targets while Block Vb has a two stage penetrating warhead for attacking hardened targets but omits the sensors.

Steve
Steve
20 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

US aren’t buying block V they are upgrading their existing ones to block V, so i assume we will do the same.

DaveyB
DaveyB
20 days ago
Reply to  Steve

They are buying about 150 new Block V TLAMs. You are correct in that they are also upgrading the Block Ivs.

John Hartley
John Hartley
20 days ago

I would like to see .338 Lapua & .50 Browning ammo made in the UK.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
20 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Why?

John Hartley
John Hartley
20 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Security of supply.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
20 days ago

I remember when the MoD bought ammunition from India years ago. The quality was terrible and ‘backhanders’ were suspected. I believe much of it was scrapped.

Ian M
Ian M
20 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I can remember using 9mm from India in my SMG, lots of stoppages. A Weapons Tiffy demo’d a wet blanket over a washing line (so two layers) stopping said rounds!

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
20 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Indian 50 cal was rubbish. I am not sure what they used in the cartridges but it wasn’t propellant

grizzler
grizzler
20 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I hope we gave the suppliers the bullet…

Daveyb
Daveyb
20 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yep, we had similar issues with Romanian bought 7.62 and 5.56 in Afghan. The propellent pressures was inconsistent, so the rounds went all over the place. This was replaced by stuff from the Czech Republic which was top notch.

peter Wait
peter Wait
19 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Reports of the ammunition failing to cycle machines guns in Helmand and the MOD blaming troops for not cleaning weapons properly !

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
20 days ago

How much do bullets cost?
I assume we’ll get a rather hefty bulk purchase discount but it’s not something I can price check at my local Tesco.

Ian M
Ian M
20 days ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

I think the Chinese government charge the families of executed criminals about 10p.

John Hartley
John Hartley
20 days ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

Retail prices to UK license holders. New PPU (Serbian) ammo. 5.56 £65 per 100. 7.62 £82 per 100. 9mm £41 per 100. Governments will be buying in bulk & paying a fraction of that, a third maybe, if they haggle.

BB85
BB85
20 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Not if BAE is the sole supplier. The government could purchase ammo at a fraction of the price from US suppliers.
Most of the commercial stuff in Europe seems to come from the Czech Republic.

John Hartley
John Hartley
18 days ago
Reply to  BB85

Most American gun owners are moaning of an ammo shortage. Lots of Americans bought guns before Biden could ban them. So a lot of new American gun owners looking for ammo. Then Biden went & banned imported ammo from Russia, which hit AK & Makarov owners. So Americans will not want to see ammo exported.
Most retail Ammo in the UK is German, Serbian, Czech or Brazilian.

peter Wait
peter Wait
19 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Used American CCI stinger .22 ammo before pistol ban, never had a faulty round !

George McCutcheon
George McCutcheon
20 days ago

Pity the propellant, caps and explosives are all sourced overseas.

Bob
Bob
20 days ago

Do we still have the facilities to produce our own NC?

George McCutcheon
George McCutcheon
20 days ago
Reply to  Bob

No. All HE, primer and propellant manufactured overseas. First Chorley closed then Bridgewater in Somerset – after that, all imported.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
20 days ago

I suppose the cost will also include all of the packaging for the Ammo as well. Lots of steel boxes full of foam and cardboard.

Just for fun… From my bulk ammo course

A single wooden pallet (that is not overpacked) can take 96000 rounds of 5.56 in H83 boxes of 800 rounds a box. That’s either loose in cardboard boxes or bandolier

For 7.62 I think it’s 48000 rounds. That’s H82 boxes, 4 to a pannier.

DaveyB
DaveyB
20 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Oh, the nights must fly by…..

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
19 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

One week to go on the current ships 1month maintenance period , another starting in 7 days, then another 7 days later and then a month on a V familiar frigate.

Anything to take my mind off pressure testing valves and doing steel repairs!

Shane Johnson
Shane Johnson
20 days ago

I’m pleased that it’s a UK manufacturer that has been awarded the contract. We need to award all contracts where possible “In house”

Mike
Mike
20 days ago

Well, let’s face it, the British Army which actually qualifies as a defence force having as it does under 100,000 personnel and therefore failing to qualify as a field army, has a tank force which is amongst the smallest in Europe and will need little ammunition. The French army has far larger numbers of superior equipment. Meanwhile, Germany with what is judged to be the best tank of the world is expanding its fleet.

Daddy Mack
Daddy Mack
20 days ago
Reply to  Mike

The British Army is but a projectile to be fired by the Royal Navy

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
20 days ago
Reply to  Mike

Boris likes to talk of our still having an army of over 100,000 but he does count in the Reserve Army (TA in old money).

Airborne
Airborne
19 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Mike is a troll don’t feed him.

eclipse
eclipse
19 days ago
Reply to  Mike

“Field army” is an entirely outdated concept that won’t work in the world of guided bombs, missiles and drones. The only thing sending a 100,000 strong army will achieve is thousands of deaths, and not on the enemy side. Our Challenger force doesn’t have thousands of tanks, but no tank force in Europe would be able to overrun it, certainly not with the ease you imply. The French army does not have “far larger numbers of superior equipment”, and if you’re going to claim that please find direct evidence. I’d argue that Challenger 2 is already superior to Leclerc and… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
19 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

Mike is a troll, and will not take part in reasoned debate. He is well known under other avatars and names. Sad but true.

Airborne
Airborne
19 days ago
Reply to  Mike

Troll is sad, troll knows very little, troll needs to study subject matter.

Rob Young
Rob Young
18 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

As far as military strength goes (My country’s) needs first. Land armies are the main need of continental powers, we just need them for home defence and exeditionary forces. If push came to shove, on the ground we could never match Germany, France and Poland, etc, – they all need large armies more than we do, lots of smaller armies around as well. On the other hand, not many European NATO countries have/would have the ability to provide a nuclear deterrent or carriers. Nuclear, France and Germany (using US bombs). Carriers, France, Spain, Italy… But lots of countries can field… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
18 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

Rob I need to ask, why the reply to me mate?

Rob Young
Rob Young
18 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Sorry, wasn’t meant to be, was meant as part of the general discusion and appears one further down than it should have! Part of the Eclipse/Mike series!

Airborne
Airborne
18 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

I did guess that mate, cheers

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
13 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

I remember Options for Change in 1990 downsized the army to 102,500 regulars so as to be ‘right-sized’ for the post-Cold War world as envisaged (pity the Mandarins had not envisaged operations in the Balklans or Gulf War 1 and 2 or Afghanistan!). Why the army ever shrank to below that figure can only be answered by bean-counters as there were no military reasons to reduce the army below that figure, not once, but three times (to 95,000, then to 82,000 and now to 72,500). So its not just nice to have an army half as big again (ie about… Read more »