Defence Minister Stuart Andrew visited a Stockport company which is world-renowned for its tactical military bridge building capabilities.
While there, he marked the completion of a multi-million-pound deal to supply the Australian Army with the vital logistics equipment.
The £53m deal with Australia is part of £600m-worth of export orders that WFEL has amassed over the past decade. The Defence Minister described the firm as ‘a model for how companies across the country can thrive on the global stage’ at a time when defence exports have surged by over 50% to £9bn.
The workers also demonstrated their world-class reputation by constructing a 46-metre Dry Support Combat Bridge in just 90 minutes whilst the Minister toured the factory.
Ian Anderton, Chief Executive of WFEL, said:
“As the leading tactical military bridge maker globally, WFEL continues to work to provide solutions for customers like the Australian Defence Force. Our long-standing relationship with
the ADF first began over 30 years ago, when they chose our Medium Girder Bridges. We have been delighted to continue to support them again today, not only with the supply of further MGBs but also with a significant capability enhancement with the latest mechanised Dry Support Bridges.
The adoption of the DSB not only provides the ADF’s Manoeuvre Commanders with the ability to cross significant wet or dry gaps quickly and efficiently, it allows a level of inter-operability with an ever-growing user base. We have worked collaboratively with the
Commonwealth’s Managing Contractor to reduce risk for this contract and are pleased to be providing an off-the-shelf solution to the ADF’s wide-gap tactical bridging requirements.”
Head of Australian Defence Staff London, Air Commodore Brian Edwards said:
“The Australian-UK bilateral defence relationship has been forged over many years and is incredibly strong and enduring. In recent times, we have seen an increased emphasis in opportunities for collaboration from a defence industry standpoint.
This project introduces into service the latest addition to the Australian Army’s suite of combat bridging. It will ensure that the Australian Defence Force has an enhanced gap crossing capability which will enable land forces, both mounted and dismounted, to cross wet and dry gaps in support of operations.”