With all the fuss over Brexit and other issues, the UK
defence industry remains a shining light in the manufacturing sector. While there
are several “secret projects” nobody can talk about (just like in the movies), BAE
Systems and MBDA opened their doors to The Manufacturer with an invitation to
tour their facilities.
In this rare behind-the-scenes look, you will see some
of the incredible developments within the UK defence industry. You will find
out all you need to about inflatable sea boats, radar systems,
microelectronics, missiles and Environmental Stress Screening. Before we get
started, let’s take a closer look at BAE Systems and MBDA.
Over the years advances
in technology and engineering have accounted for many innovations within the
defence sector. Last week we looked at naval vessels and today, we focus on the
Challenger 2 MK2 Black Night Battle Tanks.
The original Challenger
2 served with distinction in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq and now, the Ministry of
Defence (MoD) has extended its service to 2035. BAE Systems have introduced the
first working prototype of the Black Night upgrade to the UK’s main battle
tank, Challenger 2. It features a state-of-the-art thermal imaging system and
many improved defensive systems capable of challenging anything standing in its
When we look at modern
naval vessels, the larger and more glamorous ships generally take centre stage
including the massive aircraft carriers and the ever-dangerous nuclear
submarines. However, if it weren’t for frigates, these super ships would be unable
to safely take on the open oceans.
Frigates are also
called the “eyes of the fleet” and serve as multi-purposed warships.
Their size is essentially in-between a smaller corvette and a larger destroyer where
they act independently of the fleet and can free up larger ships in
While frigates weren’t
suitable to fight with the rest of the fleet in normal battles, they were the
perfect solution to long-range solo missions. This included exploration,
patrols, escorts, blockades, anti-piracy and anti-slavery missions among
Government, with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, has awarded Rolls-Royce
Submarines with a £235m contract to support nuclear propulsion systems for the
Royal Navy’s nuclear-powered submarines. They have also revealed the name of the
third Dreadnought submarine that will add to their already powerful naval defence.
It is called HMS Warspite in memory of the last ‘great ship’ built during the
reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
contract stipulates, Rolls-Royce will deliver the required support, advice and
materials to ensure the safety of the propulsion systems. The multi-million-pound
deal relates to the current Trafalgar, Vanguard and Astute class submarine
fleet until 2022. The contract will also help sustain approximately 500 jobs in
the UK mainly in Derby, HMNB Clyde and HMNB Devonport.
2017 we reported on the Boeing Echo Voyager autonomous unmanned submarines and
now, big brother is here. It comes in the form of the Orca Extra Large Unmanned
Undersea Vehicles (XLUUVs) built for a host of applications.
Navy awarded Boeing with a US$43 million contract to build four Orca’s and the support
gear. Boeing partnered with Huntington Ingalls Industries to develop the 51-ft
(15.5 m) long unmanned undersea vehicles which will operate in the open ocean.
This is largely thanks to next-level autonomous navigation systems and a fuel
module that gives the Orca an incredible range of 6,500 nm (7,480 mi / 12,038
get a real idea of the engineering ingenuity of the Orca, let’s recap on the Boeing