Defence Secretary backs landmark UK defence merger

Defence Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, has welcomed the creation of a landmark joint venture between defence companies Rheinmetall and BAE Systems Land UK.

The merger will form a new powerhouse in the UK military vehicle sector, sustaining approximately 450 jobs in the UK and preserving key technology and engineering skills in the West Midlands.

The partnership, named Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL), will see the companies combine their market-leading specialisms to compete on a global scale. Defence Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, said:

“This announcement is a clear vote of confidence in the UK’s defence industry as a world-leader in designing, supplying and supporting military vehicles.

“This exciting venture clearly demonstrates how Defence sits at the heart of the prosperity agenda. Its benefits will be felt in the West Midlands and across the UK defence supply chain, creating jobs, boosting exports and guaranteeing our technical skills base into the future.”

RBSL will draw on Rheinmetall’s leading military vehicle technologies and BAE Systems’ broad UK portfolio of capabilities from the Challenger 2 main battle tank to various armoured vehicles, military bridging and the AS90 self-propelled artillery system.

Headquartered in facilities in Telford, the new venture represents a significant boost to the armoured vehicle supply chain in the UK, helping to guarantee the British Army’s access to cutting-edge military technology and attracting new inward investment to the UK. Peter Hardisty, RBSL Managing Director said:

“RBSL is a new business drawing on the significant strengths and expertise of both BAE Systems Land UK and Rheinmetall. Our employees in Telford, Bristol, and Washington (UK) have a valuable skill set and extensive experience in combat vehicle engineering.

"With new orders, we shall be able to sustain these capabilities and expand over the coming years, seeking new opportunities in the UK and overseas.”

Powered by a highly skilled workforce, built on decades of combined experience in the defence manufacturing industry, the new venture is expected to present competitive proposals to the British Army for the programme to upgrade the Challenger 2 battle tank fleet and the delivery of the Boxer project, the Army’s armoured transport vehicle.

The venture will also see the companies continue to support other battle-winning combat vehicles such as Warrior, Trojan and Terrier.

The MOD is also playing a central role in the cross-Government Midlands Engine initiative. The Midlands Engine Investment Fund has already invested £25 million into over 100 small and medium enterprises in the Midlands to start and grow.


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