The delivery of millions of rounds of ammunition by Britain and its NATO allies to Ukraine has raised concerns about the adequacy of domestic stock levels. To address this issue, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the new contract with BAE Systems will help mitigate the associated risks.
Under the contract, BAE Systems will increase its UK production capacity for 155mm artillery ammunition by eightfold, resulting in a significant boost in output of NATO standard munitions.
As part of his commitment to strengthening the country’s military, Prime Minister Sunak, who has allocated an additional £5 billion to Britain’s defence budget in the past year, will call on other world leaders to increase their defence spending to 2% of GDP at an important NATO summit in Lithuania later today.
The newly awarded contract includes an option for the government to increase its value to over £400 million if required.
BAE Systems has announced that the contract will lead to the creation of 200 new jobs in the North of England and South Wales. This expansion includes the addition of an extra machining line at one location and the establishment of a new explosive filling facility at another.
“This multi-million pound investment will enable us to significantly ramp up production and sustain vital sovereign capability to deliver cutting-edge munitions,” stated Charles Woodburn, CEO of BAE Systems.
In March, the UK government unveiled plans to allocate a total of GBP 11 billion to its defence budget over the next five years.
Out of the GBP 280 million contract, GBP 190 million will be allocated to 155mm artillery ammunition, while the remaining funds will be used for 30mm medium-calibre rounds and 5.56mm ammunition.