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Saab: Barracuda manufacturing moves closer to UK customers

Source: Saab

Saab’s Barracuda Mobile Camouflage System (MCS) is now being partially manufactured in the United Kingdom following a deal with local engineering business Abbey Group.

 

Following a deal with engineering company Abbey Group, MCS units for use on the British Army’s Ajax armoured fighting vehicles are being assembled near Liverpool in northwest England. Abbey Group is responsible for sewing the units together using camouflage material produced in Sweden and then delivering completed MCS kits to customers.

The agreement is good news for British manufacturing – and also for Saab which is responding to a rise in demand for Barracuda systems by expanding its production base globally.

“We’re delighted to have Abbey Group on-board producing our Barracuda Mobile Camouflage System in the UK,” says Daniel Nordström, Director Marketing and Sales at Saab’s business unit Barracuda. “With the global threat situation constantly evolving, it’s important for us to have manufacturing facilities close to our customers. It not only helps boost in-country defence-manufacturing capabilities, it also ensures that we are able to deliver the products needed in a timely and efficient manner.”

 

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Abbey Group Managing Director Adam Kelly adds, “This is a win for local manufacturing and has already provided some great job opportunities for the local area. And it will continue to do so as we are growing staff number every couple of months.”

 

Sharing of knowledge and technology

Alex Alderson, Vice President and Director Land Systems for Saab in UK, explains that the camouflage solutions produced initially will go to use on the British Army’s Ajax vehicles, providing them with multispectral production while on the move. Further down the track, camouflage systems produced by Abbey Group may be exported to other markets.

Mr Alderson says Abbey Group was chosen for the deal after Saab reviewed a wide range of potential partners within the local manufacturing industry. Key factors in the decision included the quality of the products produced by Abbey Group and their approach to doing business “They have a great reputation for manufacturing high-quality, precision products and for innovation,” he says. “Importantly, they also had a huge appetite for a challenge.”

 

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Adam Kelly says, for Abbey Group, the deal with Saab represents an opportunity to expand into new business areas. “We hoped to learn new skills and gain new experiences and that is something we are already doing,” he says. “It has been a great experience, and we hope this will continue to grow to a point where we can adapt our skills and capabilities to support other parts of Saab as well.”

Saab is committed to sharing knowledge and technology with its partners. Following the signing of the deal, staff from Abbey Group travelled to Barracuda’s production facility in Gamleby, Sweden, for training. “All the trips to Sweden and the Gamleby factory have been superb,” says Mr Kelly. “The staff there looked after us and showed a real enthusiasm for the work that Saab do and the partnership that we have.”

 

Facility in World War II bunker

One interesting aspect of the deal is the choice of a World War II ammunition bunker to the west of Liverpool as the location for Abbey Group’s Barracuda manufacturing facility. “The facility was camouflaged out of sight to prevent it from being bombed during the war,” says Mr Kelly. “And now it makes the most technologically advanced camouflage panels on the market. It has, of course, been fully renovated and kitted out with top-of-the range equipment and highly skilled staff and operators.”

 

 

Alex Alderson says he hopes the new deal will cement Saab and Barracuda’s already strong reputations in the UK. “Saab has been present in the UK for nearly 30 years and it has a strong customer base for training and simulation and combat weapons, especially NLAW,” he says. “These are strong brands, and Barracuda is now a strong brand with the Army. They don’t talk about camouflage; they talk about Barracuda. And they are seriously impressed with what Barracuda products can do.”

The deal with Abbey Group follows Saab partnering with Canadian business Tulmar in 2022 to produce MCS units at a facility near Ontario. This moved Barracuda production facilities closer to customers in North America.

 

Source: Saab.

 

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