BAE Systems, with has sites across the region, including in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Bristol, Malvern, Amersham and Aylesbury, has reported record orders and a boost in profits.
The company has reported an order intake increase of £8 billion to £28.3 billion, and its order backlog increased by £9.7 billion to £48.4 billion following this year’s record order intake.
Sales decreased by £0.1 billion to £18.4 billion with the expected reduction in Typhoon production activity being largely offset by growth in the company’s US businesses.
However the company warned of a potential hit to its key deals with Saudi Arabia in relation to its Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft should Germany push for an export ban to the country.
“It should be recognised, however, that the company is reliant on the approval of export licences by a number of governments in order to continue supplies to Saudi Arabia,” BAE explained in a statement. “In this context, the position on export licensing currently adopted by the German government may affect the group’s ability to provide the required capability to the Kingdom.”
In November, Germany – which is also part of the Typhoon consortium, supplying parts – announced it would no longer issue arms export licences to Saudi Arabia following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in October.
The potential blow to the defence firm’s future financial performance came as BAE announced it had made made “good progress” in strengthening the business amid a “strong” operational performance.
Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, said: “The Group made good progress in strengthening the outlook and geographic base of the business, with a number of significant contract wins. The defence order backlog is now at a record high with visibility on many of our key programmes through the next decade. Delivering a strong operational performance and continued investment will enable us to meet our growth expectations and underpin the long term.”
Earlier this month the company welcomed the announcement from the F-35 Joint Program Office that it would be carrying out carry out maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) services for F-35 avionics and aircraft components for the European, Asia-Pacific and global fleet which builds further on BAE Systems’ role in supporting the global F-35 fleet in the United Kingdom and Australia.
In January the company also revealed that as part of its ongoing technology partnership with UK Sport, Britain’s elite equestrian teams will benefit from sensor technologies normally used to manage cockpit conditions for fighter pilots.
As with athletes, the performance of horses flying to international competition can be adversely affected by the symptoms of long-haul air travel. Engineers at BAE Systems were asked to provide a technical solution to overcome the impact of long-haul travel to ensure the animals arrive in a peak state of health and fitness; ready for competition.
The specialist team at BAE Systems produced an environmental monitoring unit developed, for the British Equestrian Federation (BEF). The technology, called Equus-Sense, builds upon advanced sensor systems such as those that monitor cockpit conditions and air quality found in Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft for the fighter pilots. Novel integration techniques and additional sensors appropriate to equestrian transport were introduced to provide a complete monitoring unit for the horses. The system covers elements including sound, temperature, vibration, humidity, dust levels and oxygen, allowing trainers and athletes to monitor the environmental conditions for horses travelling to international events.