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British company to increase arms production eightfold

Feb 21, 2024

Britain's largest defense company, BAE Systems, was able to double its productivity, but it plans to increase this figure eightfold.


This was stated by the head of the company, Charles Woodburn, reports RBC-Ukraine regarding The Telegraph.

Western countries face a years-long battle to rebuild their defense industries, he said, as they try to rearm in the face of Russian aggression.

Woodburn warned that ramping up production of ammunition, weapons, and vehicles would take time after Europe's post-Cold War defense spending cuts forced companies to cut capacity.

The BAE boss added that it had amassed a record £70bn of orders by the end of last year as global tensions boosted demand for arms and military equipment.

In Europe, governments are urging arms manufacturers to ramp up production of ammunition as soon as possible so they can continue to support Ukrainian forces in their fight against Russia while replenishing their own dwindling stockpiles.

But so far the effort has taken longer than expected, as the European Union is currently set to supply Ukraine with only half of the million 155mm artillery shells it promised Kyiv by March.

Woodburn stated that all manufacturers are increasing capacity, and they have been saying since the beginning of the war in Ukraine that you can increase capacity simply by adding people.

"But of course what people are looking for now is multiples of that, especially in the munitions industry, and that requires investment in equipment, space, foundries, and all of that takes time to bring to fruition," he said.

He also added that one and a half to two years should be spent on all this and the company is already working as fast as possible.

For its part, BAE has increased production of NATO-standard 155mm rounds at its Washington and Sunderland plant after receiving new orders from the Ministry of Defence.

The plant's productivity has already doubled thanks to the additional changes, but BAE ultimately aims to increase this figure eightfold through investment in new factory lines.

Woodburn added that defense companies need a clear picture of Western governments' long-term needs amid questions about future levels of support for Ukraine.

Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 22/02/2024

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