05 Jul 2018

Defence Secretary officially opens MBDA’s Bolton factory

The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has officially opened a Bolton-based factory where almost 700 staff are making multi-million-pound missiles for British soldiers, warships and fighter jets.

An opening ceremony saw the Defence Secretary unveil a plaque to mark the completion of five years of work and £50 million worth of investment into the high-tech site, which has been labelled ‘the jewel in the crown’ of weapons firm MBDA.

It marks a major milestone for the new site, where design, engineering and manufacturing experts are producing state-of-the-art equipment and systems. Complex weapons being built there will go on to do everything from arming F-35 fighter jets to protecting British troops and Royal Navy ships, whilst the move to the site has seen 100 new jobs created.

Work at the site was given a boost just last April when the Defence Secretary signed a £400 million deal with MBDA to upgrade the ultra-accurate Brimstone missile to become compatible with Typhoon jets. That contract created around 130 new jobs and sustained a further 270 existing jobs at MBDA’s sites in Bolton, Stevenage and across the supply chain.

The Bolton factory also works on the Sea Ceptor missile, which entered service on the Type 23 frigates in May and provides a powerful shield against airborne threats for Royal Navy ships. Land Ceptor, from the same family completed its first successful firing trials in April 2018 as the future battlefield barrier launched from a vehicle on a Swedish test fire range.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “This £50m factory supports 700 jobs in Bolton, showing how central strong British defence industry is to our national prosperity.

“MBDA’s investment has created more than 100 new jobs, and this has been supported by a £400m contract from the Government helping to create a further 100 roles within the company.

“You can’t have prosperity without security. MBDA in Bolton is keeping Britain safe while creating highly-skilled jobs and opportunities, demonstrating our commitment to the people of Bolton and the North West.”

image © MBDA Systems

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