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BAE Systems has been contracted to supply the UK Armed Forces with ammunition. The Next Generation Munitions Solution (NGMS) will see 39 different munitions manufactured for the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force and Strategic Command to use on the front line. This includes small arms ammunition, mortars, medium-calibre gun rounds in addition to large-calibre artillery and tank shells.

An estimated 1,260 people will work on NGMS in engineering, operations and supporting roles across five BAE Systems UK sites, including:

  • 555 jobs – Glascoed, South Wales
  • 320 jobs – Radway Green, Cheshire
  • 340 jobs – Washington, Tyne & Wear
  • 30 jobs – Bishopton near Glasgow
  • 15 jobs – Ridsdale, Northumberland

A further 1,500 roles will be supported along the supply chain alongside 1,300 jobs as a result of consumer spending in local economies.

Modernisation

The announcement follows the substantial £16.5Bn settlement for defence over four years that will modernise the Armed Forces and bring jobs and prosperity to every part of the UK. Replacing the current Munitions Acquisition, the Supply Solution (MASS) single-source contract from January 2023, the NGMS will deliver about 50 per cent, by value, of the MOD’s total General Munitions (GM) portfolio and will maximise military capability and reduce cost.

The new contract will offer better value for money as it includes incentives for BAE Systems to make savings over the life of the contract. In its bid, the company identified about £400M of savings and efficiency opportunities to be pursued up to 2038 to meet this challenge. The contract also includes flexibility to vary the volume of orders and allow GM products to be added or removed, depending on front-line requirements.

As it delivers the munitions, BAE Systems forecasts it will spend £350M with UK-based companies on raw materials and machine components.

It pledges to invest more than £70M refurbishing and upgrading manufacturing lines, including £32M at Glascoed, £27M at Washington and £12M at Radway Green. The company will also invest in the next generation by recruiting over 200 apprentices and graduates during the course of the contract.

Jack Richardson