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British Aerospace UK

Upon formation in 1977, British Aerospace became the largest defence contractor in Europe and it established it as one of the world's leading aerospace companies.

British Aerospace - UK

British Aerospace logo
British Aerospace (BAe) was formed as a statutory corporation on 29th April 1977 as a result of the Aircraft and Shipbuilders Industries Act of the same year.  The company brought together the British Aircraft Corporation, Hawker Siddeley Aviation, Hawker Siddeley Dynamics and Scottish Aviation.
In February 1981, the Government sold 51.57% of the shares in British Aerospace in order to return the company to private ownership.  The remaining shares were finally sold in April 1985 but the Government retained a single £1 'Golden share' that would allow it to veto any posibility of foreign ownership.
In 1986, British Aerospace became a lead partner in Eurofighter GmbH along with Alenia Aeronautica, CASA and DASA for the development and production of the Eurofighter Typhoon.  A year later it acquired Royal Ordnance, the government-owned British armaments manufacturer, which continues today as BAE Systems Global Combat Systems Munitions.
In what was a surprising move, British Aerospace then acquired The Rover Group after the troubled car maker was privatised by the government and split away from its British Leyland roots.  Within 3 years however, British Aerospace faced troubled times with difficult ventures into telecommunications (Hutchinson Telecommunications – Orange Plc) and naval systems (SEMA).  One of the major casualties was the former Vickers Factory at Brooklands, Weybridge, ending aircraft activities after over 80 years of flight.
A major restructuring of the Board and a rationalisation of many of the historic manufacturing sites followed including the sell-off of non-core business interests such as Rover (to BMW in 1994) and its portfolio of property management and development companies. 
The company continued to invest in not only new technologies but also its existing range of products and services such as the Harrier, Hawk military jets and 146 civil airliners.
BAe Dunsfold Hangars & Harrier BAe Dunsfold Hangars & Harrier
By 1996 things were back on track and saw the introduction of a number of mutually beneficial joint ventures such as the development and marketing agreement for the SAAB JAS 39 Gripen aircraft and the initial program with Lockheed Martin for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) now better known as the F-35 Lightning II .
Throughout the remainder of the decade British Aerospace continued to develop strong partnerships in the aviation, space and defence industries.

In 1999, British Aerospace merged with Marconi Electronic Systems to form BAE Systems.


  British Aircraft Corporation
  Hawker Siddeley Aviation
  Hawker Siddeley Dynamics                                                       
  Scottish Aviation
1977 British Aerospace
1999 BAE Systems


1981 BAe 146 1986 EAP
1986 BAe ATP / Jetstream 61 1994 Eurofighter Typhoon
1979 Panavia Tornado    

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