Princess Anne has links with more than 20 British and Commonwealth military units, many of which use products from the factory.
The new £83m Small Arms Ammunition Manufacturing Facility is Europe’s Centre of Excellence for bulk ammunition production, with a capacity to produce one million rounds per day.
The new facility is based on the existing site and replaces the current facility in C Block which was opened on 30 March 1979 by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The facility will ensure even better supplies of UK-manufactured ammunition to the front line, while underpinning around 450 jobs at the site. It is a major transformation in terms of efficiency, productivity and cost effectiveness. The change is part of an innovative 15-year £2 billion partnering agreement called MASS (Munitions Acquisition - the Supply Solution), signed in August 2008 with the UK Ministry of Defence. The agreement commits the MoD and BAE Systems to working together and has proven a great success, delivering increased supplies of ammunition on time to front-line troops.
Commented Ian Anderton, Munitions MD: “The official opening is a major milestone in the modernisation of our UK’s munitions manufacturing facilities. This facility alongside similar transformed facilities at Glascoed, South Wales and Washington, near Newcastle will help drive down costs and maximise future efficiencies to the benefit of our customers, both in the UK and in our export markets.”
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne said:
“Thanks to a £2bn investment from the Ministry of Defence and BAE Systems, a state of the art munitions facility has today opened in Radway Green. Capable of producing one million rounds every day it will not only protect 450 local jobs but leaves no doubt of British expertise and skills in manufacturing. This is not only a vital boost for the local economy, but will improve supplies to our Armed Forces on the frontline.”