Although Farnborough is said to be the ‘Birthplace of British Aviation’ after Samuel Cody, who made the first flight in the UK here in October 1908, BAE Systems has a much shorter relationship at this iconic location than most people think. Whilst the company and its predecessors have attended the famous Farnborough Air Show since its inception in 1948, the only other visits were by company aircraft during their test and development phases. Many iconic aircraft owe their very existance to Farnborough such as the iconic Concorde.
In October 1992, and with the rationalisation of British Aerospace, the company relocated its Operational Headquarters to a new, award winning business complex created by its property division Arlington Securities.
Named Farnborough Aeropsace Centre (FAC) alongside the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), this state-of-the-art facility brought a new and dynamic approach to the increasing range of international businesses that made up BAE Systems and allowed much of its shared resources to reside on one site.
The eight primary office building were predominantly named after key engineering universities within the aircraft industry such as Warwick, Lancaster and Hertford, each supporting the company's corporate and commercial activities worldwide.
The clean and prestigious working environment was enhanced with a 3 level Restaurant and Briefing facility (Park Centre) which was supplemented with a well-equipped gymnasium and staff medical centre. All the buildings were creatively landscaped and footpaths linked each of the buildings.
One of the greatest advantages of the Farnborough Aerospace Centre was its close proximity to Farnborough Airfield (still the Royal Aircraft Establishment at the time) which offered direct access to the bi-annual Farnborough International Air Show. The runway was a major bonus which allowed the provision for the company operated air travel between Farnborough and many of the British Aerospace manufacturing facilities such as Warton.
BAE Systems Heritage Department also resides in Farnborough, occupying the famous Black Sheds (the oldest purpose-built aviation building in the United Kingdom). Housing many millions of photographs, technical reports and manuals, the Heritage Department preserves the company's proud heritage and is a source of records uused daily by authors, film makers and researchers (by appointment).
Today, rationalisation and new technology under BAE Systems has reduced the reliance on physical office space and thus the company has consolidated its footprint into just one major building, Warwick House.