A joint venture agreement that will secure hundreds of jobs in Telford has been welcomed by Made in the Midlands members.
The JV sees Rheinmetall and BAE Systems collaborate on a joint military vehicle design, manufacturing and support business, based in Telford.
Under the terms of the deal, Rheinmetall will purchase a 55% stake in the existing BAE Systems UK-based combat vehicles business, with BAE Systems retaining 45%.
The JV agreement is subject to regulatory approvals which are anticipated to be completed in the first half of 2019. Once the approvals have been completed, the Joint Venture will be known as Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL).
In addition to managing and growing the existing combat vehicle support business, the intention is for the new JV to play a major role in the delivery of the British Army’s new Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) and other strategic combat vehicles programmes.
The combination of Rheinmetall’s military vehicles technology and products with the additional capabilities and products brought to the Joint Venture by BAE Systems, such as Trojan, Terrier, Warrior, military bridging and the AS90 self-propelled artillery system is intended to create a European market leader in the military vehicle sector.
RBSL will have the potential to create hundreds of additional UK jobs, both in Telford and the wider supply chain. While initially focused on these major UK programmes, RBSL will also form an integral part of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems Division and will participate in and contribute to various global military vehicle pursuits and contracts.
Chris Greenough, Commercial Director of Salop Design & Engineering - and a former President of Made in the Midlands, said: “This is great news for Shropshire, and is a real look to the future by both BAE and Rheinmetall.
“To look to UK projects, but with an eye on the Global Vehicle Systems market will be a real boost for our region, and is a sign of the work that has been done by BAE to position themselves as a lead business. This joint venture should help secure the site and jobs, and could lead to expansion and add value to the sector.
“In the current climate of doom and gloom, it is good to see a Shropshire business taking the lead, and looking to a future that is innovative, cutting edge and positive.”
Jennifer Osbaldestin, Managing Director of BAE Systems Land UK business, said: “We are committed to evolving our combat vehicles business so that we better serve our customers’ future interests.
“Joining forces with Rheinmetall in the UK provides renewed purpose for our vehicles business and allows us to deliver products, services and technology that help land forces excel in their vital roles. We look forward to working together to ensure the Joint Venture is a trusted supplier to the British Army and our international customers.”
Ben Hudson, Global Head of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems Division, said: “We are excited about the potential the new Joint Venture holds for Rheinmetall, BAE Systems and ultimately our customers.
“The combined capabilities of our two great companies will offer our customers a comprehensive portfolio of military vehicles and associated technologies both now and into the future. We are proud to invest in the UK and expect to substantially grow the current business and the Telford manufacturing facility over the coming years.”