Happy 10th birthday MBDA

Posted on 29 Dec 2011

European missile manufacturer MBDA turns 10-years old.

Missile manufacturer MBDA celebrated its 10th birthday on Monday Dec 19th across its four principle UK sites at Filton, Lostock, Stevenage and Henlow.

Europe’s largest missile manufacturer, MBDA was created in 2001 as a pan-European joint venture between BAE Systems, aerospace group EADS and Finmeccanica. In 2010 the company recorded a turnover of Eu2.8bn, produced over 3,000 missiles and received an order book of Eu10.8bn.

“MBDA has evolved and expanded step by step to become a world player in missile and defence systems design and manufacture,” said chief executive Antoine Bouvier on the anniversary.
The company was formed at a time when the European defence industries were faced with increasing pressure from US suppliers such as rivals Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Manufacturers in France, Italy and the UK formed a collective response, with Aérospatiale-Matra Missiles (EADS), Finmeccanica and BAE Systems combining their separate missile businesses.

Dubbed ‘the Airbus of missiles’ by CEO Bouvier, MBDA accounts for 70% of Europe’s industrial capacity in the missile sector.

“Our ambition for the future is to grow and to strengthen our position as a major player in the world market by drawing on core values: integration, innovation and operational excellence,” Mr Bouvier said in MBDA’s special 10th anniversary book. “We are a sovereign industry. That gives us heavy responsibilities to governments and to our armed forces.”

MBDA has over 10,000 employees worldwide, 2,700 in the UK which includes 300 at the main inert (unarmed) missile assembly facility at Lostock, near Bolton. Sixty percent of its employees are in in technical or engineering functions.

Despite contraction in European defence budgets, Greg Townsend, an MBDA executive in Bristol, remarks in the company’s 10th anniversary book: “Having been around previous recessions, I would say that during this recession MBDA is far more positive and upbeat about their future and direction. The biggest change for me has been how it has been able to raise the awareness of health and safety throughout the business.”

[Pictured is manufacturing director of MBDA UK Bernie Waldron cutting the cake with members of MBDA Lostock. Bernie celebrated his own milestone this month: 40-years of service at the company and an interview with him will appear in the Febraury issue of TM.]