MoD fuels Marshall success as £35m Boeing liaison continues to take wing
Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group in Cambridge is to supply the MoD with fuel tanks that will allow aircraft to hunt for submarines for long periods, the Minister for Defence Procurement Stuart Andrew has revealed.
During a visit to the UK company, the Minster said that the first of the Boeing P-8A aircraft featuring the tanks will be ready for use in a year’s time.
Speaking to staff he said: “I’ve been truly impressed by this company and I think the work that you’re doing really is superb. The design and manufacture of these vital parts could not be in the hands of a more trusted partner.
“It marks another important milestone for this very important programme. They will provide crucial global protection to NATO and our allies as well as enhancing maritime search and rescue capability.
“The Ministry of Defence is the defence industry’s largest customer, creating a global and thriving competitive defence industry. The P-8A is the latest chapter in our successful partnership and it will be setting the tone for our working relationship for many decades to come.”
Speaking to Business Weekly about the contract he said: “Marshalls are not backward in coming forward and going for new business. It’s a company that has had a long working relationship with the MoD to ensure that our armed forces get the capability they need, which is why it’s been really good to come here to see what they’re doing.”
He also praised Marshall for its commitment to apprenticeships. “What’s great about this company is that even when apprenticeships weren’t fashionable they were still doing them. There are a lot of lessons that other companies can learn about how Marshall have been doing things.”
On the inevitable subject of Brexit he said: “We are used to working with companies on a global scale, not just within the EU. We’re listening to industry but I see there are real opportunities for us in the future as we go forward whether that’s with us leaving with a deal or without.
“I can see us having greater prosperity in the future if we take advantage of every opportunity that exists if we leave on March 29.”
Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group CEO Alistair McPhee added: “This is a programme in which the company has invested a lot of effort and money for quite some time; we have provided these fuel tanks for US aircraft, for Australian aircraft, Indian aircraft and for many other fleets. It’s a proud moment to be actually doing this for our own RAF aircraft.”
Speaking to Business Weekly he added that the deal was part of ongoing work with Boeing that generates about £35 million a year and provides employment for around 65 people.
The group will also be taking on around 50 apprentices this year. McPhee said: “We’ve had an unbroken apprenticeship scheme for 98 years, which is down to the Marshall family and their commitment to young people.”
The RAF’s Air Commodore Ian Gale, who is responsible for the PA8 Programme spoke to staff of the importance of the aircraft: “It’s a challenging place out there, primarily from Russia, but there are other people who have high interest in challenging our security.
“I’m really impressed when I come here with a number of things that you do, the way you do it and that you are a proper all-British company. I’m delighted what you are doing with apprenticeships here at Marshalls.
“We value the work you are doing and are looking forward to seeing your fuel tanks in our aeroplanes.”
Anna Keeling, MD of Boeing Defence UK, outlined the value of the Marshall team to the global aviation giant. She said: “You are such a key supplier to Boeing. These tanks are going on a multi-mission, maritime control aircraft – one that is really proving itself every single day around the globe. When it arrives it will really provide the UK unparalleled capability.”