Why this firm plays a key role in the defence of our nation
GKN has a number of military contracts and is one of just a handful of UK defence firms that can work under special security clearance granted by the Pentagon.
Its engineering prowess is in complex parts that need testing to a rigorous standard for aircraft that must be capable of enduring high-altitude and high-stress flights.
More than 400 staff work at its factory in Luton, a world leader in systems that protect and increase the performance of wings and cockpits of fighter jets and military helicopters.
It makes ice protection systems, protective films and canopies for the Eurofighter Typhoon, which it develops with BAE Systems.
GKN’s technology is also used on the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth tactical fighter, and the Agusta Westland AW101 military helicopter.
Factories in Portsmouth and on the Isle of Wight supply a range of products for military land vehicles, missiles, drones, torpedos and marine vessels. They also design, test and manufacture parts for military aircraft and sell parts to firms such as BAE and Leonardo.
More than 2,000 work at its factories in Filton and Avonmouth, Bristol, developing wings and components for commercial and military aircraft.
The plant’s most crucial military contract is developing trailing edges for wings on the A400M military cargo aircraft built by Airbus, which is a key partner of GKN.
Trailing edges – essentially the thin part at the back of a wing – are vital for the aerodynamics of an aircraft.
GKN makes a number of parts for the Lockheed Martin F-35, the new military fighter being developed by the US. As well as being used by the American military, these planes will also feature on the UK’s new aircraft carriers.
The work is carried out at 1 sites in six countries. In the UK it develops deicing equipment which is then shipped across the Atlantic.
In the US, its new factory in Florida is so top secret no one is allowed to know what is made there.
Other parts for the F-35 made by GKN include the canopy, heated parts for engine fans, rotor blades and landing gear components.
GKN also has a role in producing the B21 long-range bat-winged stealth bomber from its base in Missouri.
Military prowess: A British F-35 jet