Why this firm plays a key role in the de­fence of our na­tion

Daily Mail - - News - By Rachel Mil­lard City Cor­re­spon­dent

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

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