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UK's company plans eightfold increase in weapon production amid war in Ukraine

UK's company plans eightfold increase in weapon production amid war in Ukraine A British company wants to increase arms production eightfold amid the war in Ukraine (Photo: facebook com ukroboronprom)
Author: Daria Shekina

The largest defense company in the UK, BAE Systems, has managed to double its productivity, but it plans to increase this figure eightfold, announces the company's CEO, Charles Woodburn.

Western countries need to rearm

According to him, Western countries face a years-long battle to rebuild their defense industries as they seek to rearm in the face of Russian aggression.

Woodburn warns that increasing the production of ammunition, weapons, and vehicles takes time after defense spending cuts in Europe after the Cold War forced companies to downsize their capabilities.

BAE's CEO adds that by the end of last year, the company had accumulated a record £70 billion in orders, as global tensions spurred demand for weapons and military equipment.

Governments in Europe are urging arms manufacturers to quickly increase ammunition production to continue supporting Ukrainian forces in their fight against Russia while replenishing their own dwindling supplies.

However, these efforts have taken longer than expected, as the European Union currently plans to supply Ukraine with only half of the one million 155mm artillery shells it promised Kyiv by March.

Time needed for capacity expansion

Woodburn has stated that all manufacturers are increasing capacity, and they have been discussing since the beginning of the war in Ukraine how to increase capacity by simply adding people.

"But of course, what people are looking for now is multiples of that, particularly on munitions, and that then requires investments around machinery, footprint, foundries, and all of that takes time to put into place," he says.

He also adds that it will take a year and a half to two years for all this, and the company is already working as quickly as possible.

Achievements of the British company so far

On its part, BAE has increased the production of NATO standard 155mm shells at its Washington and Sunderland plants after receiving new orders from the Ministry of Defense.

The company's productivity has already doubled thanks to additional shifts, but ultimately, BAE aims to increase this figure eightfold through investments in new factory lines.

Woodburn adds that defense companies need a clear picture of Western governments' long-term needs amid questions about future levels of support for Ukraine.

BAE Systems and Ukraine

Last year, it was reported that BAE Systems would open its office in Ukraine. Additionally, the company is localizing production in Ukraine.

Later, in January, the Financial Times reported that BAE Systems was preparing to resume production of components for M777 howitzers. This was in response to the war in Ukraine and the demand for artillery.