British Aerospace

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British Aerospace (BAe) was a UK aircraft, munitions and defence-systems manufacturer. In 1999 it purchased Marconi Electronic Systems, the defence electronics and naval shipbuilding subsidiary of the General Electric Company plc, to form BAE Systems.

Contents

History


The company was formed in the United Kingdom as a statutory corporation on 29 April 1977 as a result of the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act. This called for the nationalisation and merger of the British Aircraft Corporation, Hawker Siddeley Aviation, Hawker Siddeley Dynamics and Scottish Aviation. In 1979 BAe officially joined Airbus, the UK having previously withdrawn support for the consortium in April 1969.

In accordance with the provisions of the British Aerospace Act 1980 the statutory corporation was changed to a Public limited company (plc), British Aerospace Public Limited Company, on 1 January 1981. On 4 February 1981 the government sold 51.57% of its shares. The British government sold its remaining shares in 1985, maintaining a £1 Golden Share which allows it veto foreign control of the board or company.[1]

On 26 September 1985, the UK and Saudi Arabian governments signed the Al Yamamah contract, with BAe as prime contractor. The contracts, extended in the 1990s and never fully detailed, involved the supply of Panavia Tornado strike and air defence aircraft, Hawk trainer jets, Rapier missile systems, infrastructure works and naval vessels. The Al Yamamah deals are valued at anything up to £20 billion and still continue to provide a large percentage of BAE Systems' profits. With Alenia Aeronautica, CASA and DASA, BAe formed Eurofighter GmbH in 1986 for the development of the Eurofighter Typhoon. On 22 April 1987 BAe acquired Royal Ordnance, the British armaments manufacturer, for £190 million. Heckler & Koch GmbH was folded into this division when BAe acquired it in 1991. In 1988 BAe purchased the Rover Group which was being privatised by the British government.

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