BAE Systems, formerly British Aerospace. a.k.a. British Waste 'o' Space. It probably wasn't a good idea, but we're stuck with it now.
BAe was formed in 1977 by a... wait for it... Labour government, thus nationalising the UK's aviation industry and (in the process) totally destroying it. The companies involved were:
- Hawker Siddeley
- British Aircraft Corporation
- Scottish Aviation
It merged with Marconi Electronic Systems in 1998 to become the imaginatively renamed BAE Systems. BAE now has its fingers in most pies, Lightning II, Future Carrier, D class Destroyers, Eurofighter Typhoon.
In fact for many years after the numerous mergers (which saw the steady demise of all the great 'Brand' names of British engineering Handley Page, Avro, De Haviland etc- the very opposite of modern corporate strategy) BAE's various predecessors made excellent profits, thus 'proving' the desirability of further mergers. In fact these profits were largely derived from the sale of the numerous company airfields which were frequently ideally placed for redevelopment. - Good news for shoppers then.
Has an exceptional ability to make a project over budget and late. Though to be fair which defence contractors don't?
- SA80 Twenty years and paid for twice to make it work as promised and bits STILL break off!
- Tornados Blue Circle concrete radar.
- Typhoon. Over-budget, late on parade etc.
- Nimrod MRA4. Oh you couldn't make this up.
Defence contractors should not be about employment in government ministers' constituencies BUT SHOULD be about delivering decent kit to the Armed forces of this country. Anything else is political corruption to a greater or lesser extent.
Tony has had to cover up (very blatantly) corruption in BAE/Saudi deals. No sooner had he got that swept up 'in the public interest' than BAE got caught being naughty in South Africa.... and in a few other places as well!
One of BAE's most innovative developments has been PCM Project Critical Mass. Nothing nuclear about it. In fact this refers to the practice, whenever they do get a new project, (quite rare these days as they have such a struggle finishing the jobs they do have) of immediately manning it up with masses of personnel. The strategy here is to make cancellation impossible, regardless of cost overruns, changes to threat even massive fcuk ups and corruption. As soon as any hint of project cancellation is whispered all news papers from the Torygraph to the Ferret Breeders gazette are flooded with tales of how numerous 'high tech' jobs will be lost in the event of cancellation. Mrs Thatcher stopped the unions holding the country to ransom, too bad she isn't around to do the same with BAE.
Currently in the process of buying up Spam defense contractors now. (Most recent is Armor Holdings for £2 Billion.) Armor Make Hummers. Soon the Spam kit will be as bad as ours. Something to look forward to.
Update July 2007: BAE is to be investigated by the US Department of Justice, a body that takes no shiite from no man. As a result BAE shares dropped 18% in an hour of frantic trading. Expect the current board to retiring soon and fleeing ... errr ... emigrating to countries the US dont have extradition treaties with (...like that would stop them!)
More here: BAE
BAE also owns 37.5% of MBDA