BAE Systems is the UK’s biggest arms company and the world’s third-largest defence company, with annual sales exceeding £15.7 billion. The company made headlines last year after it was accused by the Serious Fraud Office of “concealing the truth” about its £43bn arms deals with Saudi Arabia (see here).
BAE’s products include assault rifles, artillery guns, missiles, torpedoes, tanks, armoured vehicles, unmanned combat aircraft, warships, nuclear submarines, nuclear weapons (via subsidiary MBDA), radar systems, and handcuffs and shackles used in Guantanamo Bay and Saudi Arabia.
BAE is known to have supplied Israel with ‘Head-Up Displays’ (HUD) for F16 fighter aircraft, which have been used by the Israeli army to turn Lebanese and Palestinian villages and towns into rubble. The first of Israel’s new order arrived in 2005 and the first 25 F16s were fitted with BAE’s HUDs. The remaining 77 were to be fitted with Elbit HUDs. BAE also supply Israel with part of the ‘navigation suite’ and elements of the ‘self-protection suite’ (including a BAE Systems/Rokar flare) for all Israel’s F16 jets.
It has been reported that BAE’s Suter airborne network attack system was used by Israel in its bombing of Syria in 2007. Suter is developed by BAE Systems and integrated into US unmanned aircraft by L-3 Communications. The technology, which allows users to invade communications networks and even take over as systems administrator, has been used by the US army, or at least tested operationally, in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last year.
Recent protests against BAE in solidarity with Gaza have included a protest by a group of Warwick University students against a recruitment event run by BAE and Warwick Careers Service (see here). On 22nd January, a group of local activists blocked the entrance to BAE Systems in Newcastle in a ‘die-in’ protest (see here). The company’s head office is located in central London (6 Carlton Gardens, SW1Y 5AD). For more information, see Corporate Watch’s BAE Systems company profile. A list of BAE Systems locations in the UK can be found here.
Direct Action Against Israel – Part 1