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Coordinates: 51°16′25″N 0°46′00″W / 51.27361°N 0.7666667°W / 51.27361; -0.7666667

BAE Systems plc
Type Public limited company
Predecessor British Aerospace
Marconi Electronic Systems
Founded 30 November 1999
Headquarters Farnborough, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Area served Worldwide
Key people Dick Olver (Chairman)
Ian King (CEO)
Industry Aerospace
Information security
Products Civil and military aerospace
Defence electronics
Naval vessels
Land warfare systems
Services Maintenance, consultancy, training etc.
Revenue (turnover) £22,392 million (2010)[1]
Operating income £1,505 million (2010)[1]
Profit £1,081 million (2010)[1]
Employees 107,000 (2010)[2]
Divisions See below
Subsidiaries BAE Systems Inc.

BAE Systems plc (LSEBA.) is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in Farnborough, Hampshire, United Kingdom, that has global interests, particularly in North America through its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. BAE is among the world's largest military contractors; it was second in defence revenues in 2009.[3][4] It was formed on 30 November 1999 by the £7.7 billion merger of two British companies, Marconi Electronic Systems (MES), the defence electronics and naval shipbuilding subsidiary of the General Electric Company plc (GEC), and aircraft, munitions and naval systems manufacturer British Aerospace (BAe).

BAE is the successor to various aircraft and defence electronics companies, including The Marconi Company, the first commercial company devoted to the development and use of radio; A.V. Roe and Company, one of the world's first aircraft companies; de Havilland, manufacturer of the world's first commercial jet airliner; British Aircraft Corporation, co-manufacturer of the Concorde supersonic transport; and Supermarine, manufacturer of the Spitfire. It has increasingly disengaged from its businesses in continental Europe in favour of investing in the United States. Since its formation it has sold its shares in Airbus, Astrium, AMS and Atlas Elektronik.

BAE Systems is involved in several major defence projects, including the F-35 Lightning II, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Astute-class submarine and the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. The company has been the subject of criticism, in terms of general opposition to the arms trade and particularly specific allegations of unethical and corrupt practices, including the Al Yamamah contracts with Saudi Arabia that have earned BAE and its predecessor £43 billion in twenty years.[5] In February 2010, BAE Systems agreed to pay £286 million in criminal fines to the Serious Fraud Office and the US Department of Justice for failure to keep "reasonably accurate accounting records" with regard to activities in Tanzania and for "conspiring to make false statements to the US government."[6]

BAE Systems is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.



Supermarine, manufacturer of the Spitfire was a predecessor company of BAE Systems. It was purchased by Vickers-Armstrongs, which itself was merged into the British Aircraft Corporation in 1960.

BAE Systems was formed on 30 November 1999 by the £7.7 billion merger of British Aerospace (BAe) and Marconi Electronic Systems (MES).[7] As a result, BAE Systems is the successor to many of the most famous British aircraft, defence electronics and warship manufacturers. Predecessor companies built the Comet, the world's first commercial jet airliner; the Harrier "jump jet", the world's first operational Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft; the "groundbreaking"[8] Blue Vixen radar carried by Sea Harrier FA2s and which formed the basis of the Eurofighter's CAPTOR radar; and co-produced the iconic Concorde supersonic airliner with Aérospatiale.

British Aerospace was a civil and military aircraft manufacturer, as well as a provider of military land systems. The company had emerged from the massive consolidation of UK aircraft manufacturers since World War II. British Aerospace was formed on 29 April 1977 by the nationalisation and merger of The British Aircraft Corporation (BAC), the Hawker Siddeley Group and Scottish Aviation.[9] Both BAC and Hawker Siddeley were themselves the result of various mergers and acquisitions.[10]

Marconi Electronic Systems was the defence subsidiary of British engineering firm The General Electric Company (GEC), dealing largely in military systems integration, as well as naval and land systems. Marconi's heritage dates back to Guglielmo Marconi's Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company, founded in 1897.[11] GEC purchased English Electric (which included Marconi) in 1968 and thereafter used the Marconi brand for its defence businesses (as GEC-Marconi and later Marconi Electronic Systems). GEC's own defence heritage dates back to World War I, when its contribution to the war effort included radios and bulbs. World War II consolidated this position, as the company was involved in important technological advances, notably the cavity magnetron for radar.[12] Between 1945 and 1999, GEC-Marconi/Marconi Electronic Systems became one of the world's most important defence contractors. GEC's major defence related acquisitions included Associated Electrical Industries in 1967,[13] Yarrow Shipbuilders in 1985,[13] Plessey companies in 1989,[14] parts of Ferranti's defence business in 1990,[14] Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering in 1995[15] and Kværner Govan in 1999.[16] In June 1998, MES acquired Tracor, a major American defence contractor, for £830 million (approx. US$1.4 billion c. 1998).[17]