BAE Systems

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

BAE Systems is the largest arms manufacturer in Europe and the fourth biggest in the world. Registered in the UK, the company has annual military sales of $15bn. Products include fighter and trainer aircraft, warships, submarines, torpedoes, missiles, radar and tactical communications systems, artillery and ammunition. The company employs 90,000 people, 41,000 of whom are in the UK. The company was formed on November 30, 1999 with the merger of British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems, which was made up of several divisions of GEC-Marconi in the UK and overseas.

The company has drawn heavy criticism, both for the use of its products to facilitate human rights abuses and corruption. Its Hawk jets alone have been sold to Brunei, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe. The company is currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office over allegations that the company kept a "slush fund" worth some £60m to bribe officials from Saudi Arabia. The company sells more to Saudi than to the UK Ministry of Defence.

In August 2004 BAE Systems completed its takeover of armoured vehicle manufacturer Alvis.

Access BAE Systems' corporate rap sheet compiled and written by Good Jobs First here.

Strike Action

Lobbying/links with government

BAE lobbies the UK government at the highest level, securing favourable legislation, ministerial support for overseas sales and insurance on its deals to unstable regimes in the form of 'export credits'. BAE chairman Dick Evans is credited with opening up the Labour government to the company's influence.

The Observer newspaper has quoted an 'industry insider' as saying that Dick Evans, the then chairman of BAE, had unrivalled access to the British Prime Minister: "Dick is entirely ruthless. He is a hard man and gets his own way. But he has also been the most successful in shifting the political ground and courting New Labour. He's one of the few businessmen who can see [Tony] Blair on request." [1]

The former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook wrote of the relationship between BAE, then known as British Aerospace, and the government in his book The Point of Departure: "In my time I came to learn that the Chairman of British Aerospace appeared to have the key to the garden door to Number 10. Certainly I never once knew Number 10 to come up with any decision that would be incommoding to British Aerospace".

BAE Systems also lobbies the U.S. government. The company spent $5,140,000 for lobbying in the U.S. in 2006. Some of the lobbying firms used were Van Scoyoc Associates, Inc., Covington & Burling, and American Defense International. [1]

Political contributions

BAE Systems gave the following to federal candidates in the 2006 U.S. election through its political action committees: [2] [3]

Division Democrats Republicans
BAE Systems Land & Armaments 26% 73% $287,500
BAE Systems North America 38% 61% $497,499

Ownership of other companies


Accessed July 2012: [4]

Board of directors

Executive directors

Non-executive directors


Contact details

(Headquarters) Farnborough
GU14 6YU

Tel: + 44 (0)1252 373 232

(Registered Office)
6 Carlton Gardens


Other SourceWatch resources

External links


  1. BAE Systems lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed January 2008
  2. 2006 PAC ID: C00330076, Open Secrets, accessed January 2008
  3. 2006 PAC ID: C00281212, Open Secrets, accessed January 2008
  4. BAE Systems Board, organizational web page, accessed July 5, 2012.