“The British Aerospace industry is vitally important to the future economy of this country; it is the second biggest aerospace industry in the world and is easily the biggest in Europe,” said Secretary of State for Wales, the Rt Hon David Jones MP in an address to Airborne Solutions employees during his recent visit to Raytheon UK’s facility at Broughton on 3 April 2014.

The success of the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD)-Raytheon Sentinel programme provided a strategic backdrop to the visit.  The Secretary took the opportunity to personally thank Raytheon employees for their hard work and technical innovation on the Sentinel and Shadow programmes which he described as “important assets for the UK government”. He further assured them of the government’s commitment to both aerospace and defence citing government-funded initiatives to build upon the British Aerospace industry, such as the Aerospace Growth Partnerships. He also emphasised the importance of manufacturing and export for Wales and the UK Economy.

Delivering the official welcome speech, Director of Strategy and Government Relations Brooke Hoskins told the Secretary of State: “Broughton is one of the two homes of our Airborne Solutions business. It is from this business area that we delivered to the UK one of its most vital Strategic Intelligence assets in the form of the Sentinel aircraft. Sentinel has been a huge operational success providing invaluable support in operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali and most recently much closer to home in the UK during the floods earlier this year.”

The visit and tour – hosted by Hoskins, the General Manager of Raytheon UK’s Broughton site Roger Shone and Head of Airborne Solutions Paul Francis – included a brief on Raytheon’s ISTAR process of Direct, Collect, Process and Disseminate and highlighted key milestones achieved by the Airborne Solutions business in recent years. Shone also explained plans to further broaden the footprint in order to meet the growth needs of the business.

The Broughton Apprenticeship programme was a particular point of interest for the Secretary of State and during his visit he emphasised the importance of training and developing the youth of today. Meeting with Broughton’s five Aerospace Apprentices to learn more about their experiences and accomplishments to date, he was full of praise and appeared to be very impressed with their well-thought out career plans and exuberance and passion for the site's apprentice scheme.