Pilots and sailors will have vital survival equipment under a new £25-million contract that will also support 50 UK jobs.
Birkenhead-based Survitec Group will provide the Royal Air Force with life-saving kit under a five-year contract. Work will predominantly take place at the company’s Birkenhead and Gosport sites, as well as further work taking place in Aberdeen and Dunmurry.
The contract will see the RAF being supplied with immersion protection garments such as life rafts and life preservers, and high-G kit such as anti-gravity trousers. Anti-G clothing will ensure pilots can cope with the high levels of acceleration they experience when flying agile fast jets, such as F-35, Typhoon and Hawk aircraft.
Kit for the Royal Navy will include multi-person life rafts and associated spares provision, as well as a rapid turnaround life raft servicing programme which facilitates the removal and return of life rafts to the vessel within 15 days.
The contract will also ensure RAF and Navy personnel will be able to order on demand a wide range of sailor and aircrew personal protection and survival equipment as and when they need it.
Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the procurement arm of the Ministry of Defence, negotiated the new contract which offers better value for money as it combines five contracts into one, leading to £5-million of efficiency savings over the life of the contract.
Director Air Support at DE&S, Richard Murray, said: “This new, improved contract with Survitec will ensure that high-quality, life-saving equipment is available when it is most needed.
“The team has worked hard to ensure it delivers value for the taxpayer while providing equipment at the forefront of the latest technology. I look forward to our ongoing partnership with Survitec to continue to deliver the very best equipment to our armed forces.”
The specialist anti-G trousers are designed to prevent gravity-induced loss of consciousness. Inflatable bladders are fitted inside the anti-G clothing and when pressurised, press firmly on the stomach and legs to restrict the draining of blood away from the brain during periods of high acceleration.
Survitec CEO Aerospace & Defence, Martin Whittaker, said: “I am delighted we have concluded this landmark agreement with DE&S to supply our armed forces with their much-needed safety equipment.
“The Survitec Group has been a trusted supplier for the UK Armed Forces for over 30 years and is committed to providing innovation for its future requirements.”