General Dynamics UK


General Dynamics UK is a British subsidiary of the American defence and security corporation General Dynamics. Founded in London in 1962, the company has grown to include eight sites across the United Kingdom, including in Bristol, Chippenham, Hastings, Merthyr Tydfil, Oakdale and Rotherham. Specialising in armoured fighting vehicles, avionic systems and tactical communications, the company has produced the General Dynamics Ajax armoured fighting vehicle, the Ocelot light protected patrol vehicle and the Bowman communications system. It is one of the UK's leading defence companies and a key supplier to the UK Ministry of Defence.[2][1]

General Dynamics UK Limited
United Kingdom
ProductsAjax, Ocelot, Bowman, Evolve to Open (EvO)
Number of employees
ParentGeneral Dynamics


The company was originally founded as Computing Devices, part of the General Dynamics Information Systems and Technology group, in 1962.[1][3]

In 1997, General Dynamics acquired Computing Devices Ltd which had been based in Hastings, East Sussex, since 1974.[4] The company was responsible for supplying avionics to the Tornado GR1, Harrier GR7, Nimrod MR2 and Eurofighter Typhoon.[5] These were praised for their effectiveness during both the Falklands War and Gulf War.[6][7] More recently, the company provided avionics for the AgustaWestland AW101 Mk3 and Mk4 and AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat helicopters.[8][9]

In 2001, Computing Devices Canada (CDC) won a £1.7 billion contract from the UK Ministry of Defence to deliver Bowman, a communications system for the British Armed Forces, beating competing bids from Thales and TRW.[10] The work was carried out at a newly-opened UK headquarters in Oakdale, South Wales, and under the new name of General Dynamics UK Limited, having previously been known as CDC Systems UK Limited.[11][12][1] The Bowman system was to equip some 20,000 vehicles, 149 naval vessels, 350 aircraft and 100,000 service personnel.[13] It was successfully delivered from March 2004.[14]

General Dynamics Ajax

In 2010, General Dynamics UK was awarded a contract to supply the British Army with a family of armoured fighting vehicles to meet the requirements of its Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) programme. As prime contractor, the company's bid centered around the General Dynamics Ajax armoured fighting vehicle (previously known as Scout SV), a development of the ASCOD armoured fighting vehicle which was co-developed by another General Dynamics subsidiary, the Spanish-based Santa Bárbara Sistemas. A total of 589 vehicles were to be produced in six variants, including turreted Ajax armoured reconnaissance variants, Ares armoured personnel carrier variants, Athena command and control variants, Argus engineer reconnaissance variants, Atlas recovery variants and Apollo repair variants.[15][16] Manufacturing and assembly of the first 100 vehicles took place in Spain using steel supplied from Sweden, something the British government argued was not a major loss for British industry as the work for the remaining 489 vehicles was to be carried out in the United Kingdom.[17] Subsequently, in 2016, General Dynamics UK opened an assembly, integration and testing facility for Ajax at a former forklift truck factory in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, where work on the remaining 489 vehicles was to take place.[18] The first variant of the Ajax family, the Ares, was delivered to the British Army in July 2020.[19]

In 2011, General Dynamics acquired Force Protection Inc and its UK-based subsidiary Force Protection Europe which had developed the Ocelot light protected vehicle, otherwise known as Foxhound in the British Army.[20] General Dynamics UK subsequently oversaw the delivery of Foxhound to the British Army and continues marketing the product.[21]

In 2016, the UK Ministry of Defence awarded an Assessment Phase contract for its Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (LEP) to Team Challenger 2, a consortium of companies lead by BAE Systems which included General Dynamics Land Systems - UK. The company's Merthyr Tydfil facility was to be used to bring the Challenger 2 up to Mark 2 standard.[22]

In 2017, General Dynamics UK was awarded a £330 million contract to supply the UK Ministry of Defence with tactical communication and information systems as part of its Morpheus programme.[23]


General Dynamics UK Limited comprises two business units: General Dynamics Land Systems - UK and General Dynamics Mission Systems - UK.[2]


General Dynamics UK has eight sites in a total of six locations in the United Kingdom:[8]



  1. ^ a b c d "Our History". General Dynamics UK. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "About Us". General Dynamics UK. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  3. ^ "New UK 'Technology Incubator' Launches To Leverage Defence Heritage For Business Benefit". Response Source. 22 June 2000. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  4. ^ "Protest over Hastings Firm's Links to US Child Detention". Hastings Independent. 30 November 2018. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  5. ^ "Transatlantic Defence Industrial Relationships: An Audit and Commentary" (PDF). Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  6. ^ "House of Commons Hansard". UK Parliament. 22 July 1982. Retrieved 1 September 2020. With regard to what the British aerospace industry was able to do in support of the Falklands operation, I am proud to say that in Hastings, two companies, Computing Devices and Helleman Deutsch, have produced excellent results and their workers deserve every praise
  7. ^ "Orders of the Day — Sea Fish (Conservation) Bill". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 1 September 2020. At the other end of the industrial spectrum, we have a company called Computing Devices. In the Gulf war, its reconnaissance system was used on the Tornado aircraft and it is arguable that the war would not have proceeded as it did if it had not been for the company.
  8. ^ a b "Our Sites". General Dynamics UK. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  9. ^ "General Dynamics UK awarded contract to provide mission system equipment for UK AW101 Merlin Mk4/4a helicopter". General Dynamics. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  10. ^ "Bowman Radio Communications System". UK Parliament. 19 July 2001.
  11. ^ "Defence firm sets sights on 500 jobs". South Wales Argus. 22 August 2001. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  12. ^ Official Gazette of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Vol. 1262 Number 5 ed.). U.S. Department of Commerce. 29 October 2002. p. 473. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Memorandum from the Ministry of Defence on Major Procurement Project Survey (March 2002)". Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  14. ^ "Bowman Enters Service". Defense Aerospace. 29 March 2004. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  15. ^ "All The Gen On The AJAX Military Vehicle". 28 July 2020. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  16. ^ "Welsh Secretary welcomes £500m MoD Contract for Welsh workers". GOV.UK. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  17. ^ "Government respond to concern over Ajax Fighting Vehicle". UK Defence Journal. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  18. ^ "Ajax vehicle brings Merthyr Tydfil factory back to life". GOV.UK. 7 March 2016.
  19. ^ "First Ares Armoured Vehicles Delivered to the Army". British Army. 27 July 2020. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  20. ^ "General Dynamics Completes Acquisition of Force Protection". CISION. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  21. ^ "Foxhound". General Dynamics UK. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  22. ^ "BAE Systems' Team Challenger® 2 awarded Assessment Phase for Life Extension Project". BAE Systems. 22 December 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  23. ^ "General Dynamics UK Awarded £330 Million Contract to Develop Next-Generation Battlefield Network for British Army". General Dynamics. 5 April 2017. Retrieved 1 September 2020.

External linksEdit

  • General Dynamics UK website