Military Contract Manufacturing: Small Market but Big Rewards

Military Contract Manufacturing: Small Market but Big Rewards

The defense industry has been the focus of many governments in the past decade, with military programs ramping up across the world. In contrast, the military contract manufacturing sector happens to be a rather small market, with several challenges and only a few key players, making it significantly hard to enter. Military manufacturing is often associated with long, complex contracts, based on legacy projects and a variety of highly technical specifications. There is also a number of difficulties with acquiring and maintaining the required industry standards in order to be classed as a defense manufacturer.

However, the military contract manufacturing market also represents a highly lucrative opportunity, once companies manage to enter. Being such a small and complex industry, it is providing a level of security over winning business. Internationally, there are also favorable circumstances to expand capabilities to service new and existing export markets in products such as armoured vehicles, advanced radar systems and patrol boats. Example of such expansion in the defense sector is thyssenkrupp Materials UK, a division of thyssenkrupp Materials Services.

Currently, the defense sector, as many other manufacturing sectors, is experiencing issues with material supply, particularly steel. Due to being such a slow moving, highly technical market, the military manufacturing sector has less flexibility with its set practices and therefore, it’s slow to react and recover.

 Being able to offer a wide range of stock material supply and support with highly complex technical issues, thyssenkrupp Materials UK is already supporting the defense market in the UK. In the past few years, thyssenkrupp Materials UK has been working on several defense projects, which ramped up in the past few months. The company offers make-to-print services to their defense key accounts and what allowed them to competitively enter the military manufacturing market was having skilled, in-house engineering expertise, strong compliance practices and ability to invest in training.

Evidence of the company’s success is the recently awarded new contract for the supply of defense armour and commercial grade raw materials, as part of the Ajax armoured vehicle programme. Ajax is the British Army’s new multi-role, fully-digitised armoured fighting vehicle, offering versatility and agility, being delivered through the biggest single order of armoured vehicles in a generation. thyssenkrupp Materials UK was able to win this contract based on the strategic utilisation of existing business units across both aerospace and materials divisions.

"Internationally, There Are Also Favorable Circumstances To Expand Capabilities To Service New And Existing Export Markets In Products Such As Armoured Vehicles, Advanced Radar Systems, And Patrol Boats"

Nigel Evans, Head of Defense at thyssenkrupp Materials UK, comments: “Having an aerospace background, with all required manufacturing practices and standards in place, has definitely helped us with setting foot into the military contract manufacturing sector. Although both industries are cyclical and built on consolidation activities, commercial aerospace is all about longevity and continuity. By keeping successful programs alive for decades, unit costs for production shrink. This is something we are working on implementing with our military manufacturing customers in order to develop more flexibility and ability to react to market challenges. We also have a dedicated thyssenkrupp Aerospace business unit in the organisation that supports us in managing all defense contracts on a global level”.

About thyssenkrupp Materials UK

thyssenkrupp Materials UK has a broad knowledge and years of experience in supporting the aerospace & defense industry. The company supplies a vast range of commercial and defense grade materials, including aluminium, steel and titanium, available in every size and shape. They also provide world class in-house capabilities to offer technical services such as material preparation and machining to developments in automation, extended supply chain, warehouse and inventory management. 

Weekly Brief

Read Also

Bridging the Talent Gap in the Aviation Industry

Brenda Baker, Director of Operations, AAR

Making the Right Investments for Aerospace Manufacturing

Thibault Carrier, Chief Commercial Officer, and Nicolas Van Hille, Research and Technology Manager, Sonaca

Doubling Down on Operations: Sustainability to Meet Organization Goals

Kevin Brown, SVP of Global Operations, Milliken & Company Textile Division

Optimizing Product Mix at Any Utilization Level

Andrew Bissot, Vice President Engineering, Manufacturing Excellence, & Reliability, TimkenSteel

Leveraging Technology to Track Returnable Shipping Containers

Bridget Grewal, Director of Packaging Continuous Improvement, Magna International [NYSE:MGA]