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13 January, 2006 - 12:00 By Staff Reporter

Marshall Aerospace closes in on new global contracts

New jobs could be created in Cambridge as Marshall Aerospace closes in on global contracts for its cutting edge cockpit upgrade technology.

New jobs could be created in Cambridge as Marshall Aerospace closes in on global contracts for its cutting edge cockpit upgrade technology.

Hopes have been raised by Marshall’s success in securing a multi million euro contract with the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) to carry out a cockpit upgrade programme on its C130 H model aircraft. The first aircraft is expected to be delivered in early 2007.

A spokesman for Marshall Aerospace said similar modifications were now being offered to other C-130 operators.

He said: “The initial programme will help sustain the existing workforce with some additions. The potential for selling similar upgrades to other operators could certainly create additional positions.”

The integrated modification package for the RNLAF incorporates a number of industry-leading features.

A state-of-the-art communications package that meets civil and military requirements comprises VHF, UHF, HF, Satcom, ACARS and an intercom system.

To improve safety, the upgrade includes weather radar, engine instruments, lightning sensor and other critical technology. And to aid situation awareness, an advanced display system includes a moving map information prompt for the pilots.

Marshall Aerospace is responsible for the design and integration of the equipment together with installation and testing.

Marshall’s aerospace business is benefiting from more aggressive marketing, resulting in a much higher international profile. I understand that another major contract is just around the corner that could secure job security at the company for at least the next five years. The company is also selling its expertise hard in emerging countries such as China and India.

Given pressure on the Marshall group to release Cambridge land for housing, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that separating the aerospace division from the other components of the business would prove a realistic option given MA’s progress in the last year or so.

Feasibility studies looking at a relocation for the whole Marshall group might well arrive at that scenario, with MA looking for land around an existing airbase, such as Mildenhall in Suffolk.

Speculation on relocating the entire Marshall group of companies remains hideously premature. Any such move could be five or even 10 years away, by which time the cost of relocation identified by the current study could be hopelessly off the mark.

Marshall of Cambridge remains in private family ownership and will not be shifted unless all the circumstances are right for everyone involved in the business.


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