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AEI buoyed by naval deal

Friday 7 December 2012 6:00

Manufacturer AEI Cables has landed a £10m deal to supply specialist parts to the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier programme.

The County Durham firm, which is the world’s oldest cable maker, will design and manufacture a range of naval power, instrumentation and communications wires and cables.

The deal, which comes through the Birtley-based group’s partner BAE Systems Maritime, will provide a secure level of business for its remaining workforce, the firm said.

Last year AEI blamed the dire economic climate as it made 126 of its staff redundant, leaving 189 people working at the firm.

It now believes its latest contract will enable it to secure a level of business that will fuel its ongoing development in the North East.

Over the next 30 months AEI will deliver over three million metres of cable and wiring to the project to supply power, lighting and data communications to the vessels.

At 284m long, the two QE Class warships are the largest ever to enter service with the Royal Navy at three times the size of the current Invincible Aircraft Carriers. The power generated on board each day is enough to power a large town or 300,000 kettles.

AEI CEO Clive Sharp said: “With vessels of this importance, the complexity of the wiring and cabling means there is no margin for error. The order is testimony to the company’s core technical skills, designing as well as manufacturing quality cable and complements other major naval contract wins for the company. All our team are proud to contribute to the construction of these historic aircraft carriers.”

AEI Cables has a strong track record in supplying cable and wiring products to Naval Fleets and was involved in the new Type 45 Anti Air Warfare Destroyer programme for the Royal Navy to prime contractor BAE Systems, including the supply of control cables, weapons cables and medium voltage propulsion cables.

Other recent AEI projects also include work at Manchester Airport, Heathrow Terminal 2, Meadowhall Shopping Centre, Chesterfield Hospital, Kettering Hospital and Rotherham Football Stadium

Overseas projects for the 175-year-old firm include the Masdar Project and Central Market in Abu Dhabi, the Far East’s Wynn Resort in Macau and cables for the Russian and Indian mining sector.