Marconi Electronic Systems
Marconi Electronic Systems (MES), or GEC-Marconi as it was until 1998, was the defence arm of The General Electric Company (GEC). It was demerged from GEC and acquired by British Aerospace
British Aerospace
British Aerospace plc was a UK aircraft, munitions and defence-systems manufacturer. Its head office was in the Warwick House in the Farnborough Aerospace Centre in Farnborough, Hampshire...

 (BAe) on November 30, 1999 to form BAE Systems
BAE Systems
BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that has global interests, particularly in North America through its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. BAE is among the world's largest military contractors; in 2009 it was the...

. GEC then renamed itself Marconi plc
Telent plc
Telent Limited is a radio, telecommunication, and internet systems installation & services provision company. The company was formed in 2006 from the UK and German services businesses of Marconi Corporation which had not been acquired by Ericsson.- History :The company was formed in January 2006...


MES exists today as BAE Systems Electronics Limited, a subsidiary of BAE Systems, but the assets were rearranged elsewhere within that company. MES-related businesses include BAE Systems Submarine Solutions, BAE Systems Surface Ships, BAE Systems Insyte and SELEX Galileo
SELEX Galileo
SELEX Galileo is a major defence electronics company that specialises in surveillance, protection, tracking, targeting, navigation and control, and imaging systems. It is owned by the Italian company Finmeccanica....

 (now owned by Finmeccanica
Finmeccanica S.p.A. is an Italian conglomerate. Finmeccanica is the second largest industrial group and the largest of the hi-tech industrial groups based in Italy. It works in the fields of defence, aerospace, security, automation, transport and energy...



MES represented the pinnacle of GEC's defence businesses which had a heritage of almost 100 years. Following GEC's acquisition of Marconi as part of English Electric
English Electric
English Electric was a British industrial manufacturer. Founded in 1918, it initially specialised in industrial electric motors and transformers...

 in 1968 the Marconi brand was used for its defence businesses e.g. Marconi Space & Defence Systems (MSDS), Marconi Underwater Systems Ltd (MUSL). GEC's history of military products dates back to World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 with its contribution to the war effort then including radios and bulbs. World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 consolidated this position with the company involved in many important technological advances, most notably radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...


Between 1945 and GEC's demerger of its defence business in 1999, the company became one of the world's most important defence contractors. GEC's major defence related acquisitions included Associated Electrical Industries
Associated Electrical Industries
Associated Electrical Industries was a British holding company formed in 1928 through the merger of the British Thomson-Houston Company and Metropolitan-Vickers electrical engineering companies...

 in 1967, English Electric Company (including its Marconi
Marconi Company
The Marconi Company Ltd. was founded by Guglielmo Marconi in 1897 as The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company...

 subsidiary) in 1968, Yarrow Shipbuilders
Yarrow Shipbuilders
Yarrow Limited , often styled as simply Yarrows, was a major shipbuilding firm based in the Scotstoun district of Glasgow on the River Clyde...

 in 1985, parts of Ferranti
Ferranti or Ferranti International plc was a UK electrical engineering and equipment firm that operated for over a century from 1885 until it went bankrupt in 1993. Known primarily for defence electronics, the Company was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but ceased trading in 1993.The...

's defence business in 1990, Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering in 1995 and Kvaerner Govan
Kvaerner Govan
Kvaerner Govan Ltd, located at Govan in Glasgow on the River Clyde, was a shipyard subsidiary formed in 1988 when the Norwegian group Kvaerner Industrier purchased the Govan Shipbuilders division of the nationalised British Shipbuilders corporation...

 in 1999. In June 1998, MES acquired Tracor
Tracor was a major North American defense electronics contractor which was acquired by Marconi Electronic Systems , a subsidiary of General Electric Company plc, in 1998. Following the purchase of MES by British Aerospace in November 1999 to form BAE Systems, Tracor became BAE Systems Integrated...

, a major American defence contractor, for $1.4bn.


The 1997 merger of American corporations Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

 and McDonnell Douglas
McDonnell Douglas
McDonnell Douglas was a major American aerospace manufacturer and defense contractor, producing a number of famous commercial and military aircraft. It formed from a merger of McDonnell Aircraft and Douglas Aircraft in 1967. McDonnell Douglas was based at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport...

, which followed the forming of Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

, the world's largest defence contractor in 1995, increased the pressure on European defence companies to consolidate. In June 1997 British Aerospace Defence Managing Director John Weston
John Weston (businessman)
John Weston is a British businessman.Weston was employed by BAE Systems and its predecessors from when he left university until he was ousted as CEO in 2002. In 2004 the Financial Times described Weston as one of a "core group" who turned British Aerospace around , along with Evans, Richard...

 commented "Europe... is supporting three times the number of contractors on less than half the budget of the U.S.". European governments wished to see the merger of their defence manufacturers into a single entity, a European Aerospace and Defence Company.

As early as 1995 British Aerospace and the German aerospace and defence company DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA) were said to be keen to create a transnational aerospace and defence company. Merger discussions began between British Aerospace and DASA in July 1998. A merger was agreed between British Aerospace Chairman Richard Evans
Richard Evans (businessman)
Sir Richard Harry Evans, CBE, Hon FRAeS less formally known as Dick Evans, was formerly chairman of BAE Systems.In 2001 he became Chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire...

 and DASA CEO Jürgen Schrempp
Jürgen E. Schrempp
Jürgen Erich Schrempp was until December 31, 2005, the CEO of DaimlerChrysler, a German-American car and truck manufacturer. Following a decision of the board taken on July 28, 2005, he was succeeded on January 1, 2006, by Chrysler frontman Dieter Zetsche...

 in December 1998.

GEC was also under pressure to participate in defence industry consolidation. Reporting the appointment of George Simpson
George Simpson, Baron Simpson of Dunkeld
George Simpson, Baron Simpson of Dunkeld is a Labour member of the House of Lords. He was made a Life peer as Baron Simpson of Dunkeld, of Dunkeld in Perth and Kinross in 1997. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Simpson gained a reputation for turning around struggling companies...

 as GEC managing director in 1996, The Independent had said "some analysts believe that Mr Simpson's inside knowledge of BAe, a long-rumoured GEC bid target, was a key to his appointment. GEC favours forging a national 'champion' defence group with BAe to compete with the giant US organisations." When GEC put MES up for sale on 22 December 1998, BAE abandoned the DASA merger in favour of purchasing its British rival. The merger of British Aerospace and MES was announced on 19 January 1999. Evans stated that in 2004 that his fear was that an American defence contractor would acquire MES and challenge both British Aerospace and DASA. The merger created a vertically integrated company which The Scotsman described as "[a combination of British Aerospace's] contracting and platform-building skills with Marconi's coveted electronics systems capability". for example combining the manufacturer of the Eurofighter with the company that provided many of the aircraft's electronic systems; British Aerospace was MES' largest customer. In contrast, DASA's response to the breakdown of the merger discussion was to merge with Aérospatiale to create the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. is a global pan-European aerospace and defence corporation and a leading defence and military contractor worldwide...

), a horizontal integration
Horizontal integration
In microeconomics and strategic management, the term horizontal integration describes a type of ownership and control. It is a strategy used by a business or corporation that seeks to sell a type of product in numerous markets...

. EADS has since considered a merger with Thales
Thales Group
The Thales Group is a French electronics company delivering information systems and services for the aerospace, defense, transportation and security markets...

 to create a "fully rounded" company.

While MES was responsible for the majority of GEC's defence sales other GEC companies achieved defence related sales, principally GEC Alsthom
Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

, GEC-Plessey Telecommunications
Marconi Communications
Marconi Communications was a principal subsidiary of the Marconi Corporation plc and was formerly known as GEC Plessey Telecommunications . The company was a world leading telecommunications manufacturer...

 (GPT) and GEC Plessey Semiconductors.


  • Marconi Avionics
  • Marconi North America
  • Marconi Naval Systems
  • Alenia Marconi Systems
    Alenia Marconi Systems
    Alenia Marconi Systems was a major European integrated defence electronics company and an equal shares joint venture between BAE Systems and Finmeccanica until its dissolution on May 3, 2005....

  • Matra Marconi Space
    Matra Marconi Space
    Matra Marconi Space was a Franco-British aerospace company.-History:Matra Marconi Space was established in 1990 as a joint venture between the space and telecommunication divisions of the Lagardère Group and the GEC group .The merged company was announced in December 1989 and was owned 51% by...

  • Thomson Marconi Sonar
    Thomson Marconi Sonar
    Thomson Marconi Sonar was formed as Ferranti Thomson Sonar Systems in 1990 by the merger of the sonar systems businesses of Thomson-CSF and Ferranti...

  • Marconi Research Centre
    Marconi Research Centre
    Marconi Research Centre is the former name of the current BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre facility at Great Baddow in Essex, United Kingdom...

Major projects

This is a partial list:
  • Produced 12 of the class of 16 Type 23 frigate
    Type 23 frigate
    The Type 23 frigate is a class of frigate built for the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. All the ships were first named after British Dukes, thus the class is also known as the Duke class. The first Type 23 was commissioned in 1989, and the sixteenth, was launched in May 2000 and commissioned in...

    s. Also the major electronics & equipment supplier for the class.
  • Civil avionics, e.g. Boeing 777
    Boeing 777
    The Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world's largest twinjet and is commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven". The aircraft has seating for over 300 passengers and has a range from , depending on model...

     fly-by-wire systems
  • UK Prime Contractor on the Horizon CNGF programme until 1999. Following the withdrawal of the UK from the programme MES was awarded the subsequent Type 45 destroyer
    Type 45 destroyer
    The United Kingdom's Type 45 destroyer is an air defence destroyer programme of the Royal Navy which will replace its Type 42 destroyers. The first ship in the class, HMS Daring, was launched on 1 February 2006 and commissioned on 23 July 2009. The ships are now built by BAE Systems Surface Ships...

     Prime Contractor position several days before merging with BAe.
  • Part of Raytheon
    Raytheon Company is a major American defense contractor and industrial corporation with core manufacturing concentrations in weapons and military and commercial electronics. It was previously involved in corporate and special-mission aircraft until early 2007...

    Raytheon Sentinel
    |-See also:-References:* Winchester, Jim. "Aircraft of the RAF Part 5 - Raytheon Sentinel R1". Air International, Volume 75 No.3, September 2008. pp.54-57.-External links:* * * *...

     bid team
  • Royal Navy
    Royal Navy
    The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

     Astute class
    Astute class submarine
    The Astute-class is the latest class of nuclear-powered fleet submarines in service with the Royal Navy. The class sets a new standard for the Royal Navy in terms of weapons load, communication facilities and stealth. The boats are being constructed by BAE Systems Submarine Solutions at...

  • Brimstone
    Brimstone missile
    Brimstone is an air-launched anti-tank missile developed by MBDA for Britain's Royal Air Force. It was originally intended for "fire and forget" use against mass formations of enemy armour, using a millimetre wave seeker to ensure accuracy even against moving targets...

     Anti-Armour Missile
    TIALD, the Thermal Imaging Airborne Laser Designator pod, is manufactured by SELEX Galileo and was the UK's primary laser designator for laser-guided bombs....

     laser designator
    Laser designator
    A laser designator is a laser light source which is used to designate a target. Laser designators provide targeting for laser guided bombs, missiles, or precision artillery munitions, such as the Paveway series of bombs, Lockheed-Martin's Hellfire, or the Copperhead round, respectively.When a...

  • AI.24 Foxhunter, radar for the Tornado
    Panavia Tornado
    The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing combat aircraft, which was jointly developed and manufactured by the United Kingdom, West Germany and Italy...

  • ECR-90, radar for the Eurofighter Typhoon
    Eurofighter Typhoon
    The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole combat aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of three companies: EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems; working through a holding company, Eurofighter GmbH, which was formed in 1986...

  • Member of Boeing X-32
    Boeing X-32
    The Boeing X-32 was a multi-purpose jet fighter in the Joint Strike Fighter contest. It lost to the Lockheed Martin X-35 demonstrator which was further developed into the F-35 Lightning II.-Background:...

    JSF is a three-letter abbreviation with multiple meanings, as described below:* JavaServer Faces, a specification for developing Java-based Web applications.* Joint Strike Fighter Program...

     development team

See also

  • Aerospace industry in the United Kingdom
  • Marconi Scientists
    Marconi Scientists
    The GEC-Marconi scientist deaths conspiracy theory states that between 1982 and 1990 twenty-five British-based GEC-Marconi scientists and engineers who worked on the Sting Ray torpedo project, and other US Strategic Defense Initiative related projects died under mysterious circumstances...

     - Article about the 25+ defence employees who have died in mysterious circumstances since the early 1980s
  • CMC Electronics
    CMC Electronics
    CMC Electronics Inc. is a Canadian electronics company. The company's corporate head office is located in Montreal, Quebec, with additional facilities located in Ottawa, Ontario and Sugar Grove, Illinois.- History :...

    - formerly the Canadian Marconi Company, once part of EE/GEC & BAe

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.