BAe in a fix over `mines' contract headache
Sunday 01 August 1999
The move has been prompted by an exclusive report by the Independent on Sunday in June that the subsidiary, Royal Ordnance, is exporting RDX, an ingredient commonly used in landmines, to the United States.
Royal Ordnance has a five-year contract worth $88m (pounds 55m) to be the US Army's sole supplier of RDX and is exporting 40 per cent of the explosives from its factory at Bridgwater in Somerset.
Royal Ordnance also has a 25-year contract to operate the Army ammunition plant in Holston, Tennessee, the only American plant capable of manu- facturing RDX and the source of explosives used in millions of American mines.
The Landmines Act, passed by Parliament last year, makes the manufacture of anti-personnel mines or their components an offence punishable by up to 14 years in jail and/or an unlimited fine. Avon and Somerset Police have already forwarded a file for investigation by Customs and Excise after a complaint from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, the leading organisation opposed to the production and use of landmines.
Nick Harvey, MP, the Liberal Democrats' campaign and communications chair, who has criticised BAe for failing to make it clear that RDX was not to be used in the production of landmines, said: "BAe is entirely at the mercy of US policy. They're in a bind and the fact that they're having afterthoughts suggests they recognise that. If the Americans don't agree [to a new clause] I think BAe will have to cancel the contract."
A spokesman for the US Army said it and Royal Ordnance "are addressing any potential problems the UK constraints may have".
"In the interim," he said, "the US Army has agreed to identify the end- use for bulk explosives ... to assure Royal Ordnance that any conflict with the UK restrictions is not being created."
A BAe spokesman added: "We are in discussion with the US Army who are well aware of our obligations under the Ottawa Convention and the UK Landmines Act. We will not break the law."
- 1 Qataris pledge to expand Canary Wharf
- 2 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 3 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 4 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
- 5 Watch eerie drone footage of destroyed building in Stalingrad
#JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
General election 2015: 'Nasty party' Ukip faces fresh questions over candidates on eve of vote
Who should I vote for in the general election? Take The Independent's interactive quiz to find out which party is the right choice for you
Ohio 'Shawshank Redemption' fugitive Frank Freshwater arrested after 56 years on the run
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
General Election 2015: Sturgeon claims Scots 'appalled' by Ed Miliband's refusal to work with SNP
£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...