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British Industrial History

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Marconi Electronic Systems

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Note: This is a sub-section of GEC

Marconi Electronic Systems (MES) was the defence arm of The General Electric Company (GEC) in the late 1990s.

WWI GEC's history of military products included radios and light bulbs.

WWII The company was involved in many important technological advances, most notably radar.

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 acquisitions included several companies with major defence interests:

Following GEC's acquisition of English Electric in 1968, the Marconi brand was used for its defence businesses e.g. Marconi Space and Defence Systems (MSDS), Marconi Underwater Systems Ltd (MUSL).

On 18th March 1996 Mr Simpson was confirmed as managing director of GEC as replacement to Lord Weinstock. In reporting the appointment The Independent 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."

1998 Creation of Marconi Electronic Systems Ltd (MES) incorporating the defence electronics and naval shipbuilding businesses of GEC[1]. The naval shipbuilding arm of the company was called Marconi Marine, which included:

1998 June: MES acquired Tracor, a major American defence contractor, for $1.4bn.

1999 The company was demerged from GEC and acquired by British Aerospace (BAe) on November 30 to form BAE Systems. GEC then renamed itself Marconi plc.

MES then became BAE Systems Electronics, a subsidiary of BAE Systems but with the assets dispersed within that company. MES-related businesses include BAE Systems Submarines, BAE Systems Naval Ships, BAE Systems Insyte and SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems (now owned by Finmeccanica).

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Marconi_Electronic_Systems [1]