Our Story

Airborne Systems Ltd is a market-leading £45million business, employing nearly 350 people in the UK.  Our key business is based around Naval Decoy Systems, Parachutes, Aerial Delivery Equipment and Services.  Airborne Systems is a directly-reporting division of Transdigm Group Inc, a $3billion turnover US public company, which operates in the Aerospace and Defence market.

 

The formation of Airborne Systems

On the 19th April 1919, Leslie Leroy Irvin made the world’s first free-fall parachute descent in the USA and formed Irving Air Chutes later that year, establishing a European factory for the mass production of parachutes in England in 1926. At about the same time, James Gregory and Sir Raymond Quilter foresaw the need for widely available and dependable parachute systems for aircrew and formed GQ Parachutes in 1932.

 

The 1930s saw both companies established as major suppliers of emergency escape parachutes to the world’s air forces.

Irvin-GQ was formed in June 2001 following the acquisition of Irvin Aerospace by Alchemy Partners and the resulting merger with GQ Parachutes Limited.

Following reorganisation of Group activities in 2007 we began trading as Airborne Systems.

 

 

Airborne Systems France

Airborne Systems France has been an active company since 1st September 2013.

 

Airborne Systems France provides first level technical expertise, repair, training and re-supply of parts for Airborne Systems products, with main functions being:

 

  • To support current Airborne Systems activities mainly in France, but also in continental Europe;
  • To address future identified needs in France (renewal of equipment for parachuting and airdrop of equipment);
  • To provide access to a local capability for in-service support.

 

Airborne Systems has a global presence

We have a sister company based in North America.

Individually we are specialists, dedicating our expertise to you.  Together, we will work together to find the most advanced solutions for you.

 

Recent ownership summary

  • Alchemy (UK private equity 2000- 2010)
  • Metalmark (US private equity 2010 – 2013)
  • Transdigm 2013


airborne systems AWARDS and accreditations

Recognising the  Company’s expansion abroad, Airborne Systems earned the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade 2015, in particular for increasing overseas sales during the previous three years and for exporting more than 50% of turnover and was also awarded the Investors in People GOLD status for its continuous commitment to develop employees.

 

The main drivers for Airborne Systems’ success and continued growth are through improvements in business processes and the introduction of a value-based operating strategy focussing on generating profitable new business, making steady improvements to the cost structure and providing real value to customers with pricing to reflect this value.

 

Airborne Systems is ISO 9001:2008 and MAA certified and DAOS approved.

In 2016 Airborne Systems was awarded the Cyber Essentials accreditation.

 

cyber-essentials-badge-high-res            queens-award             iip-gold            maa

 


Airborne Systems Limited

Modern Slavery Statement FY 16

slavery-statement

Airborne Systems Ltd (ASL) is a market-leading business based in the UK.  Our key business is based around Naval Decoy Systems, Parachutes, Aerial Delivery Equipment and Services.  Airborne Systems is a directly-reporting wholly owned subsidiary of Transdigm Group Inc, a $3.5billion turnover US public company, which operates in the Aerospace and Defence market.

 

1 Our structure, business and supply chains

 

ASL has an annual turnover of approximately £45M and employs approximately 350 people across our sites in England and Wales. We conduct military parachute packing operations from our site in Hertfordshire, and we conduct design, development and manufacturing operations from our sites in Wales.

 

By value, 55% of our purchasing occurs in the UK, 20% in the US and 25% within the EU

 

There are some 500 repeat suppliers in our supply chain, including large volume textile fabric manufacturers and suppliers of unique aerospace components

 

2 Our policies in relation to modern slavery and human trafficking

 

Airborne Systems Limited is committed to ethical conduct in all aspects of our business and has a zero tolerance approach to slavery and human trafficking. Our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics can be found here:

 

Transdigm Group Inc. » Innovative Aerospace Solutions :: Corporate Governance – Highlights

 

We have in place systems to encourage the reporting of concerns and the protection of whistleblowers.

 

ASL’s commitment to ethical and moral behaviour extends to all business dealings and transactions in which we are involved, regardless of location or sector. We remain committed to strengthening our practices in this area, both within our own business and across our supply chains. This statement sets out the steps we have taken during the financial year 2015/16.

 

Modern slavery is a crime and a violation of fundamental human rights. It takes various forms, such as slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking, all of which have in common the deprivation of a person’s liberty by another in order to exploit them for personal or commercial gain.

 

Airborne Systems is committed to the prevention of modern slavery and human trafficking in all its forms, and will not tolerate or condone the abuse of human rights within any part of our business or supply chains.

 

During the course of FY16 we:

Undertook ethical training for every employee.
Confirmed the status of our direct employees
Undertook internal review and risk assessment of our supply chain with regard to possible exposure to modern slavery and human trafficking
Established Internal policies to counter modern slavery and human trafficking
Planned engaged modern slavery and human trafficking compliance checks on our supply chain for implementation in FY17

 

3 Due diligence, specific risks and supplier adherence to our values

 

We assured ourselves that all our direct employees are subject to appropriate identity and security checks associated with our work in the defence sector, which enable us to be certain that none of our employees are trafficked persons or subject to any forced labour conditions.

In our risk assessment we conducted internal review of our supply chain for risk of non-compliance with Law and Regulation, on the basis of our supplier quality accreditation programme. We determined that our suppliers are without exception at low risk of non-compliance. One outcome of the review is a plan to conduct direct due diligence engagement with the supply chain to be undertaken during FY17.

As part of our risk assessment we determined a need to include an express commitment to comply with the Modern Slavery Act or equivalent national legislation for our supplier base offshore from the United Kingdom. This will be implemented in our FY17 update to our standard Ts&Cs

 

4 Senior Leadership Team sign off of this statement

 

The Senior Leadership Team of Airborne Systems Limited recognises the importance of the provisions of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the Directors aim to ensure that slavery and human trafficking have no part in the company’s operations and supply chain.
The Company has always been vigilant about employee welfare and aims to be transparent in its practices. We welcome the opportunity to state our firm commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery and human trafficking.


 

 

The Armed Forces Corporate Covenant

Airborne Systems is committed to honour the Armed Forces Covenant and support the Armed Forces Community.  We recognise the values Serving Personnel, both Regular and Reservists, Veterans and military families contribute to our business and our country.

 


 

Airborne Systems locations

We have operated from Llangeinor, our European HQ, since April 2002 following extensive refurbishment of the site previously owned by an office stationery manufacturer. The acquisition of the site and refurbishment was only possible due to the strong support from the then-Welsh Development Agency and the Welsh Assembly.

Airborne Systems employs over 350 personnel in South Wales with additional locations in Letchworth, Brize Norton and Toulouse.

Our business continues to focus on supplying the needs of the international defence market, and we fully expect to continue the growth we have achieved over the past years.

 

Contact us for more information.


About Us

Our multi-disciplinary research and development teams have an unrivalled breadth of expertise in the design and development of parachutes, naval decoy systems and associated technologies.

Our products remain at the forefront of the most demanding areas of Defence, including parachutes for:

 

We also continue to pack and maintain Parachutes for the UK Airborne Forces at our unit in Letchworth under a contract first secured over 12 years ago.

 


 

From Proposal, to Production and after care services, Airborne Systems will be there with you and for you.

Our Programme Managers are responsible for all projects from the proposal stage to production. This encompasses feasibility, design, and development, static and dynamic testing, drawing approval, preparation of procedures and specifications and approval of prototypes.

 

Extensive computer-aided design facilities, coupled with efficient data access to past trials and simulations enable parametric studies and predictions to be undertaken for all applications. The results of current trials are constantly fed back to confirm and validate predictions and to enhance further the value and accuracy of the simulation.

 

Strong Project Management skills ensure that equipment is to specification and is delivered on time. Our production engineering experts are involved from the beginning of a project to ensure that the system is value engineered for efficient design and cost effective production.

 

Precision metal manufacturing capability

Our in-house precision metal manufacturing capability evolved following the acquisition in 1994 of Aircraft Materials Ltd (AML) and its relocation to Llangeinor during 2003. AML has been designing and manufacturing aerial delivery and safety / survival equipment for over half a century.

  • The wide range of systems and components that make up our Metals division product range includes:
  • Aerial Delivery Platforms
  • Air Transportation Pallets
  • Military Harnessware
  • Helicopter Deplaning & Underslung Load Equipment
  • Commercial Harnessware and Fittings

 


We preserve the internationally established brand names of Irvin & GQ Parachutes and will maintain the proud traditions of these predecessors in continuing to supply products of quality and reliability.

 

Our history

On the 19th April 1919, Leslie Leroy Irvin made the world’s first free-fall parachute descent in the USA and formed Irving Air Chutes later that year, establishing a European factory for the mass production of parachutes in England in 1926. At about the same time, James Gregory and Sir Raymond Quilter foresaw the need for widely available and dependable parachute systems for aircrew and formed GQ Parachutes in 1932.

 

The 1930s saw both companies established as major suppliers of emergency escape parachutes to the world’s air forces.

 

In 1940, Irvin and GQ collaborated to produce the X-Type Paratroop Parachute Assembly to meet the need for a safe and reliable static line assembly for the new and rapidly expanding Army Airborne Forces (‘static line’ is a mechanism for automatically pulling the parachute cord on exiting the aircraft). This assembly, with minor modifications, was to be used throughout World War 2 and for some 20 years beyond. During the war years, both companies mass-produced parachute assemblies for both aircrew and airborne forces

 

The post-war advances and developments in aerospace produced an expansion in the use and capabilities of parachutes.

With the advent of high-speed military aircraft in the 1950s, parachute assemblies designed and manufactured by both companies became standard on aircrew ejection seats designed and manufactured by Martin-Baker. This long established relationship continues to the present day. Parachutes manufactured by Irvin and GQ have saved the lives of countless aircrew who were forced to bail out of stricken aircraft.

Many of their names are recorded in the registers of the Irvin Caterpillar Club and the GQ Gold Club, established in 1926 and 1940 respectively. New members continue to be enrolled in these exclusive clubs.

 

In the post-war years, both companies expanded their capabilities into non-personnel applications. Irvin and GQ manufactured braking parachutes for the first jet combat aircraft and continued to supply assemblies for the latest types entering service. Systems for the safe recovery of unmanned aircraft and space vehicles have also been developed and utilised.

 

For more than 75 years, both companies have been at the forefront of the on-going development of airdrop systems for the aerial delivery by parachute of very large and varied loads of equipment and supplies, to enhance the capabilities of airborne forces.

 

The work is highly skilled and interesting, and very meaningful.  Airborne Systems regularly hears of and publicises incidents where lives have been saved by the products made by its employees.

 

The Airborne Systems Caterpillar Club is still in existence today.