Fontwell firm is helping to protect British soldiers

BRITISH soldiers are being kept safe on the front line thanks to a Fontwell firm.

Global Technologies Racing is playing a leading role in producing world-beating equipment for the troops in Afghanistan.

The company was called in by the Ministry of Defence to help to make 300 explosion-proof armoured patrol vehicles for the often hostile territory.

The first of the vehicles, called Foxhound, was recently delivered to the Army.

It is believed to be the best-protected vehicle of its kind in the world.

Defence secretary Philip Hammond said at the time: “Foxhound’s arrival in Afghanistan is great news for our soldiers.

“This government has spent £270m on 300 of these hi-tech, British-built vehicles to help keep our troops properly protected.”

Approval

Work on the contract has seen the firm’s workforce soar from 25/30 to 150-plus in two years.

The need to produce the vehicles quickly to protect the soldiers led the company’s bosses to put up a lean-to building over a chilled storage unit at their Denmans Lane site without planning permission.

They have now sought retrospective approval from Arun District Council to legalise their actions and retain the 84sq m lean-to building.

Jon Carver, Global Technologies Racing’s planning agent, says in a statement the firm acted quickly because of the urgent need to replace the fatally flawed light-skinned Land Rovers being used by the Army.

“Despite a full order book for Formula One and Indy car components, John Biddlecombe and the rest of the team at Global Technologies Racing set up production facilities for this much-needed piece of life-saving equipment for the British Army and those serving in it,” he said.

Foxhound

The vehicle is made from composite carbon fibre and is manufactured on jigs in large autoclaves.

To get the best results, the raw carbon fibre sheet should be stored at -5C in a chilled store before it is used, says Mr Carver.

A prefabricated chilled storage unit had to be installed to cope with the amoount of material needed for the Foxhound contract.

The mono-pitched lean-to building, which is the subject of the planning approval, was built around it as a form of cover.

Global Technologies Racing was asked to help because of its reputation for developing and producing quality composite components for Formula One, Indy car and other worldwide racing teams over 20 years.