Engineering Excellence

Engineering Excellence

Since 1915, when it was originally founded as the Fairey Aviation Company, WFEL has been a pioneer of engineering excellence and innovation across the defence sector, for both Land and Air based solutions. Today, as an established leader in tactical military bridging, supplying gap-crossing solutions across the world for over four decades, WFEL is justifiably proud of its engineering excellence, strong heritage and high quality engineering.

WFEL is justifiably proud of its engineering excellence and heritage

In 1969, work began for the UK Ministry of Defence on the Medium Girder Bridge (MGB), which has become the world’s most successful military bridging system and has been adopted by over 40 armed forces worldwide. WFEL developed the Air Portable Ferry Bridge (APFB) in 1995 and this variant of the MGB Medium Girder Bridge entered service with the UK MoD in 2005.

In 1996, development of the Dry Support Bridge (DSB) began. DSBs were deployed in Iraq by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2003 and, in 2006, the APFB was deployed in Afghanistan.

In 2012, WFEL became a member of the KMW Group, which subsequently merged with the Nexter Group to form the KNDS Group - a European Leader in Land Defence.

WFEL’s engineering expertise includes:

  • Concept design
  • Technical analysis
  • Prototype manufacture
  • Structural testing
  • Manufacturing development through to
  • High quality, full-scale production of various high-integrity structures.

Specialist projects for WFEL include the design, manufacture and installation of the world’s first land-based aircraft ski jump for the Joint Strike Fighter F35B variant, which made aviation history after it took off from a WFEL ski jump in the US. The ski jump - designed to replicate the runway of the UK’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier - provided the F35B stealth aircraft with an upward flight path, allowing it to take off from a shorter runway with a heavier payload and thereby allowing extensive test flights prior to live take-offs from HMS Queen Elizabeth.

WFEL designed, manufactured and installed the world's first land-based ski jump for the F35B Lightning II

In addition, WFEL is the sole supplier of specialist consumable steel rods used in the reactors of the UK’s 14 advanced gas cooled nuclear reactors, which it delivers through on-going contracts with Westinghouse Springfields Fuels Limited.

We also design, build and install vehicle-based launching systems for our range of rapidly-deployed military bridges, forging close relationships with a number of specialist military vehicle manufacturers.

WFEL is committed to constant improvement. Our in-house Research and Development function - coupled with a UK Accredited Laboratory and a Welding School - continues to develop new innovations which make our existing products perform better and enabling WFEL to provide additional military-grade engineering solutions across the defence sector, including aeronautical and vehicular equipment.

In addition to investment in its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, WFEL continually strives to ensure that its products and services consistently meet both customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements via a rigorous Quality Management System and we maintain a number of industry-recognized accreditations. WFEL’s strong heritage in applying its specialised design and manufacturing skills to high quality and technically-challenging products, can contribute significant de-risking elements to many complex engineering projects within the military arena.

A WFEL designed DSB launch system on a fully-armoured Rheinmetall RMMV 10 x 10 vehicle