March 6 2015 Latest news:

£300 million plus defence company

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MP Damian Green paid a visit to one of the county’s leading defence contractor companies which exports its goods across the world.

Peli Hardigg, based in Ashford make cases to contain hardware including guns, bombs, aircraft components and satellite dishes for the military.

Current customers include the British Army, the US Marines, the French Army and the Saudi Arabian Air Force.

The company, which has an annual turnover of more than £300 million, is American owned and moved much of its European manufacturing from Paris to Ashford 18 months ago.

“The workforce is more flexible and transport links are excellent,” said managing director Mark Heydon.

Among the current contracts for Peli Hardigg are containers for canopies and other components for Saudi as part of a deal which saw the Gulf state by the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, weapons cases for the British Army’s SA 80 Assault Rifle, protective carriers for the Paveway Four guided bomb and containers for satellite uplinks for the US Marines.

Foam packaging is also made at the Ashford plant to protect the equipment.

“You can push one of our cases out of the back of an aircraft attached to a parachute and it’ll arrive on the ground undamaged and ready for use,” said sales manager Maurice Morsia.

“For troops on the ground that is obviously vital. We can truthfully say for our business mission failure is not an option.”

Around 70 per cent of the company’s overall producers are exported with France, Germany and Sweden major markets.

As well as components for the military the cases and containers are also bought by emergency services.

A range of waterproof notepads – issued to soldiers in the field – is also one of Peli Hardigg’s products as are cases for 24-carat gold plated spanners, used by armourers because they eliminate potentially dangerous static electricity.

Green said: “It is great to see companies such as Peli Hardigg in Ashford – not just competing successfully domestically but on a world stage.”