Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Royal Ordnance

Royal Ordnance has, since 1987, been a subsidiary of BAE SYSTEMS. Until privatization it was the state-run arms manufacturer in the United Kingdom.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Royal Ordnance Factories
3 See Also


The Royal Ordnance Factories (abbreviated ROF) manufactured explosives, ammunition, small arms including the Lee-Enfield rifle, guns and military vehicles such as tanks.

The Royal Ordance was created in 1560 with the founding of the Royal Gunpowder Factory at Waltham. This was joined by the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield and the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. All were based near London - but not too close in case of explosion. The title of Royal Arsenal was introduced in 1805 to encompas the Royal Laboratories, Royal Gun Factory, and the Royal Carriage, which were originally separate and based in Greenwich.

In 1927 the Royal Ordnance Factories were transfered within the War Office from the Ministry of Munitions to the Department of the Master-General of the Ordnance.

As World War II loomed, a further 40 factories were built in the late 1930s into the 1940s, employing around 300,000 staff.

Royal Ordnance was sold to BAE SYSTEMS at a value of 180 million pounds. At the time the number of factories had been reduced to 17, and some 19,000 staff were employed. A number of factories have since been closed or sold.

Now officially called BAE SYSTEMS, RO Defence.

Royal Ordnance Factories

See Also