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General Electric Company [GEC]

GEC, The General Electric Company, p.l.c., is a world leader in electronic, communications, electrical and mechanical engineering. Founded in 1886, the company has an annual turnover in excess of 11 billion and employs some 127,000 people. GEC Marine Limited, part of the GEC Marconi organisation, comprises Vickers Shipbuilding & Engineering Limited, Yarrow Shipbuilders Limited and NNC Limited. NNC Limited provides engineering and project management services to the nuclear, defence and power generation fields. The Company has expertise in nuclear licensing, decommissioning and waste management. Vickers Shipbuilding & Engineering Limited (VSEL) builds submarines and large naval surface ships and supplies armaments, product support and general engineering. VSEL is the supplier of the Trident submarine fleet for the Royal Navy. The VSEL Submarine Machinery Installation Testing Establishment [SMITE] testing establishment, situated within VSEL, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England on the southern shores of the Lake District, was built in 1976 to build and test the main machinery for Britain's nuclear submarine fleet. In March 1997 the Ministry of Defence placed a 2 billion contract with GEC-Marconi for three nuclear-powered submarines. The new boats, a development of the Trafalgar Class submarines now in operation, are to be known as the Astute Class. Powered by Rolls Royce PWR2 reactors, they are expected to enter service early next decade, replacing the older Swiftsure Class, the first of which was commissioned in 1973. The Royal Navy currently has twelve nuclear-powered submarines, five Swiftsure Class and seven Trafalgar Class. The 1997 contracts are reported to secure some 7,000 jobs.

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