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Wiltshire specialist packaging manufacturer GWP aims high to support Red Arrows

Specialist protective case and foam insert manufacturer GWP Protective has gone above and beyond to help one of the world’s premier aerobatic display teams.

The Salisbury-based business, part of Macfarlane Packaging, worked with the Red Arrows to produce several cases to protect vital equipment for the team.

Flying the distinctive Hawk fast jets, each pilot is tailor-fitted with an aircrew protective helmet which provides communications, breathing apparatus and protection in the event of an emergency egress.

To protect them from gravitational forces while flying, a set of full-coverage anti-G trousers is also fitted to help combat the effects of G-force on the body.

As the Red Arrows operate all over the UK and globally, this equipment must be transported with care to ensure it is fully protected.

To allow this, GWP Protective used its expertise to create a number of bespoke flight cases for the team’s aircrew equipment. Using custom foam inserts, GWP configured the cases to securely hold five helmets and five pairs of anti-G trousers.

The cases, which also feature laser-etched illustrations of the Red Arrows in the lid, enable the ground team of survival equipment technicians to support the pilots around the world.

Richard Coombes, general manager at GWP Protective, said: “We have created cases for all kinds of equipment and products, from simple tool kits all the way through to specialist automotive and motorsport parts worth thousands of pounds. This is definitely one of the more interesting projects we have worked on.

“It was great to help such a well-known and much-loved aerobatic display team. The cases provide excellent protection for their equipment and are a perfect match for the aircraft’s distinctive liveries too.”

Sergeant William Runciman, IC Survival for the RAF Aerobatic Team, said: “The cases look good and satisfy our key requirements – the most important of these being to protect the vital equipment that allows the team to put on such incredible displays.”

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, is one of the world’s premier aerobatic display teams. Representing the speed, agility and precision of the Royal Air Force, the team is the public face of the service.

They assist in recruiting to the Armed Forces, act as ambassadors for the United Kingdom at home and overseas and promote the best of British.

GWP Protective is part of the larger GWP Group, which itself became part of Macfarlane Packaging in early 2021.

The business employs around 20 people at its site in Old Sarum, Wiltshire, specialising in high-performance packaging for various applications.

Picture: UK MoD Crown Copyright, photography by AS1 Katrina Knox

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