Raytheon U.K. employs more than 1,600 people who work on projects ranging from precision missiles to cybersecurity and intelligence.
The company has long-term relationships with customers and suppliers in Europe, and sees its presence in Britain as a “long play,” not a short-term investment, Harris said.
“We’re not policy makers,” he said when asked about Brexit. “Our job is to understand the rules and to act accordingly.”
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Defense firms will be insulated from most of the incremental twists and turns of the Brexit process because their contracts are with governments that need their products for defense and security, said Howard Wheeldon, an aviation analyst at Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.
But that doesn’t mean Brexit won’t have consequences.
“Brexit could change long-term partnerships … because certain governments will think they can do things on their own, or they don’t need the British,” Wheeldon said. “I think they will come unstuck because there’s far more expertise, technology strength, here in the U.K. To undermine that — to think that you can do without, that you have all the expertise in other countries … I think is a grave error of judgment.”
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