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Wiltshire firm wins £16m respirator contract for military

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A Wiltshire firm has won a £16m contract to manufacture respirators for the UK armed forces, creating 22 new jobs in the process.

The government announced on Friday that UK service personnel will be equipped with "world-class" General Service Respirators (GSRs) produced by Melksham-based Avon Protection, a division of Avon Rubber.

The deal lasts for five years, and follows 18 months of testing. The company is aiming to produce an initial batch of 15,380 GSRs over the next year and will also supply in-service support for the equipment.

Defence minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: "Last year the MOD spent over £5.2 billion with UK industry in the South West. This multi-million-pound contract will boost this contribution even further and support over 200 jobs in Melksham.

"These lightweight respirators protect our service personnel while ensuring they can communicate effectively on the battlefield."

Three of the new jobs created are at management level. The remaining 19 are shop-floor production posts.