London: Some of Britain's biggest companies with expertise in aerospace and cars have formed into three teams and are racing to produce basic ventilators to help the National Health Service cope with the coronavirus outbreak.
Meggitt, which employs 12,000 people and builds components for civil aerospace, military fighter programmes and energy plants, is leading one consortium alongside engineers GKN, Thales and Renishaw.
Meggitt, which produces oxygen systems for aircraft, said in a statement the consortium it is heading would develop and produce a ventilator in large volumes for Britain's state-run health service.
The other two teams are led by carmakers McLaren and Nissan, a person familiar with the situation said.
"The McLaren Group has offered its design and engineering expertise to government," the person said.
The car companies are looking at how they could help with production of a simplified design of a ventilator, analysing an existing model and looking at ways to develop a prototype quickly.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday urged manufacturers including Ford, Honda and Rolls Royce to help make health equipment including ventilators.
A second person familiar with the situation said hundreds of companies had responded to the call for help and were hoping to have a production plan in place soon.