AN ACCRINGTON electronics company has secured a contract for military defence work while upgrading specialist equipment on a ground-breaking scientific experiment.

Hawk Electronics helped to develop circuit boards and cables used in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - the international research project based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Alicja Kay, 60, from Hapton, who owns the company in Malt Street, said that the company now has ‘a prestigious portfolio of clients’ after signing the latest contract with UK and US governments.

At the moment her 70-strong workforce are working on a new generation of boards and cables for the LHC to replace aging parts of the machine.

Last year scientist claimed to have discovered the new ‘God particle’ which has been the subject of a 45-year hunt to explain how matter attains to mass, thanks to the technology provided by the Accrington company.

The machine faces a two-year shutdown while engineers perform repairs and upgrades to ensure the collider reaches its maximum energy in 2015 and beyond.

Mrs Kay said: “We are revamping, modifying and upgrading boards and cables for the Atlas detector, part of the LHC.

“The boards are a new generation of technology and the project is well advanced. We are in the process of finishing the prototype work and carrying out testing.

“Scientists have learnt a lot from the original design and are making modifications to make them more precise and efficient.”

The company has also secured a specialised military defence project to create launching devices for rockets.

She said: “We have been approached and selected for some very interesting projects. It’s quite demanding and very specialist. The contract came through my contacts at the CERN particle physics laboratory. It’s a complex type of work and my name was mentioned.”

Alicja is also considering expanding the business after securing a significant contract to produce power charger boards for America and Poland.

The company also makes track controls for the London Underground.

She said: “Hopefully it will be a prosperous year. Everything is going well and at the moment and we are considering expanding or introducing a night shift.

“Our turn over each month is in excess of £500,000 and we could probably do more if we could find the capacity.”

“The work we do is very varied and I am travelling here, there, and everywhere are the moment.”

She will be travelling to a invitation-only event in Liverpool this spring, which will see scientists from all over the world join together for a special event to mark the achievements of the Large Hadron Collider.