NDI have had a busy and successful week at DSEI. There have been a lot of announcements made at DSEI, and the top stories are covered in Other News below. I’d like to thank the team and all our exhibitors for making this event a success, with a special thank you to Pearson Engineering and Barclays for supporting us in sponsoring our drinks reception. It was great to see so many members here, and thank you to the members who were on the NDI stand. We were also lucky enough to be given tours of BAE Systems and Thales’ stands in the South Hall. These provided great insight into the technology and innovation at some of the world’s greatest defence companies for our members. Bookings will shortly for DSEI 20201 any member interested please contact Ciara at [email protected].
Defence Innovation Priorities
The MoD have published their priorities for innovation. These are the most pressing problems facing the MoD that overlap with what can be addressed through collaboration with the civil sector. Not just technological innovation but also innovative policy, practice and process.
By publishing these Priorities, the MoD want to establish a range of new relationships, harnessing ideas from outside our traditional boundaries - quickly and affordably - to mobilise, modernise and transform the MOD and the Armed Forces.
The Defence Innovation Priorities – along with the Defence Technology Framework, which they are publishing simultaneously – are central to their response to the threats facing Defence. They will be used to drive rapid change in the way we operate and the technology we use. This will be supported by changes to acquisition and commercial processes, which will make it easier to do business with the MoD and help to develop and embed novel approaches to rapid capability development. (Full document attached)
Babcock has won the competition to build five Type 31e Frigates for the Royal Navy in Rosyth, Scotland.
Babcock’s consortium beat a BAE-led team and another led by Atlas Elektronik UK to clinch the £1.25bn deal for five ships. Modern shipbuilding makes considerable use of prefabricated sections. Entire multi-deck segments of the hull may be built elsewhere around the UK, transported to the building dock or slipway, then lifted into place and assembled into one ship. This is known as block construction and is far more cost effective. The Type 31 programme will guarantee at least 2,500 jobs across the country including 150 new technical apprenticeships. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
The UK is an outward-looking island nation, and we need a shipbuilding industry and Royal Navy that reflect the importance of the seas to our security and prosperity. This is an industry with a deep and visceral connection to so many parts of the UK and to the Union itself.
My government will do all it can to develop this aspect of our heritage and the men and women who make up its workforce – from apprentices embarking on a long career, to those families who have worked in shipyards for generations.
“I look forward to the restoration of British influence and excellence across the world’s oceans. I am convinced that by working together we will see a renaissance in this industry which is so much part of our island story – so let’s bring shipbuilding home.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
These mighty ships will form the next generation of the Royal Navy fleet. The Type 31 frigates will be a fast, agile and versatile warship, projecting power and influence across the globe.
The ships will be vital to the Royal Navy’s mission to keeping peace, providing life-saving humanitarian aid and safeguarding the economy across the world from the North Atlantic, to the Gulf, and in the Asia Pacific.
The first ship is expected to be in the water by 2023.
£100m boost for cutting-edge Protector aircraft
The Ministry of Defence has signed a contract worth approximately £100 million to test the performance of the UK’s ground-breaking Protector aircraft. The world-class Protector will be the first remotely controlled aircraft capable of attacking targets anywhere in world while being operated from their home base in RAF Waddington. This contract will see General Atomics test the aircraft to its limit and report back on its performance in advance of the aircraft’s introduction to the frontline in 2024. Speaking at the DSEI conference today the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, said:
Protector exemplifies the benefits that military-industry partnering can bring. Through the embedding of experienced RAF operators in the programme, we are helping bring to life a world-leading capability which will provide the RAF with a remotely-piloted air system that can operate worldwide in unsegregated airspace.
Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:
Our intelligence-gathering and surveillance capabilities will be critical to staying ahead of our adversaries as we enter an era dominated by grey-zone warfare.
This contract represents a welcome step towards our world-beating Protector aircraft reaching the frontline, giving us the upper-hand against our adversaries.
Replacing the Reaper aircraft, Protector will be the world’s first certified Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS), meaning it can operate in civilian airspace. This is possible due to the aircraft’s ground-breaking Detect and Avoid system which draws on enhanced sensors to avoid other aircraft.
Next generation unmanned system unveiled at DSEI
A next-generation unmanned system that could be used to protect the UK's future warships has been unveiled by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace this week. The new system is similar to a water-borne drone. At 13 metres long, the vessel swims around a naval task force, while being remote controlled from a rig. The systems can be used to identify threats such as mines or collect intel on enemy ships. The kit was put through its paces today in a demonstration at the Defence and Security Equipment International conference in London, where it protected HMS Argyll in a harbour force protection. The system, attached to PAC24 rigid inflatable boat, navigated the river bed, detecting possible threats and feeding information back to HMS Argyll. The demonstration was observed by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
MAST-13 is pioneering the future of Unmanned Surface Vehicles for our world-leading Navy. The development of unmanned technology is vital for success in modern warfare, going beyond the capability of traditional ships to attack and defend in uncertain environments.
“As more advanced technology and new threats continue to evolve, collaborative technology development ensures we are constantly pushing the boundaries to give our armed forces the best capabilities possible.
The new system has been unveiled as part of the Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) 13, a programme developed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in collaboration with L3Harris. The purpose of MAST 13 is to further understanding of how Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) can be used in defence. USVs could offer a potent capability for the Naval fleet; increasing protection and information for the UK’s powerful war ships by detecting threats and operating beyond the visual line of sight.
Procurement: Commons: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what analysis he undertakes of social value when awarding contracts, Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) continually seeks to improve its public procurement and contract award processes to obtain the best commercial outcome for the taxpayer. We do this in a way that looks to strengthen our economy and prosperity where it is relevant to what is being procured and is fair and non-discriminatory.
To maximise UK economic benefits, the MOD uses the Treasury's Green Book framework when making investment decisions; this requires all assessments to be made on the basis of social value.
In competitive procurement, socio-economic factors can be used as criteria for awarding contracts providing they are relevant, proportionate and do not prejudice fair competition. Where appropriate, these factors are considered alongside traditional award criteria such as quality, cost and delivery, to ensure social value is fully considered and value for money is achieved.
Shipbuilding: Graduates: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has plans to increase the number of graduates entering the UK's shipbuilding sector, Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:
As the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSBS) acknowledges, having the skills within the UK to design, build, repair, and supply certain equipment and systems and integrate naval ships (and security sensitive equipment in all naval ships) is a key factor in the successful delivery of naval capability. We acknowledge that ensuring that there are sufficient numbers of properly skilled workers across the sector will require continued investment and support from Industry. BAE Systems have recently evidenced their commitment to developing world-class engineering skills by opening their Academy for Skills and Knowledge at Barrow.
As I am sure you are aware, there are a variety of initiatives in place across the UK designed to support the development of skills, some are the responsibility of the Devolved Administrations. In relation to naval shipbuilding, the Maritime Enterprise Working Group with the support of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Ministry of Defence and the Society of Maritime Industries coordinate a long term programme of improvement to improve the industry's productivity and competitiveness, including assessing the underpinning skills base and roles.
Defence: Exports: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans his Department has to ensure that UK defence exports continue to be supported after the UK leaves the EU, Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:
Defence exports will continue to be supported, not just by Defence, but by other Government Departments including the Department for International Trade, after the UK leaves the EU. Work is ongoing to explore how to strengthen the competitiveness of UK industry and support exports, both to the EU and globally.
Britain goes with Danish design for new Navy frigates
Boost for small boats
Italy partners with the UK on Tempest fighter project
British, Italian defense companies jump on Tempest
Warrior fleet upgrade about 18 months away from kickoff
Security export strategy: growing UK exports for global security
MBDA readies new missile for electronic warfare
Qinetiq Secures £67m Contract to Develop Secure Satellite Navigation Receivers
MoD Orders Leonardo/Thales Protection System for RAF Shadow ISTAR fleet
BAE Systems demonstrates first integration of Unmanned Surface Vessel with Royal Navy Warship
BAE Systems Partners With RUSI on Cyber Security Research Programme
QinetiQ Launches Transonic Next-Generation Banshee Aerial Target
Airbus and Telespazio Join Forces
MBDA Brings MESKO into Global Missile Supply Chain
ESLT UK subsidiary awarded $38 M contract from the MoD to supply Joint Fires Synthetic Training Systems (JFST)
BAE Systems Delivers New CV90 Mortar Variant to the Swedish Army