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Team NDI conclude another frenetic couple of weeks with a plethora of MOD roundtalbes and member forums.  As Parliament goes into its summer recess, we imagine that the pace will slow somewhat over the next few weeks. Before ramping up again for the autumn months.

NDI News 

New Members

We are delighted to announce the following companies have joined NDI membership this week.

Clarion Events.  For anyone who has attended DSEI, Counter-Terror Expo or any of their other events around the globe, Clarion should need no introduction.  For those who haven’t Clarion are one of the world’s foremost event organisers specifically within the defence & security vertical. 

Produmax.  This company are a genuine success story in the SME aerospace community.  Despite a relatively modest headcount, they are Tier 1 Suppliers to some of the biggest names in aerospace & defence, with 90% of products exported around the globe.  

We look forward to working with both Clarion and Produmax over the coming year.

DSIS Workshops

NDI last week participated in and chaired a series of workshops aimed at the upcoming Defence & Security Industrial Strategy.   These were on Exports, Strengthening Industry, Security of Supply, Skills and Acquisition.  In each of the sessions, we advanced the agenda of greater SME engagement in the sector, a revision in the approach for funding in R&D and above all the preservation and growth of the UK supply chain.  In addition to this, NDI has been collaborating with the think tank City Forum this week over the upcoming Integrated Review of defence, security and foreign policy.  Thank you to all NDI members who participated in these.

Policy Committee & Advisory Board

NDI’s Advisory Board & Policy Committee both met this week, where we updated on our plans from both an activity and policy point of view.  From a policy perspective, the drum NDI is banging in particular is around Foreign Military Sales and how the MOD can structure these to ensure that the UK supply chain does not lose out.

Member Updates

This week we hosted our NDI Member Updates for members in the North, Midlands and South.  These were a chance for members to hear about some of NDI’s policy activities and how we are representing members to government and industry. But also for members to get their views across for how they see the sector and what they are after.  So thank you for everyone participating on this, and providing some lively and informed discussion.

Meet the Buyer

We are excited to announce since our last communication we have added 2 new buyers for our Aero Meet the Buyer in November – Maven Corporation & Chemring Countermeasures.  To see the full line-up of buyers and to book your place, please click here

Parliamentary News & Questions

On July 30th, the Defence Select Committee has launched an enquiry into Foreign Involvement in Defence Supply Chain.  This enquiry will look into vulnerabilities into the supply chain, specifically with SME & mid-markets.  And assess the current level of foreign ownership, especially with countries that may have ‘ulterior motives’ (read China).b  And finally explore the regulatory framework around government intervention into preventing foreign ownership.  

The committee are looking for evidence of the impact of foreign ownership, specifically from SMEs.  To find out about how to submit evidence please go here.

Questions

Q. To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when the Government plans to publish the Integrated Review of foreign policy, defence, security and international development. Preet Kaur Gill MP (Birmingham, Edgbaston) 20th July

A. The Government paused its Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy in April due to the pressing need to focus on COVID-19. We formally recommenced the Review on 24 June, building on the work done since the Review was originally launched in February.  The Review will remain closely aligned with the Spending Review, to ensure that departments are equipped with the resources they need to enact the review's conclusions. The Comprehensive Spending Review will be published in the autumn. James Cleverly MP, (Minister of State, Foreign &  Commonwealth Office) 30th July

Q. To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent progress they have made on the Zephyr High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite programme, following the reported mishaps in 2019. Baroness Stern 22 July

A. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is sponsoring a High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) Operational Concept Demonstrator (OCD) utilising the Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) Zephyr platform to explore the utility of this cutting edge and novel technology.

There are always setbacks when you push the boundaries of technology to explore future concepts. The unfortunate incidents in 2019 led to investigations being carried out by the relevant authorities and ADS have taken the findings and implemented improvements. ADS planned to demonstrate these improvements during the HAPS OCD this summer, but trials have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The MOD continue to work with Airbus to progress the OCD and to identify further opportunities for demonstration in order to fully explore the utility of HAPS. Baroness Goldie 4th August

Industry News

Competitions & Opportunities

DASA have just launched a £2.8m competition to seek solutions for the improved detection of explosives, weapons and illicit drugs.  Deadline for Phase 1 is 28th September

Make UK & ABGI have published a blog on funding innovation.  This includes details of the up-to-date sources of funding such as Manufacturing Made Smarter, Sustainable Innovation Fund and Automotive Transformation Fund.  A lot of this funding is only available in the next few months.  It also provides details of how to obtain cash advances against R&D tax credit claims.  For any assistance in doing the latter, we strongly recommend contacting ABGI (formerly Jumpstart) as they have assisted numerous NDI & Make UK members over the years with this.

Blog / NDI