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13.03.2020

COVID-19 continues to dominate the news, with the World Health Organisation now classing the virus as a pandemic. Here in the UK the Government held another COBRA meeting with actions being less than some were anticipating.  We have had news from some members that their organisations have taken the corporate decision to cancel external meetings, cancelling travel and requesting staff to work from home. 

DPRTE has been postponed to September, but as yet NDI is still operating following current government guidelines with regards to the virus, with the upcoming Land Systems Meet the Buyer event in April still going ahead.  We hold our members, staff and public health in the highest regard and as this is a rapidly developing situation, with events changing on a daily basis, we will act as and when necessary with regards to events and will inform members as and when we know what the situation is.                

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft: Procurement:  asked the Secretary of State for Defence, when he will make a decision on the number of F-35 aircraft his Department will procure, Minister of State for Defence, Jeremy Quinn stated: 

Decisions on future numbers and aircraft variants will be taken at the relevant time to ensure the most appropriate capability for our Armed Forces and best value for money.

The Government is currently undertaking the deepest review of Britain's security, defence and foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. The outcome of this review will inform future procurement across the equipment spectrum.

Defence Equipment: Costs: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he has put in place plans to reduce the £6 billion affordability gap over the next five years of defence equipment spending; and if he will make a statement, Minister of State for Defence, Jeremy Quinn stated:

The Secretary of State is taking steps to manage the financial pressures in Ministry of Defence's plans. We have subsequently reduced the shortfall in the years from 2020-21 by securing £2.2 billion extra spending for defence in the 2019 Spending Round and driving progress in our ambitious Transformation programme. We recognise that resolving the longer-term financial challenge in the Equipment Plan will be for the spending review later this year.

Chinook Helicopters: Procurement: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what UK workshare has been negotiated for the Chinook Sustainment Programme, Minister of State for Defence, Jeremy Quinn stated:

The Chinook Capability Sustainment Programme remains in the assessment phase. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is working closely with the United States Government to explore how Britain's defence industry could benefit from this potential procurement.

While a final investment decision has not been made, the initial procurement is anticipated to provide UK employment opportunities, with the Chinook production supplier base providing potential additional orders for UK based companies. The majority of the UK workshare is likely to be within the aircraft support solutions. While these arrangements are yet to be formally agreed, initial Foreign Military Sales support will include employment of UK nationals.

The through-life support solution to provide an optimised solution for long-term sustainment of the fleet, directly leading to UK jobs, will be investigated by the MOD in due course.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary:  asked Her Majesty's Government when the three new Fleet Solid Support Ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary will be ordered; and what are the estimated in-service dates for each of those new ships, Minister of State for Defence, Baroness Goldie stated:

The Ministry of Defence is currently assessing the options for the fleet Solid Support ship programme, and as part of this process will review the requirement and any procurement strategy. It is not possible to provide any further details until this work has been completed.

Type 31 Frigates: Procurement: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what the Government Furnished Equipment list is for the Type 31 Frigate, Minister of State for Defence, Jeremy Quinn stated:

The Government Furnished Equipment list for the Type 31 Frigates includes a number of sensitive Ministry of Defence strategic assets. The disclosure of this information would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness and security of the Armed Forces.

Defence Equipment: Costs:  asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what changes he has made to each defence programme to enable a reduction in forecast costs of £11.9 billion in his 2019-2029 Equipment Plan, Minister of State for Defence, Jeremy Quinn stated:

Updated cost forecasts represent our latest analysis of the realistic cost of programmes as they progress. The Equipment Plan 2019 has identified a £5.3 billion forecast reduction based on past performance compared to the Equipment Plan 2018.

Defence: Procurement:  asked the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the recommendation on page 8 of the NAO's report, The equipment plan 2019 to 2029, HC 111, 2019-29, published on 27 February 2020, whether his Department has plans to recruit financial specialists to increase the accuracy of his Department's cost forecasting, Minister of State for Defence, Jeremy Quinn stated:

Within the Finance Function, the Cost Assurance and Analysis Service (CAAS) plays a key role in the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) drive for Value For Money, leading on cost management development across Defence. CAAS has ISO accreditation as a professional cost management organisation with a team of over 300, including professional staff in the areas of Cost Accountancy, Cost Engineering and Cost Estimating. In Financial Year 2019-20 CAAS grew its Cost Estimating capability, with the arrival of an additional 40 graduate estimators. These staff have been recruited directly into CAAS on a bespoke 2 year Estimating Development Scheme.

In Financial Year 2020-21, CAAS plans to develop a bespoke E-Academy to provide cost management training on a virtual basis across a wider cohort of MOD finance and estimating staff. This will sit alongside ongoing work to share and embed leading cost management practice across Defence.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles:  asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what is the expected into-service date of Ajax armoured vehicles; and if he will make a statement, Minister of State for Defence, Jeremy Quinn stated:

AJAX is a highly complex project, delivering the first fully digitised vehicle in the Land domain.

AJAX's in service date is projected to be July 2020 though work is currently underway to confirm the achievability of this date.

Vehicles: Land Rover: asked he Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to identify a replacement for the Land Rover Wolf, Minister of State for Defence, Jeremy Quinn stated:

The Army will bring into service a range of wheeled, protected vehicles to replace Land Rover Wolf (and other in-service vehicles) in the roles which require protected vehicles. These vehicles will be called the Multi Role Vehicle - Protected (MRV-P).

The Government is undertaking an integrated review of Britain's security, defence and foreign policy which will consider all aspects of our defence and security capabilities. A key strand of the review will explore how we modernise the equipment and improve the capability of our world-class Armed Forces, including that of the British Army, which may require further changes to extant programmes.

Warrior Armoured Vehicle: Procurement: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what is the (a) original and (b) most recent estimated cost to the public purse of the warrior capability sustainment development programme; and when he expects vehicles produced through that programme to come into service, Minister of State for Defence, Jeremy Quinn stated:

The Warrior Capability Sustainment Project (WCSP) aims to deliver an operational fleet of upgraded Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles, with improved survivability and firepower, until at least 2040.

The original cost of the WCSP demonstration and manufacture phases in 2011 was estimated at £1.319 billion, with the most recent estimated cost being £1.546 billion. Manufacture discussions to confirm a date the vehicles will come into service are ongoing.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles: Procurement:  asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what the cost to the public purse is of the challenger 2 life extension programme; and when are vehicles produced through that programme expected to enter into service, Minister of State for Defence, Jeremy Quinn stated:

Challenger 2 remains a key capability for the Armed Forces as the British Army's main battle tank. The Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme will provide a suite of capability upgrades and substantially extend its service life.

Commercial negotiations surrounding the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project are being conducted and therefore it is not possible to disclose costs at this stage. Similarly, these negotiations will establish in service delivery dates.

OTHER NEWS

UK Jackals get upgrade for UN mission in Mali

MBDA leverages Complex Weapons portfolio in support of British Army CF(L)35 initiative

UK proposes loan fund to spur defence exports

MoD seeks replacement for vehicle-based Land Environment Air Picture Provision

Ajax spending tops GBP2 billion

MoD reveals XLUUV award for MSubs

Saab to provide Mid-Life Extension for UK ‘Arthur’ Systems

MBDA's Sea Venom/ANL Missile Succeeds in 1st Qualification Firing

Babcock Secures DE&S Contract for More Than 200 Inflatable Boats

Gaming Technology Trialled in Training UK Armed Forces

£2.5m Investment in XL Autonomous Submarine Development

Saab Digital Tower Demonstrator ordered by RAF

NDI at DSEI 2021

The NDI stand is being designed and we’ll be coming out to members within the next month. If anyone want to discuss pod requests, send these to Sammi, [email protected]

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