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Welcome to the latest edition of Defence Insights. During lockdown we have remained resolutely determined to keep everything as normal as possible for you, our members. That is why we are still running our Land Systems Meet the Buyer (MtB) event on 30th April. We would encourage you to jump on the webinar at the start of the day, whether you are participating in MtB or not or indeed land systems focused or not. The webinar will give you the very latest news from the manufacturing sector and the various government schemes that are running. We also have a senior representative from MOD DE&S Supplier Relations Group giving an update and taking on-line questions.

Do please keep sending us your experiences and concerns about all the Covid-19 government measures and about clarity of communications from the MOD and the Prime contractors and mid tiers. We can only fight your corner if we know about your concerns and experiences. We will happily anonymise your company if you would like us to. We take part in a daily call with the Make UK membership team to collate issues and concerns and those are fed directly into our CEO Stephen Phipson and then onto Alok Sharma, the Business Secretary of State via video calls sometimes several times a week. I am also in close touch with Jim Carter’s team (Commercial Director MOD, Supply Chain) and Mark Goldsack (Hd of DIT DSO), so any Defence or Defence export specific issues that you would like us to raise do please let us know.   

If you have any comments or questions arising from the this Defence Insights do not hesitate to contact me or your NDI Account Manager. We are here to help and support you through this very challenging time. We send you our best wishes in the meantime and hope that you managed to get some downtime over the Easter weekend. Please look here for the very latest news and advice for manufacturers. 

Andrew Kinniburgh 14.04.2020

MOD News

Reservist call-ups
On a call on Thursday, Major-General Simon Howe Brooks-Ward - Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Reserves and Cadets) stated that they had so far only mobilised 2,000 reservists; less than anticipated. He also stated that some units had been too hasty in their call up notices and had now been stood down. I asked for further clarity on the following:

1. Which projects and programmes were considered vital and their teams considered ‘key workers’ and therefore eligible to send their children to school etc. 
2. What happens of a key worker is also a reservist. Which role has precedence?
3. What analysis of key workers had been carried out down through the supply chain for SMEs and if they had been contacted?    
Communication from MOD + DE&S Supplier Relations Group (SRG)

As with the questions above, we believe that the primes and mid-tiers have been contacted directly by DE&S and/or MOD Centre telling them which contracts are considered vital. We understand that this includes a standard letter for them to send to their supply chain granting ‘key worker’ status on various vital suppliers. Please share with us your experiences of this and whether it is working. We have a call this week with John Kite, a senior manager in the DE&S SRG so can talk directly to him about this. We have also been asked to join a team chaired by Minister for BEIS / DIT who is also a non-exec for the MOD, Sir Gerry Grimstone. We shall report back. 

Please send any questions or queries to [email protected] 

MOD leads cross-government review into the UK’s defence and security industrial strategy 
There is an extensive report and presentations from the above conference held at King’s College, London in March. It is too detailed and complex to summarise here but there are a series of presentations here. We are investigating how we can be more involved in this initiative and to gain access to government support for NDI members to improve their productivity.  

DIT-DSO:  We note that the DSO supported events calendar has been published and can be found here. NDI have applied to be a Tradeshow Access Partner to help make overseas tradeshows more affordable for our members and other defence companies. We await news from DIT-DSO on this. 

Hansard Defence News:  Nothing new to report as Parliament is not sitting. 

Defense News: Published an interesting article about the threat of coronavirus to NATO members defence budgets and therefore the alliance. Despite these concerns, the Alliance continues to grow and has now has 30 members with the recent addition of Northern Macedonia reported here

Janes Defence Weekly:  reports that the first Sonar 2150 sonar fit has completed on Type 23 frigate built by Ultra Electronics Command & Sonar Systems. They also report that the fourth boat in the UK Astute submarine class, named Audacious, set sail for sea trials, nearly 2 years late, due to “networking and repair issues”. 

UK Defence Journal:  Reported last month that the Farnborough International Airshow has been cancelled by ADS subsidiary FIA. We would like to hear from any members who have not managed to get a full refund from FIA. We are very concerned about this situation.  They also reported that BAE Systems has donated 120,000 face shields for NHS staff. 

We would love to hear how your business is supporting the NHS. Please send any information to Ciara as detailed above. reports on a high number of sailors testing positive on French and US Navy aircraft carriers. They also report on Germany’s plan to replace most of their aging Tornado fleet with Eurofighters. 

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