In addition to Ben Wallace (Secretary of State, appointed last week) and Mark Lancaster (confirmed last week as remaining in his job as Minister of State for the Armed Forces), we have three new ministers. Gone are Stuart Andrew (Under Secretary for Defence Procurement), Tobias Ellwood (Under Secretary for Defence People and Veterans) and Earl Howe (Defence Minister for the House of Lords).
The new Ministers are:
Ann-Marie Trevelyan - MP for Berwick-on-Tweed. Hardline Eurosceptic, formerly Parliamentary Private Secretary to Gavin Williamson as Secretary of State for Defence, but resigned from government in Nov 18 in protest at May’s Brexit deal.
Johnny Mercer - MP for Plymouth Moor View. A one-time remainer but backed Mr Johnson in leadership race. His will be his first Ministerial job, but has sat on House of Commons Defence Select Committee. He has been made a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in both the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Cabinet Office. Minister for the Cabinet Office Oliver Dowden, and MOD and Cabinet Office Minister Johnny Mercer will jointly oversee a new Office of Veterans’ Affairs.
Baroness Goldie - MSP from 1999-2016 and leader of the Scottish Conservative Party from 2005 to 2011. Sat in House of Lords since 2013. No specific defence background known.
Specific jobs have not yet been officially allocated, and it is possible that responsibilities could be reorganised, however that is unlikely. Baroness Goldie will assume Earl Howe’s position in the Lords.
DASA Competition Announced
DASA has announced that ‘A Joint Effort ’ competition will launch later this year. They are looking for innovative joining technologies that enable the use of advanced materials and/or designs on military platforms in land, sea and air environments.
DASA are keen to encourage suppliers to collaborate and to help facilitate this we have set up a closed LinkedIn group to allow current suppliers and those interested in applying to phase 2 (either independently or as a consortia with successful phase 1 suppliers) to interact, get to know each other and form mutually beneficial collaborations. If you are interested in applying to join the group, please fill out this DASA collaboration form (MS Word Document, 15.7KB).
Many different materials are within scope, including joining combinations of composites, metals, ceramics and polymers. Potential joining solutions should provide enhanced capability through one of the following:
- improved performance through use of new material combinations or structural designs
- improved durability of structures through better joints
- improved ability to maintain joints through the life of the military platform
HMS DUNCAN arrives in the Gulf
Freedom of navigation is crucial for the global trading system and world economy, and the Government has committed to doing all it can to defend it. Last week the Government confirmed that the Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait, to provide reassurance to the shipping industry.
The Type 45 Destroyer, HMS DUNCAN, will work with the Type 23 Frigate HMS MONTROSE until she comes off duty in late August, ensuring the continuous availability of ships to accompany merchant vessels, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
Freedom of Navigation in the Strait of Hormuz is vital not just to the UK, but also our international partners and allies. Merchant ships must be free to travel lawfully and trade safely, anywhere in the world. I’m pleased that HMS DUNCAN will continue HMS MONTROSE’S fine work in helping to secure this essential route.
While we continue to push for a diplomatic resolution that will make this possible again without military accompaniment, the Royal Navy will continue to provide a safeguard for UK vessels until this is the reality.
HMS MONTROSE covers an operating area of some 19,000 nautical miles. She has so far accompanied 35 merchant vessels through the Strait during 20 separate transits, travelling 6,200 nautical miles in the process.
Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the benefits of training F35 pilots in (a) the UK and (b) the US, the then Minister of State for Defence Mark Lancaster said:
The UK took the opportunity to embed personnel with the US Marine Corps and jointly develop the operational capability of the F35-B Lightning aircraft. By taking this collaborative approach, the UK has been able to train its personnel in advance of establishing our own Lightning footprint in the UK.
In July this year, personnel returned from the US to establish the Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Marham to enable the UK to conduct its own training.
The UK continues to work closely with its allies to develop the F-35 programme to ensure freedom of action having initially exploited this collaborative route to training.
Military Aircraft: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment has made of the potential merits of developing hypersonic propulsion systems for military aircraft, the then Minister of State for Defence Mark Lancaster said:
The next generation acquisition programme will deliver the capability required when Typhoon leaves RAF service. As part of the concept phase, a variety of concepts to deliver the required capability are being considered. These will include hypersonic weapon concepts as part of the next generation combat air system.