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Welcome to the latest edition of Defence Insights and a renewed attempt by yours truly to get this publication back onto its regular weekly slot. Since the last issue earlier this week, we have held an NDI Advisory Board. We have included a synopsis of the minutes for you below. 

The Board decided we should meet again in 3 weeks time. We will report back to you in the Defence Insights immediately following that meeting. There have been some changes to the make-up your boards. We paid tribute to our Chair of our Advisory Board, Craig Priday and to Richard Skan, Chair of the Policy Committee, both of whom have decided to step down. Craig has been a great Chairman for us and a great supporter of NDI and a wise head for successive DGs. Richard has also been an outstanding first Chair of the policy committee and given that committee a real purpose and a focus on policy.  My grateful thanks to them both for their personal and time commitments to NDI.

We also took the opportunity to welcome Stephen Blythe, Business Manager for Jaltek as our new Chair. We hope to announce a new Chair for the Policy Committee soon. I look forward to working with Steve. The Board has decided that we should merge the Steering Board and the Policy Committee during lockdown; post lockdown these will resume as discreet meetings.

We were pleased to welcome senior official representatives including Mark Goldsack (Hd of DIT DSO), John Kite (DE&S Supply Chain Development Team Leader) and Mark Turner (BEIS). Mark G and John gave us an update from their respective organisations and are keen to continue to get feedback from NDI members. Both underlined their commitment to NDI and its members and acknowledged our unique position in the Defence supply chain; championing SMEs.     

If you have any comments or questions arising from the this Defence Insights do not hesitate to contact me or your NDI Account Manager. I was encouraged by getting a couple of calls this week from members. One in particular highlighted the issues surrounding the cancellation of the Farnborough Airshow and a loss of £6,000 from that business’s marketing budget as a result. For an SME, this potentially has a huge impact.

We are here to help and support you through this very challenging time. Please forward this to anyone that might be interested or may want to join NDI and ask them to contact [email protected] to be added to the mailing list. We send you our best wishes in the meantime. Please look at for the very latest news and advice for manufacturers. 

Andrew Kinniburgh ([email protected]) 17.04.2020

NDI Steering Board Summary

Over 25 members from our Advisory Board and Policy Committee came together yesterday for our first joint virtual meeting. Fergus McReynolds, Make UK’s Director of EU Affairs, gave an update regarding Europe. Most EU countries are on complete shutdown. Output figures are down around 50% and there are emerging supply chain and border issues. One of Make UK’s Policy Directors, Tim Figures, advised that Make UK are lobbying government to ensure businesses maintain cash, keep workers employed, support manufacturing to play their part in the current crisis and to ensure a swift recovery.

Issues and questions are discussed daily amongst Make UK’s regional teams and fed into government. Please send details of any specific issues you are experiencing regarding COVID-19 to [email protected]

John Kite from the MOD CES&S advised that various issues have been highlighted to them. The key themes are concerns about key workers, furlough, prompt payment and concerns about the impact on future opportunities but that generally there was a low level of concern. 

Please let us know if you are experiencing any problems regarding payments in defence supply chains or have issues regarding key workers. MOD’s payment terms should have filtered down their supply chains as should information regarding key workers – send to [email protected]

MOD and Policy News

Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) - Open Call for innovation to fight Covid-19 from DASA is currently seeking any idea or novel approach that could boost the Ministry of Defence’s capabilities in support of the national effort against Coronavirus (Covid-19). Link here to see details. Scroll down to see Covid-19 specifics.

Defence, Security and Foreign Policy Integrated Review
Sir Peter Luff, during yesterday’s Steering Board, confirmed that the Integrated Review had been delayed by up to 12 months. I have tried to find an official statement from the Cabinet Office, but failed. See press report below.

Mark Goldsack has confirmed that NDI are an important and trusted partner of DIT-DSO and that in future we will be communicated with directly rather than via other Trade Associations. We welcome this announcement from Mark and look forward to working closely with him and his team to help our members and the sector as a whole as we look to develop new and existing export markets.  

House of Commons Defence Select Committee
The Defence Committee still has a call open for written evidence. We are considering our response to this call. If any members have thoughts they would like to share with us with reference to the bullet point prompts for the call can be found here. The first few bullet points are as follows:
1. Is the current Defence Industrial Policy effective?
2. Is a new Defence Industrial Strategy required?
3. What are the national skills and competencies needed for a successful UK defence industrial sector?
4. How can the UK ensure, and assure, that these are maintained in the right place at the right time for the right cost?  

Hansard Defence News – nothing new to report as Parliament is not sitting.

Defense News reports the news reported on the above news from Sir Peter Luff that The Cabinet Office has informed the defence select committee that work on the integrated review has been formally paused across Whitehall.

There is also a report on the German Federal Government’s brokering a deal between ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, German Naval Yards Kiel, and Lürssen. This comes in the wake of German Naval Yards Kiel and TKMS losing a multibillion-dollar contract for new Germany Navy frigate-type ship, dubbed MKS 180. Dutch bidder Damen won the competition in January.

Janes Defence Weekly reports that the MOD has ordered four Mission Master-Cargo unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) from Rheinmetall Canada for its Robotic Platoon Vehicle (RPV) programme. The contract includes training, service support and spare parts. Rheinmetall Canada is the OEM, with Rheinmetall BAE Land Systems (RBSL) providing on-location support services.

We would love to hear how your business is supporting the NHS. Please send any information to Ciara as detailed above.

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