Royal Navy’s next-generation helicopters ready for action

Merlin MK2The Royal Navy’s anti-submarine warfare helicopter, the Merlin Mk2, has achieved Full Operating Capability (FOC), on time and under budget. This significant milestone of the £807 million programme has now been met, following the delivery of 24 out of a total of 30 Merlin helicopters to the Royal Navy.

The upgraded Merlin Mk2s are the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter and have undergone improvements to their anti-submarine / surface warfare combat capabilities, including radar upgrade, as well as being fitted with advanced glass cockpits.

Each aircraft has improved aircrew consoles and touch-screen displays and is fitted with over 40km of new wiring. The new technology gives them the enhanced ability to detect and track targets, and to share data with other aircraft and ships while airborne.

The Merlin Mk2 helicopters are expected to be deployed on the Royal Navy’s next-generation Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, as well as frigates, destroyers and support ships worldwide.

Philip Dunne MP, Minister of State for Defence Procurement, said: “The considerable investment the UK Government has made in these next-generation Merlin helicopters will ensure that we continue to deliver a flexible capability that meets the needs of our Armed Forces.

“This programme forms part of this Government’s commitment to invest £11 billion in our helicopter fleet over the next ten years as part of our £160 billion equipment plan to provide our people with the very best equipment and support.”

ADS publishes latest industry data for defence and security sectors

ads_logo_468x230 (2)The latest annual ADS Outlook Report shows that the UK’s security sector continues to demonstrate growth, almost doubling in size in the last five years.

Data shows the UK security sector’s turnover reached £8.5 billion in 2014, including exports worth £3.4 billion, and that the sector directly employed 71,000 people.

The data also indicates productivity across the sector has risen by 24% over the past five years, with more than half of companies anticipating growth of more than 10%.

Around 40% of turnover within the security sector was shown to be generated by exports, with Europe, North America and the Middle East cited as growing markets. Companies named Latin America, Africa and the Middle East as the regions they are most likely to focus export activity on over the next three years.

Meanwhile, figures for the defence sector show that productivity has risen by 17% over the past four years, compared with just 6% for the rest of the economy. Overall growth over the past five years in the defence sector stands at 12.5%, with turnover reaching £22 billion including exports generating £8.5 billion.

Paul Everitt, CEO of ADS Group, said: “The defence and security industries are of strategic importance, helping to protect the UK and its citizens and contributing to national prosperity by sustaining high-value long-term jobs.”

Introducing the MOD DCB New Products Supplement

pie_chart_5594027SmlInnovation in the defence industry is flourishing everywhere, from small businesses to prime contractors, with new products and solutions coming to market all the time.

Defence and Security Equipment International is the world’s premier defence and security trade show, showcasing products from all domains across defence in a variety of themed zones.

In this special supplement, MOD DCB is showcasing some of the innovative new products you will encounter this year at DSEI.

These products are the culmination of long periods of research and development, and reflect an intense drive and ambition to meet the evolving needs of defence customers at home and abroad.

The products in this supplement represent an impressive sample of the many supply chain solutions and innovations sure to shape and drive the defence market in 2015 and beyond.

You can download the full supplement below

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UK Government demonstrates support for vital South Wales industries

Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb and Business Minister Anna Soubry visited General Dynamics in South Wales recently to see how innovation is attracting investment to the region. They also visited steel companies Tata and Celsa to discuss the challenges the industry faces and how the UK Government can support it.

At General Dynamics in Merthyr, they saw how the British Army’s cutting-edge Scout armoured fighting vehicles are assembled. In July, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that General Dynamics had won a support contract for the Scout Specialist Vehicle. Along with a £3.5 billion deal last year to manufacture 589 armoured vehicles, the company is creating 250 jobs at the new facility in Merthyr Tydfil.

Mr Crabb said: The substantial investment announced by the Prime Minister earlier this year is a clear example of this Government’s determination to rebalance the economy and strengthen every part of the UK.

“Thanks to companies like General Dynamics producing world-leading secure communications equipment and state of the art armoured vehicles, Wales will continue to play a vital role in keeping British soldiers safe in the field.

“Wales’s growing reputation for harnessing innovation and manufacturing cutting-edge products further demonstrates why our country is such a great place to do business.”

Niteworks contract extended to 2018

Niteworks_Quigley_JewellThe Ministry of Defence has reaffirmed the valuable contribution of the Niteworks partnership to generating military capability for the UK Armed Forces, with the announcement of a two-year extension to the current service. The contract, which was due to run until 31 March 2016, will now be extended out to 31 March 2018.

Established by the MOD in 2003, the Niteworks partnership comprises more than 150 organisations including the MOD, Dstl, large defence primes, broader suppliers, research establishments and specialists.

The Niteworks approach enables the MOD to rapidly assemble expertise in an impartial environment, with access to prior knowledge and industry Intellectual Property from across the defence community. It brings together knowledge of the problem and solution space which both enables a better understanding of the feasibility of recommendations and allows them to be rigorously tested and challenged from a range of perspectives – blending incumbent knowledge with the fresh thinking of new suppliers – be they generated by SMEs or a global company.

Niteworks Managing Director Simon Jewell said: “In the face of the evolving security situation, the decision to extend the Niteworks partnership is timely given the need for MOD and industry to work as a whole force to de-risk and accelerate the provision of military capability. Niteworks offers a tried and tested construct through which MOD can mobilise industry and academia to gain impartial advice in support of its business and operational imperatives.”

Chancellor announces £500 million investment in Faslane

Chancellor George Osborne has announced over £500 million of funding for the Royal Navy’s flagship submarine base, HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane, securing 6700 jobs and creating thousands more.

The work, which will take ten years to complete, is expected to start in 2017 and will support thousands of jobs.

More than £500 million will be spent on ship lifts, sea walls, jetties and other major projects to ensure Faslane continues as a world-leading naval base; home to Astute and Successor submarines, their crews and engineers until at least 2067.

This announcement follows the Chancellor’s pledge in his Summer Budget to maintain the NATO commitment to spending at least 2% of GDP annually on defence, making the UK the only major world economy which meets both the NATO target and the 0.7% international aid target.

Faslane is the largest military establishment in Scotland, and alongside Portsmouth and Devonport is one of the three major naval hubs in the UK.

From 2020, Faslane will be the Royal Navy’s ‘Submarine Centre of Specialisation’ which means all of the UK’s underwater capability will be based in Scotland. The Ministry of Defence also expects to base its Successor Class submarines at Faslane when they come into service from 2028.

Currently the base hosts around 6700 military and civilian staff and contractors, but this is expected to increase to about 8200 by 2022 based on submarine capacity alone, with the additional infrastructure development announced also contributing thousands of jobs.

Speaking from Faslane, the Chancellor said: “Today’s announcement of more than £500 million demonstrates the UK Government’s commitment to investing in the infrastructure and capability to ensure that Faslane remains the centre of UK submarine operations for the next generation.

I’m proud to say that this Government continues to recognise that our brave Armed Forces across Britain have always been resolute in defence of liberty and the promotion of stability around the world. That’s why I recently committed to meet the NATO pledge to spend 2% of our national income on defence every year of this decade.

“A strong and secure country is vital to both our prosperity and national security. There will be thousands more jobs right here in Faslane, as well as across the UK supply chain. Across Scotland, around 12,600 people work in defence and my defence spending commitments will secure these jobs and provide huge opportunities for defence, security and technology companies all over the UK.”

TAI delivers the first fleet of T129 ATAK Helicopter to the Turkish Army

mfc-apache-pr-hTurkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI) completed the delivery of the first fleet of T129 ATAK Multirole Combat Helicopter on 31 July 2015.

The successful delivery of the first fleet of helicopters is a major milestone for the Turkish Aerospace and Defence Industry in terms of design, development and international collaboration. The delivery of T129 ATAK provides further evidence of the successful cooperation between Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) as a procurement agency, Turkish Land Forces as an end user, TAI as a prime contractor and the subcontractors involved in the development and delivery of the most advanced combat helicopter in its class. As a result of the endorsement provided by the Turkish Armed Forces, the already strong international interest in the T129 ATAK as a superior alternative is expected to intensify.

The nine helicopters delivered are now being used effectively in operational theatres by the Turkish Land Forces.

Northern Ireland space firm on a mission

Arralis Ltd.  Pic: (l-r) Barry Lunn, CEO; Dr. Denver Humphrey, Program Manager; Mike Gleaves, CTO; from Arralis announce GNSS Antenna project at ECIT facility, Queens University, Belfast.

Belfast based hi-tech electronics firm Arralis Technologies was one of nine of the best UK space companies to join a space sector trade mission to the USA, organised by the UK Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Arralis Technologies, headquartered in Ireland but with a design centre in the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology on Queens Island, Belfast, joined the cream of UK space companies to meet industry-leading companies and investors, including teams from NASA, Virgin Galactic and Lockheed Martin.

Arralis Technologies develops electronic products that operate at very high frequencies such as microchips, antennas and sub-systems. These products allow aerospace, defence and communications customers to build the next generation of products for applications such as high resolution radar and massive data-rate communications links.

Northern Ireland Office Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Ben Wallace said:

“This UK Government-backed trip was a great opportunity for Belfast-based Arralis Research Centre to reach new customers in the US and introduce their innovative products to some of the biggest players in the global space sector.

“Working together with the Executive, we will continue to do all we can through our long-term economic plan to support firms in Northern Ireland, help them expand into new markets, create new jobs and boost productivity and growth.”

Future Support Solutions: an industry perspective

John Reeve PhotographThis article represents the opinion of John Reeve, Director and Principal Consultant at Araldo Limited.

The announcement of the MOD’s intention to test the market with a competition for a Protected Mobility Strategic Support Supplier (PMSSS) brings substance to the long-term aspiration to rationalise the support arrangements for Land Equipment. The programme seeks to bring together the Protected Mobility (PM) capability, which was procured under Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR) procedures, into a single, more efficient and effective support arrangement that will meet the Army’s enduring need. It is right to strive for efficiency and effectiveness but decision-makers should ensure that they properly consider the factors and consequences before committing to one commercial strategy or another.

The existing landscape is complex. The PM fleet comprises over 2,000 vehicle types, each with multiple variants. They have been brought into existence by a number of engineering companies who were able to deliver when the nation demanded it.  These Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) now hold post-design services (PDS) contracts for the ongoing management of the design and configuration of the vehicles.  They are in this position because they have the technical expertise, corporate technical knowledge of the equipment and mature supply chain that enable them to deliver this service. From an MOD perspective, the PDS contracts are the mechanisms through which the emerging technical requirements of the user are executed.

These contracts have been put in place in the context of other major support activities such as spares supply, vehicle storage and distribution, upgrade, overhaul, repair, and maintenance being delivered by the Defence Support Group (DSG), which was recently sold to Babcock International. When selling DSG, the intention was to create the opportunity to rationalise its capabilities under commercial leadership to deliver a leaner, more efficient support infrastructure and operation. This transformation is a demanding activity and Babcock must be given time to implement the changes or the MOD will not realise the benefit of this action. It might therefore seem strange if the strategy for support of the PM fleet was seeking not to exploit the streamlined capability.

This is not to promote the status quo with incumbent companies, but the MOD does need to think about the long-term consequences for the industrial base. While the immediate requirement might appear to be the efficient provision of available equipment to meet a predictable training requirement, the primary purpose of the Army is to deploy on operations. History shows time and again that when this happens, it is the innovators and engineers who come to the fore and that support arrangements designed for peace-time do not stand the test. Whatever approach is taken, the outcome must accommodate a balanced and capable industrial base or the Army and the nation will pay the price later.

In all of this, the MOD should consider the impact and difficulty of change.   Contracting for outcome (vehicle availability at the point of need) rather than a set of outputs requires change on the part of all stakeholders: the Army, DE&S and industry.   The management of change is a demanding discipline and most initiatives fail to deliver their intended benefit. Placement of a new contract with a new supplier does not in itself constitute change management and it does not guarantee the success of the initiative, whatever its intention.

There is a philosophical dividing line between the way that business is currently delivered (contracting for outputs) and the future state being aspired to (contracting for outcomes – vehicle availability).  The contract notice describes this as: Do Better; or Do Different.   Whether or not the line is crossed, the components of a support solution are all in place now: design and engineering; spares supply; vehicle storage and distribution; upgrade; overhaul; repair; and maintenance. The key to greater effectiveness and efficiency is to find a way for these activities to be managed more coherently across industry and with the user. Swapping out the components en masse might not be the best approach.

Whatever the way forward, there is a guiding principle:  the MOD should take its own responsibilities seriously and devolve to industry that which industry is best placed to deliver.  Defining the requirement, managing demand, managing strategic risk and engaging effectively with industry are responsibilities of Government. If this is done well by DE&S and the Army, then industry will deliver a better service at lower cost.

Araldo Limited is a consultancy practice specialising in defence customer engagement and the delivery of change. For more information, visit:


Tuesday 1st December 2015



Uncontrolled Explosive Ordnance (EO) and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are an enduring global threat and in the case of IEDs are likely to continue to be a weapon of choice for the UK’s adversaries.  To effectively search and safely dispose of EO, and to counter IEDs, an international, cross-government and multi-disciplinary approach is required which uses both offensive and defensive methods to neutralise threats.

To ensure the MoD and particularly the Defence EOD & Search community maintains close contact with industry, the (now combined) DEODS/C-IED Branch, supported by Capability Management, DE&S and Science & Technology authorities, are planning to hold an Industry Briefing Day in the MoD on 1st Dec 15.  Following the success of previous events, the intention once again is to invite industry partners to a briefing day at the Secret level in order to share information regarding global threats together with MoD and partner-nation initiatives and requirements and to indicate where funded and unfunded capability gaps may lie now and into the forseable future.

The Branch are always keen to welcome new representation from industry or academia in order that we continue to innovate and develop novel capabilities to meet future challenges.

The nature of this briefing means it must be held in a secure location and all participants need to be a minimum of Security Cleared (SC) and be UK Nationals.

The programme will include:

  • The Threat and Operational Context
  • EOD & Search Capability Planning and the Requirement
  • Future Opportunities – with a particular focus on Ground Search, Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) and Materiel and Personel Exploitation (MPE)

To register your interest and receive a Registration Booking Form, please email your request by Friday 6th November 2015, to:

All completed applications must be submitted by Friday 13th November 2015.

The requirement to ensure all attendees hold the relevant clearance means that unfortunately late bookings cannot be accepted.  Full details will be promulgated to individuals by email as soon as their security clearance has been confirmed.

Please note:

  • There is a nominal (per-delegate) charge for this event to cover the cost of supplied briefing material, lunch and refreshments.
  • We reserve the right to prioritise attendance if demand exceeds venue capacity.


Tel: +44 (0)30679 81298

Fax: +44 (0)30679 37945