List X – FAQ’s

What is a List X Facility Security Clearance?

List X Facility Security Clearance is intended to safeguard UK classified material held by Industry, in support of a Government contract. A List X security clearance allows contractors to securely store, process and manufacture material designated SECRET (foreign CONFIDENTIAL) or above on their own premises rather than a government facility. The regulations for this arrangement are set out in the HMG Security Policy Framework, published by the Cabinet Office.

How does my company obtain a List X Facility Security Clearance?

List X is not available on request, it has to be sponsored by a contracting authority, such as the Ministry of Defence or a prime contractor.

A List X clearance is needed where:

  • A contract at SECRET (foreign CONFIDENTIAL) or above is to be awarded.
  • There is a requirement either for the work to be done on the contractor’s premises or for protectively marked information to be held on site.

Who carries out the assurance of List X status?

Premises which necessitate a List X clearance will undertake a facility security clearance process completed by the Defence Equipment and Support Principal Security Advisor (DE&S PSyA) Team.

Does my company need to obtain List X before I can bid for a MOD tender?

No. A List X clearance is not a pre-requisite for bidding for MOD contracts, other than in exceptional circumstances.

The List X process is completed once a contract has been agreed or where it is clear that a contract will be awarded.

What happens if I require access to confidential information throughout the bidding process and I do not have List X clearance?

Arrangements can be made for bidders who do not hold a List X clearance to obtain a provisional clearance if this is required.

How long is the List X clearance valid for?

List X status is granted for the duration of the contract.

Once the contractual requirement to hold SECRET material has lapsed, the clearance is deemed inactive, however it can be reactivated providing this is completed within a year and there have been no material changes to company structure or physical infrastructure.

Who do I contact for more information regarding obtaining a List X Security clearance?

Defence Equipment and Support Principal Security Advisor (DE&S PSyA) Team

Email: despsya-securityadvicecentre@mod.gov.uk

Telephone: 03067934378

Relevant sites

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/defence-equipment-and-support-principal-security-advisor

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/security-requirements-for-list-x-contractors

DSEI 2017 Review: The global defence market takes centre stage

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the four-day DSEI 2017 event took place last month at ExCeL London. Defence Online editor Matthew Brown takes you through some of the highlights.

This year’s Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) event, held at London’s renowned ExCeL convention centre from 12 to 15 September, was heralded as the biggest and the best yet – and with over 36,000 visitors, 1600 exhibitors, 42 international pavilions and nearly 300 international speakers, it is easy to see why.

Those attending for the first time would be forgiven for being taken aback by the sheer scale of DSEI as visitors were given the opportunity to see seven warships in the docks situated outside the event’s halls in addition to half a dozen helicopters in the East Terrace.

DSEI kicked off with the now traditional address by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, who spoke about how the future of the Royal Navy would be driven through innovation – a key theme that ran throughout this year’s programme.

Sir Philip was followed by a series of keynote speakers including the Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, who outlined how DSEI enabled stricter controls of arms sales and prevented an increase of unregulated sales.

Dr Fox said: “If nations and peoples have an inalienable right to look after their own defence, those of us from advanced economies must remember that if we do not provide countries with means of defending themselves, then we will see a proliferation of uncontrolled and unregulated arms sales free from oversight or inhibitions.

“To allow such a situation to develop would be vastly irresponsible.”

Following on from his recent unveiling of the new National Shipbuilding Strategy, Secretary of State for Defence, Sir Michael Fallon, told the East Theatre that Britain would “spread its wings across the world” and look to increase its share of the international defence market.

Sir Michael also said the UK performed strongly in the international market in 2016, securing defence orders totalling £5.9 billion, thereby retaining its position as the second largest defence exporter globally over the last ten years.

He commented: “It’s time to build exportability into our thinking from the off, aligning it with the requirements of international clients, allowing for the open architecture that can plug and play with different bits of capability.”

Sir Michael also took the opportunity to reveal a contract worth up to £55 million for 56 innovative bomb disposal robots and noted that UK personnel will now be protected by a new lightning-fast protection system called ‘Icarus’ developed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

Elsewhere, Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive at the European Defence Agency (EDA), used his address to promote the organisation’s efforts to improve defence cooperation in Europe through the implementation of the European Defence Fund and the EDA promoting and engaging with the European defence industry.

He said: “A strong, competitive and innovative defence industry is a prerequisite for developing and maintaining state-of-the-art defence capabilities.”

As anybody who has attended DSEI before will know, making your way through all the exhibitors is no mean feat.

Among the 1600 exhibitors, there was a strong representation from SMEs within the defence industry alongside many long-time returning companies such as BAE Systems, Land Rover, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce, Saab, Singapore Technologies and Thales – all showcasing their latest innovative products.

Babcock International unveiled their new state-of-the-art general-purpose frigate – the Arrowhead 120 – designed with one eye on the National Shipbuilding Strategy and the advance iFrigate concept.

BAE Systems showcased their new unmanned ground vehicle, Ironclad, and the NAUTIS 5 – the latest version of the company’s flagship Mine Counter Measures system.

Andrew Tyler, Chief Executive of Northrop Grumman Europe, said the reason why DSEI was able to attract the industry’s leading players was because it is simply the “biggest and the best”.

He commented: “This is a show that brings together customers and industrial partners from all across the world and all across the military domains. For a company like ourselves, which is very large – working across navies, armies, air forces, joint commands and cyber security forces – this is where it all comes together.”

Aeron Lloyd, Managing Director of Safety Devices International, was exhibiting at the event and was impressed with the representation of SMEs and how DSEI gave him a great opportunity to renew relationships with clients.

He explained: “The great thing about DSEI is that it puts you in contact with end users. It’s also a good opportunity to see familiar faces and keep in touch with people.”

DSEI included five themed Zones – Air, Land, Naval, Security and for the first time at the event a Joint zone, which debuted with the full support of Joint Forces Command (JFC).

JFC Commander General Sir Chris Deverell said the event presented a great opportunity to engage with industry and highlight JFC’s focus on innovation.

He said: “DSEI is always important for the MOD as a whole because it provides us with a great opportunity to understand the marketplace – what industry is able to provide – and a chance for us to describe to industry what our requirements are and to have a conversation.

“This year, JFC’s particular focus is on innovation. We are very keen to attract industry attention to our JHUB, which is our innovation unit in the Joint Forces Command.”

Indeed, there was no better illustration of the recurring theme of innovation at DSEI 2017 than the dedicated Innovation Hub.

Hosted by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), part of Dstl, the Innovation Hub provided an exciting new platform intended to encourage ‘imagination, ingenuity and entrepreneurship’ in the defence sector.

Alexandra Russell, Accelerator Engagement Lead at DASA, commented: “From our perspective, the Innovation Hub gives us an opportunity to demonstrate some of the products and services that have been through the Accelerator. But it’s a networking opportunity as well. We want to encourage engagement between SMEs and Dstl and we are bringing in military advisors, so it’s a good chance to meet end users.”

The last day of the conference focused on one of the defence and security sector’s key capabilities: People and Skills. The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory was on hand to offer support and encouragement to young people considering careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Dstl’s STEM Outreach Manager Jaime Williamson said: “It’s important that students understand the opportunities available to them if they continue to pursue their STEM studies. At Dstl, our work involves solving fascinating problems for the defence and security of the UK, often with life-saving results.”

When Defence and Security Equipment International returns to London in two years time, Britain will likely no longer be a member of the European Union and facing a period of uncertainty.

The message coming from DSEI 2017 meanwhile is that through investment, the defence industry will continue to play a key role in ensuring Britain’s national and economic security.

image © Crown Copyright 2017

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Submarine Dismantling Project – Market Engagement Day

14 June 2017 – Rosyth

The purpose of this notice is to inform the recycle market of a Market Engagement Day which the Ministry of Defence will host on 14 June 2017 introducing the Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP). The MOD is interested in seeking your views on this stage of the process to dispose of 27 of the UK’s defuelled, nuclear-powered submarines after they leave service with the Royal Navy; and on how this requirement might be best met. The session will provide you with the opportunity to tell us what you think as well as for the Project Team to give you some more background and details.

Background

The aim of the SDP is to deliver a safe, environmentally responsible, secure and cost-effective solution for dismantling 27 of the UK’s defuelled, nuclear-powered submarines after they leave service with the Royal Navy. The submarines will have all radioactive or radioactively contaminated materials removed prior to being conveyed to the recycler.

Market Engagement Day

This Market Engagement Day’s purpose is to ensure early market awareness of this opportunity, gauge market appetite, capacity and capability, and invite feedback to help inform MOD’s approach to the project, going forward. We will provide background on the current plans and assumptions, outline our requirements for the disposal, and outline a high-level project timeline. This event will focus primarily on HMS Swiftsure – the first vessel to be recycled in the dismantling programme. The submarine reactor plant and associated systems will have been fully removed before the vessel is released for final ship-breaking/recycling.

The outline agenda for the day is:

  • An introduction to the project, including background and main drivers.
  • Overview of the number and variety of vessels within SDP’s scope, including differences in size and complexity associated with individual class of submarine.
  • Indicative Timescales.
  • Submarine-specific security issues and constraints.
  • Salvage and Marine Operations presentation of transportation challenges and options.
  • Disposal Services Authority presentation on the Commercial process.
  • An opportunity to view on-board a laid-up submarine.

Due to the nature of the services being tested, only recycling yards based in the UK will be invited and only UK Nationals can execute all forms of the work included in the scope of the contract. Therefore, only companies in this position should register an interest in the day.

To attend the event please email DESLCSLS-DSA-Commercial@mod.uk to request an Application Form and for any clarifications regarding the content of this announcement or the event. Application Forms must be returned no later than Wednesday 10 May 2017 to be considered for attendance at the event.

The first in our series of industry insight articles: Counter-Terrorism mechanism followed in the western world and the defects it has.

Counter-Terrorism mechanism followed in the western world and the defects it has.

As the world is grappling with the horrors of non-state actors, especially terrorists, initiating violence against settled and civilised societies, the concept of counter-terrorism has increased in attention especially in the western world, where violence to a large scale is now being targeted.

Before getting into the concept of counter-terrorism, let’s see what terrorism tactics and strategic is all about. As an irregular warfare tactic terrorism is a weapon of the militarily weak that is not only a form of intimidation but a type of provocation as well. It has a target, a subject and an objective. Terrorist attacks against defenceless targets may be designed to punish or retaliate against the larger society, but they are also attempting to lure democratic states into undertaking security measures out of proportion to the real threat involved. In other words, the weaker party commits an atrocity or outrage in order to provoke an overreaction from the stronger subject, in this case Western liberal democracies.

counter terrorism

Credit: Gherzak / Shutterstock.com

The overreaction victimises more than just the perpetrators and legitimises their grievances. In doing so, the democratic state plays into the hands of terrorist objectives by providing grounds for recruitment, continuation and expansion of their struggle. When democratic societies, panicked by fear, begin to retaliate against domestic minority populations from whence terrorists are believed to emanate, then the sucker ploy will have proven successful.

The evolution of terrorist tactics notwithstanding, if we strip away all the ideological gloss what is left is a transnational criminal enterprise. The proper response needs to be police rather than military in nature, and requires increased intelligence sharing and police cooperation amongst nations.

The legislative response should be not to create a separate body of political crimes deserving of increased (and undemocratic) coercive attention from the state, but to bolster criminal law to include hard penalties for carrying out, financing, supporting or encouraging politically motivated violence. All of this can be done without militarising the state and compromising basic democratic values regarding the freedoms of speech, assembly and movement.

That is what makes the United States approach to counter-terrorism a matter of global import especially after the 9/11 attacks. There lies the rub, because counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency in failed states is as much an issue of contextual understanding by foreign forces as it is of their will and capability in the face of uncooperative local regimes. So far, the US has struggled to adequately deal with the non-kinetic aspects of counter-terrorism operations. It specifically has moved more slowly than other nations in developing a “behavioural clue” approach to early detection of terrorist plots, one that focuses more on patterns of behaviour rather than on ethnicity or religious affiliation when triangulating on suspects. It should be noted that counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations, although often overlapped, are not synonymous and hence are not reducible to one general response.

Thus, the “ink blot” (secure and expand) counter-insurgency strategy used in Iraq and being implemented in Afghanistan is not specifically focused on counter-terrorism operations, and as of yet does not have the focused behavioural clue component that allows for early detection of discrete terrorist plots (which is a function of reliable intelligence flows).

counter terrorism

Credit: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

The bigger picture is thus: Even if in global retreat and no longer an existential threat to Western and Eastern interests, the Islamist campaign still has not seen the full crest of its wave. In other words, although the Jihadist defensive war against globalised modernisation has been lost, episodic atrocities will continue so long as there is residual ideological support for it, weak states that provide safe haven to it, and a lack of unified will to address its underlying causes on the part of the “civilised” world

Academics have posited a number of convincing theories as to how terrorism may be countered. Cronin, in her seminal work on how terrorist groups ‘end’, proposes that most will do so in one of five ways: its leader/s will be captured or killed; it will be crushed by state repression; it will opt to move away from politics and into criminality; it will negotiate a compromise settlement; or it will lose popular support. She further argues that one of these outcomes should be chosen and facilitated by the government. 1 Although this logic is sound, a fundamental problem remains with all these scenarios: when the group has disbanded or moved on, its members are rebels without a cause—a band of radicalised individuals, often desensitised to violence, without an outlet.

As Ed Husain, who was recruited by Hizb-ut-Tahrir in Britain, became disillusioned and left, notes, ‘there are tens of thousands of people in this position. They harbour a confrontational worldview, but are not actively involved in the world of the Islamist movement. However, a cataclysmic event would bring these people, along with new recruits, back to the organisational front line’. Even if they do not rejoin a violent extremist cause, these people may turn to organised crime or otherwise create problems for the state (by overcrowding prisons, for example).

India is in a particularly unenviable position where terrorism is concerned. Of all countries, it has possibly the greatest number of home-grown terrorist groups operating within its borders, and it is a victim of transnational terrorism to an unusually high degree. It is also vulnerable due to its ‘neighbourhood’, its status as a young democracy with a heterogeneous population and its many viable terrorist targets.

counter terrorism

Credit: A_Lesik / Shutterstock.com

Physical measures such as heightened security at airports and metal detectors in public places are emphasised in Indian counterterrorism, though their shortcomings are well documented. Moreover, even when these vital measures are executed well, they alone do not address the need for long-term prevention. Some soft measures have been employed in the country and root causes of some types of extremist violence are slowly being addressed, but many remains to be done before a structured and enduring counterterrorism strategy may be realised.

To begin to counter terrorism in a holistic and enduring fashion, the Indian government has tried to pursue a strategy of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), including hard counterterrorism, but with emphasis on two principles: selective use of ‘deradicalisation’ techniques to strengthen the response to those involved in terrorism, and the implementation of ‘counter radicalisation’ measures to enhance intercommoned relations and reduce recruitment by terrorist organisations. Though separated here, the boundaries between these goals are fluid, and each reinforces the other.

Furthermore, the success of certain Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) often depends heavily on the individual concerned, and individuals working under different groups may have more in common with one another (in terms of reasons for committing violence, for example) than with others in their own group. However, CVE strategies are rather well suited to Islamism and other violence carried out in the name of religion, since they have been employed successfully to counter it elsewhere, including in Asia. There is widespread agreement that political violence contradicts the peaceful tenets of Islam and most other religions. To suggest otherwise is surely radical, so deradicalisation is an appropriate response.

counter terrorism

Credit: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

Another importance scope of counter-terrorism is done through the scope of International Law which was made for regulation of interaction among states. However, a challenge arises when the states are confronted by challenges posed by non-states actors such as terrorists.

Sceptics of International Law have always questioned the effectiveness of International Law in counter-terrorism. One such is the Neo-Conservative Republicans in the United States who by passed International Law in their pursuit of terrorism which in other ways increased the positional of future terrorists attacks. What the sceptics fail to understand that any law that’s evolved over centuries would have taken in consideration security, politics and so the rights of human beings before becoming as such. In that case, since the International law which’s has evolved in the past five hundred years could be used an effective tool against terrorism and that’s my argument.

In conclusion, the concept of counter-terrorism which is being challenged in many ways by non-state actors need re-examination and an effective policy-drive which includes mutual co-operation among like-minded countries extending to which having all the stakeholders involved.

 

Article provided by:  Balaji Chandramohan, Visiting Fellow at Future Directions International

Main Image: Credit CRM / Shutterstock.com
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CDE themed competition webinar: many drones make light work

A webinar for this Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) £1 million phase-1 research funding competition will be held on 3rd October 2016.

The webinar will take place from 12:30pm to 1:30 pm online.

It’s an easy way for you to get more information about this £1 million (phase 1) themed competition, for those who couldn’t make it to the main networking event on Thursday 22 September 2016.

You’ll hear a summary of the challenges and have the opportunity to submit questions to technical experts for this many drones make light work themed competition.

Proposals for this competition must be submitted to CDE online and received by Thursday 3rd November at 5pm.

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techUK summarises Government Intelligence Report

techUK has read and made recommendations on’s review into the Operational Case for Bulk Powers (of interception, acquisition of communications data, acquisition of personal datasets and equipment interference) published by Parliament.

The review was based on 60 detailed case studies provided by MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, together with associated intelligence reports, internal documents from each of the Agencies and the questioning of some 85 intelligence officials, including on whether other methods could have achieved the same results.

Responding to David Anderson’s Bulk Powers Review, Antony Walker, deputy CEO of techUK, summarised the findings: “There is a proven operational case for three of the powers under review (bulk interception, bulk acquisition of communications data and bulk personal datasets) and that although other techniques could sometimes be used to achieve similar objectives, they would often be less effective, more dangerous, more resource-intensive, more intrusive or slower.

“There is a distinct, though not yet proven, operational case for the fourth power under review – bulk equipment interference.”

He added: “The single, main recommendation from the report is that due to the pace of technological change, the Investigatory Powers Bill should be amended to provide for a Technical Advisory Panel of security-cleared independent academics and industry experts to be appointed by the Investigatory Powers Commission (IPC) “to advise the IPC and the Secretary of State on the impact of changing technology on the exercise of investigatory powers and on the availability of techniques to use those powers while minimising interference with privacy.”

 

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GeoCoding: a literal life-saver

GeoCoding is the process of taking non-coordinate based geographical identifiers, such as street addresses, and finding associated geographical co-ordinates. This process is helpful not just to the military, but to those working in related sectors such as security, humanitarian aid and the emergency services. Here, Giles Rhys Jones, CMO of what3words, talks to MOD DCB features editor Julie Shennan about the use of GeoCoding in stabilising critical environments.

Around 75% of the world’s countries, some 135 or so, do not enjoy adequate addressing. This means billions of people are unable to receive guaranteed aid should they need it, posing a huge problem for the emergency services, security professionals and humanitarian aid workers.

what3words is a disruptive SME attempting to solve this problem, with a word combination GeoCoding system. The system addresses every three metre by three metre space on the planet with a combination of three different words. It includes 40,000 words in 57 trillion different combinations and is available in over ten languages.

Giles Rhys Jones, CMO of what3words, explained: what3words is the user-friendly application of satellite co-ordinates that uses words and not numbers. Everyone in the ecosystem needs a basic understanding of how it works. However, the system can work offline, using co-ordinates to convert an algorithm to a three-word address.”

He added: “People are not predisposed to remember 18 digits of co-ordinates, so with latitude and longitude mistakes creep in, and these mistakes are not immediately obvious.”

When faced with an 18-digit code it would be easy for a first responder to confuse a couple of digits, and – were this error not immediately realised – it could send the rescue team in the wrong direction, delaying the rescue mission and further endangering the victim.

what3words attempts to solve this problem by moving words which sound similar into GeoCoding combinations that are spatially far apart, so that any mistakes that occur would be immediately flagged up.

Mr Jones expanded: “For instance, the reference area of ‘table-chair-lamp’ is in Australia while ‘table-chair-damp’ is in America; so anyone who misheard this reference will realise their error straight away.”

Geotagging

what3words Geotagging map

This word-combination approach to satellite navigation makes it easy for information to be conveyed across radios.

Mr Jones said: “Security-wise, what3words was used by first responders and fire departments at Super Bowl 2016. The stewards found that shouting three words down a radio was much less prone to error than co-ordinates.”

Other situations in which what3words’ GeoCoding technology has been used include ski rescue services in Lake Tahoe in the US, security at the recent World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, and first-aid services at Glastonbury music festival.

Mr Jones commented: “what3words was used by Festival Medical Services, the company who provide the first aid on the site of Glastonbury. Glastonbury’s first-aid workers usually have 30-40 ‘could not finds’ in the course of any festival and what3words managed to reduce this to single figures.”

what3words’ work at Glastonbury shows how GeoCoding can be vital in addressing a large self-contained event; another example of this came at Farnborough International Airshow 2016.

Mr Jones said: what3words was used by the event organisers at Farnborough International Airshow to help plan security around the airshow. The system worked from a satellite image of the site shot the day before the event started, before dropping its grid system underneath it and using the co-ordinates to liaise with FIA’s security team to get to specific locations quickly.”

A similar approach will be taken to GeoCoding at this month’s Rio Olympics.

Mr Jones noted: “what3words has just been built into Digital Globe’s security package for the Rio Olympics 2016. So they have a security package that integrates high-resolution satellite imagery, 3D modelling and then information on traffic and people movement that allows people to click the map and access a three-word address. During the Olympics this will help with tasks like planning a helicopter landing zone, specifying safe points or first responders.”

While GeoCoding can help resolve security issues, it is also a technology that can be applied to solve humanitarian problems. It was in this context that what3words first got into business with the United Nations.

Mr Jones explained: The UN has built what3words into its crowd-sourced disaster-reporting app; people can send photos or texts of disaster zones and use geotagging to identify their location.

“This led to discussions of how to use geotagging to help address crises that prevent aid being effectively distributed. This conversation got what3words onto the radar of security, defence, aid and humanitarian aid professionals.

“People in the defence and security industry then started seeing our solutions and considering how they could help meet their requirements.”

This joined-up thinking demonstrates the way in which many firms are using transferrable technology to enter the defence marketplace. Mr Jones explained that it just takes a bit of perseverance.

He concluded: “what3words is a disruptive and innovative business, so we have had to break through the old habits of GPS co-ordinate use to get people to adopt our new technology.”

For more information, visit: what3words.com

 

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SAC: utilising satellite technology in everyday industry

Satellite technology can be harnessed and utilised by almost every industry in some form. Satellites have the power to improve telecommunications, detect illegal activity and even help the environment. MOD DCB features writer Domhnall Macinnes caught up with Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult, to discuss today’s satellite technology and how companies can boost their capabilities with it.

Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult (SAC), was involved in the establishment of the Catapult in its early stages, ensuring it had a plan in place to attract government investment to get the programme under way. Mr Martin was also tasked with attracting private sector investment, justifying government investment and building the team around the organisation’s activities.

The Catapult currently has around 100 staff, with facilities based in Harwell, Oxfordshire and network centres around the country. It is part of a strategic space vision, established between industry, government and academia over the last ten years, that is looking at the space sector and the economic opportunities it presents between now and 2030. The vision is to create a £40 billion sector, taking advantage of the expertise available in space technologies.

Mr Martin commented: “When you look at the trajectory of space and the opportunities it presents, what becomes clear is that the major beneficiaries from using space technologies are going to be non-space companies.

“Of course, we’ve got lots of expertise in building satellites and launching these assets into space; but actually how we utilise these assets and how we deliver new services and new products over the next 15-20 years, that’s going to deliver the real economic benefit to companies as well as everybody down here on earth. This is the opportunity that the Satellite Applications Catapult has been set up to try and take advantage of.”

Indeed, satellite technology has the capability to impact a great many industries; the scope is in fact so wide it would be challenging to find an industry sector it won’t impact. Its range extends from the retail sector to oil and gas, right through to healthcare. For example, in oil and gas exploration, satellite images can be taken of remote areas of the world, offering a more cost-effective and safer method of fuel exploration. In retail, utilising satellite technology in communications allows retail transactions to be carried out no matter the location.

The Catapult seeks to engage with all these communities, getting them looking towards space and thinking about how they can use space technologies to either help solve the problems confronting them or create a competitive advantage within their own markets.

The Catapult’s flagship project is the work it has been doing with Pew Charitable Trust and satellite data services company exactEarth Europe to combat illegal fishing. One of the real remaining areas of organised crime is out on the deep ocean where the surveillance and security benefits of CCTV coverage and other communication networks are obviously not available. It’s estimated that one-fifth of all the fish caught today is caught illegally. The global economic cost of this is about $20 billion, but more importantly it means that large parts of the ocean are potentially being fished to extinction.

Mr Martin noted: “There are large parts of the world where about a billion people depend on fish as their primary food source, and there is real concern that if something isn’t done about illegal fishing then these populations are going to run out of food.

“What we’ve been doing is looking at using satellites that can pick up the communications between ships and then using that to draw up a picture of what’s happening on the oceans and what the different vessels are doing. We can combine that data with information that we have from other databases around fishing and use it to help the various enforcement agencies catch and prosecute those fishing illegally.

“Also, it means that the food supply chains can use the data that we’re providing to get confidence that the people they’re buying their fish from are behaving ethically and fishing in the right places, and in compliance with their licences.”

Satellite Applications Catapult

SAC Maritime workshop

The Catapult also has an upcoming piece of work on environmental monitoring and assessment, looking at how, for example, an organisation in the mining industry can regain confidence from a society that has become suspicious of the industry and its ability to protect the environment while they carry out their operations.

Mr Martin explained: “The mining industry is looking for new ways to demonstrate that they are going to be able to manage new operations responsibly and be transparent about it – sharing information about what the impact will be of the work that they’re doing and being able to respond to environmental challenges during the lifetime of a new mine.

“Satellites are going to play a big part of that for an industry that is worth billions yet is being slowed down because of this inability to demonstrate transparency and ethical practice. Using satellites has the ability to unblock a lot of currently stalled activity.

“That’s an area that is potentially huge when it comes to looking at how we achieve some of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

Recently the Catapult expanded its Scottish Centre of Excellence into the Highlands and Islands. Furthermore, it has built on its portfolio of UK operations with the establishment of Centres of Excellence in the South Coast and South West of England.

The South West centre is based at Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall and its lead partner is the University of Exeter. Although the centre is looking at some of the issues in the maritime sector similar to illegal fishing, it is also looking at projects such as remote autonomous vehicles in the maritime environment.

Mr Martin said: It’s about using satellites to monitor robotic vehicles going out onto the deep ocean that might not come back in to land for months on end. It’s about being in control of this technology and being able to receive data while they’re out there and furthermore understanding where they are and what they’re looking at, while utilising that data.”

Concluding, Mr Martin provided an insight into how businesses can leverage the capabilities of satellite technology to propel themselves ahead of the competition.

He advised: “We actually have a team of professionals whose entire role is to help businesses with a variety of things including getting access to finance, working out what grants are available, making supply chain links and getting legal advice.

“We also try to involve companies in projects as much as possible. If there is technology that exists which cracks the problems we’re trying to solve then we absolutely try to plug those companies in. We have an opportunities page on our website so there’s always something going up there about new projects or bids that we’re working on or expertise that we’re looking for. There’s always a chance to come in and put your company forward.

“Furthermore, we run lots of networking events, linking companies up with each other. We have 67 companies based here at Harwell and even more across our broader network. If you come to these events either here or elsewhere in the country you will get your foot in the door and hear about what other companies are doing, generating opportunities that way.”

He concluded: “Our main event is a very social one called Satuccino which we run once a month at our base in Harwell. Companies have the chance to present a one-minute pitch about what they’re doing, what kinds of partnerships they’re looking to establish and what sorts of capabilities they’re looking for. If you’re new to the environment, coming and doing a one-minute pitch will link you to 30 or 40 companies in attendance at the event and expose you to the community. Then by coming regularly you just get more and more.”

For more information, visit: www.sa.catapult.org.uk

 

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Catapulting satellite technology into emergency healthcare

In 2014, the Satellite Applications Catapult expanded its UK reach into Scotland with the establishment of a Scottish Centre of Excellence based at the University of Strathclyde. Now the initiative is expanding further in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise. MOD DCB features writer Domhnall Macinnes spoke to James Cameron, Head of Life Sciences at HIE, to find out more about the implications for healthcare businesses in the region.

The Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications (SoXSA), based in Strathclyde University’s Faculty of Engineering, was established in 2014 as part of the UK Satellite Applications Catapult’s Centre of Excellence programme. The ambition behind the programme is to aid businesses to utilise the UK’s multibillion-pound space sector, spawning innovative solutions to drive economic growth.

This expansion into Scotland followed the announcements of two other Catapult Centres of Excellence on the South Coast and in the South West of England. The data obtained from space satellites can be used to benefit a range of sectors from healthcare to renewable energy.

For the last three years or so, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has been working on projects relating to satellite technology. In January 2014, HIE signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Stuart Martin, Chief Executive of the Satellite Applications Catapult, looking at areas where satellite technology could benefit rural communities.

 Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Syetem Network 1

Last month, HIE and SoXSA announced a joint venture in the form of a 28-month project to bring satellite data opportunities to SMEs in the region. A dedicated ‘Solutions Architect’, based in Inverness, will ensure that companies are aware of the commercial opportunities afforded by satellite data and are in a position to fully exploit these.

Life sciences and healthcare is one of the sectors that will be a key focus for the current project. Other areas where Highlands and Islands has distinctive strengths, and which will benefit from satellite data being made more accessible, are marine renewable energy and the connected digital economy.

Geographically, Highlands and Islands covers half of Scotland, from Shetland to Argyll and from the Outer Hebrides to Moray, and is predominantly rural. Population is just under five hundred thousand, around nine per cent of the Scottish total. HIE’s priorities include supporting businesses and social enterprises, strengthening communities and fragile areas, developing growth sectors, particularly distinctive regional opportunities, and creating conditions for a competitive low-carbon region. With regard to life sciences and healthcare businesses, satellite applications can play a significant role in service delivery, making them stronger and more sustainable.

According to Scottish Government figures, there are approximately 4500 deaths in Scotland each year relating to cerebrovascular disease (CVD). A stroke is one of the four most common types of CVD, and if not treated rapidly can leave the victim severely physically disabled. However, providing a rapid medical response to stroke poses many challenges to healthcare workers in more rural areas including remoteness, distance from the nearest hospital and weather conditions.

Highlands and Islands EnterpriseOne project aimed at addressing these challenges is called Satellite Ultrasound for Rural Stroke (SURS). James Cameron, Head of Life Sciences at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, explained: There’s a short window of time for patients to receive the appropriate treatment if they’ve suffered a suspected stroke. If you think about geography, it is very challenging to even get to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness in time, never mind get through the system and receive their treatment.

“Working with the Satellite Applications Catapult and some commercial partners the SURS project explored and demonstrated available technologies. Satellite technology allows for a stream of images from a remote area to be sent back to the clinician at Raigmore.”

Mr Cameron notes that the technology has been tested – and it works. Studies were carried out in partnership with the University of Aberdeen, clinicians at Raigmore and a number of commercial companies, notably Tactical Wireless. The SURS project demonstrates that satellites can often be an excellent back-up in critical or emergency situations.

Mr Cameron commented: “The SURS project with Tactical Wireless and the Satellite Applications Catapult attracted the company (Tactical Wireless) to locate in the Highlands and forecast 50 new jobs in Forres.”

Through the above partnership study, a prototype ultrasound machine was created whereby transcranial images could be sent through a number of communication channels available in a remote area – including satellites. Ultrasound images were sent from remote locations all over Scotland to clinicians to discover if a patient’s state of health could be assessed prior to reaching the nearest hospital.

The use of satellite technology is not just restricted to the SURS initiative. Mr Cameron noted: We have other projects which are in the scoping and trial stage and about to be kicked off. These projects will build on the technology and experiences from SURS-supporting GPs, particularly for GPs who are on the move and where technology can get them connected into their systems either back in the surgery or through to Raigmore.

“If you can’t get a mobile phone connection or the phones are down because of adverse weather conditions, satellite technology may well be available and provide the essential support required.”

HIE’s work with the Satellite Applications Catapult is ongoing and is also incorporating other organisations in providing more robust systems using satellites when appropriate. HIE in Inverness is leading on this UK-wide project. Participating organisations range from the Isles of Scilly, Devon and Cornwall, Oxford and Manchester to Orkney.

Mr Cameron said: “It’s a UK-wide project testing various aspects of technology and support to British rural communities. So we see a lot of opportunity for the use of satellites, given the planned expansion and coverage. Driving forward, and in partnership with the Satellite Applications Catapult, we are hosting a workshop in August where we’ll have the Isles of Scilly, Manchester School of Architecture and Orkney back together looking at specific projects where we could utilise the technologies.”

Again, the focus is on improving healthcare in rural areas through the use of satellite technology, allowing the telecoms networks to be more resilient. Although these studies are in their early stages, the establishment of the new Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications in Inverness will fuel the ability to work on these projects, vastly improving rural healthcare communication tools.

For further information, visit: www.hie.co.uk

 

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General Dynamics updates Chief of Materiel (Land) on AJAX

General Dynamics Land Systems-UK welcomed Lieutenant General Paul Jaques, Chief of Materiel (Land) and Quartermaster General, to its Merthyr Tydfil facility on 10th August.

Lt Gen Jaques toured the facility and was given an overview of General Dynamics Land Systems-UK’s plan for the Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) of AJAX platforms. He was also given a comprehensive update on the continued progress on the AJAX programme, including an in-depth update on the prototype trials programme.

Earlier in the day, Lt Gen Jaques took the opportunity to see at first hand AJAX prototype platform trials at a test facility in West Wales. The AJAX and ARES prototypes are currently undertaking a range of trials, such as acoustics trials, ahead of further trials planned for later this year, including a formal firing programme, automotive and Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) trials.

The range of AJAX variants will allow the British Army to conduct sustained, expeditionary, full-spectrum and network-enabled operations with a reduced logistics footprint. AJAX can operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide range of future operating environments. The first British Army squadron will be equipped by mid-2019 to allow conversion to begin with a brigade ready to deploy from the end of 2020.

Speaking during his visit, Lt Gen Jaques said: “I am pleased to see first-hand today the significant, continued progress at the Merthyr Tydfil site. The AJAX programme demonstrates how the Ministry of Defence is working in partnership with industry to deliver state-of-the-art capabilities to the British Army and this facility highlights our commitment to that.”

 

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