How the MOD is responding to COVID-19

As concerns rise over the Coronavirus pandemic, the UK Ministry of Defence has announced it will increase its response to provide necessary extra resources to assist the public services. The MOD will work alongside the UK Government in a bid to help tackle the virus, with heightened MOD presence in place to relieve pressure on the NHS and ensure the science field has the resources it requires for extensive testing.

Defence Contracts Online is the official defence contracts portal for the Ministry of Defence – here DCO outlines the Department’s Coronavirus response.

The MOD and the COVID Support Force

The Ministry of Defence has stated an additional 10,000 military personnel will join the COVID Support Force – on top of the 10,000 that are already being held on high readiness. The Support Force will consist of 20,000 specialist servicemen and women who are trained to assist public services, local authorities and citizens.

Other steps in the MOD’s Coronavirus response include:

  • The training of 150 military personnel to drive oxygen tankers to support the NHS if required. Training for this will begin imminently.
  • Reservists have been called upon should they be required to join the response effort. This measure has been put in place to increase military numbers.
  • Supporting Public Health England’s efforts to understand the virus and tackle its spread by using scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to conduct testing.

These are by no means the first actions the Ministry of Defence has taken since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak. The military has already assisted with repatriation flights from China and Japan, and has been instrumental in providing public health services, local authorities and emergency services with contingency planning and crisis management assistance.

Not only is the military designed to respond to challenging times such as these, the MOD has implemented well-rehearsed mechanisms to ensure its actions are effective, efficient and work to protect the lives of UK citizens. This was demonstrated recently, when the Armed Forces were called upon to assist citizens in the north of England after winter storms caused severe flood damage.

The Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, echoed this sentiment in his reassuring statement:

“The men and women of our Armed Forces stand ready to protect Britain and her citizens from all threats, including COVID-19. The unique flexibility and dedication of the Services means that we are able to provide assistance across the whole of society in this time of need.”

The MOD is supporting NHS supplies

To further assist the NHS, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed it will provide as many ventilators to the health service as possible, after concerns over the resources available to the NHS mounted. Although this is reportedly only a small fraction of the number of ventilators believed ultimately to be needed nationally, it demonstrates the extent to which all areas of defence are engaged with government departments as they work together to contain and manage the pandemic. The MOD will continue to advise the devolved administrations as well as local authorities on how the Department can best support them over the coming weeks and months.

It is now widely understood that it will require a national effort to tackle the virus and support ventilator production – crucial equipment for patients who are unable to breathe on their own. The Government has therefore made an official call for organisations who can help in the production and supply of ventilators, in order to achieve its objective of producing 20,000 additional machines as quickly as possible.

This is an opportunity for new and existing defence suppliers who work across a range of specialisms to play their part in the Coronavirus response. The work of suppliers will not only give the NHS increased patient capacity in hospitals, but will also potentially save thousands of lives. As we navigate our way as a nation through these challenging times, the role of defence procurement has never been more important.

How your organisation can help

If you think your business might be able to help with the response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), register your details here

All information provided in this article is given in good faith. However, to the extent that any actions taken in relation to matters concerning procurement, the above article does not constitute legal advice to you. The contents of these articles are not to be construed as legal advice or a substitute for such advice, which you should obtain from your own legal advisors if required. We are not and shall not be held responsible for anything done or not done by you as a result of the information provided.

DSEI 2019: show delivers confidence in UK defence industry

On the opening day of DSEI 2019 (Defence and Security Equipment International), held at London’s ExCeL arena from 10 to 13 September, Minister for Defence Procurement Anne-Marie Trevelyan delivered a speech summarising the highlights of UK defence projects currently under way. Specifically, the minister discussed how the UK defence industry is leading the way in innovation across projects in construction, including more investments and less exclusivity.

Defence contracts to drive development in SMEs

Ms Trevelyan focused on the important and integral role SMEs play in defence procurement, expressing the philosophy that has always been core to the DCI brand – helping businesses of all sizes find, bid for and win defence contracts across the UK and internationally.

She spoke of pockets of brilliance in every corner of the four nations that make up the UK, using her own constituency, Berwick-upon-Tweed in the far north east of England, as an example. “I recently discovered that Hardy Fishing – who make the best fishing rods in the world by royal appointment – also use their expertise in weaving to manufacture slender fibres of incredible toughness for the wings of our regal Typhoon.”

It is important to recognise the expertise SMEs possess throughout the supply chain and their contribution to keeping UK defence procurement a thriving marketplace.

Future investment in defence people and security

The biennial DSEI fair regularly attracts a measure of controversy, with criticism over the range of arms and other military hardware on show. Ms Trevelyan addressed these concerns in her speech, stating that by investing in equipment and kit for the Armed Forces, citizens are protected against unthinkable dangers.

Defence procurement is as much about training talented people to make positive changes in the defence industry as it is about purchasing weaponry.

New investments in personnel training were announced at DSEI, including £31 million to provide a Joint Fire Synthetic Trainer at multiple sites across the UK. This project, which originated in an Israeli idea, will sustain jobs and allow students from the British Army, Royal Navy and RAF to train together in realistic battlefield scenarios.

There has also recently been a powerful drive to include more women in UK defence. Formally launched by Ms Trevelyan at DSEI 2019, the new ‘Women in Defence Charter’ project is a collaboration between the Ministry of Defence, Women in Defence UK and leading aerospace trade association ADS, among others. This partnership is a bid to get more talented female leaders winning top spots in the industry.

Getting SMEs into defence procurement

Are you part of a SME business that wants to win work with the Ministry of Defence?

Our portal advertises tender and contracts opportunities valued over £10K. Gain access to the official source of MOD contracts by registering for free with Defence Contracts Online.


DPRTE 2019: Innovative SMEs encouraged to work with the MOD


Over 1500 visitors made their way to Farnborough to attend Defence Procurement Research Technology & Exportability (DPRTE) 2019.

As the event is officially partnered with the Ministry of Defence, suppliers had an outstanding opportunity to engage within a marketplace valued at over £20 billion annually.

The range of interactive and educational features included many zones where delegates could enhance their knowledge of defence procurement.

Many defence organisations were in attendance including, the Ministry of Defence (MOD), the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) as well as international organisations such as the US Department of Defense (DoD) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF).


Innovation in Defence

While speaking in the Keynote Arena, Jim Carter, Commercial Director of Supply Chain at the MOD, noted that innovation is high on MOD customers’ agenda. On behalf of the MOD, he said:

“we need to find a way as a commercial organisation to engage with a wide range of SMEs and bring them into our supply chain.”

Innovation was a key theme that ran throughout the event. Simon Burges, Chief Executive Officer at BiP Solutions, the organisers behind this event, has said that:

“DPRTE plays a vital role in supporting collaboration and innovation across a hugely diverse set of requirements, within areas such as technology, equipment, support and infrastructure.”


SME supply chain opportunities

Head of the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) Dr Lucy Mason also presented in the Keynote Arena, showcasing innovation success that the organisation has achieved with suppliers.

As well as encouraging SMEs to approach DASA if they have innovative ideas, she also noted that:

“Government these days wants to work with SMEs and incorporate them into supply chains and understand more about how it can diversify the range of suppliers that get involved.

That means helping big businesses to encourage SMEs to work as part of the supply chain too and look at our own targets in terms of working with SMEs”

Getting SMEs into defence procurement

Are you part of a SME business that wants to win work with the Ministry of Defence?

Our portal advertises tender and contracts opportunities valued over £10K. Gain access to the official source of MOD contracts by registering for free with Defence Contracts Online.


MOD shines the spotlight on Small Business Research Initiative

The Ministry of Defence Guide to Security and Defence 2019 gives readers insight into the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).

The programme, which is supported by Innovate UK, has “reached a significant milestone having awarded over £0.5 billion in research and development contracts” since the organisation launched.

We publish excerpts from this exclusive piece of content below.


SBRI has delivered over £1 billion to the UK economy

Jon Hazell, Lead Customer Account Manager at SBRI, revealed that a recent study by Manchester Institute of Innovation, the Enterprise Research Centre and OMB Research Ltd estimated:

“that for every £1 awarded through SBRI, at least £2.4 is returned to the UK economy – meaning that, conservatively, SBRI has delivered over £1 billion to the UK, with over 66% of the contracts awarded to SMEs.”

Mr Hazell notes in the article that the SBRI initiative is incredibly important for both suppliers and buyers as it supports the development of “breakthrough innovative solutions for the challenges of the future” and can help new suppliers enter the defence and public sector procurement marketplace, which in turn supports the UK economy.


SBRI and defence

It is also mentioned in the article that SBRI has worked closely with, among many others, the MOD and Dstl on projects such as digital forensics and SAPIENT. Commenting on what may be next for SBRI, Mr Hazell, highlighted the use of SBRI by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), saying:

DASA is focused on developing innovations to support UK defence and security quickly and effectively, supporting UK prosperity in challenging areas such as finding explosives in hidden sites, predictive cyber analytics and regenerative medicine at the front line.”


The Ministry of Defence Guide to Security and Defence 2019

Have you got your copy of the Ministry of Defence “Guide to Security and Defence 2019” yet?

Gain access to the full Interview with Jon Hazell and other articles like this now as the latest MOD publication is available online.

Alongside many other interviews like this, you will gain access to key contract data for MOD buyers and prime contractors as well as a directory of key suppliers.

Learn more about the MOD Guide to Security and Defence 2019.

MOD will spend more than £4 billion optimising military sites

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has revealed that 33 military sites across the UK will benefit from the £4 billion committed in the 2016 Better Defence Estates Programme. This funding will improve and upgrade the defence estate.


Investment into defence estate

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed several bases will be retained as part of the programme, including RM Chivenor, Norton Manor Camp, Condor Airfield, Rock Barracks and Molesworth.

On 28 February he said:

“The defence estate is the rock around which our Armed Forces revolve and it is vital we bring it into the 21st century. We have already committed £4 billion to optimise our military sites and today’s update will ensure our estate continues to fulfil our needs and support our people for the next five years.”

This investment promotes regeneration, business growth and local jobs. The £4 billion which has been committed to developing the defence estate will create and sustain jobs in the construction industry.

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood said:

“When improving the defence estate we have always strived to achieve the right balance between working with local communities, achieving value for money and making sure our Armed Forces have what they require to protect our people and promote our prosperity.”


Find opportunities with the MOD

The MOD has a long-term strategy in defence infrastructure investment. Bases in the UK and abroad will be improved as part of this, opening up a range of opportunities to defence suppliers.

If you would like to work with the MOD in improving the defence estate, sign up for free DCO contract alerts.

Key trends and contacts for defence and security suppliers

Have you ordered the Ministry of Defence supported ‘Guide to Defence & Security 2019’ yet? This publication, which includes key trends and contacts within the industry, is now available.

Covering themes such as technology, innovation, cyber security, counter terrorism and UK and European security and defence policy post-Brexit, the Guide to Defence & Security 2019 is a vital part of any defence tender toolkit.


Guide to Defence & Security 2019

If your business is currently operating in the defence market, or would like to, it is important that you are equipped with the most up-to-date information about the sector.

Gain a distinct advantage over your competitors by keeping up with the latest developments with the 2019 edition of the MOD’s annual Guide to Defence & Security.

Access the following:

  • Key contact data for MOD buyers and prime contractors in 2019
  • Exclusive insight into emerging defence and security trends
  • Key insight into infrastructure procurement and projects with contributions from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation
  • Directory of major suppliers to the MOD
  • Coverage of major projects and initiatives


Why work with the MOD?

Jim Carter, Commercial Director Supply Chain at the Ministry of Defence, states in the Guide’s foreword that:

“The MOD is the largest procurement organisation in central government, managing some of the most complex and technologically advanced requirements in the world, with an annual procurement spend of more than £20 billion.”

This budget covers a wide range of niche products and services – including many requirements that are successfully provided by start-up or SME businesses.

If you would like to find out more about defence procurement, visit the DCO website.


Order your copy now

This MOD-backed publication contains essential reading for both buyers and suppliers looking to the year ahead in the defence market.

Order your copy of the Guide to Defence & Security 2019 here.



UK classed in 6th position in global defence expenditure rankings

global defence rankings


Last year the UK sat in sixth position in global defence expenditure rankings, according to IISS. News from over the past few months has highlighted many of the areas that benefit from this spend.

Read more about some of the latest investments below.


Dreadnought Investment

In December 2018, UK Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson announced the latest investment into the Dreadnought submarine programme.

£400 million has been allocated which will safeguard over 8,000 jobs in Barrow-in-Furness. This funding boost will support the development of a new academy that will upskill BAE employees to work on Royal Navy submarines over the next twenty years.



During the Autumn Budget announcement, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced that a further £160 million has been allocated to fund counter-terrorism policing, putting UK security high on the government’s agenda.

“It is not only our Armed Forces that keep us safe.

Our counter-terrorism police play a vital role in defending Britain against the evolving threats we face.

We committed in 2015 to spend 30% more on counter-terrorism capabilities over the current Spending Review period.”


Cyber Security

The government is taking immediate steps to target cyber threats and  provided an additional £1 billion to the MOD covering the end of last year and this year.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson says that the extra funds will provide a “substantial financial boost” to the UK’s cyber defence:

“Not only will this funding ensure we continue to have world-leading Armed Forces but will also allow defence to modernise our critical assets, such as our offensive cyber capabilities, anti-submarine warfare, and our nuclear deterrent”


Increased Defence Budget

These latest investments in defence display the government’s ever-growing focus on defence and on protecting the public from terrorism.

If you would like to find defence procurement opportunities arising from investments like the ones mentioned above, register on DCO for free now.

MOD partners with innovative firms to prepare for the “modern battlefield”

Millions of pounds have been allocated to defence firms to boost the MOD’s capability on the “modern battlefield.”

The MOD and Defence Growth Partnership (DGP) Innovation Challenge has invested over £10 million in cutting-edge technology like laser radars and Artificial Intelligence.


What is the Defence Growth Partnership (DGP)?

The Defence Growth Partnership allows the UK government to collaborate with leading companies from the UK defence industry.

The initiative was formed to meet the challenges of increased international competition for defence business.


Innovation Challenge Winners

Innovation Challenge winners will provide solutions to key strategic future demands for UK defence in autonomy and big data. Winners include:

  • Close Air Solutions with Project Hyper Real Immersion
  • QinetiQ’s Software Defined Multifunction LIDAR
  • Horiba Mira’s UGV Localisation and Perception using Deep Learning Neural Networks
  • Polaris’ Ants on Deck


QinetiQ has designed a solution with a range of high-tech capabilities. Moving forward, the MOD will have access to 3D imaging, optical communication and covert targeting thanks to the services QinetiQ provides.

Speaking about this investment Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said:

“From shrewd navigation software, AI-driven autonomous vehicles, laser radar to mixed reality training systems, today’s winners are a clear demonstration of industry rising to meet the complex challenges of modern warfare. The MOD, working with commercial partners, will see these pioneering technologies go from the drawing board to the battlefield.”


Work with the MOD

The MOD wants to encourage collaboration between large organisations and SMEs, making now an excellent time to look for defence opportunities through DCO.

Never miss defence tenders and contracts valued over £10K by registering with the official source of MOD tender opportunities.

Find MOD procurement opportunities




Be a cyber secure link in the MOD supply chain

Going into 2019, it is important for your business to assess the changes you need to make to become cyber secure.

Want to find out more about cyber security? Learn about the benefits of Cyber Essentials to MOD suppliers below.

Protecting the UK’s defence supply chain

This year the Ministry of Defence has continued to develop cyber security initiatives that aim to protect the UK’s defence supply chain.

During the Autumn Budget announcement, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced that additional £1bn has been granted to the MOD to cover the remainder of 2018 and 2019, to “boost” the country’s cyber capabilities.


Global Threats

Attacks in recent years have made it ever more obvious that cyber threats to the supply chain are real, not just in the UK but globally.

In July 2018, the US’s National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) warned that:

“Software supply chain infiltration is one of the key threats that corporations need to pay attention to, particularly how software vulnerabilities are exploited”

Attackers are finding innovative ways to exploit computer networks, one being that they will hack into systems through technology providers that have privileged access – such as subcontractors or members of the supply chain.


Comply with Cyber Essentials

As the MOD’s supply chain is made up of a wide range of organisations, it must have strict conditions around supplier cyber security.

The MOD requires suppliers to have a Cyber Essentials certification by a contract start date (at the latest); the certification must also be renewed annually. This requirement must flow down the supply chain.

There are a number of suppliers that can help you get started with Cyber Essentials. However, if you would like to gain Cyber Essentials using Fast Track, this can be granted within 24 hours* with Cyber Essentials Online.

* Office hours are based on the UK working time 9am-5pm Monday-Thursday and 9am-2pm on Fridays. Fast Track applications made out with these times cannot be guaranteed for a 24 hour turnaround.

Defence Procurement Minister praises suppliers from Yorkshire during a visit to Huddersfield

defence minister - stuart andrew


Last week, Defence Procurement Minister Stuart Andrew visited Yorkshire to meet with a range of companies that are currently working with the MOD.

In 2017, UK defence spent £232m with companies in Yorkshire and the Humber which supported 1,800 jobs.


UK companies offer “incredible experience and expertise” to the defence sector

The Defence Minister met with many of the suppliers currently working on projects such as HMS Sheffield and those currently developing firefighting vehicles that will soon be based in Afghanistan.

During his Yorkshire visit, Mr Andrew praised the companies working with the MOD, noting that they “epitomise the incredible experience, expertise, and ingenuity” that the region has to offer. He said:

“The spirit of Yorkshire runs right through our nation’s defence with its prestigious military history and engineering prowess. From the design and integration of warship gearboxes to the provision of NATO fire vehicles, Huddersfield is a proud supplier to our Armed Forces.”


MOD backs start-up innovation

Mr Andrew believes that “the spirit of Yorkshire runs right through our nation’s defence.” While visiting the region the Minister also went to see the work which is currently happening at the University of Huddersfield’s 3M Buckley Innovation Centre (3M BIC).

The centre is currently home to dozens of pioneering companies that want to grow their business and collaborate with others that are promoting innovation in the UK.


Work with the MOD

The MOD is investing in innovative businesses across the UK and has chosen to work with many SMEs due to their expertise and unique skill set.

If you would like to work with the Ministry of Defence, the Defence Contracts Online portal advertises tender and contracts opportunities valued over £10K.

Register for free and start receiving defence contract alerts.