DPRTE partner QinetiQ: Bringing to life the value of SMEs

DPRTE Engage Online 2020 official Prime Partner, QinetiQ, examines the crucial role that SMEs play in the defence industry supply chain.

SMEs are vital to the global economy, according to the United Nations, SMEs worldwide account for 90% of all businesses, 70% of all jobs and contribute 50% to the global gross domestic product. It is as a result of this, that Governments globally recognise SMEs as a catalyst to fuel economic growth and aid economic recovery. While many industries across the world are known for their engagement of SMEs, the defence and security markets are often not associated with this type of business, a belief which is far from true. So, speaking with our colleagues around the world and leading industry bodies, we ask, what really are the benefits of working with SMEs and how do they make an impact in the markets we operate within?

What traits make SMEs so unique?

Innovative and agile are often words used to describe SMEs. These aren’t necessarily traits that are unique to smaller companies, but their strong association most likely stems from their ability to work at pace. Smaller organisations can make decisions rapidly and are not afraid to fail hard and fast in order to benefit in the long run. Within our corporate family, we have seen this ring true time and time again. For example: “QinetiQ Target Systems (QTS) owes a lot of its success to finding small and medium companies, who are interested in establishing win-win scenarios. Small and Medium business are willing to work with us to meet our unique demands and aggressive timescales and are a key component of the QTS supply chain,” David Sabados, Director of Operations, QinetiQ Target Systems (Canada).

SMEs can provide a range of niche and specialist capabilities to leverage any customer requirements. They may not produce a product or service in its entirety, as many traditional primes or larger companies would, but can offer in-depth knowledge and specialist services to deliver bespoke elements that make a wider offering much more valuable or efficient. “SMEs are often subject matter experts in their field, offering bespoke solutions or expertise to niche challenges,” states Fred Sugden, Head of Defence Programmes at techUK. “Frequently, they are able to deliver superior products or services, which are better value for money and suit the customer’s needs better”.

It is not only the technical development, within SMEs, that can accelerate quickly, but also wealth creation in SMEs. The power of growth can see SMEs develop by 50-100% year-on-year; scaling at pace and allowing them to flex up or down with the change in supply and demand. “SMEs often find it easier to respond quickly because there is generally less bureaucracy,” says Tim Martin, Head of Defence Commercial at ADS. “You are often talking to the decision-maker and operations are streamlined to be as efficient as possible.”

As they scale-up, SMEs often provide significant benefit to local communities, through jobs, accessible goods, services and materials. As they continue to grow quickly, many employees are encouraged to learn how to diversify to support the company’s needs. Andrew Kinniburgh, Director General at trade body NDI explained how: “In SMEs most employees take on a number of roles to develop the company. This not only benefits the organisation, but also the economy of their home nations, as these individuals become multi-skilled workforces for the future.” This approach to business encourages diversity and inclusion, supporting owners, leaders and employees from all backgrounds. It is for this reason that we see governments globally setting targets, introducing

legislation or introducing key performance indicators to promote the engagement, involvement and spend with SMEs.

 “Diversity within supply chains can not only bring new ideas and solutions to your organisation, but it also brings competitiveness, and boosts market growth. Beyond these commercial benefits, there is the BIG social value supplier diversity brings, reducing socio-economic inequality and creating stronger, more stable communities” – Minority Supply Chain Development UK (MSDUK)

What value do SMEs bring to the defence and security industries worldwide?

Here at QinetiQ, we recognise the value of SMEs and work with our customers to drive success with SMEs across all of our home countries, aligning with the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDG8 and SDG9). But beyond these global goals, what does SME engagement look like in nations across the globe?

In the United Kingdom, the Government is working hard to ensure that any programmes receiving public funding commission a measurable level of SMEs to deliver their goals. This is true even within the defence industry, where new quotas are being introduced and monitored with consequences to future funding if they are not met.

“Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are vital to UK prosperity, fuelling economic growth and providing over 16 million jobs across the country,” explains Andrew Forzani, Chief Commercial Officer and SME Champion at UK Ministry of Defence. “As the MOD’s SME champion, I am committed to attracting SMEs to all levels of the Defence supply chain. SMEs play a vital role in helping to deliver efficient, effective and affordable equipment, services and support for the Armed Forces. They are fundamental in maintaining our military advantage by providing innovative solutions to the threats and challenges faced by the MOD, both in the UK and abroad.”

Australia is a nation built on small businesses; they account for over 90% of all companies within the country and bring in a significant proportion of GDP.

“With a record $200 billion being invested in Australia’s defence capabilities this decade and the Australian Federal Government’s focus on building national sovereign industrial capacity, which includes ensuring Australian SMEs are well positioned to deliver operationally critical capability for Defence, the growth of SMEs in Australia has been strong,” depicts Clare Little, GM Commercial, QinetiQ Pty Ltd, Australia. “As an integral component of Australia’s economic fabric, SMEs contribute significantly to innovation and employment in the Defence sector. Complementary collaborations and partnerships with SMEs are therefore a crucial business enabler for companies such as ours.”

According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, there are over 30 million SMEs in the US, accounting for nearly two-thirds of net new private sector jobs in recent decades. This surge is supporting, not just the US itself, but has fuelled a higher rate of exports globally too.

“In 2019, the United States Army adopted a new modernisation strategy aimed at transforming the Army in order to conduct Multi-Domain Operations (MDO),” says Dave Scott, VP Business Development, QinetiQ Inc. “This is intended to address the current and future actions of near-peer competitors. SMEs are an essential part of the Army’s effort to meet its modernisation priorities, by supporting research, development, and test efforts that are designed to make significant capabilities improvements which are required to effectively execute MDO. Utilising our Mission-Led Innovation paradigm, QinetiQ and its SME partners are leading the effort to make the environment a safer workplace for future generations.”

How can larger organisations leverage the benefits of SMEs?

The decision for large organisations is not if or when will SMEs be better integrated into their capability offering (that should be a given in today’s workplace). The real question is how can frictionless integration be achieved?

The defence market is extremely unique because of its fluidity. One day an organisation can be the prime of a multi-million pound programme and the next could be providing a small component of a much bigger programme. Suppliers can move up and down the chain but the collaboration as whole is what brings unique value. SMEs are perfectly conditioned to flex in size and delivery as highlighted above, but they need to be given the right opportunities to do so.

Andy Johnston, the Defence Policy Advisor at ADS explains: “SMEs don’t want opportunities to be handed to them on a plate or special dispensation; they are simply looking for equal opportunities to engage in large-scale programmes and to be able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with well-known primes.”

At QinetiQ, we seek to remove barriers of entry for SMEs, we use systems and tools from pre-qualification to e-souring, all to increase speed to contract. We collaborate with SMEs and those that represent SMEs, such as all those who have contributed to this article, to continue to improve our ways of working, whilst applying proportionately to our commercial deals. We look to support SMEs by providing orientation and guidance through the procurement process.

For all those in the defence industry, and beyond, which would benefit from engagement with SMEs, there is a need for more openness and ways to even the playing field so that companies of all sizes can bring their unique offering to the table.

What more needs to be done to support SMEs?

While SMEs may appear to be the underdogs right now, many will grow to become million or even billion pound companies, and will be important players in our industries in future. There is a real need to support them and help them develop, for the benefit of all. “If larger companies help new SMEs through nurture and collaboration, then it is likely to pay dividends for both businesses further down the line,” says Andrew Kinniburgh, Director General, NDI. It is imperative for our industries as a whole, to provide access to technology, access to contacts and share general know-how with smaller companies in order for them to grow.

As with many organisations, QinetiQ has come a long way in its approach to engagement with SMEs. Simon Tomlinson, our Group Supply Chain & Procurement Director concludes: “As an industry, we have made significant progress in the way that we work with SMEs. However, there is more to do in order to increase the diversity of our supply chains, to unlock the true potential of what can be achieved and to open up the opportunity for even greater collaboration with SME’s. We must continue to challenge ourselves to remove barriers to entry and provide equal opportunities for all enterprises, regardless of size or geography. This is only achievable through true collaboration; sharing our successes, nurturing talent and working together to reach a common goal.”

QinetiQ is a company that prides itself on creating collaborative ecosystems, solving real-world problems and creating tangible outcomes. Working with our customers, partners, and suppliers we look to create unrivalled capability through the best of industry.

If you are an SME and would like to know more about working with QinetiQ, please check out our SME Hub or reach out directly to SMEengagement@qinetiq.com.

This is the first in our series about working with SMEs. Check back for our future pieces, which will cover tips and tricks for working with SMEs, how to get the most out of supply chain ecosystems and frameworks, Q&As with some some of our SME partners and a look at the future of SMEs within our core industries.

QinetiQ are an official Prime Contractor Partner at DPRTE Engage Online 2020.

They will take their place at the event’s Prime Contractor and Supply Chain Engagement Zone, which will bring together many of the key Prime Contractors currently engaged within the delivery of MOD projects, allowing visitors to book appointments for 1-2-1 meetings.

Book your place today and join over 1,500 key decision makers at this hugely important one-day event – https://www.dprte.co.uk/book-now/

Defence Online is the official media partner of DPRTE 2020

image © MOD Crown Copyright: The vast hangar on HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier under construction in Rosyth dockyard, Scotland.

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Report reveals defence sector contract numbers continue to rise

Figures from BIP Solutions’ Market Update have revealed that the number of defence contracts awarded continues to increase.

The latest figures from BIP Solutions weekly Market Update show that the defence sector continues to grow as we  emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown.

Over the next decade the Ministry of Defence is committed to spending over £186 billion on equipment and support. Defence has a major role to play in delivering the Government’s growth and enterprise agenda – the MOD accounts for over 40% of all central government spend with industry and its procurement activity includes some of the most complex and technologically advanced projects in the world.

This week the defence sector in the UK and Republic of Ireland published a total of 61 contract notices, nine (17.31%) more than the previous week, continuing a gradual upward trend in contract notice volumes for the sector over the last few weeks.

Of the 49 distinct contract notices analysed, 19 were OJEU and 30 non-OJEU. This proportion of non-OJEU contract notices illustrates not only the value range of defence spending but the importance of using business intelligence solutions, such as DCI, to track all relevant defence sector contracts. While the defence sector is traditionally perceived as purchasing weaponry, military equipment and construction works, this week’s contract notices show its range of non-military requirements, with opportunities for providers of live streaming services, cloud integration services, CCTV, kilts, repair and maintenance of water meters and smoking cessation services, to name but a few.

Opportunities such as these mean that the sector is a potential customer for businesses, including SMEs, in a wide variety of sectors. The highest value contract notice published this week in the defence sector was worth £615 million. Issued by MOD Information Systems and Services, the notice seeks system integration services as part of Project MORPHEUS, the programme delivering the next generation of tactical communications systems to the UK Armed Forces.

The total stated value of the contract notices issued by the defence sector this week was just over £801 million, a rise of 409.39% on the previous week’s £157.26 million. However, this difference can, as is frequently the case, be accounted for by the most valuable contract notices: as mentioned above, this week’s highest value notice was worth £615 million, whereas last week’s was worth £80 million.

Defence procurement spending is now consistently over £100 million a week, meaning that the sector continues to offer a range of opportunities both to traditional defence suppliers and to innovative businesses from a variety of industry sectors. In addition, only 27 of the 49 distinct notices (55.1%) issued by defence buyers this week stated a value, which means that the actual total weekly procurement spend must be considerably higher.

The UK defence sector can be challenging to do business with, owing to the complexity of the MOD’s structure. This means that those seeking to gain business traction in this sector can struggle to find their way into the marketplace or contact the right person – though once engaged, the MOD can be a long-term and consistent customer.

BIP Solutions’ defence contacts database contains over 940 contacts and is continually updated and amended, further demonstrating the Company as a trusted data provider. The database also enables drill-down into 18 MOD agencies, including high spending areas such as the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S).

The full report can viewed here.

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GD Electric Boat wins modification For Columbia-class submarines

The US Navy have announced that General Dynamics Electric Boat has been awarded a contract modification for the design completion, engineering work and design support efforts for the Columbia Class of Ballistic Missile Submarines.

An option valued at $9.47 billion supporting the construction of the first two ships of the Columbia class is established as part of this modification. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics.

Electric Boat is the prime contractor on the design and construction of 12-ship Columbia class, which will replace the ageing Ohio class of ballistic missile submarines. Electric Boat will manage numerous vendors and suppliers to do this work. Advanced construction began in 2017 at the company’s facility in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Final assembly and test of the Columbia class will take place starting in 2024 at Electric Boat’s shipyard in Groton.

General Dynamics is investing $1.8 billion in capital expenditures to construct and expand its facilities to support the construction of the Columbia class, the world’s most advanced strategic missile submarine. The company’s three primary locations are in Groton and New London, Conn.; and Quonset Point, R.I. Its current workforce is more than 16,000 employees.

General Dynamics Electric Boat president Kevin Graney, commented: “The shipbuilders of Electric Boat recognise the responsibility and welcome the opportunity to deliver the Columbia class. Columbia is our nation’s top strategic defence priority and, as the prime contractor, we will provide the safest and most capable class of submarines in the defence of our nation.

“As we move toward full scale construction later this year, Columbia’s design is more advanced than that of any previous submarine program.

“We stand ready to execute on this critical program and have made extensive preparations by hiring and training the next generation of skilled shipbuilders, expanding and modernising our facilities and strengthening our supply base.”

image courtesy of US Navy

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British Army’s UBVT keeps social distancing soldiers sharp

The British Army’s Unit Based Virtual Training (UBVT) has been used to combat the conundrum of effectively sharpening soldiering skills while adhering to strict social distancing measures.

Delivered as a managed service by training and simulation specialist NSC, the technology allowed personnel from 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment to train collectively despite the constraints of operating during the coronavirus crisis.
Run on a network of laptop computers with exercising troops communicating via headsets, the all-arms system negates the need for the close proximity and physical contact commonly associated with traditional field training and other fixed simulation capabilities.
UBVT, which immerses troops in a high-fidelity synthetic environment, was deployed to 1 YORKS base at Battlesbury Barracks in Warminster for a three-week period and saw the Armoured Infantry Battalion’s platoons rotate through a series of virtual exercises without having to travel.
In addition to physically separating participants and the use of personal protective equipment where necessary, a remote exercise control setup was among a raft of safeguarding measures introduced by the Army’s chain of command and NSC to ensure the health of soldiers and directing staff was not put at risk.
“We have rapidly evolved the system’s delivery to enable troops to return to training with confidence during the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained UBVT project manager Nick Brown. “Current events highlight the benefits afforded by a means of training that can be delivered at a commander’s point of need and has a minimal logistical burden.
“One of UBVT’s great advantages is that units can rehearse tactics, techniques and procedures without constraints such as the availability of vehicles, training estate or ammunition and concerns over safety, and in this case its flexibility helped to enable collective training that would not otherwise be possible.
“The system can be used at scale – as demonstrated during Exercise Virtual Eagle last year, which saw the largest single deployment of the MoD’s Defence Virtual Simulation to date – but also tailored to service small groups and minimise physical contact.” 
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DIO awards £20m contract for Typhoon infrastructure at RAF Lossiemouth

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has awarded a contract worth £20-million to Galliford Try for work which will house Number IX (Bomber) Squadron in facilities that are fit for purpose, enabling them to deliver in their role as a Typhoon Aggressor Squadron.

Their re-role from Tornado to Typhoon, and move from RAF Marham to RAF Lossiemouth, was announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015.

The work will start later this summer and is expected to take around two years. It will involve the refurbishment of an existing hangar and construction of new technical and storage facilities. It forms part of a wider redevelopment of RAF Lossiemouth which also includes a refurbished runway, facilities for the RAF’s fleet of Poseidon MRA Mk. 1 sub-hunters, new and improved accommodation, and much more.

RAF Lossiemouth is now home to four Squadrons of Typhoons which hold the Quick Reaction Alert role, Securing the Skies of the United Kingdom every minute of every day. Aircraft could be launched at a moment’s notice to intercept unidentified aircraft, or aircraft which may pose a threat. RAF Lossiemouth covers the north of the UK including Scotland, while RAF Coningsby covers the south. The Typhoon is an extremely versatile multi-role combat aircraft involved in operations around the world, including Lithuania where 6 Squadron from RAF Lossiemouth are deployed on NATO Baltic Air Policing.

Once fully established in their new facilities, IX(B) Squadron will be the RAF’s dedicated fourth-generation Aggressors. This involves simulating the tactics, threats, and procedures of adversaries to create the best training environment for Royal Air Force pilots. While providing this essential training, the Squadron will also be involved in Quick Reaction Alert duties alongside 1(F) Squadron, II(AC) Squadron, and 6 Squadron.

Margaret Jesson, DIO’s Project Manager, said: “It’s exciting to have reached this stage of the project and we are looking forward to continuing to work with our colleagues at RAF Lossiemouth and Galliford Try to provide some fantastic facilities for these Typhoon pilots and ground crew.”

DPRTE 2020 Official Event Partner: DIO

DPRTE 2020 Official Event Partner: DIO

DIO are official DPRTE event partners. This year event is set to feature for the first time, an Infrastructure and Estates Pavilion, which will allow both buyers and suppliers to connect with key Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) personnel and gain an insight into the latest initiatives, developments and opportunities within defence infrastructure.

For those companies looking to engage with the infrastructure marketplace, the DIO-supported Infrastructure and Estates Pavilion will allow both buyers and suppliers to connect with key DIO personnel and gain an insight into the latest initiatives, developments and opportunities within defence infrastructure.

The Pavilion will also include a Knowledge Transfer Zone, which will see a range of topical educational and interactive sessions designed specifically to enhance attendees’ knowledge and ability to contribute to the future direction and delivery of the ongoing defence infrastructure and estates procurement programme.

The speakers include a number of leading experts from DIO and the wider defence infrastructure marketplace, including DIO’s Commercial Director Jacqui Rock.

Don’t miss out on the chance to visit DIO’s the Infrastructure & Estates Pavilion and hear from leading experts in infrastructure on how to do business with DIO. Book now at www.drpte.co.uk/book-now/

If you would like to join our community and read more articles like this then please click here.

 

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New protections for UK businesses key to national security

The Government plans to introduce new protections to further safeguard the national security and resilience of the UK.

Changes to the Enterprise Act 2002 being laid before Parliament will allow the government to scrutinise certain foreign takeovers to ensure they do not threaten the UK’s ability to combat a public health emergency such as coronavirus.

The economic disruption caused by the pandemic may mean that some businesses with critical capabilities are more susceptible to takeovers – either from outwardly hostile approaches, or financially distressed companies being sold to malicious parties.

These new powers will enable the government to intervene if a business that is directly involved in a pandemic response, for example, a vaccine research company or personal protective equipment manufacturer – finds itself the target of a takeover.

In addition, these changes will expand powers to scrutinise and intervene in mergers in 3 sectors of the economy central to national security – artificial intelligence, cryptographic authentication technology and advanced materials – by lowering the thresholds that must be met before such scrutiny can take place.

This follows the introduction of powers in 2018 allowing the government to intervene in military products and technologies normally used for civilian purposes but which may have military applications, computing hardware, and quantum technology.

Secretary of State for Business, Alok Sharma commented: “To better protect the country’s resilience to Covid-19 we are taking steps now to mitigate against public health emergencies.

“These measures will strike the right balance between the UK’s national security and resilience while maintaining our world-leading position as an attractive place to invest – the UK is open for investment, but not for exploitation.

“These powers will send an important signal to those seeking to take advantage of those struggling as a result of the pandemic that the UK government is prepared to act where necessary to protect our national security.”

These latest changes to the Enterprise Act are intended to mitigate risks in the short term ahead of more comprehensive powers in the forthcoming National Security and Investment (NS&I) Bill.

image © Willy Barton / Shutterstock.com

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US set to invest over $18 billion on cybersecurity in 2021

According to Atlas VPN investigation, the US government is set to allocate $18.78 billion for cybersecurity spending in 2021.

In September 2018, the White House published the National Cyber Strategy, which provides strategic steps towards securing the government and all critical infrastructure from cyber threats.

The Department of Defense (DoD) in the Cyber Strategy report outlines the main threats that the US faces regarding cybercrime: “Competitors deterred from engaging the United States and our allies in an armed conflict are using cyberspace operations to steal our technology, disrupt our government and commerce, challenge our democratic processes, and threaten our critical infrastructure.”

Due to these reasons, the proposed cyber defense budget amounts to $18.779 billion in 2021.

To gain insight into which agencies the US President prioritises when proposing the cybersecurity funding, Atlas VPN analysed 2020 and 2021 government cybersecurity budget requests.

In the analysis, years referenced for budget data are fiscal years unless otherwise noted. Also, due to some activities’ sensitive nature, the amount does not represent the entire cyber budget.

In 2021, the Department of Defense requested the most funding for cybersecurity purposes by far, with $9.85 billion. Meaning, the DoD digital security budget amounts to over 52% of the whole federal cybersecurity spend.

These funds aim to support the Pentagon’s efforts to defend against cyberattacks against US forces. Also, the US forces need to develop abilities to conduct cyber warfare against existing and potential enemies.

Compared to 2020, the DoD cybersecurity funding decreased by 2.27%.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cybersecurity budget is a distant second at $2.6 billion. This sum would comprise 13.87% of the total requested budget.

DHS’s main priority is to protect the federal government’s digital infrastructure against cyber intrusions. In 2021, the DHS requests $30 million more funding than they did in 2020, which is a 1.17% increase.

Third in line is the Department of Justice (DOJ), with a proposed $929.2 million funding for cybersecurity purposes. This sum would amount to nearly 5% of the total cybersecurity budget. In 2021, the requested DOJ budget grew by 3.19%.

Comparing the total cybersecurity budget in 2020, which was $18,792 million and $18,779 million in 2021, it decreased by 0.07%

To look at things from a wider perspective, in 2021, the total national defense budget is $740.5 billion. In contrast, cybersecurity spending comprises only 2.5% of this sum.

Cybersecurity funding winners and losers

Atlas VPN reviewed the 2020 and 2021 cybersecurity budgets and found that, out of 25 federal agencies, 12 will see a decreased cybersecurity budget in 2021.

The biggest drop in the proposed budget is for the Department of Commerce, which will decrease by over 26%, from $514.3 million in 2020 to $378.1 million in 2021.

The Department of Veterans Affairs agency got its budget cut by over 12%, from $524.6 million in 2020 to $460.4 million in 2021.

Thirteen agencies will get more funds for cybersecurity spendings in 2021 than they did in 2020.

The most significant boost is for the Environmental Protection Agency, seeing a 44% cybersecurity budget increase, from $32.5 million in 2020 to $46.8 million in 2021.

The Department of Energy will get an additional 20.93% of funding, from $550.4 million in 2020 to $665.5 million in 2021.

The Department of State saw similar budget growth, with 20.4%, from $405.8 million in 2020 to $488.6 in 2021.

COVID-19 and cybersecurity

So far, the US government has not stated if they will increase, decrease, or keep the cybersecurity budget the same after seeing how the coronavirus crisis is creating new opportunities for cybercriminals.

However, recent research found that 68% of surveyed organisations are planning to increase their cybersecurity spending after the coronavirus outbreak.

The survey does note that in order to increase the cybersecurity budget, companies will have to cut funding in other departments. The question is whether the US government will be willing to pull funds from other areas to strengthen cybersecurity?

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British Army’s UBVT keeps social distancing soldiers sharp

The British Army’s Unit Based Virtual Training (UBVT) has been used to combat the conundrum of effectively sharpening soldiering skills while adhering to strict social distancing measures.

Delivered as a managed service by training and simulation specialist NSC, the technology allowed personnel from 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment to train collectively despite the constraints of operating during the coronavirus crisis.
Run on a network of laptop computers with exercising troops communicating via headsets, the all-arms system negates the need for the close proximity and physical contact commonly associated with traditional field training and other fixed simulation capabilities.
UBVT, which immerses troops in a high-fidelity synthetic environment, was deployed to 1 YORKS base at Battlesbury Barracks in Warminster for a three-week period and saw the Armoured Infantry Battalion’s platoons rotate through a series of virtual exercises without having to travel.
In addition to physically separating participants and the use of personal protective equipment where necessary, a remote exercise control setup was among a raft of safeguarding measures introduced by the Army’s chain of command and NSC to ensure the health of soldiers and directing staff was not put at risk.
“We have rapidly evolved the system’s delivery to enable troops to return to training with confidence during the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained UBVT project manager Nick Brown. “Current events highlight the benefits afforded by a means of training that can be delivered at a commander’s point of need and has a minimal logistical burden.
“One of UBVT’s great advantages is that units can rehearse tactics, techniques and procedures without constraints such as the availability of vehicles, training estate or ammunition and concerns over safety, and in this case its flexibility helped to enable collective training that would not otherwise be possible.
“The system can be used at scale – as demonstrated during Exercise Virtual Eagle last year, which saw the largest single deployment of the MoD’s Defence Virtual Simulation to date – but also tailored to service small groups and minimise physical contact.” 
If you would like to join our community and read more articles like this then please click here.

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DIO awards £20m contract for Typhoon infrastructure at RAF Lossiemouth

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has awarded a contract worth £20-million to Galliford Try for work which will house Number IX (Bomber) Squadron in facilities that are fit for purpose, enabling them to deliver in their role as a Typhoon Aggressor Squadron.

Their re-role from Tornado to Typhoon, and move from RAF Marham to RAF Lossiemouth, was announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015.

The work will start later this summer and is expected to take around two years. It will involve the refurbishment of an existing hangar and construction of new technical and storage facilities. It forms part of a wider redevelopment of RAF Lossiemouth which also includes a refurbished runway, facilities for the RAF’s fleet of Poseidon MRA Mk. 1 sub-hunters, new and improved accommodation, and much more.

RAF Lossiemouth is now home to four Squadrons of Typhoons which hold the Quick Reaction Alert role, Securing the Skies of the United Kingdom every minute of every day. Aircraft could be launched at a moment’s notice to intercept unidentified aircraft, or aircraft which may pose a threat. RAF Lossiemouth covers the north of the UK including Scotland, while RAF Coningsby covers the south. The Typhoon is an extremely versatile multi-role combat aircraft involved in operations around the world, including Lithuania where 6 Squadron from RAF Lossiemouth are deployed on NATO Baltic Air Policing.

Once fully established in their new facilities, IX(B) Squadron will be the RAF’s dedicated fourth-generation Aggressors. This involves simulating the tactics, threats, and procedures of adversaries to create the best training environment for Royal Air Force pilots. While providing this essential training, the Squadron will also be involved in Quick Reaction Alert duties alongside 1(F) Squadron, II(AC) Squadron, and 6 Squadron.

Margaret Jesson, DIO’s Project Manager, said: “It’s exciting to have reached this stage of the project and we are looking forward to continuing to work with our colleagues at RAF Lossiemouth and Galliford Try to provide some fantastic facilities for these Typhoon pilots and ground crew.”

DPRTE 2020 Official Event Partner: DIO

DPRTE 2020 Official Event Partner: DIO

DIO are official DPRTE event partners. This year event is set to feature for the first time, an Infrastructure and Estates Pavilion, which will allow both buyers and suppliers to connect with key Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) personnel and gain an insight into the latest initiatives, developments and opportunities within defence infrastructure.

For those companies looking to engage with the infrastructure marketplace, the DIO-supported Infrastructure and Estates Pavilion will allow both buyers and suppliers to connect with key DIO personnel and gain an insight into the latest initiatives, developments and opportunities within defence infrastructure.

The Pavilion will also include a Knowledge Transfer Zone, which will see a range of topical educational and interactive sessions designed specifically to enhance attendees’ knowledge and ability to contribute to the future direction and delivery of the ongoing defence infrastructure and estates procurement programme.

The speakers include a number of leading experts from DIO and the wider defence infrastructure marketplace, including DIO’s Commercial Director Jacqui Rock.

Don’t miss out on the chance to visit DIO’s the Infrastructure & Estates Pavilion and hear from leading experts in infrastructure on how to do business with DIO. Book now at www.drpte.co.uk/book-now/

If you would like to join our community and read more articles like this then please click here.

 

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New protections for UK businesses key to national security

The Government plans to introduce new protections to further safeguard the national security and resilience of the UK.

Changes to the Enterprise Act 2002 being laid before Parliament will allow the government to scrutinise certain foreign takeovers to ensure they do not threaten the UK’s ability to combat a public health emergency such as coronavirus.

The economic disruption caused by the pandemic may mean that some businesses with critical capabilities are more susceptible to takeovers – either from outwardly hostile approaches, or financially distressed companies being sold to malicious parties.

These new powers will enable the government to intervene if a business that is directly involved in a pandemic response, for example, a vaccine research company or personal protective equipment manufacturer – finds itself the target of a takeover.

In addition, these changes will expand powers to scrutinise and intervene in mergers in 3 sectors of the economy central to national security – artificial intelligence, cryptographic authentication technology and advanced materials – by lowering the thresholds that must be met before such scrutiny can take place.

This follows the introduction of powers in 2018 allowing the government to intervene in military products and technologies normally used for civilian purposes but which may have military applications, computing hardware, and quantum technology.

Secretary of State for Business, Alok Sharma commented: “To better protect the country’s resilience to Covid-19 we are taking steps now to mitigate against public health emergencies.

“These measures will strike the right balance between the UK’s national security and resilience while maintaining our world-leading position as an attractive place to invest – the UK is open for investment, but not for exploitation.

“These powers will send an important signal to those seeking to take advantage of those struggling as a result of the pandemic that the UK government is prepared to act where necessary to protect our national security.”

These latest changes to the Enterprise Act are intended to mitigate risks in the short term ahead of more comprehensive powers in the forthcoming National Security and Investment (NS&I) Bill.

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