Defence Secretary announces major cyber investment

Cyber Security at the Ministry of Defence

The UK will invest up to £265m to boost the defence of military cyber systems, the Defence Secretary has announced.

Michael Fallon said the investment, which supports the new Cyber Vulnerability Investigations (CVI) programme, will help the MOD better understand cyber risks.

Speaking at the second International Cyber Symposium Mr Fallon said it will also help the MOD ensure that resilience to cyber-attack is built-in when buying equipment in future.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “Cyber-attack is one of the greatest challenges to our security. It’s crucial we use our increasing defence budget to stay ahead and investing in this programme will help us protect against these threats.”

The programme will complement the work of the Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC), the £40 million facility announced in April to use state-of-the-art cyber capabilities to protect the MOD’s cyberspace from malicious actors.

The programme has also benefited from detailed analysis across the full range of potential cyber-attacks, meaning it is dynamic and can be applied to all aspects of MOD digital systems.

The funding follows the UK and US signing a Memorandum Of Understanding to work more closely together to overcome the growing cyber risk.

Separately the UK and France confirmed greater co-operation to defeat this threat under the Lancaster House Agreement.

Today’s announcement comes on the same day that Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin launched the next phase of a €150 million joint Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) programme alongside her French counterpart, Laurent Collet-Billon.

Working with French allies, the programme will develop cutting edge maritime mine warfare capability to keep the UK and France at the forefront of autonomous systems technology. The development and deployment of unmanned mine clearance drones will help keep our personnel safe in challenging maritime environments.

As part of our £178 billion equipment plan, the programme will be supported by a defence budget that will rise every year until the end of the decade, meeting the NATO commitment to spend two per cent of GDP on defence.

Dstl: developing synthetic and next-generation training

Soldiers from the Royal Artillery inside the FST Simulation tent, which uses 360 degree technology to assist in training during Exercise Steel Sabre. Exercise Steel Sabre: The aim of this huge Royal Artillery live firing exercise was to bring all the components of an effective Artillery group together to train in its core business: delivering firepower on the battlefield.  This included soldiers from different nations and from the Regular and Reserve parts of the British Army employing artillery guns, rockets, mortars, radars and unmanned aerial vehicles on the Otterburn Ranges.

There have been substantial advances over the last ten years in the quality of synthetic environment training. Here, MOD DCB features writer Paul Elliott looks at the value of Dstl’s work in synthetic training and its role in developing next-generation training.

The Ministry of Defence spends billions of pounds on training, with visual systems and simulators making a central contribution to defence training for many years. Questions that the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has been wrestling with for some time surround how to prove the benefits of synthetic training, and how to achieve best value results from what has been invested into military training technology.

Dstl has placed a lot of focus in areas such as Live Virtual Constructive (LVC) training, but the real aspiration is for the provision of a wide range of experiences to help people achieve their training objectives. A lot of Dstl analysis is focused on establishing the right training blend and training media – modelling and understanding training effectiveness and placing this in the context of warfighting. The exploits of this experimentation programme have led to real capabilities.

An analytical approach to synthetic training is vital as it helps measure effectiveness. Training objectives comprise elements such as experiences that build towards competency. If an analytical approach can be taken in respect of that training then it can be modelled, with surveys taken and psychological studies conducted to examine if the experience in question delivered its purpose. There is also a valuable role for snapshot studies in this analysis.

That’s where all-fighter experimentation comes in. Dstl has for a long time been looking at how to drive better value from simulation synthetic training. It has been particularly keen to investigate whether there is any value gained from linking simulators together to achieve distributed synthetic training, running a series of trials as early as 2000/01 to try to demonstrate the value of such linkage. Dstl’s endeavours led to the Mission Training by Distributed Simulation Capability Concept demonstrator, which became the Air Battlespace Training Centre in Waddington, which now delivers air/land integration training on a regular basis.

There have been other notable successes. Dstl has tackled some of the security and architectural problems that combining multiple synthetic assets presents, demonstrating that you can achieve training value through distributed synthetics. This led to the largest UK synthetic exercise research trial to date, in March 2014, called Enduring Sunrise. The exercise involved combining all the facilities at the Air Battlespace Training Centre including synthetic Typhoons and Tornados and then linking them to Typhoons at RAF Lossiemouth, synthetic rotary wing aircraft at Middle Wallop and a Type 45 ops room using the maritime collective at the maritime composite system at HMS Collingwood.

Enduring Sunrise was a high-end mission conducted using all of these assets as far as possible representative of the future Defence Operational Training Capability (DOTC). DOTC projects are MOD acquisition programmes that exploit the advanced research outputs of Dstl’s synthetic environment tower of excellence (SE Tower). Enduring Sunrise demonstrated that this is technically possible, feasible and can actually achieve training value.

The belief in Dstl is that synthetic training, particularly distributed synthetic environment training, can deliver on its promise and provide rich and immersive experiences that fill identified training gaps. Business certainly appears to share this view as seen by the many synthetic training solutions available on the market. In recent years industry has been pushing virtual reality (VR) as a potential training conduit and Dstl has responded to this. Anyone who has taken part in a VR training demonstration will appreciate the immersive qualities it offers in creating a realistic synthetic environment.

However, many of the different devices that Dstl has tested have been procured for specific purposes, and connecting them together can present difficulties meaning it is sometimes actually more difficult to achieve the full potential of the training. Regardless, there is a lot of potential for increasing exploitation in this area, not only regarding synthetics but in moving towards the LVC concept to enhance live training.

Which brings us to next-generation training, driven by strategic requirements as well as technology. Next-generation training is about realising the technologies of the future and leveraging them to deliver training. The technologies that the UK is investing in have to validate and support what the training requirement actually is. In terms of next-generation training, Dstl has looked at live assets connected to virtual assets and exchanging information between the two. When talking about next-generation training what we’re really talking about is developing technologies that are known to work now and putting them into practice.

In the longer term, the DOTC project should come to fruition in 2019, allowing for the networked integration of synthetic platforms across the UK. This will present frontline operators with the opportunity to enter the synthetic battlespace from their own operating bases to exercise with other users in realistic joint operations, free from the constraints and limitations of many live training scenarios. In this way, synthetic training will be used smartly to augment rather than replace live events, helping to ensure that the Armed Forces retain the capability, competency and readiness levels demanded of them.

The use of virtual and constructive simulations allows personnel to train with scarce or high-value assets, and means that live training capabilities can be adapted to meet evolving operational needs. From Enduring Sunrise onwards, the future is what the MOD chooses to adopt as its training regime.

For more information, click here. 


SMEs can thrive in Defence: Jim Pennycook [video]

Jim PennycookThe UK Ministry of Defence spends approximately £23bn on the procurement of goods and services with industry each year, making it one of the UK’s single largest buying organisations. At DPRTE 2016, MOD DCB Editor Paul Elliott met with Centre of Defence Enterprise (CDE) Head of Operations, Jim Pennycook, to discuss the opportunities this market presents to SMEs.

Defence buying isn’t restricted to military supplies and materiel; its contracts include transferrable technologies such as civil transport, research and development, blue light services, cyber security solutions, and communications to name but a few.

It’s no surprise then that Dstl’s Centre of Defence Enterprise seeks to engage with suppliers of all sizes to provide its goods and services. Here Mr Pennycook explains:

How SMEs can engage with CDE.

And what CDE seeks from its SME suppliers.



As defence is one of the world’s largest markets, organisations of any size can and already do successfully win new business and form strong partnerships with some of the world’s leading public and private companies.

To gain a share of this spend, you need to ensure you have access to the right intelligence to understand the market, exactly what you will receive with DCO.

Register for DCO now.



DSEI: a week in the spotlight for the defence industry

Crowd | Defence Contracts InternationalThe Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2013 showcase recently took place at the ExCeL exhibition centre in London. MOD DCB reporter Paul Elliott was there to cover the event and assess the variety of products and solutions on offer.

With over 1500 exhibitors, the sheer scale of this year’s Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) event, held at the ExCeL exhibition and international convention centre in London from 10 to 13 September, was almost overwhelming. Rooms full of giant stands surrounded by giant screens gleamed under huge lighting rigs.

“Depth of innovation on show”

Once acclimatised to the exhibition environment, with its prominent visual displays all competing for one’s attention, the visitor soon came to see and appreciate the real depth of innovation on show.

Perhaps nothing was more symbolic of that innovation than the Bloodhound SuperSonic Car. Bloodhound is a testament to the impressive capability of British design, engineering, manufacturing and technology. It’s an astounding vehicle, capable of travelling four and a half football pitches in a single second, or 150 metres in the blink of an eye – faster than a bullet fired from a Magnum 357. With a maximum speed of 1050 mph it can accelerate from 0 to 1000 mph in 42 seconds. The physical vehicle itself is highly impressive too, standing at three metres tall and over 13 metres long.

Bloodhound SuperSonic Car
Photo credit: Siemens

The enthusiasm surrounding Bloodhound was infectious, as witnessed by the well-attended Dstl Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) supported networking event for delegates keen to meet the companies supplying components and solutions for the Bloodhound project. The companies featured included Serco, URT, SHD, Titan, Ultimate Hearing Protection and Timken. There was much discussion regarding the challenges they faced and the solutions they forged to succeed in their area of expertise on the Bloodhound. This demonstrates the kind of positivity that can be generated at industry events when ideas, knowledge and best practices are shared.

F-35 Lightning II

In the Media Centre, Lockheed Martin and Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne made a joint announcement highlighting the UK’s role in LM’s F-35 Lightning II multirole fighter programme. Over the next 40 years, British industry will continue to play a prominent part in the F-35’s global production, follow-on development and sustainment, bringing strong economic benefits to the UK.

Steve O’Bryan, Vice President, F-35 Business Development at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said: “Our suppliers here in the UK are essential to the success of this programme. Together, they will produce 15 per cent of each one of the more than 3100 F-35s planned for the global fleet. That is no small task. Five hundred British companies make this happen. Together we are building opportunity – opportunities for hardworking men and women to earn a living in these challenging times. We are building opportunities for businesses in the face of unprecedented financial pressures to grow and invest and position themselves for future success.”

These figures were welcomed by industry representatives present, as were projections that 24,000 jobs will be secured across the supply chain in the UK by 2039. The message was very much about the opportunity presented by F-35 and the significant export revenue that will be generated for the UK over the course of the programme. Thirteen British companies were recognised at the event for their role in F-35: BAE Systems; Cobham; EDM; GE Aviation; Honeywell; Martin-Baker; MBDA; RE Thompson; Rolls-Royce; Selex ES Ltd; Survitec Group; Ultra Electronics; and UTC Aerospace Systems.

Philip Dunne said: “The F-35 is the largest defence programme in the world, today and probably for all time. The UK’s involvement will generate billions of pounds and tens of thousands of jobs for the British economy for decades to come. Backed by this Government’s strategic vision for UK aerospace, the F-35 programme allows us to continue to build on the strengths of our nation’s avionics, systems and sensors industry.”

Secretary of State for Defence The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MPAnother Ministerial statement at DSEI came when Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced a £250 million deal with MBDA for the Sea Ceptor missile, which is to be fitted to the Royal Navy’s Type 23 and later Type 26 frigate fleet. Also, during his keynote speech in the Land Theatre on day one of DSEI, Mr Hammond explained that while Defence Reform is ongoing to produce a smaller, more efficient Ministry of Defence, these reforms find an echo in what is now expected of industry.

He said: “By making MOD a more intelligent customer, we’re putting the emphasis on industry to make itself more efficient, to reduce its overheads, to streamline processes, to invest in the latest equipment facilities. That, I know, will not be a pain-free challenge. This exhibition is an excellent example of the opportunities that we can create when government and industry work together, hand in hand, with a shared objective.”

Britain: Open for Business

UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) presented a UK Capability Showcase at DSEI 2013, with large screens announcing ‘Britain: open for business’. This comes on the back of another successful year for UK defence and security exports, which in 2012 totalled £11.5 billion. In defence alone, £8.8 billion of new UK export business was won, up 62 per cent on the 2011 figure, in a global market that grew by 45 per cent. The UK continues to be the second most successful defence exporter, only behind the USA, and to capture 20 per cent of the global defence export market (based on a rolling ten-year average).

Designed to illustrate the partnership between government and industry in the UK, the UKTI showcase displayed a range of equipment and solutions while promoting the Government’s strong export message. The range of capabilities on display came not only from the UK’s innovative prime contractors but also from a number of small and medium-sized companies who can offer solutions not just for current, but also future requirements.

Innovative solutions

Ultimately it was the innovative solutions on display across the four days that stole the show. One such solution was offered by British company OptaSense, which is owned by UK research and technology company QinetiQ. OptaSense specialises in Distributed Acoustic Sensing, which takes existing regular communications fibre-optic cables and converts them into virtual microphones. This is done by shooting light down the cables and measuring disturbances in how the light bounces back. What’s impressive is that OptaSense is able to detect and tell the difference between vehicles (even when they are not on the ground) and footsteps.

Two possible applications of this technology are critical site security and border and military security. For example, the system can be deployed along borders to deliver alerts on trafficking, smuggling, illegal entry and other activity requiring monitoring. It can also be adopted into existing security infrastructures to enhance monitoring over longer distances – a single OptaSense Interrogator Unit can act as a live listening sensor to cover over 40 kilometres of border.

Magnus McKewan-King, Managing Director of OptaSense, said: “In a lot of the markets we are touching there is no solution. The reason you don’t have CCTV every ten metres across a border or a perimeter is that it’s too expensive to do it. So what we’re tapping into is the need for persistent total surveillance of the entire length of these linear assets.”

speedboat 2 (2)

In the Naval Zone, CTruck offered demonstrations of its Twin-Hulled Offshore Raider (THOR). Inside THOR there is an array of surveillance screens, while there is no need for seatbelts as the catamaran design offers impressive stability within the vehicle despite its acceleration and sudden stops. Through the narrow windows around the sides of the vehicle, only the spray of the Thames was visible when THOR demonstrated its manoeuvrability. There was always, however, an aura of complete control.

THOR is designed to fulfil a number of roles, including protection of amphibious sea lanes, casualty extraction from a beach, carrying and deploying a pre-landing force, riverine patrol, protection of harbours and offshore installations, unmanned surface vessel operations (for protection and mine countermeasures), and disaster relief.

Defence and security is a broad and far-reaching industry, as the stands and displays at DSEI 2013 amply demonstrated. It would be easy to be swept up in the whirl of business, marketing and spectacle found throughout the event, but the innovation, ideas and solutions on display were truly remarkable. In areas such as surveillance, communications, medical solutions, space, counter-terrorism, cyber security, sustainable biofuel, product testing, and vehicles – companies showcased pioneering solutions demonstrating that the UK defence and security industry has capability in abundance, with much of it crossing over into the civil sector. The skill-set within UK defence is clearly strong, and the industry’s originality in concept, design and manufacturing looks bound to continue.

Further Information

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DPRTE 2013 – the next major defence procurement event

Defence Procurement Research, Technology & Exportability (DPRTE) 2013 is the next major defence event to mark in your calendar, taking place on 20 November in Bristol.

DPRTE presents the most significant opportunity for policy makers, technology users and technology producers to fully explore the changing dynamics of the defence sector and emerging technology markets and identify new business growth opportunities within the UK and overseas defence and security markets.

For more information on the event, visit