AUDS and Collaboration: Mark Radford

The Anti-UAV Defence System (AUDS) is a counter drone system that is designed to disrupt and neutralise unmanned aircraft systems.The technology has been developed through a UK partnership of Blighter Surveillance Systems, Chess Dynamics and Enterprise Control Systems.

Here Blighter Surveillance Systems CEO Mark Radford talks to MOD Defence Contracts Bulletin Features Editor Julie Shennan – at the Farnborough International Airshow – about defence collaboration and AUDS technology.





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MOD smoothes way for SMEs to do business with defence

The Ministry of Defence has launched a new policy for small and medium-sized enterprises, cutting red tape to make it easier for smaller businesses to work with defence. The changes will help the MOD drive towards its target of 25% of all procurement spending – both direct and indirect – going to SMEs by 2020.

The final set of published figures for the last parliament showed the MOD as achieving a total of 19.4%, or £3.8 billion, with SMEs in 2014/15. In order to achieve the spend target of 25% by 2019/20 this figure will need to increase to around £4.9 billion, and the refreshed SME policy is designed to help achieve this. The revised policy has been developed in partnership with SMEs, trade associations and other government departments.

It will see a new Supply Chain Champion, and a supply chain advocate network, to provide single points of contact for suppliers; and a fresh assault on red tape with unnecessary bureaucracy amended or scrapped by the middle of 2016. The Department is exploring ways of simplifying its procurement processes, for example by investigating the use of purchase order templates for the simplest low-value and low-volume contracts.

Minister of State for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne MP said: “We spend £4 billion a year with small firms, and this new policy is a signal of our intent to do more to tap into the innovation of SMEs in our supply chain. This new approach will harness UK brainpower so that our Armed Forces get the best possible equipment, deliver better value for money, and boost exciting new companies.”

Cyber security: protection through partnership

Peter ArmstrongThe Ministry of Defence has set out to boost the UK’s cyber security, in partnership with a number of the country’s leading defence firms. Here, Peter Armstrong, Director of Cyber Security at Thales UK, one of the firms involved, outlines for MOD DCB the partnership’s key priorities for the year ahead.

A report released earlier this year by KPMG revealed that British FTSE 350 firms are failing to keep their networks safe, and as a result are putting the safety of Britain’s economy and national security under threat due to simple flaws in web security. And it’s not just the larger firms that are causing concern; a survey by McAfee also highlighted that despite British small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) providing training in IT and security, their employees often fail to prevent breaches and data leaks. As the number of threats to British businesses rises month on month, the cyber support to allow British firms and their suppliers to help prevent the nation coming under attack becomes ever more critical.

The Ministry of Defence has acknowledged the need for better cyber security by launching the Defence Cyber Protection Partnership (DCPP) in conjunction with other government agencies and nine UK defence and telecoms firms including GCHQ, BAE Systems, BT and Thales UK. The partnership’s main focus will be to reduce threats to the UK’s defence supply chain, particularly from the aggregation of low-level risks, with the intention of eventually filtering the output down to benefit trade and industry too.

DCPP: just another cyber security partnership?

The creation of the DCPP intends to build upon the UK’s ongoing commitment to the reinforcement of the UK as a safe place to do online business; it is an important government-industry cyber initiative formed to improve the cyber defences of the MOD’s supply chain. The DCPP will work to define and apply a new standards framework that protects investments already made in cyber security, eventually rolling it out to the whole defence industry. It will achieve this by setting high standards, developing best practice, sharing real-time information about the type and extent of cyber attacks that each company is experiencing, and raising the awareness and defence posture in the defence supply chain.

Understandably there may be questions around why the Government needs to launch yet another private/public sector cyber security partnership – surely there are enough of those already? It has been compared to the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP) which launched in March this year to encourage information and intelligence sharing across the private and public sectors. The DCPP, though, has a clear remit to augment, refine or accelerate existing initiatives and as such will support CISP and other initiatives in this field, avoiding duplication but reinforcing the overall cyber defence posture, according to the MOD.

There will be three key activity streams to the DCPP in 2013: information sharing; development of threat-derived cyber standards and a measurement framework (spearheaded by Thales); and communication and awareness in the supply chain. The partnership will address the lack of awareness of cyber risks across the supply chain, with the DCPP partners all collaborating on these activities with a clear focus to improve standards and practices of cyber defence in the whole MOD supply chain.

Protecting the supply chain

The protection of UK companies from cyber attack is one of the most pressing national security issues of the day, identified as a UK National Tier 1 Threat, and the DCPP will encourage the supply chain to embark upon this improvement journey together, both requiring and fostering collective responsibility. Typically, companies’ IT systems and networks must, by necessity, carry large amounts of highly sensitive information, enticing cyber crooks and increasing the impact that any potential attack could make tenfold. Aeronautics giant and IT supplier to the US Pentagon, Lockheed Martin, learnt this lesson the hard way when it famously came under attack in 2011 as a result of hacks at two of its suppliers. This is a classic example of aggregated low-level risk at work.

There are currently over 50 security regulatory standards in existence across the globe, which are adopted by companies according to their geography, industry sector and unique security compliance needs. For multi-national and/or multi-sector organisations this creates a massive compliance headache when trying to improve the security maturity of one’s supply chain. The DCPP intends to create a framework that straight-forwardly compares the effectiveness of these many standards when measured against the threat-derived controls that the MOD is requiring its suppliers to embrace. This will allow organisations that have already invested in a compliance regime to preserve their investments and only augment their regime with a few additional threat-derived controls. The new framework will utilise an easy to use set of assessment frameworks with an easy to understand formula to determine the level of rigour different organisations need to apply to defence in the context of these controls.

Once the DCPP has produced its assessment framework and ensured the members themselves are complying, the members will start extending the compliance to these controls throughout their supply chains, including SMEs. In 2014 the partnership will open up its membership to other firms and eventually to firms in other industries, enabling greater collaboration across the country to tackle the growing threat of cyber attacks on the supply chain.

Spreading the word

The DCPP will enable a collaborative approach to cyber defence across the entire MOD supply chain, and will ensure that every stage of the procurement, manufacturing and delivery process is as secure as it can possibly be. It is imperative that UK businesses acknowledge that cyber attacks are now ranked as a Tier 1 threat to national security, and understand that any company of any size can be hit in a chain of attack.

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MoD Industry Briefing

28 June – MoD intends to hold an Industry Briefing on 26 July 2013 at Intellect EnterMinistry of Defenceprise Ltd, Russell Square House,10 – 12 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5EE.  The event will commence at 1000hrs and is expected to conclude around 1600hrs.

The aim of the event is to update Industry on the LE TacCIS Programme.  This centres upon a need to ensure demonstrable value for money whilst simultaneously bearing down upon non-essential costs.  Also, in the current economic climate, it is even more imperative that industry and the MoD work together to deliver the required capability at reduced cost whilst ensuring a fair and equitable return for industry in a more transparent environment.

The day itself will consist of MoD outlining its latest thinking on the roles and responsibilities of a Delivery Partner, and the support required of a ‘Systems House’ for the development of High Level Design Requirements.  BATCIS will outline its current views on potential acquisition approaches.  This would be followed by targeted workshops to enable an early exchange of views.

Industry representatives who can contribute to the technical, commercial and business aspects are invited to register their interest in attending by the closing date of 08 July 2013. Due to limitations on numbers at the venue, preference will be given to companies with current involvement in a relevant Communications and Information Systems environment and, not necessarily current Defence suppliers of CIS elements.  In order to maximise participation in this event, BATCIS reserve the right to admit only one representative per company. Consequently, delegates are requested to submit names on ‘1+1’ basis where, if the event is over subscribed, the second named delegate would not be invited.  Any company who has expresses an interest in the Industry Day but is unsuccessful in securing a place will be sent the outputs.  The event is open to large, medium and small enterprises.


The ‘Systems House’ Construct will develop High Level Design Requirements for the LE TacCIS programme, will be selected by competition and provide expertise in the tactical communications market.

The Customer Friend role and Legacy Support aspects of the LE TacCIS programme are subject to ongoing competition and will not be discussed at this event.

Expressions of interest should be sent by Email to:

Where a representative’s Company holds/has recently held a contract within Defence CIS please state the contract number and your company’s role.