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FOREWORD

PHILIP DUNNE MP Minister of State for Defence Procurement Adopting a Team UK approach

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international market to put it in the best position to remain a world leader. And the DGP’s Defence Solution Centre in Farnborough is now showing what we can do. International customers come to us with their intractable problems and we deploy the best British minds from business, academia and government to find solutions. Next we’re looking to tap into the talents of our small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – the engines of innovation. We’re going to find the next generation of RJ Mitchells – Spitfire’s legendary creator. We’ve launched competitions encouraging

CPL NEIL CONDIE / CROWN COPYRIGHT

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ighty years ago, the first prototype Spitfire took off from Eastleigh Aerodrome in Southampton. The flight was such a revelation that upon landing the test pilot, Captain J “Mutt” Summers, was purported to have told the engineers: “Don’t touch a thing.” With its combination of efficient aerodynamics, monocoque construction and high power, the Spitfire would go on to claim a decisive advantage over the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain and other key air campaigns of the Second World War. It was progressively enhanced throughout the war to ensure its pre-eminence over enemy fighters. And, thanks to its evolutionary potential, the Spitfire went on to serve until the mid fifties, well beyond the lifespan of its WW2 contemporaries. Today, the Spitfire lives on. It stands as a potent, internationally recognised symbol of British defence innovation – designed, developed and built in Britain to protect our shores from clear and present danger. But, as the security challenges of tomorrow evolve, as defence budgets are squeezed and as the democratisation of technology steadily erodes the West’s innovation advantage, we need to find the Spitfires of tomorrow. We’re already investing in fifth-generation F-35 Lightning and upgrading our multi-role Typhoons. Yet if we’re to achieve air dominance in future we’ll need much more than superfast attack aircraft. We’ll require the disruptive capabilities, the innovation and the skills that give us that cutting edge. How can we do that? First through collaboration. Four years ago, the Government launched the mould-breaking Defence Growth Partnership. It adopts a Team UK approach, embracing the entire value chain while aligning the UK with the needs of the

Designed by RJ Mitchell, the legendary Spitfire lives on as an internationally recognised symbol of British defence innovation

AIR POWER 2016 INSPIRATION AND INNOVATION

27/06/2016 18:33


RAF Air Power 2016 – Inspiration and Innovation