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Maintaining the tradition of the Spitfire in today’s Royal Air Force, the Typhoon is being upgraded with new weapon systems and avionics

companies large and small to assist us in devising ‘persistent surveillance from the air’ and ‘agile immersive training’, while also improving our approach to ‘Autonomy and big data’. I was gratified to see the wide range of organisations among the winners of both rounds. They include: the University of Birmingham – creating a radar to detect slowmoving targets in dense foliage; and Amethyst Research Ltd – an SME devising new infrared sensing capabilities. Critically, some of our larger players, including Airbus, are putting their own resources behind these challenges. I am determined that co-investment between MOD and industry will become a growing trend as we develop capability for multiple markets. We look forward to similar successes as the competitions progress and, ultimately, to seeing some of these nascent technologies hitting the international market. But this


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is just the start – we have much further to travel if we are to realise the full potential of the UK Defence Sector. That’s why BIS and UKTI have established an “Aerospace hub” enhancing our support for companies throughout the supply chain. Finally, we need to do more to tell the story of British aerospace. Over the past century this industry created the Spitfire, the Harrier jump jet and the Comet – the world’s first jet airliner. In recent times, we even landed a probe on the back of a speeding comet! It is currently creating an aerospace vehicle with the capacity to enter space at orbital velocity. We must publicise these achievements if we’re to electrify the next generation of engineers and inspire them to write the next chapter in this story. Eighty years ago, Britain built arguably one of the most famous and best-loved British brands. Today we’re getting the full might of Team UK – backed by the second largest defence budget in NATO – behind us. I am confident that, notwithstanding the recent decision to leave the EU, the UK has a bright future as a leader in Defence, in Europe and around the world.


27/06/2016 18:31

RAF Air Power 2016 – Inspiration and Innovation  

An official publication of the Royal Air Force

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