PAUL EVERITT Chief Executive, ADS Group, the UK trade association for the Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industries The UK aerospace sector: contributing to peace and prosperity
he history of the UK aerospace and defence industries is closely tied to our national security and the need to sustain dominance in the air. The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) reaffirmed the importance of military air capability and set the context for the coming years. The commitment by the UK Government to meet the 2% NATO target, to increase Ministry of Defence expenditure by 1% per annum in real terms, and to ensure all efficiency gains are available to reinvest into defence equipment and support provides welcome stability and certainty through until 2020. The SDSR committed to a range of air capabilities, including an additional F-35B Lightning II squadron and two additional Typhoon squadrons, alongside investment in ground attack capabilities and a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to ensure Typhoon can continue to operate until at least 2040. The SDSR also committed to continued investment in new precision weapons, remotely piloted aircraft and the Boeing P-8A maritime patrol aircraft. The military aerospace sector has been a particular UK success story. It has generated 70% of the UK’s defence exports, ensuring that the UK maintains an operational advantage over others, and the freedom to act where and when the national interest has required. It has also made a major contribution to the UK’s place at the forefront of technological and engineering developments in aerospace, sustaining highly skilled, well-paid jobs. The Typhoon programme, for example, sustains some 16,000 jobs across the supply chain in different parts of the country. The UK is also responsible for manufacturing 15% by value of each and every F-35 aircraft, with around 500 suppliers across the country contributing to the production of the programme.
Critical parts and components supplied by UK companies include the aft fuselage in Lancashire; the development and integration of the lift-fan system in Bristol; high-density circuit boards made in Tewkesbury; and the ejection seat produced in Buckinghamshire. In order to make the most of our success and maximise industry’s contribution to the nation’s prosperity, industry and government are working together through the Defence Growth Partnership (DGP). The DGP is a unique collaboration between 16 major defence companies, the Department of Business Innovation and Skills and the Ministry of Defence, and is designed to increase exports, foster innovation and improve the competitiveness of the whole value chain. Fostering innovation is essential to giving UK industry an advantage against international competition. The DGP – through initiatives including the UK Defence Solutions Centre, Innovation Challenges and the Dual Use Technology Exploitation programme – is able to engage the complete value chain, so that industry and its international customers benefit from the wealth of technological innovation concentrated in companies of all sizes throughout the sector. The 2016 Farnborough International Airshow will provide an important opportunity for UK companies to showcase their expertise. The UK Defence Solutions Centre, working alongside colleagues at the UKTI Defence and Security Organisation, will lead engagement with the many military delegations expected during the week. Together with the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford, Farnborough will provide an opportunity for the industry and wider public to get their first look at the F-35, as it displays for the first time in the UK. Industry and government working together are providing the route to sustaining our national security and prosperity.
INSPIRATION AND INNOVATION AIR POWER 2016
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