The week ahead: UK defence sector takes centre stage

2 min read

News editorThe kids are back at school and the days are getting shorter, which can only mean a welcome return for the autumn conference and exhibition season.

London’s ExCel Centre plays host to DSEI this week, providing a showcase for the world’s defence industry that this year sees 1,400 international exhibitors from over 50 countries set up their stands in pursuit of new business.

As well as static displays, the organiser has expanded live waterborne and unmanned demonstrations and specialised zones have been set up dedicated to air, naval, land, security, unmanned, and medical and disaster relief. The latter sees a deployable CT scanner being shown by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (Marshall ADG) and Philips Healthcare.

The scanner can be deployed further forward in the battlefield after being put through its paces in on and off road mobility trials, a month of climatic trials from -32oC to + 550C, and a series of rain and dust penetration tests.

Over 2,000m2 of space has been dedicated to the Unmanned Systems Showcase, which will give visitors the opportunity to see demonstrations of unmanned air and ground vehicles, with Insitu presenting its latest ScanEagle and Integrator unmanned aerial systems, and Recon Robotics showcasing its Throwbot XT offering.

WinterGreen Research estimates the global unmanned air systems to be worth $51bn in 2020 and today sees the formal launch of the UK’s National Aeronautical Centre where Richard Deakin, CEO of NATS, will give a key note address. The centre will be the world’s first testing facility for Unmanned Aircraft Systems in civilian airspace and has been created through a partnership between West Wales Airport and Newquay Cornwall Airport.

Further compelling figures about the performance of the military sector were provided this morning by the prime minister, who reminded us that Britain’s defence sector employs around 100,000 people, enjoys a turnover of £22bn a year with 82 per cent of defence exports (£8.8bn in 2012) coming from aerospace in the past 10 years.

According to Philip Dunne, minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, the next decade will see the UK spend around £160bn on defence equipment and today saw the launch of a new joint government and industry vision for growth in the UK defence sector.

A new report, Securing Prosperity – a strategic vision for the UK Defence Sector, has identified the sector’s strengths and looks at how government and industry will work together to maximise the UK’s competitive advantage in the field.

In a statement, business minister Michael Fallon said, ‘The UK is a market leader on the world stage…But customers’ needs are changing in an uncertain world; competition is fiercer and technology is evolving rapidly. This long-term partnership between government and industry will maximise new opportunities for exports and inward investment, support new skills and generate new jobs in companies of all sizes.’

From defence to energy and news that the Renewables Event returns to Birmingham NEC tomorrow. Those interested in or responsible for on-site renewable energy generation will be able to gather for two days to see products and technologies including wind, biogas/biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar PV and solar thermal energy.

Themes for the conference programme include the government’s commitment to renewables amid recent policy changes (including feed-in-tariff changes), financing onsite renewables and understanding and meeting government incentive schemes.

Co-located with The Renewables Event are The Energy Event, The Water Event (launch show) and RWM 2013 in partnership with CIWM, focused on waste management. All are free to attend for The Renewables Event ticket holders.

This Thursday sees manufacturers in the north west gather at Salford City Stadium for a free conference that will celebrate, share and explore manufacturing excellence in the region.

Organised by the Manufacturing Advisory Service, Manufacturing Matters has been designed for business leaders and professionals from the manufacturing sector who are looking to grow, innovate and thrive and will feature insights into manufacturing excellence from major global brands, as well as innovative and inspiring manufacturers, with workshops, a panel discussion, personal growth stories, and information on how to get access to support and networking opportunities.