The government’s industrial strategy should be used to boost the capability of and, spin off technologies in, the UK defence and security supply chain, according to the head of EEF. The call was made by Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, addressing senior executives at the annual conference of NDI, the organisation representing Britain’s Defence, Security, Aerospace and Space industries.
According to Scuoler the on-going capability of these key sectors is vital to the future of high value manufacturing in the UK and, the capacity of prime contractor leadership. Commenting, Terry Scuoler, said: “The advantage to the UK economy of maintaining key onshore capacity is clear. “It is linked to the development of technology, job creation, supply chain development and potential future export sales and the forthcoming industrial strategy has a key role to play in nurturing and supporting this.
Scuoler welcomed the government commitment to maintain defence and security spending, with a £178bn defence equipment plan announced in 2015 alongside an ongoing commitment to meet our NATA obligation to spend 2% of GDP on defence. “Confirmation on October 1 of the commencement of manufacturing for the Successor programme is also welcome news. The £41bn programme will create tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs and provide opportunities for many hundreds of supply chain companies.
BAE Systems has disclosed it is in talks over a multi-billion-pound arms contract with Saudi Arabia. The announcement by the defence, aerospace and electronics giant will stoke controversy over weapons sales to the Arab kingdom. However, it will hold out a lifeline to aircraft factories in the North West.
For BAE, a new Saudi deal would be an important fillip and a big step towards another contract for the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Talks have been underway for more than two years over a five year deal centred on the sale of 48 Typhoon combat aircraft to Saudi Arabia. Typhoon production in the UK – which takes places at factories in Warton in Lancashire – is slowly winding down because of a lack of export orders.
At current rates production would cease in about five years’ time. The sale of another 48 aircraft would significantly extend the factories’ lives.
The first deal limiting greenhouse gases from international aviation has been sealed after years of wrangling. From 2020, any increase in airline C02 emissions will be offset by activities like tree planting, which soak up C02.
The deal comes in a momentous week for climate policy when the Paris agreement to stabilise climate change passed a key threshold for becoming law. The aviation deal was agreed in Montreal by national representatives at the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO. Attempts have been made for nearly two decades to include aviation and shipping in the UN’s climate agreements, but both sectors have managed to avoid firm targets.
C02 will be allowed to grow to 2020 but after that, emissions will need to be offset. The deal will be voluntary to 2026 but most major nations are expected to take part. Britain’s Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad said: ‘This is an unprecedented deal, the first of its kind for any sector. International aviation is responsible for putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year than the whole of the UK, and yet until now, there has been no global consensus on how to address aviation emissions.
Airbus is to shake up its company structure as it reportedly looks to simplify brands, merge divisions and remove bureaucracy. The aerospace giant is hoping the restructure will result in improved profitability and greater focus on its airliner businesses, with the decision thought to be a reaction to growing global competition.
The firm will simply be referred to as ‘Airbus’, with its commercial airliner brand and its defence, space and helicopter divisions consolidated under the single brand. Chief executive Tom Enders made the announcement and explained: “We are bringing Team Airbus closer together, recognising that our commercial aircraft division is by far the largest contributor to our company’s revenues and financials.” ‘We aren’t just trying to get leaner at the shop-floor level; we are really starting at the top of the company. I would expect, starting from next year, we should see some of these savings come to the bottom line,” Enders continued.
The level of savings and number of layoffs hasn’t been officially announced as yet, however Enders did say the job losses wouldn’t be “insignificant”. He also noted that the company would focus more on digital thinking in production and design, while also speeding up the decision making process to deal with the increased competition the firm is expecting.
Construction of the UK’s four new nuclear submarines is to begin, after the government announced £1.3bn of new investment with defence firm BAE Systems. The “Successor” Is the proposed new generation of submarines to carry the UK’s nuclear deterrent.
The four new Successor submarines, which will carry Trident missiles, are to be built at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness.
The project will move into a new phase, with manufacturing beginning on structural steel work for the first vessel. The defence firm says they will enter service from the 2030s onwards and have a lifespan of at least 30 years.
The Ministry of Defence says several hundred suppliers are expected to be involved in the new programme.
Britain has four Vanguard class submarines that have been in operation since 1992, and had an intended service life of 25 years. One is always deployed at sea, while another undergoes maintenance and two are in port or on training manoeuvres.