DEFENCE AND SECURITY MARKETS IN GOOD SHAPE
By Julian Nettlefold
BATTLESPACE meets Richard Paniguian CBE, Head of the U.K. Defence and Security Organisation during IDEX
23 Feb 09. BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold met up with Richard Paniguian CBE, Head of the U.K. Defence and Security Organisation during IDEX to discuss the world market for defence and security products and the U.K. standing in international ratings.
“Do you expect the U.K. to remain at the number one position as in 2008?” The Editor asked.
“Last year was exceptional with the Saudi Typhoon order and we are unlikely to repeat the performance this year, particularly given the economic conditions. Having said that we expect to remain in the top three world exporters.”
“Has the economic downturn affected world defence and security markets?”
“No, the world market for defence and security products is in good shape. In fact as Governments address the more complex situation and increased security risk, our job has become more demanding. The threat level has increased significantly since the turn of the Century and shows no sign of relenting. The demand for defence and security products in all forms is on the rise with spending actually increasing in the next two years.”
“Is a stable Middle East critical to this scenario?”
“Yes, as always, the Middle East remains a focal point for world security, world peacekeeping requires a significant contribution from the Middle East countries and they are certainly rising to that challenge with increased investment in defence and security.”
“There is a perception, perhaps wrong, that the current Government is not supportive of our defence industry?”
“No, that is not true, the appointment of Lord Mervyn Davies as Industry Minister is a very positive move.”
“Do you see your job as an Ambassador for the whole U.K. Defence Industry?”
“Whilst my remit is to market U.K. defence products around the globe, we see that the majors such as BAE, Finmeccanica and Thales have very significant export departments with all the supporting staff. It is the small to medium SME’s which require our support and it is to that end that we have our Small Business Unit which offers expert help, linked to the in-country Defence Attaché network to offer specialist help to these enterprises for such items as Export Licences and in-country representation. The SME represents the best in what the U.K. has to offer in terms of technology and innovation.”
“Do you see a major order being announced here at IDEX?”
“No, although there are a number of projects in the pipeline in the Middle East, we don’t see an announcement this week for a U.K. Company.”