UK INDUSTRY TARGETS £20 BILLION GLOBAL UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEMS MARKET
09 Mar 10. A|D|S, the UK’s AeroSpace, Defence and Security trade organisation hosted an event with Lord Drayson, Minister of State for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform, at the Military Air Solutions site of BAE Systems in Warton, Lancashire.
Lord Drayson addressed the need for a refreshed Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS), lessons learned from the first DIS, why the nation should support the defence industry with a particular focus on Unmanned Aerial Systems, their growth in military operations and application in the civil and homeland security domains.
Rees Ward, Chief Executive of A|D|S and Nigel Whitehead, BAE Systems’ Group Managing Director Programmes & Support also addressed the event.
Conducting the ‘dirty, dull and dangerous’ missions, UAS are proving their utility in Afghanistan delivering increased flexibility, ubiquity, intelligence and situational understanding to our armed forces. As technologies and civil applications mature UAS are poised to deliver immense societal, environmental and financial benefits. The UAS industry is developing capability that is clearly applicable across many sectors from reducing transport congestion and its carbon footprint to global environmental monitoring and disaster relief support – for example UAS were recently used in Haiti following the earthquake there. Ultimately, the industry supports the UK’s high value manufacturing base and enhances the digital economy.
Rees Ward, Chief Executive of A|D|S, said: “We welcome Lord Drayson’s commitment to a renewed Defence Industrial Strategy that the UK defence industry hopes will be an integral part of the forthcoming Strategic Defence Review. The review will set out the long-term needs of the country and its armed forces and this will assist the industry in Britain to take its own decisions to be able to provide the required capabilities for our troops.
“A key part of the future for defence and the UK industry in particular will be unmanned aerial systems or UAS. Many British-based companies are well-positioned to seize the opportunities offered by this newly emerging market that is estimated to be worth £20 billion between now and 2020. Applications in the civil sector from disaster relief and climate monitoring to security and border control deliver even greater benefits to the country from this expertise.
“As Europe’s number one defence industry, second only to the US globally, it is vital that we play a full role in these new markets for emerging technologies and to do so we must work in partnership with Government. Our industry employs over 300,000 people across all regions of the UK delivering over £35bn worth of value to our economy every year plus a further £5bn in exports. As the country seeks to recover from recession our industry provides a reliable route to recovery alongside these high-value jobs and the key capabilities for our troops to keep our country safe. Ensuring the sustainability of this crucial contribution should be a key aim of Government for the long-term benefit of Britain.”