A|D|S, the UK’s AeroSpace, Defence and Security trade organisation, publishes its manifesto for the defence sector ahead of the forthcoming General Election.
The manifesto makes clear that in recent years the defence industry has provided over £4bn worth of equipment to the front line extremely rapidly through Urgent Operational Requirements (UORs). This is equipment needed to save lives, that can go from concept to reality in a matter of weeks and proving the industry is versatile and fleet-footed. The industry also works hand-in-hand with the UK Armed Forces from factory to frontline, with over 4,000 industry personnel are currently working with troops in Afghanistan.
Furthermore, defence is a vital part of UK manufacturing and a sector where global growth potential exists to contribute to the UK economy’s recovery from recession, the manifesto says. The industry has seen strong growth in recent years, whereas much of the rest of manufacturing has been slipping into decline. A study by Oxford Economics has shown that an investment of £100m in defence would deliver an output of £227m.
That investment would also bring about an estimated additional 1,885 jobs. Each year defence exports provide on average £5bn to the UK economy, and it is the largest overseas supplier of defence equipment to the United States. The demand from overseas for British-made equipment — from fast jets to helicopters to electronic systems to personal kit for individual troops — is high because of its quality and provenance. Its use by UK Forces in recent campaigns also provides confidence to export customers.
Ian Godden, Chairman of A|D|S, said: “Our manifesto seeks to demonstrate to the next Government that our industry is not making demands of politicians, but is instead promoting what the industry can achieve for the country providing it receives sufficient support to do so. We offer a route out of recession and excellent returns on initial investment, not to mention our main function, which is to provide the best possible equipment for our armed forces in partnership with the Government of the day.