Speaking at the Northern Defence Industries (NDI) annual conference, Defence Minister Philip Dunne highlighted the invaluable and innovative work being carried out by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME’s) across the UK’s Defence industry.
As part of his key note speech, the Defence Minister revealed that £1.4 million has been invested this year in 7,500 Xtract®2 stretchers from Yorkshire based TSG associates. Designed by Gulf-war veteran Colin Smart and his company, the stretchers weigh just 1.5kg, compared to the weight of a standard stretcher of around 10kgs, and are capable of carrying three times the weight of an average soldier.
Following his speech to the NDI, Mr Dunne paid a visit to Merseyside-based ship engine specialist James Troop & Co to review progress of a £2million deal to replace the generator sets on seven Royal Navy Mine Hunters.
With the generators now in place on all seven ships James Troop will focus on training naval personnel on engine maintenance as well as providing on-going technical and spare parts support.
Defence Minister Philip Dunne said:
We recognise that the UK’s defence contractors, whatever their size, are a vital source of innovation in our supply chain, and in the last year, the MOD has done business with over 5,400 Small and Medium Enterprises, worth over £800 million.
By harnessing this expertise, whether from a veteran with front line experience or from one of the UK shipping industry’s oldest companies, we are securing highly skilled UK jobs and ensuring our Armed Forces have the very best possible equipment available.
The MOD and the Government have recently reiterated our commitment to SMEs. We launched the Defence Growth Partnership (DGP) Innovation Challenge in March this year, while also setting up Supply Chain Champions, giving companies an easier “in” to the defence industry. They have also appointed an SME champion to be a voice for innovative SMEs across the country and are encouraging Prime contractors to open up their supply chains, to help bring innovative design and technology into the defence sector.