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Celebrating the UK´s presence at Latin America´s largest airshow

Speech by Ambassador to Chile, Fiona Clouder following the UK´s presence at the Fidae Regional Air Show, the largest airshow in Latin America.

National Security Capability Review
National Security Capability Review

Thank you for coming along to this reception to celebrate the British presence at Fidae. It is good to see many familiar faces, but also some new ones. We have here the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy, Mark Menzies; Air Marshall Sean Reynolds, representing the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Ministry of Defence; Alexis Hammer and colleagues from the UK’s Defence and Security Organisation (DSO); and Ciaran Martin, from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre; along with a number of British companies.

An impressive delegation and a symbol of the importance the UK places on Fidae as the Latin America’s largest air show. Last night we attended the opening Fidae reception and learnt more about how this air show has grown in importance since it started in 1980, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Chile’s Air Force. It was also good to see Margot Duhalde highlighted. Chile’s leading female pilot, who sadly left us, at the age of 97 just a few weeks ago, but who flew for Britain in World War II.

Also of course, this week we are celebrating one hundred years of Britain’s Royal Air Force. The RAF was formed on 1 April 1918 as the world’s first independent air force. The service was launched in the infancy of aviation and innovation has been central to the delivery of air and space power, culminating in the advanced technology on display this week at Fidae.

I paid tribute to Margot Duhalde and all those who flew for Britain in service and sacrifice in World War I and World War II in a speech for Remembrance Day for the Royal British Legion here in Chile, last November. We are united in sadness at the loss last week of the Chilean Air Force pilots, preparing for Fidae. A poignant reminder of the risks and dangers those who fly face, whether in wartime or peacetime. Just a few weeks ago, the Armada de Chile, kindly invited us to a ceremony to recognise the bravery of their pilots 50 years ago, in ensuring the safe evacuation of British and Chilean scientists, from Deception Island, in the middle of a volcanic eruption.

Celebrating 100 years of the RAF and recognising our shared history is important, but this week we are focussing on the future. Please come along to our stand during the show, find out more about UK expertise and discuss opportunities for collaboration.

The UK has recently published its Industrial Strategy. This sets out grand challenges to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future, ensuring that the UK takes advantage of major global changes, improving people’s lives and the country’s productivity. These include growing the Artificial Intelligence and data driven economy; clean growth; the future of mobility; the ageing society. All challenges faced by both the UK and Chile. All opportunities for collaboration.

Aerospace is part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. The UK is the number one aerospace manufacturer in Europe, second in the world only to the USA. The UK’s aerospace sector supplies high-value, high-tech components for almost every major aircraft platform. The industry makes a significant contribution to the UK economy. It generated over £31bn in turnover in 2016. It exports over 90% of its production directly and employs over 128,000 people with 26,000 in research, design and engineering. The sector is supported by the Aerospace Growth Partnership - a strategic partnership between Government and the industry. Through the Aerospace Technology Institute, the Government is funding research and development of £3.9bn to maintain the growth of the sector and its international competitiveness. Aerospace is an industry driven by technology and this long-term commitment to funding gives industry the certainty it needs to invest in the UK.

The UK space industry is worth over £14bn. The sector includes broadcasting, communications and position navigation and timing. It employs c. 114,000 people across all regions of the UK. The workforce is exceptionally highly skilled, more than any other sector and the industry is R & D intensive. The UK Space Agency is working with industry to grow the UK’s share of the global space market from 6.5% to 10% by 2030. As part of the Industrial Strategy a new £50m programme will enable new satellite launch services and low gravity spaceflights from UK spaceports, which will boost the economy and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The Government has just published a National Security Capability Review, building on the 2015 SDSR (Strategic Defence and Security Review.). It sets out the complex and changing challenges in a more uncertain and volatile world. It establishes a ‘Fusion Doctrine’ to improve a whole-of-government approach to national security. This draws on economic levers, military resources and wider diplomatic and cultural influencing measures to address the many and growing threats.

One of the issues covered in the National Security Capability Review is cyber security. The Head of our National Cyber Security Centre will be talking at Fidae to discuss our approach and the threats.

In this changing world, working together with friends and partners is ever more important. We hope that you will visit the UK stand, and follow up with Embassy colleagues sharing ideas and experiences, and exploring opportunities for partnership and collaboration.

Fiona Clouder, Her Majesty’s Ambassador, 3 April 2018

Published 23 April 2018