Partnership and collaboration were the main buzzwords for this year’s DSEI with countries and companies pledging greater cooperation.

Exhibitors and delegates came from around the world despite travel restrictions enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the exhibition halls were ignited by news of the latest US – UK and Australia tie-up AUKUS, to meet Indo-Pacific threats. The message of collaboration was reinforced by the director of the US’ Defense and Security Cooperation Agency, Heidi Grant: “I think sharing with our US industry, what are those operational challenges so that as a coalition, we can continue to keep the edge, you know, this is something because of the UK, and the US, innovative industry out there. That’s what makes our coalition so strong, and a deterrent against our adversaries because they know that collectively, we have the very best.”

New Medium Helicopter will bring benefits to Global Britain

The UK is seeing a greater focus on defence with programmes like the planned New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement– a replacement for the Puma and other UK forces’ helicopters – drawing attention. Both Leonardo and Airbus both saw the programme bringing enormous benefit to a new Global Britain.

Nick Whitney, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters UK said the AW149 would be a “credible aircraft” to meet NMH requirements. “It’s our conservative estimate that there are at least 500 to 550 sales for this type of aircraft in the export market in the next decade. So a really large opportunity that will deliver UK prosperity, jobs growth and significant foreign direct investment.”

Colin James, Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters UK, said the programme would result in thousands of jobs within the UK. He said: Airbus’s track record is basically for every Airbus job we create, we create 10 in the supply chain. So we’re really talking at the moment about hundreds of Airbus jobs in, in the, in the role and facility, and then of course, local and national supply chain you’re talking about about 1000s.”

The Space industry had a greater presence at this year’s DSEI than ever before and the UK clearly has its eye on this sector with Government launching a new marketplace to make it easier for public and private sector players to take advantage of all of the opportunities the space sector has to offer through the crown Commercial Service, DPS.

AERALIS signs MOU with Rolls-Royce

Back on Earth, AERALIS was demonstrating how the MOD and British government would benefit from pilot training with its modular approach. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with Rolls-Royce for power plants during DSEI and aims to fly their engines around 2024.

AERALIS chairman Brian Hibbert CBE explained how: “Well, AERALIS is an entirely new concept. We’ve really taken commercial aircraft design for Airbus aircraft, which is flexible, they’ve got different sizes, different fuselage, different wings, different engines. And our founder and CEO, who did all the design work originally on this came from Airbus work then in the military field and said, for heaven’s sake, why can’t we do this in on the military side?

“We have a common core fuselage, which takes all the node, we can then put different wings on different tails on for different roles, we can do basic basic jet with a one wing, and then an advanced jet with a swept wing.”

UAS systems dominate

Remotely piloted or unmanned systems were dominant across the show. Flying them, showing them or even proposing to destroy them. Raytheon Systems announced its new high-energy laser system ready to engage with rogue drones while the British Army brought 007 into the fray – the UK’s all-weather ISTAR UAS Watchkeeper.

UMS Skeldar announced the integration of unmanned systems into control airspace as Vice President Business Development and Strategy and David Willems explained: “We flew as part of the ECARO programme. And the breakthrough comes from the fact that the V150 was the first VTOL platform of that size to fly beyond line of sight over a sparsely populated area.”

“The purpose of the programme was to validate the efficiency of European GNSS systems and fly to an airport with a satellite to satellite high altitude approach and down to the airport with high precision.”

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