Sunday, 14 August 2022
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nickwattsIMG 20170907 0924504Figures released on 30th July by the UK's Defence Export Sales Organisation (UKTI DSO) indicate that on a rolling ten-year basis, the UK remains the second largest global defence exporter after the USA. Nick Watts took a look for Defence Viewpoints.

In 2018, the UK won defence orders worth £14bn, up on the previous year (£9bn) and illustrative of the volatile nature of the global export market for defence. The UK share of the global defence export market was estimated at 19% in 2018. The UK's largest defence export markets were the Middle East, North America and Europe. In 2018, the value of UK Security export sales was £5.2bn, an increase from 2017 (£4.8bn), maintaining the UK at 4th place in the rankings. The UK's largest Security export markets were Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America, of which there are more details on the next page.

Read more...  

......but we couldn't resist this story.

Icon Polymer of the Midlands has just received a 79,000 order for rear mudflaps for the Warrior upgrade (tank guards in the parlance)

AND they are going to finish the job by the end of February

AND they are the only people in the UK who can do this sort of thing

AND their customer, the Defence Support Group, says "they will bend over backwards for us. We can't ask any more of them"

AND managing director Tim Pryce led a management buyout earlier this year

AND he came back from 14 years in Massachusetts in 2006 to merge three companies into Icon

AND his team turned an "extremely underperforming" group into a successful one (20 million turnover this year)

AND they are about to stop being an SME as their workforce rises above 230

AND 10% of their sales go to China

AND they are part of the BAE Systems supply chain which has just landed an order for Viking 2 from France

AND their components are on Warthog and Challenger and CVRT and other armoured vehicles

AND they pride themselves on meeting customer requirements "in days not weeks" when required

So who says the Brits can't make things any more?

AND we can't compete with China

AND we can't grow manufacturing industry

AND the defence industry is in decline

AND we can't be innovative and responsive to customers?

Eat your hearts out you spivs, speculators and know-it-alls!


By Peter Luff MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology

This is an abridged version of a speech given at the DVD 2010 show on 23rd June 2010

Our first priority must be ensuring that those we deploy on operations, and therefore those exposed to greatest risk, are provided with the best possible tools available.

Our second priority is the responsibility we have to ensure that we are as ready as can be for whatever future operations come our way.

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The town of Tidworth in Wiltshire has the highest concentration of Army families in the country. Their young children attend Clarendon Junior School, and have written incredibly movingly and perceptively about their fathers.

Joining the Army by Katy

I am in line waiting to join,
With my application form and coins.
I pick up my uniform : my beret and gun,
My life has now just begun.
I run and train on Salisbury Plain,
Getting ready for the war to come.
I'm nervous, scared, excited and sad
I've only just become a lad.
Mates are with me so I'm not alone,
I wish I could only just phone home.

What is a soldier? By Callum

To you a soldier goes to war and destroys,
To me he's my dad who reads me stories and buys me toys.
To you he is a killing machine,
To me he supports the best football team.
To you someone said that's another British soldier dead
To me my dad's memory will stay in my heart and in my head.

Copies of a book containing all the poems can be obtained by sending your name and address plus a cheque for 6 made payable to "Clarendon Junior School" to the school which is at

Arnott Close

As the proceeds are for Help for Heroes, why not add a little more?


As usual, the U.K. media has had a field day in running down this country's contribution to ISAF operations in Afghanistan. This short piece seeks to spoil their story with some facts.

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The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence (Kevan Jones):  The Government committed to implementing in full all the recommendations arising from the Review of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme when it was published on 10 February 2010.  As the Review acknowledged, considerable detailed work is required to translate the Review's high level recommendations in to legislation.  An important first step is the formation of the proposed independent medical expert group, which I an establishing on an interim basis today in order to meet the timescales envisaged by the Review.  The terms of reference, structure and membership of this interim medical expert group which will advise on armed forces compensation is set out below:

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Under new procedures being introduced in the UK Parliament, a Chairman will be elected for the House of Commons Defence Committee on Wednesday 9th June (and for other Departmental Committees too). Nominations will only be accepted for Conservative candidates for HCDC but the whole House will vote. The incumbent is Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP. Westminster rumours indicate there may be a challenger or two.


Figures showing that the UK Armed Forces are currently at 99.5 per cent of their full time Trained Strength requirement have been released today by the MOD. This is up from 97.2 per cent a year ago and shows a continued upward trend in retention.

21,800 new recruits have joined the UK Regular Forces in the 12 months to 31 March 2010.

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As part of the previous Administration's financial settlement with the Northern Ireland Executive linked to the Devolution of Policing and Justice, it was agreed that four defence sites in Northern Ireland which are no longer required by the Ministry of Defence and which would normally be disposed of on the open market should be gifted to the Northern Ireland Executive in order to help boost development and to provide a secure financial future for Northern Ireland, both generally and specifically in relation to policing and justice. The four sites in question are:

St Patrick's Barracks (and related housing), BallymenaSt Lucia Barracks, OmaghShackleton Barracks, BallykellyLisanelly Barracks, Omagh

It is intended that legal transfer of title will complete by 31 August 2010. The disposal value of the sites is estimated at 21 million at 31 March 2010.

In addition, three further disused sites will be sold by Defence Estates in 2010-11 with the proceeds of the sale being passed to the Northern Ireland Executive. These sites are:

Forkhill, ArmaghDrumadd Barracks, ArmaghLaurel Hill House, Coleraine

The Ministry of Defence will transfer to the Northern Ireland Executive 5.5 million.

Source: Departmental minute dated 24th June 2010 concerning the gifting of defence sites to the Northern Ireland Executive.


By Andrew Mok

Today marks 10 years since British troops landed in Freetown and intervened in Sierra Leone's civil war. This product of the Blair government's "ethical foreign policy" was a "short and sweet" success not repeated since. Yet, in the aftermath of Iraq and Afghanistan, the spearhead strategy that worked in Sierra Leone is a useful template for future British interventions. A small, short, and limited insertion of a "spearhead" to open the way for a larger multi-lateral force is politically feasible and fits well with UK capabilities, just the option Britain needs after two protracted, messy counterinsurgencies.

Read more...  

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