- December event saw more than 100 SMEs participate from across the UK
- Call for SMEs still open via ‘Open Innovation- Space’ achieves significant results in first 6 months
- More than 100 SMEs apply to scheme committed to diversifying and growing the UK’s space industrial footprint
- Airbus led consortium unites £5.8 billion spend in UK
Stevenage, 7 January 2020 – The Airbus led space industry consortium for future UK military satellite communications, had more than 100 SMEs take part in its recent online event. The consortium is focusing on the UK’s prosperity agenda with a commitment to grow the UK SME eco-system within the UK space industry. The consortium, comprising KBR, Leidos UK, Northrop Grumman and QinetiQ spends more than £5.8 billion annually in the UK supply chain.
During the online event held at the beginning of December, Airbus and its partners hosted speakers from the consortium, the MOD and existing SMEs in the supply chain. Topics included an SME viewpoint of the sector, supply chain requirements and how a small, innovative business can prepare itself better. The event also covered collaboration with SMEs from a UK government perspective and why an innovative supply chain is important to Airbus and its partners.
Richard Franklin, Managing Director, Airbus Defence and Space UK said: “Our vision for future milsatcoms for the UK is aligned to government policy in making a major contribution to the UK’s prosperity agenda, building up space capability and engagement across the SME community. Through our consortium we already count more than 2,350 SMEs among our supply chain and we are looking to bring more on board, bringing both innovative products and solutions but more importantly new ways of thinking. This will not only benefit the services the consortium can deliver but also expand the number of companies across the UK involved in the space economy and further strengthen sovereignty and value for money.”
In June the consortium launched its call “Open Innovation – Space” to encourage SMEs to see how they could contribute. In its first six months more than 100 companies were in touch, to offer ideas on how they could bring their expertise to improve mission critical communication services and associated space, ground and management segments.
Richard Franklin continued: “The Open Innovation – Space initiative is still open and I am looking forward to even more companies signing up to see how they can contribute to the future of secure communications for the UK’s armed forces. We encourage those interested to visit www.openinnovationspace.uk.”
Nick Caleb from QinetiQ said: “The consortium partners have been at the heart of the UK’s defence and space sector for more than 50 years and SMEs from across the UK have been a vital part of this heritage. Our consortium will ensure that SME engagement is at the centre of our solution to drive innovation, enable successful delivery and simplify collaboration for the continued sovereignty of UK space and supporting future UK prosperity.”
Airbus in the UK is recognised as a global leader in the design and manufacture of advanced telecommunications satellites and is a trusted prime contractor for some of the most complex space science and exploration missions in the world. Airbus provides a range of space-based services to customers worldwide including the support of the UK Armed Forces, and its NATO Allies, by delivering and operating the Skynet military communications system, providing 24/7 services across the world for more than 15 years.
Open Innovation - Space – Portal www.openinnovationspace.uk
The UK’s space industry champion Airbus, has teamed with KBR, Leidos UK, Northrop Grumman and QinetiQ to bring new thinking to future space solutions including the UK’s future milsatcom requirements. At the heart of the UK’s space and technology sector, the consortium has developed leading edge design, manufacturing and services across the entire space domain with experience stretching for more than 50 years.
The consortium has a shared vision of the future which will address new threats and future user requirements. Building on its unique experience, the group will deliver choice, sovereignty and value for money.
Airbus Defence and Space
The Skynet 5 programme, managed by Airbus, has provided the UK MOD with a suite of highly robust, reliable and secure military communications services, supporting operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans. The programme commenced by using the legacy Skynet 4 satellites and then augmenting them with a fully refurbished ground network before launching the Skynet 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D satellites between 2007 and 2012. Through the many years of Airbus delivering an exceptionally reliable Skynet service the programme has reduced or removed many of the technical and service risks for the MOD, whilst ensuring unrivalled secure satellite communications to UK forces delivering both operational and information advantage at the greatest time of need.
KBR delivers science, technology and engineering solutions to governments and companies around the world. KBR’s global Government Solutions business includes capabilities that cover the full lifecycle of defense, space, aviation and other government programs and missions from research and development, through systems engineering, test and evaluation, program management, to operations, maintenance, and field logistics. Its Government Solution business within EMEA is a key partner to the UK Government supporting strategic, long term programmes such as Army basing and operations, nuclear decommissioning, military flying training and overseas contingency support. It also acts as a delivery partner integrating technologies and designing systems into solutions to meet client needs.
Leidos is a global science and technology company delivering innovative solutions and services for mission critical applications in Space, Defence, Intelligence, and National Security. With over 37,000 professionals, many with advanced qualifications and prior military service, we field the broad range of capabilities essential to deliver advantage in the information age. In the UK, Leidos is a strategic supplier to HMG and employs over 1100 personnel supporting technology and business process transformation programmes for clients such as the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and Met Police.
Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.
QinetiQ is a global integrated defence and security company focused on mission-led innovation for defence, security and civil customers around the world. We are 6000 people creating new ways of protecting what matters most; testing technologies, systems, and processes to make sure they work as expected; and enabling customers to deploy new and enhanced-existing capabilities with the assurance they will deliver the outcomes required.
QinetiQ are trusted providers of research, technology, advice, products and services to civil, military and national security customers for secure satellite communications, secured navigation, Space weather and Earth observation.