This week the main players in the security and defence industry are on the HMS Prince of Wales in Portsmouth for Pacific Future Forum. We caught up with Jeff Lewis, Chief Executive and Managing Director at Raytheon UK, to discuss how the defence industry could play a significant role in helping the Government achieve its ‘Global Britain’ ambitions.
The Pacific Future Forum is a key defence and technology summit which aims to bring together democratic nations, providing a platform to convene and debate the most pressing global challenges of today, from climate change and the economic aftershocks of Covid-19 to the future of defence and the technologies of tomorrow.
The Government has often spoken of its vision of a new ‘Global Britain’. How do you think the defence industry is supporting this ambition?
First and foremost, I feel that the industry is playing a key role in supporting this vision through the development of new advanced technologies, delivering innovation and technological advancements in areas such as space and cybersecurity which reinforce Britain’s position on the world stage.
On the one hand, these capabilities help to strengthen alliances abroad, bringing greater stability and cooperation to regions such as the Indo-Pacific – a priority for the government and the main focus of the upcoming Forum.
In addition, they also serve to give Britain the edge versus their adversaries, with private sector-supported innovation helping to better prepare the armed forces for conflicts of the future, whether it be hypersonics or Space satellites.
For example, our experts in cyber deliver advanced systems, solutions and services are at the forefront of efforts to safeguard our national security.
This month we launched our UK cyber security workshops, connecting academics between the US and UK and future students that may chosen careers in cyber security, global connectivity & knowledge exchange is key to our future.
Furthermore, our decades of experience developing space-grade products, is enabling us to share our capabilities and experience on both sides of the Atlantic. Our US roots have helped us bring new skills to the UK’s manufacturing sector, as well as new and proven space technologies from the USA. Not only does this allow us to develop some unique and innovative space technology in the UK, but also reap the benefits from Research and Development (R&D) investment across the Atlantic.
Our international ties will continue to help drive UK prosperity, contributing over £2.7bn to the UK economy and offering a wealth of opportunities to our 4,000 suppliers across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
You mention how innovation and technology are central to achieving this vision. How is Raytheon UK helping to drive this forward?
Over the last five years, Raytheon Technologies has injected significant investment into R&D to support technological innovation and growth in commercial aviation, defence, and space systems and invested in new facilities across the country including a new modern manufacturing facility in Scotland.
The exchange of knowledge and expertise we share with Raytheon Technologies doesn’t just drive innovation, but also job growth in the UK. Raytheon Technologies supports over 35,000 jobs spanning all four corners of the UK. The Government’s push to build stronger relationships with nations in the Indo-Pacific region offers the opportunity for a further pooling of technological capability, in aid of foreign policy objectives.
Businesses like Raytheon Technologies who already have a presence in the region, 15,000 jobs in just the Asia pacific region can help facilitate these relationships, helping with the enactment of new defence partnerships, such as the recently signed Aukus pact between the UK, Australia and the United States, which will be a big driving force for future development and collaboration.
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