2020 Highlights

Published 14 December 2020

Reviewing all the achievements of our staff, and our role in making this a successful year for our partners in the UK armed forces

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This year has been a year like no other, with the world reacting to the unforeseen circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has created new challenges for everyone – our organisation and our partners included.

However, we are incredibly proud of all that our staff have achieved over the past 12 months.

As the last weeks of the year draw to a close we reflect on some of our biggest stories from 2020 and the essential role that our staff played in everything from volunteering in their local communities, to supporting UK armed forces and the prosperity of the UK through new contracts, and providing essential support to the national COVID-19 relief efforts.

Here are some of our 2020 highlights from the past year.

DE&S proud to see kit playing key role in COVID-19 response

A large grey aircraft taking off from the runway.

Across the UK, kit procured by DE&S for the armed forces has played a vital role in supporting the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

RAF Merlin helicopters at Culdrose in Cornwall aided in transporting medical staff and supplies across an area stretching from the Isles of Scilly to Bristol – while at the other end of the country A400M transport planes assisted in air-lifting a patient from the Shetlands to Aberdeen hospital.

The kit that we procured and support over recent years has helped our emergency services to save lives in the national response to the Covid-19 crisis.

You can read more on that story here.

Scottish home for Poseidon fleet reaches major milestone

An infographic showing facts about the Royal Air Force's Poseidon aircraft

2020 was a big year for the Poseidon programme, as it hit a number of major milestones.

July saw DE&S take control of the 33,000 square meter, £100 million strategic facility at RAF Lossiemouth, which is now home to 2,200 personnel.

Just one month later, a new state-of-the-art simulator was delivered to RAF Lossiemouth, which is capable of linking up to mission simulators used by the rear crew – allowing pilots and their crew to train alongside one another on this new fleet of aircraft.

And in October the first three Poseidon MRA Mk1 aircraft to their new home. On October 13, ZP802 ‘City of Elgin’ was the first of the submarine-hunting aircraft to land at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, and was followed the next day by ‘Pride of Moray’ and ‘Terence Bulloch’.

All nine of the Poseidon MRA Mk1 fleet are expected to be in the UK by the end of 2021.

You can read more on that story here

DE&S partners with Women’s Engineering Society

We are dedicated to being a diverse and inclusive employer, as well as playing a role in developing the next generation of engineering talent.

Alongside our existing relationships with BAME, LGBT+ and other gender equality organisations across the Defence industry, we were proud to partner with the Women’s Engineering Society for the first time this year – an organisation which has been championing diversity in engineering since 1919.

You can read more on that story here.

DE&S staff gain Ambassadors for Autism accreditation

A University of Bath logo featuring the text Centre for Applied Autism research on a grey background

This year we partnered with the Centre for Applied Autism Research (CAAR) at the University of Bath in order to adapt our recruitment process to be more inclusive and accessible for neuro-diverse candidates.

Did you know that, despite possessing valuable skills, 85% of autistic people are not in full time work, and almost half of those in work are over-educated or over-skilled for their role?

You can read more on that story here.

DE&S staff part of huge team effort to set up new Nightingale Hospital in Bristol

a young woman wearing glasses, explaining something on a white board behind her

In just four weeks, our colleagues worked alongside partners in the NHS and other organisations to get the new 300-bed NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol up and running.

We were very proud of those who volunteered from across the business and who formed a 2,000-strong team from across various organisations, Government departments and more than 100 companies to provide increased emergency capacity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can read more on that story here.

UK’s first world-leading Protector aircraft undertakes maiden flight

An infographic showing a drone flying in a clear blue sky, with data surrounding it.

The Protector aircraft went through a number of firsts this year, with an announcement in July that three aircraft were to be manufactured as part of a £65 million contract – which was followed by the first aircraft taking flight in September.

Due to enter service in mid-2024, the aircraft is capable of flying consistently for up to 40 hours at a time, and carries innovative anti-icing and lightning protection to keep it operating even in adverse weather conditions.

You can read more on that story here.

Upgraded digital sensor-to-shooter system allows allied nations to share tactical information

A large tank-like vehicle draped in camouflage faces towards the camera as it drives through the snow.

Our daily work is focused on delivering the very best kit, service and support for the UK’s armed forces, and that includes how they can best collaborate with international allies on the battlefield.

This year saw the delivery of an innovative sensor-to-shooter digital system which supports the transfer of strategic operational commands between allied forces in just seconds. This is an essential safety feature which enables those on the front line to confirm hostile targets before opening fire.

You can read more on that story here.

£2.4bn ammunition deal secures thousands of UK jobs

An infographic showing facts about ammunition production around the UK

Recently we announced a new £2.4 billion contract to equip UK armed forces with essential fire power, which will also sustaining 4,000 jobs around the UK over the next 15 years.

The Next Generation Munitions Solution secures the supply of cutting-edge key munitions for the front line while delivering even great value for the taxpayer – with BAE Systems identifying around £400 million in savings and efficiency opportunities.

You can read more on that story here.

World-leading radar to be developed for RAF Typhoons

Infographic showing a fighter jet in flight, with a cut away showing how its radar system works

The culmination of years of collaborative work, the new European Common Radar System will support electronic warfare and electronic attack capabilities to the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Typhoons.

In addition to improving the capability of the RAF’s Typhoons, this contract secures more than 600 highly-skilled jobs across the UK.

You can read more on that story here.

Volunteers go green with One Tree Per Child

It’s been a busy year for our amazing volunteers. Back in February, 20 DE&S staff worked with Bristol City Council and a local primary school to support the One Tree Per Child scheme.

Each DE&S volunteer donated £25 to take part, raising £400 for the Bristol and Bath Parks Foundation – a charitable partnership aimed at supporting local communities to improve their local green spaces and to promote wellbeing.

The scheme, which launched in Bristol in 2015, aims to have every child in the city plant one tree as part of their primary school activity, and by the end of 2016 a total of 39,000 trees had already been planted.

You can read more on that story here.

DE&S negotiates contract for production of world-class autonomous minehunting systems for Royal Navy

Reducing the risk to life is a key part of our role in supporting the UK armed forces, and our recent minehunter contract illustrates our dedication to keeping service personnel out of harm’s way.

Announced in November, the £184 million contract will build autonomous minehunting boats to defeat modern sea mine threats and keep sea lanes open, with much-reduced risk to ships and the lives of sailors.

You can read more on that story here.

Project Claustrum – A small project providing big benefits to prisoners

Working with HM Prison and Probation Service, we have played a crucial role in upskilling hundreds of prisoners at HMP Lindholme, training them in vital engineering and woodworking skills to support their rehabilitation and employment prospects.

The scheme, which is being run across 26 prisons in England and Wales, includes the preparation and repair of toolkits and the refurbishment of jacks that were previously deemend beyond economic repair – saving the MOD 50 per cent compared to buying new.

You can read more on that story here.

Special covers keep RAF Chinooks in top condition

An illustration of a helicopter highlighting the motor and rotor blades

In February we announced the introduction of bespoke covers to keep UK armed forces’ 60-strong fleet of Chinook helicopters in the best possible condition, no matter where they are deployed around the world.

With the aircraft deployed in a wide range of weather conditions and climates – from the Arctic Circle, to the deserts of the Middle East – a total of 48 different protective covers and accessories have been developed to keeps the helicopters flying and in the best maintenance condition no matter the circumstances.

You can read more on that story here.

Heat and hard work: conservation project sees Franki helping sea turtles in nesting season

A baby turtle crawls towards the sea on a sandy beach

Another of our staff to make the most of our flexible working system, which includes options for special paid leave for public duties like charity work, is Franki – who returned to a volunteering project close to her heart; turtle protection.

Working in Zakynthos, Greece, she supported the local National Marine Park in protecting nesting sites from tourists and predators, as well as fitting GPS tracking devices to the turtles, and educating people about the importance of these amazing creatures.

You can read more on that story here.

£183M boost for military helicopter training

A yellow and blue helicopter hovers against a blue sky

Alongside procuring the best aircraft for the job, we also support the UK armed forces in training their personnel to be ready for a range of missions.

Earlier this year we announced a new contract to support state-of-the-art simulators to train pilots, winch operators, and rear-crew to prepare them for a wide range of frontline deployments.

You can read more on that story here.

DE&S Videographer captures top Army prize

Our in-house photographers and videographers are responsible for bringing our stories to life – from cold-weather tank testing, to stories more close to home.

We were incredibly proud when Charlie Perham, who manages the DE&S Photography and video team, was awarded the Professional Video Award for his film on DE&S employee and Commonwealth gold medal winner Indy Dillon.

You can read more on that story here.

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