Published 20 December 2023

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During its first highly successful year, the Operations Directorate has supported UK and Ukrainian Armed Forces with the rapid procurement of capabilities.

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, DE&S was mobilised to procure the battle-winning equipment required to support Ukrainians in the brave defence of their country. That December, DE&S created the Operations Directorate and tasked it with maximising that support by rapidly sourcing vast amounts of lethal and non-lethal aid for Kyiv.

One year on, it is still delivering. The Directorate is currently coordinating over 250 activity lines across 25 delivery teams. It has collaborated with DE&S delivery teams and wider MOD to procure over £3 billion of lethal aid, including hundreds of thousands of items of desperately needed battlefield equipment. DE&S has sourced communications equipment, medical supplies and body armour, developed cutting-edge Uncrewed Aerial Systems and other high-tech capabilities, and contracted for hundreds of thousands of rounds of in-demand ammunition.

In addition, DE&S has supported the British Field Army in the training of Ukrainian troops by procuring equipment for over 30,000 Ukrainian personnel who are being trained in the UK and Poland. They are currently focused on providing equipment for the upcoming winter.

DE&S Director of Operations, Major General Anna-Lee Reilly, said:

“Our response to the war in Ukraine has demonstrated that, in moments of crisis, DE&S has the knowledge, expertise and dedication required to respond. The last year has been hugely challenging for my team and DE&S more widely but, in collaboration with international allies and our industry partners, we have comprehensively shown how quickly and innovatively we can all work together towards a common defence goal.”

DE&S has rapidly procured equipment and munitions, often in a matter of weeks. For example, procuring drones for Ukraine in just one week from contract to initial delivery.

Directorate teams have also been responsible for providing in-country equipment support this year, including securing Project Hector, a vital £50 million contract with Babcock International to support UK military vehicles granted to Ukraine.

The Directorate also coordinates DE&S delivery teams to address the replenishment of UK stockpiles, and to invest in industrial capacity and supply chains. Since the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict, these delivery teams have placed approximately £900 million worth of replenishment contracts and committed over £400 million for further investment in industrial capacity.

Looking ahead to 2024, Major General Reilly said her team is focused on building on the good work of the last 12 months.

“The UK is committed to assisting Ukraine. We will continue to supply it with equipment, strengthen its defence industrial base, and help Ukraine produce and maintain the modern military equipment needed to bring this conflict to an end and provide for a long-standing peace.”

The DE&S Operations Directorate’s work has received several accolades over the last 12 months. Most recently the team were recognised at the 2023 Government Commercial Function Awards with the Rapid Procurement Team winning Best Team of the Year and the Overall 2023 Commercial Excellence Award.