Published 29 April 2021

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The annual Minister Defence Procurement (Min DP) Acquisition Awards recognises teams from across defence for their exceptional performance, innovation, effort and commitment in the field of acquisition.

Now in its 18th year, the Min DP Acquisition Awards were created to recognise and commend the achievements of teams that demonstrate outstanding contributions in the acquisition field throughout Defence.

The awards are the highest accolade teams can achieve within this field and surpass any other departmental commendation. This year, to accommodate for the exceptional circumstances presented by COVID-19, the awards were held virtually via Microsoft Teams. Director of Defence Acquisition and Approvals Transformation, Caroline Boughton acted as Master of Ceremonies and presenter of awards, alongside Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, who formally opened the ceremony and presented the ‘Top Award’.

This year saw seven DE&S teams rewarded for their outstanding achievements, two of which were jointly awarded the prestigious ‘Top Award’ presented to teams that represents the most exceptional performance in the Defence acquisition community. The winners of the Top Award were the DE&S Type 31 Programme Team for their innovative and collaborative work, and the DE&S COVID-19 Support Teams for their exceptional support to wider government throughout the pandemic.

In addition to the Top Award, the DE&S COVID-19 Support Teams were also recognised in a newly introduced award that acknowledges the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.

The ‘Support to the Covid Pandemic’ award was created in recognition of Defence’s support to the nation’s COVID-19 response. The DE&S COVID-19 Support Teams were chosen collectively as the winning team for the proactive way in which they assisted the NHS and wider country, developing and procuring essential specialist equipment, as well as assisting in providing medical cover and distribution.

Acquisition Awards 2021:

1. Type 31 Programme Team, DE&S DG Ships and Navy Command.

Learning lessons from other acquisition programmes, the team defined an innovative procurement strategy and embodied best practice, forming a deal that secured the fastest schedule and best price to deliver the capability the Royal Navy needs. The team attained cross-Government investment approvals and subsequently delivered – six weeks early – a Design & Build contract, modernising UK shipbuilding infrastructure, investing heavily in the UK supply chain, adding significant social value within the UK, including the Rosyth area of Scotland, all within a firm/fixed price contract with incentives to drive the right behaviours from the contractor. Moreover, the team have enhanced the collaboration between the Royal Navy and its delivery agent; proving the One Team method and have aided the shipbuilder’s generation of a healthy export appetite, supporting the Government’s ambition.

2. P-8A Poseidon, DE&S and DG Air.

The efforts of the joint DE&S and RAF P-8A team were recognised for the timely acquisition of a £2Bn fixed-wing maritime patrol capability for the RAF. With five of nine aircraft already delivered and crews trained, the DE&S team enabled the declaration of Initial Operating Capability in April 2020. In September 2020, a state-of-the-art Strategic Facility was handed over at RAF Lossiemouth. Support and maintenance are now being carried out following the negotiation of a 25-year aircraft and training support framework contract that created over 150 jobs, mainly in Scotland. Training devices and classrooms are now being installed.

3. Mine Hunting Capability Team, DE&S DG Ships and Navy Command.

The Future Mine Hunting Capability team excelled to create a world leading system in a joint UK-French collaboration, introducing innovative technology and novel ways of working that will replace ageing and obsolete legacy mine hunting vessels. This advanced mine hunting system using a combination of autonomous aircraft, boats and submersibles will reduce the risk to life of our people and help keep the sea lanes open in the toughest conditions with a safer, quicker and more effective mine hunting and disposal system.

4. Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) Delivery and Programme Teams, Army Command.

Harnessing professional expertise across MoD, DE&S and Army teams worked innovatively and collaboratively to deliver a world-class BOXER contract with major international interoperability and UK prosperity benefits. This significant milestone culminated from three years of thorough preparation, lengthy stakeholder and industrial engagements, and strong international engagement across four Nations, to secure the best possible deal for the UK in the global market and strengthen the UK industrial base.

5. Shared Infrastructure Team, DE&S DG Ships.

The work of the Shared Infrastructure delivery into Carrier, Destroyer and Frigate Ships was part of the fleet-wide vision of Open Architecture Combat Systems that allowed third-party application hosting without the need to change core software/hardware. Consequently, new capabilities can be incorporated in weeks/months, rather than years, delivering the agility now required due to rapidly changing threats with significant savings through life.

6. UK Military Flying Training System, DE&S DG Air.

The programme transformed the divisive working culture that existed between DE&S, Ascent and the Customer, into a collaborative, diverse operating model. Now with time in training reducing, consistency of training output across all three Services, and training syllabi extracted from expensive front-line operational aircraft, the first UKMFTS students have graduated and the legacy is generated for the next 13 years of flying training.

7. Queen Elizabeth Class Delivery Team, DE&S DG Ships and Navy Command.

The Carriers were manufactured through a unique partnership between government and industry, the Aircraft Carrier Alliance. Over 51 million man-hours have gone into the design and construction of the aircraft carriers; in excess of 10,000 people, and 700 businesses and suppliers have helped build the vessels, 90% hailing from UK. By learning and embedding lessons from the first of class, QNLZ (delivered in 2017), PWLS was delivered to the Royal Navy in December 2019 approximately 30% faster and in excess of 20% cheaper than its predecessor. This programme has also catapulted the UK to centre stage in its ability to design and build world class warships, the benefits of which will be felt for generations.

Congratulating all those recognised, Jeremy Quin, said: “On behalf of the whole of MOD, I would like to offer these teams, and all our award winners today, my sincerest gratitude for your outstanding work.”

A framed paper copy of the certificates will be delivered to the teams once COVID-19 restrictions allow. The Top Award and Innovation Award winners will receive an engraved trophy in addition to their certificates.