Industry responds to Government Strategic Defense Review

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) gave a cautious welcome to the Government’s announcement of the intended Strategic Defense Review (SDR) for the next parliament, and encourages the review to seek input from industry.

Anyone can, obviously, imagine what kind of input the defense industry is going to make to such a review. They will be pushing for the renewal of the Trident nuclear program – an approach that is totally outdated in the modern climate of conflicts and wars – and for the huge aircraft carriers that are equally as unnecessary and useless, though will bring in much money for the industry.

In addition to the critical factors of security for the nation, SBAC is keen to ensure that the SDR will recognize that the UK defense industry, by the Government’s own criteria, is one of the top three sectors for re-balancing the UK economy towards hi-tech, hi-value industries.

Ian Godden, SBAC Chief Executive, said: “We welcome the Government’s recognition of the urgent need for an SDR, which SBAC has been calling for quite some time now, and encourage the Government to seek the input and expertise of our native defense industry in the formulation of this review. Employing 305,000 people and with an annual turnover of over GBP35 billion the defense industry is a UK manufacturing success story.

“Contra y to popular belief, the UK defense industry’s potential for investment will accelerate the UK economy, not drain it. It provides a tremendous return on the nation’s investment, with productivity 15 per cent higher than the UK manufacturing average and Gross Value Added shown to be significantly higher than the national average for manufacturing.

“With UK defense R&D investment being at 15 per cent of national spend at GBP3.4 billion, the UK, according to a soon-to-be-published report from Oxford Economics, can see a multiplier of roughly 2.3, meaning that a notional Government investment of GBP100 million would create GBP227 million of value elsewhere in the economy. We are an industry
providing security for the nation, the economy and the future.”

Not that we have any other manufacturing industries left in Britain, seeing the government has done everything it could, and not just the current Labor regime of Blair/Brown but the previous Tory administration too, to destroy the manufacturing base in this country and have Britain become a service and finance industry country. We have now seen where that leads us.

Today we have the greatest opportunity ever to cerate a new kind of manufacturing industry even in this country, a green one, one that reworks waste, as an example.

Then there are the other green industries that Britain could be leader in, such as in alternative energy, etc. But the country rather plays about with expensive military projects because the military-industrial complex is such a powerful lobby here and in the USA as well.

In today's war and conflict theaters nuclear weapons and giant aircraft carriers are about as useful as, as they say, tits on a hog. What is needed is the proper equipment so that the “boots on the ground” can operate with the maximum protection possible and Trident missiles and huge floating airfields are not very useful there.

Let's face it, a Trident submarine is not of much use to the battles that are going on in Helmand, Afghanistan and aircraft carriers too are not very helpful there, but still, no doubt, pressured by the military-industrial complex in the UK, the government will press ahead with those prestige projects that will swallow billions of pounds of tax money rather than equip the fighting men and women on the ground with the best available kit.

Proper personal individual body armor is too expensive and so are properly armored vehicles, we are told, but they seem to somewhere have the money allocated already for those prestige projects of a replacement of the aging Trident subs and for new giant aircraft carriers. This does not make sense.

© 2009