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MIA urges motorsport to see the opportunities in the UK defence sector

26 Jun 2012

Fresh from the successful Defence Vehicle Dynamics (DVD) 2012 event at Millbrook, MIA chief executive Chris Aylett is urging manufacturers involved in motorsport to fully exploit the significant opportunities presented by changes in defence procurement.

Recent changes to the way the MOD procures and maintains land vehicles have created a much more attractive market for innovative UK businesses that have pioneered technologies and processes that could benefit the UK armed forces. While the Defence White Paper published in February 2012 has heralded a new era in the use of open systems architecture and common systems (LOSA), the more recent confirmation of £5.5bn worth of investment in armed fighting vehicles (AFVs) signals a stable and vibrant market for companies supplying components or complete systems to the defence sector. Similarly, the publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) – coupled with the new era of balanced defence spending budgets for land vehicles – provides a stable and fertile environment for entrepreneurial motorsport manufacturers, according to Aylett.

This year the MIA, on behalf of its members, has taken exhibition space in the form of the Motorsport to Defence Pavilion at DVD. If the reaction of MIA members is anything to go by, the event was a great success.

Jon Hourihan, group head of sales at fluid transfer systems specialist Goodridge, said: This is our third time at DVD and we are attending as a member of the MIA. While defence accounts for approximately 10 per cent of our business in the UK, it’s a sector where we see a lot of potential growth. We believe the character of our high performance fluid transfer assemblies, which have been largely developed in the motorsport arena, is ideal for land equipment applications. We can also share supply chain best practice, which has been honed over many years of working with global OEMs.”

Rob Goodwin, managing director at NAR, the specialist cooling company, said: “DVD has been a great opportunity to make contact with existing customer contacts at the MOD but it’s also opened up the potential for completely new markets for us. We’ve had discussions with a number of domestic and military airport fire tender manufacturers who are interested in our capability. This is an exciting market opportunity we had never even considered before coming to DVD.”

Jim Morris, managing director of Lifeline, award-winning manufacturers of high quality fire suppression equipment, said: “This is our first time at DVD – in the MIA Pavilion, and it’s been a great fact finding show for us. DVD has been a valuable opportunity for us to see some of the vehicles that are carrying our equipment, including Foxhound and Mastiff. The event is also a great opportunity for us to actually talk to the guys using the kit so we can continue to enhance our systems to perform even better in theatre.”
Chris Aylett concludes: “The defence sector offers huge potential growth opportunities for many UK motorsports engineering companies. Too often, UK engineering companies don’t realise that the rules of engagement with the MOD have changed, especially when it comes to the production of urgent operational requirements (UORs). It’s now far easier to do business with the military and this provides UK motorsports companies with significant growth opportunities.

“Motorsport has incredibly valuable expertise to bring to the defence sector, in terms of logistics, innovation and know-how. We also have a proven ‘can do attitude’ that helps deliver real value to the front line.”

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