24 Jun 2020 - By
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Defence Secretary praises suppliers for their support throughout the Coronavirus pandemic

Defence procurement is incredibly diverse as buyers need much more than traditional military supplies. Organisations like the UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) are always looking for innovative ideas and suppliers to work with.

Defence suppliers have been integral to the UK’s coronavirus response. At the beginning of June 2020, the UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, praised the MOD’s partnership with Britain’s defence industry, He said:

“The UK is fortunate that our defence industry and its key workers are stepping up to support the Government at this critical time. Not only have they been donating their expertise and equipment but maintaining their critical outputs during the ongoing pandemic.”

 

Support throughout the coronavirus pandemic

We have previously reported on the military’s response to COVID-19, and it is worth remembering that the UK’s fight against the virus is ongoing.

When the virus first hit the UK in March, defence suppliers worked alongside the Ministry of Defence to support the Ventilator Challenge. Businesses across the UK shared their engineering expertise to design and produce ventilators for the NHS.

Throughout the pandemic, defence companies have donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items, including face shields, aprons and surgical gloves, to health and social care staff. The MOD has also confirmed that:

“Specific products for local hospitals, such as specialist hooks for isolation cubicles and isolation cockpit shields for air ambulance pilots, have also been manufactured.”

The defence sector is recovering

The Defence Secretary has been engaging with industry leaders such as the CEO of BAE Systems, Charles Woodburn, to learn about their approach to work post-pandemic, to ensure that employees’ health is prioritised and that programme delivery is maintained.

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that this reorganisation is happening across UK sites and, commenting on BAE Systems’ approach, stated that:

“To ensure these critical programmes have continued, BAE Systems has followed the UK Government health and safety guidelines on employees working from home where they can, as well as redesigning tasks, implementing social distancing, enhanced cleaning and ensuring appropriate PPE for those on site.”

 

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