STC membership’s specialisms of value to BAE Systems’ supply chain

Silverstone Technology Cluster

16th June 2022

BAE Systems, among the world’s most respected names in defence and security innovation, has joined the Silverstone Technology Cluster as it seeks to engage more directly with the network’s SME membership.

The global giant’s relationship with the STC has been growing – it has presented at several of the network’s events during the past 24 months including last autumn’s Annual Conference.

Although BAE Systems’ supply chain already comprises a vast number of SMEs, it is interested in the STC membership’s niche specialisms which could prove valuable as the defence sector’s requirements evolve in future.

BAE Systems works across a range of defence and security sectors, including aerospace, maritime, land, space and cyber. It also has significant supply chain reach (supporting some 49,000 jobs) and works with suppliers across almost all of the UK’s 400 local authority districts.

Notably, its air sector’s ‘Future Combat Air Systems’ (FCAS) business is one of the key industry partners in the Tempest programme, which is aiming to bring to life a UK-led vision for an internationally collaborative future combat air system by the mid-2030s.

Chris Pett, FCAS’s Head of Supply Chain, explained: “We have an increased drive to engage with innovative SMEs which the STC represents very well.

“We constantly need to move technology forwards to support future and existing programmes, so going forwards it’s imperative that we look outside of our traditional supply chains to bring the sort of disruptive tech which is brought to market by SMEs.

“It’s important that we open up that route to market so as to be more accessible as a large prime contractor.”

Chris touched on some of the exciting projects that STC members could ultimately become involved with if they are included in the BAE Systems supply chain.

“We have a significant product portfolio across air, sea, land, space and digital intelligence spanning the globe, as well as technology that helps integrate those domains,” he continued.

“Looking at the defence industry, we are heavily involved from a UK perspective with the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, but also UK security agencies around cyber security and software environments led through our digital intelligence business.”

Chris added: “A quid pro quo for the SMEs in our supply chain is that the closer we work with them then the more they understand our requirements, so they can focus their research and tech into areas that will help bring their capabilities and products to market.

“Inevitably as our adversaries develop their capabilities, so customer demand will change at a much more rapid pace then we’ve previously been used to.

“In order to counter this threat, it’s imperative we understand, embrace and integrate the future supply chain at a faster pace to ensure we are providing our customers with the most cutting-edge technology. The relationship with STC will help enable this.”

By Carl McKellar

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