UK turbocharges defence with £16million investment in revolutionary technology

In a bid to place the UK at the “forefront of defence technology”, the Ministry of Defence has unveiled the £16million Defence Technology Exploitation Programme (DTEP). This scheme is designed to boost small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) defence innovation with the help of Government support and the resources of big suppliers. According to a statement by the MoD, “the aim is to keep the United Kingdom at the forefront of defence technology, improving the capabilities available to our Armed Forces, the competitiveness of UK industry and growing potential exports benefits.”

The programme will offer individual grants of up to 50 percent of a project’s value, being capped at a maximum of £500,000 per grant.

These packages will be available through DTEP to facilitate “collaborative projects between SMEs and larger suppliers, supporting the integration of novel technologies, materials and processes into MOD’s supply chains.”

Interested parties can apply for the programme by sending their proposals year-round, with cycles closing at three-month intervals for assessment of submissions.

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said: “Innovation within defence is crucial to maintaining a competitive advantage for our Armed Forces.

“The Defence Technology Exploitation Programme is a positive step in how we support SMEs and larger suppliers to work together to improve the resilience and competitiveness of the MOD’s supply chain.”

This launch also builds upon the successful BEIS-funded National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) and a pilot of DTEP conducted with Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI).

One example highlighted by the MoD is CCP Gransden, a firm based near Ballygowan, collaborating with Thales and Ulster University on a project.

Through this project, the firm worked to replace the Starstreak surface-to-air missile system’s metallic canister with a composite version – reducing reliance on global supply chains for the over 50 components currently needed.

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Head of the Defence and Security Accelerator, Anita Friend said: “DTEP has been designed to help SMEs join defence supply chains and offers SMEs and larger suppliers the opportunity to come together to solve defence problems.

“For an SME, DTEP offers not only funding but also the opportunity to deliver new innovations into the UK defence supply chain and a way to develop and scale up their business.

“DTEP is also beneficial for larger companies, offering early access to new technologies or processes that they may be able to help commercialise.”

This programme could also help boost the UK’s ambitions of becoming a science superpower, as more SMEs focused on the defence industry begin to grow with Government support.

Last week, the Government’s new National Space Champion David Morris told Express.co.uk that with support, the next major space company could launch from the UK.

He said: said: “The biggest priority is trying to bring the SMEs that’s in the supply chain, and trying to bring them with the Government.

“There’s literally thousands of SMEs out there that contribute to these bigger space and defence companies that need to have assistance with funding.

“They need to have recognition through contract procurement with Government and basically bringing them together, which was what the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Space was set out to do all the time.”