Small Firms, Big Capabilities

Raytheon UK Co-Hosts Supply Chain Showcase For Small Businesses

With exports, economic prosperity and support of small and medium-size enterprises, or SMEs, high on the UK government’s defence and security agenda, Raytheon UK is bringing together nearly 200 suppliers across the industry for a virtual showcase May 10-11, 2021

The event, co-hosted by Raytheon UK and its U.S. parent Raytheon Technologies, will provide a transatlantic networking platform for UK suppliers across the aerospace,  cybersecurity, maritime & space sectors. UK government and company leaders will brief suppliers on real market opportunities and then invite them to pitch their capabilities to deliver the latest technological solutions in their fields.

“Supplier showcase summits are a key outreach activity for our company and demonstrate our focus on delivering on the UK government's Defence and Security Industrial Strategy and SME Action Plan,” said Jeff Lewis, chief executive of Raytheon UK. “We are continuing to invest in Britain to open up domestic opportunities and export markets, create employment, contribute to regional economic prosperity and deliver wider social value, thus ensuring everyone can share in a secure and productive future.”

Raytheon Technologies’ UK supply chain is made up of 3,825 suppliers spanning England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with key manufacturing and design facilities positioned in every region. In 2019, the company spent £1.4 billion (Source: Oxford Economics) across its UK supply chain.

“We have built a robust UK and global supply chain that provides us with the ability to speed delivery of faster solutions and responses against emerging threats and changing challenges for our customers,” said David Carter, Raytheon UK’s supply chain management director.

With more than 26,000 jobs indirectly supported through Raytheon Technologies’ UK operations and supply chain, the company understands the vital role that local partnering with UK suppliers continues to play in driving economic prosperity across the country’s regions. This ties in with the UK government’s levelling-up agenda and aspirations to grow UK sovereignty.

The event, and others planned throughout the year, will welcome a wide range of cross-regional suppliers with a strong focus on small- and medium-size enterprises, or SMEs, in support of the UK government’s SME Action Plan 2021-22. The plan aims to improve access to the defence sector for smaller businesses, as well as improve MOD acquisition and procurement processes. The government aims to place 25% of its procurement spend with SMEs by 2022.

An Industry Fit for the Future

SMEs are vital to the UK government’s aspirations for building a sustainable and competitive aerospace & defence industry fit for the future. It is particularly focused on on-boarding SMEs to help speed the development of next-generation technologies to maintain Britain's armed force’s capabilities. 

“Raytheon Technologies has long welcomed collaborative relationships with SMEs and academia, and we believe them to hold the key to unlocking such innovation,” Carter said. 

Since 2015, Raytheon UK has been running a challenge with SMEs and universities to advance research and development projects across the country. 

Known as SpaRk – Small-to medium-sized enterprise partnerships advancing Raytheon UK knowledge – the programme focuses on strengthening engagement and collaborative R&D relationships with UK-based SMEs and universities. Each SpaRk participant receives up to £100,000 in grant funding for projects that fall within Raytheon Technologies’ UK business areas that include airborne intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, cyber, training solutions and space. 

This flexible business model provides UK SMEs with the opportunity to work directly with a UK technology prime – Raytheon UK – to develop new, innovative solutions. It makes it possible for their solutions to be incorporated into the company’s products or services whilst retaining the ability to collaboratively exploit both party’s intellectual property in other markets. As well as financial assistance, the company provides mentoring, access to Raytheon UK’s customers and markets, engineering expertise and networking opportunities.

Recent examples of Raytheon UK SME and academia collaboration can be seen with The Technology Partnership, or TTP, and the University of Strathclyde.

“TTP helped us to rapidly design a core processing and control solution for our Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar Condor Mk3, a next-generation air traffic control radar,” said Raytheon UK Engineering Director Alex Rose-Parfitt. “And exploring the benefits of model-based design within our power electronics design process, through Strathclyde University, has produced more efficient and cost-effective novel defence products for our customers.”

Contribution to UK Prosperity

Raytheon Technologies and legacy companies have been investing in the UK for more than 100 years. Its contribution to the UK Gross Domestic Product in 2019 stood at over £2 billion (Source: Oxford Economics). 

“Our global supply chain supports global Britain and our collaborative eco-systems are reducing supply chain fragility,” Carter said.

“It’s about giving our customers easy access to the best that the UK SME community can offer and helping SMEs reach markets without overburdening them with process and risk,” he added.