MOD Sealand is site of new defence plant collaboration 27 February 2019

Left to right: Dstl chief executive Gary Aitkenhead and DECA chief executive Geraint Spearing

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), which develops science and technology, has opened an office within the Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) at the MOD Sealand site in North Wales.

DECA provides specialised services in repair, maintenance, overhaul, upgrade and managed services for in-service and future military platforms across defence. Most recently, it secured a £500m assignment to provide pivotal avionic and aircraft component support to the RAF and Royal Navy’s new F-35 fast jet aircraft, which will fly from RAF Marham and the UK’s two new aircraft carriers.

The two MOD executive agencies have agreed to look at various new, innovative ways in which they can work together across a range of science, technology and engineering areas to make MOD equipment programmes more cost effective, more resilient for longer and better suited to the operational needs of the UK Armed Forces, in particular.

Dstl has set up a ‘pathfinder’ function within DECA’s main facility at MOD Sealand to begin planning for the rapid establishment of a joint Dstl/DECA collaboration team. This will see staff from both organisations taking part in exchanges, apprenticeship opportunities, education, continuing professional development, ‘best practice’ benchmarking visits and inter-Agency networking.

Over time they intend to find new ways of working through collaboration with industry, wider government and the devolved governments of the UK, as well as allied and partner nations.

Gary Aitkenhead, Dstl chief executive, commented: “This is an exciting venture and will further enable Dstl to optimise and expand its capacity and capability through working with our strategic partners. It also provides Dstl with a firm presence in North Wales with significant opportunities for our employees and those seeking a science and technology career in the region. We will also be looking to grow our supply chain network in the North West and in Wales, and look forward to developing relationships with high quality business there.”

Geraint Spearing, DECA chief executive, said: “This initiative provides both agencies with a fantastic opportunity to collaborate in supporting UK MOD and deliver effective, sustainable solutions into the future. We are looking forward to working closely with Dstl through this partnership, focussing not only on technologies and support solutions, but also importantly on skills development which is high on our agenda both regionally and nationally.”

Dstl is an executive agency of MOD, run along commercial lines. It is one of the principal government organisations dedicated to science and technology in defence and security, with six sites: at Porton Down, near Salisbury; Portsdown West, near Portsmouth; Fort Halstead, near Sevenoaks; Sandridge, near St Albans; Langhurst, near Horsham; and Alverstoke, near Gosport. Dstl works with a wide range of partners and suppliers in industry, in academia and overseas.

Will Dalrymple

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