While its likely equipment contents remain a tightly-guarded secret, strengthening the UK’s relationship with international allies will be a central theme of the UK’s soon-to-be-published Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), one of the nation’s defence ministers has revealed.

“We have a theme running throughout that document about the importance of international relations across what we do,” minister of state for defence procurement Philip Dunne said at the show. “We see strengthening allies and partnerships as being at the core of our mission, and the Gulf plays an important part in that.”

The UK already is establishing its first permanent base in the Middle East in around 40 years, with the construction of a naval headquarters in Bahrain, and Dunne notes: “We look to broaden and deepen our contribution to the security and stability of the region through our SDSR process.” He declines to confirm whether this could lead to other military deployments being made in the area.

Speaking to journalists on the opening day of the show, Dunne also said the UK is continuing its efforts to secure fresh sales of the Eurofighter Typhoon. Kuwait in September announced its intention to acquire 28 of the type, and he adds: “We look forward to a contract being signed soon,” he adds.

“We are in active conversation with a number of other countries, and are hopeful that there will be a continuing demand for this world-class aircraft from other nations within the GCC, but also elsewhere around the world,” Dunne says.

RAF Typhoon Dubai 2015 - BillyPix


A Royal Air Force Typhoon is performing in the daily flying display at the show. Air Vice-Marshal Gary Waterfall, air officer commanding the service’s 1 Group organisation, says a unit of the type will be on exercise in the region “for about the next month or so”. He adds: “this is a regular event for us, as we exercise with our Emirati colleagues, but also the wider friends that we’ve got in this region.”

Dunne says the UK delegation at the show is 100 companies-strong, which represents an increase over its industrial presence at the 2013 event.

“We are looking to find opportunities for UK companies in the defence and security sector to work with Emirati companies,” Dunne says. “We see the [United Arab] Emirates as being one of the leading nations in developing indigenous capability in this field. We think the UK is a natural partner for Emirati companies looking to broaden their business flows by getting into the largest defence and security supply chain in Europe.”

Source: Flight Daily News