At the ADS Annual Dinner on 23 January 2019, we were joined by members from across the aerospace, defence, security and space industries, alongside other distinguished guests.

The keynote speech of the night was delivered by Charles Woodburn, CEO of BAE Systems, who spoke about the value and importance of the defence industry to the UK.

On the value of the defence industry, Charles said:

“In the past three years I have been hugely impressed by the safety and security we help our customers to provide, and by the tremendous value that we can deliver to our national economies. And of course, the phenomenal technical prowess this industry has in abundance.”

“Our collective efforts underpin essential trade, and diplomatic relationships – fostering economic and industrial growth in the markets in which we operate.”

“This sector recorded a staggering £41billion of exports in 2017.”

“If ever the Government wanted an example of the prosperity agenda in good health, it is this sector.”

On the Armed Forces:

“At the same time, we should acknowledge the huge role played by our Armed Forces, both as the ultimate customer and for their help in securing defence exports.

“The very fact they use and operate our equipment and services is seen by many as the strongest possible endorsement of the work we do.”

On skills and the people the defence sector employs:

“I am extraordinarily proud of the company I work for and our sector at large – an economic, technological and skills success story, an export powerhouse, a major employer of some of the brightest women and men in the world.

“Pioneers, innovators, and patriots.

“Our sector directly and indirectly supports a million jobs in the UK and employs over 12,000 apprentices.”

To close, Charles said:

“When I look around the room I see a community with an unwavering commitment to excellence, an unparalleled ingenuity, and a strong determination that will underpin our nation’s future prosperity and security.”