Putting land equipment capability in the hands of military and defence personnel

Posted on 13 March, 2024 by Advance 

DVD2024 marks more than two-decades of the most significant exhibition for Defence industry, DE&S Delivery Teams, Army HQ and Defence community users of Land Equipment. Staged at UTAC Millbrook since 2003, DVD is a two-day event, which will take place on 18th and 19th September 2024.
Above: Boxer on UTAC Millbrook's Off-Road test track.
Courtesy DVD

This year is the second time that Lt Col Martin Hickie has taken the helm as DVD Programme Manager, following his successful delivery of the event in 2022.

We met with Martin (above) to find out more.

Could you give us a very quick summary of your career history?
"Commissioned in the Scots Guards in 2000, I joined the 1st Battalion when it was undertaking ceremonial duties in London. Deployed to Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan on operational tours in various roles, I developed knowledge, skills and experience in capability and acquisition, in both customer and delivery agent roles and worked in Finance and Military Capability (FMC) infrastructure during the UK Government’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy."

Why is DVD so important to Defence?
"It’s difficult to underestimate the importance of bringing our customers, delivery agents, international allies and industry partners together at UTAC Millbrook Proving Ground to discuss the collective challenge Defence has in meeting the threats to UK security. The British Army has plans to become a more modern and lethal Army, while strengthening prosperity and we can only deliver that vision through collaboration across multiple organisations.

"Setting clear goals and working together, with a common understanding to meet our objectives, is key. DVD provides a critical opportunity in the Defence diary to discuss those goals and objectives, to update our industry partners and to see, first-hand, the remarkable innovation that industry has to offer and indeed, to be challenged by alternative viewpoints.      

"Importantly, DVD has evolved and today we bring our international partners and allies along with us, as we face up to global security challenges. DVD is further raising its profile by supporting our international export campaigns to assist with Defence’s contribution to UK prosperity."

What challenges do you face in delivering DVD and how are these managed?
"For the Land Equipment Operating Centre (LEOC) within Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), planning and delivering an event on this scale can feel quite daunting. We’re expecting in the region of 6,000 visitors this year, around 200 industry exhibitors and stands from our own operating centre, the Army and other MoD stakeholders. This is all delivered by a relatively small team from DE&S, Army and UTAC – our delivery partner for DVD – and for many of us, this is a secondary responsibility.  

"The task is, however, made simpler by the professionalism and enthusiasm of that small team, who are committed to the task and see the value that their efforts make within UK Defence. This is backed up by strong sponsorship of the event through Director General Land in DE&S and the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, who have made Director Land Equipment, DE&S and Director Programmes, Army HQ, jointly responsible for the delivery of DVD. This high-profile overview allows us to engage widely across Defence, to unlock challenges, demonstrate collaboration and create a sense of shared ownership."

What do you hope people will gain from DVD2024?
"What people gain will very much depend on where they are coming from and what they want to get from the event. There is value for everyone who attends. For service personnel, I would want them to have the opportunity to see the impressive kit that the Army and DE&S are bringing into service now, to get ‘hands on’ and experience the ride and drive facility on the off-road area and to leave with a sense that industry is listening and delivering on everyone’s behalf.  

"For industry, I want them to have an opportunity to connect directly with their customers in Defence, allowing them to have both formal and informal discussions about how we can help one other going forward, as well as providing the opportunity to engage with other industry suppliers at the event. This is particularly important for Small and Medium Enterprises, who have a unique opportunity to get in front of the Army and DE&S at DVD.

"For those of us in capability and acquisition roles, I hope we get to see what’s on offer and catch a glimpse of where industry is driving the innovation that will assist us in the future, as well as getting a chance to engage over the joint programmes we’re delivering today."
Which elements of DVD are you most proud of?   
"I think it’s knowing that what we’re doing is really important for Defence. The feedback we got from DVD2022 was positive and insightful and it reinforced just how much business value people get from the event. That value ultimately translates into delivering land equipment capability into the hands of service personnel. Knowing that makes all of the late nights and long hours’ feel worth it."
For further information and to register your interest as an exhibitor at DVD2024, visit www.theevent.co.uk