A leader in system integration that now employs over 3,100 people across at least 21 domestic UK sites, Lockheed Martin UK management knows more than a thing or two about the benefit of investing in companies that design, create, build and integrate technology systems here in the UK. Having grown the base of sales to £1.3bn last year LM UK can now justifiably boast that through a large and well developed UK based supply chain the company is responsible for sustaining at least 10,000 skilled jobs.
With large scale UK engagement across defence and civil aeronautics, mission systems, fire control systems, training, simulation, information systems, global solutions and space systems, LM UK activities and operations have evolved over the past 15 years through a mix of acquisition, direct investment plus a large scale emphasis on research and investment and in recognising the value of strategic partnerships.
Clearly, as a subsidiary of the large Bethesda, Maryland based US parent that happens also to be the largest defence company in the world, there is a sizable element of defence activity to be found in the UK portfolio of businesses. But there is far more to LM UK than just defence today, and the range of activities now stretches out across fighting the growing threat from cybercrime to that of assisting navigation of over two million commercial aircraft flights across the UK, and the supply of intelligent technologies that for instance, support the sorting of mail in both the UK and Sweden.
Having fairly recently announced a five-year contract to provide Service Integration & Management (SIAM) to the Ministry of Justice based on overhauling existing legacy IT framework contracts together with new contract awards from NATS and in the UK energy sector, for several North Sea providers the LM UK will probably further increase its UK headcount by the potential addition of 1,000 new jobs over the next two years.
Adding to what may be regarded an excellent profile and prospects LM UK announced yesterday that it had been awarded a 17 year, £90m contract that will lead to the introduction of a new command and control system for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). As a further example of partnership, this award finds Lockheed Martin UK teamed with Capita and KPMG. The new system will be the Metropolitan Police Force’s first major refresh of command and control systems for 30 years, and my understanding is that the plan envisages LM software engineers will integrate all functions required to provide multi-channel, public interaction command and control system that is designed to ensure 999 and non-emergency calls are answered efficiently, and that officers are deployed more effectively. The system is also designed to improve situational awareness, predictive analytics plus data sharing, including voice, text, application and social media.
I raise the example of Lockheed Martin UK in part because it is in my view an excellent example of how a large foreign owned company has not only chosen to be in, to operate and support customers here in Britain but more importantly, has chosen to invest here and to create new technology and skilled jobs for Britain.
A point to recognise here is that when we look at what LM UK is trying and indeed, has succeeded in achieving in Britain we can see a well invested and well managed British company that can also, if required, reach back and make use of the vast amount of expertise the parent company has available internationally. Of course there is a need for others to play a part to ensure that the emergence of Britain as a success story in terms of economic growth, and we do need to ensure that infrastructure investment is maintained at levels sufficient to make investing in Britain attractive. Decent road, rail, air and telecommunications are essential and the government of the day must ensure that we retain sufficient levels of skills required.
For LM UK last years’ acquisition of Amor Group, a key Scotland based player engaged across transport, energy and public services sectors, is yet another interesting example of the chosen forward strategy and one that I am sure will assist the group to progress here in the UK and internationally over many years to come. Now rebranded under the Lockheed Martin name the purchase of Amor demonstrates an intention to grow through the ability to access a number of different leading technology solutions and innovations, including in this case, the Chroma Airport Suite, Process Safety and Information Management, together with experience acquired in the energy sector from one of the public sector’s fastest growing ICT providers.
My case rests. It matters not to me whether the company is British owned or not. What really matters is though is to see whether it is investing here in the UK and ensuring that the Intellectual Property that emerges from investment in product stays here and benefits Britain.
CHW (London) 5th August 2014
Howard Wheeldon FRAeS
Tel: 07710 779785