We’re rounding up some of the biggest security cleared stories of the past few weeks. In October, the UK reached a landmark agreement with a European neighbour, the British Military was promised the latest in anti-explosive technology, BlackBerry received Nato accreditation for its secure communications provision, and the UK government hinted at making significant cuts to the defence sector.
UK and Poland reach major defence agreements
The UK and Poland have signed two new defence agreements this month. The first, an Air Defence Complex Weapons Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), allows both countries to collaborate on the development and manufacturing of complex weapons.
The nations also signed the Arrowhead-140 Statement of Intent, which permits the UK and Poland to work together on procuring and operating three Arrowhead-140 frigates, known by British Forces as the Type 31 Frigate.
These agreements offer support to Poland’s Short-Range Air Defence programme and will solidify government and industry links between the states. Ben Wallace, UK defence secretary, said: “We have had a close defence alliance with Poland for over 150 years and as we face the threat from Russia, we need the equipment and the capabilities to safeguard our people and preserve European stability.”
Armed forces to receive cutting-edge protection against explosive devices
The government has awarded a £45 million defence contract to Team Protect, which will see UK military bases across the globe receive brand new digital protection against improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The project will offer small and medium-sized businesses the chance to collaborate with UK military experts over the next five years. Equipment designed throughout the process will be distributed to soldiers, vehicles and bases to detect and neutralise explosive devices.
The new tech is facilitated by the Defence Cyber and Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA) Architecture, which employs common software and hardware open technology standards, to invite wider participation from the industry. This will support the armed forces to collaborate with allies in the future.
The first equipment for soldiers and vehicles is scheduled to be delivered in 2026, when technologies will be deployed in waves to meet the needs of the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Marines.
BlackBerry to provide Nato with technology for secure communications
As of this month, the Nato Communications and Information (NCI) Agency has awarded high-level security accreditation to BlackBerry for use across all North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) secure communications.
Due to a significant increase in the frequency and severity of cyber attacks, Nato is “keenly aware” of the importance of “watertight” protection. The multi-platform BlackBerry SecuSUITE technology is designed to eliminate threats to national security through end-to-end encryption of calls and messages.
Being awarded Nato accreditation highlights a strong level of trust in the systems BlackBerry is offering. As the partnership expands, employees will benefit from these sophisticated security measures from their mobile phones, allowing them to stay protected at all times.
UK government propose series of defence cuts to free up funds
In the face of soaring inflation, the government has suggested that multiple “critical” projects could be delayed or cancelled. Spending on defence has declined since the Cold War, except for a budget increase just after the events of 9/11 and the war in Iraq. By 2015, the funds available to the sector fell to just two per cent of GDP and have stayed there since.
For instance. the British Army’s switch from a 1990s Bowman radio system to a new Morpheus upgrade looks unlikely to be happening soon. The modern technology uses AI to help soldiers read their environment and “optimise battle-winning capabilities”.
Ajax vehicles will continue to be rolled out, but potential cuts mean the purchase of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLV) will be set back or abandoned completely. Additionally, the decision to scale down the number of military personnel will see Britain with its smallest army since 1714, with just 72,500 soldiers.