On Tuesday 9 February, students from the Advanced Command and Staff Course visited Saab UK, jointly hosted by Claes-Peter Cederlöf, Head of MA Country Unity UK, and SeaEye. The visit was part of the industry engagement module called ‘Defence Policy to Capability.’ The module examines the strategic and economic contexts facing UK Defence, and how it operates at the highest levels to balance policy and resources in order to create defence capabilities.
Industry engagement is an essential part of the module and it includes both visits to production sites and industry delegates participating in the module. Saab delegates have participated for several years and this year Evelina Hedskog, from MA Country Unit UK, is our representative.
The visit started with Alexander Alderson providing a global overview of Saab, its broad portfolio and the drive for innovation. The students showed great interest in Saab as a company and specifically the influence of Baltic and wider geopolitics on Saab, Sweden’s defence industrial sector and the relationship between the government, armed forces and industry. The plenary session allowed them to focus on Saab’s ability to produce high tech and affordable capabilities like Gripen, Erieye and A26, and long-life capabilities like Carl Gustaf M4.
The visit then really focussed on SeaEye as an exemplar of market-leading innovation. Chris Lade gave an insightful briefing on the BU, its history and current development focus before the visitors had an excellent tour of both factory sites in Fareham, Hampshire. The tour really captured everyone’s imagination and prompted some great questions and a lot of interest.
Visits on the scale of this – over fifty lieutenant colonels and equivalents from UK Armed Forces, the Civil Service and other industry delegates – are not easy to run but SeaEye was superb and it is clear that the Staff College hopes to develop its relationship with Saab in the years ahead. Thanks to everyone involved at SeaEye for making it a very successful visit.