Saab’s First ‘UK Days’ Were A Striking Success

On 21st and 22nd September, the Swedish defence and civil-security company SAAB held its first-ever ‘UK Days’. The aim was to present and demonstrate some of the company’s enormous range of defence and civil-security products to potential customers in the UK and Ireland, as well as to British politicians, the press and media and, of course, its own commercial partners and other interested parties. The venue was Heywood House in Wiltshire, an early-17th century country house set in 25 acres (10 ha) of parkland.

The theme of the UK Days was the application of Saab’s thinking edge philosophy to a number
of very different areas.  Products on display included military Command, Control and Communication systems; the corresponding SAFE civil system intended for airports, inshore sea traffic, prisons and the emergency services; revolutionary ‘Remote Tower’ air traffic control systems; airborne and surface radar systems; remotely operated underwater vehicles; man‑portable air-defence, anti-tank and combat weapons for the infantry; training for CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) defence; camouflage systems for vehicles and personnel; and specialised virtual training systems for both small arms and gunnery. As well as live demonstrations, many of the products were available for hands-on testing by the visitors.

On both days, guests were divided into cohesive groups to visit the ten separate display areas, where they could discuss the products with specialised staff and see them demonstrated. This gave visitors the best possible access to information and allowed the hosts to explain and demonstrate the products in a manner appropriate to the individuals involved.

The Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP, Secretary of State for Wales, was very interested in the range of products available to be seen on the day and keen to try his hand with the controls of the Sea Wasp.

The first day was focused on the press and media, and was attended by representatives of the specialised defence press, including Global Defence Technology, Flight International, Aerospace, Digital Battlespace, Battlespace News and the Jane’s Information Group,
as well as major news organisations such as The Independent, The Daily and Sunday Express newspapers, The Economist and the local Wiltshire Times. Articles have already appeared in The Daily Express and on the IHS Jane’s 360 website and Heart Wiltshire.

On the second day, visitors included representatives of the armed services, several British police forces and the country’s air traffic control service. There were also politicians, civil servants from the Ministry of Defence and several other ministries, and representatives of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom and a large number of defence and security companies. Sweden’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr Torbjörn Sohlström, also paid a visit.

The Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP, Secretary of State for Wales and Torbjörn Sohlström, Swedish Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

One of the senior visitors, Lieutenant Colonel James A Scott of the Joint Services Command and Staff College and the Defence Academy of the UK, commented: “It was a tour de force from first arrival to final departure. The organisation was flawless, the hospitality was warm and the equipment on show was fascinating. The SAAB team struck just the right tone in highlighting capability opportunities without descending into sales or technobabble!   I am sure that the day will have impressed everyone who attended, not only in terms of SAAB as an innovative and attentive defence supplier but also in terms of its ability to deliver without fuss.”


For SAAB, Matthew Smith reflected that customers, media and politicians were able to try our products first-hand and see the breadth of Saab’s offering. “This benefited us in several areas where we are competing for business and were able to show the customer our strength in similar related areas, increasing trust in Saab and our ability to deliver solutions to the UK.”

Martin Vobora added that the set-up of the day was perfect.  “Organizing the visitors into groups gave the audience the opportunity to have focused presentations of the different systems and solutions on site.