Support to Military Aircraft: Ongoing Transformation in Relationships

6 September 2016

Royal Aeronautical Society


Sopwith Named Lecture 2016

The 2016 Sopwith lecture will be delivered by Air Marshal J A Young CB OBE MDA BSc FRAeS, Air Member for Materiel and Chief of Material, Defence Equipment and Support.

Air Marshal Young has been linked to the changing support arrangements for military aircraft since 2003, when the ‘End-to-End Logistics Review’ was published and he was responsible for leading the implementation of its recommendations.  

The principal recommendation for support was to contract for availability, which was achieved through establishing partnering arrangements with industry.  The first ‘Integrated Operational Support’ contract signed in the Air Environment was for Sea King, followed closely by the ‘ATTAC’ deal on Tornado GR4 that changed the landscape forever in its level of integration and shared responsibility between the MOD and Industry.  Since then all support contracts in the Air Environment have evolved through learning the lessons from the early flagship arrangements.  Contracting for availability and capability now are the norm.  However, the last 10 or so years have been challenging and, with support costs comprising the majority of the budget into the future, the recurring question is how can ever-greater efficiencies be delivered in support to sustain the desired level of capability growth into the future. 

Through this named lecture, Air Marshal Young aims to explore the history of contracting for support over the past 10 years, assess the lessons learnt - good and bad - and look at what now needs to happen to keep up with expectations for delivering more with less at an acceptable risk to delivery.

This RAeS Named Lecture was established in 1990 to honour Sir Thomas Sopwith CBE, Hon FRAeS. In the years prior to World War I, Sopwith became England’s premier aviator and established the first authoritative test pilot school in the world. He also founded England’s first major flight school. Between 1912 and 1920 Sopwith’s Company produced over 16,000 aircraft of 60 types. 

All RAeS Lectures are free to attend and we welcome both Members and Non Members. To RSVP, please click the Register button under Key Details and log in to your profile or create a user account. Alternatively, send your name and contact details to to reserve your place. 

Take advantage of preferential hotel rates offered to RAeS Delegates, make a reservation at the Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel or by visiting our dedicated HotelMap site.  

This is lecture is kindly sponsored by:

  BAE Systems logo

Speaker Details

Air Marshal J A Young CB OBE MDA BSc FRAeS, Air Member for Materiel and Chief of Material, Defence Equipment and Support.

Air Marshal Julian Young was appointed Chief of Materiel (Air) within DE&S in April 2016. In this role he leads an organisation of some 1,600 military and civilian staff with the responsibility of spending an annual budget of around £4Bn on equipping and supporting all of the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD’s) fixed-wing aircraft. He also is the focal point of contact within DE&S for the Royal Air Force (RAF), is a Member of the Air Force Board and Chief Engineer (RAF).He also has a MOD-wide role as the Defence Engineering Champion. 

Previously, he was DE&S’s Director Helicopters for some 16 months, where he was responsible for equipping and supporting Defence’s rotorcraft. Before this spell in DE&S, he was triple-hatted at HQ Air Command as Executive Officer, Chief Engineer and Chief of Staff Support for 2 years. In 2010 he worked with PwC and EADS for 6 months through the Defence Career Partnering Scheme.

On promotion to 2-star rank in August 2009, he was appointed as Director Defence Support Review with responsibility for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of Defence Support; many of the ideas generated - including ‘Total Support Force’ - have been implemented. He was Assistant Chief of Staff A4 (Logistics & Operational Engineering) at HQ Air Command from February 2007 onwards. He attended the Royal College of Defence Studies 2006 Course. For the previous 2½ years he was engaged in change, leading the Air Team in the implementation of the Logistics End-to-End Review’s recommendations, including Forward & Depth organisations and Lean techniques to the wider Air Force, and then as Programme Director of the Defence Logistics Transformation Programme. He is an Engineer Officer and early operational tours were on Support Helicopter squadrons, including Operation GRANBY (Gulf War I) and detachments to the Falklands. Later tours focused on Harrier GR7/T10 aircraft, both in the Project Team and operationally. He also has been the RAF lead for Engineering, Safety and Quality Policy and, as the Engineering Trade & Engineer Branch Sponsor, authored the RAF Multi-Skilling, tri-Service Aircraft Trade Convergence papers and the 2009 RAF Engineer Branch Strategy. He served as Station Commander at RAF Cosford in 2002-03, and was awarded his CB in 2013 for work related to RAF organisational change and OBE in 2000 for work related to Harrier support.


Royal Aeronautical Society