How can the UK retain its position as a world-leading deliverer of air power? In a recent Royal Aeronautical Society lecture dedicated to the memory of Sir Sydney Camm, Air Marshal Sir Baz North FRAeS supported the view that UK air power is highly relevant to UK thinking and that it will continue to be so in the future. He told eager listeners that air power offers the nation credible and affordable political choice in times of national and global crisis and thus represents a ‘product’ that is worth “cherishing, nurturing and renewing with conceptual and monetary investment”.

Sir Baz North went on to describe the relationship between UK air power and the defence aerospace industry in the Whole Force era as being “truly symbiotic ……if either 'fails' they will both 'fail' - and with any 'failure' the UK will lose, perhaps irrecoverably, its competitive advantage on many fronts”. With this in mind, he urged the UK defence aerospace industry to work together with the RAF to seek an unrestricted and clear vision of the future and to “constantly look forward and consider how emerging technologies can be exploited for decisive military effect in, and from, the Air environment”.

A future of growing uncertainty, increased globalisation and rapid advancement and proliferation of technology threatens to leave Western militaries overmatched. The defence industry must react to this shifting landscape and the challenges are to achieve better affordability, improved technology exploitation and sufficient human capital to deliver it.  Sir Baz North commended the Defence Growth Partnership as an emerging route to providing us with potential solutions to these challenges that are “progressive, inclusive and ambitious”.

If you would like to learn more about air power and the defence aerospace industry in the whole force era, an audio recording of this lecture is now available via AeroSociety Podcast. In addition, the lecture transcript and slide presentation are available to download on the Society’s website.

This lecture was sponsored by BAE Systems:

Gail Ward
25 June 2015