Our Defence, Security and Aerospace (DS&A) lawyers provide critical legal support to leading companies at all levels in the supply-chain. We have a detailed understanding of the issues facing businesses in the sector. Our knowledge and experience enables us to work in partnership with our clients to deliver focused and cost-effective advice and support.

The issues we advise on include:

Supply chain management:

Manufacturing and supply agreements | Outsourcing and sub-contracting arrangements | DEFCON contracts and advice | Collaboration agreements | Data ownership and management | Energy and carbon reduction projects | Technology-rich agreements | Intellectual Property (IP) ownership and protection | Venturing/funding | Employment and TUPE advice

Large defence projects:

Acting for prime contractors, consortium members and SPVs on MoD procurements and similar projects | Outsourcing and sub-contracting arrangements | Assisting prime contractors and sub-contractors/consortium members to manage supplier side relationships | Ongoing contract management support

Digitalisation:

Data ownership, management and exploitation | Use in the sector of AI, digital twins, simulation, VR and AR and associated regulatory implications | Advice to tech companies selling products or services into the DS&A sector | Strategic M&A including application of NS&I | Joint ventures and corporate venturing with transformative technologies | Cyber and data attacks

Regulatory and ethical compliance:

Export control | Sanctions | Anti-bribery and corruption | Modern slavery | Social value and net-zero obligations | Competition law and state aid | Health and safety

Regulated and Single Source Procurement:

Navigating public procurement processes | Maximising chance of successful bids | Challenging procurement decisions | Single source defence procurement and dealing with the Single Source Regulator's Office (SSRO)

Defence and Security ministries are continuing to run large scale equipment procurements as old platforms and equipment approach end of life. They also need to ensure their capabilities are fit for purpose in the prevailing (and sometimes rapidly changing) geo-political situation. Procuring Authorities are however looking to future proof their hardware purchases (and drive value for money) by insisting on interoperability and expecting suppliers to deploy new technologies such as digital twins and advanced 3D models. Digitisation is also now front and centre of National defence and security strategies, with "Digital Defence" as important an element of a nation's defence and security as physical equipment. The UK's Integrated Review of Security and Defence (2021) forcefully drives this home. Nation states are investing heavily in the use, in defence and security applications, of AI, cloud computing, simulation, cyber defence and related technologies. Providers, which are now often not traditional defence suppliers, can make their offerings compelling if they align with key government drivers such as interoperability and sovereign capability.

Our team of DS&A lawyers combine deep knowledge of contracting in the defence and security sector with market leading expertise in assisting clients to protect and exploit their technology. This experience helps clients (both traditional and non-traditional defence companies) to maximise their position. Our M&A lawyers deploy this expertise in sector acquisitions and disposals to ensure effort is directed to the key issues and to plot a deal strategy which aligns with the relevant regulatory and commercial landscapes. The firm's focus on broader digitisation and decarbonisation drivers also means our advice is forwards looking and directly relevant.

The Civil Aerospace sector took a significant hit during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic and the massive effects of that disruption are still working their way through the supply chain. However, demand is increasing and manufacturers are announcing new orders. There is also continued investment in future looking technologies as, for example, decarbonisation and net zero become legal obligations and UAVs and drones (including in the urban environment) and autonomous systems begin to mature. We are well placed to help clients navigate these issues with our combination of sector, technology and decarbonisation expertise.

Experience

Babcock Defence and Security

Provided Babcock Defence and Security with ongoing regulated procurement law support in relation to its Defence Support Group contract for the UK Ministry of Defence.

AgustaWestland (now Leonardo Helicopters)

Assisted AugustaWestland (now Leonardo Helicopters) with complex issues arising from a specialised logistics contract.

Aerospace company

Advised on a complicated export control matter and the client's strategy for dealing with the issue.

QinetiQ

Advised on a confidential outsourcing project tendered by a UK public authority as well as on corporate, commercial and projects issues.

Digital Barriers

Advised on its admission to AIM, its subsequent acquisitions and three follow-on equity raises.

AGC Aerospace

Pursued a High Court claim for fraudulent misrepresentation and negotiating settlement.

Compass Group

Acted on the MoD's Army Foundation College PFI involving the provision of teaching and training facilities for the further vocational education and military training of school leavers.

Amec consortium

Acted on the MoD's £690m Corsham accommodation PPP.