A defence industry association has suggested that British soldiers should sell UK-made weapons to boost exports.
Military staff who actually use the systems would be best placed to sell to customers and boost foreign sales according to ADS, who represent aerospace and defence businesses in the United Kingdom.
On the eve of the Government’s latest defence review, which will lay out military priorities, ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said the industry needs formal support from the armed forces.
“One thing from the defence review which would make a difference to exports is for the Ministry of Defence to have supporting exports as a core task,” he said. “The objective is to have their staff alongside ours.”
Defending the pressure this would exert on already overstretched military budgets, Everitt said “Sales of defence equipment to countries are about building long-term strategic relationships with them which are good for Britain. Countries buying defence equipment – such as the Typhoon – do not see the sale as buying from a company, they see it as buying from Britain.”
The United Kingdom is falling behind competitors such as France in the promotion of defence exports. The United States have one of the most effective systems for export sales, in which the military effectively sells products.
The annual sales of security products in Britain rose by £500 million to £8.5 billion in 2014, but exports remained stable at £3.4 billion.