Defence Notes

Defence Insight: Expansion and analysis

18th December 2019 - 12:01 GMT | by ​Matt Smith in London


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It has been a busy year for the Defence Insight team. We have done a lot of work in the engine room of the  database, improving the existing content, adding coverage of new sectors and upgrading the export functionality.

The start of the year saw us switch on our Naval Vessels content, expanding the scope of our naval equipment profiles to cover blue-water capabilities and submarines. Initially focused on ships currently in production, naval analyst Harriet Heywood has been adding the legacy fleets and we now cover 607 ship classes in the equipment database, covering orders for 5944 vessels across 118 countries. In total, 369 of the classes are in production, covering orders for 3,444 ships (of which 2,412 have been delivered into service).  

The second major content update happened in November, when we added fixed-wing combat aircraft to the database. This was a major exercise led by our air analyst Ilker Aktasoglu and expands our platform coverage to all of the key capability areas. The tool now provides data on over 250 manned fixed-wing platforms, covering more than 22,000 military aircraft either on order or in service with 147 countries across the globe.

Land analyst Sonny Butterworth has also been hard at work strengthening the military vehicles content. In addition to adding the legacy fleets – there are now over 900 armoured vehicles, artillery and air defence systems - he has introduced turrets and remote weapon stations to the database as well as significantly improving our engine entries.

In fact, deepening the richness and usability of our equipment data was the second key focus in 2019, which we have been progressing through two key projects.

The first was to add out-of-service dates to the platform entries and the second to introduce inventory numbers in addition to orders and deliveries. The combination of these data points allows users to start to build a picture of when requirements for upgrades and/or replacements to the current inventory will be required.  The majority of this work has happened ‘behind the scenes’, but will appear on the portal as part of an upgrade to the system in Q1 2020.

The addition of out-of-service dates and inventory numbers is very closely linked to the development of our forecasting capability. This year also saw us produce five stand-alone forecasts, one each for Armoured Vehicles, Naval Vessels, Unmanned Systems, Artillery and Air Defence and Fixed Wing Aircraft. We used this data ourselves to present on the state of the market at DSEI in August and we’ll do more of that kind of analysis next year.

These reports laid the groundwork for the introduction next year of an integrated forecasting tool, to be delivered through the Defence Insight service from April. The new forecasting service will identify and track procurement programmes, but crucially will also use the inventory and out-of-service data to uncover potential requirements and opportunities that are not otherwise visible.

It has been a very exciting year for us and next year promises to be even more so as we continue to deliver improvements to Defence Insight.  

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