Taking a look at the European defence market

Increasing their defence spend for the first time in a decade will be seen this year by European NATO states. Concerns about Russia, the migrant crisis and the terrorist threat have led to many European governments focusing on their military budget. Director of International Business Development at Ultralife, David Reeves, explains why the company has chosen to expand its services in Europe.

The growth of the European government and defence market has encouraged Ultralife to develop its presence in the European market. We have a well-established reputation in the United States and previously had a factory in the UK, and now believe that our experience, products and services would be a great benefit to European markets at this time.

During times of increased spending, governments will look to prime contractors to build entire programmes or may go directly to suppliers when they face an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR). Therefore, suppliers need to be ready with a range of off-the-shelf components, which fit a number of existing products. At Ultralife, we supply batteries into some of the military’s most-used radio devices, as demonstrated by our work in the UK Bowman project.

Many prime contractors in the European markets sign contracts with governments, which ensure that the latest technology and maintenance is delivered throughout the life of the programme. Innovation is vital in the sector to ensure that soldiers are always carrying the most effective equipment. We work with suppliers to update them on the newest technologies in the battery industry and provide them with accurate test data. This information can then be used to help them produce the next generation of devices.

As Research and Development (R&D) programmes are so vital in the European sector, Ultralife’s recent acquisition of UK based professional battery manufacturer, Accutronics, means it can now offer a wider range of bespoke services. Accutronics’ in-house research programme and dedicated test facility offers the opportunity for customers to work with the company to integrate a battery into their product, where off-the-shelf products are unsuitable. The acquisition also offers Ultralife customers the additional convenience of a European base to ship products from and easily communicate with the sales teams.

European governments demand a high return on their investment and the utmost quality. Batteries used in defence applications often face tough conditions, such as extreme high and low temperatures and must be rugged enough to withstand any impact. Compared to consumer batteries, military batteries must endure a longer Product Development Life Cycle (PDLC), one where they must survive tough conditions and offer great reliability, all to deliver the best return on investment. At Ultralife, our experience of manufacturing and distributing batteries for defence applications means that governments will get the return on investment they desire.

Following recent terrorist activity across Europe, some governments are focusing on homeland security applications rather than equipment for use in combat zones, something that was previously a high priority during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

The focus for batteries is therefore shifting towards batteries that can be used in sensors. Ultralife offers a range of batteries, which are suitable for homeland security applications, such as Ultralife’s M1 battery. Used in surveillance devices, the battery has a long run-time to ensure that it can continue to power covert devices for several days.

The combination of the growing defence market and Ultralife’s renewed focus in the European market is a powerful one. For customers looking for innovative and reliable batteries, Ultralife can supply a battery to meet any need.