Professor David Kirkpatrick

Senior Associate Fellow


Professor David Kirkpatrick is a Senior Associate Fellow at RUSI. He trained as an aeronautical engineer and later as an economist.

During his career in the Scientific Civil Service, he undertook aeronautical research (in aerodynamics and aircraft design) in the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, military operational analysis and project cost forecasting in the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and attaché duties on the British Defence Staff in Washington DC.

Later he worked in the Defence Engineering Group (DEG) at University College London, which then was MoD's designated centre of excellence for education and research in defence equipment acquisition. In 1999 he was awarded a Personal Chair of Defence Analysis, and was later appointed Head of the DEG.

He was for several years an independent member of the Defence Science Advisory Council, and a specialist advisor to successive House of Commons Defence Committees.

He has published many papers on various aspects of aeronautics, defence acquisition, defence economics and military history. He was one of the principal authors of the book 'Conquering Complexity - Lessons for Defence Systems Acquisition' (HMSO 2005).

Professor Kirkpatrick’s recent publications include: ‘How Important Are Superior Numbers? A Reappraisal of Lanchester's Square Law’ (Cambridge University Press, April 2021); ‘Some Challenges for the UK's Combat Air Strategy’ (RUSI Journal, June 2019); and ‘The Whole Life Costs of Defence Equipment (Chapter 13 in 'The Political Economy of Defence', Cambridge University Press, 2019).

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