A £36 million contract has been awarded to Marine Specialised Technology to deliver 18 new police patrol craft for the UK Ministry of Defence and Gibraltar Defence Police forces.
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The five-year contract will deliver 16 patrol craft to the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) Police and two craft to the Gibraltar Defence Police (GDP), replacing those currently in use. The police patrol craft are to be used around Royal Naval bases in the UK and British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.
The contract reaffirms the UK's commitment to invest in homegrown industry knowledge and support the protection and creation of skilled jobs according to Baroness Annabel Goldie, UK Defence Minister.
“The 15-metre craft will be able to carry three crew members and up to four passengers, travelling up to 30 knots,” she said.
“They will be fitted with a CCTV surveillance system, two Marine Jet Power waterjets and reinforced with bullet-proof protection against incoming fire.
“As highly manoeuvrable craft, they will also be used for 24/7 policing to protect Defence assets and deter and detect any potential threats.”
The vessels, designed and constructed by maritime engineers in the UK, have been built to operate in all weather conditions, providing direct support to the Royal Navy's escort, cordons and maritime security capabilities.
Based in Liverpool and on the River Mersey, the contract is expected to sustain 50 jobs and create a further 15 across the north-west of England.
The craft procurement is part of an ongoing craft replacement project ensuring the MOD Police continues to support MOD and Royal Navy to achieve operational objectives, according to Inspector Brian McArdle, MOD Police marine operations support lead.
“The bespoke craft requirement compiled in collaboration with Defence Equipment and Support, will deliver a modern maritime craft enhancing the operational capabilities of the MOD Police,” he said.
“The Carrier Strike Group 21, led by the Royal Navy alongside their Dutch and US counterparts, recently visited Gibraltar as part of the deployment and was supported by the GDP who carried out escort and patrol activity.”
Defence has received an increase in funding of over £24 billion across the next four years, focusing on the ability to adapt to meet future threats.
Reflected by this latest investment, the MOD Police and GDP forces form a central role in the protection and security of Defence assets and require essential equipment capabilities to fulfil this duty.
To deter and defend against threats to UK bases and overseas territories, these craft will ensure the continuity of an important capability for the MOD Police, Joshua Brooks, DE&S Boat acquisition project manager, said.
“The constant waterborne patrol and policing at UK Naval Bases will include HMNB Portsmouth, HMNB Devonport and HMNB Clyde, as well as the Gibraltar Naval Dockyard,” Brooks said.
“These craft will provide the MOD police with a modern, fast and effective capability for fulfilling their important role.”
Construction has already started on the design project and the first police patrol craft is expected to be delivered in July 2022.