The United Kingdom has stepped up plans for a roadmap to maximise Scotland’s defence industry.
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Defence companies met with the United Kingdom government and the Armed Forces in Scotland on Thursday, 13 July to discuss and plan the roadmap, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
The biannual meeting, organised with trade organisation partner ADS, is expected to allow the working group, the UK government, and Armed Forces to establish a more direct relationship with Scottish industry.
Scotland houses a number of the UK’s most crucial defence capabilities including Quick Reaction Alert based at RAF Lossiemouth, defence industry for Type 26 and Type 31 frigates currently under construction, around 33,500 people employed, and around €7.3 billion in turnover for UK aerospace, defence, security, and space sectors.
Scotland’s Secretary of State, Alister Jack, said Scottish officials are looking forward to further conversations with ADS, its members, the Armed Forces, and UK government departments.
“It’s clear that Scottish skills, expertise, and innovation make an enormous contribution to the UK’s defence industry, with massive benefits for our national security and economy,” he said.
“The UK government is committed to growing our economy, including by working with the defence industry to support its success in the UK and in exporting overseas.”
The meeting also discussed a defence contract worth €169 million awarded to Thales Glasgow for the construction of integrated optronic combat system mast for the Royal Navy “Dreadnought” Class future nuclear deterrent submarine.
The company has previously fitted every Royal Navy submarine with periscope or optronics mast from its manufacturing facility in Clyde, west coast of Scotland since 1917.
“With more than a century’s experience of building periscopes and optronic masts for our submarines, it’s great news that Thales’ Glasgow workforce will once again be at the forefront of producing the state-of-the-art combat system mast for our round the clock nuclear deterrent,” the Scottish Secretary said.
“Defence plays a crucial part in the security of the United Kingdom and also contributes significantly to delivering high-skilled jobs and investment in Scotland.”
The UK has declared its nuclear deterrent to the defence of NATO since 1962 using Continuous at Sea Deterrent under collective defence. That deterrent protection is currently provided by Vanguard Class submarines until the task is taken up by the new 130-crewed Dreadnought Class under construction at BAE Systems’ site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
“We are proud to say that our combat system mast and sonar will be providing the eyes and ears capabilities of the new Dreadnought Class,” said Thales UK chief executive officer Alex Cresswell.
“The boat build, led by BAE Systems and partners, will be another milestone showcase of UK engineering skills and innovation.
“It is an incredibly exciting time for the submarine service and its contribution to global security with the build of the Dreadnought Class and as we look to the development of the AUKUS submarine program that will deliver a future capability for Australia and the UK.”
In 2021, the value of UK security export sales were evaluated at around £8.22 billion, with the UK winning defence orders worth £6.64 billion in the same year.