Posted: Thu 30th Jan 2020

£250m RAF surveillance plane contract with Raytheon Broughton helps take UK defence spending in Wales past £1 billion mark

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jan 30th, 2020

Ministry of Defence (MoD) statistics show that UK defence spending in Wales reached more than £1 billion for the first time last year.

Around 7,000 jobs are now supported by UK defence expenditure in Wales.

MoD figures published today  – 30 January – show that the department’s procurement spend in Wales increased from £960m in 2017-18 to £1.08bn last year – an increase in per capita spending from £310 to £350.

Hundreds of jobs have been safeguarded in Flintshire after Raytheon, based at Broughton, signed a £250m contract to provide support services to the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Shadow surveillance aircraft.

The 11-year deal, struck last year, has helped secure 200 jobs at firms ‘intelligence and surveillance’ hub in Broughton.

The contract supports aircraft maintenance, airworthiness management, design organisation and supply chain support of the heavily adapted Beechcraft King Air 350CER.

The  Shadow R1 fleet is operated by 14 Sqn from the RAF’s ISR hub at Waddington in Lincolnshire.

 

[RAF Shadow R1 and Sentinel R1]

Other major defence projects in Wales include the production of the Army’s next generation of AJAX armoured fighting vehicles at General Dynamics UK in Merthyr Tydfil and Oakdale and the development of a new £11m Royal Naval Reserve centre in Cardiff Bay.

It is estimated that around 7,700 jobs in defence in Wales are now being supported by UK Government defence spending, up from 6,300 in 2017-18.

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:

“UK Defence spent more than £1bn with Welsh industry last year supporting thousands of private sector jobs.

 “This investment in businesses such as General Dynamics, Raytheon and others makes Wales a genuine defence industry hub and one of the most competitive places in the world from which to innovate and deliver security.”

Among the military bases in Wales is the home of 160 Brigade HQ Wales in Brecon while a light infantry unit is to be based at MOD St Athan which will become the main Army base in Wales as well as a major RAF base.

In 2017, the runway at RAF Valley on Anglesey was restored as part of a £20m refurbishment extending its operational life for a further 25 years. All new UK fighter pilots pass through Valley before reaching their frontline squadron. 

The area around Brecon and Sennybridge are home to major Army training facilities and every year hosts Exercise Cambrian Patrol which sees military units from across the world travel to Wales to test themselves on the demanding two-day course.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“Defence continues to provide security and prosperity as we see billions invested across the UK and the subsequent hundreds of thousands of jobs supported.”

Other recent UK Government defence investments in Wales include the awarding of an £82m contract to Qioptiq, based in St Asaph, to maintain surveillance and targeting equipment over the next five years.”

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