Posted: Fri 18th Nov 2022

UK Government pledges up to £10m for defence-focused centre of excellence in Deeside

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Nov 18th, 2022

The UK government has pledged up to £10m towards a defence-focused centre of excellence in Deeside.

Welsh government is currently leading a unique collaborative partnership with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) to create an Advanced Technology Research Centre (ATRC) at MOD Sealand.

DECA is an a MOD Executive Agency, delivering electronics and components, general engineering support capabilities, and maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade services across a range of defence systems and capabilities.

The ATRC will conduct vital research that responds directly to some of the biggest long-term challenges and opportunities in areas such as cyber security, software engineering, space, radio frequency and advanced sensing technologies and next generation propulsion.

The ATRC concept has been developed through extensive engagement with industry and wider potential partners and aims to incorporate collaborative research space, training and skills support and high security lab space for sensitive commercial research.

In his Autumn budget statement on Thursday, the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt said the UK government will “provide up to £10 million of support, subject to a business case, to work collaboratively with the Welsh government to deliver a defence-focussed Centre of Excellence Site in Wales, to include high security laboratory space, training and skills infrastructure.”

Land adjacent the DECA Sealand has been earmarked for the research centre

North Wales Senedd Member Sam Rowlands said he was pleased to hear about the funding, he said: “This multi million pound advanced technology research centre, which will be sited on the Ministry of Defence land next to the Deeside Industrial Park interchange, will create many high skilled and well paid jobs in Flintshire.”

“Along with the continued success of the Airbus site in Broughton, it really will put North Wales on the map when it comes to innovation and will be a great boost to the local economy.” He said.

Merger

Earlier this week it was confirmed that DECA will merge into Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the procurement arm of the Ministry of Defence.

The move will help sustain and grow highly skilled jobs in Deeside, Minister for Defence Procurement, Alex Chalk has said.

The merger decision was sparked by a UK government Investments (UKGI) review which identified that DECA was a valuable strategic asset and that its capability should be grown to the benefit of defence and the UK taxpayer.

DECA employs around 440 people and operates primarily from MOD Sealand with a second operating base at MOD Stafford. Initially, the merger will not result in any significant changes to business operations and will help secure the long-term future of the Sealand site.

Ministry of Defence land adjacent the DECA Sealand has been earmarked for the research centre and an application for a ‘screening opinion’ is sat with Flintshire planners ahead of formal plans being submitted.

The Welsh government signed heads of terms for the site in the summer and work is underway on the design the new facility.

Speaking in the Welsh Parliament this afternoon, Alyn and Deeside MS Jack Sargeant asked Minister for the Economy Vaughan Gething: “You will have seen the recent statement from the Minister for Defence Procurement about the Defence Electronics and Components Agency site in Sealand, and, of course, your plans for the advanced technology research centre, and it’s something I’ve spoken about on a number of times in this Chamber.”

“Can I ask you for some particulars of how the Welsh government can support the development of an advanced technology research sector, with the support of the UK government?”

Minister for the Economy Vaughan Gething and Alyn and Deeside MS Jack Sargeant

In response, Mr Gething said: “I think this is a good example of an area where, actually, the Welsh and the UK government are able to do things constructively together.”

“We’re taking a lead on a range of the development areas, with the site itself, with some of the investment we even made in getting that ready.”

The Minister said: “We need to work on what the future development partnership will look like. But we do know there will be opportunities here, because Minister Chalk’s recent statement reconfirmed plans to go ahead with this development, and there’s a point about skills in the wider region, significant employers and their interest in the product that will be taken, but also we’ve already appointed to take those matters forward in stages technical consultants, who are progressing with the masterplanning of the preferred site.”

He added: “We’ve concluded another round of detailed industry engagement, which, again, gives us more insight to help inform the design of the building and actually the jobs that will take place in and around it, and not just the centre of course, but the impact it will have on the wider economy.”

 

 

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