‘Missiles will help us take the fight to Daesh and protect Britain in a post-Brexit world’ - Defence Secretary unveils half billion investment in weapons at MBDA in Stevenage
PUBLISHED: 13:29 21 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:10 21 April 2017
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon visited a weapons firm in Stevenage today to unveil half-a-billion pounds worth of investment in missiles which he said would help Royal Navy ships “take the fight to Daesh”.
On a visit to missile systems firm MBDA, Sir Michael told employees at the Six Hills Way site the products they build would play a vital role in helping ensure Britain remains safe as it plays a “greater global role” following Brexit.
The £539 million investment will provide the supply of missiles to protect Royal Navy aircraft carriers as they are deployed in the Gulf and elsewhere across the world.
Sir Michael said: “This is a company that has built a great reputation in manufacturing the missiles that keep us safe.
“They have given sterling service in our campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria which is a testament to the skills of the people who work here.
“You are strengthening the resolution of this country. We’re leaving the EU, but we will be taking an even greater global role and reaching out to our friends and allies across the world.”
When asked how people in Stevenage who have misgivings about weapons production should feel about the new contracts, he said they should remember “these are the weapons that keep us safe”.
The MOD has awarded a £323m contract for Common Anti-air Modular Missiles which are used to protect Type 23 and future Type 26 warships from attack and add to the British Army’s ground based defence systems.
A £175m order is for five years’ continued support for the Royal Navy’s Sea Viper missile system which protects Type 45 destroyers.
There is also £41m to fit Meteor Air to Air missiles to Typhoons and newly commissioned F-35B Lightning II fighter planes. These aircraft will be used on missions including protecting the UK’s Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and the rest of the RN fleet from external threats.
After making the announcement, Sir Michael told assembled reporters the government will continue with arms deals with Saudi Arabia as long as they are vetted using the standard procedure for all arms agreements.
The contracts will sustain about 130 jobs at MBDA’s sites at Stevenage, Henlow, Bristol and Bolton.
Sir Michael said the investment is “good news” for Stevenage and met a group of MBDA apprentices whom he praised for their work, saying they would help maintain a “dynamic workforce” into the future.