The Prime Minister will today announce that, due to difficult long-term decisions that the government has taken and prudent budget management instilled in the MOD since the balancing of the defence budget, an investment of £1.1 billion will be made in capabilities for the armed forces.
This includes an extra £800 million of investment in an Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance package - to extend the range and flexibility of our options, including that of our Special Forces capabilities in responding to the threat of global terrorism and hostage taking, and an investment of £300 million in existing capabilities including a new E-Scan radar for Typhoon and the purchase of Ice Patrol Ship HMS Protector.
Visiting the Farnborough International Airshow - where billions of pounds of exports orders are expected over the week which will benefit the UK economy – the Prime Minister will also set out actions taken by the Defence Growth Partnership of industry and government, as part of our long-term economic plan to improve our competitiveness, to boost the UK defence sector which is vital to economic growth, and make sure our armed forces have the best equipment in the world. These will include:
- establishing a UK Defence Solutions Centre in Farnborough to bring together industry, with support from government, to develop the new defence technologies of the future, identify future market opportunities and work together to ensure they have the products and solutions that will be in demand. The global defence market is estimated to be worth around £82 billion a year to 2022
- launching a £4 million UK Centre for Maritime Intelligent Systems based in Portsmouth. Government, industry and the Local Enterprise Partnership will bring together academics, scientists, engineers and naval specialists to develop cutting-edge technology for use in autonomous unmanned boats, submarines or other vessels
- building skills for the future through a new Defence Apprenticeship Trailblazer to attract new graduates to the Industry as well as up-skilling the existing workforce. This Trailblazer will develop a new Masters level standard in Advanced Systems Engineering, a critical skill to deliver competitive advantage
Prime Minister David Cameron will say:
Having modern, technologically advanced and flexible armed forces to protect us and our interests is vital. Because of the difficult decisions we have taken to tackle the deficit we are able to make these vital investments in our defence capabilities. We are also taking action to sustain our thriving defence industry, as part of our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and secure a brighter future for hardworking people.
Last week figures were released which showed that UK defence exports increased by 11% to £9.8 billion in 2013 in an industry that employs over 160,000 people in the UK.