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On a visit to Portsmouth, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced significant government investment in the UK’s defence capabilities in the region, including a major service support contract that will sustain 450 jobs.
The Ministry of Defence has signed a £420 million contract with Boeing for the in-service support of the Chinook helicopter, saving the taxpayer over £150 million. Having played a vital role in operations in Afghanistan, the contract will be for five years and the fleet will be maintained in Fleetlands, Gosport, and other technical support provided from RAF Odiham and sites across the UK.
Welcoming the deal, the Prime Minister said:
The Chinook support contract represents significant value for money for what is a very capable and versatile support helicopter, protecting UK interests at home and abroad. This will sustain 450 jobs and save the taxpayer over £150 million.
As part of our long term economic plan, we are making major defence investments in areas like Portsmouth and today’s announcements demonstrate our commitment to this great city and region.
Chinook is the UK’s only military heavy lift helicopter, able to transport up to 54 troops or 10 tonnes of supplies. The contract will support the RAF’s fleet, which will be 60 strong by early 2017 and includes the new Mark 6 helicopters.
The Prime Minister also visited Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Portsmouth where he announced that BAE Systems and Magma Structures have been chosen as the preferred bidders to occupy the Portsmouth ship hall facilities.
These announcements will further add to the £100 million investment in HMNB Portsmouth that will ensure the city is ready to become the home of the brand new Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier in 2017. Following the Chancellor’s announcement last month, the Prime Minister announced that over £50million of the £100million investment has been awarded to construct the jetty and other port infrastructure, provide high-voltage power and navigational aids necessary to berth these gigantic vessels.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
Our investment in Portsmouth and the local area will not only give our Armed Forces the capabilities they need, but will sustain thousands of vital jobs across the supply chain and boost growth across the region. By taking forward the proposals from BAE and Magma Structures we will secure skilled jobs in Portsmouth and further strengthen its maritime sector.