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UK Defence and Scottish Industry

UK defence spends £1.76bn with Scottish industry, supporting 10,200 private sectors jobs with major defence suppliers.

The largest expenditure is invested in shipbuilding and repair. Defence’s total industrial spend equates to £320 for every person in Scotland.

Scottish industry is renowned for building the world’s finest warships – including the UK’s new aircraft carriers and providing 20 years of orders for the shipyards on the Clyde.

The UK Government has placed a £3.7bn contract to build the first three state-of-the-art Type 26 Frigates, and the Clyde yards will build the remaining five too. The order for the second batch will be placed in the early 2020s. The Type 26 programme sustains 1,700 jobs in Scotland and another 2,300 jobs across the wider UK supply chain until 2035.

The Clyde shipyards also won a £635m order to build all five of the Royal Navy’s batch 2 River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels which will patrolling UK waters and coastline, supporting operations from anti-smuggling to fisheries protection.

In Autumn 2019, Babcock was announced as the preferred bidder to win a £1.25bn order for five new Type 31 frigates at Rosyth. These ships will be vital to the Royal Navy’s mission to keeping peace, providing life-saving humanitarian aid and safeguarding the economy across the world from the North Atlantic, to the Gulf, and in the Asia Pacific region.

The UK defence sector is a key driver of innovation and boasts a highly skilled workforce utilising the best technology and engineering know-how on programmes such as the Typhoon and Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier.

The Scottish defence sector also underpins the UK’s wider marine, aerospace, nuclear and security capabilities.

Working with the Strathclyde and Heriot Watt Universities and businesses, the Defence sector generates good growth prospects. Scottish industry’s specialisms include important areas like manufacturing radar systems for search and rescue helicopters flown around the world, while Glasgow is becoming a key centre for small satellite technology, part of a space sector that industry association ADS Scotland estimates as being worth £2.5bn a year. The UK Government has provided £2.5m of funding for a spaceport at Sutherland on the north coast of Scotland.

The UK Government has also identified Air Capabilities and Intelligent Systems as key technology capabilities for the UK which it will support Scottish and UK firms to compete in increasingly competitive international defence markets.

Case study: RAF Lossiemouth

The Ministry of Defence and Boeing has jointly funded a new strategic facility at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, the home of the RAF’s new submarine hunting Poseidon Maritime Reconnaissance and Attack (MRA) aircraft, nine of which will arrive there from 2020.

This £400m investment includes training simulators, accommodation, an operations centre and engineering support. NATO ally Norway will also be able to maintain its aircraft at Lossiemouth, and the US is investing in the site as well in order to be able to operate its Poseidon’s from Scotland.

The construction phase will support 200 local jobs, with an additional 470 military and civilian posts at Lossiemouth when the RAF Poseidon’s enter service.