Posted on 29 November 2018
The Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson visited Scotland to announce that the seventh Type 26 Frigate to be built will be called HMS Edinburgh, and visited key defence projects around the country on the eve of St Andrew’s Day.
He began by meeting Councillor Jason Rust, Bailie for the Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, at the Nelson Monument and museum on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill, to make the frigate announcement. The submarine-hunting state-of-the art frigate builds on the City’s proud naval history and is the seventh warship to carry the name. HMS Edinburgh will be built on the Clyde as part of a £3.7bn programme that will sustain 4,000 jobs across the UK – 1,700 of these in Scotland. The first three ships, HMS Glasgow, HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast, have already been ordered for £3.7bn. HMS Edinburgh will join HMS Birmingham, HMS Sheffield, HMS Newcastle and HMS London as part of the second batch of Type 26 warships.
The Defence Secretary then went on to RAF Lossiemouth to see the progress on the new £132m home for the UK’s nine new submarine hunting maritime patrol aircraft. The facility will be finished in 2020 when the first aircraft arrive in the UK. This is part of a massive defence investment in Lossiemouth, including adding a fourth Typhoon fast jet squadron next year.
He then toured the Hydro Group facility in Bridge of Don, where he was briefed by Doug Whyte, founder and owner of the business, and his directors, engineers and apprentices. Hydro Group specialises in the design and manufacture of subsea and harsh environment electrical and optical connectors, penetrators, cable assemblies and terminations for the defence, oil & gas, renewable energy sectors. The company provides specialist support to the UK submarine service including hull penetrating communications systems, towed array sonars and support to its noise range at Rona, near Kyle of Lochalsh.
The final element of the visit was to Wings for Warriors at Aberdeen Airport. This is a charity which was established to train wounded, injured or sick service personnel to become professional helicopter pilots. All of its graduates must be commercially employable, meaning that they are trained to the highest possible standards. They do not specially adapt their aircraft, but instead require veterans to adapt themselves, overcome their injuries and demonstrate 100% commitment to earning themselves bright new futures where the ‘sky is merely the beginning.’
Scotland is already crucial to the United Kingdom’s defence capabilities, being home to the RAF’s Quick Reaction Alert interceptors and submarine-hunting Maritime Patrol Aircraft flying from Lossiemouth, and soon to the be home to the entire Royal Navy Submarine Service from 2020.
More than 10,000 sailors, soldiers and air personnel are also living permanently in Scotland, supported by 8,000 reservists and civilians.
Meanwhile, Scottish industry benefits from £1.59bn of defence spending every year – supporting 10,500 private sector jobs – and just last year the Defence Board confirmed £1.7 billion would be invested to upgrade Scottish military bases over the next decade.