Organisations within the defence industry have welcomed a £16bn spending boost by the UK government as a welcome step forward with the potential to create and support thousands of UK jobs.
Announcing the additional funding, prime minister Boris Johnson said the funding boost represented a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to modernise the forces.
He added: “Our plans will safeguard hundreds of thousands of jobs in the defence industry, protecting livelihoods across the UK and keeping the British people safe.”
The government has pledged to end defence budget cuts, protect vital shipping lanes, renew the UK’s nuclear deterrent and restore Britain as “the foremost naval power in Europe.”
“Renaissance” of UK-based shipbuilding
The funding boost will allow investment would allow investment in new technologies such as artificial intelligence, cyber protection to address the growing threat from cyber attacks or cyber terrorism by organised crime groups and hostile states and a new RAF space command.
Major project and funding commitments announced within the funding pledge include:
- A “renaissance” of UK-based shipbuilding, through Type 26 and Type 31 frigates, as well as a future Type 32
- An additional £1.5bn investment in research and development with a commitment for further investment into the Future Combat Air System.
- A Space Command with the capabilities of launching a rocket from Scotland by 2022.
- A new agency dedicated to Artificial Intelligence.
- A National Cyber Force.
“Embedding high value design and manufacturing in all regions”
ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said: “This is a major and welcome commitment from the Government to invest in UK defence and security capabilities, creating 10,000 new UK jobs annually in high-value industries.
“This investment will boost our national security, help the UK address new and rapidly evolving threats by developing innovative world-class equipment, and support our economic recovery. The commitment to key projects will embed high-value design and manufacturing skills in all regions and nations of the UK for decades to come.
“It is important that the procurement regime delivers quickly and in a manner that prioritises UK industrial impact, aiding planning and clarity and helping to build back better.
“We look forward to publication of the Integrated Review in early 2021 and industry stands ready to ensure implementation of the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy best supports the contribution made to UK prosperity.”
Budget boost will enable bold “transformation agenda”
CEO of London and Bristol data platform specialists Adarga, said: “This is an incredibly exciting and important pledge that will enable the Defence Secretary to fulfil the pioneering approach he has set out in the Integrated Operating Concept. Most importantly, it will enable the MoD to leverage the UK’s world leading Data Science and Software Engineering talent, to not only help meet the nature of threats now presented in an era of persistent competition, but to benefit the security and prosperity of the UK as a whole.”
“ I warmly welcome the exciting development of new agency dedicated to artificial intelligence. This will allow the MoD to be bold in its transformation agenda and not to fill holes in existing, outdated programmes, but to shift gear strategically into the Information Era.”