MORE than 2,000 jobs have been secured as the Ministry of Defence has awarded millions of pounds to BAE Systems to manage Portsmouth Naval Base.
The five-year contract, worth £600m, covers the management of the naval base estate, plus warship repair, maintenance and upgrades.
It will see BAE Systems supporting half of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet on UK and global operations.
The news has been welcomed by leading figures in Portsmouth.
Commodore Jeremy Rigby, the commander of Portsmouth Naval Base, said: ‘The contract will keep the base running at the highest standards and will ensure our ships are in the best possible condition and operating at the highest capability.
‘It has sustained more than 2,000 jobs at the base and many more in the supply chain.
‘This announcement comes at an exciting time for Portsmouth Naval Base as we prepare for the arrival of the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers – HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.’
The Maritime Support Delivery Framework contract will run until 2019 and provides a partnering agreement between BAE Systems, the Royal Navy and the Ministry of Defence.
The contract includes the management of the Portsmouth Naval Base estate on behalf of the Royal Navy, delivering everything that is needed to live and work on the base such as planning, engineering, hard facilities management, programme management and estates services covering energy, waterfront and logistics.
It will also see BAE Systems deliver a range of support services to ships, including technical services, maintenance, repair and upgrades.
A spokeswoman for BAE Systems said: ‘The contract award secures more than 2,000 jobs and demonstrates BAE Systems’ enduring commitment to the Solent region and to Portsmouth, home of the Royal Navy.
‘It follows a successful 12-year track record delivering services in Portsmouth, during which the company has delivered savings in excess of £173m for the taxpayer.’
John Hudson, managing director of Maritime at BAE Systems, added: ‘This contract is an excellent example of our continued commitment to work collaboratively with the Royal Navy to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of operations at our Portsmouth business.
‘This is an exciting time for everyone at the naval base.
‘Working together, we will prepare the naval base for the arrival of the UK’s Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers and continue to use our ship design and build knowledge to support the surface fleet in service.’
Defence secretary and former minister for Portsmouth Michael Fallon has highlighted the importance of this contract in a statement this morning.
The contract was announced as part of a £3.2bn package of deals for naval bases across the country.
Mr Fallon said: ‘This huge investment in our naval bases will directly sustain more than 7,500 jobs and skills across the UK and ensure that the Royal Navy’s fleet of 56 warships and submarines are in the best possible condition and available for operations.
‘As a former Minister for Portsmouth I know how important naval bases are for the local economies so I am delighted that these contracts have been awarded.’