AROUND 50 jobs are to be brought to the area as part of a joint Anglo-French programme to develop the nation’s maritime mine warfare systems.
The £117m scheme, which is part of the joint maritime mine counter measures programme (MMCM), is set to help keep the UK and France at the forefront of marine warfare technology.
It is excellent news that the programme will bring jobs and skills to Fareham whilst adding to our proud maritime and naval heritage in what will be a vital part of the Royal Navy’s capability and our national defence.Suella Fernandes, MP for Fareham
The technology will be used to deliver a prototype autonomous system for detection of sea mines and underwater improvised explosive devices, to both the Royal Navy and the French Navy by 2019.
A total of 150 jobs will be created across Thales, BAE Systems and their partner SAAB, ECA Group and ASV Global, bringing around 50 jobs to Portchester-based ASV Global.
Suella Fernandes, MP for Fareham, welcomed the news, calling it ‘excellent’ as it will boost the skillset in the area.
She said: ‘The deployment of the new unmanned mine clearance vehicle will help ensure the safety of our armed forces personnel whilst on operations.
‘The programme will ensure Britain remains at the leading edge of maritime mine warfare capability and autonomous systems technology.
‘It is excellent news that the programme will bring jobs and skills to Fareham whilst adding to our proud maritime and naval heritage in what will be a vital part of the navy’s capability and our national defence.’
The programme continues a relationship between the UK and France’s defence programmes.
The agreement was signed this week between Harriet Baldwin, Minister for Defence Procurement in the UK and Laurent Collet-Billon, general director for French Procurement Agency.
The delivery of the programme will also open up opportunities for further collaboration on equipment and operations between the two nations.
The next stage will involve taking the first stage designs into a complete, manufactured system for assessment.
BAE Systems naval ships combat systems director, Richard Williams, said: ‘We are pleased to be starting stage two of the combined United Kingdom and French MMCM programme, which is a key milestone in the transformation of mine counter measures capabilities and the future operational use of unmanned naval systems.’
Dan Hook, managing director at ASV Global, said: ‘This contract culminates years of collaborative development work around the use of autonomous systems for MMCM applications.
‘We’re excited to progress to this next stage of the contract which will see the build of the next generation of MMCM platform following on from the Halcyon demonstrator platform showcased at the Royal Navy’s recent unmanned warrior exercise.’