MILLIONS of pounds are to be spent installing new technology to monitor ship movements in and around Portsmouth Harbour.
BAE Systems has scooped the £5.5m contract to put in a new Vessel Traffic Management System to assist with the controlling of vessels in the port and the Solent.
It is another piece of the jigsaw puzzle of modernisation at the base being put together in advance of the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth – the first of the four acre, 65,000-tonne new aircraft carriers to be based in Portsmouth.
Minister of state for defence procurement Philip Dunne said: ‘A huge amount of investment is under way right across the naval base to get Portsmouth ready for the arrival of our HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in early 2017, including refurbishing the base’s jetties to ease access for the ships and installing new power supplies.
‘This new system, to help control and monitor ship movements within Portsmouth Harbour and the eastern Solent, is an essential part of these upgrades.
‘Making Portsmouth the home of our Queen Elizabeth carriers, alongside with the existing Portsmouth flotilla, will sustain thousands of jobs, meaning these impressive ships will provide an enduring contribution to jobs and skills in the local economy.’
The cash will be spent on bringing together a range of sensors and equipment designed at giving the Queen’s Harbour Master and the harbour control team full situational awareness so they can control vessels in the area. The system will integrate four radars, an automatic identification system, 17 high definition CCTV cameras, a high performance thermal camera, six metrological sensors and four hydrological sensors.
John Hudson, managing director UK Maritime Sector at BAE Systems, said: ‘We are pleased to continue our support to the Royal Navy by managing this important project for Portsmouth. With shipping activity expected to increase over the next few years a new Vessel Traffic Management System is essential for the future safety and security of Portsmouth Harbour. The contract is an excellent example of how we are working in partnership with the Royal Navy to deliver service improvements and modernise Portsmouth Naval Base.’