Firefighters called to blaze at BAE Systems’ base in Portsmouth

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FIREFIGHTERS have extinguised a blaze at the Portsmouth base of defence giant BAE Systems.

Two crews from Southsea and a crew from Cosham were mobilised to the commercial premises in Airport Service Road, Copnor at 9.20am this morning.

A fire had erupted in the electric distribution plant room at BAE, a spokesman for Hampshire Fire and Rescue said.

Firefighters used two breathing apparatuses, a high-pressure hose reel and a dry powder fire extinguisher to quell the flames, as well as a thermal imaging camera to monitor the scene.

The blaze was reported to be extinguished just after 9.50am, a spokesman added.

The incident comes just hours before BAE Systems reveals the first completed Pacific 24 Mark-4 RIBs for the Royal Navy.

The boats are the next generation of rigid inflatable craft which will be used with the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and offshore patrol vessels.

The £13.5m contract to build the 60 vessels at BAE’s Small Boats Centre of Excellence, in the Portsmouth Naval Base, was unveiled last year.

The RIBS can travel from ship or shore at speeds of up to 38 knots (44mph) as a rapid response craft to perform fast rescue, anti-piracy and counter-narcotics missions.

The new boats have high-performance shock absorbing seats, which will minimise crew fatigue, allowing them to travel up to six times the distance.

A team of 19 BAE Systems employees started work on the craft at the start of the year.

The project is due to take four years to complete.