COMMENT: Becoming a technological hub would be fantastic

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Our Bring Them Here campaign has already set out the case for basing the new generation of naval ships in Portsmouth.

But today a powerful ally has come on board to add weight to our argument.

On page 9 the boss of a major defence firm backs up what we’ve been saying all along – that this city is the best place bar none for the Type 31es and Type 26s.

Paul Livingston, vice-president at Lockheed Martin’s UK integrated systems base in Havant, believes securing the new breed of frigates here would help to transform the city into a true engineering and technical powerhouse.

As well as creating opportunities and jobs for companies across the Solent region, he points out that the presence of the frigates could help the area to become the UK’s leading hub for science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem).

That’s an exciting prospect and underlines why The News, unions and the city council are all calling on the government to base all eight of the state-of-the-art Type 26 frigates and five Type 31e warships in the city.

We’re not one-eyed here, blindly backing ourselves. Others may want to be regarded as the country’s engineering hub, but we genuinely believe we have the expertise in this area to live up to such billing.

Yes, our long naval history stands us in good stead.

But we have the necessary technological know-how too.

We hope that Lockheed Martin gets to play a leading role in the development of the Type 31es and look forward to working with a company that clearly shares our vision of the future.

On the subject of timescales and costs, it has the kind of positive, can-do mentality that sends out a strong message that we mean business.