Supply chain opportunities available in new MOD manufacture contract

Summary: A new defence system for the interception and destruction of enemy missiles is to be manufactured in the UK under a £250m MOD contract that will sustain hundreds of jobs and create further opportunities down the supply chain.

Sea Ceptor is a cutting edge missile designed and built by MBDA. Capable of travelling at speeds of more than 2000 miles an hour, it will be able to intercept multiple targets and protect an area out to a range of 25km.

With MOD expected to commit to manufacture of the T26 in the middle of this decade, cross-decking this capability will ensure that the T26 enters service with a proven air defence capability.

It will also complement the longer range Sea Viper system on the Type 45 destroyers, providing the Royal Navy with a full range of missile systems to defeat current and future threats.

Speaking at the Defence Security Equipment International (DSEI) conference at London’s Excel Centre, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the contract to manufacture Sea Ceptor will sustain around 250 jobs at MBDA sites in Stevenage, Filton and Lostock. It is also estimated that a further 250 jobs will be secured in companies in the supply chain.

The MOD has also extended an agreement made with MBDA in 2010 to manage the UK’s complex weapons portfolio. Under this agreement, MOD and MBDA are working together to deliver savings of around £1bn over the next decade.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “The production of Sea Ceptor will be a huge boost to the UK’s world-leading missile industry, providing hundreds of jobs and once again proves our commitment to providing battle winning technology to our Armed Forces. Having balanced the defence budget we continue to order new equipment for our forces with confidence.”

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas said: “I am delighted by this announcement which marks an important milestone in the Sea Ceptor project. This state-of-the-art missile system is part of an exciting renaissance in our naval equipment programme – and when fitted to Royal Navy frigates it will further enhance our global authority as a leading maritime power.”

The comments from the First Sea Lord Admiral will be welcome news for the MOD, after repeated questions have been asked around the UK’s military capabilities following cuts agreed by Chancellor George Osborne and Mr Hammond.

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