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British firm wins forces' contract for surveillance and targeting equipment

A British firm has been handed an £82 million contract to provide surveillance and targeting equipment to UK Armed Forces.

Manufacturing business Qioptiq, based in St Asaph in north Wales, will produce handheld equipment such as night-vision goggles for the six-year contract.

It will represent a further boost to the region, after the announcement the Defence Electronics and Components Agency Sealand (Deca) was selected to become the global repair hub for the F35 defence aircraft.

Announcing the contract at the International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi, Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said: " This deal will provide our troops with the equipment they need to stay safe, while also delivering £47 million of savings.

"This contract is made possible by our £178 billion equipment plan, supported by a defence budget that will rise every year until the end of the decade.

"Work under the new Surveillance Target and Acquisition Support (STAS) contract will create eight new positions at the company, which employs around 560 at its St Asaph and Bodelwyddan sites.

"By merging 20 individual support contracts into one deal, the MoD will save £47 million for the taxpayer over the next six years."

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns described the contract as " massive".

He said: " This enormous vote of confidence in the Welsh economy demonstrates that we offer the highly skilled workforce and facilities that investors need.

"It is also clearly great news for employment in the region."

The contract covers equipment used across the Armed Forces, from frontline infantry to the Royal Marines, to military specialists such as bomb disposal experts.

It includes infantry periscopes, laser operators and target-locating equipment.

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