Belfast Telegraph

£330m military communication system contract 'an investment in Welsh brainpower'

A £330 million military contract for a new battlefield communication system which will create 250 highly-skilled jobs in Wales is an "investment in Welsh brainpower", the Secretary of State for Defence has said.

Sir Michael Fallon visited the General Dynamics UK (GDUK) site in Oakdale, South Wales, where next-generation communications system Morpheus will be developed by the company for the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Sir Michael said the contract was a "huge" investment in "highly-skilled" jobs and secured the future for employees and apprentices for years to come.

He added: "It's another vote of confidence in Wales. It's an investment in young people in Wales too - in Welsh brainpower."

The Morpheus programme, which will improve visual information and allow it to be shared more widely by the military, will allow the three branches of the armed forces to communicate better and more quickly on the battlefield.

The technology was demonstrated to Sir Michael, who was joined on his tour of the site on Thursday by Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns.

Sir Michael spoke with members of staff at GDUK and with soldiers who are working with the company on the development of Morpheus.

He also climbed into a number of Army vehicles to look at computing equipment used inside them.

While in Wales, the defence secretary also handed over a former MoD super-hangar site in St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan, to Aston Martin.

It is being redeveloped into a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for the British luxury carmaker and will directly create 750 new jobs.

Sir Michael said: "Backed by a rising defence budget, last year MoD spent £870 million with Welsh businesses helping to build a stronger economy and keep Britain safe.

"As well as investing in new equipment, we are also investing in a better defence estate for our Armed Forces.

"Aston Martin's decision to build a new facility on land we no longer need will bring more high-skilled jobs to Wales."

Mr Cairns said Wales was establishing itself as a "hub of high-skilled manufacturing".

He said: " General Dynamics UK has long been instrumental in putting Wales on the frontline when it comes to supporting our country's defence and security.

"Today's announcements are testament to this Government's determination to strengthen every part of the United Kingdom and are a strong indicator that Wales is open for business, open for trade and open for investment."