New missile technology centres to open in Stevenage and Bolton

Published: 21 Nov 2016

Defence company MBDA will create two new centres in the UK with the aim of developing innovative missile technology.

The specialised Centres of Excellence for missile technology will support 400 skilled jobs at MBDA’s Stevenage and Bolton sites.

They are the result of the revolutionary Cross-Channel Centres of Excellence Strategy, which also seeks to extend the boundaries of traditional interstate cooperation, benefitting the UK and France by increasing their military capability and promoting competitiveness in exports.

Announcing the latest news at the Franco-British Council meeting in Paris last week, defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “To keep Britain strong, it’s vital we develop mutual security through innovation and cooperation.

“By securing a rising defence budget, working with allies and investing in Centres of Excellence, we can keep Britain at the cutting-edge of technology.

“This Franco-British defence cooperation ensures high-skilled jobs through innovation and will help keep Britain safer and more secure.”

Harriett Baldwin, minister for defence procurement, also believes that the centres will ensure that Britain works effectively and innovatively with industry to secure the very best deal for the taxpayer.

This news comes not long after the next phase of a £117 million Franco-British Maritime Mine Counter Measures programme was launched.

This programme will develop cutting-edge maritime mine warfare capability to keep the UK and France at the forefront of autonomous systems technology.

The development and deployment of unmanned mine clearance vehicle will help keep British troops safe in challenging maritime environments.

During his Paris visit, the defence secretary also praised how the UK and France had worked together to combat Daesh.

RAF Voyager tankers often refuel French Rafales, as well as RAF jets. The RAF and French air force also teamed up to strike considerably difficult targets, most notably in western Iraq, where RAF Tornados carrying Stormshadow missiles and French aircraft successfully destroyed a large group of Saddam Hussein-era bunkers used by Daesh for weapons manufacture.

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