We’re rounding up some of the biggest security cleared stories of the past few weeks. In December, the UK continued in its efforts to support Ukraine, The Prime Minister announced a deal to construct five new warships, ministers began studying new child-specific terrorism orders and Britain collaborates with Italy and Japan to build an AI fighter jet.
UK military delivers counter-explosive equipment to Ukraine
The UK military has donated over 1,000 metal detectors and 100 bomb de-arming kits to Ukraine to help clear minefields and unexploded ordnance. This comes as the latest package in the UK’s extended effort to support its European ally, which will continue into 2023.
Defence Secretary, Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, commented: “Russia’s use of landmines and targeting of civilian infrastructure underline the shocking cruelty of Putin’s invasion. This latest package of UK support will help Ukraine safely clear land and buildings.”
Across 2022, the UK provided support of over £2.3 billion to Ukraine - more than any other country in the world, other than the United States. The British government has committed to upholding the same level of funding in 2023.
Prime Minister confirms Type 26 frigates to be constructed in Glasgow
Five new Royal Navy warships are set to be built in Glasgow, following an announcement by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The £4.2 million contract was awarded to BAE Systems to erect five Type 26 frigates, in addition to the three that are already in construction. According to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the deal is set to support more than 1,700 new jobs across the next decade.
The three Type 26 vessels already under way were announced in 2017, when the MoD claimed a deal for five more ships would be agreed upon “in the early 2020s”. The new contract was confirmed by the Prime Minister during the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. Mr Sunak said: “Russia’s actions put all of us at risk. As we give the Ukrainian people the support they need, we are also harnessing the breadth and depth of UK expertise to protect ourselves and our allies.”
British ministers to implement new child-specific terrorism orders
Ministers are currently studying plans that would allow children involved in terrorism offences to either accept help or face jail. Devised by Jonathan Hall KC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, the move comes as more children are being arrested in the UK for lower-level terrorism offences, including downloading material and sharing propaganda.
Mr Hall clarified: “I’m not talking about the most serious cases, where prosecution will usually remain the best option.” Other measures included in the proposal include limiting the use of devices, monitoring software to detect if children are accessing extremist material and mandatory mentoring sessions to deter them from violent beliefs.
Under plans currently being studied by ministers, children who breach these conditions would be subject to arrest and punishable by the court, although complying with them would avoid prosecution.
UK, Italy and Japan to create AI fighter jets
New plans have been announced for a military collaboration between the UK, Italy and Japan. The joint venture is already under way, intending to develop the Tempest fighter jet, which will provide speed stealth, use advanced sensors and even draw on AI to assist human pilots, if needed.
BAE Systems will be integral to the development of Tempest, while Italy’s Leonardo and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are other partners involved in the project. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “The security of the UK, both today and for future generations, will always be of paramount importance to this government.”
It’s not all about security though, as the project will generate thousands of British jobs and open the door to an increase in arms exports. The international partnership, especially with Japan, points to the UK strengthening ties with its Indo-Pacific allies.