We're rounding up some of the biggest security cleared stories of the past few weeks. In July, a major new upgrade to the RAF's fighter fleet was announced, the UK shipbuilding sector was boosted by a contract to overhaul a former Navy vessel, and the government gave the green light to a major new nuclear development.
1,300 jobs to be secured by £2.35 billion Typhoon upgrade
A £2.35 billion project to upgrade the RAF's Eurofighter Typhoon fleet is set to safeguard around 1,300 jobs at locations across the UK, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed.
It will see the aircraft fitted with a state-of-the-art European Common Radar System (ECRS) Mk2. This will provide advanced electronic warfare functionality to enable pilots to detect, identify and track multiple targets simultaneously, both in the air and on the ground. The programme will support jobs at contractors including Leonardo UK in Edinburgh, Luton and Lincoln, BAE Systems in Lancashire and Kent, and II-VI in County Durham.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, chief of the air staff, said: "The ECRS Mk2 radar is a transformational upgrade for our Typhoon aircraft, and a step change in capability. It will ensure the Typhoon is ready and able to protect our skies into the future, in the face of fast-evolving threats to the UK and our allies."
£55 million plan to overhaul former Navy minehunter to support 100 jobs
Around 100 skilled engineering jobs are set to be supported by a project to overhaul and modernise one of the Royal Navy's former minehunting vessels before it is handed over to a key Nato ally in the Baltic.
Work on the former HMS Quorn will take place at Harland & Wolff's Appledore site in south-west England and see the ship fully restored and renovated. As part of this, 14 major subcontractor packages across the UK have been agreed for engineering, equipment and integration, along with other refurbishment services.
HMS Quorn served for 27 years in the Royal Navy before being sold to Lithuania in 2020 and specialises in active minehunting. The contract will involve the installation of new main engines, generators and propulsion gear, as well as refurbish the accommodation, hull, ancillary systems, electrical systems and sonar, providing jobs for highly skilled mechanical, electrical and marine engineers, among others.
Government gives greenlight to Sizewell C nuclear plant
Security cleared engineering jobs in the nuclear sector are set to be supported by the announcement that energy firm EDF will be allowed to go ahead with the expansion of the Sizewell power plant in Suffolk.
The project, which will see the creation of a new Sizewell C reactor alongside the operational Sizewell B facility, has been given the go ahead by the government, with business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng confirming authorisation for the scheme. The plant is expected to cost in the region of £20 billion and will supply up to seven per cent of the UK's electricity when operational.
As the plant is deemed to be a nationally significant infrastructure project, central government will make all future planning decisions. The GMB union, which represents workers in the energy sector, welcomed the development, describing it as "essential for jobs and skills and hitting our environmental targets", though it urged the government to provide more clarity on its level of investment.
New helicopter development supports 100 jobs
Around 100 highly-skilled engineering jobs in the defence sector will be ensured as part of a £60 million investment to develop a demonstrator for a new uncrewed helicopter for use with the Royal Navy, the MoD has confirmed.
The work will take place at Leonardo UK's site in Yeovil and, if successful, will provide a platform capable of delivering improved surveillance and intelligence capabilities such as tracking enemy submarines at lower cost than current aircraft, while also freeing up skilled helicopter pilots for other roles and protecting them from hostile actions.
Minister for defence procurement Jeremy Quin said: "The global threat is changing, and it is crucial we remain at the forefront of defence innovation. Exploring cutting-edge, new defence capabilities through programmes with key British manufacturers will help to ensure our Armed Forces are equipped to deal with the latest threats."