We're rounding up some of the biggest security cleared stories of the past few weeks. In June, the Royal Navy's Carrier Strike Group marked a new milestone, a new recruitment drive for science and technology roles was launched, and more organisations affirmed their commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.
HMS Queen Elizabeth launches first jet combat mission
HMS Queen Elizabeth has marked another milestone for one of the UK's largest defence projects, as the aircraft carrier launched its first combat mission using stealth jets against Daesh in the Middle East.
F-35Bs from the RAF's 617 Squadron launched from the carrier, which is currently undertaking a global deployment as the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 21. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) noted this is the largest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation.
Commodore Steve Moorhouse, commander of the Carrier Strike Group, said: "The involvement of HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Air Wing in this campaign also sends a wider message. It demonstrates the speed and agility with which a UK-led Carrier Strike Group can inject fifth-generation combat power into any operation, anywhere in the world."
£26m contract agreed for new MOD Police patrol craft
The MOD has announced the award of a contract worth £36 million for the construction of 18 new police patrol craft to enhance the security around military bases, which will sustain 50 jobs and create a further 15 roles in the north-west of England.
Designed to protect the waters around military installations, 16 of the vessels will be used around the UK by the MoD Police, while the final two will be deployed by the Gibraltar Defence Police Forces.
The 15-metre long craft will carry three crew and up to four passengers and be capable of reaching speeds of 30 knots. They will be equipped with a CCTV surveillance system, two Marine Jet Power waterjets and bullet-proof protection to defend against incoming fire. Construction has already begun and the first deliveries are expected in 2022.
Large organisations reaffirm commitment to Armed Forces Covenant
A range of large organisations, including retail giant Amazon and the House of Commons, have marked Armed Forces Week by signing or reaffirming the Armed Forces Covenant, which promises serving personnel, veterans and their families will be treated fairly.
Now marking its tenth year, the Covenant has been signed by over 7,000 organisations of all sizes. The government also noted the support of large employers such as Amazon and Amazon Web Services will ensure it continues to attract new signatories.
Gillian Russell, Amazon's senior program manager of global military affairs - and a former Royal Navy logistics officer - said military personnel can be "change-makers" for businesses. She added: "They are trained to learn new skills over a lifetime, to adapt and to face challenges head-on. We also have a huge tech skills gap in the UK and there is a talent pool of 14,000 military leavers every year who can help to fill that gap."
DSTL launches recruitment drive to fill 300 new roles
The government's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) has announced the creation of 300 new roles as it launches its largest recruitment drive in recent years. The positions will be available throughout July and August, with more roles expected to be created in 2022.
Some £6 billion is set to be invested by the MOD in research and development over the next four years, which will mean new opportunities for professionals such as project leaders, engineers, scientists, analysts, physicists and technologists. Roles will be available in areas such as Space, Cyber and Electronics, C4 (Command and Control, Communications and Computers), Data and AI.
Interim chief executive of DSTL Doug Umbers said the recruitment drive is "great news for anyone looking to start a career in Defence and Security".
He added: "The work we do here is like no other and in some cases cannot be done anywhere outside of Defence. Those who join us at DSTL will be a vital part of providing national security at home and abroad."