We're rounding up some of the biggest security cleared stories of the past few weeks. In November, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced new investments in maritime and missile defence technology, the British Army unveiled its latest Future Soldier programme and more central government jobs were confirmed to be moving out of London.
British Army unveils £41 billion 'Future Soldier' programme
The British Army has unveiled its plans to modernise its fighting forces and ensure it is prepared for the future with its new 'Future Soldier' programme, which will see billions of pounds of extra investment in equipment and other technology.
It follows on from the latest Integrated Review and will include an additional £8.6 billion investment in army equipment over the next decade, bringing total expenditure for the period to £41.3 billion. The programme will also see the creation of a new Ranger Regiment and the introduction of new equipment including the Ajax, Boxer, Challenger 3, AH-64E Apache, long-range precision fires and uncrewed aerial systems.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace commented: "Future Soldier is reinforced by the ambition outlined in the Defence Command Paper to transform the army into a more agile, integrated, lethal, expeditionary force ... Our army will operate across the globe, equipped with the capabilities to face down a myriad of threats from cyber warfare through to battlefield conflict."
York set to welcome 2,000 central government jobs
More than 2,000 central government jobs are set to come to the north of England as part of a major redevelopment programme to boost the region's economy, the York Press reports.
Some 2,250 Cabinet Office posts are set for the York Central hub, which had previously been considered as a possible temporary home for parliament during the restoration of the Palace of Westminster. Project director of the development Ian Gray said there remains a high level of government interest in the scheme, which will also include 2,500 new homes and up to 1.2 million square feet of commercial development.
While the Cabinet Office already has a small presence in York, Tracey Carter, director of housing, economy and regeneration at the city council, said the government hub would significantly increase this. She added it "will create career pathways to enable people to have a full, varied career in the civil service without having to be based in London".
£100 million investment in maritime EW confirmed
UK defence contractors Babcock, Elbit Systems UK and QinetiQ have been awarded a £100 million deal to develop upgraded electronic warfare (EW) systems for the Royal Navy that will provide cutting-edge capabilities for the next generation of UK combat vessels.
The deal will create and support 170 jobs, mainly in the south-west of England, with roles ranging from manufacturing to software development. According to the MoD, the EW technology will enable better detection and identification of radio signals, aiding in faster operational decision-making, enhanced situational awareness and anti-ship missile defence capability.
Royal Navy Commodore Steve Prest, senior responsible officer for the programme, said: "The ability to understand and exploit the increasingly complex electromagnetic environment is critical for the operational success of the Royal Navy. This technology will deliver a generational leap in our electronic warfare capabilities to ensure we maintain the operational advantage we need well into the 21st century."
Multi-billion pound deal for Polish air defence system unveiled
The MoD has announced a joint project with the Polish government that will see the two nations collaborate on a multi-billion air defence system for the central European country.
It is a first for UK-Poland relations and will see the two countries share pioneering technology to develop the NAREW project, which will be based around MBDA's Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) family, which is manufactured in the UK.
As such, it will help develop and sustain critical skilled jobs in the missile sector in both the UK and Poland. Managing director of MBDA UK Chris Allam said: "In choosing MBDA, and the CAMM family, Poland will receive the benefits of a true European missile partnership, the latest capabilities, and the ability to secure and develop highly skilled jobs in its defence industry."
400 government jobs confirmed for Salford
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has confirmed it is set to bring over 400 jobs to Greater Manchester by 2025 as it officially opened its newest location in Salford.
This is set to increase to 570 by 2030 as part of a wider effort to relocate a total of 22,000 roles outside London, in order to ensure policymakers have a closer connection to the communities they serve. Around 75 current BEIS staff members will be relocated by April 2023, with a further 162 new employees being recruited by the end of this year.
Commenting on the move, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: "By bringing more than 400 top business and energy department roles to the area, we can take advantage of the fantastic local workforce and ensure voices in the north-west are reflected in our national work to build back better from the pandemic."