The Prime Minister announced the £24.1bn spending, over the next 4 years, addressing national defence and security.
This includes a new ‘Space Command’ that will “protect the UK’s interests in space”. It will also be responsible for the UK’s first satellite to be launched from a UK rocket.
There was also the creation of a National Cyber Force. It is intended this will “disrupt terrorists, hostile state activity and criminals and transform the UK’s cyber capabilities,” said the government. A Ministry of Defence and GCHQ partnership, it will conduct responsible cyber operations ranging from countering terror plots to supporting military operations.
“This multi-year settlement is very welcome for the Armed Forces,” said Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter. “It funds a pathway to modernisation and the digital force we need for the 2030s, integrated across the domains of maritime, air, land, cyber and space.”
“It allows us to adapt in the near-term to deter the range of complex threats we face. It secures the defence of our country, gives meaning to the vision of Global Britain, and sends a powerful message to our allies and opponents.”
The Scottish Secretary of State, Alister Jack, also confirmed £103 million UK Government investment for the region of south-west Scotland, signing an Ayrshire Growth Deal.
With the Scottish Government also investing £103 million, the total investment, including private funding, is expected to be around £250 million.
There eight projects involved, covering aerospace technology, regeneration, research and innovation, infrastructure and marine science. The Scottish Government are also investing £103 million with local partners contributing the rest.
A government statement said:
“The deal will position Ayrshire as one of the UK’s leading centres of Aerospace and Space activity through an ambitious and transformational Aerospace and Space Programme. This will be supported by both the Scottish and UK Governments, with total funding for the programme of £80 million. £32 million will be invested by the UK Government and £30 million by the Scottish Government, with a further £18 million from South Ayrshire Council.”
Ian Annett, Deputy CEO of the UK Space Agency, added:
“The deal will deliver another boost to the UK’s growing space sector by funding a range of new, cutting-edge aerospace activities around Glasgow Prestwick Airport, including development of the spaceport site.
This will not only create highly-skilled jobs across the region but also further the UK’s reputation as Europe’s leading new space destination and bring us one step closer to small satellite launches taking place in the UK.”
Last month, the UK government approved plans for Lockheed Martin to transfer its small satellite launch operations to Shetland Space Centre. It hopes this will lead to the creation of “hundreds of space jobs” in Scotland.
The UK Space Agency (UKSA) believes the company’s plans to move its UK Pathfinder Launch to the Shetland site, at Lamba Ness on Unst (pictured), will both deliver long-term value and help establish a sustainable, commercial launch market as part of the UK’s spaceflight programme, dubbed LaunchUK.
Shetland Space Centre anticipates that by 2024, the spaceport site could support a total of 605 jobs in Scotland including 140 locally and 210 across the wider Shetland region. A further 150 jobs will also be created through wider manufacturing and support services.