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NEWS of a multi-million-pound contract which will help secure jobs at a Hebridean range for the next 11 years has been welcomed by a council leader.
Last week an agreement between MOD and QinetiQ worth an estimated £1 billion was announced.
QinetiQ conducts test and evaluation of military and civil platforms, systems, weapons and components on land, at sea and in the air for the UK Ministry of Defence and the new deal will extend the Long-Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA) between the two bodies, committing approximately half the core LTPA revenues until March 31, 2028.
As part of the accord, QinetiQ revealed it will invest approximately £95 million in modern tracking equipment, instrumentation and range infrastructure at the MoD Aberporth and MoD Hebrides ranges.
Comhairle leader and chairman of the Uist economic taskforce, Councillor Angus Campbell, heralded the development. He said: ‘The announcement is very welcome news indeed.
‘I have been involved in the work of the economic taskforce for many years alongside various agencies and community representatives who have fought a hard and determined campaign to secure such jobs.
‘The security and the importance of this announcement for the skilled workforce and the Uist economy, cannot be overstated. As we often hear – the loss of one job in Uist is the equivalent of 200 jobs in Glasgow, so I am delighted that the future of the Hebrides range in Uist has been secured until 2028 and wish the workforce all the very best for the years to come.’
The Hebrides range is the UK’s largest missile range. It lies on the north-west part of the island of South Uist and consists of a ‘deep range’, for complex weapons trials and in-service firings; and an ‘inner range’, for ground-based air defence campaigns. Earlier in the year it had been thought as many as 19 of the 148 posts at the range would be cut as QinetiQ sought to reduce its workforce. The company had declined to give details of redundancies at any of the sites before it held a consultation spanning six weeks.
Steve Wadey, QinetiQ CEO, said the contract is a huge step forward in keeping the armed forces up to date and maintaining its safety and operational advantage to address current and emerging threats through the next decade and beyond.
He added: ‘Our investment demonstrates that we are committed to transforming our ways of working with both UK MoD and wider industry, to deliver air ranges and test aircrew training that are relevant and competitive for the UK armed forces as well as government and industry customers around the world.’