Innovation, Industry, And The Royal Navy

It was a busy visit to Scotland for the Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin. 

As well as spending time in the Clyde shipyards, she was also in attendance at the Maritime Enterprise Innovation Scotland conference. 

Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel Steel Cutting
Ms Baldwin saw steel being cut on the Royal Navy's new offshore patrol vessels

It's the first of its kind, a melting pot of academics, industry and the Royal Navy.

And it saw the announcement that the MoD has signed a contract worth almost £300 million for two more Royal Navy ships to be built on the Clyde.

BAE ship building Clyde

The two extra offshore patrol vessels will bring the total ship order to five.

Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel

Ms Baldwin said:

"This contract will deliver two more modern Offshore Patrol Vessels, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey, for the Royal Navy and safeguard vital shipbuilding skills and hundreds of jobs in Scotland."

"Protected by a rising defence budget, the OPV programme is an important part of the Government’s £178 billion plan to ensure our Armed Forces have the equipment they need."

Rear Adm John Weale, Scotland and Northern Ireland's Flag Officer, said of the conference meanwhile:

"The success of the conference for me will be: Does it have a legacy? Do we repeat it?... Do we deliver... some outcomes that enable us to come back and say 'that's what we want', 'that's what we do'. Can we (build something more) quickly to give us operational advantage".

There is to be funding for those with an innovative idea that could help the Armed Forces.

A Defence & Security Accelerator will offer money to turn ideas into a commercial and operational successes.

Scotland is currently home to a third of the Royal Navy's personnel, and over the centuries 2,000 Royal Navy warships have been built on the Clyde. 

Now, there's a renewed push towards Scottish innovation, to help develop the defence ideas of the future. 

More: 'Three New Patrol Vessels to Be Built on the Clyde'