South East Wales

General Dynamics: £330m Army contract creates 125 jobs

A woman working at General Dynamics

A £330m defence contract awarded to a company in Caerphilly county will create 125 new jobs.

General Dynamics in Oakdale will create a next-generation communications system for the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

It will improve visual information and allow it to be shared more widely by the military.

General Dynamics UK's chief operating officer, Steve Rowbotham, said it was "fantastic for the site here in Oakdale".

It will be used in General Dynamics' new fleet of AJAX armoured vehicles which are being assembled and tested in Merthyr Tydfil.

This new system will link up vehicles on the ground with headquarters and pass information to RAF pilots.

Image caption Mr Rowbotham said the deal meant General Dynamics "would continue to be here for many years to come"

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the contract "underlines the importance of Wales to our armed forces".

He said the commitment followed the MoD spending £870m with Welsh businesses last year.

The defence industry already employs about 5,000 people in Wales, mostly in highly-skilled, highly-paid jobs.

The contract for EvO is the first phase in the MoD's new Morpheus programme and marks a change in approach to awarding major contracts by the UK government.

Some previous deals have been criticised for being late and going over budget.

This new approach allows different companies to bid for different stages of the programme, building on what has been developed by other businesses.

This could mean the military is less heavily dependent on one company delivering a large project on time and on budget.

It is a significant shift in how businesses in the defence industry operate though, having to work collaboratively and giving control over some of their intellectual property to the UK government.

The test for this new approach will be whether it provides the taxpayer with better value for money while ensuring the armed forces have the equipment they need at the time they need it.

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