UK MoD signs $378 million contract with Babcock to refit and refuel HMS Vigilant submarine
12:00 AM, March 3, 2009
The Secretary of State for Defence today officially announced the signing of a major contract, worth in excess of £300 million ($378 million), with Babcock to refit and refuel HMS Vigilant - one of the UK’s most potent submarines. The announcement came as John Hutton, Secretary of State for Defence, visited the key Devonport naval base in Plymouth and met military personnel, medical staff and military families involved in supporting the naval base and our military forces fighting in Afghanistan. He also repeated that Devonport was a vital part of the UK’s maritime defence capabilities with a confirmed future as a naval base and confirmed that there would be no base porting changes for around 5 years. The visit to Plymouth was part of a wish by Mr Hutton and his top level Ministerial defence team to meet defence personnel in the regions and see at first-hand the valuable work they do and the positive impact they have on local communities.
Speaking at Devonport Naval Base, the largest in Western Europe, he said; “The South West has played an important role in the defence of this nation for centuries. This continues today with dozens of defence sites across the region. “They range from Western Europe’s largest naval base in Plymouth to the Army’s Land Forces Headquarters in Wiltshire. The key RAF airfield at Lyneham is the home of the Hercules fleet, and helicopter search and rescue units are based at Culdrose and Chivenor with the region also home to the vast majority of our Royal Marines. “This means there are almost 39,000 service personnel and 17,630 MOD civil servants in the region, demonstrating that those historic links between the South West and Ministry of Defence remain as relevant as ever. And with 37,000 full-time jobs in the South West directly funded through MOD contracts – the highest figure outside London and the South East – defence continues to be important to the South West. “I and my team want to demonstrate our commitment to the region and to say thank you to everyone - Service Personnel and their families, MOD civilians, local contractors, suppliers, industry, health care workers, and local communities - who supports our armed forces”.
The south west has a huge defence ‘footprint’ with some 25% of the military’s regular forces located in the region - including the Devon based 3 Command Brigade who are currently in Afghanistan with the region also hosting huge Army garrisons in Wiltshire, Royal Naval Air Stations in Yeovilton and Culdrose and RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire. Mr Hutton led his team of five Defence Ministers to the region with Ministers visiting Defence establishments from Gloucestershire and Wiltshire down to Devon, Somerset and Cornwall.
He also met wounded and injured service personnel undergoing treatment at the Devonport medical rehabilitation centre and families and members of 3 Commando Brigade.
The US Navy provided logistical support for the UK Navy's investigation into the alleged 'drug-fueled' parties which the crew of nuclear ballistic missile submarine, HMS Vigilant had indulged in while it was berthed off Florida.