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July 14, 2014 9:27 am
David Cameron is to announce on Monday that the government will invest an additional £800m in boosting the military’s surveillance, intelligence and special forces and £300m on extending existing capabilities.
The government said the £1.1bn was not new funding but a redeployment of underspending in the ministry of defence as a result of “prudent budget management”.
The £800m will be spent on surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance measures to “extend the range and flexibility of our options, including that of our special forces capabilities in responding to the threat of global terrorism and hostage taking,” a statement said.
The remaining money will be spent on items including a new radar for the Typhoon combat aircraft and the purchase of HMS Protector, an ice patrol ship.
The prime minister, during a visit to the Farnborough Air Show, will also announce the creation of a UK Defence Solution Centre to bring together industry to develop new technologies and identify market opportunities; a Centre for Maritime Intelligent Systems to develop technology in unmanned boats and submarines; and an apprenticeship scheme to attract new graduates to the industry and boost existing workers’ skills.
Mr Cameron is due to say: “Because of the difficult decisions we have taken to tackle the deficit, we are able to make these vital investments in our defence capabilities. We are also taking action to sustain our thriving defence industry, as part of our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and secure a brighter future for hardworking people.”
The government last week released figures showing that UK defence exports increased by 11 per cent last year to £9.8bn.
However, a report released by the National Audit Office last month criticised the government’s plan to redesign the army as being badly planned and unrealistic.
An analysis of Britain’s defence spending commissioned by senior military personnel shows that it will in 2017 drop below the target set by Nato of 2 per cent of the nation’s economy.
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