A Denbighshire company has won an £82 million contract to provide surveillance and targeting equipment for the Armed Forces.
The Ministry of Defence will work with Qioptig on equipment including night-vision goggles, visors and weapon sights for the next six years. The announcement is set to secure the future of over 560 jobs at two sites in St Asaph and Bodelwyddan – with another eight jobs being created.
The Welsh Government has also announced a £2.5 million grant, which will allow for a new purpose built warehouse and manufacturing facility to be built at St Asaph Business Park.
Welsh Secretary of State, Alun Cairns, said the new contract was an ”enormous vote of confidence” in the Welsh economy and ”great news for employment in the region”.
Last November, the Sealand-based Defence Electronics and Components Agency won a multi-million pound contract to repair and maintain F-35 fighter planes from across Europe.
MoD Parliamentary Under Secretary, Harriett Baldwin, told the IDEX trade show in Abu Dhabi that the new contract with Qioptig would also cut costs by £47 million as a result of merging over twenty support contracts into one deal.
She added: ”This deal will provide our troops with the equipment they need to stay safe, while also delivering £47 million of savings. This contract is made possible by our £178 billion equipment plan, supported by a defence budget that will rise every year until the end of the decade.”
At the Senedd, economy secretary Ken Skates welcomed the news as an example of Wales’ aerospace and defence sector ”going from strength to strength”: ”As one of our key anchor companies working in a priority sector, Qioptig is one of the most dynamic and innovative companies in Wales…this new contract secures the long term future of the company in St Asaph where it has a significant economic impact on the local economy through expenditure by employees and through local supply chains. It is another high value manufacturing company whose future has been secured by the work of Welsh Government.”
The new contract covers equipment such as infantry periscopes, laser operators and target-locating equipment, used across the Armed Forces from frontline infantry to the Royal Marines, to military specialists including bomb disposal experts.
Qioptiq will also spend £2 million on fitting out and equipping new IT systems for the new St Asaph facility, which will be built on nearby land owned by the Welsh Government.