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News Report Page 8 of 15
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Gibraltar Squadron to receive 2 Cutting Edge Fast Patrol Craft from Merseyside

A ₤9.9 million contract has been signed with Merseyside based Marine Specialised Technology (MST) for 2 new boats to replace the Gibraltar Squadron Fast Patrol Craft. The 6 year contract, which will support 30 jobs and create a further 25, will see construction of the 2 boats beginning in July 2020 and will take approximately 18 months, with Boat 1 due to be delivered in Q3 2021/22 and Boat 2 in Q1 2022/23.

The remainder of the contract will provide an additional 4 years of local In Service Support. Both boats will be used to patrol HMNB Gibraltar and British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW). They will also support British exercises and operations in the area and will keep close watch over Gibraltar's shores. Putting technological advancement at the fore, the vessels will demonstrate UK sovereignty of Gibraltar as well as providing force protection to designated visiting UK and Allied military vessels.

Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, said:-  "These new vessels will enable the Royal Navy to maintain the security of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and protect British, NATO and Allied ships transiting through the Region. This contract will also support highly skilled jobs across the UK which clearly demonstrates how national security and Regional prosperity go hand in hand."

The 2 new boats will replace the Gibraltar Squadron Fast Patrol Craft, HMS Pursuer and Dasher. These 2 Archer class vessels very recently took over from HMS SABRE and HMS SCIMITAR, the Scimitar Class vessels that had been in service in Gibraltar for 17 years. The vessels are being built at MST's boatyard on Merseyside and has created 25 new jobs as well as sustaining 30 current jobs as part of the ₤9.9 million contract.

Mark Milsom, Project Manager for DE&S Boats Team, said:- "There has been a British Armed Forces presence in Gibraltar for more than a hundred years and these boats will ensure we maintain an important capability to the Royal Navy and our armed forces, as well as playing a pivotal role in patrolling our coastline, protecting domestic waters and supporting maritime interests. These boats will provide the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron with a modern, fast and effective capability for fulfilling their important role."

2 Southport businesses have secured funding from Made Smarter, the movement helping SMEs join the Industry 4.0 revolution

UNITED Automation and Flavourfresh Salads are working with the North West technology adoption pilot to help them introduce digital tools and technologies to help boost productivity and growth, as well as navigate the impact of Covid-19. Almost 950 SME manufacturers have secured support, including specialised advice and ₤2.5M of funding, since the launch of Made Smarter 18 months ago. This support includes expert, impartial technology advice, digital roadmapping workshops to help manufacturers take their 1st steps to transform their business, leadership development programme developed in partnership with Lancaster University, and funded digital technology internships. 104 of the businesses have now secured matched funding for 115 projects and are forecast to deliver an additional ₤100M in gross value added (GVA) for the North West economy over the next 3 years. Charmay Prout, director of Flavourfresh Salads, said:- "Flavourfresh has a mission to use innovation to grow the business, increase UK food production and reduce waste. It is fantastic that we have secured the support of Made Smarter to pursue our ambitions."

Some manufacturers are developing projects using technologies which enable them to integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes. Others are using 3D printing, automation, and robotics to solve business challenges and meet increased demand. By adopting cutting edge technologies, these businesses are benefitting from improved productivity and revenue, increased exports and job creation, an up skilled workforce, lower energy bills, and a reduced carbon footprint. Donna Edwards, Programme Director for the Made Smarter North West pilot, said:- "Reaching 104 business and 115 funded projects is a fantastic achievement; and there is much more to come. Over the last 18 months the Made Smarter team has engaged with hundreds of makers from every corner of the Region offering specialist advice about the benefits to adopting new digital technology. I am thrilled that so many firms of all sizes have tapped into our expertise to help them select the right approach for their business, how much to invest and which technologies will bring the greatest benefits. The Coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on manufacturing and resulted in widespread repercussions for the economy. Manufacturers have reacted and adapted to the different circumstances they find their businesses facing and technology has been at the heart of that response. While there is uncertainty, what is clear is that Made Smarter is needed more than ever to help SMEs maintain their competitive edge using technology to come back smarter and navigate the future."

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