Jacobs receives technical support contract from MOD

Jacobs Engineering Group has received a contract from the Ministry of Defence to provide technical support to the Service Provision and Transformation Contract associated with the MOD’s Strategic Support Supplier (SSS) project for land equipment use in the UK.

The SSS project focuses on ensuring the availability of equipment for training and operations to all three UK land equipment users: the Royal Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force. It aims to transform the related support mechanisms, improving the way land equipment is maintained, repaired and stored and thereby delivering better outcomes and value.

Jacobs is one of the world’s largest and most diverse providers of full-spectrum technical, professional and construction services for industrial, commercial and government organisations globally. The company employs 60,000 people and operates in more than 30 countries around the world.

Alan Seywright, Vice President Nuclear and Defence at Jacobs, said: “Jacobs has worked with the MOD for more than 30 years, and we’re proud to continue this long-standing relationship. We look forward to contributing our advanced systems lifecycle capability in large and complex defence projects to support the SSS project objectives.”


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MOD buys third record-breaking Zephyr-S UAV

The Ministry of Defence has ordered a third record-breaking Zephyr-S Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), as part of a £13M contract with Airbus Defence and Space (ADS).

Zephyr-S is the latest version of a highly sophisticated series of ultra-lightweight UAVs, capable of flying up to 70,000ft – twice the altitude of a commercial airliner – for up to 45 days at a time. Referred to as a High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS), it performs more like a satellite than a conventional UAV.

The third Zephyr-S will join the two previously ordered by the MOD in February. Built in Farnborough by ADS, all three will form part of an Operational Concept Demonstrator (OCD) to assess Zephyr’s capabilities and explore its potential for use by the UK Armed Forces and other government departments. The additional Zephyr-S will allow two airframes to be tested simultaneously and demonstrate operational handover to show that the capability could be sustained indefinitely.

The OCD trials, which will be held in 2017, will inform defence’s decisions around how best to provide next-generation battlefield intelligence to the UK Armed Forces.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon MP said: “Zephyr is a cutting-edge, record-breaking piece of kit that will be capable of gathering constant, reliable information over vast geographical areas at a much greater level of detail than ever before.

“They are part of our plan for stronger and better defence, backed by a budget that will rise each year of this decade. That means more ships, more aircraft, more troops available at readiness, better equipment for special forces, more being spent on cyber – to deal with the increased threats to our country.”


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UK & Denmark work together on OPCW mission

RFA Mounts Bay has assisted in a Danish-led mission to remove chemicals from Libya.

The operation has seen the removal of the last materials, which could be used to manufacture chemical weapons, following the Libyan Government of National Accord request for support from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the international community, in removing the remaining chemicals from Libya and destroying them safely in a third country.

Libya’s chemical weapons stockpile was destroyed under international supervision in 2014. However, a quantity of chemicals which could be made into chemical weapons remained in the country.

Following the Libyan request, the UK took up a major role alongside international partners as part of a wider programme of UK support to the OPCW in ensuring these chemicals are safely destroyed and can’t be obtained by terrorists.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “RFA Mounts Bay will help ensure chemical weapons precursors do not fall into the hands of extremist groups, including Daesh. This contribution underlines our support to the Libyan Government of National Accord.”

In July this year during his first visit to the UN since taking up the role, the Foreign Secretary voted personally to adopt a UK drafted UN Security Council Resolution supporting the Libyan Government’s operation. In addition the UK conducted intensive diplomatic negotiations including in New York and The Hague to support the Resolution and the wider operation.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “The UK, in close cooperation with our international partners, is taking practical and effective action to eliminate chemical weapon risks in Libya.”

The chemicals will be taken to a specialised facility, where they will be destroyed in an environmentally safe and secure way.

Separately, samples of the chemicals have been flown to the UK for analysis by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down – the MOD’s science arm.

As an OPCW Designated Laboratory DSTL has a capability that is respected worldwide for the quality of its work in the defence and security field.

The UK has experience of working with the Danes when dealing with chemical weapons – both countries played a key role in the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons in 2013 and 2014. The UK worked closely with a range of international partners in dealing with these chemicals from Libya, including the USA and Germany as well as the OPCW.


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