Scotland is set to become part of the increase in funding by the UK government to expand defence and space projects.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Scotland will be involved in the £16.5bn planned budget over the next four years, including using the country as a launchpad for future rocket tests and shipbuilding.
Part of the spending commitment will be put towards the building of eight Type 26 and five Type 31 frigates, which are currently being constructed on the Clyde.
The funding is the largest in Britain since the end of the Cold War. The intention is that the extra money will protect British citizens and ‘extend British influence’, according to the Prime Minister.
Johnson also announced the deployment of a new agency dedicated to Artificial Intelligence, the creation of a National Cyber Force and a new ‘Space Command’ which will see the UK’s first rocket launch from Scotland in 2022.
The funding announcement comes months after a study by Scottish Enterprise indicated that Scotland’s space sector income could reach over £2 billion by 2030, as well as contribute data solutions to combat climate change.
Scotlands ambitious plan is to double income to £4 billion over the next ten years and, with a rate of growth of 12% year on year, the country is on the current track to meet those expectations.
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Funding will also help Scotland continue building on its space ambitions and give firms such as Edinburgh based Skyrora the platform to expand into future projects.
The firm has already seen success this year, after completing the UK’s first ground rocket test for 50 years from a site in the Highlands.
Skyrora also announced the building of a rocket test facility in July, which aims to put Scotland firmly on the map for future space exploration projects, whilst creating 170 jobs.
Commenting on the funding boost, Volodymyr Levykin, CEO of Skyrora, said: “Skyrora is delighted to hear that Boris Johnson has invested £16.5bn into the Military of Defence.
“Part of this will be put towards the new RAF Space Command that will aid in the deployment of British Satellites and the UK’s first rocket launch from Scotland in 2022. This was echoed in the priorities (imperatives) set out by the Secretary of Space for Defence – Ben Wallace, in a recent Defence conference: Mobilise, Modernise and Transform.
“This will help the UK space industry open up launch capability providing access to thousands of jobs. We are proud to be working alongside the government to achieve this launch capability in the UK.”