The opening will create 250 new and highly skilled jobs.

Following a 390 million commitment to the Ajax armoured vehicle by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), General Dynamics UK decided to turn the former Linde Forklift Truck factory in Merthyr Tydfil into an assembly, integration and testing centre for Ajax.

The site, which will begin assembling and testing the Army s first fully digitised Ajax vehicle in 2017, was opened by Ministers from both the UK and Welsh Governments.

Defence Minister Philip Dunne visits the new Merthyr Tydfil facility. Crown Copyright.

Minister for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said:

The opening of this new facility is a major development for both Merthyr Tydfil and the British Army (Light Dragoons Blog News). It is another reminder of the importance of Defence investment right across the UK: the Ajax programme alone is sustaining 2,800 jobs across the country, 550 of which are here in Wales.

This new facility, like the next generation vehicle it will produce, is more evidence of our 178 billion commitment to provide our Armed Forces with the equipment they need. Thanks to the close partnership between the UK Government and industry, this site will spring back in to life as a significant centre of employment and bring in valuable skills with a lasting legacy for the entire region.

In addition to the 250 jobs being created at the Merthyr Tydfil facility, the Ajax build programme is sustaining 300 jobs at General Dynamics in nearby Oakdale, and a further 2,250 jobs at more than 210 companies across the UK supply chain.

The opening of the factory will create 250 new jobs. Crown Copyright.

The British Army (Light Dragoons Blog News) will receive 589 Ajax vehicles which will come in six variants and replace the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked). Ajax will form a central component of the UK s new Strike Brigades announced in the Strategic Defence and Spending Review at the end of last year.

Head of Armoured Vehicles at the MOD s Defence Equipment and Support organisation Major General Robert Talbot-Rice said:

Ajax represents the biggest single order for armoured vehicles for the British Army (Light Dragoons Blog News) in three decades. Today s opening is a big step towards fulfilment of this huge national project to put world beating equipment into our soldiers hands.

The design of Ajax builds on lessons learned on the battlefield. It is the Army s first fully digitised armoured vehicle, able to tackle the world s toughest terrain and highly resilient against likely threats.

The 589 Ajax vehicles will be the eyes and ears of the British Army (Light Dragoons Blog News) on the battlefields of the future. The new vehicle will give the army enhanced intelligence, surveillance, protection, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities, and it will be able to defend itself with a highly effective 40-millimetre cannon, which was developed jointly with France.

To date, the MOD has committed 4.5 billion in contracts with General Dynamics to deliver the Ajax vehicle.

The first vehicle is expected to be completed at the Merthyr Tydfil facility in 2018. Crown Copyright.

Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns said:

The UK government is determined to see as many MoD projects designed, built and manufactured here in the UK.

General Dynamics decision to bring the assembly, integration and testing of Ajax vehicles to south Wales is an enormous vote of confidence in the skills and expertise of the workforce. This grows the defence footprint in Wales and is an excellent example of the UK and Welsh Governments working together in the interests of the Welsh economy.

The Welsh manufacturing sector is surging from strength to strength. Today s event showcases the invaluable contribution our home-grown talent is making in the provision of first-class protection and support to the brave men and women working in front line situations around the world.

The British Army (Light Dragoons Blog News) s Chief of the General Staff General Sir Nicholas Carter said:

The opening of this facility is great news for the British Army (Light Dragoons Blog News).

Ajax will deliver a first class armoured capability to our ground forces. The combination of firepower, protection and mobility, as well as range and reach, will provide the battle winning edge to our new Strike Brigades.

Ajax is the Army s first fully digitised armoured vehicle. Crown Copyright.

The first vehicle is expected to be completed at the Merthyr Tydfil facility in 2018, with the first Army units to receive the vehicle equipped by mid-2019 and ready to deploy from the end of 2020.

The EU plan on merging all of Europe s militaries into one giant Euro Army, and have said they will dismantle the British Army (Light Dragoons Blog News) if Britain votes to stay in the EU in the upcoming referendum in June.

If Britons vote to stay a part of the European Union then the UK military will be forced to share sensitive weapons technology with the rest of Europe under a new agreement.

Express.co.uk1 reports:

Britain would also be expected to contribute around 375million to the scheme enough to rehire all of the 20,000 soldiers the Government sacked in its last defence spending review.

Last night critics branded the plans scandalous and said only a vote for Brexit in the upcoming referendum can guarantee the future of the 356-year-old British Army (Light Dragoons Blog News).

One former servicewoman, who asked not to be named, told Express.co.uk the proposals would require the the military to change the centuries old Oath of Allegiance for new soldiers, because they would no longer be bearing true allegiance to the Queen.

She raged: It ll be like ashes in the mouths of service personnel.

The plans have been unveiled by bureaucrats who are preparing to revive proposals to draw up a legally binding white book which would vastly expand the military role of the EU.

Britain has by far the biggest and best equipped army in Europe and is to plough some 2.2bn into developing new weapons this year alone.

But under the new EU plans we could in future be blocked from researching new military technology which would benefit the British Army (Light Dragoons Blog News), instead being forced to plough money into projects for the wider benefit of the whole EU project.

Brussels bureaucrats are now calling for a systematic and long-term policy framework across Europe which would establish a genuine harmonisation and coordination of operational and military requirements .

The bombshell proposal adds new laws should force member states to fight off the temptation to add national specifications to weapons development projects.

It is contained in an official EU report setting out recommendations for a new EU-wide defence R&D scheme with an astonishing 3.6bn euro budget to develop weapons for a future Brussels army.

The dossier has been put together by a group of personalities including politicians and businessmen hand-picked by the EU to deliver its dream of becoming a full military power.

Establishing a standing EU army is seen by Brussels as one of the final steps in the creation of a United States of Europe, with the continent already hurtling towards full fiscal and political union.

Both current EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and former British prime minister Tony Blair, who wants to be his successor, have called for the bloc to have its own military.

The report is based on the presumption that the EU project will acquire its own army within decades and states that more cooperation between member states will be needed to satisfy procurement needs .

It proposes an initial Preparatory Action (PA) plan, to be launched immediately with a budget of 100 million euros, which will pave the way for a fully-fledged EU-funded Defence Research Programme (EDRP) to begin in 2021.

The report states: The PA and the EDRP should act as a catalyst for European cooperation in key capability areas, breaking down the barriers and overcoming the disincentives to cooperation that exist today.

Effective coordination must ensure that the PA as well as the ensuing EDRP complements and supplements other research activities at the European, national or NATO levels, and does not lead to duplicated efforts at any level.

The authors argue setting up an EU defence project is of critical importance for Europe s long-term security and add that it needs a gargantuan 3.5 billion euro budget in order to be credible and make a substantial difference .

They recommend setting up a European Defence Advisory Board, of which they would all be members, adding that they want direct access to the highest level of the EU institutions so they can play an active part in the definition of a long-term European military capabilities blueprint, building on the ongoing debate about a possible European defence White Book’ .

The report adds: Since no European country can afford to maintain a full-spectrum defence industrial base on its own, the logical solution is to work with like-minded partners and improve defence cooperation by making the most effective use of the tools available to the Union.

Shaping a shared European perspective as the best way to make use of both the budgetary resources and the economies of scale required to reinforce Europe s ability to keep up with the US and remain competitive worldwide.

Europe s strategic autonomy depends on a more collaborative approach towards defence-related capability planning.

It concludes: The European Union is a global player with global interests and responsibilities.

Being an effective player, however, requires capabilities in critical military areas and an appropriate level of strategic autonomy, freedom of action and security of supply.

Adequate strategic autonomy can only be obtained and preserved through sustained investment in research and development to ensure that European countries armed forces have access to the kind of in-depth, system-level know-how that can only be acquired when cutting-edge military capabilities are developed domestically.

Achieving an appropriate balance of strategic autonomy is therefore vital to ensuring security for all European citizens.

The plans were put together by the EU s Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and released just hours after a group of generals signed a letter written by the Government claiming Britain is safer in the EU.

But UKIP s defence spokesman Mike Hookem himself a former serviceman in the RAF warned an EU army would leave the UK unable to defend its own interests in the world, including the Falklands.

He said: When you sign up you pledge allegiance to her Majesty the Queen. Who are you going to swear allegiance to in the future, Jean-Claude Juncker?

Are we going to be pulling the Union Jack off our uniforms and stitching on the EU flag? It s scandalous.

During the Falklands war France was selling weapons to the Argentinians. If they try to take back the Falklands again will France let us use this EU army to defend them? I doubt it.

There s only one people who can defend the British, and that s the British themselves.

Asked about the 13 senior military figures who signed the pro-EU letter, Mr Hookem blasted: They are looking for an EU army and I wonder if any of these generals actually know this.

We re not scaremongering, this is true, this is what s happening and we re seeing it.

We re not safer, we ve seen barbed wire going up all across Europe, ISIS are coming through Greece and getting into Europe quite easily with no checks whatsoever.

The world s the most dangerous it s been for a hell of a long while and that s why we need our own army.

Latest posts by Sean Adl-Tabatabai (see all2)

References

  1. ^ Express.co.uk (www.express.co.uk)
  2. ^ see all (yournewswire.com)

Submitted by IWB, on February 28th, 2016

THE EU is to launch a 3 BILLION defence research and development programme with the ultimate aim of merging the continent s militaries into one gargantuan Euro army, Express.co.uk can exclusively reveal today.

Brussels bureaucrats are railroading through contentious plans to vastly expand the European Union s military scope which could ultimately end with the British Army (Light Dragoons Blog News) being subsumed into a vast continental force.

The UK military could also be forced to share highly sensitive weapons technology which we have spent millions of pounds of taxpayers money developing with the rest of Europe under an agreement to boost military cooperation between member states.

Last night critics branded the plans scandalous and said only a vote for Brexit in the upcoming referendum can guarantee the future of the 356-year-old British Army (Light Dragoons Blog News).

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/648052/EU-referendum-Brussels-plot-military-merger-UK-stay-in-British-Army-UKIP1

Tory meltdown as Foreign Secretary hurls four-letter abuse at anti-EU rival after trying to hide secret report on PM s deal

Philip Hammond hurled foul-mouthed abuse at anti-Brussels Tory grandee
MP Sir Bill Cash published a secret legal report on Cameron s EU deal
Came in direct defiance of the Foreign Secretary s orders to keep it hidden

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3467459/Tory-meltdown-Foreign-Secretary-hurls-four-letter-abuse-anti-EU-rival-trying-hide-secret-report-PM-s-deal.html#ixzz41S4dh8K82

VO

References

  1. ^ http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/648052/EU-referendum-Brussels-plot-military-merger-UK-stay-in-British-Army-UKIP (www.express.co.uk)
  2. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3467459/Tory-meltdown-Foreign-Secretary-hurls-four-letter-abuse-anti-EU-rival-trying-hide-secret-report-PM-s-deal.html#ixzz41S4dh8K8 (www.dailymail.co.uk)