Defence: Space Technology

Ministry of Defence written question – answered at on 26 February 2024.

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Photo of Andrew Lewer Andrew Lewer Conservative, Northampton South

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that its approach to procurement helps to retain the (a) skills and (b) workforce needed to support exports of military space technology.

Photo of James Cartlidge James Cartlidge The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

The space industry is an important part of the UK economy and is vital to delivering government's ambitions for space. We are working closely with Departments across government and with the UK space industry to develop and retain the skills and workforce they need. This is set out in the National Space Strategy (2021) and Defence Space Strategy (2022) which place a priority on the space sector having the right skills and expertise for both civil and military purposes.

Through the Ministry of Defences's (MOD) investment in space capabilities, we are providing jobs and skills in the UK. The Skynet programme, worth circa £5 billion over ten years, is procuring satellites that are largely designed and manufactured in the UK. This investment promotes the technologies and skills which make UK industry competitive. We have also invested a further £1.4 billion in space over ten years to develop new capabilities that will position the UK as a world leader on space technology.

Through the Skynet secure satellite communications programme, we are using social value requirements in our major contracts to secure industrial sponsorships of educational schemes and through-life skills development. In addition, UK Space Command is developing the UK Space Academy, a Centre of Excellence for space training for the benefit of both government and industry.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, in close consultation with MOD, will publish a plan for the space industry in the coming months, which will increase growth and resilience for this vital part of the economy.

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