The British Underwater Test and Evaluation Center (BUTEC) in the Wester Ross community of Applecross among the key facilities visited by UK Defense Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin as its value to the local economy is highlighted
Key defense sites in the west of Scotland were visited by UK Defense Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin as part of a two-day trip to meet staff and tour facilities.
The Minister visited the British Underwater Test and Evaluation Center (BUTEC) based at Applecross on the North West Coast.
The facility is used to measure noise from surface ships and submarines and to test underwater weapons, such as torpedoes. Led by QinetiQ, Minister Quin met staff who operate it on behalf of the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Royal Navy.
He then traveled to the MoD Hebrides range, also run by QinetiQ, where NATO exercises are conducted, ground-based air defense weapons are tested and complex weapons trials are conducted.
The Minister received a comprehensive overview of the two facilities, including their use in major joint exercises, and gained a better understanding of their contribution to the local economy, with over 250 people employed in engineering, logistics and other technical and administrative roles.
Mr Quin said: “It has been excellent to see first hand the operational importance of these facilities in the North West Highlands and Western Isles, and to engage with those who play a key role in Britain’s defence.
“I have also seen the impact of the sites on the local economy in the areas where they are based, not only by providing high quality which will drive innovation in Defence, but also the positive impact of a presence of Defense supporting small businesses in rural communities.”
QinetiQ Managing Director Steve Wadey said, “It was a pleasure to welcome the Minister to the sites and give him the chance to meet some of our brilliant employees. As a major local employer in the region, we take our responsibilities seriously to ensure that we support the community and have a positive impact. Over the past few years we have already committed £120m to the two sites to upgrade them and help maintain and attract work from our UK and international clients.
“We remain committed to these sites, which are essential in helping to protect vital UK interests, whether helping to host major NATO live-fire exercises or providing services valuable techniques to the Royal Navy on how to avoid detection by reducing noise on their docks.
Earlier this week, Minister Quin also visited Defense Munitions Beith, Ayrshire, a facility that produces, tests and stores weapons for the UK Armed Forces. He was able to meet the staff and see some of the complex weapons that are being tested at BUTEC and MoD Hebrides.