Missile range's future secured for decade in £1bn MoD deal

The Hebrides Range is the largest private-sector employer on South Uist in the Western Isles.

Hebrides Range: Future of missile testing ground secured (file pic). <strong>QinetiQ </strong>
Hebrides Range: Future of missile testing ground secured (file pic). QinetiQ

The future of a Western Isles missile range has been secured for the next decade.

The Hebrides Range is the largest private-sector employer on South Uist, supporting more than 100 jobs.

It has repeatedly been threatened with closure but a new £1bn contract between the Ministry of Defence and operator QinetiQ means the range is safe until at least 2028.

A £180m investment package split between the Hebrides Range and two other sites in England and Wales will be used to upgrade facilities on South Uist and nearby islands.

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Western Isles SNP MP Angus MacNeil said: “The Hebrides Range is an important employer and today’s announcement from QinetiQ is very good news for the economy in Uist.

“I am delighted for the workforce and I do hope that this announcement will bring stability for many years to the Hebrides Range.”

The Hebrides Range is largest missile testing facility in Britain. Last year, a US warship destroyed a missile fired into space from South Uist during war games in a UK first.

The range was saved from closure in a previous round of defence cuts in 2009, safeguarding more than 125 jobs.

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UK minister for defence procurement, Harriett Baldwin, said: “This new deal will ensure our armed forces get world-class training and testing facilities and services while making substantial efficiencies, ensuring excellent value for money for the taxpayer.”


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