UK Defence Procurement Minister Stuart Andrew has announced a new project for the upgrade of the very short-range air defence capability for the Royal Marines and the British Army.

Dubbed the Future Air Defence Availability Project (F-ADAPT), the £93m programme will be carried out under a contract awarded to Thales UK.

The contract will help secure more than 100 job opportunities in Belfast and provide the UK Armed Forces with a strong defensive ability.

Andrew said: “Defence investment benefits every corner of our UK and Northern Ireland is no exception. This £93m deal will secure over 100 local jobs and demonstrates the ingenuity and skill of the Northern Irish industry.

"This £93m deal will secure over 100 local jobs and demonstrates the ingenuity and skill of the Northern Irish industry."

“In these uncertain times, it is crucial we protect ourselves from the rapidly evolving spectrum of global threats. These cutting-edge missile systems will fortify our military advantage over adversaries and help protect UK Armed Forces across the world and into the next decade.”

F-ADAPT has been designed to improve the high velocity and lightweight multi-role missile systems, which are deployed to intercept a wide range of air and surface threats such as enemy drones, helicopters and armoured vehicles.

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The upgrade work will include thermal imaging to ensure the use of high-velocity missile system for 24 hours a day and ‘Friend or Foe’ identification.

Secured by the UK MoD’s procurement agency Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the F-ADAPT project will ensure that the critical missile capability is maintained during peacetime training and can also be rapidly deployed for operations into the 2020s.