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Royal Navy to get £48 million helicopter missile system

The Ministry of Defence announced today a deal to buy new £48 million state-of-the-art missile system for Royal Navy helicopters.

The defence minister Philip Dunne said the system made in east Belfast by the defence company Thales UK "will help win battles."

A display model of the new LMM (lightweight multi-role missile) Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Mr Dunne said coastlines represented areas of growing concern to armed forces around the world and this new technology would provide greater protection.

A cross section of a Starburst Missile warhead Credit: PA

The system will be used to target small ships and fast attack craft and be designed and built by Thales UK's Belfast plant.

Rory Stewart elected Defence Select Committee chair

Conservative MP Rory Stewart has been elected the new chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, taking over from fellow Tory James Arbuthnot.

Tory MP Rory Stewart will be the new chair of the Defence Committee. Credit: Bob Collier/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Mr Stewart, who represents the Cumbria constituency of Penrith and The Border, has served in the army and the diplomatic service, along with running a charity in Afghanistan.

Read: Stewart: No soldier dies in vain

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Govt: HoC 'should debate' before committing troops

The Government has dodged criticism that it is not clear enough on its military intervention policy, saying it will allow the House of Commons to debate before sending troops to overseas crisis.

A Government spokesman said:

The decision to use UK armed forces overseas is among the most significant a Government can make.

That's why the Government has stated that it will observe the existing convention that says the House of Commons should have the opportunity to debate before UK troops are committed to conflict, except in cases where the urgency of the action required makes this impossible.

Military intervention as a course of action can of course be contentious and contested but the Government is clear that it remains an important last resort when all other means of dealing with threats have been exhausted.

– Government spokesman

Non-intervention has 'implications for UK's place'

Opting out of military intervention in international crisis has "implications for the UK's place in the world," MPs have warned.

A report from the Defence Select Committee said:

We understand and acknowledge the current lack of appetite for military operations given the experiences and tensions of the past decade for operations in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

However, it is also necessary to understand and acknowledge that there are consequences to decisions by the UK and the international community not to intervene in humanitarian or non-humanitarian situations.

Non-intervention decisions have implications for the UK's place in the world and its influence which are as profound as a decision to undertake an intervention operation.

– Defence select committee

Calls for 'realistic vision' of military intervention

The Government should set out a "realistic vision" of the circumstances which would force the UK to join military intervention abroad, a committee of MPs have recommended.

Read: Blair denies calling for military action to topple Mugabe

Military intervention
Failing to intervene in Georgia and Syria may have "emboldened" Russian President Vladimir Putin, the committee said. Credit: PA

Read: UN inspectors return to Syria

The cross-party Defence Select Committee called on the Coalition to set clear parameters for the kind of behaviour which would force them to send troops abroad.

MPs also called on David Cameron's Government to clearly define the UK's place in the world.

Committee members warned the implications of not joining some crisis were just as profound as sending troops abroad.

The MPs suggested Russia may have felt empowered to intervene in Ukraine because the UK and other countries had failed to act in Georgia or Syria.

Read: Russian govt: We will respond to attacks on our interests

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Hammond: Scotland 'yes vote' means defence jobs risk

Thousands of defence jobs will be at risk if Scotland votes for independence in September, according to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond issued a speech to workers at Thales, a firm which has supplied every periscope used by the Royal Navy
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond issued a speech to workers at Thales, a firm which has supplied every periscope used by the Royal Navy Credit: Associated Press

Mr Hammond warned workers at the Glasgow-based firm Thales that their future prosperity, and that of their families, would be put in jeopardy by a Yes vote for independence.

He said: "The creation of a border between this facility and its largest customer will put at jeopardy the future prosperity of this business, the people who work in it and their families and dependents."

"If we were to separate, then the future of the defence industry in Scotland that depends on MoD orders will be put at risk," he added.

Trident will not go 'quick and easy', warns Hammond

The UK's nuclear deterrent, Trident, will not be got rid of "quick and easy" if Scotland votes for independence, the Defence Secretary is expected to say.

He (Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond) also wants to dictate the timescales for removing our nuclear deterrent within the first term of Parliament following independence.

But Alex Salmond knows, as I know, that the future of our naval base at Faslane would be just one of many defence issues that would be the subject of long and protracted negotiations if there were to be a Yes vote in the referendum.

Because if they insist that it has to go, there would have to be complex talks about the costs and timescales involved. Any notion that it would be quick and easy is just plain wrong.

– Philip Hammond

Read: Hammond warns of 'long negotiations' over UK defence

Hammond warns of 'long negotiations' over UK defence

There will be "long and protracted negotiations" over the future of Britain's defences and armed forces if Scotland votes to become independent this September, according to Philip Hammond.

Read: Alex Salmond: Let Scotland decide its own future

Philip Hammond
Philip Hammond dubbed the union "precious". Credit: PA

Read: Davey: Scottish independence would 'hinder energy sector'

The Defence Secretary will outline his argument for Scotland remaining in the union in a speech at electronics company Thales Optronics in Glasgow, touching on issues like Trident nuclear weapons.

He will say that defence "provides the security and the peace of mind that underpins almost every single other area of this debate".

He will add: "What we have is precious... It is our shared history, our common values and our unity of purpose which makes us what we are today. It is Scotland which makes the UK united, and adds the Great to Great Britain.

"Drawn from the four corners of these islands, nothing epitomises more the strength we derive from being a United Kingdom than the men and women in our Navy, Army and Air Force, coming together with a common purpose, to keep our country and our people safe and secure."

Read: Unionists 'could lose independence poll'

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