A government minister praised a Huddersfield engineering firm for its “dynamism” when he visited on Friday.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon was at David Brown Santasalo in Lockwood to officially open its new marine gearing assembly and testing facility which is being used in the production of gearboxes for the UK’s new vessel the Type 26 Global Combat Ship.
Sir Michael unveiled a plaque before taking a tour of the facility with David Brown Santasalo chief executive Thomas Burley and chatting to employees and MPs Barry Sheerman and Jason McCartney.
Emphasising the 'vital economic relationship between Yorkshire and defence', he said: "As well as being home to key military units, Yorkshire is home to some of our great defence supply chain businesses, with hundreds of millions of pounds worth of contracts supporting over 600 local firms and thousands of jobs. The UK’s rising defence budget secures vital projects that help keep Britain both safe and prosperous.”
Mr Burley said: “We are delighted to welcome Sir Michael to our new gearbox assembly and test facility.
“Not only has this project been a great achievement for a David Brown Santasalo, but for our British engineering and manufacturing industry as a whole.”
David Brown Santasalo has a long history of providing gearboxes to the armed forces – including one for Royal Navy ships and British army armoured vehicles. Defence work at the firm generates about £36m a year for the local economy and supports 90 jobs directly and indirectly through the supply chain.
The firm has also engaged 25 apprentices over the past five years and plans a further apprenticeship intake for 2017. This year, six trainees completed their apprenticeships in mechanical engineering.