QinetiQ, Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, and Volker Fitz-Patrick have celebrated the latest milestone in the development of the £23m Portsdown Technology Park.
The ‘topping out’ ceremony, a traditional ceremony held when the last beam or brick is placed at the top of a building, was attended by VIP guests from Portsmouth City Council, the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and the Royal Navy. The ceremony marks the penultimate step before the building is completed in late spring 2020.
The development will create a new National Maritime Systems Centre, which will include more than 6,000sqm of offices, laboratories and lecture auditorium. The development will sustain the current jobs at the site and create up 100 jobs.
The National Maritime Systems Centre will ensure that the Solent remains the UK’s focus for the design, integration, test, evaluation and front line support of the complex, software intensive systems that deliver the Royal Navy’s fighting capability.
For over 45 years Portsdown Technology Park has integrated and tested combat and communications equipment and software for all Royal Navy warships prior to their deployment at sea. The new facility will continue this work and enable an even greater degree of innovation. For instance, the National Maritime Systems Centre will be able to test new software for a radar tracking system that spots otherwise difficult to detect missiles. This testing will ensure that when installed at sea, the software will work first time, enabling the continued protection of onboard personnel.
Anne-Marie Mountifield, Chief Executive and Board Director at the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership said: “The reputation of the Solent region’s marine and maritime sector is world class. This investment by the Local Enterprise Partnership with QinetiQ will consolidate the sector’s pre-eminent position and create new opportunities for Small & Medium-sized Enterprises, who will be able to upskill their workforce and engage the supply chains of large companies delivering major projects.”
Steve Fitz-Gerald, QinetiQ Managing Director, Maritime, Land & Weapons, said: “This investment delivers a step change in the Solent Region’s ability to export to the world’s marine and maritime defence markets, with a range of capabilities unparalleled in the UK. It builds on our commitment to modernising the UK’s test and evaluation capability, ensuring it continues to support the safety and operational advantage of our Armed Forces.”