A GLASGOW-BASED firm has won a £330 million sub-contract to build periscopes for a new fleet of nuclear submarines – while a defence minister said she would be “utterly astonished” if the controversial Trident system was scrapped following a review.

BAE has handed Thales UK, in Linthouse, the sub-contract to produce the next generation of periscopes and sonar systems to be used by four new Dreadnought nuclear submarines.

The SNP has repeatedly called for the weapons system – based on the Clyde – to be scrapped, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon describing it as “immoral” and “a massive waste of money”.

The £330m combat system will be developed and manufactured in Govan while the new Dreadnoughts will enter service at Faslane in the 2030s.

UK defence minister Baroness Annabel Goldie welcomed the new sub-contract and backed the Trident system, which is subject to a review.

Glasgow Times:

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, she said: “The review will have to take place and come to its conclusions but I would be utterly astonished if there was any suggestion that we should reconsider that.

“The success of the deterrent is obvious. It is an essential part of our global alliances, not least in Nato, where – remember – we are not just the biggest defence spender in Europe, we are the second-biggest defence spender in Nato.

“That deterrent is an important component of stability throughout the global territory.”

She voiced support for the policy review, describing it as an “excellent opportunity to establish the course of travel for the next 30 to 50 years”.

She added: “The deterrent has always been and always will be contentious.

“But I would point out that [the UK] Parliament voted overwhelmingly in 2016 to continue with the deterrent and the interesting thing about a deterrent is, its success is actually that you don’t have to use it.”

Baroness Goldie said there are “clearly significant opportunities for firms north of the Border” with Scotland to become the single home of the entire Royal Navy submarine fleet later this year.

She added: “This sub-contract win by Thales clearly demonstrates the importance of the £31 billion Dreadnought programme to UK and Scottish industry.

“Indeed Thales, formally Barr and Stroud, and their Glasgow-based engineers have supplied all of the Royal Navy’s periscope – and now optronics mast – needs for more than 100 years. That is a relationship we prize.”

A sonar system will be developed at the Thales sites in Somerset and Cheshire. The contract will create 170 jobs and secure 350 more across the UK, including 35 in Glasgow. Thales has been based in Govan since 1917.

Glasgow Anniesland SNP MSP Bill Kidd said: “The Scottish Parliament and the people of Scotland firmly reject the hosting of weapons of mass destruction on Scottish soil, and Westminster need to heed those calls.

“It’s time for the UK Government to end their ridiculous love affair with nuclear weapons, and follow in Scotland’s footsteps by helping creating a green jobs boom north of the Border through investment in renewable technology.”