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East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson has welcomed the five-year extension of a major MOD contract for Belfast firm Thales.

The £98.4 million contract will support 119 jobs has been extended to maintain Short-Range Air Defence (SHORAD) for the Army and Royal Marines.

The DUP MP is also a member of the Defence Select Committee in the House of Commons and he said, "I am delighted that Thales and its Belfast workforce will continue to play such a central role in contributing to the UK's defence capabilities. This contract will not only support more than 100 jobs at Thales, but also many more throughout the supply chain.

East Belfast is at the heart of Northern Ireland's defence industry and Thales is one of those world-leading companies sustaining high quality jobs as a centre of excellence for precision design and manufacturing. This news comes only a few weeks after Spirit Aero Systems won another major contract for the UK's first uncrewed fighter aircraft.

Firms within the Aerospace and Defence sectors have faced significant challenges over the last 12 months and there is a continuing need for this vital sector of our economy to be supported."