New statistics released by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) have revealed that spending in Wales reached more than £1bn for the first time for 2018-19.

The figures show that procurement spending of the department in Wales increased to £1.08bn last year from £960m in 2017-18, which represents an increase to £350 from £310 in per capita spending.

The production of the army’s AJAX armoured fighting vehicles at General Dynamics UK in Merthyr Tydfil and Oakdale and a new Royal Naval Reserve centre development worth £11m in Cardiff Bay are the major defence projects in Wales.

Other projects include the department’s £250m contract with Raytheon to provide support services to the British Royal Air Force’s surveillance aircraft fleet.

Government spending is expected to support around 7,700 jobs in defence in Wales, an increase from 6,300 in 2017-18.

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “UK Defence spent more than £1bn with Welsh industry last year supporting thousands of private-sector jobs.

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“This investment in businesses such as General Dynamics, Raytheon and others makes Wales a genuine defence industry hub and one of the most competitive places in the world from which to innovate and deliver security.”

Wales houses 160 Brigade HQ Wales in Brecon, and a light infantry unit is expected to be based at MoD St Athan. It will become the main army base, as well as a major RAF base in Wales.

The runway at RAF Valley on Anglesey was restored in 2017 as part of a £20m refurbishment and extended its operational life for another 25 years.

The areas around Brecon and Sennybridge accommodate major army training facilities. Every year they also host Exercise Cambrian Patrol, which sees the participation of military units from across the world.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Defence continues to provide security and prosperity as we see billions invested across the UK and the subsequent hundreds of thousands of jobs supported.”

In March 2017, Qioptiq secured a $100m surveillance and target acquisition support (STAS) contract from the UK MoD.