A Dorset-based science and technology company has secured a £48million contract that will boost the local economy and create jobs.

Atlas Elektronik UK (AEUK) has been awarded a six year contract by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to build and supply workboats for the Royal Navy.

The fleet of about 38 SEA Class vessels, which will assist navy ships from UK bases and on operations around the world, will be built at AEUK’s Winfrith base.

The deal will create 15 jobs locally and a further 45 across the country throughout the supply chain.

Chris Brook, of AEUK, said: “We are delighted to receive this contract from the UK MoD. The boats will be assembled at our Winfrith site with the support of a number of local suppliers. We see this as a tremendous benefit to the local economy boosting and sustaining employment for at least six years.”

Once completed, the fleet workboats will carry out a range of tasks including officer and diver training, Arctic exploration, passenger transport and explosive ordnance disposal.

For the duration of the contract, which starts next year, AEUK will provide an in-service support programme for the workboats including maintenance, spares provisioning, safety management and training.

James Young, of AEUK, said: “We are very proud to be bringing our innovation to the supply and support of these highly capable workboats for the Royal Navy.”

The SEA Class vessels have been developed so that they can be quickly reconfigured to suit a range of naval operational roles.

Defence minister Harriett Baldwin said that Altas was providing cutting-edge equipment that would work with the navy’s new aircraft carriers.

She said: “From the south coast to the banks of the Clyde, British shipbuilding is ensuring that our growing navy has the reach it needs to protect our interests around the globe.

"These cutting edge workboats will support the likes of our iconic new aircraft carriers and the Type 26 frigates, as well as sustaining 60 British jobs.

"This is another step in our £178 billion plan to provide our armed forces with the very best equipment to keep our country safe.”