A weapons testing facility is set to get a £20million boost from the Ministry of Defence.

QinetiQ and the MoD are investing £20 million into the Shoebury Environmental Test Centre at ranges off Blackgate Road.

The cash boost will enable the vital work carried out at Shoebury ranges to be increased to maintain its place as the leading such facility in the UK.

Throughout their life span, all ordnance, munitions and explosives are subjected to many and varied environmental conditions, but must still perform as intended when needed. The centre provides facilities, technology and expertise to allow experts to safely assess how live munitions react when subjected to these various different environments and climates so military personnel can have confidence they will work when and where they really need it.

The £20m investment will provide a jobs boost. It will fund new and refurbished and expanded test buildings, the replacement of ageing and obsolete equipment and the recruitment of additional specialist engineers to strengthen the technical team’s capability.

Steve Fitz-Gerald, managing director of maritime, land and weapons, QinetiQ, said: “At QinetiQ we are seeing a real increase in demand from customers who require the type of activity that only the Environmental Test Centre can provide.

“This investment is a direct response to that. Being able to provide confidence to a customer that their ordnance, munitions and explosive assets can perform as designed in all weather and climatic conditions is vital to our national security. The investment will allow for a more varied number of tests and increase the capacity to meet the demand for this work, providing value for money to our customers.”

James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East said: “I am pleased to hear that my colleagues at the Ministry of Defence have chosen to further invest in the ground-breaking research which is ongoing at MoD Shoeburyness and that Rochford and Southend East will continue to be at the cutting edge of this technology.

“I am also pleased that, as the testing will continue to be carried out indoors, no residents in the local area will be affected by any additional noise. “

QinetiQ manages MOD Shoeburyness on behalf of the MOD.