LONDON — The cyber industry hub supporting Britain's GCHQ is continuing to grow with Northrop Grumman becoming the latest company to set up development and innovation facilities close by the headquarters of the intelligence center.
The UK arm of Northrop Grumman announced Tuesday April 14 that it had opened a cyber center employing close to 100 people in the Gloucestershire area in southwest England focusing on the development and demonstration of technology solutions.
Just over a month ago, Raytheon UK announced it too had opened a cyber innovation center set to house more than 100 engineers and others in a £3 million (US $4.4 million) facility in Gloucestershire.
Both companies facilities have joined a fast-expanding industry hub in the region around the Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, headquarters of GCHQ.
Development of the cyber industry in Gloucestershire and the rest of southwest England even got a mention in the Conservative Party manifesto released Tuesday today ahead of the May 7 general election.
The government reported in December that the Malvern cybersecurity industry in nearby Worcestershire was fast becoming Britain's "cyber valley" with the number of companies clustered in the area rising from about 50 companies in 2012 to nearly 75.
Lockheed Martin has a small presence in Malvern although the main cyber investment by the company's UK arm is a £40 million cyber center in Farnborough, Hampshire.
Overall the cyber industry in the UK is reckoned to be worth about £6 billion annually and employs around 40,000 people.
Northrop Grumman's location in the region is largely the result of in large part to support a sizable contract the company secured with the British government last year to provide engineering and development services in support of data security and information assurance.
The competitively awarded framework deal is set to run for seven years, the company has previously said.
In a statement, Northrop Grumman said the development focus of the new center would include big data and smart data analytics, network defense, secure mobility, biometrics and high-speed processing.
"It will enable industry, customers, partners and academia to collaborate in one location to help solve some of the challenges of today's complex and highly dynamic threat environment," said Andrew Tyler, Northrop Grumman Europe's CEO.
Northrop Grumman is one of a number of companies recently awarded framework agreements to support GCHQ and other government departments.
BAE, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are among the companies that who have also secured recent framework agreements recently with the UK government, said industry executives.
A spokesman for GCHQ declined to discuss the framework agreements on the telephone.
Andrew Chuter is the United Kingdom correspondent for Defense News.