BORIS Johnson is to unveil what is being billed as the biggest programme of investment in Britain’s armed forces since the end of the Cold War, that will help “protect Scottish security and jobs”.

The Prime Minister will set out a four-year financial deal for the Ministry of Defence to “transform” the military, developing cutting-edge capabilities in the future battlefields of cyber and space.

It will include the creation of an agency dedicated to artificial intelligence and a “space command” capable of launching the UK’s first rocket from Scotland by 2022.

The plan - to be announced in the Commons on Thursday - will see the MoD get an additional £16.5 billion over and above the Government’s manifesto commitment to a 0.5% real terms increase for each year of the Parliament.

The move will come as a relief for military chiefs who have been pressing for a multi-year settlement to enable them to plan effectively for the future.

It is thought their demands were being resisted by the Treasury with Chancellor Rishi Sunak holding out for a one-year deal – along with the rest of Whitehall – in next week’s spending review.

Mr Johnson said the settlement reflected the need to upgrade Britain’s military capabilities “across the board” amid an international situation “more perilous” than at any time since the Cold War.

“I have taken this decision in the teeth of the pandemic because the defence of the realm must come first,” the PM said.

“The international situation is more perilous and more intensely competitive than at any time since the Cold War and Britain must be true to our history and stand alongside our allies. To achieve this we need to upgrade our capabilities across the board.

“This is our chance to end the era of retreat, transform our armed forces, bolster our global influence, unite and level up our country, pioneer new technology and defend our people and way of life.”

Downing St said Scotland had always played a critical role in the UK’s defence. “That is thanks to its important geographical position which makes it an ideal home for half of the UK’s typhoon force and the Royal Navy’s entire submarine service, and to its people, who have always answered the call of duty to serve their country.”

It pointed out how around 10,000 regular personnel and 4,000 reservists called Scotland home and this number was growing.

“The projects announced by the Prime Minister today will, therefore, directly benefit the people of Scotland, bringing security and economic benefits for decades to come,” added No 10.

The PM’s announcement marks the first phase of the Government’s Integrated Review of the UK’s foreign, defence, development and security policy, with the final conclusions due to be unveiled next year.

Officials said it would cement the UK’s position as the largest defence spender in Europe and the second largest in Nato.

As well as promising a new space command, Mr Johnson will also set out plans for a national cyber force to protect the country from attack.

It will be underpinned by of an additional £1.5bn investment in military research and development with a commitment to invest further in the Future Combat Air System to develop the next generation of fighters for the RAF.

Downing Street said that together, the various projects were expected to create up to 10,000 thousand jobs a year across the UK.

Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, said: “This is excellent news for defence and provides us with the financial certainty we need to modernise, plan for the future and adapt to the threats we face.

“It demonstrates the Prime Minister’s recognition of how important defence is to our resilience and to the reputation of the United Kingdom.

“This settlement secures UK jobs and livelihoods, allows us to invest in our fantastic shipyards and aerospace industry, spreading prosperity to every corner of the UK.

“Next year represents a huge opportunity for this country, and defence will be at the forefront of creating the jobs and business opportunities that will help us build back from the pandemic,” he added.

Downing St insisted Scotland had always played a “critical role” in the UK’s defence.

“That is thanks to its important geographical position, which makes it an ideal home for half of the UK’s typhoon force and the Royal Navy’s entire submarine service, and to its people, who have always answered the call of duty to serve their country. Around 10,000 regular personnel and 4,000 reservists call Scotland home and this number is growing.”

It added: “The projects announced by the Prime Minister today will therefore directly benefit the people of Scotland, bringing security and economic benefits for decades to come.”