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Hammond to state case for the union
The Defence Secretary will set out the case for Scotland remaining in the UK during a visit to Edinburgh today.
Philip Hammond's speech coincides with the publication of a heavily trailed UK Government paper which aims to highlight the benefits of the £34 billion British defence budget.
The Scottish Government's veterans minister, Keith Brown, used the opportunity to challenge the Conservative MP to a debate on the Scotland's "under-funded" military.
Armed forces north of the border have experienced greater cuts than the rest of the UK and billions of pounds were wasted cancelling the Nimrod aircraft replacement programme, said Mr Brown, a former Royal Marine who served in the Falklands conflict.
With independence, money would be saved by getting rid of the Clyde-based Trident nuclear deterrent, he added.
"If Mr Hammond is so confident about his position, he should have the courage to face me in a debate, so that the Scottish public can discover the truth about how Westminster is under-funding Scotland's armed forces," the SNP minister said.
The Scottish Government proposes a £2.5 billion defence force, assuming a Yes vote in the referendum next September.
Further details of the plan are expected to be contained in the SNP administration's formal "white paper" on independence in the coming week.
By 2020, UK ministers say there will be a joint force of 190,000 regular and reserves supported by 53,500 Ministry of Defence (MoD) personnel.
Extracts of the UK Government report suggest it will focus on funding, jobs and the problems involved in splitting up an integrated military.
The report concludes that transition to an independent force would be complex.
Adapting to Scottish needs would result in a "substantial burden" on taxpayers, it claims.
The UK Government has also suggested that "bonds of loyalty" may stop Scottish personnel from wanting to enlist in an independent defence force.
Negotiations over assets and liabilities such as equipment would present an "extremely difficult challenge", the report adds.
The 86-page report is being published just days after MPs on the Commons Defence Committee said it would be "remiss" of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) not to consider the implications of independence.
The MoD insists it is not making any preparation for a potential Yes vote next year.
While it says the British armed forces are deeply integrated, MoD chiefs also agree picking it apart would not be impossible.
Mr Hammond said Mr Brown is "talking nonsense" by insisting that an independent Scotland could sustain its shipyards. He described the SNP's plans as "far-fetched", and said many young men and women would be reluctant to choose a Scottish home defence force over the UK's overseas forces.
"There are thousands and thousands of jobs which depend upon the orders placed by the Ministry of Defence and no-one in the SNP has explained how they would replace those jobs in a world where only the orders of the Scottish defence force were available to that industry," Mr Hammond told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme.
"Shipbuilding in the UK is very significantly at a premium - more expensive than the cost of buying them from abroad - but we sustain a shipbuilding industry in the UK because we have chosen, for reasons of strategic security, to have a domestic industry building complex warships.
"The idea that, if Scotland was independent, the rest of the UK would continue to pay a premium for a sovereign capability but not have sovereign control over that capability is, frankly, far-fetched."
He added: "The Scottish Affairs Committee has identified very clearly that the Scottish shipbuilding industry will struggle to compete.
"How many foreign orders are there in Scottish shipyards now?
"Keith Brown is talking nonsense if he suggests the yards with complex warship building capability can be sustained with foreign orders."
He said there is a possibility that Scottish regiments formed in Scotland before the Act of Union could become part of a defence force in an independent Scotland, but added: "When young men and women join the British Army, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, they join it because of its size, its capability, the opportunities for overseas service, training and its reputation in the world.
"Many of those young men and women, I would suggest, may choose not to join a Scottish defence force who avowed purpose is primarily home defence."