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Old 29th Jun 2020, 13:28
  #53 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Portsmouth
Posts: 25
Originally Posted by Easy Street View Post

Given the industrial politics that have surrounded the carriers ever since their inception, is there any chance that proper requirement scrutiny could have ever have stopped a determined minister from approving their construction? I strongly suspect that all of the scrutiny reports will have duly highlighted the issues around affordability of the whole package (which in any case have been staring everyone in the face for years without access to the technical or financial scrutiny) yet here we are. I think the nub of this problem is political: a preference for investment over spending, with industry having the dominant influence and credulous Navy leadership only too happy to play along.
Digging up the old myth about it being a minister-led job creation scheme falls apart the minute you understand that Brown did his level best to avoid approving them for years right up until he was desperate and thought it might save him. The money spent on the ships themselves averaged 650M per year between 2008 and 2018, which is about half what was spent on acquiring Typhoon pa (merely as an example) over a longer period. The carriers are not and never have been where the money is going, but because they are so much larger than their predecessors (for good reason) have always attracted a disproportionate level of scrutiny and attention. There is a current budget line for the support ships - and had MoD run a better competition, they'd be on contract by now. Crowsnest is funded - but late - through some eye-opening PM failures on both MoD and LM part. The other elements like surface combatants (batch 2 of the T26) and helicopters are largely outside the current ten year EP horizon, so not entirely surprising that there is no defined budget line. However, the spares shortages are the usual games played by all to overcome short term affordability issues. A little like retiring half our E3 frames years before replacement.

The real issue is the jets - for which the RN does not own the budget - and for which there appears to be an exceedingly long decision-loop, not unrelated to approval of FRP contracts with LM.

The real question is whether the UK having left the EU, reverts to being a European land power because the EU nations will not spend their own money, or whether it provides the high-end naval and air capabilities for the European part of NATO. It's not as if anyone else is going to provide the latter.

Not_a_boffin is offline