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Old 29th Jun 2020, 15:17
  #56 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: uk
Posts: 2,914
Easy Street

Noting the responses of Boffin and Bengo, which I don't disagree with, my experience of the CVS programme is limited to MASC (formerly FOAEW and now Crowsnest) being a section within the ship project team. In December 2000 they started up again, FOAEW having been dormant for a while, and put out vacancy notices. The AEW/ASaC Mk7 team (such as it was) was excluded from even applying, on the grounds that AEW experience would be of no value whatseover as the two weren't related. My retort was unprintable, but I did remind the project leader that his assumptions and costings were still completely wrong, as they were assuming it was a case of lifting two consoles out of SKW and bolting them into a Merlin. And here, one must bear in mind that the winning bid on SKW in 1994, by a country mile, was a Blue Vixen variant in Merlin. There was a political overrule, and PE was instructed to let the contract on a company that didn't bid.

I then spent much of the period 95-01 defending Mk7 against cancellation. Part of the RN tried hardest, another part supported the programme to the hilt. Incomprehensible. Bizarrely, there were two particular project managers in an unrelated equipment team that spent their time wandering around AbbeyWood telling everyone who'd listen it should be scrapped. 2 Star and 4 Star in PE (DGAS2 and CDP) issued orders that, if obeyed, would have cancelled it, or made Chinook HC Mk3 and Nimrod MRA4 look like a runaway successes. Those orders were, primarily, do not contract any support infrastructure. At a more detailed level, the RN didn't endorse the Full Mission Trainer, mission recorder, IFF (!), any systems integration, and so on. It's actually easier to list what was endorsed. But it was fine to still spend a few hundred million in a Minister's constituency, on 13 cabs that, if illegal orders were obeyed, could never see front line service. Not unlike the Chinook Mk3 and Nimrod fiascos.

I found all this very strange. There is something very wrong with a system whereby the success of a major programme depends almost entirely on the PM's willingness to completely ignore 2/4 Stars. I remain convinced that CDP was under political direction to block as much expenditure as possible, but without it being seen as political. He did three things. First, announced he didn't want engineers working on engineering projects. Second, all expenditure had to be personally approved by himself - within a day his office was swamped with Submissions and many never saw the light of day again. (Luckily, he forgot to withdraw existing financial approval delegation). Third, he banned any contract from having Government Furnished Equipment/Services/Information clauses. On AEW Mk7, the RN's immediate response was to say, we want 13 new Sea Kings, not modified AEW Mk2s, or else we pull the plug. Even if possible (and the line was being shut) there was obviously no funding, so that would kill the programme. They pulled the plug. There were many very annoyed people when Mk7 kept hitting its milestones, and I have no doubt CVS suffered the same way. Glad to be out!
tucumseh is offline