MPs query need for new aircraft carriers

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MPs query need for new aircraft carriers

Post by Guest on Sat 29 Mar 2008, 2:24 pm

The future of a 4 billion plan to build two aircraft carriers is under threat because of the military's "unaffordable" equipment programme, MPs have warned.

A critical report by the Commons defence committee claims that the Ministry of Defence must make "difficult decisions" which could mean whole programmes being cut.

The scheme to build two 60,000-ton carriers, which form a key part of Britain's future defence strategy, is under question after the committee told the ministry to define the precise role of "these expensive ships" and asked whether the carriers' roles "could not be provided in other ways".

"For too long the MoD has had an unaffordable equipment programme and needs to confront the problem rather than giving the usual response of salami-slicing and moving programmes to the right," said James Arbuthnot MP, the defence committee chairman.

The warships were announced to great fanfare last July by Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, but still no manufacturing contract for the ships had been signed "and the MoD could not tell us why," the committee said.

Serious questions have also been raised on the ability of the Navy to protect the carriers, following a substantial reduction in the fleet of frigates and destroyers over the past decade.

Senior Army commanders are said to be furious that most of the money is being spent on Navy and RAF projects while the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are fought mainly by soldiers.

There is now pressure on the Treasury to increase the defence budget.

But Whitehall insiders have indicated that the carrier project will go ahead because of "political reasons" such as saving Britain's dockyards and jobs - mainly in Labour constituencies.

The MoD was further criticised in the report for failing to "control slippage on key equipment programmes" after delays in seven out of the 19 major projects.

Navy and RAF projects were causing further strain on the defence budget with three - the Astute submarine, Type 45 destroyer and Nimrod MRA4 - over-running by almost 3 billion.

The Nimrod programme is nearly eight years late.

The MoD said it noted the report's "observations and constructive criticism" which would be "carefully considered".

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Re: MPs query need for new aircraft carriers

Post by Charpoy Major on Sun 06 Apr 2008, 7:49 am

No one should be to alarmed at this news, after all, no one really expects these vessels to be built, it was NEVER a serious "promise" by this bunch of useless twerps posing as a government, just a onvenient space filler on a "slow parliament" day. "I say Minister, lets play Ships!"
Charpoy Major

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