UK Responds to New Reports on Carrier Problems
The Telegraph reports that Britain could be left without an aircraft carrier equipped with fighter jets for the next decade after soaring costs threw Ministry of Defence plans into doubt.
A MOD spokesperson said: "The Strategic Defence and Security Review set out a strategic view of our defence requirements and took the decision to reintroduce carrier strike capability as part of Future Force 2020. This Government is committed to implementing that decision.
"We are currently finalising the 2012-13 budget and balancing the Equipment Plan. As part of this process we are reviewing all programmes, including elements of the carrier strike programme, to validate costs and ensure risks are properly managed. The Defence Secretary expects to announce the outcome of this process to Parliament before Easter."
Readers will note the “Alice in Wonderland” aspect of the MoD statement, as it is the SDS Review that cut the carrier air arm in the first place. Moreover, the statement in no way denies any of the points raised in the media reports.
It is now clear that the current government made the decision to switch from F-35B to F-35C with no understanding of its implications, and notably that fitting catapults and arrester gear to the one carrier would add another £1.2 billion to its cost.
MoD probably did not expect, either, that the F-35C would fail all of its tailhook arrester trials to date.
Source: 02 March 2012 - UK Ministry of Defence News & defense-aerospace.com
Photo: 80,000 Tonnes of Steel Ordered For New Aircraft Carriers (Photo by Royal Navy)
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