Britain has been left with gaping holes in its defences, with warships so noisy that Russian submarines can hear them 100 miles away, drones costing £1bn that have not entered frontline service 12 years after being ordered and light tanks that are too big to fit into transport aircraft.
A Sunday Times investigation has uncovered equipment failures and bungled procurement deals as concerns grow that the armed forces would be unable to defend Britain against a serious military attack.
What’s wrong with the MoD’s finest equipment?
The Sunday Times can disclose that:
■ The navy’s £1bn-apiece Type 45 destroyers can be detected by submarines at a distance of up to 100 miles as they sound like a “box of spanners” underwater, according to Rear Admiral Chris Parry, a former Ministry of Defence (MoD) director of operational capability
■ Navy chiefs have been accused of “gold-plating” the proposed Type 26 frigate by insisting that a Chinook helicopter should be able to land on its deck for SAS raids. The project is delayed and has ballooned in cost, forcing the MoD to cut the number of ships from 13 to eight. The figure could fall further
■ The army’s new Ajax light armoured vehicles are too big to fit into the RAF’s main transport aircraft, the A400m, without being partly dismantled. The vehicles, which are being bought at a cost of £3.5bn, are supposed to penetrate enemy territory quickly but experts believe they will have to be accompanied by a crane if moved by air
■ The army’s 54 Watchkeeper reconnaissance drones, which have cost £1.2bn, have still not entered full service 12 years after they were ordered because of a number of technical glitches
■ Britain’s new maritime spy planes, bought for the RAF in a £3bn deal, “cannot execute the full range of mission tasks” and could be vulnerable to cyber-attack, American defence reports reveal.
Britain’s fleet of six Type 45 warships have been beset by engine problems, which have caused them to shut down completely in warm seas. Each one of the destroyers is having new diesel generators installed, which will involve cutting a hole in the side of the ships. Navy sources believe the work to repair the fleet will take about nine years. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Sunday Times website.