Revealed: the Huge Gaps In UK Defences (excerpt)
(Source: The Sunday Times; published Feb 05, 2017)
By Mark Hookham, John Collingridge and Tim Ripley
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.

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Defence in the media, Equipment, Personnel
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Feb 05, 2017)
A variety of Defence stories feature in the media today, including Defence equipment programmes, IHAT and the Army's White Helmets.

DEFENCE EQUIPMENT

The Sunday Times has lead with its investigation into Britain’s defence procurement and some of the MOD's equipment programmes.

An MOD spokesperson said:

“Britain’s defence budget is the biggest in Europe and it is growing every year, we are investing £178 billion as the UK steps up globally. We are focused on maintaining an affordable programme and getting the best value for the taxpayer to deliver the cutting-edge kit our Armed Forces need to keep Britain safe.”

With regards to some specific claims made by the paper, it should be noted that:

“The Type 45 Destroyer is a hugely capable Anti-Air Warfare ship and has been deployed successfully around the globe on a range of operations. With it's (sic) focus on air defence, stealth is not a premium requirement for the Type 45.”

“Ajax is expected to meet all of the Armed Forces movement requirements by aircraft. The vehicle is designed to be modular and parts can easily be removed. This is not unusual when it comes to armoured vehicles and does not cause any issues.

“Watchkeeper first deployed on operations in Afghanistan in 2014, and the Army continues to put Watchkeeper pilots through training.”

In other equipment related news, the Observer reports on the F-35 stealth fighter programme.

An MOD spokesperson said:

“We remain committed to the F-35 programme and believe it offers the best capability for our Armed Forces.”

Elsewhere, The Sun also reports on sea trials for HMS Queen Elizabeth

An MOD Spokesperson:

“HMS Queen Elizabeth will be accepted into the Royal Navy this year. Only when she is ready will she begin sea trials this summer, which will mark an important moment in the future of the Royal Navy.”

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