The armed forces face a £10 billion funding shortfall amid escalating costs for new ships and jets, The Times has learnt.
Military chiefs have quietly begun a review to find at least £1 billion a year in additional savings over the next decade from budgets that are already stretched. This includes a plan to reduce the size of the Royal Marines and remove the frontline role of one of its three commando units, while overseas training is about to be suspended.
Adding to the pressure, defence industry sources said that replacement submarines for the Trident nuclear deterrent were likely to exceed their £41 billion maximum budget over 20 years. The cost of dozens of jets for two aircraft carriers is also projected to rise because of the weak pound.
The military is facing a shortage of support equipment such as spare parts and ammunition, with a former naval officer describing diminishing stockpiles of missiles and torpedoes as “pretty awful”. In one case, components from a new Astute-class attack submarine had to be removed while the boat was in production and transferred to older vessels to keep them at sea.
Senior commanders have privately warned Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, over the size of the funding shortfall, but insiders complain that ministers have been distracted by Brexit. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Times website.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: One Times reader’s comment on this article sums up pretty well what is wrong with the MoD:
“Our government should immediately commandeer the procurement departments of the Defence industries to negotiate our way through Brexit.
They invariably run rings around the MoD negotiators to gain the maximum possible price at minimum possible risk; then negotiate every contract setback to be the fault of the MoD (which to be fair, it usually is); and finally, to put the blame for any in-service performance shortfall on the MoD too.
All that should not detract from the fact that the MoD is, and has been, one of the most dysfunctional government departments for decades.
But good to see that the MoD spokespersons are still top of the class for vacuous statements.)