Defence Equipment 2009
HC 107, Third Report of Session 2008-09 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence
- House of Commons - Defence Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
This Defence Committee report, 'Defence Equipment 2009 (HC 107)', looks at the procurement of defence equipment. The Ministry of Defence's (MoD) Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation has the objective of equipping and supporting the UK's Armed Forces for all operations.
Current operations within Afghanistan and Iraq are a priority, with a particular role for the Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) system, which provides vital equipment swiftly when needed. The Defence Committee expresses concern at the extent to which UORs represent a partial failure to equip UK Forces for predicted expeditionary operations. Despite this caveat, the Committee states the DE&S has been impressive in delivering equipment and supplies to the two theatres of war. Pressures exist though, in particular with the ageing transport aircraft fleet.
The DE&S's performance in procuring longer-term equipment declined significantly in 2007-08. Forecast costs for the 20 largest defence projects increased by £205 million and the forecast delays increased by some 100 months in the year. The targets for cost and time for 2008-09 will be missed. Also, the improvements promised by the long standing application of the principles of 'smart procurement' and the DE&S organisation have not yet materialised.
The Committee describes the FRES programme (FRES is the MoD's programme to deliver a fleet of wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles to the British Army that is rapidly deployable, network-enabled, and capable of operating across the spectrum of operations) as a fiasco, and no longer appears to be a priority. The programme is seen as having been poorly conceived and managed from the outset.
The Committee states that the UK must have the equipment it requires for the types of operations it may face in 10-20 years time. So it is crucial that the industrial capabilities exist to manufacture and support a significant proportion of such equipment in the UK, in order to retain operational sovereignty.
The Committee believes it is imperative that an updated Defence Industrial Strategy is produced. Further investment in defence research is seen as vital for the UK's military capability, and that the MoD should reverse the cuts made in research spending.
|Format||Paperback||Published||26 Feb 2009|
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