Britain’s aircraft carriers may have been ‘undeliverable’
DEFENCE Secretary Philip Hammond has admitted that UK’s the new aircraft carriers might have been undeliverable had he not ordered a u-turn on the design of the fast jet fighter aircraft that will eventually fly from them.
The decision in May to abandon plans for an expensive catapult and traps system for the F-35 joint strike fighters and instead return to the plan to use jump (vertical take-off) jets on the new Queen Elizabeth class ships was a humiliating climbdown for the government.
When the strategic defence and security review was unveiled in November 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron hit out at the previous Labour government for choosing jump jets and said that cat and traps would be cheaper.
He said it was part of “an appalling legacy the British people have every right to be angry about”.
But yesterday under questioning from Dunfermline and West Fife Labour MP Thomas Docherty in the defence committee, Mr Hammond admitted that the “deliverability” of the entire project was at stake.
He said: “It [the cat and traps] introduced a great deal more certainty into the deliverability and the budget of the programme. The cats and traps were the largest area of risk and the largest area of cost uncertainty and the biggest driver of cost inflation, so it’s improved the situation there.”
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Monday 20 May 2013
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