Armed Forces Get £30bn for New Equipment in Defence Budget

#1
From The Times
July 16, 2007

Armed Forces get £30bn for new equipment in defence budget

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Treasury will agree to finance equipment projects worth more than £30 billion this week, as the Government wraps up negotiations on the military’s budget, The Times has learnt.

Defence chiefs expect to conclude their department’s comprehensive spending review this week, Armed Forces’ pay the only outstanding issue to be resolved.

Completion of the MoD’s budget will trigger an announcement by Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, confirming that the Royal Navy will build two aircraft carriers worth £3.8 billion.

Government sources said that Downing Street was pushing to make the carrier announcement by the end of this week, which in turn would allow BAE Systems and VT Group to complete the merger of their shipbuilding assets.

This would create a £1 billion company, expected to be led by Sir John Parker, the chairman of National Grid Transco, with docks in Portsmouth and on the River Clyde in Glasgow. It would be 55 per cent owned by BAE, with VT holding the rest.

The defence budget also contains provision for six Royal Navy destroyers worth £3.6 billion. BAE and VT, which are building the destroyers, have launched two of the ships already and began work on the remaining four without a fixed contract. However, a proposal to build a further two of the Type 45 destroyers has been axed from the MoD budget.

In addition, the head of the Army has won a pledge from ministers to provide a new generation of armoured vehicles to give better protection for troops in overseas war zones, developing a family of “battlefield taxis” capable of surviving roadside bombs. Whitehall sources had indicated that there would have to be cuts in the MoD equipment programme and the Army’s plans for new armoured vehicles, the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES), appeared to be in doubt. However, sources said that Baron Drayson of Kensington, the Defence Equipment Minister, is now “totally aligned” with General Sir Richard Dannatt, the Chief of the General Staff, over the need for the new armoured vehicles. He has stated that the proposed in-service date of 2012 for the first batch is “non-negotiable”.

The Army’s FRES system is intended to replace many present armoured vehicles, such as Saxon, which have been in service for decades and no longer protect soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan from sophisticated improvised explosive devices. The dangers are so great, particularly from Iranian-supplied “explosively formed projectiles” that hurl copper slugs at up to 5km per second, that the MoD has had to spend £500 million on interim measures in order to beef up armoured protection in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With FRES apparently saved from future defence equipment cuts, BAE Systems and its rival companies in the United States are competing for the huge contract that could be worth £50 billion over the 30-year lifetime of the new armoured vehicles.

The first phase of the FRES programme will involve the purchase of 120 “utility” vehicles – the battlefield taxis that will be used for ferrying troops around in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

There will eventually be nine different versions of this utility model. Because of the tight deadline for the first 120 vehicles, BAE Systems has acknowledged that there will be nothing available in the United Kingdom in that time, which means that the British defence company will have to turn to a foreign manufacturer for the basic frame. There are suitable, existing programmes in the United States, Germany, Canada, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The Army wants to buy 2,000 battlefield taxis and another 1,000 heavier vehicles, which will replace or complement the existing Warrior infantry fighting vehicle.

Other systems to be replaced include the Scimitar and Spartan reconnaissance vehicles.
Hhmm. Well on the face of it this seems to be fairly okay, which is what is making me exceedingly suspicious about the whole thing. It all just seems a little too good. Since I know very little about this end of things, anyone with some knowledge care to chime in? Exactly how are we going to end up getting screwed by this? :)
 
#2
Hey I can be bribed with two aircraft carriers! But no mention of the aircraft to go on them... or the rest of the Astute Class Submaries.
 
#3
its all just spin. if there was an increase in defence budget they would say so. I really like the way they talk about the 6 type 45s as if they are a great new aquisition. the government agreed with the admiralty to aquire 8 in return for decommisioning other boats. this 'jam tomorrow' was renaiged on by the government.

Ski.
 
#4
Not one penny of that £30bn is new money. That only surprise is that there aren't more cuts (yet).
 
#6
I agree, a mixed bag indeed. The go-ahead on the carriers is more than welcome. I hope that means that the wrangles with the US over JSF may come to an end sooner rather than later.

The type 45's being chopped to 6 was to be expected, the Admiralty probably had to give them up to secure the cash for the carriers.

I too would like to see definite numbers for the Astute class submarines, as the RN will need as many hulls as possible once the older SSN's start coming to the end of their lives.

FRES - hmmm. It's nice to see a Minister being emphatic about in service dates and BAE admitting that they will have to go abroad for the base vehicle. Hopefully that means we will get something which has been proven on operations and in which the inevitible 'teething problems' have been solved. There are plenty of candidates on the market. I'm not going to make suggestions as there are others who are more familiar with the relative merits of individual vehicles than I am. At least it means waving goodbye to Saxon, which has got to be a good thing IMHO.

What does worry me is that there is nothing mentioned in the article for the RAF. There are three areas that I was expecting to be addressed.

Firstly, air transport. We need more C130's, or whatever airbus equivalent is going to be available. We've recently lost several of our existing C130 fleet on operations and to my knowledge (I stand by to be corrected) they've not been replaced. There has also been specualtion that we were going to buy 2 more C-17's. No mention of that either.

Secondly. Replacements for the Tristars etc. We all know how old they are and just how stretched the Squadrons at BZ are by the current operational cycle. There must be something off the shelf available. This is a crucial deficiency.

Thirdly, Nimrod. Are there going to be upgrades and/or replacements for the in service airframes?

Procurement and Defence spending are not my area of expertise, being WAY down the food chain as I am. However, those are my concerns based on that article. I may be pleasantly surprised by what is actucally annonunced by part time Des Brown. Let's wait and see!
 
#7
Also, seems to be an intimation that BAe have already been awarded the contract for FRES - have I missed a press release? Please don't crucify me if I have!
 
#8
I thought that Fres was down to competition between three companies and BAe had not made the cut - or have I got it mixed up with another purchase?
 
#9
tich23 said:
Also, seems to be an intimation that BAe have already been awarded the contract for FRES - have I missed a press release? Please don't crucify me if I have!
It does read a bit like that doesn't it?
 
#10
FRES is flawed anyway from what I read - came on the back of the US - get there quickly with a light fleet of vehicles which are airtransportable.

Pre-dates Iraq - bottom line is we are now procuring Mastiff and Bulldog and we plus the media ain't gonna accept vehicles in the current operating environment that don't provide sufficient protection. In some ways the protracted nature of defence procurement may have saved us from an inappropriate vehicle fleet.
 
#11
Viking is airmobile. Not perfect, but use it for the airmobile bit until the heavy stuff can arrive. That way you don't have to spend a fortune trying to make FRES airmobile.
 
#12
Seeing as the RN has had to put up with many cuts surely 6 type 45s was expected, although undesirable. Echo comment. re planes to go on the two carriers!
Invicta: doesn't Nimrod "2000" or whatever it's called have a due in service date reasonably soon?
Does that mean the Panther thing isn't anything to do with FRES?
Perhaps if someone makes an announcement than another £30bn is going to be made available, and actually turns up, then we can break open a couple of crates?
 
#13
30 billion to spend on kit...and with resource accounting, you can expect us to get 5 billion's worth and spend the rest bribing the Treasury to let us keep it.
 
#14
lanky said:
Viking is airmobile. Not perfect, but use it for the airmobile bit until the heavy stuff can arrive. That way you don't have to spend a fortune trying to make FRES airmobile.
But that is why FRES is flawed - we ain't going anywhere in a hurry - it was a decision made on the back of the US saying - we must have more mobility (like a lot of our doctrine now - if the yanks do it so must we). To persist with the FRES concept - it will be a nightmare - the A400 (if it ever flies) will turn out to be a crock - bearing in mind we could probably buy more C-17 (at a cheaper rate than A-400) and actually transport a heavy armoured vehicle in each.

Given that we need to have confidence in our equipment, the public/press demands that our equipment can resist the threats that are out there - hence the purchase of Mastiff and issue of Bulldog (neither of which will fit in an A-400 in a million years - but probably will in a C-17 - which we ain't going to buy more of) we come back to FRES being a load of w&nk.

Airtransportability is not going to govern the wars that we are currently fighting or are likely to fight in the near term - we are embroiled in two conflicts which are - depending on your interpretation - insurgencies/civil wars. The key to these conflicts is the ability to win the population by pouring sufficient resources in and deploying them in such a way that the population feels that safe enough that they can support the security forces. This is a protracted process. These conflicts ain't going away fast so why do we need to rush kit out there - also was TELIC delayed because kit had to move by sea - no not at all.

Agree that Viking has performed very well - was in the 'Stan until Apr and from what I saw they came out very well in a number of engagments.
 
#15
Whilst eight 45s would undoubtedly be better than just six are the extra two that vital? As I understand it the main job of these things is to look after aircraft carriers in a task force along with operating independently on other jobs. Two 45s per carrier to look after the air defence and some 23s for the anti-submarine warfare work still leaves two left for doing other things or looking after other ships in the task force like the LPHs or LPDs. Unless I'm getting the wrong end of the large vaguely cylindrical woody thing.
 
#16
Brick said:
Whilst eight 45s would undoubtedly be better than just six are the extra two that vital? As I understand it the main job of these things is to look after aircraft carriers in a task force along with operating independently on other jobs. Two 45s per carrier to look after the air defence and some 23s for the anti-submarine warfare work still leaves two left for doing other things or looking after other ships in the task force like the LPHs or LPDs. Unless I'm getting the wrong end of the large vaguely cylindrical woody thing.
the problem with the current goovernment thinking of our surface vessels is the long lead time of procurement for replacements will leave us VERY vulnerable if we lose any. My opinion as a non expert, is that before we start to reduce our surface fleet, the way the govn. has, we MUST do a complete defence review.
At first glance, we need three aircraft carrier hulls, even if one isnt fully built up, we then need minimum 3 type 45s for each carrier, two for the carrier battle group and 1 in reserce / refit. that does mean that the navy will have no capability other that the carrier battle groups.

the navy has been decimated in the cause of hiding the cost of current ops from the tax payer. As has been said before on this site, this situation will only change after an incident which causes serious loss of life to uk forces.

Ski.

edited for monglish.
 
#17
Sven said:
I thought that FRES was down to competition between three companies and BAe had not made the cut - or have I got it mixed up with another purchase?
From the way it's written in the article it sounds like BAe is buying the stock vehicles from other companies and then outfitting the electronics and all the other bells and whistles or acting as some sort of project manager for the whole deal. So even though they got ruled out of the original contract they still get to bill the MoD for a fair bit.

SkiCarver said:
The problem with the current government thinking of our surface vessels is the long lead time of procurement for replacements will leave us VERY vulnerable if we lose any.
A very good point. That's why ideally we should be buying three of the aircraft carriers instead of just the two, that way even if you've got one cycled around for maintenance or upgrade you've still got two operational. Knowing our luck the next time something like a Falklands situation breaks out one of them will be in dry dock out of action for six months and the other will be in completely the opposite region and take an age just to get back to the UK before deploying proper.
 
#18
SPIN SPIN SPIN

All projects that have been in pipelinefor a while and have been under financial threat.

Note carefully the line that Armed Forces pay has not yet been resolved. Senior chiefs being given the either/or option perhaps.

BAe seem to be mentioned in every context but that could just be lazy reporting and BAe will always be prepared to talk up their own chances. if they have picked up all the contracts - it is a sorry day for British Defence industry.

FRES is starting to look like a classic procurement clusterf**ck. It started off as one thing and is gradually morphing into something else. This is the way projects go massively over budget and behind time. It is a hard call to make, but sometimes if the threat and circumstances change, you have to draw a line and go back to the drawing board.

Baron Drayson now - Jeeeezus.
 
#19
Britain Orders More Up-Armored FV430s.
As of July 2007, More than 200 of the upgraded vehicles have already been delivered on time and on budget. Now the UK MoD has confirmed that an order has been placed with BAE Systems Land Systems and their main subcontractor, ABRO, for an additional 400 Bulldog vehicles to be modified to the new standard, bringing the total to 900.
 
#20
The new PM when Chancellor was wellknown for repackaging already agreed budgets/spending /cash and making yet another announcement about it, especially at budget time and Hey Presto it looks like extra money!

Old habits die hard me thinks
 

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