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British Military Procurement Mysteries

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The British Military has a habit of procuring and adopting, usually at great expense to the taxpayer, many things that either:

  • Aren't needed
  • Don't work
  • Are obsolete before they're introduced (or even designed in some cases)
  • Are crap
  • Work eventually but cost the GDP of a mid-sized African country to fix
  • Are not squaddy proof
  • Are more expensive and worse than civilian equivalents that can be bought off-the-shelf

Or avoid all of the above, and so are cancelled just before going into service.

We're not alone in this; but at least American Military procurement mysteries don't completely stuff the Defence budget for everything else. Examples include:

Near-misses that were almost foisted on the army include:

  • Pattern 13 Rifle
  • EM-2 Rifle (was supposed to work OK but it's still a bullpup)
  • Burton magazine (ok, so this was a very long time ago)
  • .402 Enfield-Martini ammunition

The opposite of the above are British Military Procurement Successes - these are very rare! When they do happen, generally something else gets in the way of effectiveness, such as cocking up the issue process or even getting rid of such items well before their time. Foreign Military Procurement Successes do happen occasionally, though.

Procurement decisions