Armed forces´ equipment plan `unaffordable´, watchdog…

MoD’s equipment plan has £13bn funding black hole meaning military may not be able to expand its F-35 fighter jet fleet, watchdog warns

MoD’s predicts £183.6b spending between 2019 and 2029, an overrun of £2.9bHowever in the ‘worst-case scenario’ this extra spending could rise to £13 billionNAO warned reluctance on ‘difficult decisions’ means capabilities could be lost

Shortfall in the funding could mean Britain cannot expand F-35 fighter jet fleet

The Ministry of Defence’s equipment plan is facing a funding shortfall of up to £13 billion, meaning Britain may not be able to expand its F-35 fighter jet fleet. 

The National Audit Office said the MoD’s unwillingness to take ‘difficult decisions’ meant military capabilities could be lost as funding for them simply runs out.

A contract for 48 jets, thought to cost £9.1billion by 2025, has already been signed but there is uncertainty for future plans, reports The Telegraph.

The Ministry of Defence is facing a funding shortfall of up to £13 billion, meaning Britain may not be able to expand its F-35 fighter jet (pictured) fleet after a current contract for 48 is completed

Training and maintenance is included in the contract but the future of this is also not clear and dependent on trials.

The spending warning comes after the Prime Minister confirmed armed forces’ procurement processes would form part of what the Government has billed as the deepest review of foreign and defence policy since the Cold War.

The MoD’s central projection is that the rolling 10-year programme to purchase and support aircraft, ships and weaponry will cost £183.6 billion between 2019 and 2029 – a budget overrun of £2.9 billion.

But in the ‘worst-case scenario’, if all the risks associated with the plan were to materialise, that could rise to £13 billion.

It is the third year in succession that the National Audit Office has concluded the plan is ‘unaffordable’.

While the central estimate for the shortfall is down on last year, the NAO said this was because the MoD had made ‘more optimistic judgments’ about the likely costs, which had taken out £7.8 billion, rather than address the underlying issues. 

The MoD's predicts its rolling 10-year programme to purchase and support aircraft, ships and weaponry will cost £183.6b between 2019 and 2029 – a budget overrun of £2.9b (pictured is a F-35B fighter jet flies over HMS Queen Elizabeth while in Portsmouth)

The MoD’s predicts its rolling 10-year programme to purchase and support aircraft, ships and weaponry will cost £183.6b between 2019 and 2029 – a budget overrun of £2.9b (pictured is a F-35B fighter jet flies over HMS Queen Elizabeth while in Portsmouth)  

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