MoD equipment plan 'unaffordable'

  peter99co 17:20 15 Oct 09
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The findings come just a day after the government announced 500 more troops are likely to go to Afghanistan.

Bad Timing?

  GANDALF <|:-)> 19:20 15 Oct 09

Now here's an idea which must have been examined by various Defence Chiefs and their 'legions' of advisors...why not give up developing weapons and just buy them from whoever, say the States. We would know if they were any good, the States would have absorbed the testing and development costs and I'm sure delivery would be weeks rather than years. I am also sure that the American equivalent to the SA80 is just as good...if not better.

G

  morddwyd 19:57 15 Oct 09

I have made this post before but I make no apologies for repeating it, having been directly involved in weapons procurement for the MoD.

The major cause of delays and cost increase is the promotion policies in the three forces.

People have to get noticed to get promoted, and since they get moved on every two to three years they have to do something to get noticed to get a good write up in that time.

You can take over the best run and most cost effective department in the whole of the country, and continue to so run it, but unless you change something you won't get noticed.

If you're in uniform, in procurement, the way to get noticed is to change the spec.

Let's say you take over a project and you predecessor has specified a machine gun that fires 1800 rounds a minute.

You write a paper saying that that is much too fast, will probably not be controllable by he average grunt, will waste ammo, overheat and cause excessive barrel wear. The rate of fire should be reduced to 1500 rpm., thereby saving so much ammo, and reducing barrel wear with a cost saving not only on the spare parts, but also on ordnance fitters who can then be posted to the front line.

The manufacturers are told to rejig, and the cost goes up and completion date moves.

Two years later (and that is a very short period in MoD lead times) you get drafted and someone else gets moved in.

He (shes tend to have more sense!) then rips your paper to shreds and says the original spec was arrived at with good reason and should be reinstated, and so the whole process starts again.

In the meantime the grunts at front are still using out of date guns.

If you're going to tell me I'm talking rubbish, OK. Just remember, I've been there, I've done it. Haven't got the T-shirt - there's been a change in spec.

Just to quote a real example in which I was directly involved, not a story - really happened.

One of the bits of kit I was looking after had a requirement for a small disc in the casing to be turned through 180 degrees. The manufacturers produced a nice light oak handle, like a brad handle, fitted with a six inch stainless steel rod with a disc on the end with two pegs on it. These pegs would fit into two recesses in the device thereby allowing the operator to turn the disc through 180 degrees.

These cost £60 each to the MoD budget.

My RN counterpart and I both said "B******r that, put a screwdriver slot in it, and we'll turn it with a 25p screwdriver".

We were overruled, by someone in a uniform with better badges of rank than us, and the MoD bought a dozen of the "speialist tools".

Sorry to go on at such length, but you've hit a fairly raw nerve.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 21:04 15 Oct 09

..and the answer would be to 'buy in'.....simples.

G

  peter99co 21:05 15 Oct 09

But this cuts out all the perks!

  GANDALF <|:-)> 21:10 15 Oct 09

I'm sure you meant to say, 'this reduces the overall amount that the taxpayer has to cough up, ensures a speedy delivery, obliterates development costs, eliminates fault rectifying time, reduces the manpower needed to develop and test. But I must be wrong as I keep being told that the Government and associated services have advisers much more well-informed and cleverer than I. /triple, quadruple yawn.

G

  morddwyd 21:51 15 Oct 09

How naive.

And where would all the defence politicians and generals get their retirement directorships if we bypass the arms manufacturers?

  GANDALF <|:-)> 22:44 15 Oct 09

Terribly sorry, the phrase 'the old boys network', completely escaped my common sense.

G

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