Sorry for the title, hope no one objects too much but I couldn’t quite believe this quote when I saw it.
Speaking at an evidence session for the House of Commons Defence Select Committee a number of industry figures have urged the MoD to consider fielding ‘less than fully capable’ systems, especially vehicles. It seems that industry has woken up to the coming famine in defence spending and want to get their kit in the system early so as to ensure it can be built upon when times are better.
They say that perfect is the enemy of good enough and this is fair enough but it is rather rich of the defence industry to start complaining about gold plating when they have been sucking at the teat of over specification and eternal optimism for decades.
Addressing the governmental defence committee, Sir Brian Burridge, Finmeccanica UK’s vice president for strategic marketing said ground vehicles in particular should initially be fielded with an “80 percent capability”.
With committee members describing such systems as “less than fully capable”, Burridge added that both the defence industry and the MoD were “up” for the challenge.
Up for the bloody challenge…
Here’s a challenge for you Sir Brian (ex RAF Air Chief Marshall)
- Explain how Westland (yes that Westland, owned by Finmeccanica) can win a contract for Future Lynx (AW159 Wildcat) without going through a competitive tender
- Explain how Westland (yes that Westland, owned by Finmeccanica) can charge £6.5million for an engine upgrade for a small handful of the existing Lynx fleet
- Explain how Westland (yes that Westland, owned by Finmeccanica) can sell the MoD 60 odd Wildcats for the eye watering price of £1.7billion pounds, or about £26million each.
There are powerful voices muttering about the Defence Industrial Strategy and a rising tide of opinion that says things have to change, the suggestion of rushing equipment into service quicker just so industry can milk the MoD for upgrades later is about as transparent as something that isn’t very transparent.
If industry wants to stave off calls for the DIS to be scrapped then it is going to have to do much better than this.