Procurement: October 11, 2000


: The British Ministry of Defense is in something of a panic. Their "Smart Procurement" system did not produce the expected savings, leaving a $2 billion shortage in military budgets over the next decade. Serious options are being considered:

@ cancel the Meteor Beyond Visual Range Missile program and make do with AMRAAM. Meteor is an expensive program and some in the British military think that the wrong missile was picked for political reasons.

@ eliminate either the Harrier, the Tornado, or the Jaguar from service almost immediately. The least capable and oldest of these is the Jaguar, which is to be replaced by the Eurofighter, but doing so doesn't save enough money. Jaguar is fairly cheap to operate and its upgrades have all been paid for. Eliminating the balky Harriers would leave the Navy and Marines without jet fighters, while eliminating the Tornado would leave the Royal Air Force without an effective fighter or deep strike bomber for a decade. Worse, the Royal Air Force is now convinced that the Eurofighter Typhoon's much-heralded bombing capability is going to be very disappointing when bombs actually start hitting (or rather, missing) targets. It is generally expected that the software will have to be rewritten and upgraded, and that this will delay any effective use of Typhoon as a strike aircraft for years.

@ go through every military procurement program on the order books and plans and start canceling projects, delaying other projects, eliminating capabilities from major systems, downgrading options, and reducing production runs.--Stephen V Cole


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