Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Defence cuts: Here we go again!

According to the Sunday Times, the Army is set to pay the price for protecting the Future Aircraft Carriers (CVF) programme. The programme to build the two aircraft carriers is budgeted at £4billion and, judging by the MoD's track record, we can expect the final figure to be double that. The new carriers will be built in the Rosyth dockyard which is close to Gordon Brown's own constituency and where many of his constituents work. The current price tag for each carrier is £2billion which is the size of the hole which has opened up in the 2008/09 Defence budget.

To plug this hole Hash Brown has overruled defence chiefs and insisted that several major procurement projects be 'delayed'. These projects are:
  • The Future Rapid Effects System (Fres), a new generation of armoured vehicles that was due to come into service next year - short-term saving £800million.
  • The Future Integrated Soldier Technology (Fist) programme, an attempt to have every soldier networked to their HQ using information technology - saving £100million.
  • A software upgrade designed to give the army’s Bowman communications system a battlefield tracking system to avoid friendly-fire attacks - saving £300million.
  • Replacement of the nine lost or scrapped Hercules transport aircraft - saving £600million.
  • Cancelling three Astute submarines and one Type-45 destroyer - already accepted by the RN as the price for saving the carriers.
So yet again it's the frontline troops who are going to be the losers; once again the Labour Government has betrayed the guys fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.