Future of RAF Typhoon in Disarray

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Armand2REP, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

    Dec 17, 2009
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    Audit Blames Typhoon Overrun on Over-optimism

    LONDON - Poor cost control, efforts to balance the defense budget and over-optimism on key investment decisions have contributed to a massive cost overrun for the Typhoon fighters being delivered to the Royal Air Force, the British National Audit Office (NAO) will say in a report to be released March 2.
    The Typhoon is being developed and produced as a four-nation program involving Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain. (U.K. Ministry of Defence)

    The government spending watchdog said the forecast development and production cost of British Typhoons has risen 20 percent to 20.2 billion pounds ($32.7 billion), even though the Ministry of Defence has reduced orders from 232 to 160 aircraft.

    "Key investment decisions were taken on an over-optimistic basis, the project has been adversely affected by corporate decisions to try to balance the defense budget and costs have risen substantially and at a rate the department [the MoD] did not predict," said the report into the management of the Typhoon program.

    The Typhoon is being developed and produced as a four-nation program involving Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain.

    The NAO slammed the collaborative program, saying it failed to deliver spares on time, was inefficient and, without change, would challenge British efforts to upgrade the Typhoon quickly and cost-effectively.

    The cut in production numbers for the Royal Air Force has helped drive up unit costs.

    "If the development and production costs are taken into account, the unit cost of each aircraft has risen by 75 percent," the NAO report said, adding that part of the reason for the cost increase was that the MoD failed to have a realistic understanding of the balance "between costs, numbers of equipments and the importance of the operational capability to be provided."

    A similar script could have been written about numerous major defense programs here in the U.K. and elsewhere.

    The British government is in the midst of another acquisition restructuring effort aimed at reducing time and budget overruns, which last year saw costs on the 15 biggest defense programs rise by 3.3 billion pounds.

    The Typhoon report wasn't all bad news, though.

    Analysis undertaken for the NAO concluded that the current unit production cost, excluding the collaborative development phase, is similar to comparable aircraft types.

    The NAO also said that since 2005, control over those portions of the project where the MoD has entered into contracts has improved and costs are stable.

    Much of the rest of the report, though, made for grizzly reading.

    The NAO cited collaborative arrangements between the European partners as largely responsible for more than doubling the cost of the British element of development spending.

    Out of the 3.5 billion-pound increase, some 2.2 billion pounds was attributable to "inefficient collaborative commercial and managerial arrangements, obligations to international partners and the complexity of the technologies being developed, a challenge compounded by the rigid collaborative workshare requirements," the report said.

    A further 332 million pounds was spent evolving the Typhoon from an air defense fighter into a multirole platform.

    The NAO report said Typhoon would not have a full weapons-carrying capability, including the Storm Shadow cruise missile, until 2018.

    The remaining 1 billion-pound increase in development largely reflects the cost of capital charges caused by delays in the project, the report said.

    The spending watchdog said the objectives of the four nations were not fully aligned and decision-making was slow, with key decisions requiring consensus of all the partners.

    On one occasion, it took seven years to agree to and deliver some key upgrades, the NAO said.

    While local contractors BAE and Rolls-Royce have largely achieved their performance targets supporting the RAF Typhoon fleet, the same can't be said of collaborative contracts across the partner nations for the supply of spares and repairs, the report said.

    The NAO said to compensate for poor performance, the RAF has had to cannibalize some of its Typhoons to keep other aircraft flying. The spares and repairs problems contributed to the RAF's inability to meet its annual flying hours target, with a 13 percent shortfall in 2009-10.

    Under current plans, the British would likely spend 37 billion pounds on Typhoon by the time it was taken out of service in 2030. Some 60 percent of that figure would be spent on procurement and upgrading the aircraft, the report said.

    The British are buying 160 Typhoons, with the first one delivered in 2003 and the last one scheduled for 2015. The number of aircraft will fall to 107 by 2019, when the Tranche 1 machines are scheduled to be taken out of service.

    Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO and an ex-senior official at the MoD, said in a statement that while the MoD had put into place some building blocks to secure value for money, "difficult and deep-rooted problems remain to be overcome."

    The report was published hours after the MoD began detailing the first tranche of Royal Air Force personnel cuts as the service looks to reduce its head count by 5,000 people over the next four years.

    The MoD said 1,020 personnel would go in the first cut, including trainee pilots, weapons system officers and operators, ground tradesmen and up to a further 121 officer redundancies of the rank of air commodore and below.

    The statement said the number of officers at the air vice-marshal rank and above will be reduced.

    The British recently announced a significant cut in Air Force capabilities as part of a broad reduction in defense spending. The Harrier GR9 fleet was retired, the Tornado GR4 strike aircraft fleet reduced and the Nimrod MRA4 maritime reconnaissance fleet was scrapped before it entered service.

    Details of personnel cuts to the British Army and the Royal Navy are expected next month.

  3. Vladimir79

    Vladimir79 Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

    Jul 1, 2009
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    I will have to remember that the next time some Brit with a spoon stuck up his arse starts ripping on VVS availability. We have an excuse to cannabalise fighters no longer produced, but Typhoon. No excuse for that.

    Sucks to be in a consortium that can't make decisions. Looks like France is glad to have gotten out of that mess. Why would India want to join it?
  4. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    May 25, 2009
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    Holy Hell
    Yes. Looks like they will dump all the work load and bills on us the moment we join the program. Rafale FTW.
  5. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

    Mar 24, 2009
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    If this is the case, india should think twice about getting involved in this kind of mess.
  6. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

    Dec 17, 2009
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    Very glad. When the requirements and producers speak with one voice, the results are better and cheaper.
  7. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 5, 2009
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    Well, this calls for the IAF to go for the Rafale then, one of my two favorites in the MMRCA deal, the other being the Typhoon. Its sad that the Typhoon has come to this state.
  8. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Nov 16, 2009
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    And some people still wanted to justify their tax money by joining Typhoon program. ROFL...
    Even rejecting Eurojet development offer & LCA engine contract was sound decision.

    anybody want naval typhoon? :pound:

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