Gold Standard Cock-Up

Still sitting in the shed



We've blogged the MOD Chinook fiasco many times. In brief, in 2001 the RAF took delivery of 8 Chinook helicopters at a cost of £259m. But the special purpose bespoke avionics the MOD in its wisdom had ordered were so dysfunctional they couldn't be used (except possibly in a clear blue sky with no wind).


MOD has since spent another pile of dosh trying to sort the problem, but seven years after delivery and 13 after ordering they still don't work. At a total a cost of c£500m - twice the original budget - they are still sitting in a Wiltshire shed. Even though our troops in Afghanistan are desperate for more helicopter support.


The National Audit Office has today issued a damning report, prompting PAC Chairman Lee to describe the whole mess as “one of the most incompetent procurements of all time”. He went further: this is "a gold standard cock-up".


What this illustrates once again is that MOD is so incompetent at procurement, it should probably never attempt to order bespoke equipment. Our forces should be allowed to order more off-the-shelf kit that is already in service elsewhere (cf the appalling Nimrod case).

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