Sunday, March 25, 2012

More muddle, less leadership

(What we're arguing about: An F-35C launched by EMALS at NAS Lakehurst, NJ - Look Mum, no Steam!)

It seems that the UK MoD's trials and tribulations with the 2012 Planning Round (PR12) which have been referred to here before, are now so serious that it can't be announced before the Easter recess. In other words, the MoD is tacitly accepting that it won't be able to start the 2012-13 financial year with a plan that is costed and deliverable.

Well done.

To the cynics out there who could point out that this is hardly anything new, you have a point. Indeed, it is so consistent with previous MoD fiascos that one could be forgiven for thinking that Liam Fox - he of the "broadly in balance" budget fiasco was still in charge.

Fortunately he isn't. But "Spreadsheet Phil" Hammond needs to get the budget balanced without undermining the UK's semblance of a strategy. And for as long as this involves the carrier programme, the correct answer is F-35C, EMALS and traps - a cheaper, less complex aircraft that takes twice the bombload half as far again, or half again as many bombs twice the range of the F-35B jumpjet.

If we're serious about Carrier Enabled Power Projection (CEPP), then the F-35C is the correct way forward. Find the money and move on.

(And if you're having difficulty with the money, you could always cancel Trident.)

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