Britain’s top 25 defence projects will enter service an average of three and a half years late and will be £2.8bn over budget.
According to the latest National Audit Office report into the status of Britain’s biggest defence projects, expenditure is expected to top £38bn with 16 projects exceeding their estimates. Ten projects are already late, and a total of 13 are forecast to miss their in-service dates.
The worst cases are the Eurofighter, which is £1.5bn over budget, and the 10-year delay on Marconi Electronic Systems’ Brimstone air-launched anti-tank missile.
The average delay, 43 months, is up by six months compared with 1997. Only two projects are expected to enter service on time.
The causes of cost escalation and in-service delays were changes in specification, technical difficulties, programme changes and project `redefinition’. This occurred despite the introduction of the Ministry of Defence’s Smart Procurement initiative to cut cost overruns and delays.
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