The Strategic Defence Review could collapse if there are delays in delivering any essential components, an influential committee of MPs has warned.
The House of Commons’ Select Defence Committee said the overall package ‘should be recognised to be very finely balanced. If any single major element fails to materialise on time, the whole structure could fall into disarray.’
Above all, the MPs want to ensure that the two large aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy described in the review are actually built.
The committee was also not convinced that retiring the nuclear submarine Spartan just four years after its next refit is good value for money.
Criticism was also levelled at the reduction from 35 to 32 destroyers and frigates, which the review says will be compensated for by increased flexibility in their deployment. ‘We have some doubts about this claim,’ the MPs say.
The lack of detail behind the plan to buy four C-17 airlift aircraft ‘or their equivalent’ was singled out for comment. The MPs want the Ministry of Defence ‘to make transparent all of the options it considers for acquiring future airlift aircraft. Last week, Boeing and British Aerospace announced their plan to offer C-17s to the RAF.