Select Committee on Defence Tenth Report


69. Given the MoD's history of problems in bringing major equipment projects to fruition on time and within budget, and delivering the capability originally envisaged, it is unsurprising that such traits can be found in some of the programmes that we have covered in this report. It will inevitably take some time to see hard evidence of any improvements flowing from the smart procurement initiative. There are, however, it seems to us, some early signs of a more imaginative and robust approach emerging, and these offer a glimpse of what improvements the initiative may be able to provide.

70. We are particularly encouraged by evidence of a further movement away from the arbitrary workshares of past collaborative programmes (the UK's clear leadership of the BVRAAM programme is a case in point). We also applaud the efforts to inject competitive pressures into both new programmes and those that have suffered in the past because of a lack of it. Other encouraging aspects are the imaginative way the short term and long term airlift programmes fit together, with one providing a safety-net for the other; the prospective rationalisation of definitions of in-service dates and their being more meaningfully tied to the introduction of operational capability; and the clearer focus under the new Equipment Capabilities organisation on trading-off capabilities (and cost and capability) in a more comprehensive way. There is a long way to go, however, before we can hope to report that all is well in the realm of MoD procurement.

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