Examination of Witnesses (Questions 180
MONDAY 15 JANUARY 2001
WALMSLEY, KCB AND
180. They are very different. In one case it
is an interesting method of planning your system that you can
only have a system which makes the weapon system effective and
usable if you get within a certain budget level. The other one
says to me that paragraph 3.14 was never true in truth. One of
those two is incorrect.
(Sir Robert Walmsley) The contract position is that
until we actually settle the contract price we did not know whether
we were going to come in on, below or indeed above the budget.
181. The implications of it if you were above?
(Sir Robert Walmsley) I should have had to go on to
speak to Admiral Blackham and tell him I had a problem about signing
the contract and ask for his reaction to the amount I am above.
182. A yawning chasm between the two positions.
However, I have got the point. I understand that. My other question
relates to something completely different and has not come up
today at all. Your approach, if I understand it correctlyand
please correct me if I have got this wrongto the Type 45
is more modular than it has been to previous weapon systems. Am
I right in that respect that you are effectively waiting to some
extent to pick up the best technology available at the relevant
time? Is that correct?
(Sir Robert Walmsley) This time it is a planned and
a policy decision. It has always happened in my experience anyway.
This time we are planning for it.
183. One of the points which has come up today
related to a previous attempt to put together two modules, which
was the radar. As you pointed out quite rightly, the shipborne
air conditioning was insufficiently reliable, put high humidity
air through the radar system and effectively destroyed it completely
through the wave guides. One of the problems we see all the time
is that when these modules do not work together you then end up
presumably with a dispute with the contractor. You may not be
able to answer this question today, in which case I am very happy
for you to come back and answer it on Wednesday. You have effectively
the Type 45 contract, as I understand it, arbitrated under British
law. The PAAM system is a Franco-Italian system.
(Sir Robert Walmsley) I like to think of it as a UK-Franco-Italian
184. Which legal system would that contract
be arbitrated under?
(Sir Robert Walmsley) French
185. So you are going to have two systems which
are supposed to work together, one arbitrated under British law
and one arbitrated under French law. When they do not work together
and it is not clear which half of that module is the problem,
how are you going to resolve that?
(Sir Robert Walmsley) We carry the risk.
186. You carry the risk.
(Sir Robert Walmsley) We do. It is a fundamental flaw
in Government furnished equipment. What I would say is that at
least PAAMS, the missile system being procured under French law,
is a whole system. It is required to deliver system performance,
it is required to conform to all the interface specifications
which were agreed with the ship project. So this is not something
which will happen by accident. We have gone through it in enormous
detail, but if we are wrong about an interface specification .
187. You can feel a careful note being taken,
can you not Sir Robert?
(Sir Robert Walmsley) I certainly can and if you think
this has not worried me for years . . . Well I am sure you recognise
it has worried me.
Chairman: Gentlemen, thank you very much. We
are going into closed session now and we shall see you again on