2 Part 2: Managing risks |
9. The construction of the carriers is progressing
well. So far the
Aircraft Carrier Alliance has delivered 98 per cent of the work
originally planned and the project achieved 48 of the 53 target
milestones in 2010-11 on time. In cost terms, the project is currently
forecast by the Alliance to cost £5.461 billion, £219
million higher than the contracted Targeted Cost, with a planning
trajectory to meet the Target Cost.
10. Converting the carrier to fly the carrier variant
of Joint Strike Fighter requires the installation of catapults
and arrestor gear. The Department's preferred solution is to use
an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) rather than
steam powered catapults.
This system is currently untested in the UK configuration and
dependent upon USA trials.
If this system is found to be unfeasible, the Department will
need to go back to using steam powered catapults which will require
significant redesign of the carriers.
11. The carrier variant aircraft now chosen is a
more capable aircraft than the STOVL variant. The carrier variant
is a less complex aircraft and has the ability to fly further
and carry a greater payload.
However, the Department's understanding of the risks associated
with the carrier variant is not as developed as they are for the
12. Changing the aircraft will necessitate modifying
the carrier after it has been built and before it becomes operational.
The cost of up to £1.2 billion for conversion of the operational
carrier remains an estimate and the Department does not expect
to have a better understanding of costs for 18 months.
There is a lack of competition in the market for the provision
of the EMALS system with only one supplier and the Department
is exposed to the price the US Navy will pay for their systems.
Furthermore whilst the USA is building a system with four catapults
the UK requires a system with only two catapults and estimates
of the cost of this modification remain uncertain. The Department
is still examining how it might trade capabilities on the programme
if the costs increase.
13. The SDSR decision to use carrier variant aircraft
instead of the STOVL variant has also resulted in a nine year
capability gap for Carrier Strike and lower levels of capability
when it is reintroduced.
The conversion of the carriers to using catapults and arrestor
gear will push back the in-service date by two years to 2020 and
sortie rates will not reach the maximum full operating capability
until 2031. When
the carrier is introduced it will be able to operate at sea for
only 150 to 200 days a year, compared with the original plan to
provide carrier capability for 435 days a year using two carriers.
However, the choice of aircraft has offered the prospect of
improved interoperability with allies.
14. There is no single person responsible for all
the risks to the delivery of the Carrier Strike programme below
the Accounting Officer. The Senior Responsible Owner confirmed
he had a co-ordinating role, but does not have responsibility
over the budget for manpower and training and the Chief of Defence
Materiel is responsible for the equipment budget.
20 Q 164 Back
C&AG's Report, para 3.3 Back
Qq 55-61, 67 Back
Qq 55, 59-60 Back
Q 67 Back
Qq 13, 111 Back
Q 112 Back
Qq 15-17 Back
Qq 62-65 Back
Qq 43-47 Back
Q 100 Back
Qq 91, 98, 117 Back
Q 100, C&AG's Report, para 2.28 Back
Q 116, C&AG's Report, para 2.29 Back
Qq 128-132 Back