back to article Wheels are literally falling off the MoD thanks to lack of cash

British military helicopters are at risk of crashing while wheels are literally falling off Army Land Rovers thanks to poor maintenance and funding cuts, according to a damning report by the Defence Safety Authority. The UK watchdog's six-monthly report, published earlier this week, is a blistering look at Ministry of Defence …

  1. JimmyPage
    FAIL

    It's great to know the price of everything ...

    if you can afford it.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: It's great to know the price of everything ...

      Ditch the American F-35's and you'll have billions to play with.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's great to know the price of everything ...

        Ditch the American F-35's and you'll have billions to play with.

        With MoD's procurement skills, you don't think we're already on the hook, and would pay a vast sum in cancellation costs? And the RAF has no proper strike aircraft to replace the Tornado, so we'd have to buy an alternative strike fighter (few visible options there). And we'd be left with two very expensive helicopter carriers that couldn't do anything useful in military terms (I know, even with F35 they probably can't either). A disaster though the F35/carriers programme is, unfortunately most of the costs are incurred for the ships, and contractually committed for the aircraft.

        This is what happens when MoD don't keep options open properly - so the carriers should have been cat'n'trap fitted regardless of the aircraft they intended to buy (not only because they wouldn't be tied to F35, but also to give NATO inter-operability); they should have explored other options like funding a Harrier 2020 design concept to cover navy and RAF strike needs, as well as evaluating Rafale M for the carriers, since that's already navalised. And they should have set red lines on F35 performance, so that the UK taxpayer didn't pay for the failures of Lockheed Martin to get the damned thing working, and included a clause that required LM to provide suitable alternative aircraft until they had the F35 fully operational. The LM delays on F35B mean that Queen Lizzie will spend the first five years of a c40 year operational life without aircraft - so 12% if its working life as a useless toy.

        It was the same thing with the Nimrod MRA4 - MoD didn't keep their options open, they tied the avionics to an ultra-high risk airframe and engine concept, and ended up with nothing. If they'd had the avionics in modular form, they could have stopped the airframe work when that went out of control, and stuck the avionics into some near off the shelf A330 (even second hand A330 airframes).

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: It's great to know the price of everything ...

          Queen Lizzie will spend the first five years of a c40 year operational life without aircraft - so 12% if its working life as a useless toy.

          Can't we lease it out to some banana republic for a while?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's great to know the price of everything ...

            Can't we lease it out to some banana republic for a while?

            Looking at the state of the British government's finances, the sleaze in Westminster, the incompetence, dishonesty and wastefulness of government, we are a banana republic.

            Hold on, you meant some other banana republic? Well why not, so long as they pay up front, and have sufficient seizable assets to cover the cost in case they lose it. But who'd want a big flat top naval ship with no weapons, and where you have to have your own VTOL aircraft if you want to play with it?

            1. ISP

              Re: It's great to know the price of everything ...

              "But who'd want a big flat top naval ship with no weapons, and where you have to have your own VTOL aircraft if you want to play with it?"

              The US Marine Corps

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's great to know the price of everything ...

        Hard to ditch something you haven't got.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: It's great to know the price of everything ...

          i bet theyd still save money of they said ditch the f35 ditch the carrier and buy a pocket carrier and f18s from the US.

  2. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    It would be very interesting to know what Lewis would say about this. If its anything like his book I expect he would insist the MoD stop blowing the money and actually put it into the necessary equipment.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      Why, that sounds...sensible!

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      "t would be very interesting to know what Lewis would say about this"

      +1

      "Landrover wheels falling off"

      You would think that if a wheel is properly put on then it doesn't matter what conditions it's subject to, that at the most it will become immovably stuck in place with rust/dirt etc accumulation. To have even one case is atrange, several cases is beyond bizarre and means the maintenance is being done by people several grades below basic competence

      1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Hmm

        > You would think that if a wheel is properly put on then it doesn't matter what conditions it's subject to, that at the most it will become immovably stuck in place with rust/dirt etc accumulation.

        Ah, but you're confusing the civilian landrover - where what you say is perfectly true - with the 'MoD procurement spec' landrover where, no doubt, much money was spent redesigning the standard wheel into a combined wheel/Captain America shield which squaddies could whip off and hold up in front of themselves to protect against bullets, Thor's hammer and other whatnots.

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        You would think that if a wheel is properly put on then it doesn't matter what conditions it's subject to,

        Not the case if the vehicle in question has had armour and accessories bolted on top of it in excess of the manufacturer weight spec.

        Normal landy weight is 2 tons +/- a few 100 kilos for different specs. Max payload is 1 ton (and only for some of the models, most models is lower).

        Commercial armour kits (loved by mobsters) are 500kg or less so they are well within that spec. Army armour kits, however are 1.5 tons bringing the kerb weight to 3.5 tons. That is way past the suspension and wheel mounting specs so it is not surprising they suffer from material fatigue and breakage.

        Landy is the wrong vehicle to try to armour to a modern army specification. There are other 4x4s which have been designed with significantly more room for extra weight and which have special suspension, wheel and transmission options. There is no way the UK army will buy any of them though as this is to some extent a matter of national identity/pride in addition to 50+ years of incestuous relationships in the procurement department.

        Actually, if you look at it, any off the shelf 4x4 is the wrong vehicle for modern army operations in the first place. Russians carefully observed our trials and tribulations in Iraq and Afghanistan and retired ALL of their personnel vehicles to be replaced by new ones for a reason. Germans, AFAIK are doing the same. French are also building new ones. You cannot get the required specs unless you design it from the ground up. Trying to bolt on armour on a commercial 4x4 in the 21st century is in the realm of first degree idiocies to start off with. The Landy as an army vehicle needs to be retired - plain and simple.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm

          you cannot get the required specs unless you design it from the ground up....The Landy as an army vehicle needs to be retired - plain and simple.

          MoD have already visited their many talents in this area. They spent c£400m on the Foxhound, at roughly A MILLION QUID apiece, and are now having to deny reports that they breakdown in the heat of our currently favoured warzones.

          to some extent a matter of national identity/pride in addition to 50+ years of incestuous relationships in the procurement department.

          Yeah? So why is Foxhound built by US based General Dynamics (albeit in Wales, IIRC), using an engine made in Austria by US owned Magna Steyr?

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            " So why is Foxhound built by US based General Dynamics ("

            Because they were cheaper than the (inevitable) BAe bid.

            IIRC BAe gave the usual whine about "Thousands of British Defense jobs will be lost blah blah."

            In fact the factory got transferred to GD and the same staff built the US design, rather than the Nx more expensive BAe thing.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: " So why is Foxhound built by US based General Dynamics ("

              just look at what the locals use. toyotas. they can mount all sorts of kit on the back, spares are cheap and they dont kind sand.

              1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

                Re: " So why is Foxhound built by US based General Dynamics ("

                just look at what the locals use. toyotas.

                The ones with Sugar daddies. The ones without use Isuzu and (less often) Mitsubishi. These are the vehicles I meant when I said that there are better 4x4s for the purpose of off-the shelf adaptation.

                As far as the FoxHound - it leaves (as some people noted) a lot to be desired in terms of reliability. For the money in costs the army could have bought the same number of Boxers which are infinitely more capable, infinitely more versatile and offer better protection too.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: " So why is Foxhound built by US based General Dynamics ("

                  For the money in costs the army could have bought the same number of Boxers

                  According to Wikipedia, the Boxers cost about €3m a piece, so we'd have had less than half as many?

                  Sadly though, the history of Boxer as a joint British-German-Dutch project implies that MoD paid somewhere around 40% of that vehicle's development costs. Presumably something of the order of ANOTHER £300m pissed up the wall.

                  1. Sir Runcible Spoon
                    Coat

                    Re: " So why is Foxhound built by US based General Dynamics ("

                    £1m+ for an armoured 4x4?

                    They don't have to have DVD players in headrests you know, ease up on the options and I'm sure they could drag that price down a bit.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm

          "Actually, if you look at it, any off the shelf 4x4 is the wrong vehicle for modern army operations in the first place."

          I wouldn't argue with the "modern army" part but I think you'll find that the most common 4x4 in warfare today is a Toyota Hilux with some brave soul standing in the back trying to aim a Browning machine gun without being thrown from the vehicle or shooting the driver.

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        ""Repeated incidents of Landrover wheels falling off""

        That sounds like a sight gag in a silent movie.

        IRL. WTF?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I read that as...

      Literally putting money in the equipment. And at this rate it may be cheaper to load everything with pound coins...

  3. wolfetone Silver badge

    The DSA seems to forget there's no magic money tree though?

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Yes, but as one of the worlds richest countries you do have to ask where billions upon billions upon billions of taxpayers money IS going. It certainly isn't going on making ANY improvements to any service provided by the Government.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Money is created as debt, and that debt as a means of control and wealth extraction. The end product is a few very rich individuals controlling all as governments are weakened. Welcome to neoliberalism. As long as the great unwashed keep blaming immigrants, scroungers, Muslims, and Russians then they can keep the scam going.

        1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          The phrase is 'horizontal hostility'

          As long as you can keep the lower echelons under you blaming each other, then you are safe. And if you build in a tiny bit of hierarchy (eg. poor white men are better than non-white poor men, and all straight men are better than all gay men, and all men are better than all women, all white women are better than all non-white women, and so on and so on), then you get to watch them fight to get one inch higher on the hierarchy ladder, the one they foolishly think reaches all the way up to you.

          1. Teiwaz

            Re: The phrase is 'horizontal hostility'

            As long as you can keep the lower echelons under you blaming each other, then you are safe. And if you build in a tiny bit of hierarchy (eg. poor white men are better than non-white poor men, and all straight men are better than all gay men, and all men are better than all women, all white women are better than all non-white women, and so on and so on), then you get to watch them fight to get one inch higher on the hierarchy ladder, the one they foolishly think reaches all the way up to you.

            Spot on, for the 19th-20th century.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Interest payments on the debt is larger the the defence budget.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          "Interest payments on the debt is larger the the defence budget."

          And is that supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "where billions upon billions upon billions of taxpayers money IS going. "

        A lot of it is going straight to landlords in the form of housing benefit. Without housing benefits rents would drop due to affordability. So you could say that the money is going to people like the Duke of Westminster. The housing benefit cap was intended to reduce this, but doesn't seem to have worked very well.

        In effect, taxpayer money is going straight into property bubble. Now how could that possibly go wrong?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      he DSA seems to forget there's no magic money tree though?

      Nope, but if the MoD would get a grip of defence procurement processes (to reduce overspend risks) and get a grip of its customers (to stop "kid in the toyshop" specification) then there would be plenty of money to go round.

      In terms of helicopter pilot training, the privatisation of ASR now looks to be proven as the sort of insane and stupid "money saving" idea that it was forseen to be by many.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        In theory, the defense budget goes:-

        Wages: 30%

        Equipment Maintenance 30%

        Future equipment development/production 30%

        contingency 10%

        However, in practice everything in development and production is overbudget and the contingency budget goes into the development/production. When more money is required, it comes out of maintenance. Without a maintenance budget parts are then robbed from production to keep the existing equipment running, so building equipment takes longer, making it more expensive. Then order numbers are cut to keep the programme cost down, which forces higher utilisation of the next generation of equipment so there is more wear and tear, and maintenance periods are reduced as higher uptime is required from individual bits of equipment.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I used to work for the MOD. I recall one year that a frigate being built was behind schedule so the funds that had been allocated for it that year had not been spent. Instead that rather large pot of money was literally thrown at a bunch of MOD establishments who were instructed to spend it before the end of the financial accounting period which was only a few weeks away. We bough masses of top of the range kit. It was like Christmas. Apparently if the money hadn't been spent the next years budget would have been based on this years spend and so would have been down, and a rather expensive frigate would still need to be paid for. Effectively we were pissing the tax payers money up the wall buying kit we didn't really need and not taking the time to get a good price from the supplier.

          I hope things have improved since then ............................ ?

          1. annodomini2

            Standard accounting practice, government or private

            1. Peter2 Silver badge

              I hope things have improved since then ............................ ?

              Talk nicely to your account manager at the supplier, then order a bunch of gold bars on the last week of the year. These can then be billed for and paid, then found to be "unavailable" by the supplier, and the account had a credit note applied the first day of the new accounting year. Hence, the money is "spent" so that you don't get a budget cut, but also available for spending on normal equipment with that supplier the next year without wasting money.

              Additionally, the next year you basically have however many months worth of spending with that supplier carried across, so you maintain the same money available in the budget to spend on things actually needed if required without wasting a penny.

              *THAT* is how you deal with a budget underspend. Not wasting it buying crap you don't need.

  4. Steve Gill
    Mushroom

    This is why the govt rushed the Trident vote through straight after the Brexit referendum - they knew it wouldn't get through once the pound started slipping

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      The way things are heading Trident is going to become unaffordable anyway. I wonder how the proud nationalists are going to feel about that, knowing that their Brexit enthusiasm has scuppered the UK's independent (ahem) nuclear capability?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I wonder how the proud nationalists are going to feel about that, knowing that their Brexit enthusiasm has scuppered the UK's independent (ahem) nuclear capability?"

        The logic is weak in this one.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        scuppered the UK's independent (ahem) nuclear capability?

        The original concept of the ballistic deterrent was that nobody sane really wanted to die in a global nuclear war. This meant that a first strike was unlikely, particularly if that first strike couldn't guarantee to take out the retaliation. So far so good. But in terms of deterring a serious war, nobody would respond to a minor cross border excursion to all out nuclear war, and to be a deterrent, you need a means of escalating at every tactical stage of conflict if you're in danger of losing that round, thus creating stop/escalation points (the détente in "détente"), and the prospect that launching ballistic nukes could be a possible outcome. Obviously you need to have the conventional fighting first, and that needs to escalate, but crucially, you need to be able to deploy a sub-strategic nuclear capability, tactical nuclear weapons, because other wise, if you're "merely" suffering a conventional defeat, it isn't a credible response to trigger Armageddon.

        The UK hasn't had any tactical nuclear weapons since the 1998 defence review scrapped our last ones, so the only purpose of Trident and its replacement is to make the world uninhabitable if most of the UK population are already dead. The deterrence argument that "we won't be attacked if we can strike back" might work for thermonuclear attack, clearly without the escalation capability it isn't protecting us against any conventional attack, but luckily there are no obvious territorial aggressors threatening the UK mainland.

        At current funding and programme costs, the British government can either have a competent, well equipped military and no strategic nuclear deterrent, OR it can have a strategic nuclear deterrent, and an under-funded, ill equipped conventional military. At the moment we're nearer to the latter of those two poles.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan

          but luckily there are no obvious territorial aggressors threatening the UK mainland

          Can't we blame the French? That used to always work (up until about 1820 anyway).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Can't we blame the French?

            Not really. Holding holding back the lawless rabble at Calais, the French are doing more to protect British territory than (in particular) our own "Border Force" or Home Office.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "British government can either.a competent, well equipped military and no strategic.deterrent, "

          But, but,but

          No nukes means being subservient to the rascally Fwench.

          And even worse being patronized by the Americans, as (IIRC) the Foreign Secretary of the day was when he spoke to his US counterpart just after WWII. Getting his support to start an A-Bomb programme after that was no problem :-) .

          But the real horror would be the UK admitting it could no longer keep up with the US and Russia.

          I think it's interesting that of the G7 how many are world class economies without the ability to flash fry several million people, although they have very significant military forces.

          Of course if push came to shove you could always hand a rifle to every one of the MoD Procurement branch. IIRC that would increase the size of the fighting forces about 5x overnight.

      3. Muscleguy Silver badge
        Pirate

        Dinnae fash yersel, we will hold indyref2 up here, win it and you won't have anywhere to base the new boats (no way will ScotGov let you lease the base that long, we won't let them).

        They need easy access to deep water, which rules out the entire East Coast and Irish Sea coasts. Only the Cornish peninsula offers this and every possible pair of harbours* has a picturesque (to the tourists) fishing village on it. Mebyon Kernow would grow exponentially and you have Scotland in miniature, again.

        During last IndyRef Navy did a formal contingency study and came to the same conclusion. The risk to the good citizens of Plymouth in basing it there would be too high apparently. Not so those in Helensburgh or Glasgow they must be a cheaper sort of citizen.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My top 3 of the most incompetent government departments are:

    - the Highways Agency

    - Department for Social Security or whatever they are called now - the ones that deal with Mental Health

    - the Ministry of Defence

    In terms of money wastage:

    - The MoD

    - Everybody else.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      - Department for Social Security or whatever they are called now - the ones that deal with Mental Health

      I think it might help your point if you were able to name the department whose competence you had so carefully assessed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Rick 11

        ""I think it might help your point if you were able to name the department whose competence you had so carefully assessed."", that would be the one that is charged with getting everyone off the new disability allowance in the manner of "got no legs? walk it off"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Department of Health.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My top 3 of the most incompetent government departments are:......- the Highways Agency

      Highways Agency (now Highways England, being fattened for privatisation) are like MoD - subject to vagaries of political expediency. So all the major schemes are piecemeal (because MPs can't think beyond next week, never mind the next five years), and individually each major one is a political decision that HE have little control over.

      Highways England have many faults, but most of the road network problems are down to the stupidity of politicians.

      Take the A46, that changes from a cart track to three lanes plus hard shoulder in a few miles (and then back again). The obvious solution is to put in a motorway running from the M5 near Evesham right through to the A1 at Newark (and no common running from the M69 up the M1). That'd ease pressure on a series of desperate M5, M42, A42 and M1 bottlenecks. But they aren't in control. It is pea-brained arts graduate MPs who decide what is done.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They changed it from HA to HE and made it a GovCo - Government owned but run like a private business. The funding is fixed and guaranteed so that they can plan longer term without worrying about half-completed roads being mothballed when the Government changes.

        They were given lots of money as politicians love infrastructure, however loadsa money doesn't guarantee they will make the best decisions!

        And you're probably right about the fattening for privatisation - I hadn't thought of that!

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      "My top 3 of the most incompetent government departments are:"

      And to think, you didn't even mention the Home Office...

      The folk behind.

      Unlimited Number plate, finger print, mugshot and DNA retention of everyone, regardless of criminal conviction.

      The Snoopers Charter

      10 year long asylum processing.

      Inability to deport foreign prisoners directly home.

  6. Vinyl-Junkie
    WTF?

    As a Defender owner...

    ...I am wondering how it is possible to maintain one so badly that the wheels fall off!

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: As a Defender owner...

      I can only assume that the MoD have been buying 'milarty grade' wheel bolts for £1245 each from BAE, which in hindsight have actually turned out to be made from pewter.

      Oh, and you'll never guess what, but the person at the MoD who signed off on them now has a job at BAE. What are the odds eh?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As a Defender owner...

        In the very early days developing air to air missiles the bolts holding the missile to the hard point on the plane was made out of copper so it would sheer when the missile was fired. Unfortunately the contractor who was providing these bolts wasn't aware that they were for. They decided that a bolt made of copper would be overly weak so made them out of high tensile steel and copper plated them.

        Apparently when the on the right wing was fired the plane went into a tight left spin and lost several thousand feet of altitude. The test pilot however was incredible. When he was instructed to return to the test altitude and fire the one on the other wing, he did, with exactly the same result, except that the plane spun the other way.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon
          Joke

          Re: As a Defender owner...

          Should have fired them both off at the same time for a handy speed boost :)

    2. Caff

      Re: As a Defender owner...

      Over tightening the bolts by not setting torque correctly causing them to sheer off when driving

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As a Defender owner...

        The squaddies probably hammer them offroad a lot harder than you would treat your own vehicle. Nevertheless, wheels actually falling off due to poor maintenance is impressively shoddy.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan

      Re: As a Defender owner...

      .I am wondering how it is possible to maintain one so badly that the wheels fall off

      One of my brothers had a Defender. One day, we turned up at his place to see just a chassis parked out the front and the rest of it spread out round the house and garden.

      He was replacing the engine and thought he'd take the opportunity to replace the chassis as well.

      Landrover owners eh?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As a Defender owner...

      Army Land Rovers have left handed threads on the wheel nuts.

  7. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    "Superiority" - A.C. Clarke.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ... in any military force...

    When I was doing my service at the army, I was the weapon specialist for our unit. The guy who had the job before me made a pig's breakfast out of it, and I tried to get stuff back into shape. Ordered replacement parts, had some guns sent in for repairs (I am no gunsmith, there are limits to what I was allowed to do). Quite a number of the replacement parts (that arrived several months after I ordered them) seemed to be "refurbished" as in "take it out of a defunct unit, shove it into an envelope without checking the conditions". They were in an even worse state than the part I wanted to replace. That was... like... almost two decades ago.

    AC for obvious reasons (though one can read about the state of most military forces in democratic states in reports like this one, and they all paint the same-ish picture)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds good to me

    The more unable we are to fuck about overseas the better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds good to me

      Alas, those that make the decision to fuck about overseas are the politicians, and they care not a whit about the state of the equipment, as they are not the ones who will be doing the fucking about.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Sounds good to me

        Or indeed being the ones who will get fucked over while dutifully attempting to do the fucking about.

        (It's at moments like this, when reading back over something I've just typed, and the comments preceding it, that I'm struck by just how wonderfully expressive the English language can be.)

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: Sounds good to me

          It's apparently second only to Chinese in it's complexity, mostly because we tinker with it every 5 minutes ;)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how it is possible for Land Rover wheels to literally fall off so often it's worth writing about?

    Is there an epidemic of poorly maintained road cars wheel just falling off too?

    1. Omgwtfbbqtime
      Black Helicopters

      "... poorly maintained road cars wheel just falling off too?"

      Yes, if you take them off road at 50+ mph.

      Take a look at WRC cars and the states they get into. You cannot state that they count as poorly maintained or substandard parts (back in the 90's it was reportedly £25K per wheel for an Impreza's suspension, compared to not much more than that for the entire civvy car with a full set held ready for end of stage replacement).

      Put any machine through enough abuse and it will fall apart, given it is military I would expect the abuse to be far higher than any civvy car - other than one that's been TWOC'd of course!

      Helicopter icon for falling wheels!

  11. verno

    A shortage of nuclear-trained personnel in the Defence Nuclear Regulator

    So who exactly is looking after the nukes then?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A shortage of nuclear-trained personnel in the Defence Nuclear Regulator

      As far as HMG are concerned Mickey F. Mouse.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A shortage of nuclear-trained personnel in the Defence Nuclear Regulator

        Upvote for the "F".

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: A shortage of nuclear-trained personnel in the Defence Nuclear Regulator

      So who exactly is looking after the nukes then?!

      Probably G4S, they get every other gig that they have (less than) zero competence to perform.

  12. Salestard

    Fallon's real reason?

    We all know the military is kept in a permanent state of nearly bust. Especially in this country, where it's become a national obsession of being at war with someone - usually anyone will do - whilst simultaneously cutting the defence budget.

    The rather abrupt departure of Fallon yesterday, notionally for knee-hand interface action, perhaps pre-empts something really nasty coming out of the woodwork?

    My guesses;

    1) The nuclear capability is a huge scam. The warheads are actually just concrete (repurposed from Tornado GR.1 noses). Furthermore, because this is MoD concrete, it actually costs more per cubic millimetre than any other substance known to mankind.

    2) The Tories sold all three services off on the cheap some years ago. Current owner is Mike Ashley. Now most of the RAF works out of an industrial unit just outside Nuneaton for minimum wage.

    3) Due to the amount of money being shovelled into Thales, we're also funding the French armed forces... and being the French they won't let us borrow any of the kit we've bought them.

    4) The whole thing is a giant Ponzi scheme run by Murdoch, who himself is actually Putin wearing a Scooby Doo style rubber mask, and if it wasn't for you meddling Vulture, he'd have gotten away with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fallon's real reason?

      ----->"..... Fallon's real reason?

      The rather abrupt departure of Fallon yesterday, notionally for knee-hand interface action, perhaps pre-empts something really nasty coming out of the woodwork?....."

      I see what you did there.

      But do you really have to plumb the depths of graphically describing what comes out of Fallons woodwork?

      Bad form methinks.

    2. Not also known as SC

      Re: Fallon's real reason?

      "1) ... Furthermore, because this is MoD concrete, it actually costs more per cubic millimetre than any other substance known to mankind."

      What - even more expensive than printer ink?

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Fallon's real reason?

        It's a little known fact that printer ink is actually unicorn piss.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    I think Britain should dump Trident in favor of Tomahawk cruise missiles

    The U.S. would sell you the cruise missiles and nuclear warheads if it were asked. And the RN can eventually shelve the SSBNs when they and their existing missiles reach EoL.

    Replace those ballistic missile subs with more attack subs and you 1) get a workable stealthier nuclear deterrent spread across more hulls 2) get some incremental carrier escort, anti-sub and anti-ship capability from the greater number of attack subs. You can also put Tomahawks on surface ships that have VLS, so you can potentially incorporate the surface fleet into your nuclear deterrent force, the way the U.S. does. And you can use Tomahawks for conventional strikes as well.

    You will have to A) get within 1200-1500 miles of your target to use the Tomahawks if things go pear-shaped and B) you won't have a deterrent that can strike within 30 minutes of a nuclear conflict. However, Britain doesn't have a large nuclear force anyway, so it could get into position to reach enough targets to make attacking Britain excessively painful to any prospective enemy. So I think from a deterrence standpoint it would work. And it should be a hell of a lot cheaper than Trident.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: I think Britain should dump Trident in favor of Tomahawk cruise missiles

      But Trident is lovely, it's elegant, it's beautiful. It is quite simply the best. And Britain should have the best. In the world of the nuclear missile it is the Saville Row suit, the Rolls Royce Corniche, the Château Lafitte 1945. It is the nuclear missile Harrods would sell you.

      What more can I say?

      1. Mark 110

        Re: I think Britain should dump Trident in favor of Tomahawk cruise missiles

        I love a Good Yes Prime Minister quote. That episode is very much worth a rewatch when Trident comes up.

        Might do it now actually.

      2. h4rm0ny

        Re: I think Britain should dump Trident in favor of Tomahawk cruise missiles

        >>What more can I say?

        Only that it costs fifteen billion pounds and we don't need it.

  14. Wupspups
    Coat

    Wheels falling off landies?

    In one the MOD's let cut something moments they got rid of those fine lads and lassies of the Army Catering Corps. Now the army is fed by a bunch of rip off merchants selling barely edible food.

    In the past the ACC provided high quality stodge and plenty of it. So squaddies were on the rather hefty side. Now this came useful when checking wheel nuts as torque wrenches were few and far between and normally only trusted to the lads of the LAD (Light Aid Detachment a unit's vehicle service department). On tightening up of said vehicle wheel nuts common practice (well BOAR 1970-90s) was to get a hefty chap to stand on the wheel brace till the nut was tight.

    With our now contract fed squaddies hefty chaps are not so common and hence wheel nuts are not getting tightend as well as the used to be.

    I shall now get my coat with the yellow handbag of Herfie pils in it.

    1. Orv

      Re: Wheels falling off landies?

      The "stand on the wrench handle" method actually can be very accurate if you do the math right. But it helps to use someone less hefty so the lever distance isn't quite so critical.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: ACC

      7. If the food is good enough, the grunts will stop complaining about the incoming fire.

      -- The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries

      (It's like that that one guy said, an army marches on it's stomach.)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: wheels falling off landrovers

    Perhaps the MOD should include basic vehicle maintenance in the training to anyone who needs to drive a landrover.

  16. Christian Berger

    Ahh I know that pattern

    the same story is currently used by the German Bundeswehr to justify increasing its budget. In Germany they even hired a consultency company (I think PWC) for that.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only this was a surprise

    ridiculously long procurement times, scope creep, internal inability to make a decision or indeed stick to their own contracts, job justification, an inherent ability to presume they know more than anybody around them, either their customer (the forces) or their suppliers (everybody else).

  18. Orv

    This is serious, because if a wheel falls off their Land Rover they'll never get to the treasure buried under the giant "W" in time, and they really seem to need that money.

  19. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    "The Joint Helicopter Command has been so badly affected by shrinking defence budgets, caused in part by the large number of super-expensive projects the department is committed to, that flying hours have been slashed across the entire military fleet. Felton explicitly warned that "the risk [caused by lack of regular training] is of Controlled Flight Into Terrain" – in layman's terms, crashing into the ground."

    "Effective immediately, all helicopter flights shall be confined to the airspace over oceans, seas, lakes, tarns, sloughs, ponds, reservoirs or other large bodies of water."

    Job done. Next up: World Peace.

  20. HmmmYes

    Like other big spenders in the public sector, the money spent has gone up, sometimes more than doubled (NHS).

    Yet the output/quality remains low or falling.

    A quick look shows that money has all been spent on personnel.

    Maybe the trick with public sepnding is not to vut budget but to cut heads?

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Maybe the trick with public spending is not to cut budget but to cut heads?

      Trouble is that that is exactly what happened to those in uniform, if not to the desk - bound personnel in Whitehall. The armed forces have been more or less hollowed out to the point where operational capacity and capability have been seriously compromised but with no obvious financial saving to show for it.

      Tragic, really...

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Maybe the trick with public sepnding is not to vut budget but to cut heads?"

      The navy may not have all that many ships nowadays, but what left of the fleet isn't partially in dock just for maintenance, it's because there's not enough people to crew them all.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Landrover wheels falling off

    "Repeated incidents of Landrover wheels falling off"

    Have they considered tasking someone with tightening the wheels with a Heavy Duty Wrench before undertaking a journey. They can be had for £6:75p online.

  22. Da Weezil

    Without first hand knowledge I would take a guess at Wheel bearing failure being the underlying issue, the bearings get noisy but are left as "OK for now" and remain in service past the time they really should be replaced until finally they are not "OK for now", so the vehicle looses the wheel complete with hub and brake assembly. Not unknown with poor maintainable or extended maintenance periods

    1. h4rm0ny
      Headmaster

      >>so the vehicle looses the wheel complete with hub and brake assembly.

      I want to correct your spelling, but technically it still works.

      1. Seajay#

        Cry havoc and loose the wheels of war!

        ..then wait to be recovered so that you can carry on with the war.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jäger 90 / Typhon Plus Taurus and Nuclear Warhead

    Here is an affordable, cheap and powerful replacement for both the F35 and the superexpensive Trident Replacement Programme:

    1.) Take the Typhoon, which about 30 % British designed and built !

    2.) Mount the Taurus Stealth ALCM on the Typhoon. Has a payload of 495kgs. Enough for a nuke to stop any armored column.

    3.) Retire Trident. Remove the nukes, mount into Tauruses.

    4.) Practice road-based deployments of the Nuclear Jäger 90/Typhoon. Hide in the forests, hid in old factories, hide in School Gyms. No way to take them out therefore. Ask the swedes how to do this if you cannot imagine.

    5.) To show your displeasure, publicly deploy the nuclear-armed Typhoon wherever the soup is cooking too hot.

    6.) In anger, fly the Jäger 90 on terrain level and attack the enemy tank army from a distance of 300 km or more. Good enough to dodge the SAMs.

    Of course you can also let yourself be bribed by foreign arms makers and pay your own people social security. Internationalism and all that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Cruise Missile

      I see you could also use Storm Shadow, which has even bigger payload. Seems the Taurus has an a strategic edge in that it can operate w/o GPS, which is almost a requirement, given the recent experience...

      https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taurus_(Marschflugk%C3%B6rper)#Konzept

      https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_Shadow_(Marschflugk%C3%B6rper)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Global Nuclear Strike

      Of course the navy guys will point out the range of their Tridents.

      Here is how to counter that: Modify British Airways A380s to accept Refueling Pods.

      Whenever there is a crisis, cancel the civil A380 flights and fly the A380s with Typhoon/Taurus to wherever the action is. Range should be easily 5000km return-trip.

      Of course, you need to pay something to BA for that service: Maybe provide A380 pilots for free, because they must also be the officers who will take the aircraft into battle.

      1. Seajay#

        Re: Global Nuclear Strike

        This is batshit insane but it's batshit insane in quite an illuminating way.

        We've got very used to fighting forces armed with the strategic equivalent of a sharpened mango (though that mango has been brutally effective in tactical engagements). So we've got used to overwhelming air dominance and we've poured a load of money in to vehicles which have excellent IED resistance but zero being-shot-at-by-a-T-14 resistance. The idea of delivering nuclear weapons by A380 comes from the same mindset but it is ridiculous.

        We're probably never going to use our nukes but if we did it would only be against a peer adversary which means they will have a functioning air force who will be jolly keen to avoid nuclear bombs being dropped on the motherland. Such a force wouldn't have too much trouble intercepting as many A380s as we are able to send. If they don't have a functioning air force but we do then we wouldn't nuke them because we're going to be able to win a conventional war quite easily.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Regarding British Carriers

    Cancel F-35 and navalize the tried and tested Jäger 90/Typhoon.

    Be a patriot and not a tool of foreign manufacturers !

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here Is Some "Old" British-German Technology

    If you still have self-doubt, about British capabilities, here is a project which was in the 1970s much better than the V22 Osprey of the American manages in 2015, at the expense of billions and dozens killed:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3YueCf1JeI

    Compared to America:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accidents_and_incidents_involving_the_V-22_Osprey

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Here Is Some "Old" British-German Technology

      You are Karlheinz Schreiber, and I claim my €5!

  26. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
    WTF?

    'sOK ...

    ... now that we have a shiny new Secretary of State for Defence ... Who has never even held a ministerial appointment in his life before now. Oh, hold on!

  27. N2 Silver badge

    A shortage of nuclear-trained personnel...

    No change there in the last 30 years.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not the MoD

    It's not actually the MoD whose wheels are falling off. Just the poor bloody infantry, the poor bloody armour, the poor bloody artillery, the poor bloody navy and the poor bloody air force.

    I think you'll find Sir Humphrey and his pals are doing very nicely, thank you - in their pleasantly furnished Ministry buildings, with their good salaries, bonuses, benefits packages and index-linked pensions.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see plenty of McKinseyites in blue suits and brown shoes at the Army HQ

    I doubt they're only asking for pennies.

  30. laurence brothers

    Hyperbole....

    > ...the irreparable loss of helicopter flying skills...

    Really? Irreparable? Helicopter piloting will inevitably become a thing of the past, extinct due to lack of skills? How very sad. You'd think more money could be spent on training, but it seems that's impossible, now....

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021