Former Royal Navy chief Lord West has demanded Whitehall increases its spending on defence, highlighting the recent NAO report.
Lord West described the report as a ‘shocking sign’ of the current state of the budget.
The Former First Sea Lord said:
“The MoD can’t go on pretending there’s sufficient money for defence because there just isn’t. This is exactly what we have been warning about for years.
What this represents to me is the dreadful hollowing out that is going on in defence.”
The National Audit Office report claims that there has been a 49 per cent rise in parts being cannibalised from Royal Navy vessels to fix others in the fleet.
The MoD argue that increasing complexity in technology on platforms can mean it makes sense to take an existing component from one vessel which is not required at that time and put it on one that is to deploy, rather than waiting around for new supplies to be delivered before the vessel can sail.
Across ships and submarines, equipment cannibalisation has increased 49 per cent in the last five years, with a total of 3,230 instances involving 6,378 parts.
The National Audit Office warned:
“Each instance of equipment cannibalisation can delay programmes, create additional engineering risks and add to the work of staff, affecting morale.”
We contacted the MoD who told us:
“Less than half a percent of parts we use come from swapping components, and we only do this when it’s absolutely necessary to get ships out of port and back onto operations more quickly. We continue to make improvements to how we manage this long-established practice.”