Britain set to spend billions of pounds on flawed warplanes - report

Posted On: 
17th July 2017

The Government is set to spend billions of pounds in hidden costs on a flawed warplane, it has been revealed.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon defended the purchases, saying they “immeasurably improves our situational awareness”.

Defence cuts and a host of problems are set to prevent the the F-35 Lightning II from working properly, despite costing Britain more than £150m for each aircraft.

A key benefit of the jet is its ability to transmit data to other aircraft without giving away its position, however the UK's ships and planes are not advanced enough for this to be able to work.

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The warplanes will also suffer because broadband on the UK’s principal aircraft carrier is considerably weaker even than in an average household.

The jets themselves are also apparently not fully functional, while the software system is reportedly at risk of a cyber attack.

Pierre Sprey, a US aviation expert, said it was “unbelievably abnormal” to have this many problems with an aircraft.

“Manoeuvrability is appallingly bad. It has terrific problems trying to fly fast at low altitude. It overheats and when you detect the overheating you have to open the bomb bay doors to cool the missiles that are inside. The logistic computers are a horrible mess and it is crippling the ability to be able to move the aeroplanes from one airfield to another.”

General Sir Richard Barrons, who was running the military’s information networks until recently, told The Times: “The real virtue of the joint strike fighter is it’s a stealthy information platform which happens to shoot down aircraft and bomb.

“You need enough capacity to communicate with all of the other platforms: ships, aircraft and headquarters. [The Queen Elizabeth] may look impressive as a ship but technologically it’s stuck ten years ago.”

He added that it is “utterly pathetic” the UK had chosen “metal and platforms” instead of “warfare in the information age”.

Sir Richard concluded without the vital stealth technology, Britain may as well “have recycled some old Harrier jets and put them on the carrier, because you would just have a fighter.”

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon defended the purchases, saying they “immeasurably improves our situational awareness”.