I recently had a bit of a ramble on here about procurement in Britain and the problems that have recently been faced, and it seems that I have not been the only one to have been concerned; a scathing independent review has been published by industrialist Sir John Parker in which the over-reliance of the HM Government on BAE systems has been brought under sharp scrutiny:
Sir John has highlighted the inefficiencies caused by sourcing a majority of shipbuilding contracts through one enormous conglomerate upon which the government is excessively reliant, and suggests a variety of sensible solutions including a continuation of the modular construction process that proved so successful with the new supercarriers:
I would hope that producing all future ships in such a sectional fashion would allow for easy adjustment of vessels to meet changing situations; this concept of modular design has already been championed for the Type 26 Frigates, and hopefully will enjoy enough success to be shared in many future ships.
The only major criticism I can foresee arising from this report is from the Clyde, from whence I imagine the primary line will be to bewail job losses. Regrettably, improvements in defence procurement may lead to losses of jobs at established sites but it must be remembered that the primary job of defence spending is not to sustain civilian jobs; it is to secure the defence of the nation.
The report by Sir John is set to inform the National Shipbuilding Strategy upon its publication next year, which could well prove to be an interesting time in the Royal Navy; as over three decades of reductions in ship numbers may finally be reversed.
The government’s own piece on the report: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/parker-review-blueprint-for-a-strong-naval-shipbuilding-sector
And a detailed analysis by Save the Royal Navy: http://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/the-national-shipbuilding-strategy-report-a-roadmap-for-a-stronger-royal-navy/