Aviation Procurement Inquiry

The Defence Committee, made up of a number of MP’s appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration, and policy of the Ministry of Defence and its associated public bodies, has announced the first of two inquiries into aviation procurement

The first inquiry will consider “strategic context, existing contracts and capabilities, and the impact of planned reductions to the fleet” by seeking to answer the following questions:

  • Will the proposals set out in the Integrated Review and Defence Command Paper deliver the aviation capabilities (fixed-wing and rotary), combat mass and interoperability required of UK Armed Forces, particularly in light of the changed security situation in Europe?
  • What is the rationale behind, and what are the implications of, planned reductions to the existing fleet, including:
    • Combat air, with the early retirement of Tranche 1 Typhoons and the apparent scaling-back of commitments to purchase additional F35-B fighter aircraft.
    • Fleet mobility, with regard to the early retirement of the C-130J Hercules, and the removal of the Puma and older Chinook helicopters from service.
    • Airborne early warning and control, with the early retirement of the E-3D Sentry and the decision to reduce the number of E – 7A Wedgetails entering service from 5 to 3.
  • Will the uplifted contracts for both rotary and fixed-wing Military Flying Training effectively and rapidly resolve capacity issues?

The deadline for submission of written evidence is Friday 6th May 2022.

Details for the call for evidence submission can be found here

Following this will be a further inquiry, focusing on future capabilities, such as the Future Combat Air System and new medium-lift helicopter. This inquiry will consider amongst other considerations, the capability of the MoD to manage investment programmes. Details will be published at a later date.

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Image courtesy Shaun Darwood

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