Ministry of Defence sinks £2bn sub-hunter jet deal

A P8 Poseidon. Image: Boeing
A P8 Poseidon. Image: Boeing

Britain’s Ministry of Defence is understood to have dropped a £2bn plan to buy a fleet of US-made submarine-hunting jets for the Royal Air Force.

The proposed purchase of up to nine P-8 Poseidon aircraft was expected to be the centrepiece of the government’s forthcoming defence review, but sources say the project has been shelved after ministers decided the aircraft were “fiendishly expensive”.

The move has raised fears that Britain’s four Vanguard nuclear deterrent submarines and the navy’s new £6bn aircraft carriers could be inadequately protected.

Senior retired RAF officers argued earlier this year that Britain’s nuclear deterrent has been left vulnerable after plans to update a fleet of Nimrod submarine-hunting aircraft were axed in 2010.

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About Tim Ripley 34 Articles
Tim Ripley has been writing on defence issues since 1990, for a wide range of British and international publications. He has reported from conflict zones in the Balkans and Middle East, as well as major defence and aerospace industry exhibitions around the world. Recent assignments include the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia, the Farnborough, Paris, Dubai and Singapore Airshows, NATO Headquarters in Brussels, The Hague war crimes tribunal and the Pentagon in Washington DC. His news reporting and features have appeared in the mainstream news media (The Sunday Telegraph, The Economist, The Scotsman) as well as specialist defence publications (Jane's Defence Weekly, Jane's Intelligence Review, Jane's Sentinel, Air Forces Monthly, Air International, Defence Helicopter, Unmanned Vehicles, Flight International, Flight Daily News, World Air Power Journal, International Air Power Review)

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