Declassified UK: MoD spent approximately £300bn on unusable weapons
UK Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace has already threatened to resign if an extra £200 billion is not supplied to the military defense program.
Billions of public money in the UK have been going down the drain as they are thrown on unusable and extravagant weapons systems, all while the country faces rounds of austerity that have touched schools and hospitals, as well as the cost of living.
The government is seeking to provide an extra £200 billion by 2030 to the military, the biggest increase in their budget since the start of the Cold War, leading Defense secretary Ben Wallace to threaten to resign if the increase does not go through.
MPs and parliament’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, have been demonstrating for years the waste of public money by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
'From technical issue to cultural one at heart of MoD'
The MoD has spent more than £3bn of the public’s money on an armored car called Ajax, which deafens and injures its occupants, but cannot go over obstacles more than 20cm high, and is too hefty to fit in the RAF’s transport aircraft. Planned back in 2010, the MoD had paid £3.2bn by December 2021 for just 26 of these vehicles, none of which are usable. Defense Minister Alec Shelbrooke commented on the inability to "determine a realistic timetable" regarding if when the Ajax would be operational or if it ever will be.
The UK subsidiary of American company General Dynamics has been gaining billions from the Ajax plan, as the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) criticized the MoD in a recent report: “We have seen similar failings again and again in the Department’s management of its equipment programmes”, it said. “The Ajax programme also raises serious concerns about the Department’s processes and culture for testing whether new equipment is safe to use.”
It added: “The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine only reinforces the urgent need for the Department to reform, prioritise and effectively manage its expenditure to ensure the Armed Forces can secure all the equipment that they need in the quickest possible time."
MoD can identify lessons, not learn from them
The MoD has been under scrunity previously, with the Chilcot report on the 2003 invasion of Iraq noting: "The MoD is good at identifying lessons but less good at learning them." Even in a report last year, the PAC expressed extreme disappointment and frustration "by the continued poor track record of the MoD and its suppliers…and by wastage of taxpayers’ money running into the billions."
It was also "deeply concerned about departmental witnesses’ inability or unwillingness to answer basic questions and give a frank assessment of the state of its major programmes."
The PAC further questioned the MoD's capabilities by saying that even the latter was not aware of how the extra £16.5bn awarded in the 2020 Spending Review could be of benefit to the armed forces, as it “could be swallowed whole by the up to £17.4bn funding black hole at the centre of our defence capabilities.”
Equivalent of US F-35s
The Labour party, as much as the Conservatives, have been backing the purchase of prestigious arms, such as Gordon Brown's enthusiasm for Tony Blair’s plan to build two aircraft carriers, the largest warships built for the Royal Navy with a combined cost-rising to more than £6bn.
The carriers, dubbed Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales and estimated to cost £13bn over 30 years, are extremely incapable of withstanding long-range missiles being developed by China, ironically contradicting the “show of strength” praised by the MoD when Queen Elizabeth was deployed to the Pacific region in 2021.
Lord Richards, the former Chief of the Defence Staff, described the carriers as "unaffordable vulnerable metal cans." The government said the Prince of Wales carrier spent 267 days at sea and 193 days under maintenance since its commission in December 2019.
Prepared for nuclear attacks but not real-life threats
The new but much-delayed Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft were also taken out of the picture on account of costing too much, at £4bn in the 2010 defense review.
The National Audit Office (NAO) revealed in 2018 that the ministry harbored a £40bn black hole in its weapons program.
Moreover, nuclear weapons have been portrayed by successive governments as the “ultimate insurance” against a nuclear attack, but because of diverting their focus towards mere scenarios, they failed to protect against real threats such as the pandemic and actually invest in weapons relevant to modern conflicts, like drones and those for cyberattacks.