"The Department was unable to say who was responsible for the flawed procurement of the Chinook Mk3." Page 23 The National Audit Office have published their Value for Money Report on Chinook Mk3 Helicopters (More correctly now Mk2/2a) - The Executive Summary provides a brief and horrifying tale of incompetence, waste and stupidy by the MOD, which like a dog returning to its vomit, Edward Leigh Chairman of the Defence committee now likes to call a "Gold Standard procurement Cock Up" he had peviously said the MOD might as well have bought 8 turkeys.
Total costs to date are £422 million (not including "further expenditure required to sustain the Night Enhancement Package which is currently being negotiated with industry and is therefore commercially sensitive. ") .. nor any attempt to address the costs and problems of training, in field maintenance etc., etc., see Page 18 .. requirement to "increase aircrew by 40 (prince William maybe? )and engineers by 60 personnel", ..." Current training flight simulators do not match the requirements for flying the current Chinook helicopters." ...but don't worry ..."
the Department will modify the existing Chinook flight simulators before the end of 2009." Madness.
The full report makes even better reading as an alternative to the Beano, eg.Page 8
The Department had failed to specify access to the source code in the original procurement and therefore had no leverage with which to negotiate with Boeing for release of the source code. Boeing and its sub-contractors, for their part, in seeking to protect their intellectual property rights, resisted the Department’s requests for access to the source code. Even if it had been able to access the source code, the Department estimated that it might take up to two years to analyse the source code with no guarantee that the code would be written in a way which might make it comprehensible for analysis purposes.The final solution is to make the Chinooks revert to the older less capable Mk2/2a which is not a simple process....
Converting the helicopters involves removing the existing Mk3 hybrid digital/analogue cockpit and replacing it with the analogue cockpit fitted to the Mk2/2a, fitting a health and usage monitoring system, United Kingdom specific communications equipment and defensive systems.Or the little nugget on Page 22 ..from HM Treasury ..
The value of the Chinook Mk3 aircraft has been written down at present to a value equivalent to disposal or use as spares, but this is because of prudent accounting practice, and is not a reflection of future intent.
..and in a Kafkaesque caveat;
The option to sell the aircraft remains open pending satisfactory completion ofFriday, March 30, 2007 MOD to get 14 more 'copters. 8 refurbed turkeys and 6 on the borrer from the Prince of Denmark we remarked "Of course any costs of conversion will increase because it will only be on undertaking the job that they will discover the levels of cannibalism that will have been going on....".
this technical and industrial preparatory work.
Therefore it is no surprise to read in the Guradian report on the fiasco today, "Not all the RAF's Chinooks are in good condition and some have been cannibalised for spare parts to keep others flying in Afghanistan. "
Finally in the light of concerns about airworthiness of aircraft expsed at the inquest on the Nimrod crash it is interesting to note the special conditions relating to the new Night Enhancement Package package ...
The modified Chinook Mk2/2a helicopters were released to service as safe to fly, by the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, on the basis that the safety and operating risks associated with the ergonomic aspects of the Night Enhancement Package were outweighed by the increased operational risk if the Chinook Mk2/2a helicopters were to operate without the Night Enhancement Package and could be mitigated by training procedures and time bounding the risks.See pics from report at head of post. Click to enlarge. Just remember each 8 year old Chinook 3 AKA 2/2a has (so far) cost £53 Mn each , about the list price of a Boeing 737.....and we ferry troops around in 42 year old VC10's ad TriStars to operate Nimrods made 38 years ago.