|Navy jet switch to save £10bn
Published: 1 August 2010
The Joint Strike Fighters, costing £100m each (HO/AFP/***** Images) The Royal Navy is set to save £10 billion on the defence budget by dropping plans to buy a fleet of fighter jets costing £100m each for its new aircraft carriers.
It is expected to swap an order for 138 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) for a version of a cheaper aircraft currently flown off US carriers, the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.
The cost-saving move was considered at a meeting last weekend between Liam Fox, the defence secretary, and services chiefs to discuss cuts.
“JSF is an unbelievably expensive programme,” said a senior defence source. “It makes no sense at all in the current climate, and even if we continued with it we cannot afford the aircraft we said we would buy.”
The JSF, built by Lockheed Martin, Boeing’s main American rival, would have been the most expensive single project in the defence budget, with costs already put at £13.8 billion and rising. The aircraft were set to replace Harrier jump jets flown by the RAF and Navy.