5 Apr 02. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that the Chancellor is unlikely to approve any significant increase in the defence budget for the coming year. The source suggest that there will be a certain amount of juggling figurers to manoeuvre spending on existing budgets in the form of delays or cancellations.
The most likely target is EUROFIGHTER, where the unit cost is reported to have risen above £56m putting it higher than the F-22 Stealth Fighter and twice the budgeted JSF cost.
The recent BATTLESPACE reports on fleet extension programmes to the Jaguar and Tornado fleets suggest that the first tranche of Eurofighters to replace the Tornado F3 may be the only one in the foreseeable future.
Other contracts at risk are believed to be anti-submarine assets such as Nimrod, which has already been cut and Type 45 beyond the 6 ordered. In addition the £700m earmarked for FRES may also be earmarked requiring a further life extension to the existing armoured fleet.
The DPA Close Armour Team has published request for expressions of interest the mid-life upgrade of the Warrior fleet. This could include a new turret or an overhead or remote weapon station such as the Thales SWARM system. Such a decision may then subsume FRES into the U.S. FCS programme