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sultan was an under resourced and badly ran establishment, the accomodation was dated to say the least. it would be better utilised as a substitute for raleigh, sultan could do anything raleigh can, the navy moved initial trainingbefore, at sheerness and ganges, moving basic training with a view to a shorter faster programme, with a view to ‘fastt racking recruits to ships earlier


what does raleigh do that couldn’t be done at sultan?

Jag Patel

Here is another reason behind the Government’s decision to close HMS Sultan.

In a historic first for defence procurement, the cost of buying new military equipment for the Armed Forces is to be paid for, not from general taxation under the terms of delegated powers from the Treasury, but from the proceeds of the sale of surplus land and property owned by the Ministry of Defence, together with efficiency savings MoD has committed itself to achieving in this Parliament, in its 2015 Spending Review settlement – such as, headcount reductions in its civilian workforce and restraining pay across Defence.

This dramatic change in procurement policy means that for some equipment purchases, MoD will be engaged in commercial transactions with two different Private Sector players, not the usual one – thereby doubling the risk that defence procurement officials at MoD Abbey Wood, Bristol will be duped into signing contractual agreements which will deliver extremely poor value for money for the taxpayer, because they don’t have the necessary financial and commercial skills to negotiate a good deal for taxpayers.

In addition, for new equipment purchases like this to deliver the outcomes the political elite have set for defence procurement, they will need to be scoped in such a way that programme milestones deliverables are aligned perfectly with income streams from land sales and planned efficiency savings – an untested procedure which is completely new to MoD and with it, introducing further unforeseen risks added to the already serious project management deficiencies identified some time ago.

The acquisition of the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to plug the capability gap created by cancellation of the Nimrod MRA4, falls under this category of new equipment purchases. However, it is only fair to say that because this corresponds to an off-the-shelf buy, that is to say, the P-8A Poseidon is a fully engineered and supported technical solution which does not require any development work laden with risk to be performed upon it, the likely project management and technical risks associated with the usual delays and cost over-runs are mitigated to some extent.

What is not clear is how the whole-life sustainment costs of the P-8A Poseidon are to be paid for – either, from the sale of additional land (which is entirely conceivable given that MoD is the single largest owner of public land in the UK) or reverting back to general taxation – bearing in mind that, the cost of acquiring and re-provisioning Support Assets associated with military equipment over the whole life cycle can be in the order of four to five times the prime equipment costs.

In any event, funding the purchase of new military equipment in this imaginative way marks a significant departure from long-established practice – yet another indication of the dire state of defence procurement in today’s challenging post-Brexit scenario.
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Jim Cunnongham

Is there still room within the Collingwood site to fit the marine and air engineers in?

Retired Matelot

Are you aware that HMS Collingwood is built on a swamp that requires pumps to continuously take away ground water? Having read that some of the larger HMS Sultan kit requires reinforced platforms to operate, can we look forward to Gas Turbines sinking into the mud one day if the pumping arrangements fail?