RAF Typhoon project 'under control and back on track'

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

In response to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report into the RAF's Typhoon aircraft, Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox has described the project as 'under control and back on track'.

The PAC report, published today, claims that problems with the supply of spare parts for the aircraft has led to problems with aircraft availability and pilot training.

The PAC publication follows a National Audit Office (NAO) report into the same topic last month.

Dr Fox said:

The NAO’s March report concluded that after years of financial mismanagement and project delays under the previous government, the Typhoon project has been turned around.

The project is finally under control and back on track. The PAC Report recognises that the MOD and industry have worked to resolve spares issues and performance targets are now being met.

Typhoon is a world-class multi-role weapon system that meets the Defence challenges of the 21st Century. This highly versatile aircraft is operating in the air defence and ground attack roles as part of NATO’s ongoing operation to enforce UNSCR 1973 in Libya, and has destroyed military targets that threatened the civilian population.

The Typhoon is a world beating air to air fighter and is fast developing a ground attack capability as is being demonstrated in Libya. We have sufficient numbers of qualified ground attack pilots to meet our operational tasks and this number is increasing all the time.

As the PAC acknowledges, the UK’s operational requirements have changed dramatically since the Typhoon programme began and this has led to tough decisions throughout its life but today it has ‘done well [and] collaboration offers significant potential benefits from sharing costs and developing common capabilities with allies’.

I am determined that in the future such projects are properly run from the outset, and I have announced reforms to reduce equipment delays and cost overruns. I will also chair regular Major Projects Review Boards to ensure our Armed Forces are well equipped and tax-payers get value for money.

Still captured from targetting pod footage of a successful RAF Typhoon strike on Libyan main battle tanks
Still captured from targetting pod footage of a successful RAF Typhoon strike on Libyan main battle tanks [Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

Air Vice Marshal Phil Osborn, Air Officer Commanding 2 Group, said:

We have sufficient Typhoon aircraft and pilots to undertake the task in Libya with the appropriate training for the systems and weapons carried by the aircraft.

We wouldn’t deploy a capability if we couldn’t support it and we weren’t able to execute it in the way that you would expect the RAF to execute it, which is in a proportionate, disciplined, reliable way.