Great Britian found gulity of stupidity
Britain spent £259 million ($A628.26 million) on a fleet of unusable military helicopters that can't fly through clouds, a public spending watchdog revealed today.
Eight advanced Chinooks designed to carry troops and equipment in all conditions were grounded in the "massively botched" deal.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) "might as well have bought eight turkeys," said Edward Leigh, chairman of parliament's Public Accounts Committee.
"Thanks to a massively botched job, they cannot be flown when there is a cloud in the sky."
Leigh described the deal with manufacturer Boeing Co as "one of the worst procurement disasters ever".
The Chinooks need upgrades to their navigation systems. The work will cost an estimated £127 million ($A308.07 million) and will keep them out of service until 2007.
The MoD acknowledged the criticism and said it had "conducted a number of internal activities to learn lessons for the future".
"This is a bad story and leaves a lot to be desired," Defense Procurement Minister Lord Bach told BBC radio. "We are doing our best to put right something that happened a long time ago."
The Chinooks' problems were revealed in a National Audit Office report which said the UK military has a 38 per cent shortfall in its battlefield helicopter capability.
An audit office spokesman said the shortfall - measured by lifting capability - was equivalent to 30 or 40 Chinook transport helicopters.
- ReutersKeep 'em Flying
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