HC 113 Public Accounts Committee

Written evidence from the Ministry of Defence

Q59

AM Hillier "I believe the main gate for Crowsnest is in 2014, but I would have to check…".

Jon Thompson "It is spring 2014".

Correction

The Assessment Phase 3 is in 2014 with the planned main gate for Crowsnest in 2017.

Q65

Bernard Gray "There are two variants of radar under consideration".

Correction

There are two potential Mission System providers (Lockheed Martin and Thales), but within this there are four variants of radar under consideration (Eltra Systems Ltd; Northrop Grumman; Selex; Thales).

Q72

Mr Bacon "How much is Crowsnest expected to cost?".

Henry Parker states "There is a range from about 120 to 400, depending on which solution and how long it takes".

Correction (Crowsnest Review Note Cat A 15 Mar 13-IAC 3350)

There is a range in demonstration and manufacture costs from c£230 million to c£500 million, depending on a number of factors, including who is chosen to provide the Mission System and which radar units are used.

Add Footnote: Specific figures attributable to each potential supplier remain commercially sensitive due to ongoing negotiations.

1. What are the average unit costs of a JSF Type B? (From Questions 18–20)

(a) The current US estimate for average F35-B Unit cost is $124 million, which equates to £78 million at current exchange rates.

(b) Amplification. This estimate is taken from the US Selected Acquisition Report 2012, released 23 May 2013, which states the average F-35B Unit Recurring Flyaway (URF) cost of the F-35B is $124 million in outturn conditions over the life of the program; the F35 production line shuts down in 2037. Further to this, the Department has undertaken a risk analysis exercise to consider potential variations in cost that could result from sequestration and changes in the buy profiles of other international partners. The profile of annual unit costs is commercially sensitive data provided by the US Department of Defense and is not publicly releasable.

2. How many units would typically be deployed as part of a Carrier Task Group (from Questions 83–86)

(a) As stated in the evidence to the PAC, the extent of commitment of Forces to operations is mission specific and scaleable, based on the Commander’s assessment (of mission, threats, operational risk, Rules of Engagement, intelligence) and in line with Defence Strategic Guidance. As an integral part of a Task Group, the Carrier would expect to operate alongside other platforms to provide a flexible, credible and timely response. Illustratively, this could be a minimal number of Frigates and Destroyers for lower-end, short duration activities, up to a much larger blend of warships, aircraft, helicopters, submarines, hydrographic vessels, mine clearance assets and amphibious units, in the higher threat environments. These forces would provide (offensive) capabilities to maintain sufficient sea control to execute the mission and permit the carrier to operate without hindrance.

(b) Amplification. We can provide the PAC with a briefing (at Secret level) on the operational scenarios which we are using for planning purposes, and which give an illustration of potential Carrier Task Group composition.

3. How many people, by grade and type (military, civil service or contractor), work in the Ministry of Defence in the Carrier area? (from Questions 99, 100 and 107)

(a) As of 22 May 2013 there are 399 personnel within the MoD employed (full and part time) in the delivery of "Carrier Strike," including QEC Aircraft carriers, JSF aircraft and Crowsnest programmes. Of these, 250 are Military, 118 Civil Service and 31 Contractors. A breakdown by grade is shown in table 1 below:

Table 1

PERSONNEL EMPLOYED WITH THE CARRIER STRIKE AREA IN THE DEPARTMENT
BY GRADE AND TYPE.
**CONTRACTORS IN PARENTHESES

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Rank/Grade Equivalent

3*

2*

1*

OF5

OF4

OF3

OF2

SRs

JRs

SCS2

B1

B2

C1

C2

D

E

TOTAL

No of Personnel

1

4

3

8

33

64

16

78

43

1

8

15(14)

45(17)

36

11

2

399

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(b) Amplification. The table details those involved fully or partly in the delivery, planning or operation of the core Carrier Strike programmes on 22 May 2013; the number will grow over the life of the programme, with the balance shifting to front-line units. These include, but are not limited to, appointments in Head Office, single Service Headquarters, acquisition and project management within the DE&S, Ship’s Company of QEC, JSF A Squadron, the JSF Test and Evaluation Programme and exchange programmes and secondments with the US directly related to QEC or JSF. An approximate percentage breakdown of employment by area is provided in table 2.

Table 2

ILLUSTRATIVE MANPOWER BREAKDOWN BY AREA

Area

Percentage

Policy (MoD, Naval and Air Commands)

15

Acquisition & Project management (DE&S)

50

JSF Programme inc test and evaluation

26

Front Line Units (QEC/A Squadron)

7

Other Exchange programmes

2

4. What are the Operating Costs of a Type 45 Destroyer? (from Questions 87 and 107)

(a) The annual Type 45 unit running cost at FY12/13 rates is £48.57 million, broken down into three elements: personnel £8.76 million; fuel, inventory and services £6.41 million; and general ship maintenance £33.40 million.

(b) Amplification. Type 45 is a new to service platform that, so far, has been deployed in a limited way. As deployments become more routine we will have a more comprehensive set of data to base the through life support costs on. To mitigate this, the personnel and services figures have been generated against running four of the six ships in the class. Personnel costs, fuel and inventory have been captured from data logged against the ships UIN (cost centre) and the cost of fuel is based on the MoD FY12/13 planning price of £539/m3. The ship maintenance figure was supplied by DE&S in response to a previous PQ, 25th Apr Column 1286W. Type 45 Engineering Support is provided under a Contracting for Availability arrangement.

5. Additional Actions

(a) Military Capability Planning. During the hearing the opportunity was offered to brief the PAC members on how the Military Capability planning process works (Question 94). This presentation will need to be at Secret level and can be delivered at any time convenient to the PAC. This brief will also provide the opportunity to outline how the constituent programmes within the Carrier Enterprise inter-relate. (Question 94).

29 May 2013

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Prepared 29th August 2013