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Defence in the media

Defence in the Media: Sunday 22 July 2018

Today's Defence news includes claims that the PFI contract for the RAF Voyager fleet represents poor value for money and a report that shows a lack of diversity in the senior ranks of Britain's Armed Forces.

RAF Voyager Contract

The Mail on Sunday leads with claims that the 2008 Public Finance Initiative deal for 14 A330 aircraft with the AirTanker consortium is costing the taxpayer £400m a year, but that three of the aircraft are currently being used to fly holiday makers abroad as they are not being used by the RAF. The article reports that the total cost of the deal is £10.5bn and speculates at what else the MOD could spend this amount on. The story was also picked up by The Sunday Telegraph and covered by the influential Pinstriped Line blog.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:

Voyagers are playing a key role in protecting British airspace and the fight against Daesh, and whilst our core fleet is doing the job we need it to, we can call in the extra aircraft at short notice if we need them to help us defend the nation. When we’re not using them, it makes sense to have them performing other roles as that reduces our costs and means they can be ready for operations quicker than if they were held in storage. This is a cost-effective deal that is delivering an outstanding service for the RAF and has met all major project milestones on time and to budget.

Diversity in the Armed Forces

The Sun on Sunday reports on a Freedom of Information request which, the paper reports, shows that none of the 132 most senior roles in the Armed Forces are held by ethnic minorities and that only 100 of the level below are filled by non-white officers. The article goes on to quote from the Equality and Human Rights Commission who said “It is disappointing that the top ranks don’t sufficiently reflect the diversity of our society".

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:

We are committed to becoming a more diverse organisation and promoting an inclusive working environment.

Diversity in the Armed Forces is improving but unlike many organisations, it takes around 20 years for new recruits to reach senior leadership positions in the services. We will be unveiling plans to boost diversity in senior roles soon.

Image of the Day

British helicopters have arrived in West Africa as the UK’s support to a key French counter-terrorism operation in Mali reaches its next phase.
Three RAF Chinook helicopters from RAF Odiham, supported by around 90 British troops, are now on the ground and ready to begin providing logistical and troop movement support to our allies.

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