Analyses | 02 June 2005

Buying air warfare destroyers: a strategic decision

The Government has chosen a builder for three new Air Warfare Destroyers [AWDs] before it has properly considered whether we really need to buy them, and how best to buy them if we do. 

Hugh White

  • Hugh White

The Government has chosen a builder for three new Air Warfare Destroyers [AWDs] before it has properly considered whether we really need to buy them, and how best to buy them if we do. 

Hugh White

  • Hugh White
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Executive Summary

At $6 billion it's the biggest defence equipment decision in fifteen years, so it needs more careful consideration. In fact AWDs are far from our highest defence priority; buying them would be a mistake, and squeeze more important Air and Army capabilities. And Defence's complex new acquisition process raises real risks that, if it goes ahead, the project will run into some of the same problems that have dogged the Collins submarines. Ministers need to look carefully before signing off on it.