According to a report by the United Kingdom’s Parliament Defence Committee, over the next few years Britain will lack the required capability to patrol and monitor the open seas.
According to the “Future Maritime Surveillance” report by the Parliament Defence Committee (PDC), the cancellation of the Nimrod MRA4 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) by the Strategic Defence and Security Review’s (SDSR) two years ago created a gap in Britain’s capability to monitor seas for at least the next three years.
Meanwhile, China has announced a decision to manufacture 36 new maritime surveillance vessels, the report said.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) had plans to replace its previous maritime surveillance aircraft Nimrod MR2 with MRA4, but the project was already hundreds of millions of pounds over budget at a time when MoD is being urged to cut back on its spending, said Armed Forces Minister Andrew Robathan.
The need for an MPA will not be reviewed until the next SDSR in 2015, according to the MoD, which admitted that the gap in the maritime surveillance capabilities cannot be overcome in the near future.
James Arbuthnot, chairman of the PDC, said the committee is “unconvinced that the MoD has the capacity to respond to any escalation in the risks that may appear beyond the UK’s shores, while the risks are likely to worsen in coming years.”
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