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New Year's Day 2012 17:00 BBC Radio 4

40 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 27 December 2011

The Prime Minister has described the country's defence budget as "a complete car crash", with delays and overspends on military equipment costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds each year.

But why have successive governments found it so hard to get defence procurement right? How did the Ministry of Defence end up with a £38b black hole in its budget? And can they realistically balance the books while keeping the armed forces in tanks, submarines and fighter jets?

Defence expert and former soldier Francis Tusa takes us inside the secretive world of defence procurement and tries to work out what has gone wrong and how things can be fixed. He investigates some of the MOD's most costly procurement decisions and asks where the blame lies -with the civil servants, the politicians, the defence industry or the military top brass? Finally, he examines some of the radical solutions being proposed to cut Britain's defence bill.

  • Presenter Francis Tusa in a Scimitar armoured vehicle.

    Presenter Francis Tusa in a Scimitar armoured vehicle.


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