MPs to grill defence chiefs over Royal Navy’s ‘equipment cannibalisation’

HMS Diamond returning to Portsmouth after engine trouble on deployment
HMS Diamond returning to Portsmouth after engine trouble on deployment
The 10,000th trainee passes through the MCTS training facility at HMS Collingwood. AB(WS) Matthew North at his consul during a simulated missile attack

Royal Navy training hub in Fareham marks its 10,000th trainee

Have your say

NAVAL chiefs and defence bosses are to be grilled by a panel of MPs for ‘cannibalising’ parts from warships to maintain the fleet.

The Public Accounts Committee, which scrutinises how the taxpayers’ cash is spent, is holding an inquiry into the reuse of parts by the Royal Navy.

It comes after an investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO) found the Senior Service was becoming increasingly reliant on stripping parts from warships to patch up others in the fleet.

The NAO claimed the controversial repair method was happening more often, with a surge of 49 per cent from 2012 to 2017.

On Wednesday the Public Accounts Committee – which features Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan – will question officials from the MoD and the Royal Navy on what is being done to become less reliant on the reuse of parts.

The committee said: ‘While reusing parts is sometimes necessary, it is seen as a last resort. Despite this, there were 795 instances of equipment cannibalisation in 2016-17. In over 40 per cent of these cases ships receiving cannibalised parts needed them in order to be operational. The NAO found that the MoD did not routinely monitor use, causes and impact of reliance on reused parts—even though relying on them can delay programmes, create engineering risks and dampen morale.’

The navy said less than 0.5 per cent of parts were cannibalised and that this was only done when necessary to get ships out of port and on deployment.