by Michael Lowrey
Britain for the past 60 years or so has been very good at having very poor defence policy, particularly in the air and at sea. The Ministry of Defence has regularly thrown big money at locally-produced weapons systems only to see them fail to live up to expectations, run vastly over budget, and have to be canceled with the solution often then being to buy an off-the-shelf American solution. Or to throw vast amounts to build ships and planes only to see them retired prematurely as a result of the latest defence cuts.
The latest case in point: The 2010 British defence policy review left the United Kingdom, an island nation, without any maritime patrol aircraft, and thus no ability to hunt submarines over large areas from the air. Yes, really. The existing Nimrod aircraft were just too old and expensive to operate. The next generation Nimrod was years late and very over budget, and the program was cancelled. So now in 2015, the British have admitted the error of its ways, and are buying nine new Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft on an expedited basis.