The program to build two Queen Elizabeth II class aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy has been heavily criticised by a board member of one of the companies building the 60,000 tonne vessels.
Lord Alexander Hesketh, a non-executive deputy chairman of Babcock which is building the ships at its Rosyth shipyard, has said meddling by prime contractor BAE Systems which he says has a “vested interest” in having the F-35 JSF equip the ships has meant the UK is “paying twice as much as we should to get half the capability,” adding the “Looney Tunes” program was “about to turn into a classic British disaster”, and that the UK should have navalised the Eurofighter Typhoon instead.
Babcock executives have distanced themselves from the statements. “Babcock dissociates itself from these personal comments, which do not in any respect reflect the views of the company,” a company statement read. “Babcock with its partners in the Carrier Alliance is focused on delivering this major upgrade to the UK’s defence capability on time and to budget.”