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NAO report exposes Protector cost increases and delays

28th June 2021 - 16:49 GMT | by Tim Martin in London

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A MQ-9B SkyGuardian sits at RAF Fairford following a transatlantic flight (Photo: GA-ASI)

Financial issues surrounding the UK's Protector UAV procurement have come to light from a National Audit Office report.

The RAF’s Protector UAV (MQ-9B SkyGuardian) programme has seen the largest cost increase of any major UK defence acquisition across air, land and sea and suffered a delay of over two years, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

The findings, published in a 24 June report on UK defence equipment contracts, raise serious questions about whether Protector can still be considered value for money. Figures indicate that costs have shot up by 74% between its initial cost evaluation and the year of acquisition approval.

Supposed to enter service in 2018 and initially forecast to meet an IOC …

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