THE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE has moved to reassure the public that plans to purchase nine Boeing P-8A ‘Poseidon’ aircraft to be based at RAF Lossiemouth are not affected by legal purchase limits.
Sunday newspaper reports suggested that the £2.2billion deal covering the Moray-bound aircraft breached a ‘baseline profit margin’ limit of 8.95% for “single source” defence contracts.
These are instances where contracts consisting of a single purchaser, in this case the MoD, and a single supplier, have been subject to the profit margin limit since April 1 this year.
However, an MoD spokesman moved to dismiss any fears that this would affect the P8-A deal, as the restriction could not be applied to the UK when dealing with a foreign government.
In a statement aimed at clearing up the issue, the spokesman said: “Procuring the Boeing P-8A Poseidon through a Foreign Military Sales arrangement allows us to get the capability we need and in the timeline we want.
“Buying the P-8 directly from the US government means that its purchase is excluded from the single source procurement framework, as outlined in the 2014 Defence Reform Act.”
Plans are under way to prepare RAF Lossiemouth for an expansion of facilities and personnel to cope with not only the additional MPA aircraft but an additional squadron of Typhoon jets.