Britain’s biggest defence projects are running a total of 25 years late between them and it is unclear the Government can keep costs on target, the Whitehall spending watchdog has warned.

The National Audit Office (NAO) raised concerns about the MoD’s ability to keep its £164 billion, ten-year equipment plan on target despite evidence the department’s infamous cost overruns are being brought under control.

It warned the MOD had not scrutinised the support costs for the equipment as much as the buying costs.

“Until it fully understands these costs and the risks associated with them the confidence it can express in the overall plan is limited,” the NAO said.

A review of the 11 biggest defence projects found they were a total of 301 months behind schedule, having fallen a further 17 months behind track in the past year. One project for military transport aircraft is running six years late.

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