It has been revealed that Ministry of Defence (MoD) cannot locate 13 per cent of its Bowman radios – a loss of equipment worth an eye-watering £184m.
This news comes from a coruscating report into the military’s stock control systems, which found that £752m worth of equipment in total is unaccounted for.
The figures were released as part of a Defence Committee report into the MoD’s performance in 2009/10.
The report stated that the National Audit Office had uncovered serious flaws with the MoD’s inventory control systems, with records of stock on the shelves that were empty and no records of stock that was there.
The defence committee noted that the "Gordian Knot", or intractable problem, of 78 separate IT systems made tracking equipment tricky. But in the case of Bowman radios, the report stated: “There are security as well as financial implications associated with losing equipment such as radios; having an effective audit trail is the only way to ensure that all radios are accounted for.”
The controversial £2.4bn Bowman digital radio system has been the cause of acute embarrassment for the military top brass for years, the deployment long delayed and over budget. That the MoD cannot account for nearly 6,000 of the radios will only add to the discomfiture.
In 2009, the Public Accounts Committee complained that the MoD’s logistics systems were inadequate, following MPs' fury over delays in providing vital kit to troops in Afghanistan. MPs demanded that the MoD made its logistic systems a priority and said that problems should be ironed out within two years.