Cheap tat retail giant Argos was today announced as the preferred supplier for the Navy’s new aircraft carriers following the strategic defence review. In a surprise move the contract was taken away from BVT Surface Fleet and awarded to Argos.
Argos’s head of military procurement is Dave Letchworth, who has been with the company for fifteen years now. He told us, ‘I was as surprised as anyone when we won the contract, particularly as we hadn’t bid for it. I was pulling out some boxes of Ben 10 watches when someone shouted that a bloke calling himself Philip Green was on the phone. We had a chat and I wrote the spec down on a receipt with one of our tiny, bookie style pens.’
Mr Letchworth is confident that he can meet the new requirements of the MOD. ‘Firstly there’s cost,’ he said, ‘apparently the old ones were going to set the country back £3.9bn a pop. Well that’s ridiculous, particularly in a recession. The most expensive thing we sell is £3,849.99 and that’s a 55in full high-def 3DTV. At that money I’d probably also throw in a blu-ray player and a copy of Avatar and still only sell one a year; we’ll make the carriers for £27.99 apiece.’
He is also confident of meeting the stringent military compatibility requirements. The new carriers will be adapted for both helicopter and fast jet use, with sufficient runway width to launch two of the new Eurofighters side by side. Mr Letchworth added, ‘Our designers are working hard with both Early Learning Centre and Fisher Price to ensure retrofit capability with all their existing planes. These things are big enough to land the Millennium Falcon on them. They’ll also be available in blue and pink.’
Free from the extensive overruns that hit previous procurement projects, the new carriers are likely to be ready in only two months, making them available for the vital Christmas manoeuvres season.
Sir Philip Green denied claims that he was recommending Topman for the lucrative Army uniform contract, and that his only focus was ‘saving this country from itself’ before enjoying a ‘well-earned break in Monaco’.
Chancellor George Osborne told us that Secretary of State for Defence Dr Liam Fox had ‘popped out to get a latte’ and was thus unable to speak to us regarding the contract. Senior MOD officials were also unavailable for comment when we tried to question them, but we could hear the sounds of gentle sobbing behind the door of their Whitehall HQ.