No, that’s not meant salaciously. It’s a question prompted by a blistering broadside on Britain’s Ministry of Defence in the Daily Star, a tabloid. The author takes the agency to task over its profligate ways.
The headline of the article, which evinces equal parts outrage and sarcasm, reads: “We just blew £183m on a five inch gun, but it’s ‘good value for taxpayers.'” The embedded quote is a snipe at the government, which claimed that this expenditure is a sound investment in Britain’s security.
The complaint seems curious in light of an article I found online. The piece, which ran at the website of the U.S. Naval Institute, seems to indicate that a round of ammunition for a 5-inch, 54-caliber deck gun can run as high as $50,000.
The problem, it turns out, is a result of a misunderstanding on the part of the Daily Star writer Margi Murphy of what exactly the “five inches” measure. The UK Defence Journal tweets:
— UK Defence Journal (@UKDefJournal) July 29, 2016
Many on Twitter had fun with the error. One person tweeted:
— Engaging Strategy (@EngageStrategy1) July 29, 2016
Murphy herself was a good sport about the goof, tweeting:
— Margi Murphy (@MargiMurphy) July 29, 2016