Defence analyst Francis Tusa has rung the financial alarm bells over Britain's involvement in the Libya campaign, saying that the exercise could cost the government £1.75 billion.
Analysing data provided by the Royal Air Force as answers to questions asked in Parliament, Tusa said the cost of the entire operation, by the end of August, was estimated to be between £850 million and £1.75 billion.
He was also quoted by The Telegraph as saying that these figures were arrived at after analysing the "deepest darkest basements of the Ministry of Defence."
Meanwhile, the MoD admitted in June earlier this year that the war may cost taxpayers £260 million. In an article for The Guardian, Tusa said, "Larger, more expansive – and expensive – operations are not covered in the defence budget. They are paid for via the central reserve as and when they occur."
"What this means is that the core defence budget does not cover the deployment and active use of close to 40 combat and reconnaissance aircraft and a flotilla of ships and submarines," he went on to assert. He concluded by saying that the mission will lead to high maintenance costs, with additional money spent on training pilots and spare parts.
Earlier this month, the MoD confirmed that British combat aircraft flew more than 1,600 missions over Libya, knocking down 900 targets.