back to article US gov may forbid BAE Eurofighter sale to Saudis

A controversial British deal to supply Eurofighter jets to Saudi Arabia may have hit an obstacle. It appears that the Eurofighter - long touted as proof that the UK and its continental partners can make serious combat kit without American help - actually contains significant amounts of US technology, and that Washington may not …

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  1. Gordon Pryra
    Flame

    More morals under Maggie?

    At least with Maggie Thatcher the UK never looked as corrupt as some of the African states we use as a yard stick for corrupt self serving politicians. (Corruption back then was well hidden I guess)

    With the Arms deals to the Arabs

    Phorm/BT

    Very strange contracts given out by those in charge of Olympic funding

    the English/UK look like some tin-pot 3rd world country.

    How long can the English people keep their heads in the sand before they are too embarrassed to accept this any longer?

    Can they actually do anything even if they wanted to stop this sort of thing?

    Is the corrupt nature of our leaders entrenched in ALL parties or built into the basic structure of Government here in such a way as to make changing it a waste of time?

  2. Mike
    Joke

    Easy solution

    Uninstall Windows from Eurofighter and install Linux. Don't need a licence then.

    Less likely to crash then as well ;-)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    US Arms sales

    Regardless of backhanders, technology etc.

    I hate to say it but this is incredible double standards, what is the betting that the US is trying to scupper the BAE contract just so they can sell them their aircraft.

    It's like with what Boeing did to Concorde in the 70's. Boeing couldn't make an SST even though the government gave them massive amounts to research either directly or through Mitary/NASA. So they basically told congress that they had to ban Concorde flying into the US or boeing would go bankrupt. At the time both Pan-Am and TWA had large orders in for Concorde for the transatlantic route.

    Free market economy?? The US is more protectionary than China.

  4. FlatSpot

    @Gordon Pryra

    err I'm sure if we had a chance we would, but as the elections can be moved around as seen fit by the gov, we arent likely to get the chance until 2009!

    Would be nice to actually have a PM that was voted in huh... maybe Mugabe and Brown have something in common, both being self serving and both doing a "job" they werent elected to do.

    Frankly Brown makes we wince each time I see him on the worldwide political stage and makes for embarrassing viewing, talk about looking like a bunny in the headlights!

    Obiviously whether a change of gov would make any difference.... who knows

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HAHAHAHA

    hahahahahaha

    The US has basically gone "we're going to win this deal with the saudis ourselves, no matter what you try hohohohoho stupid Europeans."

  6. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Hmmm...

    ...would it be too low for American politicians to scupper the BAe turkey deal and then offer the Saudis a deal on F35s or F22s?

    Yeah, yeah I know, rhetorical question.

  7. Ian

    What a load of crap.

    The yanks are pissy because we've got an arms sale they haven't. We simply cannot allow them to hold us to ransom else we might as well give up and let the US take control of the UK fully seeing as that's how it's felt for too long now anyway.

    We must maintain our sovereignty and go ahead with this sale no matter what, if we allow the US to prevent the sale I outright guarantee you within weeks there will be an announcement that Saudi Arabia is to buy 72 US fighter planes.

    We've trodden on the foot of US defence contractors here and like Haliburton in Iraq, legality is irrelevant, there are elements of the US senate that simply will not allow other companies a chance on the world stage if it risks hitting their bottom line and they will corrupt their own political and legal system any way they can to ensure that stays the case.

    Enough of US corporate corruption, it's bad enough America has fallen so badly into this state there but there is simply no way we can allow American's inability to ensure their country isn't just a massive corrupt corporate machine to spill over on to the world stage.

    We need to put our foot down and go ahead with the sale if not only to say enough is enough, we wont be bullied by America, we're an independent nation and it's not up to them what we do. The WTO argument doesn't even apply because America has itself been guilty of ignoring several massive WTO rulings against it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Oh for God's sake...

    <rant> I'm fed up with this. This issue needs to go away.

    The British Government should quickly pass the law which enables them to halt SFO investigations in the interests of National Security. That will effectively stop the re-opening of the investigation if asked to do so by the courts.

    The yanks can get stuffed as well. If the DoJ wants to investigate British matters, lets in turn put them in the spotlight for everything they do that's naughty. Lets start with supplying the EU with details of all rendition flights made to/from the UK. That'll make them wind their neck in.

    I do believe in the judiciary being seperate from the Executive, and the latter being held to account... but there has to be exceptions to the rule. Anything that threatens to do more harm than good to British interests (intelligence gathering / jobs) is a good place to start.

    Some things are just the way they are. Get over it. And for all those whinging lefties who support re-opening the SFO investigations - let it be. You proved your point, you got your win in the courts, now let it go.

    </rant>

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @FlatSpot

    Last time I checked British politics, you voted for a party - not its leader. We don't vote for the leaders here, I think you must be thinking of another country.

    That being said, Brown does look out of his depth.

  10. Mark
    Flame

    Glass house, stones thrown

    And what exactly are the septics going to do if we go through with the sale anyhow? Take their ball back? Corrupt Capitol Hill bastards should be more concerned with their flaky sell-shit economy that's going down the swanny.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    As an American

    I think the UK should go ahead with the sale. Of course if parts for the Eurofighter are made in the States it would be wise to get suppliers in Europe first since the babies in DC will likely stop any further parts exports.

    On the otherhand if the licensing agreement for the technology gives the US the right of refusal for 3rd party sales you have only your government to blame for making a bad deal. I suggest you take it out of thier pensions.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Silly Question....

    But if we make ooo lots of Eurofighters for ourselves, then hapen to decide to flog them on, how exactly are the US going to stop it?

    Oh I know place an embargo on it, decide that the rest of the world can't deal with us and hope we give in (ala Cuba)

    hey Ho, hear China is pretty good to deal with, not as if Human Rights concern us, we'll deal with any old dictatorship....

  13. gizmo
    Flame

    Limey Bastards

    Just kidding.

    You can only sell what you own. Don't you think it may be in your own best interest NOT to sell off top line tech? Funny how many rant about (insert derogatory American slur here), yet your own gov't is clearly out of bounds on this issue.

    Roll over.

    Good dog.

  14. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Alien

    An Alternate View from Faraway in Space..and as Valid as any Other, Brother.

    So, let me get this right, the Brits allow their cousins across the Pond to sell their tech into their State of the Art Eurofighter, and even have sweet former payments to valued customers also lodged into the America Banking System, a double whammy of convenience, and then think that they decide to whom the Goods can be sold?

    They/You cannot be serious. They're 'avin' a larf and it will be an expensive one which will cripple them financially, and therefore catastrophically, if they miss out on the next Virtual Phase of Innovative Imaginative Defence because of their MisSpeaking, for should such Behaviour be an Arrogance for Personal Oppressive Gain rather than Mutual Impressive Benefit, in an Instant would they be Isolated and have a "Houston, we have a Problem" moment/era, which will not be so easily resolved as in an hour at the Movies.

    Stuck on an island of restless natives and mixed immigrants [no matter how big] in the middle of nowhere, as Uncle Sam is, is not a Position of Strength, whenever you rely in the Rest of the World to supply your Needs and Intellectual Feeds, is it?

    They are acting like cranked-up/cracked-up Junkies, and Withdrawal is not a pleasant process, but without it, the prognosis is always a dire dependency on that which is, in effect, dragging you down into the Gutter and Oblivion.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Yanking the chain again

    British-designed tech has a habit of appearing with American labels especially in the aerospace industry.

    Jet engines, the all-flying tailplane, certain other developments I can't mention (Official Secrets Act) for starters.

    The RAF has been told it cannot have certain information for the Joint Strike Fighter even though the parts were designed at Farnborough (here in the UK!) by BAe, so the RAF would end up being dependant on American servicing facilities.

    Boeing are royally pissed because they lost out in the US Air Force Tanker competiton to Airbus (even though more of the Airbus is built in the US than the Boeing - chunks of which are built in Spain and - best of all - CHINA!!)

    Of course the intention is that BAe will turn around and say "Ooh sorry, we'll pull out then" and the Yanks'll try to sell F15s and (butchered) F22s to the Saudis instead - funny how it's okay for McDonnell Douglas/Boeing to sell them Eagles (built in America!) but Eurofighter GMBH (so it's not really BAe selling them, they just act as middle men!) shouldn't sell them Typhoons due to "American hardware" being aboard...

    [THIS PARAGRAPH HAS BEEN DELETED FOR SECURITY REASONS]

    Black Helicopter, sa I can hear it approaching now, in fact it's overhea

  16. Ferry Boat

    Good old US

    At least they are trying to conduct an investigation into the al-Yamamah arms deal. Much better than gov.uk who won't. Now, if the US has a lever to operate on the UK gov to make them co-operate with the investigation then hurrah for the US. At least they can hold our government to account even if we can't.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Worst Description Ever

    "The thinking here is that Blighty will pay increased prices for less-capable military kit made partly in the UK, rather than buying cheaper and better gear from abroad."

    That's hardly a fair and balanced interpretation of technological sovereignty now is it?

    What the DIS was attempting to do was ensure that while we could buy most stuff 'on the cheap' from the states*, we still had the capability to develop and maintain kit ourselves in the UK. Why? Well the UK forces have a tendency of gold plating stuff to the point that only a custom UK design will meet the spec.

    There's also the issue, as highlighted here, that the yanks love exercising as much power as possible over foreign states to further their own interests. The more kit you buy from them the more influence they have.

    Here's an idea, we tell the yanks to get stuffed and sell the jets anyway! What are they actually going to do, get pissed at us, refuse to work with us? Someone with balls needs to stand up and say 'We sell them or pull out of Iraq!'

    * Examples of this working well include the F35 (bottomless pit of money) and a certain batch of Chinooks.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Sad and dismayed

    "Equipment such as Eurofighter may cost more and do less, but - so goes the reasoning - at least we won't have to ask the Yanks for tech support all the time."

    OK.

    1. Some senior staff in the MOD need to be fired - the strategy has failed, we are not self-sufficient and have wasted millions of pounds on the premise that we are. Of course, this will not happen and someone will get a knighthood.

    2. I understood the Eurofighter was in the same league as the F22 / Su-47 though the game has changed since it was proposed, we no longer think dogfight capability is paramount.

    3. We should export in any case, what are the US going to do about it - stop further technology transfer ? GOOD, we should develop our own and work with European colleagues if this incident is an indication of their selfish approach. So we're way behind on Stealth technology, MI6 can get us the data we need.

    This also brings into question the argument for upgrading Trident - we don't have our "own" capability if we're dependent on the US.

    MOD / BAE / Government senior staff are muppets. If the requirement was independent capability they should have used open or self developed systems.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Mark

    "Last time I checked British politics, you voted for a party - not its leader. We don't vote for the leaders here, I think you must be thinking of another country."

    Exactly.

    Get a grip, people. This is not the first time that a standing government has changed its lead man. Even the guy before Blair got in mid-session!

    I didn't vote in either Sedgeworth or Kirkcaldy, so I didn't vote for or against either Blair or Brown.

  20. gizmo
    Thumb Up

    No worries

    This is all just a red herring. We don't really care about the old tech in those planes, but we have to act like we do. Truth is, we don't even need planes any more. We can hit any target with our space based antimatter powered death ray.

    did I just say that..

    gotta go.

  21. dervheid
    Pirate

    @ Mark

    "Last time I checked British politics, you voted for a party - not its leader"

    Er.. NO.

    <rant>

    In Good old Blighty, you vote for a CANDIDATE to represent you.

    They just happen to be a member of a Political Party.

    You can, of course, just vote for the candidate from the party you dislike least, or you could engage your brain occasionally prior to voting and actually vote for someone who believes in at least the same things as you do, and is possibly more likely to actually represent YOU as opposed to the Party.

    If it weren't for 'party politics', then there'd have to be a whole load more cooperation between MP's, as opposed to just toeing the 'party line' in order to get put forward as candidates next time round, which is how the majority of 'career politicians' behave, as the real world would just chew them up and spit them out.

    Of course, in my little utopian fantasyland, ALL MP's would be decent, honest, upstanding people, as opposed to the self-serving, expense-troughing, mealy-mouthed charlatans that a large proportion of our "Elected Members" actually are.

    If MP's were prohibited from earning ANY INCOME from 'outside interests', then that should eliminate most 'conflict of interests', and weed out the ones who are just in it for the money.

    </rant>

    It wasn't supposed to be a rant, it just turned out that way. It's politics, after all!

  22. Ishkandar
    Pirate

    @Ian

    UK has sovereignty ?? I thought it was sold by the Labour government long ago !! 10 pieces of silver from the EU and 20 more from the US !!

    And now Brown is over there performing for his puppet masters !!

    At least Mrs Thatcher stood firm against the prostitution of British sovereignty and honour !! I'm sure various Labourites must enjoy spending their 30 pieces of silver now !!

    This icon as a classification of something toxic !!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Ferry Boat

    What business have the US Feds got investigating us?

    I think they should get their own house in order first.

  24. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Alien

    Confirmation squares ITs Spooky Powers and Control Capability.....Virtually Real Facility

    "Truth is, we don't even need planes any more. We can hit any target with our space based antimatter powered death ray.

    did I just say that..

    gotta go." ...... By gizmo Posted Friday 18th April 2008 13:56 GMT

    No worries, gizmo. The NEUKlearer triggers require a lot more than any brute force random access attempts can ever deliver. AI Specialised Piece of Kit which you have to Grow into, otherwise it will probably definitely Kill you if Abused....... which is the Bitter Sweet FailSafe Device Nature of IT.

    And IT is Worth an Absolute Mint, which is why IT is Priceless and cannot be Bought Outright, but with any Significant Funding at All, Invested in a License Openly dDelivered and Sold, any Sovereign or Private EState with Political Control License will be Enabled 42 Thrill.

    QuITe Open Alien Technology for Sale on El Reg? It must be Friday, allowing Earthlings the Weekend to Relax whilst the World is Prepared around them. Pretty Bizarre that, is it not?

  25. Graham Dawson Silver badge
    Alert

    Nobody's asking the question: why are we trying to sell the eurofighter?

    Ok, so at one level the answer is simple: the saudis want it.

    But it's not that simple...

    You see, the MoD is looking at a way to get out of its obligation for the Tranche 2 eurofighter because it massively underestimated the final cost of paying for all these planes, and has realised - a little too late - that the Eurofighter is designed to dogfight over europe in a war with the soviets, as a stopgap until the Americans can launch their nukes. We don't need that capability anymore. We haven't done for nearly 20 years.

    So they're trying to get out of buying, and if they can't get out of buying they're trying to recoup the cost of tranche 2 by selling it off to the saudis. That's why they've tried so hard to fight repeated investigations into the sales; they're going to be billions out of pocket if they can't, which threatens Brown's Hero Proj... um... defence initiative in the new carrier for the F22s. One or the other will have to be canned. Imagine having a carrier without planes... of course Tranche 3 of the Eurofighter is expected to be retrofitted for carrier operations, but we aren't buying those as far as I'm aware.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    advanced technology???

    last time I looked, the most advanced processors in the Eurofighter were 68000 chips running at a paltry 50 MHz... Eurofighter being actually quite old tech now... 1990's vintage chips... I was under the distinct impression that Export licenses were only required for "supercomputer" class computer chips that were capable of running hydro-codes at a speed which would give an answer in days rather than months... things like P4 chips running at 1.5 GHz and above... The Yanks are merely pissed that someone else got the big contract and there are strings being pulled by US defence companies to get their government to put their oar in on the deal...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @AC "advanced technology???"

    "I was under the distinct impression that Export licenses were only required for "supercomputer" class computer chips that were capable of running hydro-codes at a speed which would give an answer in days rather than months"

    No, it depends. Try buying a computer from Dell and telling them you're sending it off to Syria, North Korea, Iran etc. They'll refuse and then you'll have to waltz into PC World where some teenage idiot will sell you anything you want without any need to make a declaration. So while use in the UK means only supercomputer exports require authorisation from the US, if it's to be exported to an "unfriendly" country there is a need to go cap-in-hand back to the US.

    We need an independent capability. ARM springs to mind. Whatever happened to the Transputer from Inmos?

    Black Helicopter because the NSA have an equivalent version of Phorm running and know what everyone is reading and writing on the web.... extraordinary rendition coming my way...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Ameritech

    Didn't we invent the jet engine (before we handed it over to the US)?

    Ah - there is the problem then, we need to invent another means of propulsion so that we can sell aircraft without US permission.

  29. StopthePropaganda
    Coat

    good idea

    the same BAE thaf f**ked up Heathrow, is gonna sell jets to the Saudi's.

    malfunctioning kit that starts a war by misfiring or, more likely, loses the missiles so they show up a few weeks later, after some coked up, has been clotheshorse goes off the handle.

    Face it, Euro socialists created an environment where the best and brightest have fled. Americans wishing to emulate the top heavy elitist Euro govermnents have trashed our economy, and industry, but we still have a few techs that we built back in the good ol' days that the world still wants.

    Go ahead, build your own Eurotrash Fighter, without any American licensed tech. Don't sit there and piss about it, or be complete wankers and yet again do the same behaviors you berate America for (breaking treaties). Why not be the "holier than thou" you brag about being and make some completely indigenous tech to replace our contribution.

    And then, (and here's the hard part for Euros these days) tell the truth about performance with your indie design. Don't lie about the numbers in order to sound better within the EU (French national deficits, anyone?) but give an honest portrayal.

    And then see, if someone wants to spend even more money on the already more expensive Eurofighter over the F22. Overhyped cost overruns aside, it's possible the F35 will still come out cheaper in both per-unit and maintenance. That's real sad, folks.

    Mine's the one with the copy of the *still* nonexistant EU constitution-sucks you have to give people rights when you built a "government" solely out of giant business and industrial cartels, doesn't it?

  30. Bounty
    Black Helicopters

    laws... no, it's negotiation

    Put your swords down people. This is probably just negotiation. A way to keep UK and SA hush hush on terrorist extraditions etc. We'll let the sale go through, just promise to keep your secret detention centers secret. When you trade secrets and lies illegally it may look like a one sided deal.

  31. oldredlion
    Happy

    Ahahahaha

    The UK Government bends over so as not to upset the Saudi's, stopping an ongoing SFO investigation and make themselves look like utter stupid hypocrites and then the Yanks yank the deal from under them?

    hahahahahaha!

  32. Ross
    Unhappy

    Who are we going to war with?

    Ppl seem to overlook the basic question of who do we want to drop bombs on? The only reason we need things like the TFX/Typhoon is to blow ppl up. Why do we need our own? Are we going to invade somewhere on our own? I doubt it.

    We'll either be working with the Yanks, NATO, the UN or EU. Just let them stick their boys/robots in the sky. If it gets to the stage when we have to defend ourselves from the USA, China, France or whoever then a few hundred Typhoons aren't gonna do crap. Why waste the money?

    Surely we'd be better either spending that money outside the MoD, or in other military areas? Buy some better transport helicopters, fit all our Hercules with explosive suppressant foam, give *every* soldier kevlar and ceramic inserts, stop sending front line soldiers out on patrol in aunarmoured Landrovers and buy them some proper APCs, replace the SA-80, bring armed forces homes up to a decent living standard, provide proper care and rehabilitation for the poor buggers that are injured on tour, etc. I'm sure there are hundreds more things that could be done with the money to make our forces better.

    Frankly I just wish that :

    1. We'd sell the bloody planes already and take the money;

    2. The bent politicians, civil servants and arms dealers involved in this debacle get sent to the clink; and

    3. They'd stop spending insane amounts of tax payers money on rubbish like the Typhoon and actually improve this ****ing mess of a country.

    Am I really the only one stood in this corner, 'cause I sure feel lonely?

  33. Mark

    Two things

    1) the 1 billion should be retrieved or the officers responsible for spending it liquidated to retrieve it.

    2) What are the US going to do if BAE sells them anyway? Shoot them down? Decide they aren't going to sell us their nucular deterrent?

    So I'm basically conflicted. The US stance is ridiculous and hypocritical, but the result thereof (enforcing the rules that should have been in place or negating the advantage given when breaking them) is warranted.

    Sigh.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Dodgy Americans

    Saudi should watch out for the very complex Pakistan F15 deal which fell through. Paraphrased .

    Pakistan: Hi, i saw your ad for F-16 fighter planes, here is $685,000,000 cash please send over right away.

    Pakistan: Hi haen't heard from you, the money went through ok, btw I am testing nukes, they are cool.

    Pakistan: Hi me again, where are the planes

    USA: Sorry, we think you will drop nukes on people

    Pakistan: No probs, just send the money back

    USA: Lolz no way sukka

    Pakistan: OMG

    15 years later...

    USA: Hi pakistan, you know about terrorists right?, you want some F-16s

    Pakistan: Why would I trust you

    USA: K, here is shipping details, go nuke some terrorists

    Pakistan: Hey these are all used, secondhand and the parts are missing,and you been flying them for 10 years. I also already paid for them in cash 15 years ago.

    USA: Lolz

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Export licenses ..."

    I think your memory may be misleading you... a *civil* supercomputer required special licensing, military kit of most flavours also required special licensing, dunno what the deal is these days when your average Dell box is more powerful (but not more productive) than a ten year old supercomputer.

    This military stuff doesn't run Vista, it's probably perfectly fine with a decent 68k.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Once again...

    ...bloody yanks. Is anyone else slightly uncomfortable with the Saudis having these things though? They'll quite happily give a woman the death penalty for getting raped, why are they allowed modern tech with such backwards views? I say they should grow up first before getting the shiniest new planes.

    Paris 'cause they'd stone her to death for setting foot in the country.

  37. Joe Cooper
    IT Angle

    @advanced technology???

    Chips are mass manufactured widgets. They're like screws. You don't need the most advanced screw. That's not where the value lies in a jet. You do NEED screws, but the screw technology we had in the 60s still does exactly what it needs to do. Just because the Eurofighter features the same old boring screw technology doesn't mean it's not advanced.

    You wouldn't get the impression running Vista on it, but a Motorola 68k is a tremendously powerful device. Computers all the back to the 70s could handle all kinds of aerodynamics work, hence the fully automated Space Shuttle landing and the F-16's computer assisted flight model.

    People's impression of what computers are capable of has been warped a lot by the PC market, where every increase in power is immediately spent on more abstraction so software isn't so expensive and difficult to make. This cycle never, ever ceases so after only a few decades, the powerful computer that keeps the B-2 in the air can't run consumer-grade desktop software.

    Bizarre, huh?

    In case you're interested these chips, they ARE special in manufacturing. They need to survive extreme environments. Have a look at the RAD750. It won't run half as well as the IBM 750 in a Gamecube. But it'll handle the extreme conditions of a space launch, an interplanetary journey and Martian orbit.

  38. Stuart Van Onselen

    Rooivalk

    The Yanks have pulled this exact stunt before. They effectively blocked the sale of the South African's indigenously - designed attack helicopter, by refusing to let their Maverick missiles be launched from it. Their excuse was that the SA arms manufacturer had illegally bypassed sanctions during the apartheid years, a decade before. But it was painfully obvious that they really just wanted the sale for themselves.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @More morals under Maggie?

    Um... the BAE dirty dealing goes back to 1985... isn't that right square into Thatcher's empire? I think its right there with the Stonehenge smash-fest events... in fact it was Maggie influence that morphed Labour into NuLabour.

    As for the Americans, they're just following the American way: instead of giving better deals, kill the competition.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ITAR

    Who knows what the licenses are actually for?

    The components like processors etc are all locally available commercial parts. I doubt any of the major avionics would be US made. US owned sure, but all the contracts would have been pre-ITAR. The biggest issue would have to be the armament which is mostly US kit. No point buying a plane to drop bombs if you can't buy the bombs.

    They'll find a way around that in short order or just do what everyone else does and buy the planes anyway and use the cheaper knock-offs.

    Wouldn't mind betting this article is more a case of wishful thinking.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    The US never allows electronics in arms deals

    I don't see what the big deal is. Yank out the American electronics and sell the planes. All the planes the US sells to other countries have tons of electronics stripped from them. For example, Israel puts in all their own electronics into F-15s they buy from the US. The US may have played games with arms deals in the past but in this regard they are quite consistent. They don't let any interesting electronics out the door (which usually includes entire avionics systems).

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    US Controlled Data

    I wonder what that could be? The weapons fit (i.e. the ability to launch US-made missiles)? Some small, easily-removed system like IFF?

    So, the yanks are locking themselves out of the consumables market while giving the Saudis the extra cachet of a plane "so good they tried to forbid its export". *Both* feet with one shot.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    There's the door Mr US MIC

    Got to say that although I'm a little uncomfortable about the Saudi deal, the attitude from the US Govt sucks big time. Or is this is case of "do as we say, not as we do"? I've lost count of the number of times news has leaked out about some part of the US Military-Industrial Complex being unethical.

    If the UK Gov's got *any* backbone at all, then they'll tell the US "partner" to get raffled and sell the damned planes. After all, maybe the gov's cut could be used to get the hard-pressed British squaddies little "luxuries" like food, housing, body armour, US supplied planes that didn't crash (Chinook) or go boom (Hercules).

    How about a counter threat - either let us sell OUR planes, or we cancel the order for that stupid Joint Strike Fighter (p.o.s.) and buy something else (Rafale M, or I'm sure that the Russian's would have something suitable)? The UK MP's have already threatened to cancel the F35/JSF's unless the UK gets a full set of details, so this isn't a new idea.

  44. James Butler
    Happy

    Poor Blighty

    Can't make your own planes.

    Can barely make it through a week without losing a disc full of unencrypted data.

    Can't get your criminal divisions to investigate clear violations of your own RIPA.

    Let's just insult the US. It's a lot easier than being constructive.

    Hmm. Hee hee. Have a nice day! Hope it's sunny for ya ...

    Oh ... BTW, the USAF/Airbus deal went through BECAUSE of our equal opportunity capitalism, not in spite of it.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Rooivalk and @StopthePropaganda

    @Rooivalk

    All the more reason for each country (or group - e.g. EU) developing it's own arms - e.g. the French have missiles (Exocet).

    What microprocessors do the Russians and Chinese use ?

    @StopthePropaganda

    "the same BAE thaf f**ked up Heathrow" is inaccurate - that was BA (British Airways) and BAA (British Airports Authority - interesting name as it's no longer British). If it was BAE it would have been way over budget and late but it might have worked.

    Yes, the F22 is better value for money and proven (but production stops in 2010), the su-47 and MIG 1.44 even better value for money. But would the US go and buy any foreign attack planes / helicopters ? The UK hasn't learnt from it's lessons - take the SA80, we should have just bought the M16. The US dictating when / to whom the UK can sell to is just one reason we had to develop our own (and we got it badly wrong) gun. Hence the Eurofighter, someone cocked up in using US tech that allows the US a veto - might as well have bought the F22s then (I'm sure a deal could have allowed assembly in the UK to create some jobs) or waited for the F35 which is a joint US/UK project (10% contribution from the UK) but just look at the US again blocking access to the underlying technology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-35_Lightning_II)

    Oh, and Europe doesn't have a constitution because the countries (especially the UK) don't want to be regarded as one nation; the political landscape is so varied - UK more aligned with Republican views (less right wing than in the US) and France aligned with Democratic views (far more left wing then in the US). In the UK we have Magna Carta and centuries of case law to protect rights of the citizen - OK, not distilled into one concise document but all available (http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/)

    AC because I don't want the CIA showing up at my door at 3am in the morning

  46. trackSuit
    Black Helicopters

    On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

    What a week it's been -rather exciting too.

    Perhaps the impressive planes could be rested with all the others in museums, while this mess is sorted out. If the DES O'Connor joke situation takes too long to resolve, they may well be superseded by superior technology and therefore no longer wanted and the planes will at least be in their rightful place.

  47. Richard Claunch
    Stop

    Slow down and THINK!!!

    First off, HAPPY 10th Birthday El Reg!!! Been a long time reader of all your articles. May you celebrate 90 more!

    Most of the commenters need to slow down and think! If they believe that the US. Government can't do anything about the sale....think again! A stated fact in many of the BAE articles is how much of the work is done outside of the U.K., a good portion in the USA. I can predict (based on previous history) what the USG will do. If BAE thumbs their noses at the injunction, the USG will say absolutely nothing... to BAE.

    What WILL happen is an edict will be sent forth to ALL US companies on the GAO (U.S. Government Accounting Office) list, stating that until further notice, any company on the list (or it's' sub-contractors) will be banned from receiving ANY US government contract if they are found to be engaging in commerce with BAE.This is the old 'stop what you are doing or I'll shoot your dog!' technique.

    It was very effective in punishing Toshiba back in the early 1980s when Toshiba sold computerized 5 axis milling systems to the Soviets and enabled them to silence their submarine propellors. A few hundred million to Toshiba eliminated a couple of billion spent on US Navy sonar development and put thousands of sailors (both US and UK) in danger.

    Back then the edict was zero Toshiba involvement to ANY USG contractor or their sub-contractors! And until it was rescinded, it STUCK!

    Face it, the world is changing for us all! Lessons have been learned the hard way about being lose with technology (remember that in the early 30s Germany got the basic idea and plans for the Stuka right here in the US). I personally wouldn't sell the Saudis a Sopwith Camel, but that is not how our global ecomony works anymore! Kruschev was wrong when he said Russia would sell us the rope to hang ourselves with! Companies like WalMart or BAE will build it in China and then make the sale first!

    If you don't like the situation as it stands then it's up to you to begin a popular movement to change the status quo ( it worked for us in the later 1700s). Either be a part of the positive change, or shut up and stay in your armchairs on the sidelines of life!

    Please fell free to flame/roast/incinerate the uppity Yank!

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sell the damn things

    As an American, and retired military, I think you should sell the damn things if you want to. It's not like the Russians, French, and Chinese wouldn't sell to them if the US or UK didn't.

    Personally, I've never cared for that shit-hole of a country. 15 trips to it, and the exposure to its culture is enough for me not to want to give them our tech anyway. If you look past OPEC, Sharia laws, religious teachings, supporting terrorists, growing terrorists, etc., you might be able to enjoy its drab colors and people smelling of feces.

  49. Graham Marsden
    Joke

    al-Yamamah?

    "Hey, Prince Bandar, you can't ask for bribes and make threats to get us to put this deal through!"

    "al Ya' mamah!"

  50. Never Youmind
    Alien

    Old tricks

    Avro Arrow Anyone?

    The US has used these tactics for decades. Sell the technology you have to whomever will will buy it. They will find a way to buy it otherwise regardless. The window to do so is fleeting, take advantage while you can.

    Fück the US, they're the shadiest characters on the planet right now. Their word isn't worth squat and they can't be trusted to do anything except protect their own backsides. They haven't lived up to a single trade agreement they've ever signed. Screw em!

  51. Solomon Grundy
    Pirate

    Stregnth of the UK People

    I'm not sure why everyone is whining so much about the corrupt UK government. The British gave up their ability (right?) to stop corruption and change the course of the government when they gave up their rights to firearms. Sure, you're safer, but your also completely toothless to do anything at the Crown level anymore.

    Too bad for you.

  52. Pierre
    Joke

    "Euro"fighter?

    So everyone got to build a part of it, but the Brits were just not up to it and outsourced the job to the US? Bad, bad Brits. But the mental image of the US used as a sweatshop for the UK is pleasant though. And that would explain why the thing is so lame.

    Second possibility: "As proved by numerous Holliwood movies, your planes were actually concepted and manufactured by us, so you owe us royalties". Poor Yanks, they're being ripped off by everyone. Like, you know, Linux and all other FS projects being just some re-branded MS or SCO code...

  53. Pierre
    Joke

    @ Gordon Pryra

    "How long can the English people keep their heads in the sand before they are too embarrassed to accept this any longer?"

    I actually think that Head-in-the-sand is the national passtime in England (mind the restriction, I've got friends in Whales and Scotland who might come across this. Coward me. Heck, what would you expect, I'm French after all). An hillarious sketch by the Monty Python, involving an African tiger ^H^H mosquito, springs to mind...

  54. Pierre
    Pirate

    @ Solomon Grundy (firearms)

    Yeah right. We can see how people who still have the "right to firearms" have control over their "democratically elected" government. The "US and A" are a perfect example... sure, you're not safe, your kids are not safe, even at school, but on top of that you are toothless, clawless and pantless (not to mention the "bend over" part. Or the fact that "they" are not even using AstroGlide anymore).

    Too bad for you.

    Now where is the International-ninja-bashing-a-Yank-pirate icon? ARRRRRRRRHHHH back in your face will make it in the meantime. Take that!

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @Richard Claunch

    OK, assuming that did happen, then BAE would have to rely on the other 70% of its business that isn't in the US. Sure it'd hurt... but then so would losing the ability to purchase M2 Bradleys and M113s, which BAES controls access to via its ownership of United Defense. No more "resets" for the clapped-out ones coming back from Iraq/Afghanistan. And the Virginia-class SSN would lose its propulsion systems, as UDI make the pump jet. Oh, and they also make the Mark41 vertical launchers for most of the US Navy's interesting missiles...

    It'd kill the F35 internationally, possibly entirely given that it's intended as an "export F22". While the loss of BAE's ECM, flight control software and other components would be a relatively minor inconvenience, it would tip the balance of the already-way-over-budget project. The UK simply can't afford to lose a £10bn deal for planes it's already committed to buy, so it'd force a reduction in JSF offtake from 150 to zero, with a navalised (STOBAR) Typhoon being used on the CVF instead, and the reduced F35 offtake causing prices to spiral upwards even faster.

    Then there's the fact that BAE is so large it's working with practically everyone in the industry. About the only winner might be Boeing, who might get the KC-X tanker contract on appeal, despite offering a markedly inferior product.

    So, no, it wouldn't be all that sensible to call for retribution. Which is probably why the Spanish got away with ignoring the US in an almost identical situation (selling to Venezuela a couple of years ago).

    AC for obvious reasons.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Back to the Future?

    @James Butler:

    "Oh ... BTW, the USAF/Airbus deal went through BECAUSE of our equal opportunity capitalism, not in spite of it."

    Actually, no. The deal went through because Airbus have a product already in testing by the German Air Force whereas the Boeing offering was a Pie-in-the-Sky derivative of an Australian contract. Airbus were able to demonstrate their capabilities whereas Boeing could only make promises as to what thier bird would be able to do (and how long ago did they have that lovely shiny "SST" model at Farnborough International Airshow? 'Only a few years away from first flight', I think they said?).

    The deal went thorough because the US Air Force looked at the two Proposals and went with the lowest-risk, most flexible airframe. So much of both aircraft are made in and out of America that there isn't really much difference to the work generated for US companies, which appears to have been Boeing's main arguement against the decision.

    (And just for reference, I am not a fan of Airbus, I actually prefer Boeings!)

    @AC

    "Yes, the F22 is better value for money and proven"...

    Um, no. They made a great song and dance about the F22 being the first aircraft developed purely by Computers but then found they should have used the good old "Iron Bird" stress test rigs - the ones where they build an airframe and strap it to a whole load of cables and pull it every which way - as the main fuselage keel beam isn't strong enough for pulling high gee when cornering...

    And so far, nobody except the US Air Force has even been allowed to wargame against the F22 - they took off, "fought", and landed before any other nation's participants were allowed in the air. Publicity shots of missiles intercepting drones do not "prove" much at all.

    "...the F35 which is a joint US/UK project (10% contribution from the UK)..."

    Actually, it's considerably more than 10% from the UK, when you take into account the money we're spending and the tech (both hardware and know-how) from British companies. If the US *did* stop doing any business with BAe, they'd lose a heck of a lot more than just aircraft and a few outdated APCs. BAe now own (what used to be) several large American avionics companies, plus a fair few other businesses that are vital to producing the parts for aircraft.

    If the US did a total embargo on BAe, it would hurt the Americans a lot more than Al Yamamah

    I hope this can be settled amicably as it's so much better when the British and US governments play nice together - there is a lot more in common between us than between most other nations, but sometimes the Americans need to be reminded they do not rule the world even though they are the only real Superpower at the moment, and the British (and Welsh and Scots) (especially the mob in Westminster) need to be reminded we can't just sit back and remember the glory days, we have to keep working ever upwwards or we *will* deserve to be kicked hard.

    Mine's the one with the tracer in the pocket and the infra-red crosshairs on the back.

  57. Raddimus Voracious

    Back to reality land.

    It all seems too simple. A US contractor shouldn't have put controlled tech in to an international contract unless it was with a trusted established buyer and a terms were officially agreed upon. If that is the case then this is all wrapped up. However if this is not the case well I would say that was the US contractors fault. I am presuming the latter. Whatever the case is either someone is trying to cover their tracks and/or pull a swift one.

    Oh yeah, stop with all the F22 silliness. 1st off US doesn't sell the latest and greatest: First the new item deployed US only then a international version is targeted for certain buyers and during this the process of unloading the prior generations is happening. 2nd the Eurofighter is widely considered a 4.5th generation fighter for a multitude of reasons but most would consider the Eurofighter to be the king of the hill for 4.5 gen fighters. Without getting into great detail the US 5th gen fighters are very different platforms.

    FYI anyone see the overview of the DERA simulated study of modern fighters the F22, Eurofighter, Rafale, and MiG-35 were outfitted with the latest weaponry, however the F-15C, F/A-18+, F/A-18C and F-16C are weak configurations which they choose to configure with weak weaponry. Time to gripe on the defense forums. :P

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No buy these instead !

    Hmmm I wonder what the septic tanks will sell the Saudis then ?

    Hear you can have some second hand minute men IIIs instead !

    Uncle Sam - Joseph Stalin would have been proud of you !

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @Back to reality land

    What "DERA simulated study of modern fighters"? Got a URL to that? Sounds a bit old, given that - if this is the same company - it's not existed for a while. It's morphed into the less capable, more US-centric, and much more expensive "Qinetiq" (damned silly name too).

    Nah, if you want a real comparison of the gen 4 planes then go to the "Ace Combat 6 - Fires Of Liberation" forums (*it's a video game). Now there's some real flamings! Seriously (not!) though - give me a Typhoon with the long-range missiles and F22's are dead meat - the Tiffie's just so agile. Quite impressed with the Rafale too - it's my choice for precision ground attacks and anti-ship. F22 cut's it as a "bomb truck" since it can carry more ASM's than the other two. Back to reality... <sigh>

  60. Solomon Grundy

    @Pierre

    What do you mean?

  61. Paul Cooper
    IT Angle

    @ dervheid

    Indeed, I recall the days when a candidate's party affiliation didn't even appear on the ballot paper. I still think it shouldn't; I vote for a person, not a party.

    Who wants to form the world's first NO-party political system? After all, the only reason for political parties (back in the 18th century) was to simplify voting in parliament. Any such reason is long gone; any of the techies reading this could devise a foolproof in-house voting system for the H of P that would allow rapid and frequent votes whenever required. The cumbersome mechanisms of voting lobbies is antediluvian! And I am quite sure we don't need a system any longer that denies half the people in parliament any ability to affect policy. And I am equally sure that a system where Government officials were voted on by the whole body of MPs (as with pretty much any other committee system!), where party officials were banned, including the system of whips, and where the government was entirely the servant of the people's representatives would be welcomed with open arms by the British public.

  62. Stuart Butterworth
    Boffin

    so the yanks didnt bribe anyone?

    The Al Yamamah deals were pretty big, but the Americans secured even bigger deals around the same time - does anyone really think the Septics didnt make any massive payments to various Saudi princes in order to secure the contract?

    And as others have mentioned, it wouldnt be the first time the Americans have told outright lies or otherwise blocked technology that threatened their own aims - lets not forget them convincing the British government to pull the plug on the Miles M52 supersonic test bed, on the grounds that they had proof that the human body couldnt withstand the stresses of supersonic flight - not long after cancellation, the Bell X-1 went supersonic in the US...

  63. Raddimus Voracious

    Left for a short moment and now back to reality land.

    Hello Anon,

    Is was an old DERA study that seems to be largely built to bolster Eurofighter sales, it was released but it was still rated much lower than the F-22. I saw it in Air Forces Monthly a while back.

    Do a google search: DERA Eurofighter You will find it at the top of all the crosstalk.

    2nd: I visited some forum for Ace Combat 6 - Fires Of Liberation. It was as useful as visiting the Gran Turismo forum when my Supra went tits up. I would suggest a subscription to Jane's Defense Weekly or for fun try Air Forces Monthly or Combat Aircraft for info. But if you prefer your defense info from Bradygames or Prima there's little point in arguing, our information resources are hugely divergent and I don't consider those to be valid resources to the argument.

    Think the core issue with this news article is: What are those fishy politicians or contractors doing? My extrapolation is: The writing is in the sand, the traditional procedure for designing and building fighters is being rejected for joint ventures IE JSF and Eurofighter. But the resultant is bureaucratic governments with expectations and differences collaborating with contractors which have been producing based on a very different collaboration model. Imagine dealing with a dozens of departments within in one government before a product is finalized. Now imagine dealing with dozens of nations with dozens of departments and having an expectation to produce a nextgen product at a competitive price. That's not going to come easy on the first try, heck, it may not come at all. A fair portion of the funds will be spent in getting the bureaucratizes to agree on terms and goals. After all these joint ventures it may be the case that the buyers may end up choosing Dassults, Sabbs, Migs and latest US blocks for quantity purchases based on feature/value ratio and buy small numbers of Eurofighters and F-35s. Maybe this joint venture model will be worked out or maybe we will go back to the old model we already know. Until then prepared for the usual excuses.

  64. Joe Cooper

    @Back to the future?

    "The deal went thorough because the US Air Force looked at the two Proposals and went with the lowest-risk, most flexible airframe."

    I like how you started with "actually no" and then wrote a few paragraphs proving the guy's statement. Bravo!

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    You've all missed the point

    The Saudi Arabian Weapons Project was set up within the MOD specifically to sell on American gear to the Saudis because the US couldn't, in the mid-80's, do so itself without upsetting the pro-Israel lobby in the States. This isn't about competition, it's about collusion that's well past its sell-by date.

    Posted anonymously, and not from work, either. See icon.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Anyone remember the F4 Phantom

    The US Govt thought his was a great plane and commissioned McDonnell Douglas to build it, only problem was that it was actually a Hawker Siddley product, designed at Brough in the UK, no probs said the USA just give us the producion rights and we'll build it, job done, what's the betting they'll try the same thing with the Airbus contract at the last minute.

  67. Joe Cooper

    @@Back to reality land

    "Nah, if you want a real comparison of the gen 4 planes then go to the "Ace Combat 6 - Fires Of Liberation" forums (*it's a video game). Now there's some real flamings! Seriously (not!) though - give me a Typhoon with the long-range missiles and F22's are dead meat - the Tiffie's just so agile."

    Well according to Aerofighters Assault, the A-10 can outturn the F-22, F-14, Rafale AND Eurofighter. It can also fly at 1400 knots and has infinite missiles.

  68. Pierre

    @ Solomon Grundy

    Ho my, you weren't joking finally, were you? Then I reckon I might have been a bit cryptic...

    The point is, every single elected person in the US is there thanks to extensive financial support from private interests (that's how the system works). Not to mention conflicts of interests for official gov figures who are also on big companies' payrolls (as consultants, or whatever). It makes it more a bribocracy than a democracy, methink. The fun is, by voting you don't choose which individual will be in charge, but which big business will be in charge. And the fact that they let you play with guns and slaughter each other (or each other's kids) is not really putting you in control of anything, right? Which made the line "The British gave up their ability (right?) to stop corruption and change the course of the government when they gave up their rights to firearms." very, very, very funny indeed. I (wrongly?) assumed that some heavy-duty tongue-in-cheekery was involved.

    Now forgive me if I hurt your feelings. Welcome back in reality though.

  69. Sean O'Connor
    Black Helicopters

    re: US Army Sales

    "It's like with what Boeing did to Concorde in the 70's. Boeing couldn't make an SST even though the government gave them massive amounts to research either directly or through Mitary/NASA. So they basically told congress that they had to ban Concorde flying into the US or boeing would go bankrupt. At the time both Pan-Am and TWA had large orders in for Concorde for the transatlantic route."

    Where did you come up with such bollocks... There was no such thing... French and British airlines use Concordes for translantic flights to the US all the time. The Concordes were only barred from operating at supersonic speed inside of US airspace.

    Now in Febuary 1999 two US Congressmen proposed a bill to ban Concord flights to the US if the EU moved forward on a proposed "Hush-Kitted" aircraft legislation which would effectively bar any aircraft over 25 years old from operating within the confines of EU airspace. And this was after the EU Commission admitted the Hush-kit engines were not any more environmentally friendly than current modern cleaner burning engines. Neither the ban nor the Hush-kitted engine proposals were ever passed.

    Now the US has already stated they have no immediate plans to allow sale or export of the JSF to anyone other than close NATO allies and the F-22 Raptor is barred from any foriegn sales. The Saudi's are not part of NATO therefore not eligible to purchase the JSF.

  70. Mark

    @Solomon Grundy

    "What do you mean?"

    Well, how well did having a well armed millitia help Koresh?

    And how likely is it that there will be a significant group of 'Merkins who want change bd enough to shoot their own people and risk their own death and the death of their families?

    And if there are 10 million protestors marching, the UK police, no matter how armed, will be red paste if they open fire.

    Arms isn't necessary to keep your freedom. Numbers has a magic all of its own.

    PS what you need to do is remove your armies. You never had them and never needed them until WW2.

  71. Nev Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Extraditions all round!

    Can't wait to see the yanks demanding the extradition of some high ranking UK company chairmen. (And maybe some politicians? )

    Maybe uk.gov'll think twice about signing away their citizens' rights with one-sided treaties.

    LMFAO!

  72. Ben Ruset
    Stop

    Let them have the planes

    After all, if the planes are built in the UK they'll probably rust and fall apart -- just like every British car exported to the states has.

    -- Former owner of a 78 MGB, 81 Jaguar XJ6, and a 95 Range Rover Classic.

  73. David Webb
    Gates Halo

    Eurofighter

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isnt the Eurofighter basically an aircraft with parts built in different countries? For instance the engines may be built in the UK but the wings are from Germany and the tail from Spain? Obviously each country will have their Typhoon built to their own specifications, the Germans may want a much different targetting system using their own tech rather than American tech (i.e. tech which fires on Blue on Blue).

    With this in mind, wouldn't it be easy for the UK to just remove the offending parts and insert parts from other members of the Eurofighter consortium? Or just replace it with bits made in the UK removing the US totally from the Eurofighter.

    There is always going to be an option for BAE to just say "sorry fellas, if we can't sell your parts, we'll get the parts from somewhere else".

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    The Real Reason

    Having a little look around I think I've figured out why the US do not want any country to have the Eurofighter, esp. a middle eastern country.

    In simulated tests of the Eurofighter vs the F-22 Raptor, the Eurofighter dominated in dog fights, and also scored wins in BVR, in other words the Eurofighter beat the F-22 down, do the US really want countries to have fighter planes that are superior to any plane the US has? No. In fact the US cancelled the BVR tests after the Eurofighter scored the win.

    http://eucitizens.eu/Forum/index.php?topic=166.0

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    @Ben Ruset

    That's why Europe's roads are dominated by US made cars... NOT

    In the UK, we quit making mass production cars for the reasons you state. Many people now drive German and Japanese volume production cars, and much better they are too.

    Have you got a Rolls Royce, or Bentley that's rusting ? OK, the parent companies are foreign but they are made in the UK.

    Rolls Royce plc make many of the engines for the planes.

    Now that Land Rover is part of Tata expect Quality Assurance (helped by CMM Level 5 thinking no doubt) to improve and you should be able to get a reliable Range Rover... if you have not lost all faith !

  76. Rich
    Thumb Down

    Just cut them in

    I'm sure they'd change their tune if a few key yanks got cut in on the bribe money.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone remember the EAP?

    The EAP or Experimental Aircraft programme was a British initiative and the forerunner of the Eurofighter. A lot of this technology also ended up in the F22 and the upcoming F35 (anyone remember the 'mericans getting funny over handing the Brits some of the technology in that?) so I think it a bit rich of the US gov to be getting a bit picky over licensing at this point...

    Perhaps Britain needs another partner for these major defence projects?

  78. Phil Goldsbrough

    @Gordon Pryra

    Maggie negotiated Al-Yamamah personally. Mark Thatcher was employed as a special consultant on the project and earned a multi-million pound fee.

    The whole thing stinks

  79. James Anderson Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    This wont fly.

    The whole point about the "bribes" is while they are illegal under US and UK law they are legal in Saudi.

    Saudi Arabia is owned by the Saudi family and if a senior member of the royal family asks for cash in exchange for a contract thats just the way it is -- unless the King objects its legal.

    The Suadis were Royally pisssed of when the UK fraud office started investiging and piled on the pressure until the case was dropped. If the US Injustice department tries to investigate the same thing will happen.

    I mean the Saudis may be running a backward fuedel autocracy, but they are sitting on half the worlds oil and they are the only muslim ally the US has.

  80. Mark

    Re: re: US Army Sales

    "The Concordes were only barred from operating at supersonic speed inside of US airspace."

    Well what's the point of SST if it can't go SS?

  81. Mark

    @This wont fly.

    Well, the legal age for consent in Japan is (IIRC) 14. So if I'm banging a 14yo, is that legal? What if I'm looking at nude pictures of a 14yo when the images are from Japan?

    Taking a bribe is legal in Saudi Arabia. But the person giving the bribe was British and it's illegal to give bribes here.

  82. chris
    Coat

    Never stopped the sale of F16's though

    I was there when the F16's were sold and indeed flown by Prince Bandar

    (who left one on the top of a dune having ejected)

    I seem to remember that they definetley had US technology in it at the time.........

    one rule for the yanks, one for us

    or play with their ball and they take it back

    and sulk

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical whiney American attitude

    Can't compete fairly so exploit the law to stop the competition.

    Endemic in US culture.

  84. Simon Painter
    Happy

    With their economy tumbling into the abyss...

    With their economy tumbling into the abyss and either in recession or on the brink of recession they need to keep their markets open. Can't have the UK selling things to the Saudis when they can sell their crap to them instead.

    I love the US/UK "special relationship". Makes me feel all fuzzy inside as we get buttf*cked by our 'friends' over the pond.

  85. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Alien

    FlowurPower2 DreamRakerMaker .......with NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActivity

    Well, I suppose in an Age of Virtualisation of Reality, whenever the Management of Perception which shapes everyones Picture of the World, is just moulded with the Sharing of New Information, the Communication of such NeuReal Knowledge allows for Payment direct to Knowledge Source from Knowledge Recipient, thus cutting out all of the Middlemen/Hangers On/Parasites, who invariably only cause Inflated Pricing to cover their Existence providing Nothing but their Handling of Third Party Intellectual Property .. Money for Nothing and the Chicks for Free... which makes everything more and more expensive, rather than dirt cheap....and has economies tumbling into the abyss...of a System built on Milking Dreams rather than Creating them.

    Time for a ReThink, meThinks, and Investment in Core Dream Technology which dDelivers New Source to Build on and With. ....... ZerodDay DRM Technology/Methodology/Algorithm/ProgramMIng....... Liquid Software for Fluid Application of Proscriptive, as in Highly Sensitive, but Prescriptive, as in Mutually Benficial, Digital Programs and Binary Projects ...... Independent Lead dDutch Initiatives....... and Floating ITself on the Cloud Markets SpacePlace/ITs QuITe Alien Bourse.

    The Markets are Dead .... Long Live the Markets. Now who has the Balls and the Brains to Ring the Lutine Bell ? 1444 hrs.. 080421 .......and counting down/up to see how long IT takes for Change to Register with Men and Women in Control of Mice?

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Actually the whole story is irrelevant

    Saudi wants the deal. It threatened the UK government to get them to shut down the SFO investigation, do you really think they won't threaten the US government as well? They sit on a quarter of the world's oil. They also have US military bases on their soil being used to support Iraq. When they turn around to the spams and explain that the get the jets, or they get the boot out of Saudi, and restrictions on oil imports, who do you think is going to play dead?

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    writing in the sand?

    This whole discussion is more like writing in the snow....

    Your leaders are all merkins...

    Our leaders are all merkins... (I do like that word)

    Your government is full of wankers...

    Our government is full of wankers...

    Your military-industrial is crooked...

    Our military-industrial is crooked...

    Your banks suck...

    Our banks suck...

    Your government spies on you...

    Our government spies on us...

    Your government has traffic cameras (an unvoted tax)...

    Our government has traffic cameras (an unvoted tax)...

    Your government collects DNA...

    Our government collects DNA...

    Your government wants national ID...

    Our government wants national ID...

    Mine's the one with the target on back...I'm going out the back door.

  88. Schultz Silver badge
    Dead Vulture

    @oldredlion

    "The UK Government bends over so as not to upset the Saudi's"

    and the Yanks slap their butt.

    Are there no morals left in the anglosaximperial relationship?

    Will that bird ever fly again?

  89. trackSuit

    Anita Ward

    "Now who has the Balls and the Brains to Ring the Lutine Bell ?"

    I jolly well hope it rings twice this time, to Herald a change to LILO, rather than GIGO. The innings and outings of Paris would be a Welcome change/just cricket game.

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