back to article Ex-CEO says BAE's British future 'in doubt'

The just-retired chief executive of BAE Systems plc has once again suggested that the company will move to America if it doesn't get what it wants from the British Ministry of Defence. Mike Turner also admitted that the controversial Eurofighter superjet is far from fully developed, calling on the MoD to "finish the job" and …


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  1. Daniel Wilkie

    It seems to me

    If BAE don't like the idea of cancellations, and prefer the DIS, then cancellations are the best option for the UK taxpayer and the worst option for BAE, as the two are directly opposed.

    Seems obvious what to do there really.

  2. Neil Hoskins

    Kick 'em out and good riddance

    The rot set in when GEC/Marconi under Weinstock was allowed to get cash-rich by not investing then swallow-up Plessey. All I seem to have read about since then is about billions and billions being poured into the remaining monopoly so that we can wait years for a de Havilland Comet, a radio set that weighs as much as a beer barrel and doesn't work, and a fighter plane that fulfils a role that doesn't exist any more. Just how arrogant are these people to think that the taxpayer should keep pouring money into a business that has clearly failed in anything it has undertaken for the past twenty years?

    Let's get rid of them once and for all and set up alliances with European and American companies that actually know what they're doing.

  3. breakfast

    Well done UK Governments of the last 20 years...

    It's amazing the savings our government has been able to achieve by privatising all our defence R&D work isn't it?

    Just more proof, that the market always gives the best possible solution to any problem.

  4. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    European acquisitions? And future role - services?

    Let's see - BAe had a choice of buying into the organised, US market with virtually guaranteed US orders for the Iraq war, serving four monster customers (US Army, USAF, USMC and USN), long-term technical advantages, and all in one language. Or it could buy into the fragmented, highly-politicised, union-bound and unproductive European market, where they would have to battle with up to a dozen European agencies and governments serving minnow orders to local forces, all with different languages, laws and often incompatible agendas, and that's before we even get round to considering the French! To me, their move to the US market makes perfect business sense.

    If we ever get round to a major shooting war again (what am I thinking, Obummer will bring peace and love to all mankind!), then we will actually be short of people - trained pilots and groundcrew. Aircraft could be sourced relatively quickly from the US if required, but trained people can take years to reach the point of usefulness. We could make a long-term investment in people if the UK government invested in and switched a portion of the RAF to a services model, and we actively sold our people's services to third-party air forces. We already sell them the kit and training, why not let them outsource their staff requirements to us too instead of letting BAe and semi-official mercenary outfits of the Sandline ilk do it? Plenty of ex-RAF types retire from the RAF and then go on to earn a very good living flying and serving aircraft for people like the Omanis, Kuwaitis and Saudis, why not offer them the same product whilst it is still fresh and young and at a uniform rate? And why stop at the RAF, we could do the same for the Army and Navy. Our European "allies" don't seem to want to send their own people and kit to support NATO or UN actions, why not let them fulfil their obligations by hiring them our people and kit at a fraction of the political and economic cost of maintaining their own forces? Hey, we could even hire Lou Gerstner to run it, and have International British Military Global Services.... (OK, maye that was a bit too far!)

  5. Arclight

    Move to the USA

    Would they really move to the US? The same US that wants them turned over for the alleged bribes paid to the Saudi's?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Won't work (for long).

    It may be a surprise to many, but the USA actually has laws about the ethical conduct of companies and their employees, and even more remarkably, occasionally these laws are used and enforced. Any UK employee of a US corporate likely has to have the usual "ethics" training. When Peter "two resignations" Mandelson visited here (a UK sub of a US outfit) after his miracle resurrection a few weeks back, it was suggested that someone ask him about his ethics training and his views on the avoidance of perceived conflict of interest, as per the local company training. Sadly it didn't happen.

    Anyway, conduct which BAe have been able to get away with in the UK would, on paper at least, be actionable in the USA.

    Summary: they're bluffing.

  7. James Anderson

    Nationalise the arrogant p***ks

    For decades tax payers have dished out wodges of money for overpriced kit that doesnt work.

    Time for some payback.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    Why not let these fat cats move to the States? In a few years they'll probably be whining for a bail-out like the rest of the over-subsidised, inefficient US industrial complex.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Can we fire the MoD?

    >For decades tax payers have dished out wodges of money for overpriced kit that doesnt work.

    >Time for some payback

    >Why not let these fat cats move to the States? In a few years they'll probably be whining for a >bail-out like the rest of the over-subsidised, inefficient US industrial complex.

    Informed comment as ever..

    When the MoD rolled out DIS the deal was that MoD would spend cash if industry would foot some of the bill. BAES trusted them and invested £100s of millions of pounds making structural changes.

    The MoD's response? "Oh yeah, sorry, DIS, that was so 2005."

    At every stage of any project the MoD manage to fuck things up, it's almost as if they try to do it. The idea of selecting a product they want, paying for it in good time and receiving it, is alien. Instead they change their minds as the go along, try to slow down deliveries, cut numbers, slash budgets then blame the company when the whole project goes down the pan.

    I can see why BAES wants to pack in it, the UK is no longer worth the hassle and if they can crush the economy with job cuts on the way out then hey, that's what the govt deserve.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Surely BAe would find a warmer welcome somewhere nearer to home, such as, say, Saudi Arabia?

  11. Daniel B.

    BAE in the US

    Surely, they wouldn't be able to keep the company's name, would they? The B in BAE stands for "British", no use in that if they're in the US!

  12. Paul Lee
    Thumb Down


    I worked for BAE Systems from 1999 to 2006. After the merger with Marconi Electronic Systems, the "B", in fact the whole of "BAE" was written to mean absolutely nothing. We were even order to write the name in block capitals (BAE SYSTEMS) until we were told otherwise a few years later.

  13. George

    Another short termer on here...

    The Eurofighter is not built to combat the threats here and now, as is no sigificant military hardware, that would short sighted and leave you open to a wide range of unanticipated threats.

    You wouldn't say "we don't need any tanks because al-qaeda haven't got any" would you? You build the best you can afford and then adapt your tactics.

    In fact this short sightedness is what led to huge amounts of Snatch (snigger) Land Rovers without a capable armoured vehicle for other operations. Fair enough the error has been spotted now but lives have been lost.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    "Great" Britain

    If BAES goes then we might as well disband the armed forces and accept that we're a damp, impotent island somewhere off the coast of Europe.

    Something like half of the Sovereign Capabilities in the DIS are wrapped up with them and, while capability can be bought in relatively cheaply now, expecting that to remain the case forever is lunacy. Just ask Freddie Laker. Dropping prices to gain a Natural Monopoly, and then raising them again is unfair, but who do you cry to? Is the EU going to "make" US companies charge fair prices?

    With Sovereign Capabilities gone, the prices will steadily rise until we can afford about the same level of international operations as Belgium or Ireland. And to regain those skills will take decades and billions of pounds - we'd be in the position of India or China 20 years ago, only without the manufacturing capability. Just like with nuclear power - we used to be able to build reactors, now we'd have to buy them from France.

    Maybe we should take a leaf out of the Somali's book, and turn to piracy?

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