Does this mean Lewis will finally stop describing the Typhoon as a "pure air-to-air fighter"?
The RAF has blown up two apparently abandoned Libyan tanks using a Eurofighter Typhoon jet in a move which appears to have been motivated more by Whitehall infighting than by any attempt to battle the forces of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The following video was released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) yesterday afternoon, less …
I'm a little confused here, surely giving £12 billion to UK citizens working at BAE systems is better than giving £6 billion to America because the UK workers will spend the £12 billion on council tax, VAT, income tax etc etc.
Isn't money flowing around in the UK economy better than money sent to America and a bunch of new unemployment benefits to pay. Even if we get a crappy plane that only does an average job.
Maybe an economist can enlighten me.
Ideally, if you can save £6Bn then that's £6Bn you can spend on something useful for the economy (or less tax you need to take).
But even if we assume that the government would only waste it somewhere else and "Buy British" regardless, very little of the £12Bn gets back into the UK economy because very little of it goes to pay UK workers. BAe are no more 'British' than BP - except when it suits politicians.
Defence is the only industry where the customer is constrained to buy British (or Euro-collaborative) & never mind the cost, the quality or the lead times involved.
Out of those 12, 9 will end in the USA. BAE is only nominally British corporation now.
In any case, Lewis is probably wrong about the real reason for the shooting spree. The real reason is that the spare parts shortage may make a demonstration at a later day unfeasible.
Isn't it the job of the RAF (and the UK government, for that matter) to buy what *works*...? They are, presumably, going to be using whichever aircraft they buy in enforcing the interests of the UK, and doing that with second-best, ESPECIALLY when top-line kit costs less, is failing at their mission.
Dunno 'bout you, but I'd prefer my government not toss aside pants-loads of cash in exchange for shoddy kit.
Lewis continually makes it, and people continually miss it.
If you want to subsidise industry, then by all means do it, but be upfront about it. Don't do it out of the defence budget. It's things like this that result in no aircraft carriers and too few helicopters and Better Off With Map And Nokia.
Not that I'm expecting things to change.
ah, kinda, but nope not really, because the money was coming out of our pockets in the first place. Basically they are saying
Happy xmas, here is a wee prezzy for you, oh, by the way i had to borrow your money to buy it.
yes some of that money will filter back in to the tax system but in terms of the benifit to the UK economy its a net loss.
Or think of it another way, the previous govenment spent a collosal amout of money on the banks, good for the banks, yes, and good for the people who had money in their banks, but they cant keep giving money out to everyone as they are all ready trillions of pounds in debt, in fact if you think about it, you I and every other tax payer out there who holds money in those effected banks effectively just brought their own money again.
No what would be better is to save as much money as possible now by scrapping this waste, reduce spending and our huge debt THEN reduce taxes, encurrage private sector growth, get companies making crap and selling it off abroad, that is the only way to improve the whole economy. Recycling our money isnt and wont improving anything as a whole, oh except the people (CEOs) and those companies who hold the govenments hands that is.... whoops sorry bit of a rant there! :)
[[I'm a little confused here, surely giving £12 billion to UK citizens working at BAE systems is better than giving £6 billion to America because the UK workers will spend the £12 billion on council tax, VAT, income tax etc etc.]]
If you paid us £6 billion for a bunch of F-18s, where would the other £6 billion not spent go? Wouldn't it possibly remain in the pockets of the UK taxpayers?
Also, I believe part of the problem here is not the question of how much will be spent going forward with the current project vs. switching over to F-18s; it's a question of how much could have been saved if the off-the-shelf jets were purchased at the start, plus also a question not just of pounds cost but also length of serviceability. (I hope I correctly understand Mr. Page's point that the Eurofighters are scheduled to be replaced just about the time they've worn the mold hairs off their tires.)
The one nice thing you can say about all this is that at least this demonstration (probably) didn't kill anyone, as they were nice enough to bomb tanks nobody was capable of using anyway. How perfectly polite! ;)
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The difference is that when you buy abroad, you have no real reason to proceed with purchases, if the military need goes away.
When you develop internally, all sorts of trumped up logic is brought to bear to purchase weaponry of limited use in order to preserve jobs.
That's how Canada is getting saddled with F35s. Not because we need them, but because they will provide Canadian jobs somewhere. Now, we could be getting Apaches and 4th generation fighters instead, but there must be some reason we need to have F35s despite our geographical location. And there must be some reason we will be spending such a huge chunk of our, underfunded, military budget in purchasing a few handful of fighters.
Witness also the US and their struggle to close defense bases and terminate programs even the Pentagon doesn't even want.
Yes, the money that goes to UK tax paying BAE employees will be recycled into the economy, sort of. Some of it will in turn be sent overseas as the employees spend it in various ways.
However a significant portion of that money will end up going into BAE's profits and, effectively, be insulated from paying into the UK. BAE Systems is not really a UK company in a way that means anything - it is a multinational so its employees and tax affairs will be spread across the globe. I wonder how many of its shareholders are UK tax payers...
In effect, giving £12bn to BAE is quite like giving £6bn to an American company....
Also, even putting that aside this is a fallacy known as the parable of the broken window (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window). It would be better to spend the right amount of money on the aircraft and then spend the rest of the money in the right place, rather than hope that spending all £12bn on the aircraft lets the money recycle properly.
Personally, I'd rather see £6bn go to the US for a plane and £6b be spent on local schools.
You're right, it's about where the money goes. The RAF will fly what they are given and do as they are told. Wars are stupid anyway and if it was not for the death and destruction this latest 'no fly zone' folly would be a funny joke. The worst hardware we provide the forces the more unsuccessful their wars will be, which pleases me.
Billions upon billions wasted for no good reason whatsoever, except to fund the retirement plans of MOD mandarins and Military personelle , but dont worry , pretty soon some munchkin will come along , spouting how his brother /sister/father-in-law benefits from having this a job in the UK
While british servicemen die on the front lines due to equipment shortages and the pride of the nation is once more rubbed in the dirt to fund the lifestyles of the arms industry !
I would fill the rest of this with swear words but quite frankly I just want a drink! :(
".....an abandoned unserviceable tank....." Oh dear, old Lewis's converts don't even need assistance pulling the wool over their own eyes, they're happy to do it themselves! Leona needs a reality check. Because, of course, Lewis was able to use his superhuman, intercontinental-range x-ray vision to look inside the tank, confirm it was empty, and also his intimate knowledge of Soviet tank technology (they teach a lot of that on RN minesweepers? Really!?!) to be able to deduce it was an "unserviceable" tank. Of course, the rest of us, just looking at the MoD's video, would only be able to tell that the Typhie found some Libyan tanks at night and successfully smacked them without itself getting smacked, which is not an easy task. For all Lewis knows, they could have been manned and with weapons hot and just waiting the order to move out and attack the rebels the minute those pesky RAF fighters had gone (the Libyan's probably read Lewis's bumph and thought "oh, it's a Typhoon, what me worry"......).
So, once again another useless load of bilge from Lewis, full of exaggeration and bile, and pushing the F/A-18? Puh-lease, whilst the F/A-18 is a good jet, compared to Typhoon it is a dodo in air-to-air, and no better in ground attack either. The real problem around the Typhoon project has always been the meddling politicians, the aircraft is far better than Lewis wants to believe.
I'm not normally in the business of defending people but.....
"The Telegraph reports that the location struck was "an abandoned tank park". "
So it seems highly like that this tank was A. Abandoned (empty) and also B. Unserviceable (probably leading to A)
Also fixed your last sentence for you... "The real problem around the MOD has always been the meddling politicians, the aircraft is far better than Lewis wants to believe."
I think here Lewis and yourself are in agreement, since he is not critizing the jet but the politics.
I not only read the article, I obviously thought about it a lot more than you did. So, the Telegraph has inter-continental-range x-ray vision? Was there a Telegraph reporter on the ground, in place to confirm that the "tank-park" was indeed abandoned and the tanks were definately not useable? Don't tell me, it was in a broadsheet so it must be true!
Since your comment was clearly a rant at Lewis I took it in that context.....
"So, once again another useless load of bilge from Lewis"
The article I was talking about was this Lewis's.... which was an article commenting on the Telegraph article. Of course a good reporter should check sources but how far to take it ? You're correct that really to know something is true you have to be there so I guess you belive nothing you see on tv or read since you were not there ?
Of course not... so now I'm defending the Telegraph article now as well by stating that they covered the MOD report as best as they could.
Want me to defend the MOD too ? Ok, how about the fact that many tanks are all parked in the same spot long enough to be found and taken out in the middle of a war seems pretty likely they were abandoned and not useable. Or are you suggesting the Lybians would park working running tanks all together and not use them even when they could ? Seems a but silly when you have a population + rebels to subdue
<Yawn> So, what you're actually having to say is you don't know for certain, but you THINK they might have been abandoned tanks and MAYBE unserviceable.
"......how about the fact that many tanks are all parked in the same spot....." Really? So in your mind, tanks run around in some kind of never-ending circuit, never needing to refuel or bomb up, or for their crews to get some sleep or chow? And they never take cover in built-up areas in an attempt to avoid UN/NATO airstrikes? The vid shows three tanks (not "many") and some other vehicles, not exactly a massive number. Want to re-think that last schpiel?
".....long enough to be found...." So, in your obviously massive experience, how long do you have to look before you can find a tank? Is there a mandatory five hours you have to put in first before you're allowed to find one? Of course, you might want to consider that the RAF knew they were there because recce or satellites had already found them.
"....and taken out in the middle of a war...." Yes, 'cos modern aircraft blowing up tanks is just so uncommon and unlikley! Did you forget that whole Gulf War 1 and 2 thing, there were lots of vids of US and RAF bombers doing all sorts of nasty things to Iraqi tanks all over the news.
"....And when did we last need air-to-air ...." <Takes deep breath, counts to ten> It's operating a no-fly zone, so air-to-air capability is kinda VITAL. Especially as the Typhies are operating hundreds of miles from the nearest friendly base or support and could conceivably have to face a dozen MiGs if Quadaffiduck decides to give it a go, which means the best air-to-air capability is required. Try thinking, you just failed the last time you needed to do that.
"whilst the F/A-18 is a good jet, compared to Typhoon it is a dodo in air-to-air, and no better in ground attack either"
So in other words you could have the same ground attack capability, without the virtually useless air-to-air capability, for an order of magnitude less TCO per plane? What exactly is the problem with this?
"....for an order of magnitude less TCO per plane?...." Seeing as you have zero ability to define the exact cost per unit of even the basic F/A-18 airframe for an UK order; the cost of the additional avionics upgrades to bring it up to the required RAF spec; or the cost of just keeping the base airframe in service, let alone the additional avionics bits plus training required, I can comfortably state that you are talking out of your rectum. Please try thinking for yourself rather than just accepting what Lewis pukes up as gospel.
Of course you could be right. However the speed which the video came out obviously indicates they want people to know about this success. The timing indicates it's a political move. Pardon us for being cynical about the reality of what we are shown. Farm more important that the jet is seen to be doing a good job than any damage done to any tank no matter how dangerous to the freedom fighters (sorry peaceful protesters).
"Typhoon was built to a specified requirement. Just because the requirement has changed doesn't make the aircraft useless."
No, AC, it doesn't just mean that. It also means the people who developed the requirement are useless.
(AC, you call Potemkine an armchair expert, but you're obviously an armchair expert when it comes to management.)
"......the Rafale is a real usable multirole fighter when Typhoon is useless." Really? So. what extraodinary level of logic did you use to get to that conclusion? Let's compare - Rafale has blown up Libyan tanks, so has Typhoon; Rafale has flown counter-air without engaging any Libyan jets yet, and same for Typhoon. So it looks about even, which implies (using your "logic") either Rafale is just as junk as Typhoon, or you are just a gromless Fwench troll with the weakest of non-arguments. Please go back to the Teletubbies forums until you have grown up enough to participate in adult conversation.
Based on your argument the Rafale is at least as good.
The cost of a Rafale is about 1/2th of the cost of a Typhoon. UK is continuously looking towards having the French shoulder at least some of the cost for the carrier fleet development. The French will use Rafale for their carriers.
All of that adds up to the obvious question - why bother with the Typhoon and the F35 when the Rafale is both good enough for dealing with most dictatorships which have lost the perspective where exactly are they in the pecking order. It will probably be integrated for taking off British carriers before the F35 too.
"Based on your argument the Rafale is at least as good...." Wrong! All it shows is that in the situation so far they are operating equally well. But, the Rafale cannot meet the RAF's requirement for a long-range interceptor. The Fwench already tried offering it to the RAF, the Germans and the Italians and it didn't meet their requirements. Even the RN did consider the Rafale as a cheap option to the F-35, but decided it was a better bet to wait for the unproven F-35 than accept the limited Rafale, and that is really damning as the F-35 is already not considered good enough to replace the Typhie in the air-to-air role. In fact, IIRC, the Rafale as yet to pick up a foreign order, so it seems everyone else is also thinking the Rafale is just not the best option.
> Rafale has blown up Libyan tanks, so has Typhoon; Rafale has flown counter-air without engaging any Libyan jets yet, and same for Typhoon.
To be precise, it's more "one static, abandoned tank" in case of Typhoon, 'tanks and artillery and command centers and ammunition stockpiles everyday" for the Rafale - Oh, and for air superiority, the only Lybian jet shot down was by a Rafale...
So, nice try, little Troll, so sad your fantasy doesn't match the facts
"......Oh, and for air superiority, the only Lybian jet shot down was by a Rafale...." Monumental fail! The Rafale killed a Galeb - that's a subsonic armed-trainer, about the air-to-air equivalent of stepping on a bug! And, as I hear it, the Galeb wasn't even up and fighting, it was landed on the runway when the Fwench "shot it down" ( but missing the other Galeb of the pair - how hard is it to hit a taxiing trainer?). So, not an air-to-air victory. Try again!
...why hasn't anyone outside of France bought one?
Its been beaten time after time in trials in Brazil, India and in Europe. What Lewis and his acolytes refuse to acknowledge is that the Typhoon has sold more than the Rafale. Period. Fact. End of story.
India is going to buy 140 odd with the option of buying more Carrier ready "Sea Typhoons" for their future carrier fleet. India have to buy navalised Russian planes for its new INS Vikramaditya but after that the future is bright and it certainly isn'tthe Rafale.
So now the Typhoon can bomb stuff (which Lewis has repeatedly said it couldn't) and the Typhoon is rapidly becoming a commercial success (which, again, Lewis has repeatedly denied)...
...why are we listening to this fish-head again?
I REALLY want to know what you consider to be big fish when each of these flying managerial retirement funds costs between 189 and 215 million quid.
But I've ranted about BAe before. I'm not going to do it again. I just can't be bothered to waste precious energy when the sad, inevitable truth is that we, the UK taxpayers, will be bent over time and again and duly rogered senseless by the MPs who pander to the frankly laughable idea that by pouring money into BAe, we're somehow creating British jobs.
How much American tech is in the Eurofighter again...?
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Typhoon (along with all the other big spending Gov projects) was never intended to do the job in the sales pitch.
The councils of government, have given up guarding against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military industrial complex aznd just jumped on the bandwagon.
Anyone who believes otherwise after the BAE/Saudi mess is naive.
Quite frankly - with all those big numbers being thrown around it sounds like Typhoon is doing exactly what it was meant to do.
.. and I've seen it before
.. and I'll see it again
.. yes I've seen it before
.. just little bits of history repeating
The first bomb drop from an aircraft (a grenade chucked through the window) was conducted during the Libya war of 1911.
Wikipedia - you owe me a new keyboard
Didn't this start as a No Fly Zone? At exactly what altitude were the abandoned T72's flying?
As regards 'superior BAE equipment'. I suggest we start using dumb bombs made from solid gold dropped from dirigibles crafted from purest unobtanium and piloted by trained unicorns.
Probably work out cheaper in the end than the kit the MOD buys from BAE.
£4 billion for aircraft that will never be used in anger, unless New Zealand invades. What a bargain. (Convincing logic as always Lewis.)
Still, if it all helps sustain US defence (sic) jobs then you have earned the right to be called a US ally.
Bit like the special one way street relationship the UK enjoys with the US - otherwise known as the back passage.
Australia has a bunch of marginally-friendly neighbours within spitting distance to the North.
Hopefully our planes will never be used in anger either.
I figure within my kid's lifetime that China will just take over Oz anyway, cutting out the middle-men who keep digging up and selling bits of the country.
Pre-emptive threatened bankrupting of the USA will ensure they can't afford to intervene.
Hazzah to Lewis, god I love this articles.
Lewis I’m afraid one would seriously have to disagree with you. The Typhoons are not crappy, they’re actually really good shit. What you seem to be doing is comparing them to fighter jets no one outside of America will ever get their hands on and another that we’ll be flying ourselves in a few years. If we compare fighter jets from across the planet would these three not top the list?
Americans may not fear the Typhoon but you’d be fooling yourself if you thought our enemies were in the same boat. A well planned offensive doesn’t need stealth capabilities, radar bases can be taken out from a distance and then there’s always low level attacks, something that worked exceedingly well in the first gulf war. Stealth is only necessary in dog fights and plausible deniability attacks. So what we have then is a bloody good all-round jet capable of air to air and bombing campaigns that short of fighting the yanks puts the shits up our enemies.
Regarding the cost, you once wrote an article on how it was imperative Trident wasn’t cancelled. Do you not see the irony in rubbishing the Typhoons, an MOD purchase that has and will see war time deployment yet you have a serious hard-on for a massively expensive unnecessary weapon that will NEVER (and I cant stress this enough) see war time deployment. And don’t give me that “It’s because it exists that it’ll never be used” line, that may have worked during the cold war era but not any more, Jihadists don’t give a monkeys what we could lunch if we wanted, even should a terrorist organisation get there hands on and use a nuke on the UK we’d still have no legitimate target in which to use it on.
All in all I say go team RAF. If we’ve now got these bad boys dropping bombs then we now have a formidable strike force. I in no way whatsoever condone manufactured death at the touch of a button but at least its good to know we’re at the forefront of this capability.
> What you seem to be doing is comparing them to fighter jets no one outside of America will ever get their hands on and another that we’ll be flying ourselves in a few years.
Two tests between Rafale and Typhoon were made: Solenzara in 2007 and UAE in 2009. the scores are clear:
Solenzara 2007 – Rafale won vs Eurofighter – 8-1 – dogifight
UAE atlc December 2009 - Rafale won vs Eurofighter – 7-1 – 4v4 4-0, 2v4 3-1
IIRC both of those were training sorties where the Typhoon was airborne for training purposes and neither were fair fights. At no time has there been sorties between Rafale/Typhoon/F22 were all were equipped with fully Combat Ready crews, no tactical restraints and told 'In your own time, go on'. You've fallen foul of the French PR machine that as soon as anything as an edge over the other aircraft happens they go singing about how good they are and that they won. They even once claimed Rafale beat F22....
As for Lewis - Your entire article reads like a skewed rant against the RAF when surely the finger should be pointed at Government and MoD, not the boys and girls in blue suits themselves. Perhaps more than a little bitter still that the boys in Dark Blue were unable to justify their horrifically large fleet in the proper manner pre-SDSR and as a result were bent over and spanked come chop day?
Not got the URL, at work. But just a couple of days ago the BBC web site, I think, or was it one of the newspaper sites, had a RAF video of a Typhoon destroying a tank, including the tank firing just before and rather a lot of other vehicles driving nearby, definitely not parked out of the way somewhere.
Wonder why all this American-philes who spend so much time rubbishing their own country do not just move there and join the place paying thousands of dollars per spanner, subsidising Boeing from its own taxpayers (rather than European taxpayers) .....
I have read in several places that the Typhoon is actually rather good, even for the price. Quite what makes an ex-naval type (who left the service, apparently very quickly judging by the knee-jerk juvenility of his views) an expert on the wonders of USA kit, the terrble state of his own country (or is he a closet American?) and apparently utterly ignorant of the rest of European kit, intrigues me.
However, the real point is: what on earth is UK doing still poodling around with expensive miltary adventures when the money and skilled men could be used rather more usefully in our own interests, both at home and abroad? In this respect I admire Austria, also a former empire, that seems to have just accepted that times have changed and got on with being just about the most prosperous country in Europe.
"Wonder why all this American-philes who spend so much time rubbishing their own country do not just move there"
That's at least the second time this week someone has has used words to that effect. The signal to noise ratio from the commentards is quickly approaching the Have Your Say level, at least usenet readers had kill files.
Pint, because I need one...
The Euro-fighter is a bargain compared to the F-35. Current cost, $300million and the Canadians projecting a lifetime cost of $500million, This is years before its going to be ready for service, so its going to cost lots more.
One thing to keep in mind, the US is spending over $20million for Armoured Personnel carriers. So the economics loo a little better when you can wipe out your purchase cost in one sortie.
"Didn't this start as a No Fly Zone?"
No. A no-fly zone was proposed to the UN. The UN (unusually) found a pair of balls from somewhere and uprated that to allow any military action short of boots on the ground, if it keeps civilians safe. Since the safest thing for civilians is to place a quantity of HE up Gaddafi's arse, this is perfectly logical.
A no-fly zone when the problem is tanks and rockets would be pretty damn stupid, really.
Remember the last time there was a credible security threat ( AKA politician anted to be on the today program) a bunch of tanks were parked at Heathrow.
But these were only tiny little baby tanks - no match for T72s.
The euro-fighter and the new carriers must be scrapped and the money used to pay for a battalion of new heavy battle tanks to handle millions of potential terrorists coming through Heathrow armed with T72s
"Isn't money flowing around in the UK economy better than money sent to America and a bunch of new unemployment benefits to pay. "
It would be. But it doesn't.
Today's BAe Systems is mostly a US company, and much of what is spent by UK taxpayers supporting BAe Systems UK management (and occasionally supporting UK engineering and production, and allegedly supporting Middle East bribery till Blair suppressed the inquiry) goes straight out of the UK economy to (mostly) US subcontractors.
Ben Holmes already said this but I thought it worth making more obvious.
BAe, Qinetic and friends, MoD procurement. What a team.
Hey Lewis, when are you going to give us some coverage of the Haddon-Cave inquiry into the Nimrod crash in 2006 Afghanistan? A Government inquiry, published in 2009, that named names, and (iirc) led to arrests (but afaik no court cases yet????)? How often does that happen? Yet not a single word from Lewis? [I'm not the only one to have noticed, either]
Their chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise....
Their two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency....
Their *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope....
Their *four*...no... *Amongst* their weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise....
I'll get my nice red uniform
From posts I've seen now England & France want American help bombing Libya, what can't they both handle a simple task. I expect it from France, criticize the US then come back and ask for help. Don't expect if from Britain, but I guess your MOD has totally messed you guys up.
You need to divest from EU common defense and work on defending yourselves. England probably could have created new planes cheaper and better than Eurofighter (just a thought0
Agreed, we could have done a lot better by ourselves. After all, the original jet the Eurofighter was based on was the BAe EPA, and we could have moved forward with it ourselves without the added expense and delay of working with our European "partners", but the politicians thought it was a good idea as they thought it would generate more European sales. As it is, at least they kicked the Fwench out of the project early on so they couldn't do their usual interference run for Dassault. By and large, British arms projects without European partners (think AS-90, Challenger, Sea Wolf) are cheaper and more fitted to the task required (by the British forces anyway), whilst collaborative projects are a bit of a chancer (think of the failed European projects that led to AS-90 and Challenger).
But even the Euro-sceptic Tories seem just as wedded to the idea of European Forces as Labour. I just love pointing out to supporters of the idea that Europe has a shamefully poor record of agreeing joint action even as part of NATO, and a joint Euro Force would be such a collosal and expensive talking shop as to make the current MoD look frugal and decisive. Just imagine asking Spanish troops to go defend the Falklands when they sided with Argentina the first time round!
It is generally acknowledged that the US military capability is far superior to everywhere on the planet. That bombing Gaddafi into submission is not a "simple task" is why Britain, France and the rest of NATO are looking to the US for help in attacking some of the more difficult targets either with bombers or missiles.
But America's superior military might comes at a price - there was a chart recently in The Economist which put American military spending at above that of the next 10 most well-equipped countries in the world combined. The military industrial complex is bankrupting America and is nicely expressed by Alexander's law which implies that by 2050 at the latest the US will be able to afford one single plane of the latest and greatest. The Europeans realised after WW II that they could not compete with either America or Russia directly so co-operation in all its forms was born, unfortunately also in the terrible way of procuring equipment. Britain required a few spectacular post-war failures (Black Knight, Blue Steel, et al.) to realise that the British defence industry was shit™, And, while we have had our fair share of disasters, some of the stuff actually does do what it supposed to do with budget overruns as much to do with political meddling as industry carve up. The A400M is by all accounts a very desirable transport plane (and quite possibly the end of the "cost plus" model) and the US government would have purchased the tried and tested European refuel vehicle if politics hadn't got in the way. Instead you're getting something that doesn't exist yet but will be less capable if it ever does makes it way off the drawing board.
As for pie in the sky projects that cost a fortune and deliver nothing, need I mention "star wars". US defence procurement is run by Messrs Boeing, Lockheed, Martin, Northrop and Grumman.
It is probably hopeless to try and build some modest level of knowledge into the comments here but occasionally it just becomes too much to endure.
Black Knight was a research rocket and exceptionally successful at a time when space launches were pretty unpredictable affairs.
Presumably you were also not thinking of the successful (and cancelled) Black Arrow or the successful Blue Streak as a first stage launcher (after cancellation as an MRBM), or even the successful (but still cancelled) Blue Water. You might see a Ministerial hand here.
This same "shit" industry also produced and exported Bloodhounds, Seacats and Skyflashes, and provided Sea Darts and Red Tops to successful use with UK forces.
And we are only talking missiles here. There were certainly flubs and the extended development of Blue Steel was one, but to those many people who worked on some fine technology I am happy to give a tip of the hat.
Politics. Realpolitik: love it or loathe it, USA is a large, world power in terms of influence and sponsorship (hmm, same thing?). It can also be very successful in propaganda terms at destroying the best or worst of ventures by others (old now, but Suez is a classic).
So, as in the WW2 (when USA was often ambivalent, even pro-German and many believe that, thanks to USSR and the failure to win Battle of Britain, Germany was all ready beaten, just a matter of time), it is nice to get the USA (or any other dominant, political power) on your side. The best way is to get them actively involved.
Even just a good speech in support is worth getting. I suspect the military help is just a nice-to-have, especially as the Europeans are clearly prepared to go further than the USA (not saying who is right).
I'm not sure why England should be calling for help here. Is Peter Crouch injured?
Oh, wait - do you mean that country north of France? It's officially called The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but because we're friends, you can call us Britain.
If you're still confused, go look at a map, or consult a history book published recently (after the 17th century, for example).
I'm amazed that anyone who doesn't even know what a state is feels qualified to participate in discussions about international politics.
Lewis, i agree with your comments about the complete waste of money that the Typhoons are for the UK government, but i would also like to see an article from you about how the rest of Europe is handling its commitments for the Eurofighters!
I live in Germany, and i've yet to read a single article anywhere critiquing the Typhoons, their cost, or their abilities. Ive also not seen anything about the Italians, Spanish or French complaining. So whats happened (beyond the usual MOD contract cockup) that makes the UK in such a worse off position then the other nations that bought in on the Eurofighter project.
Enquiring minds and all that...
Part of the problem is that the UK is actually using theirs aggressively, if we hadn't then things like not being able to field enough combat ready pilots wouldn't have been noticed.
That combined with attempts to field an air-to-ground capability as soon as possible aren't helping.
Makes you wonder how much air-to-ground capability the UK would have if it hadn't tried bolting it onto the Typhoon and just kept the Harriers in service...
Whenever Lewis talks about buying F18s or similar he always misses one very important point. The Americans always sell crap avionics in their export gear, even when selling to allies. And the front line avionics of the F18 aren't that great anyway. I've watched training dogfights between USMC F18s and Tornado F3s where the F18s got slaughtered any time the dogfights were 2v2 or above; and don't forget that Tornado F3s have the turning circle of the Titanic. There is a strong implication here. It is well known by fighter pilots that avionics become more important the more aircraft there are in a dogfight. 1v1 is largely about the capability of the airframe and to a certain extent the pilot. 2v2 and above is more about improved situational awareness, which largely comes from better avionics.
If we bought F18s we would end up spending the same again getting half decent avionics into them. And that process would take another 10 years.
Typhoons may be expensive and a project that we would be unlikely to start now. But having got extremely capable aircraft with a good avionics fit that is only going to get better, the last thing we need to do is replace them all with F18s with substandard avionics that the Americans wouldn't use themselves, when we know that the US avionics aren't on a par with a piece of crap like the Tornado F3.
As I understand it the USMC aren't renowned for their dog fighting skills as their priority* is supporting the grunt at the pointy end. Against such opposition you'd hope some RAF pilots whose sole job is air-to-air warfare might just come out ahead, after all a good pilot in a bad aircraft will beat a bad one in a good aircraft. Which is why people have beaten F-16s in Phantoms.
*When I say their priority I mean the entire USMC is dedicated to supporting the poor sod at the front with nothing but an M-16.
You are slightly missing the point. The Tornado F3 is so much worse than the F18 at turning and burning that the "better trained" RAF pilots lost in spades on 1v1 dogfights, but won in spades on 2v2. The RAF Pilots I spoke to explained this to me as much better avionics giving them improved situational awareness; and also having a 2 seat aircraft. In combat, the back seat ballast can actually help to improve situational awareness a huge amount. Obviously the RAF crews claimed they were better trained as well, but none of them claimed that was the biggest difference, they all put better avionics at the top of the list.
The reason for this difference isn't obvious, but let me explain. In a 1v1 dogfight in the real world, you have 2 opportunities to engage. The first is with radar guided missile which is often beyond visual range. This is essentially all about who has the best missiles and pretty much nothing about the aircraft. If this phase fails (which it often does - missiles aren't perfect) you go into a real dogfight. In 1v1 this is all about who can turn the fastest to get a nose to tail shot with heat-seeking missiles or guns. Essentially each aircraft will fly corkscrews around the other as they each try and turn in. With different aircraft this is usually about the airframe capabilities. With the same aircraft types this is usually about pilot skill.
In a 2v2 engagement though you have a single huge game changer. At the start of the dogfight (i.e. after radar missile engagements) the aircraft will pair off and start dogfighting. But at any point during the dogfight it might be advantageous to switch who you are attacking, or to gang up on a single aircraft if you can do so without putting yourself at a disadvantage. Deciding when and how you can do this can be massively supported by avionics. Both avionics in a single aircraft, and inter-aircraft communication systems. If you have support from a radar bird, like an E3, then it is even more crucial to have the best avionics fit. As an example of the sorts of avionics that can help, if you can see your wingmans radar picture in your cockpit, this can be a huge advantage. Even better if you can overlay both radar pictures. This can be a game-changer.
Firstly, is Lewis really Simon Travaglia moonlighting? It would explain so much.
And now the science - there is no denying that some compromises have been made in building Eurofighter, it's why it is later than planned and went over budget. But it is disingenous to persist in the claim that Typhoon is purely an air-to-air fighter; that was the capability that was given the highest priority as that was deemed the greatest need. Typhoon has had for 3 years an "austere" ground attack capability - for austere, read the ability to self-designate and deliver sophisticated laser and GPS guided bombs, exactly what is needed in this instance. Rafale has experienced all the same problems, and overcome them in similar ways - the major difference is that the French technical and general press are rather kinder to their own national projects.
The constant references to the stealth capabilities of the F-22 overlooks the fact that Typhoon is actually pretty stealthy in it's own right, even though this was not a driving factor in the design brief. The only aircraft that betters the RCS of Typhoon is Raptor, and there are rumours that at certain angles Typhoon is better. It certainly has a lower RCS than Rafale, by a factor of 2-3, and way better than any of the F-18 series by a factor of 6-8; to put this in more perspective, the RCS of Typhoon is about the same as a box of cornflakes, that of the Hornet a medium sized TV.
So please, can we stop bashing Typhoon, it's doing the job asked of it, as well as (if not better) than any alternative & will only improve over the years.
The typhoon is good at what it does - up to an extent... thats not what is being discussed here. Its a matter of getting value for money. And in that, the Typhoon doesnt look so great. Its like paying for a Lancaster and getting a Whitley (aka 'the flying barn door). They both did a similar job, but one was vastly more capable than other other.
We could probably get a good deal on the SuperHornet - trouble is, we are going to get the American 'monkey model' version, which means pound for pound (in both senses) the deal might not be as good as we are lead to believe, the avionics on the Tornado were known to be much more effective that the American kit, but on the principle of KISS the Tornado's kit was much more maintenance intensive.
As to whacking a couple of T72's the more you whack the less there are to whack you - and as far as I know there is no heavy armour on the ground, so even though these tanks are naff in comparison between the leopard/abrams etc, when you are fighting an enemy that doesnt even have a mark 1 mother - any tank is a good tank...
I dont think the right decisions were made with Typhoon - I'd suggest that an upgraded version of the harrier (maybe a twin engined model, ironically that was the planned original version). But im not one of the poor sods who have to make the decisions.
Typhoon has gone the same way as all other government procurement. Private industry has learned fast that you set a requirement, build a spec, get a price in writing, and build what you asked for in the first place. Government just doesn't seem to get that. They get the price in writing, and then when it's actually being developed by the manufacturer they start dicking around on the spec. Constantly.
An a (rough) analogy, it's like going into the Volkswagen dealer, haggling out an excellent price on a nice mid-range Passat, and only *then* going down the options list ticking every box on the way. You'll get reamed by the end.
If the Typhoon had been built to its original contracted spec, I expect the unit cost would have been fairly low, but companies like BAE have teams of lawyers writing up the contracts so that when (inevitably) changes are made the bill goes sky-high.
Knowing someone who is (still) working on part of the Typhoon, he reckons the spec changes constantly, and he just does his best to make his part meet the floating target. His BAE paymasters are likely charging man-hours on the project. I know I would if I could get away with it, and I know I'd try to get the contract lawyers to have that clause slipped right in at the start. That's how companies make money.
I'm as peeved as the next person at the fact that the RAF are spunking my hard-earned tax off on a despicably wasteful project, but much as I give my friend a hard time I can't honestly blame BAE for doing what a successful company should do.
absolutely, They are a company trying to make money, but as you pointed out, everyone else isnt plain stupid and wouldnt get them selves in to a situation like our govenments have.
I think, very very slowly people are starting to realise that the govenment doesnt have its own money, it takes ours, so the question we should be asking is, would you go shopping and hand over a blank signed cheque?
Clearly the RAF should not be in the business of spending money on shiny new toys, and then throwing them away before anyone can fly them.
However, in the case of the Tranche 1 planes, the article did not address whether those planes are up-to-date, or so seriously obsolete that they would be outclassed in the battlefield. If the latter, sending pilots into battle flying those planes would be a false economy, "saving" nine-figure sums at the cost of human lives.
Also, if they're mothballed instead of scrapped, they would be available if some conflict came up requiring a lot of planes, in which case a B group could make a worthwhile contribution against the softer targets.
The business of the military is to fight and win, and doing that does get expensive. You need to keep some of the latest kit on hand, and, with luck, it does become obsolete before you have to use it in anger.
It's the RAF fucking us about here, they want the next new toy on the block and are worried that they are going to be told "you've got the Typhoon to do the attack work, play with that a while, we can't afford the F35". So they have been dragging their heels on making and keeping the Typhoon mission worthy and have been caught out. The Typhoon is so expensive because we have been playing technological catchup with the Americans and are now spreading the cost between far too few airframes. The RAF should be told to sort out its Typhoons, get pilots trained and qualified and that it had better show that it can do that at a decent cost and availability ratio before it gets any more toys to leave broken in the chest. If we seriously need some hardened low tech attack planes for the likes of Afghanistan some NATO compatible SU25's would do the job perfectly and cost a fraction of the bill for a bunch of unnecessary F18's that Lewis pines for. We could even get some nice cheap Polish and Czech ready trained type qualified pilots to go with them. Ultimately we should merge the RAF with the major European airforces to form a unified European air defence force. If we need to keep a UK sovereign force for intervention then it should be a single one with a capability modelled on the US Marine Corps.
The devastating attack is actually on British taxpayers--the security guard at the abondoned Libyan tank park is just collateral damage :)
As for Parliament, I'm afraid that those guys are really on the MOD's side, rain or shine, hit-or-miss those parked tanks. They might squawk a little about cost overruns to gin up some votes, but when the time for action comes they know which side their bread is buttered on....
Paris, because like the Typhoon she's sleek, dangerous and an atrociously expensive night out :)
... any Typhoon, Rafale or Hornet that been even trialled with an air launched STD capacity...
Or is that coming in the next upgrade...?
You can imagine the advertising jingle - "Typhoon - from craptastic to claptastic in £3.5 billion"
I'll just be getting the coat then...
"A US company? Most of the employees and sites are UK based."
The BAe Systems plc and BAe Systems Inc financial reports of recent years speak of around 100K employees worldwide, of which over 50K are in the USA. Feel free to look it up.
There aren't many people who would take that to mean that "most of the employees are UK based".
It also depends on how you count employees. When I used to visit BAe sites, e.g. Warton, there were frequently huge numbers of US employees flown in for a few years for specific projects. Do they show on the books as US employees, or UK employees? Which are they, really?
Revenue figures also show that since FY2006, BAe Systems Inc is half (more recently, more than half) of BAe Systems as a whole.
BAe Systems plc is not allowed to see the detail of the stuff that BAe Systems Inc are doing for the US DoD.
They used to be called British Aerospace. Then they changed their name to BAe Systems.
Etc. How much evidence does it take?
Anyone with a clue still really believe that BAe Systems is a UK company?
Typhoon...one of BAE's more profitable weapons systems. We get them at cost plus ten billion percent. Who gives a stuff if they don't do what the buyer wants , the MOD have guaranteed BAE a revenue stream for the next fifty years.
That about sum it up?
I think the next tactical bombing should target they shysters at BAE.
If Australia is presumably adding decent avionics to the F18s we're buying, why can't the Queen just ask nicely for the package? Would make a nice wedding or coronation present for the boy who has everything including military training.
Mine's the one with the cracked-handle from the Charles and Di mug stuck in one corner of the pocket.
Oooo dont forget all the rumors and half whispered truths about OZ technology.
The Collins fiasco, where they were having trouble shooting a torpedo, cause of all the BSOD issues, I think they ended up buying german kit. Mind you there was a juicy rumor that our intelligence agencies did steal, um procure, decent avionics code...
Give it up Lewis, you are like a broken record. You have ZERO evidence to suggest these tanks were not in use, you simply made it up to add weight to a very flimsy article.
You also conveniently forget the Typhoon was always meant to be a swing role aircraft but the priority was for it to replace the F3, which is has done (last F3 Sqn was disbanded last month) hence why the priority was given to the A2A role.
You also forget that despite its age the Gr4 has modern avionics so there is no shame in Typhoon not being up to standard yet as they are still working on the relevant clearances. As the Typhoon and Tornado are made by the same company then the avionics are actually quite similar so if it works on the GR4 it will work on the Typhoon. Arguably this real issue is the sheer amount of testing, signatures etc required to get the Typhoon cleared but that is sadly the modern risk adverse culture we live in.
As some of the more intelligent people have already commented buying out of date F18 with worse avionics would not work out cheaper. But I suppose “buy American” is your default answer to everything until you get that PR job for Boeing you have been chasing for years.
The simple fact is the Typhoon is doing an excellent job and functioning as a swing role aircraft that is capable of matching anything that can Libya throw at it in the air and is taking out tanks for fun on the ground. You can argue it worked out expensively due to all the political garbage but you can not argue that it is a bad aircraft. Politicians would happily mess up any procurement so blame them not the Typhoon.
Not sure about that - while Eurofighter gmbh are still scratching their heads working out how to fit AESA in the nose structure without having to fundamentally redesign the whole aircraft, Boeing have been fitting it as standard since 2005.
Not sure what "good job" you think the Typhoon is doing - in the 15 years since it should've been in service, we've been fighting 2 wars, enforced multiple no-fly zones, prevented an inter-ethnic civil war and (belatedly) brought an end to an earlier one. In that time, the Typhoon has taken out 2 stationary tanks, which may, or may not have been crewed, armed and serviceable. Oh, and they have gloriously sat on the apron at RAF Mount Pleasant ready to meet the mighty onslaught of 63 Argentine Mirages and A4s...
And your idea that the avionics package from the Tornado will slip easily into the Typhoon just because they are made by the same company (which, btw, they're not - both were made by a hotch-potch consortia of multi-national defence contractors, which is why we have only 8 Typhoons in Italy for the Libyan escapade, and, according to ACM Dalton, that's "stretching the RAF to the limit") is exactly the kind of naivety that led to the Nimrod MRA4 fiasco.
The Typhoon was never designed from the outset to be a multirole aircraft - again, it came about as some b*stard child of 4 (originallly 5, but the French pulled out to build the Rafale on their own, to fill the criteria they placed in the tender contract, on time and on budget) nations' own separate defence requirements - in our case, dating back to the early 1970s.
But, what the hell? we've got the thing now - and yes, the Typhoon probably out-flies a Super Hornet in a dogfight (it can't shoot it down, of course, because the RAF doesn't arm the onboard cannon. Remember that piece of MoD stupidity? they were gonna take it out, to save on cost, but realised it's such a finely balanced thing that they'd need to insert the equivalent weight in concrete to preserve its cutting edge flight characteristics, so they put the cannon in but said they wouldn't buy the shells to make it work), and yes, for long range patrol and interception missions over the North and Arctic Seas, it does have better range than the Super Hornet (the reason some Aussie MPs questioned their country's procurement of the Boeing as a stopgap measure between the F-111 retirement and point at which the F-35 comes online). However, to spend 7 times the amount of money per plane just to defend against the 1950s threat of a massed wing of Tupolevs heading over the ice for London is ridiculous. First up, you may have noticed, the Cold War is over, and secondly, if the Ruskies were gonna hit us, they'd use one of the six thousand ICBMs they have, not by relatively slow-moving, easy to intercept nuclear bombers. BUT - if you really are worried, having 2, if not 3, carrier battle groups in an advanced position off the coast of Norway would make a handy outer picket, don't you think? Of course, we couldn't use Typhoons on them, because we didn't fancy including that requirement in the invitation to tender back there in '83, prob cos a year after the greatest demonstration for the necessity of a carrier force since Pearl Harbour, the Tories didn't think we needed a next gen carrier air force.
The trouble with Typhoon was it got overtaken by events, and is now an expense we could seriously done without. And for what it's worth, I think the JSF project is looking sadly the same. But, we've got the Typhoon, now, so we may as well put it to good use. Personally, I'd like to dodge the bullet on JSF, and buy the Saab Gripen NG instead. If the Swedes get the sink rate down it would make an excellent double purchase for the RAF and FAA. It's true multirole, is able to operate away from main airfields and with minimum ground crew so is ideal for expeditionary missions to backwoods-type countries (i.e. Afghanistan, or rapid deployments to Italy), and for the FAA, it's STOBAR capable, which means we could make a case to the Treasury to let us keep the QE II operational, without having to rip out the ski jump and install catapults at tremendous extra cost like the Prince of Wales. Oh, and one last thing - it's cheap! And Saab will probably bend over backwards to support us, knowing it's a huge order and the prestige of equipping the RAF and FAA will also help win them more work with decisions to be made in the Brazilian, Indian, even Japanese fighter competitions...
The Gripen is in the same boat as the Rafale (and the F/A-18, and the F-16, and even the F-35 and Su-35 "Flanker") - it's considered a cheaper but less capable option to one of the real top-end fighter choices, the F-22 or the Typhie. If you're going to go for the cheaper option to save costs on the basis you can still get away with it for 95% of the UN "peacekeeping" tasks, you might as well buy the much cheaper and just as capable single-seater Hawk 200 series, which actually has the same basic radar as the advanced versions of the F-16. The Hawk is also totally British built (or assembled at least), so protects British jobs and there is no need to faff around with European "partners". It also shares a number of parts with existing RAF Hawk trainers and has been proven in use by a number of foreign air forces. The Hawk has also already been checked out with all the weapons likley to be used in the role, with the possible exception of Brimstone (not sure if that has been tested on the Hawk but they can use Mavericks as an option). As has been pointed out, it could even be navallised with the knowledge put into developing the T-45 Goshawk carrier trainer for the USN (please, Septics, do tell us again how much you enjoy having a British trainer in use by the USN?). The Gripen offers none of those advantages, so would be a very poor choice.
Regardless of the support for the British industry, and the lucrative Eurofighter export business that is being developed...
Reapers are about $10M USD each. Hellfire missles, while much smaller than a 500 pound Paveway, are about $60K USD each.
Why even put $100M + planes in the air to shoot at parked tanks? Even if the tanks were crewed, and in motion, a T-72 doesn't have anything to threaten a Reaper, other than a single heavy machine gun.
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