back to article British arms dealer BAE behind F-35 electronics first in line for US CHIPS funds

British arms dealer BAE Systems will be among the first beneficiaries of the $53 billion US Chips and Science Act. The US Commerce Department on Monday announced a preliminary memorandum awarding $35 million funding to modernize BAE's Electronic Systems division's Microelectronics Center. And technically speaking, it's BAE …

  1. Michael B.

    Not British

    It's not the British company that is getting the money it's BAE Systems Inc which is run at an arms length from BAE Systems Ltd. with a separate board of directors and Inc even has a UK subsidiary.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Not British

      But fully owned. A necessary front to operate in the USA. The financials are connected but tech is only shared one way.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not British

        And all the communication ends at the NSA...

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      It is British

      We're right and you're wrong, as pointed out above. BAE Systems Inc is the US arm of the very British BAE Systems PLC.

      Source: https://www.baesystems.com/en-us/our-company

      C.

  2. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Talking about the F-35, there was an interesting report from the Norwegian National Audit Office

    he F-35 Fighter Jet: The Ministry of Defense Has Done Too Little, Too Late.

    The SAAB Gripen was eliminated from the competition vs the F-35 because it was deemed too expensive. Now it appears that the Norwegian Defense ministry slightly underestimated the costs of maintenance of the F-35 fleet: it's now NOK 349 billion instead of NOK 145 billion. Dassault and Eurofighter withdrew from the competition because they doubted the ministry would consider something else than the F-35. It seems now they were right, the competition was biased from the beginning.

    1. Binraider Silver badge

      It does rather remind me of the F-104. That "successful" it was not heavily adopted by the US, but it was aggressively sold abroad into roles it had no business being anywhere near. The Luftwaffe using it as a maritime strike fighter? Madness. Could not get a less suitable aircraft for the job if you tried. (Thankfully the IDS Tornado was much more useful in the role).

      The difference here is that the F35 "really is" all that. The stealth capability and situational awareness are purportedly on a whole other level to anything else. Gripen flies well, has a good radar and weapons suite, but is not nearly as capable on the low observables front; which means it isn't the offensive capability that the F35 is. As an interceptor, it's fine. But taking the fight into enemy territory? Gripen is as vulnerable as anything from the 1980s.

      The same can be said of the Typhoon, a very 1980's jet that really only entered service in the late 90's.

      Some interesting rumours surfacing from Japan of late. Mitsubishi are known to be working on the successor to the FS-X (itself a fantastic F16 derivative - and relatively comparable to Gripen). With the F22 disallowed from export, the rumours are that they have approached Northrop-Grumman to resurrect the YF-23 airframe as the basis of their 5th/6th gen. A lot of people in the know thought the 23 was the more capable aircraft than the 22. Certainly more stealthy; the comment has been made that America got second best out of that competition. Getting it to production would be quite something.

      I'm not sure how that plays out with the BAE Tempest programme that Britain was supposed to be jointly engaging with Japan on. There's possibly some outside crazy scenario where the Tempest is the same project.

      1. the spectacularly refined chap

        The difference here is that the F35 "really is" all that. The stealth capability and situational awareness are purportedly on a whole other level to anything else. Gripen flies well, has a good radar and weapons suite, but is not nearly as capable on the low observables front; which means it isn't the offensive capability that the F35 is. As an interceptor, it's fine. But taking the fight into enemy territory? Gripen is as vulnerable as anything from the 1980s.

        The same can be said of the Typhoon, a very 1980's jet that really only entered service in the late 90's.

        This strikes me as being after drinking too much of the military industrial kool aid. The US arms industry in particular like to portray their latest toys as the ultimate superweapon and anything else is hopelessly obsolete. In reality a lot of the time the latest developments are fringe benefits applicable in limited cases.

        In this case you portray stealth as the be all and end all. It isn't. It's expensive for a start so a given budget gives you fewer jets. Stealth also severely compromises the weapons load, sometimes as much as 10:1, so you actually need more jets to do the same job. This is for a benefit of limited value - if you have air superiority you don't need it. Even if you don't (at least initially) Desert Storm showed that radar jamming effectively blinds the enemy and radar homing missiles made many SAM crews reluctant to even turn on their radar in the first place.

        Then there's the simple maintainabilty - have those criticisms about the sheer number of F35s out of service at any one time passed you by? Even the US Air Force struggles to maintain it, and even in peacetime. Yes, it's a hugely complex aircraft but stealth especially is a detractor in anything other than the first wave of battle conditions - it's a lot easier to repair a bullethole in an aluminium panel than it is in its radar cross-section friendly carbon fibre equivalent.

        One other reflection from Desert Storm - the US military made much PR of the Nighthawk and onboard camera foootage. In retrospect it was British/German/Saudi Tornados that did the bulk of the heavy lifting on account of their longer range. What good is stealth if what you actually need is a bigger fuel tank?

        1. Binraider Silver badge

          I get where you are coming from with different aircraft for different jobs. For CAS and Interdiction of the Taliban, you don't want an expensive to operate F35 or Typhoon. Strong argument for something really basic like the BAE Strikemaster being much more useful in that role, especially if thrown in in numbers. (Or, of course, drones!)

          In Iraq, the heavy antiquated air defences were largely suppressed by EW. Roland was the only really modern threat and responsible for at least one Tornado shootdown. The F117's were sent in with enormous EW support; not left to their own capabilities. The Nighthawk shootdown in Balkans perhaps adds strong argument to providing layered defence rather than blindly relying on one capability alone.

          But a cursory look at Ukraine will show that in the face of modern air defences; without stealth, neither side can effectively operate inside hostile territory. ARM's haven't proven decisive. Possibly an issue of numbers - though they were not decisive in Vietnam either with SA2 causing grief right up to 1975 despite the mass deployment of the shrike, standard ARM and dedicated wild weasel operations. In the absence of air superiority, there is also an absence of CAS and interdiction which has resulted in attritional stalemate. Tornado would be utterly useless there. Gripen would be fine operating as an interceptor over home territory, but similarly useless on the offense. F35 in Ukraine would completely turn the balance upside down in this regard. Stealth is exactly what is needed to break the back of those complex air defence networks. Mass saturation with cheap equipment to force the expenditure of the AD equipment is another approach of course. Given events in the US Senate recently a strategy that might pay off for the Russians.

          The F16's, if they ever make it to Ukraine in time, unless ARMed to the teeth with HARM are likely also going to be limited to defensive roles, which doesn't break the statemate.

          On maintenance costs; plenty of ex-RN and RAF aircrew have made similar observations about the unreliability of the Typhoon. See Cmdr. Paul Tremelling's book, amongst others. The fact of the matter is any modern jet is a horribly complicated beast; if you want the capability you have to invest in the engineering staff and supply chain to maintain it. Buying the jet is not the major cost in this equation.

          Plenty of good books out there on the subject, to say nothing of endless VT and interviews with aircrew and the people actually doing the job. Before dismissing stuff as "kool aid", maybe consider reading up. DCS also gives a pretty strong flavour of everything I describe above too, if you prefer something more hands on.

          1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

            I watched a vid yesterday about the Hurricane. The Spit was a better aircraft in many ways but lightly damaged Hurricanes could be repaired with linen and dope and be back in the air the next day. Don't the UK F-35s have to go to Italy for some maintenance tasks?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As with all of Biden's giveaways

    The money will take decades to do any good if at all. Meanwhile Biden will crow about all the amazing things he's done to turn the economy around while people starving in the streets are realizing they never knew they were that well off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As with all of Biden's giveaways

      And what pray tell did the Republicans do on this front?

      Absolutely fuck all.

      Take your sanctimonious lecturing and shove it up your arse.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As with all of Biden's giveaways

        "what pray tell did the Republicans do"

        The fact that you actually think the Democrats and Republicans are two different parties is both cute and sad. Politicians are glad there are people like you around, it makes their campaigning easier.

  4. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
    Big Brother

    BAE BAE Money

    Is this the same BAE that fleeced a poor* African country? See here.

    * Driven into poverty by corrupt and greedy govmint officials.

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