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Brit’s Should Buy American

May 17, 2009

The Reality Check (and Richard North) has dug up £9.62bn or $14 billion in waste at the UK MoD from failed or troubled weapons such as armored vehicles, UAVs, and warship sonar, when well proven and affordable alternatives were available across the Atlantic:

That 9.62 bn, if saved by buying American weapons rather than European ones, could buy:

 35,000 Cougar (Mastiff in British nomenclature) PPVs; or
350 Chinook helicopters; or
16 Burke-class vessels; or
100 Type #23 frigates; or
2 aircraft carriers; or
160 EF-2000 jets.

The writer also lists 15 reforms badly needed by Defence, which sounds reasonable to yours truly. Here are the Top 5:

1) The UK MOD should withdraw from all European defense programs.

2) The UK should withdraw from the EU and the Lisbon Treaty.

3) The UK should withdraw all of its troops from the Balkans.

4) The UK should sell all 401 Panther vehicles and buy 401 Cougar PPVs instead.

5) Britain should always buy whichever weapon type is best, regardless of whether it’s British-made or not.

This also seems to have been a problem during the Cold War, with duplications of planes, tanks, and warships that were very wasteful in funds, unlike the Warsaw Pact which at the point of a gun could only by Russian! Still, the variety also produced some very unique and useful equipment, notably the Harrier jump jet.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Mike Burleson permalink
    May 19, 2009 2:24 pm

    Thanks Alex! Take care.

  2. May 19, 2009 4:19 am


    lest just say I do not like the reports author that much and leave it at that shall we….sorry if i was rude, I just think the person who wrote the report realised that we have 6 other companies (not connected to BAE) who have the skills to build corvettes….yet all we do is talk about frigates, we are wasting money becuase even if we did do a bidding system – which we do anyway, the only can really get is BAE becuase of the way its written; and whilst some may like the idea of a foreign, even allied nation, company controlling your nuclear powerplants…I don’t, and I like it even less when they have vital maintenance contracts for military equipment – mainly because I belong to the school of thought that when you are maintaining such equipment you want it done right, not done for proffit; the trouble is according to the capitalist system this does not work as efficiently; but there again how can having to pay overtime and not be able to get vital equipment fixed on weekends be considered efficient? the personnel with the forces, who could do that job, would not get, and would not go home till its done; whether or not it was pass 17:00hrs on a friday.

    yours sincerly


  3. Mike Burleson permalink
    May 18, 2009 7:37 pm

    “Mike leave us alone”

    I didn’t write this article, Alex! Just commented and passed it on. We do defense alternatives here, folks, nothing personal. Notice I don’t tell China or Russia what to buy. Don’t love them like I do our allies!

    “Britain and America should buy from each other whenever it makes sense.” Well put Joe.

    ““Britain should always buy whichever weapon type is best, regardless of whether it’s British-made or not.” ” Like this too Sven!

  4. Joe permalink
    May 18, 2009 3:38 pm

    Britain and America should buy from each other whenever it makes sense. We in the US certainly don’t do everything right, nor do the Brits, but such is the curse of being human. It also means that both sides occasionally hit homeruns…why not help each other out?

    For example…our Air Force might do well to acquire some EF-2000 planes to bridge the gap between the apparently cut-off total of F-22’s we are to have and working squadrons of the F-35, which is several years away.

  5. May 18, 2009 1:59 pm

    The U.S. doesn’t do offset agreements for understandable selfish reasons.
    Importing U.S. army is therefore twice as expensive as it seems because no taxes flow back.

    The British can spend $ 80 million on a British-made item or import a $ 80 million time with a $ 80 million offset agreement and both would be cheaper than to buy a $ 50 million item from the USA.

    Here’s why:
    An order for a domestic company means that 40-60% of the cost flows back as taxes.
    An import that obliges a foreign nation to place an order at a domestic company means the same return.
    An import without such an offset agreement means zero return.

    Besides; much if not most of the U.S. military equipment is overpriced as well.

    It should therefore read:
    “Britain should always buy whichever weapon type is best, regardless of whether it’s British-made or not.” AND
    “Import of military equipment should only be done with an appropriate offset agreement or if there’s no alternative available.”


  6. May 18, 2009 12:29 pm


    “5) Britain should always buy whichever weapon type is best, regardless of whether it’s British-made or not.”

    something which is very nice to say when you have a large military industrial complex to support your forces, and I of course see American forces buying the best, not buying American, like I see French and German doing that…Mike leave us alone, we make some bad decisions on what we buy yes; but guess what if we had bought the british not the EU trucks then the army would have working trucks right now – if the EH101 was built entirely in the UK rather than half in Italy every one would not have to have £50 million of electrical upgrades when we get them delievered.

    Buying American is never the only answer, only with strong internal base can we also judge and decide what is best – we are not the 53rd (whatever) state, we are our own soverign nation, and I for one get very annoyed with both Europe and America acting as if we are permanent attachements to them…we are not. When Europe goes to war, we go to war, when America goes to war, we go to war, give us some credit – we are not that big, we expect our forces to operate on a shoestring budget and yet we still step up to the base every time we are called.

    critising is all very nice when you have multi-multi-billion budgets with which to play around, but when it is just £17billion (in real terms when you consider the offsets included in the budget) you have to hope and prey and go for the best deal you think you can get….and by the by that report was a loaded gun, it was based on a false premise, and was designed with the intention of allowing the government to cancel programs and put the money into the banks.

    please note that £9.6billion would buy 8 carriers of the type we build, if you want to double their price then it would be 4, with £0.8billion left over from it to purchase some JSFs.

    yours sincerly


  7. Mike Burleson permalink
    May 18, 2009 6:03 am

    They have an EU state-of-mind!

  8. Steven permalink
    May 18, 2009 4:55 am

    Not in the EU. Well just look at the Wiki of the Eu budget.. 10billion per year spent on roads all over europe…

  9. Distiller permalink
    May 18, 2009 1:45 am

    It’s not like the Brits are really in the EU, are they?

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