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Outstanding Quote

July 23, 2010

The following is from an interview in the Telegraph with UK Defence Minster Liam Fox, on why his country, you might say the entire West, are suffering through forced fleet cuts to salvage the economy. It isn’t just lack of allocated funds, as the Minister explains:

“If I had a criticism of the Navy it is that it’s been too centered on a high specification end and not had sufficient platform numbers (ships) in a world that requires presence.”

Speaking of the British military, the Atlantic Sentinel has kindly reproduced the post that appeared here earlier titled “The Man Who Will Save UK Defense“. Please drop by their excellent website as a favor to me!


8 Comments leave one →
  1. martin permalink
    July 27, 2010 2:05 am

    Is JUCAS still on the go? Not sure what the USAF are up to but with a black budget the same size as the UK defence budget I am sure they are working on some exquisite super sexy toys. As usual though these toys will be far too top secret to actually use just in case any one finds out that they have them.

    Navy seems to be doing a good job with the X47 though.

  2. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 26, 2010 12:23 pm

    “While its hard to quantify the market for such a UCAV I am sure there will be one. ”

    Totally agree! We are dragging our feet on J-UCAS.

  3. martin permalink
    July 26, 2010 10:49 am

    Guess who,Totally agree about UK procurement and you raise some interesting points. If Sweden can produce its own independent fighter the surly a country with the worlds 2-3rd largest defence budget and 2nd largest aviation sector can do the same.

    If the UK did not participate in Eurofighter then Germany Italy and Spain would probably not have started the project. even if they had it would have been cancelled in the early nineties. All would have had a need for a new aircraft few would have considered buying French and they all may have opted for a UK design especially if we belatedly offered them some work share. We could have had a world beater that would be selling very well. We might even have been able to Navalise the thing to reduce our need for the JCA.

    I can only hope pray and dream that the UK decides to go it alone on Taranus. No one else (excluding the US) has our capability when it comes to producing high end deep strike UCAV’s. Taranus represent the best chance for UK weapons industry to dominate aerospace since TSR 2. Any kind of joint program will see BAE give access to EADS of Dassault to its technology. (Technology that we have spent 15 years and £100 millions developing. To end up with them paying a few hundred million more for development costs taking 80% of the work and in the end ordering no platforms.

    While its hard to quantify the market for such a UCAV I am sure there will be one. Anyone who today operated a strike aircraft will need at some point to purchase a UCAV. One thing I can guarantee as with the F22 the US wont sell them to anyone. Even their close allies. The French will try to build there own after falling out with partner’s about the french work share and it will be crap. The Germans and the rest of the Europeans will um and aw about what to do then eventually buy off the shelf and not from the French.

    If we can produce this thing in 10 years and bring in a naval version we could sell it to everyone from Brazil and India to Germany and Spain perhaps in the high hundreds over a long enough period. BAE and RR can do it all themselves and will be better than anyone at selling it around the world if they don’t have to worry about US investigations and European accusations of bribery.

    Lets stop buying crap from abroad and start making stuff ourselves again.

  4. July 24, 2010 5:57 pm

    In one of my posts I typed blogs, I meant blocks or blocs.

  5. July 24, 2010 5:56 pm

    Hello TangoSix!!!

    You said “That is the same Ministry of Defence which thinks Boeing doesn’t know how to build Chinooks.”

    Did you see the BBC2 programme on QinetiQ (is that how you spell it?) a large chunk of the programme was about them rebuilding those Chinnooks? It was cringe worthy.

  6. July 24, 2010 5:53 pm

    Hello Guess Who?

    Wouldn’t it just have been easier to say we Brits always get screwed with who ever we partner?

    What always makes me laugh is that the French invariable go there own way or come out on top. As you said Horizon is the prime example; we foot the bill they get the ships. Eurofighter the Frogs opt out; so much for being at the heart of Europe Frenchie. And if we do get them to commit to a project it only happens if they get a good chunk of the work; Jaguar and Gazelle spring to mind.

    If I were to put my counter-factual hat on for the moment where it went wrong for us Brits was when we detached ourselves from the White Dominions. Yet with hindsight the defence of the “West” would have been better conducted in three blogs; USA, UK and White Dominions (yes OZ and Kiwi as well as Canada,) and the Continental powers. Look at how both how our and the Canadian aircraft industry suffered at the hands of the Yanks; TSR2 cancelled for F111 (never purchased,) Saunders Roe interceptor scuppered by Starfighter (to keep Lockheed in work,) and last but by no means least the Avro Arrow.

    (No I didn’t read your entire post. I saw FRES and Nimrod, shivered, and ran away!!! I think I have already had one rant here this week re RM and Para merger.)

  7. July 24, 2010 9:06 am

    Hello Guess who?,

    well said.
    In 2008 the British defence industry was the World’s number one defence exporter.
    At the same time many in the Ministry of Defence were mouthing the mantra that British built kit is expensive and rubbish.
    That is the same Ministry of Defence which thinks Boeing doesn’t know how to build Chinooks.

    The problem in British defence procurement is not the supplier but the customer who insists everything must be bespoke to role and built in uneconomic quantities with a schedule based not on what is efficient but on working around the latest financial crisis caused by endemic bad management.

    Economic and industrial considerations are regarded as things not worthy of consideration.
    Then when everything has been done in the most inefficient and uneconomic way blame is placed on industry because admitting where it really lies would not be career enhancing for those responsible.


  8. Guess who? permalink
    July 24, 2010 8:49 am

    Liam Fox should wake up soon alternatively he could always try to find the funds for those low end warships, you can either carry on with this shoestring budget and expect a self defence force or if you want to maintain an expeditionary capacity in order to defend those that cannot defend themselves the world over (or as I prefer to call it, military foreign aid) then the difference is going to have to come by decimating the DFID budget… Someone has to make that choice

    Liam fox is beginning to lose more and more credibility with this latest one and laying the blame of high weapon systems cost at the foot of the industry rather than unique, un-exportable British requirements as issued by the MoD…

    Future Lynx/AW159/Wildcat/whatever it’s called this week – no hope in hell of selling Army variants abroad and as aviation facilities on naval vessels continue to grow the requirement for sub-Seahawk sized helicopters diminishes

    Type 45 – Britain took a back seat in development despite providing the lions share of the cash during the Horizon CNGF in the end French insistence that Aster is integrated into the French Sylver cells as opposed to the American Mk.41 VLS renders the ship and her primary weapons system largely un-exportable [nobody was ever going to buy off the shelf/made in britain but a firmer hand 10-15 years ago could have led to situations where perhaps the Australian Hobart AWD was a T45 based solution rather than a Spanish F-105 based vessel and the likes… Is it just me or does ESSM-Aster 30 combo turn anyone else on?]

    CAMM – incredible concept with huge export capability however it will almost definitely be integrated to the French Sylver VLS as this is the system on T45 which compromises the chance of foreign naval users (the ground based system stands to succeed however and perhaps a naval solution will prevail on commonality grounds… but I doubt it)

    FRES-SV – 20 years after initial concept and still very little is finalised. An armoured vehicle due to replace the CVR(T)/FV-100 series of light[8tonnes when introduced, still under 15tonnes] recce “tanks”, What is going to replace them? A marginally altered[slightly smaller, 1 road wheel deleted] foreign MICV weighing upwards of 30tons, largely replicating the capabilities of the Warrior, a purpose built AFV of 18~25 Tonnes [instead of an altered MICV which is too large, too heavy and under-protected compared to the former proposal] could have sold well on the international market (as we saw with Scorpion and French AFVs)

    Nimrod Mk.4 – Slated the world over as crap and expensive… only the latter is true and it didn’t need to be that way either, 100% un-exportable not because it’s based on a 1940s airliner but because in the interests of trying to save £3.82 some idiot decided it would be a better idea to try and refurbish 50 year old aircraft. A batch of new production aircraft would have opened the opportunity for potential foreign users to at least contemplate Nimrod to solve their respective national requirements (and this includes the USA, whether it’s produced stateside with 0% workshare or not it’s still an advantage… and with the way the P-8 is going with hindsight it’s a thoroughly clever idea)… Now that it’s too late we find out that none of the aircraft were completed to a common standard so rebuilding them has been more costly than starting from scratch; penny wise, pound foolish… again

    Eurofighter Typhoon – Where to start? it would have been impossible to know of the political complications that would hound the project for well over a decade when the project came to be between 1979-1982 but by the mid 80s it was blindingly obvious that the end of the cold war was just around the corner (Re-unification of Germany wasn’t quite so obvious even until after the wall fell).

    By 1986 it would have made sense to Heartlessly slash and burn with regards to European development (not exactly within British power but without Britain it’s highly unlikely that Germany Italy and Spain would have continued development rather than turning to the US. Britain could have quite easily developed a platform that could have been in service by the mid-late 90s (eliminates the need for the Jaguar upgrade saving a healthy amount), much shorter development pipeline saving billions, created in a solitary factory cutting unitary costs, not so much of a duplication in capabilities as demanded by all four nations… Exports? Saudi was always going to buy it, Oman would have been a heavy candidate (as it is to Eurofighter Typhoon) cheaper possibly puts it in heavier stead for the Indian MMRCA, Australia instead of F/A-18F (rank outsider without the original double-delta wing and other concessions made to increase its longer range strike capacity but a possibility), Greece, you get the point…

    contrary to popular argument it was possible alone, and was always on the cards until EAP came about

    The short and long of it is that continuing with the collaborative partners was obviously a high risk venture, given the nature and importance of the project it wasn’t worth the gamble, it could’ve payed off but it didn’t and the chances were always against it and the blame must lay squarely at the feet of the MoD.

    Astute – Who expected this to go down well? leave the yards empty for so long that everyone with any expertise sods off and then try accomplishing the most complicated feat in the spectrum of naval architecture – the Nuclear submarine…

    So Dr. Liam Fox, who’s responsible for extravagant weapon system costs?

    Well done anyone that could bothered to read half of that…

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