Yeah, I know, there have already been too many Nimrod threads, but now it's gone, perhaps it's time to think about "What next?". It's all very well to sit around harrumphing "End of an era", "When I was I subaltern", "Capability gap" "British world beater" "another TSR2" "cock up from the start"......but where do we go from here? Not just in Maritime reconnaissance, but in procurement of systems to secure this country and allow it to act wherever required. I'd suggest a few principles: 1) Let's distinguish between the defence budget, and any support to British industry. I'm all in favour of trying to promote British manufacturing, but that shouldn't be done from defence money. 2)Next time someone dreams up a requirement, MOD needs to look around and see if what we need can be purchased off the shelf on the "open" market. If not, we should be asking the question about why we appear to need something that everyone else manages without. Is there a better way of doing the tasking? 3) If we can buy it abroad, don't mess about with some exotic UK-spec that means paying Thales or whoever a nice fat fee to consult with the manufacturer, so that we end up paying for some foreign company to develop the next version of their product, which they'd have done themselves with their own money if we hadn't come along. And then find we are paying three times the price everyone else pays. 4) When there are several competing products for a requirement, by all means work closely with British companies to give them a chance of winning - but development money should be private money. So from here on, we need to decide what "overhead" assets Britain needs - for the nexr 20-30 years... MR, ISTAR, AWACS, whatever - and think what the most cost effective way to meet the needs is going to be. Do the aircraft need people on board to be effective in a real battlefield environment against people who use ECM? Is it better to buy a few complex multi-role platforms or many cheap simple ones? We already operate RQ8, so should we look at building up a "family" of UAV's, same airframe, different fit, e.g. RQ4C? This might reduce operating and training costs. Forget interservice bitching, and focus on the defence of the realm, not jobs for retiring admirals/air marshals/generals. And please don't try to dream up exotic new technologies to do the job, Ospreys, airships....stick with what works.