From the Times

January 04, 2005
Defence chiefs forced to choose between fighters and carriers
By Michael Evans, Defence Editor

A Eurofighter/Typhoon at the Farnborough airshow in 2002
(DAN CHUNG / REUTERS)THE Government’s two most expensive defence projects, Eurofighter and the future large carrier, are at the centre of an unprecedented battle for resources between the Armed Forces.

Senior insiders at the MoD say it is no longer feasible or affordable for the Government to go ahead with the full order for both programmes.

Under present plans, the Government is politically committed to buying 232 Eurofighters at a total cost of more than £19 billion, and two 60,000-tonne aircraft carriers with 150 Joint Strike Fighters, costing a total of £13 billion. Two tranches of the Eurofighter/Typhoon combat aircraft have now been ordered (a total of 144) and early next year the Government has to sign a contract with industry to start building the two carriers.

One defence source said: “These two projects are now making the whole equipment programme top-heavy. It’s simply no longer possible or sensible to keep going with both, and why do we need 232 Eurofighters if there are also going to be 150 Joint Strike Fighters? Does that make any sense?”

The issue is one of the most sensitive areas of the Government’s defence policy. Both the Eurofighter and the carriers are viewed as prestige examples of a new, technologicallyadvanced military, and each weapon system is expected to be in service for the next four or five decades.

However, serious questions are now being raised about the prudence of making such a huge investment in aircraft when there are so many different requirements for other high-tech equipment, such as remotely-controlled aerial intelligence-gathering systems and rapid communications for instant decision-making.

The Ministry of Defence prides itself on being more flexible and adaptable in the way it selects equipment for security challenges, but the Government finds itself locked into the full Eurofighter programme, although it has so far ordered only 144 of the 232 aircraft.

Defence sources said the financial penalty for backing out of the total order for 232 would be almost as expensive as going ahead with it.

The combat jet is being built with Germany, Spain and Italy, and jobs are dependent on the programme continuing as planned in the early 1990s.

The cost of the two carriers could pose similar problems for the Government.

All the Armed Forces chiefs —Admiral Sir Alan West, General Sir Mike Jackson and Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, agree that the Royal Navy should get them, but BAE Systems and Thales UK, the two companies engaged in the new carrier’s design, have told the MoD that it will be difficult to build two 60,000-tonne vessels for the £3 billion figure.
Too bad the government wont increase the defense budget to buy the carriers and the fighters. If I had to cancel one it would be the carriers but keep the JSF's [strike role].
Again, another method of making the MoD feel guilty. Therefore releasing the issue of responibility towards the Govn. As Ive said before, the Military force of a country is nothing more than an insurance policy.

If you wish to cut corners, get the basic cover, go for the likes of Esure. If you want a return on your money and I might add your policies then you actually need to see further than the next four years of your presidency and invest in the utter basics of an evolved nation. Defence is a dirty word when it comes to votes becuase there is no evident return for the expenditure but pay lip service to it purely for votes and I'm sure when shiate comes to shove, the voters will ask the question, if they are able to, why didnt you spend on ensuring we are safe aginast the rest of the world/nutty terrorists etc. You are fcuked if you do, you are fcuked if you dont but Id rather spend the 'potentially caught out' on what is needed. I'm sure any voter would not be annoyed if they knew that the tax pounds they provide ensures that they can still be safe in the understanding that freedom means telling the govn of the day they are t"ats.
The military exsists to further the policy of a Government when normal civil practices fail. or words to that effect.
Armies are exspensive and must be tailored to the price a nation can afford.
There never seems to be a long term plan in UK, unlike much as I hate to admit it France.
I do wonder what ever became of all thoes Peace Dividens, retreat from Empire, end of Cold war, NI Good Friday.
We now have a tiny military, admittedly capable of punching over it's wieght, but far too small to be a useful world power.
The politico's need to formulate a long term defence policy and then cut the cloth to suit the purse.
I do beleive that Blur/Labour hate Her Majestys Armed Forces and all thats good that they represent.
If we as a military force want to be regarded as capable and worthy, then both these items must be bought. Failure on both accounts would leave us seriously lacking in terms of force projection (carriers) and air force capability.

This is the usual spin shiit from the New Labour to'ssers to pass the buck on to the military, who cannot speak up for themselves.

These 2 projects are long term ones, will cover us for the next few decades as mentioned and in my opinion, worth every penny spent. If the government want to save money, you've cut us to the bone-go cull some other feckers department :x
Anybody care to justify why we need 232 Cold-War era air superiority aircraft? As opposed to an expeditionary carrier based capability, which surely ties in far better with the direction we are allegedly headed in. Or did we just get rid of 4 Inf Bns for no reason?
Save money by ending benefits for the scroats and gypos who havn't worked a day in their lives, that should be at least a few billion.
What makes you think they'll spend it on Defence?
That reminds me, remember all the fuss about not having a cannon on the British Typhoons? They tried adding concreate ballast, steel ballast etc but it wouldn't work. In the end they fitted the cannon anyway but removed the switch from the fcuking cockpit!!!
I know a guy who was on the original implementation tean in the late 80's, they recomended not to have a cannon at all because of the way it would have to be built into the wing, they new it would be trouble. Plus with closing speeds of modern combat aircraft you would have chance to use it anyway. They suggested cannon pods which could be attached under the wings, no trouble at all. Of course, no notice was taken of the design people who knew what they were talking about and they had to redesignt he wing at great cost and man hours and all the sh1t I mentioned above.
If theyd designed the feckin aircraft properly in the first place(navy friendly) then we wouldnt have this fiasco. Personally Id go with the aircraft carriers as their planes can use both land and sea deployment, obviously. Plus, Id build the two carriers in the UK. With fines for being overdue and overcost. If BAE or whoever said they can do it for £X, and it can be ready in X months/years then thats what id expect. Theyd get less money the longer it was overdue. No bonuses for being a head of schedule, if it comes early then theyve cut corners. Which means it will break and cost the tax payer more money. When will the powers that be, learn to get it right first time.


p.s Please correct spelling and grammer as you see fit.
Either way its a FUBAR,

Better buying of the shelf, why not let the yanks build the carriers, at the current exchange rate, we would be quids in on a fixed bid.

Now we are shafted either way we turn, TSR2 , F111 lots of brass wasted and nowt to show for it. Labour again. :evil:

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