Gov approval given for Saudi Eurofighter sale

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by msr, Oct 23, 2008.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

    The US government has given its approval for the sale of sensitive military technology to the Saudis in the form of Eurofighter combat jets developed cooperatively by the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain.
    A Tranche 1 Eurofighter in RAF service

    Headed for mothballs in the UK - and to the Saudis.

    Washington's approval is necessary because the Eurofighter, despite its origins, contains a significant amount of American technology which was only supplied to the Eurofighter consortium on condition that they would have to ask to sell it on to other countries.

    Let's hope we can offload some on the Swiss eh?

  2. I don't remember the US asking our permission when they flogged the Saudis the F15 Eagle? After all, it had quite a bit of Brit developed technology in it. Such as jet engines and radar. :roll:
  3. If I may, a couple of small points of clarification about Page's article:

    Is complete b*ll*cks

    Is complete b*ll*cks

    Is complete b*ll*cks (they don't actually have such plans, and would use Tornado or JSF for this, anyway)

    Is complete b*ll*cks

    Is complete and utter b*ll*cks, even if you treble the upper price given by the NAO for each airframe and add a slack £20 million quid.

    But apart from that a fine piece of reporting. Apart from the few other inaccurate bits (in a small section to be found between the first and last words fo the article).
  4. msr

    msr LE

    Sorry - "complete bollocks" is not an argument. You need to provide some evidence.

  5. It's Archi so I would tend to believe him when he says 'it's bollox'. :wink:

    He knows a couple of things you know.....
  6. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    I am not an expert, I only know what I read but even a complete novice in these matters like me could blow holes the size of my arrse through Pages' totally innacurate and ridiculous article

    The Typhoon is a fine aircraft and although undoubtedly expensive is relatively good value for money for the taxpayer and in terms of capability far in advance of anything anyone has except for the F22
  7. msr

    msr LE

    I am not doubting his round objects, it's just that it doesn't constitute a refuting of the original argument.

    If it did, then the threads on arrse would be rather short ;)

  8. One only has to have the ability to read English and have a basic grasp of common sense to be able to see how flawed his article is. That being the case, there is no argument to refute. End of chat really.
  9. I was trying to be brief, since I've rehearsed the counter-Page arguments before, but...

    First, if the Typhoon is to enjoy (?) the 30-35 year life our crustacean pals are expecting from it, they need to buy more airframes than will be in use at any one time so that you can rotate the aircraft in and out of storage to extend the airframe fatigue life, as well as replace the inevitable attrition losses. The RAF is likely to have at least five front line squadrons (with the possibility of seven, although this seems unlikely now), each with 16 aircraft assigned, while there is an Op Evaluation unit (17 Sqn) with between four to six airframes, plus an Op Conversion Unit (29 Squadron) which will have around 18-20 airframes (this is all open source stuff, by the way). There will also be aircraft in use at Boscombe and Warton for test duties.

    Page - unlike the RAF, USAF, French AF, USN, USMC, Israelis, Swedish AF, the Fleet Air Arm ('before further cuts reduced the arm into a finger') and just about any other competent operator of combat aircraft - believes that a buy of 144 aircraft means that the RAF, at the end of Tranche 2, intended to have all of these in squadron service. Which it didn't, as a simple bit of research would have told him years ago. The 'spare' aircraft will indeed be stored, but they won't be mothballed and never used, as Page constantly claims - they'll be placed into front line use while the airframes they replace will be given any necessary major servicing (which comes at a fixed number of flying hours, or similar), any upgrades, and then placed into storage until they then go back into the front line, replacing other airframes.

    Without this principle being applied, the Tornado fleet, which began entering service in 1981 (with the training unit) would have all run out of fatigue life about three years ago (IIRC), GR4 upgrade or not. Even upgrading 142 Tornados to GR4 standard means that there will not be enough to sustain that fleet at the intended level to its new out-of-service date.

    Hence my contention that Page's allegation that 144 airframes is more than the RAF needs is complete horlicks. It flies in the face of the way air services having been doing things since the days of the Royal Flying Corps and the RNAS. 232 Typhoons may, in the end, be about twenty to a dozen more than required, although I strongly suspect that barring a major change in UAV technology, the Typhoon will actually see closer to 50 years of service, in which case those extra airframes will be very handy.

    As for his second claim about conversion - it is difficult to convert something to do a job it has always been meant to do... Page is mistaking clearing air to ground weapons for use with conversion (and has vastly inflated the cost). Typhoon was always meant to be able to be used as a ground attack/CAS/OS aircraft, since the RAF was extremely clear that it was to replace the Jaguar, as well as the Phantom and F3.

    Because integrating the air-to-air weapons first made it easier to achieve an in-service date, this was the plan followed. The air-ground task would be filled by GR4s and Jaguars for a few years (at most) while the air-ground weapons were cleared for use and the F3 (which was designed to be an interceptor of bombers, rather than have to tangle with enemy fighters) would be first to be replaced.

    This would build a core of expertise on the aircraft, and a number of the now-experienced pilots on type would then transition to the air-ground role, so that the RAF ended up with a roughtly 50-50 split of Air Defence dedicated squadrons and air-ground units, before moving to a position where most, if not all, the squadrons were multi-role capable. The plan was thrown into disarray by the removal of the Jaguar from service and the loss of the Sea Harrier - this meant that the RAF lost four ground attack squadrons between four and six years earlier than planned, which is why the Typhoon has had clearances for air-ground weapons introduced. However, there has been another problem -

    The government, by chopping the number of Tornado F3 squadrons to below its own declared safe minimum of five, has ensured that thanks to the need for QRA (against towel-wearing religious nutters and Uncle Vlad's reinvigorated strategic air fleet), we can either defend UK airspace or send the Typhoon to Afg/Iraq, but not both. If the F3 fleet had been kept up to strength by just one more squadron, then Typhoon would almost certainly be delivering HE onto a chap called Terry, if not by now, by Easter of 2009.

    There is a cost involved in clearing weapons, of course, and this has altered the scope of payments, but Page's figure is laughable.

    Hence my contention that Page is talking round objects about conversion - the Typhoon was always intended to be an air-ground platform, it was when it would be cleared for deployment with air-ground weaponry that was the only issue.

    As for deep-bombing ideas, the RAF did have these when it had a doctrine called AP1300, and there is a legacy of this in the extant doctrine publication AP3000. However, it's nowhere near as grandiose as Page would suggest, and certainly not as grandiose as some of his suggestions about how the RN should be configured in future. The fourth edition of AP3000, currently in draft format is likely to be even less grand in ideas. Finally, if he'd bothered to do any research at all, he would have discovered that the current Chief of the Air Staff's main priority in terms of bombing things is clearly articulated as bombing things that will help the army. Page can dispute this, but I would simply refer him to CGS (yes, that is CGS), who when not scaring the govt witless, has been working with CAS to ensure that the Army and the RAF get their Air Land stuff working properly.

    Fourth, Page's reference to the Tranche 1 airframes being in mothballs for much of their life before being thrown away is covered by my first point - that they will rotate in and out of service use to preserve airframe life. They may, if the Tranche 3 deal is fiddled with, be sold on to other nations outside the four-nation partnership building the 'phoon (as the Spanish and Italians might - the Germans are claiming they want all of theirs, but their record on collaborative aircraft programmes suggests this is probably a fib).

    And finally, the cost - well he's just wrong. There is less evidence to support his claim than there is to support allegations that Martin McGuiness spent the 1970s living as a nun in Mother Theresa's order, helping the poor of Calcutta. There is a lot of evidence (e.g. from the NAO, from some FOI requests, etc) that the cost of each Typhoon is between - depending upon which accounting method you use £40m and £60m - damned expensive, yes, but about the going rate for most combat aircraft these days, apart from the F-22, which costs at least £100 million per airframe (some estimates claim that it costs £215m per aircraft - and yes, that is Pounds sterling, not the dollar cost).

    So I raise the BS card against Page on that one as well.

    Now, as you wipe the blood from your bleeding eyeballs, I hope you'll see why I thought that merely saying 'B*ll*cks', even in the Int Cell, was more polite to fellow arrse readers... :wink:
  10. Pretty much refutes the article. :roll:

    Any questions?