MoD cuts forcing research abroad.

Not an immediate issue but give it ten years when we have to buy all our modern kit abroad atr inflated prices:

MoD cuts 'forcing research abroad'

By Christopher Hope (Filed: 01/03/2006)

Britain's biggest defence companies yesterday accused the Government of cutting funding for research, forcing key projects to go overseas for financial support.

The scathing attack came from the chief executives of BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Qinetiq as they addressed MPs on the House of Commons defence committee.

Sir John Chisholm, chairman of Qinetiq, led the assault, claiming that the Ministry of Defence's research and technology (R&T) budget "has halved in value since the early 1990s".

He said: "The main funding has gone to short-term research and the large cut-backs fall on the longer term research, which is in the area where profound technologies can emerge."

Sir John said the MoD's R&T budget of £250m a year was set to remain "broadly flat" for the next 10 years. He urged the MoD to increase this figure by 25pc.

This meant that longer term research projects, which might yield benefits for the British military in 10 to 15 years' time, were not being funded, he said.

Another result of this shortfall was that some key projects had gone overseas. "Qinetiq has examples of exciting innovations which the MoD has not been able to support and instead has had to win research funds from the US," Sir John said.

Qinetiq's main complaint was that December's defence strategy, which sets out the MoD's spending plans for the next 10 years, was "silent" on R&T spending.

The strategy also "took no view on the benefit or otherwise" of Qinetiq employing 6,000 scientists in the UK. But Mike Hancock, a Liberal Democrat MP on the committee, wanted to know why Qinetiq, which floated on the London Stock Exchange last month, could not afford to pay for more R&T itself. Sir John replied: "When you can't see a near-term return, it is not a matter for a company but for a country."

Later, Mike Turner, chief executive of BAE Systems, which spends £200m a year on R&T, told the MPs: "We have stopped investing in this country in R&T. I'm afraid that it is not a priority for this country, but there is a very different attitude in the US where they spend $73bn (£42bn) a year on defence."

Sir John Rose, chief executive of Rolls-Royce, which spends £600m a year on R&T, added that he believed the MoD's spending on research had fallen by 75pc in the past 15 years.

Giving evidence later, Lord Drayson, the defence procurement minister, said the MoD would publish a separate R&T paper "by the end of this year".

He added: "We want to publish a technology strategy to address this issue. This year we will increase R&T spending in line with inflation, when it has been kept at the same level. We need to see if we have got it right. We want to make sure that we are spending our money wisely."
Interesting the fact that all the minister could do was ask why QinetiQ cant afford to fund research itself. And the answer was a very good one - whats the point when the customer won't use it, especially when there are customers there willing to pay for the work!!!!

Unfortunatly the big defence comapnies are doing more and more work in the USA and if it wasn't for the "golden shares" held by the government, they wouldn't be in th uk at all!!!
Industry sceptical on idea of European alliance
By James Boxell
Published: February 28 2006 19:35 | Last updated: February 28 2006 19:35

EU defenceEuropean collaboration on defence research is an idea being enthusiastically promoted elsewhere in the European Union.

But comments on Tuesday from Mike Turner, chief executive of BAE Systems, and Lord Drayson, the defence procurement minister, indicated deep scepticism on the part of both the government and industry.

Mr Turner said: “The fundamental problem Europe has is lack of R&T [research and technology] funding,” and argued it was “obviously of great concern how we maintain the capability to serve alongside the US military”.

He implied that getting the US to share sensitive military know-how with the UK could offer more promise than collaborative research across Europe, even though it so far has proved difficult to arrange such technology transfer on the Joint Strike Fighter project.

He added: “There is a case for trying to get Europe to act together, but who is going to move first? Everyone wants the technology in their country and everyone wants the jobs in their country and there is a very limited amount of resource anyway. I am not optimistic.”

France has suggested the creation of a €200m (£136m) cross-Europe research fund that would be managed by the European Defence Agency, an offshoot of the EU.

But Lord Drayson said the EDA needed to “learn to walk before it can run. It needs to show it can really add some value”.
Sir John said the MoD's R&T budget of £250m a year was set to remain "broadly flat" for the next 10 years. He urged the MoD to increase this figure by 25pc.
Mr Chisolm ignores the fact that the MoD spends about the same again in the government labs (Dstl) on the most sensitive technologies. O.K. the overall level of investment has gone down a lot since the end of the cold war, but around half a billion a year on research is not small beer by any means.

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