Telegraph: "Liam Fox attacks £2bn tank deal"

#2
He also criticised the MoD and the companies for going along with the project.

"It is wrong for civil servants to be signing up projects and it is wrong of industry to go along with major projects so close to a general election," he said.
Interesting point from Dr Fox. Aside from his criticism of the present government for signing up to such a deal ahead of the SDR, do civil servants - and presumably senior officers, by the same token - have a constitutional duty to refuse instructions from Ministers of this nature when a General Election is in the offing? Discuss.
 
#3
hackle said:
He also criticised the MoD and the companies for going along with the project.

"It is wrong for civil servants to be signing up projects and it is wrong of industry to go along with major projects so close to a general election," he said.
Interesting point from Dr Fox. Constitutionally, do civil servants - and presumably senior officers, by the same token - have a duty to refuse instructions from Ministers of this nature when a General Election is in the offing? Discuss.
I suppose it would be difficult for a senior officer to comment, the army is being offered equipment what can they say? No we don't want it?
 
#4
There was a prog on radio 4 about this last week. They were talking about hung parliaments and what the CS should do. It was implied that the government should not make an big decision that may role over to the next government. But has an election been announced yet?
 
#5
I wonder if this will be incorporated:

Star Trek-style force-field armour being developed by military scientists

Daily Telegraph said:
A space-age "force field" capable of protecting armoured vehicles and tanks by repelling incoming fire is being developed by British military scientists. The new type of armour will use pulses of electrical energy to repel rockets, shrapnel and other ammunition that might damage a vehicle. The new type of armour will use pulses of electrical energy to repel rockets, shrapnel and other ammunition that might damage a vehicle...
 
#6
Am I the only one seriously concerned about this quote from Dr. Fox:

"We have to have a rigorous debate about what we absolutely need to be able to do in Britain, what we would like to do if we had lots of money, and what we don't really need to do here," he said.

Very deep cuts incoming. BOHICA.
 
#7
Utter sh1te, CVRT cannot go on forever! Just because there will be an election this year does not mean that all EP projects and procurement decisions must be frozen. FRES Scout will happen regardless of the SDR because CVRT and its successor are an obvious capability that is required regardless of theatre. From 1982 to today, less Sierra Leone and East Timor they have been in every theatre (I stand by to be corrected on this).
 
#8
Can someone explain what is so good about FRES, It's going to be a few years before it comes into service. Is it a magical vehicle that the Army has with held to find out how crap our actuall vehicles are.IE 'We wont push for better vehicles in case it interfers with our next brainwave

Or will it deploy into The Fulda Gap to withstand hordes of communists.
Can it be deployed in a conventional war, or can it be deployed in a COIN War.

I'm sure everyone has an opinion, I'm also sure that somebody in The MOD has blood on their hands for deploying the likes of Snatch BV10s and Pinzguer in the most heavily mined country in the world.



Some knob before he had blood on his hands.
 
#9
hackle said:
He also criticised the MoD and the companies for going along with the project.

"It is wrong for civil servants to be signing up projects and it is wrong of industry to go along with major projects so close to a general election," he said.
Interesting point from Dr Fox. Aside from his criticism of the present government for signing up to such a deal ahead of the SDR, do civil servants - and presumably senior officers, by the same token - have a constitutional duty to refuse instructions from Ministers of this nature when a General Election is in the offing? Discuss.
Nope. Not in the slightest. I would presume some degree of care to be taken if the manifesto for any potential serious next government stated that the project would be cancelled - ID cards, for example (not that we've actually seen anybodies manifesto yet) but this could be taken in to consideration by including appropriate cancellation clauses in any contract.

Purdah is a (perfectly reasonable) tradition - but it isn't part of the constitutional duty either. And it only reflects public statements not the continuing work of government.

Frankly, if that's the sort of understanding of the British constitutional settlement we have in somebody who will be a Cabinet Minister come May 7th, then we are in for a rough time while they learn that they aren't in opposition any more.

By the way:

The expected decision to award the contract to American-owned General Dynamics (GD) has already drawn criticism from the British defence company, BAE Systems, which will lose out on the work.
Sorry, exactly what is "British" about BAE, apart from their HQ location? More US employees than Brits, etc, etc. To quote their website:

Our global business is based around seven home markets in Australia, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, the UK and US.
 
#10
HueyRat said:
Utter sh1te, CVRT cannot go on forever! Just because there will be an election this year does not mean that all EP projects and procurement decisions must be frozen. FRES Scout will happen regardless of the SDR because CVRT and its successor are an obvious capability that is required regardless of theatre. From 1982 to today, less Sierra Leone and East Timor they have been in every theatre (I stand by to be corrected on this).
Agreed. My only worry though is that both the BAe and GD FRES scout variants seem to be a little on the 'fat' side. Would something in the 15-ton class have not been better?
 
#11
parapauk said:
Agreed. My only worry though is that both the BAe and GD FRES scout variants seem to be a little on the 'fat' side. Would something in the 15-ton class have not been better?
But that means we have to have A400M because replacement C130 would struggle! Or am I being too cynical for a Sunday morning?
 
#12
Liam Fox hasn't the slightest idea how the "system" works. I'm afraid he's like his boss. If they knew what they were talking about they'd have had Labour out on their ears long ago. Trouble is, I can't see the Tories being any better.
 
#13
parapauk said:
HueyRat said:
Utter sh1te, CVRT cannot go on forever! Just because there will be an election this year does not mean that all EP projects and procurement decisions must be frozen. FRES Scout will happen regardless of the SDR because CVRT and its successor are an obvious capability that is required regardless of theatre. From 1982 to today, less Sierra Leone and East Timor they have been in every theatre (I stand by to be corrected on this).
Agreed. My only worry though is that both the BAe and GD FRES scout variants seem to be a little on the 'fat' side. Would something in the 15-ton class have not been better?
They are that weight because that was what was specified...if the MOD had asked for 15 tonnes they would have got 15 tonnes....just less armour.

S_R
 
#14
The Labour Party in the 60s did the same thing and the Army ended up with the Leyland engined Chieftain, that was complete crap, it took years and cost billions to get it re engined and become a great tank
 
#15
Idrach said:
parapauk said:
Agreed. My only worry though is that both the BAe and GD FRES scout variants seem to be a little on the 'fat' side. Would something in the 15-ton class have not been better?
But that means we have to have A400M because replacement C130 would struggle! Or am I being too cynical for a Sunday morning?
Quite the opposite, I think you are seeing a degree of joined-up thinking that doesn't exist! :D

Seriously though, the baseline GD model is 31.5 tons, the FRES varient is, with all the UK bits and bobs added, going to be about 42 tons all-up:

http://www.generaldynamics.uk.com/FRES/default.asp

C-130 or A400m, it ain't going by air!
 
#16
Sympathetic_Reaction said:
parapauk said:
HueyRat said:
Utter sh1te, CVRT cannot go on forever! Just because there will be an election this year does not mean that all EP projects and procurement decisions must be frozen. FRES Scout will happen regardless of the SDR because CVRT and its successor are an obvious capability that is required regardless of theatre. From 1982 to today, less Sierra Leone and East Timor they have been in every theatre (I stand by to be corrected on this).
Agreed. My only worry though is that both the BAe and GD FRES scout variants seem to be a little on the 'fat' side. Would something in the 15-ton class have not been better?
They are that weight because that was what was specified...if the MOD had asked for 15 tonnes they would have got 15 tonnes....just less armour.

S_R
I don't doubt that it's what they asked for, I'm just thinking that it's a bit odd that we are going from an old but still useful air-mobile scout to one that nothing short of a C-17 can shift.
 
#17
Key passage:
The expected decision to award the contract to American-owned General Dynamics (GD) has already drawn criticism from the British defence company, BAE Systems, which will lose out on the work.
...
BAE last week offered to move work on the vehicle it is offering from Sweden to Newcastle after it emerged that GD was the likely winner of the FRES Scout contract. The company says it needs a steady flow of business from the MoD or it will risk losing skilled employees.
...
Why's he getting up on his hind legs just when famously generous BAE offer Newcastle a nice slice of the pork that was headed for Sweden?

From DMJ Capability, not jobs, key to FRES
The FRES scout variant contract will be awarded based primarily on capability, not job creation, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth has said.

Regarding the decision making process, Ainsworth said: "It's been a long and thorough process and an evaluation has been done. Of course we are mindful of the position on jobs, but there are jobs created in the UK from both of these bids.

"Overwhelmingly, when we come to take a decision on the scout, which will be taken in the very near future, that decision has to be taken on capability. I'm as much wedded to protecting British jobs, British companies and British industry as anyone else, but we have to be mindful overwhelmingly that we are buying a vehicle that is the best that we can get for our armed forces."

Both companies in the running to produce the FRES Block 1 vehicles have said the win will create hundreds of jobs in the UK.

BAE Systems recently revised its entry in the competition to build the scout variant, moving production of its CV90 variant from Sweden to the UK and promising to create or save an extra 800 jobs in Britain. The move followed advance suggestions that General Dynamics was to be formally announced as the winner of the contract in the near future.

In late February General Dynamics claimed that over 10,620 jobs would be created or saved in Britain if it were to win and produce the ASCOD-based scout.

Their figures include over 9,000 direct and indirect jobs in the FRES SV supply chain in the UK and over 500 at Lockheed Martin UK INSYS. The company also counted 320 jobs at General Dynamics UK, over 600 at the Defence Services Group and more than 200 in through-life support roles.
Liam does seem to be a good chum to BAE.
So, Liam Fox attended a BAE-sponsored debate recently and declared that “I don’t think we support our defence industry enough“. If giving corporations billions and attempting to keep them above the law isn’t enough for you then what sort of groin-gazing subservience would be?

This sort of effluent is to be expected, however, as Fox has been a staunch supporter of the defence industry. Two years ago, despite the admirable dissent of the Liberal Democrats, he praised the decision to drop the SFO investigation into the Al Yamamah contracts, thereby putting an afro-wig on the Tories’ claimed opposition to Labour corruption.

Srsly, guys, I like this country. Don’t make me move to a seastead.
Liam Fox accepted £50,000 from defence firm donor
A venture capitalist who helped to buy a company supplying military equipment is funding the office of Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary, with a donation of £50,000.

Jon Moulton’s investment firm bought Gardner Aerospace, which makes parts for aircraft including the Eurofighter and the Airbus A400M, last week. The businessman gave Dr Fox the donation on January 26. According to his entry in the Register of Members’ Interests, Dr Fox accepted the cash “in my capacity as Shadow Secretary of State for Defence”.

Gardner Aerospace supplies parts for Airbus, BAE Systems and other defence and civil aviation firms. Its clients are involved in a number of defence programmes that face cuts after the election. In a speech yesterday Dr Fox said that the Strategic Defence Review should “maximise the contribution made by our small and medium-sized enterprise — often the engine room of our defence industry.
...
Which is nice.
 
#18
"Interesting point from Dr Fox. Aside from his criticism of the present government for signing up to such a deal ahead of the SDR, do civil servants - and presumably senior officers, by the same token - have a constitutional duty to refuse instructions from Ministers of this nature when a General Election is in the offing? Discuss."

Nope - if the Minister tells the MOD to push through now, then constitutionally, the MOD does what it is told. The line that an election is in the offing is irrelevant - an election is never more than 5 years away, so the moment we start the whole "election in the offing" we push the timelines further and further back.

That said, I believe the current crop of announcements are electioneering, pure and simple - there is nothing that could not wait until post election and as such, this is a disgraceful move by ministers, exploiting Civil Servants and military staff who are powerless to defend themselves against this sort of behaviour.
 
#19
jim30 said:
"Interesting point from Dr Fox. Aside from his criticism of the present government for signing up to such a deal ahead of the SDR, do civil servants - and presumably senior officers, by the same token - have a constitutional duty to refuse instructions from Ministers of this nature when a General Election is in the offing? Discuss."

Nope - if the Minister tells the MOD to push through now, then constitutionally, the MOD does what it is told. The line that an election is in the offing is irrelevant - an election is never more than 5 years away, so the moment we start the whole "election in the offing" we push the timelines further and further back.

That said, I believe the current crop of announcements are electioneering, pure and simple - there is nothing that could not wait until post election and as such, this is a disgraceful move by ministers, exploiting Civil Servants and military staff who are powerless to defend themselves against this sort of behaviour.
Fox is only upset because if he had been able to place the FRES order on his watch, he'd have been able to frame it as a positive outcome of his SDR. In truth though, there is no plausable SDR outcome that would result in us not needing the vehicles that have been ordered.
 
#20
parapauk said:
In truth though, there is no plausable SDR outcome that would result in us not needing the vehicles that have been ordered.
I think you are seriously underestimating the mendacity of politicians. If you had said "there is no sensible SDR outcome", I would have agree with you entirely!
 

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