The (new) Westland affair

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by mazoldboy, Mar 20, 2008.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Not sure if this has been done, but its billed as an exclusive on this here site...

    Westland, the name at the heart of the Conservative party's 1986 crisis when Michael Heseltine quit the government after his row with Margaret Thatcher over the helicopter maker's future, has risen again at Whitehall to haunt Gordon Brown.

    Whitehall insiders say that the threat to a vital helicopter order for the Yeovil company, now called Augusta Westland, is behind the spate of reports that the chiefs of staff are on the warpath over defence cuts.

    The (new) Westland affair
  2. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    RLC Maritime take over RN perhaps as they will have nothing left.
  3. Lets face facts, Future Lynx is not "fit for purpose" as far as the Army is concerned. Everyone knows this all the way to the very top and has done for ages. The likelihood is that we will still buy it because the Navy variant is still required and the Army version was just a bolt on to the project.

    It will be a millstone around our necks.
  4. The future lynx is a disaster, as for the talk about helicopters being needed now, well FL is another 5 years away, then with teething problems it could be even longer.

    As for Westlands, well they've done their best to rip off as much as they can, when we wanted the apache we had to send it through them, merlin had to be built from scratch which again put years onto the project. I will admit that both these helicopters are great bits of kit now, but when they were delivered they were crap, it took a good 3-4 years to get merlin into a decent state and the same again with apache, this also costs £10s of millions to do through modifications and so on. The UK taxpayer also paid for pretty much all the designing and tooling for these helicopters, but i see Westlands are selling them and i doubt we'll get a penny back.

    I was at Lynx when the future lynx was under consideration, all i can say is that in the same week the decision had to be made on what helicopter to go for we had front page stories about '3000 westlands jobs to go' because the UK government were going to give money to foreign companies, hence why we will be getting the new airframe for lynx.

    I have to admit though i can't see many better ways than using existing helicopters, the tooling and expertise is already in place to deal with them so no serious training or years wasted on getting everything ready is required, but the timescale on delivery is embarassing, the government should be doing all they can to get as many chinooks, merlins and even lynx for operations.
  5. We've just got to face up to the fact that value for money is the most important criteria - so if that means buying Blackhawk or similar, then so be it. Read Lewis Page's book for a summary of the Apache program - you could have given every single employee at Westland a lot of cash, and just ordered the AH64 from the yanks instead, instead of assembling it at Yeovilton to save jobs. After all, we didn't prop up the car industry did we?
  6. Frst, the RAF wouldn't let the AAC fly Blackhawk, so that's a non starter.

    As far as buying Apache straight from the yanks is concerned - what would happen if the Americans decided to halt all spares supply, or even use the threat of it to coerse us into doing something?

    The reason for building over here is not only to stop that from happening, but also to allow us to place better engines, better software (so I have been informed) into our version of the aircraft.
  7. Our Apache is rated as the best Attack Helicopter currently in the world bar none (even by the yanks). The Americans want to buy our DAS system for their aircraft. But the bottom line is we were indeed ripped off by Westlands (as usual)
  8. I don't have a problem with Westlands building our aircraft, I just have a problem with the decision to procure FLynx for the Army, it brings nothing to our current parties. Westlands can build any airframe under licence, this just isn't the right thing for the job in hand.

    I understand the need to look to possible future scenarios, it's my job to try and second guess the future (for another couple of weeks anyway). There are many theatres that FLynx would be good in but those crocodiles are miles away from our boats right now.

    There is a bottom line to this. The decision to scrap FLynx (or not) is purely a potential cost saving option. This means that any money saved by binning it goes back to the treasury to offset the £5bn overspend that we have. There would be no new money to buy a new aircraft type.

    If it was simply a case of scrapping FLynx and keeping the money to get something better then the decision would have been made months (if not years) ago and we would NOT be getting FLynx.

    You could argue that we may as well support the FLynx buy or we get nothing, I can't even bring myself to do that.
  9. I haven't read Mr Page's book but I'm sure there are some common misconceptions surrounding Apache procurement.

    It's fairly well known that the aircraft production element was contracted long before the training/simulator, because of the perceived need to have a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract for the latter. Rumour has it that Westland, along with most in the MoD at the time, said this was simply daft, because the programme plan immediately showed that brand new aircraft would be sitting in hangars for years because there could not possibly be enough trained pilots.

    And so it proved. Also rumoured, is that about a quarter of the way through the production contract (at about 20 aircraft), MoD tried to get Westland to halve the production rate so fewer aircraft would be in mothballs. Westland (rumour has it) saw through this and realised THEY would be prime targets of some future spin, along the lines of "Westland haven't delivered at the originally agreed rate". MoD presumably backed off when told how much it would cost to effectively double the length of the contract.

    Two sides to every story.
  10. Some Army flyboy type told me that the reason the Crabs stole the new fixed wing surveillance thingy from right under their noses was because it had a pressurised cockpit and therefore some 7* Crab insisted it had to be flown by them.

    I thought about this (and nearly fell asleep standing up) for a nano second. If that’s the case why haven’t the Army hierarchy insisted the Hercules (with a non pressurised cockpit) should now be in the remit of the AAC.

    Yep, he looked at me as if I was completely off my rocker as well (it gets you thinking though) 8O

    Now back on thread, have we not already signed the contract with Westlands and if so will it not cost a hell of a lot of money to pull the plug :?
  11. The RAF want to justify there exsistance, therefore are trying to take all aviation elements, DO they know we dig in , not book in within the AAC. CRABS do not have a great battlefield tatical awareness that army fliers have, Hence 'them' don't want the Crabs to fly them after those Puma incidents.
  12. As one poster has pointed out Future anything is not what is needed, Heli Now is required.
    Almost seven years of Ganistan and still the troops on the ground are short of supporting Ac.
    If the money was available Now it would take a year to get any new cab into service.
    Westlands, wastelands in my time.
  13. I think we are only commiting to 4 aircraft at present. Basically, we are buying the working 'prototypes'. Hopefully, this may mean that we dont have to fully commit to the rest when we truly discover they are 'not fit for purpose'.

    At least Arborfield will have a few shiny new cabs for the baby techs to play with. ;)
  14. My bold.

    Luckily on this particular procurement someone with sound judgement included a get out clause. I can't talk figures on here but lets just say that in the big scheme of things the penalty payment wouldn't scratch a bad itch. That said the clause timeframe (the point at which it can no longer be enforced) is looming, might even be the end of FY 07/08 so the decision must be made very soon.
  15. Pocoyo, what would you know? Youre a bloody civvy. :wink: