UK buys Israeli UAV with French electronics

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by AndyPipkin, Nov 3, 2005.

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  1. Look on the bright side, at least it'll work this way. Mind you, if we'd just bought off the shelf from the Israelis we'd have it in service by now without the bells and whistles that triple the price. Then - like the US - we could tinker with it.
  2. You could be right... see here

    I-MASTER builds upon Thales' radar expertise that exists in depth in both the UK and France.

    and here
  3. Although Thales is a French owned and company, it employs over 10,000 people here, and is the second largest defence company in the UK after BAE Systems.

    The majority of the electronics in Watchkeeper will be designed and built in the UK.

    "Thales UK has been selected as the Prime Contractor for the UK MoD's Watchkeeper Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programme. Watchkeeper will provide the UK armed forces with an essential Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability based on a tactical UAV system and will be a key component of the UK's drive for Network Enabled Capability (NEC).The Thales UK WATCHKEEPER solution will create or sustain up to 2,100 jobs, all of which will be in the UK."
  4. I no more believe a defence firm than I would the MoD. There are several questions unanswered. for instance, what does the "majority" mean and what is the relevance, especially if key, innovative systems form the "minority". It is no use building the "majority" if the whole system cannot function without "minority" components which are not under our national control.

    Then, crucially, who owns the intellectual rights to the system as a whole? If we want to upgrade or modify the system (or even carry out major repairs to the system), are we able to do so, or do we rely on the goodwill of a system provider which, again, is not under national control?
  5. Which is why we should rely entirely on good 100% all-British companies like Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, General Dynamics et al, I suppose.
  6. Can you tell us when any US company withheld supplies when we really needed them (Belgium Gulf War, anyone)? And was it not the US which diverted supplies from its own Air Force to supply us with AIM9s for the Falklands War?

    This notwithstanding, if the British taxpayer is funding the development of a weapon - from whosoever it is purchased - then we should own the intellectual rights. That is the issue I raised. Can you say that they have been secured?
  7. As for reliability of US suppliers, you could ask:

    India (couldn't get spares for UK-built Sea Kings due to US A-bomb embargo)
  8. Thales is essentially what was Racal Defence (UK) and Thompson (Fr). I think there may be a bit of Plessey and Ferranti in there too - so quite a few UK folk
  9. Isn't Thales ultimately controlled by the French government?