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back to article UK could get privileged access to American kill-tech

The US and UK Governments have drawn up a treaty that will give Britain easier access to American military technology, but no rights to resell it. Currently, US exports of weapons or military technology to Britain are subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Getting ITAR clearances is a cumbersome and …

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Not sure what this article is supposed to be saying...

"Then, right after we give them that, the Brits suddenly announce they've got this "Taranis" thing, in which they reckon to build a working stealth-plane almost from scratch* in a few years for just £124m, even though it took America decades and billions to achieve the same thing."

There's a number of problems with this article but I thought I would just comment on this one paragraph. The UK has already demonstrated that it was (once) capable of designing and building Stealth weaponary.

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pots, kettles, and a right old nerve..

to wit, that Joint Strike Fighter thing; where do Americans think the staggeringly brilliant VTOL technology was invented? clue:-not in America!

it's yet another example of the increasingly one-sided nature of the so-called "special relationship" - we provide the fruits of our original and world-beating research, for who else has ever developed a successful jet VTOL technology, which gets us taken on board the JSF project as a supposed "equal" partner because our American "allies" can't figure it out for themselves, but when we quite properly expect some quid pro quo for our trust and generosity in the form of "stealth" technology, we get stonewalled (until an unholy fuss got kicked up)

We gave the US atomic research technology too in the 1940s and did we get any of that back? No, we had to build our own.

What if we'd pulled out of the JSF project? the poor old Amurricuns would have super-stealthy planes that couldn't fly. Maybe you Yanks might start appreciating us a bit more in future, and all the things we do for you?

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But not for a 124 million

Modern stealth costs a tad more than a 124 million quid to develop. I wouldn't blame the US Congress at all for being a little bit annoyed at something like this.

Its fair enough to use the technology as we wish for our own military, but to use it to make money in Saudi Arabia or wherever else BAE sells to is taking the piss just a bit.

The point of the article is that it would be nice if this treaty brought down the cost and complexity of buying modern weapons for UK troops, but could be difficult to ratify in Congress if we allow this technology to be used by British weapons contractors.

They have a nasty habit of selling to the highest bidder, including Iraq, Iran and the Saudis.

It was more than a bit embarrassing during the first Iraq war when British arms dealers had to admit to selling better kit to Iraq than they did to the British armed forces.

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Anonymous Coward

What an insane article.

Two obvious points.

1) I know for a fact that the UK has had stealth technology for well over a decade. The basics are simple and obvious - and extremely well known. Knocking out a UAV is easy.

2) If the UK wants to buy US weaponry, they have been able to do that for years as well. The point has always been to develop technology that you have control of and that does what you want. The US will always talk up a storm with regards their kit, but in practice the performance can have real issues. Plus if you want to make a profit off it, owning the IP and manufacturing capability is key.

The whole article is a big nothing, wrapped in untruths.

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Anonymous Coward

staggeringly brilliant VTOL technology

For the record, the "staggeringly brilliant VTOL technology" used in the JSF was designed at Skunk Works, here in California. In fact, they won an award for it (Design News magazine, Feb. '04). Rolls-Royce was involved in its development towards production, but I think by that stage the staggeringly brilliant bit had been completed.

If Tawakalna was instead thinking of the Harriers: yes, they both do VTOL, but in quite different ways.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: pots, kettles, and a right old nerve..

That's right Tawakalna, everyone knows it was the Russians.

http://www.vectorsite.net/avredvt.html

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Anonymous Coward

Nothing changes

Shows the interesting difference in the "special relationship" in that the US politico's are worried about UK-based leaks of tech. So presumably there's been no similar leaks from US labs/organisations. Aldrich Ames etc... As to being given a rough deal from the US, this is a tradition, like "Operation Paperclip" (post-WW2), where the US stole German rocket technology from under the noses of their British "Allies".

Anything that makes it easier/cheaper to get the "tools of the trade" out to the UK armed forces has got to be welcome, although I'd be a bit worried on the possible impact on UK defence R&D budgets - job losses?

Tawakalna: ("pots, kettles, and a right old nerve.."). Got to say that there's nothing revolutionary about the VTOL used for the JFS. The concept of using a separate lift engine is well known, (sure there was a study on it in WW2 Germany), and the Russian had it in service years ago with the Yak-38. I would have thought the vectored thrust method used by the old Harrier is - technologically - a more subtle and clever solution than the "brute force" approach of the JSF.

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Anonymous Coward

Its not all UK Arms Exporters at fault

Re the comment: "They have a nasty habit of selling to the highest bidder, including Iraq, Iran and the Saudis.

It was more than a bit embarrassing during the first Iraq war when British arms dealers had to admit to selling better kit to Iraq than they did to the British armed forces."

UK Gov takes the decisions (often political) on whether to permit sales to the regimes, and also its not that the arms companies deliberately sold better stuff to our future enemies, its rather that the UK gov wanted the cheapest kit they could get away with for UK forces. Ask any infantryman (I was one) about the SA80 rifle, the fight to get the Minime/SAW and even decent (practical) uniform and boots. The MOD is often responsible for both parts of this issue.

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JSF VTOL revolutionary?

The novelty with the JSF is that the lift "engine" is not actually an engine -- it's just a fan, driven by a shaft from the low-pressure turbine in the primary engine. In contrast, the Yak-38 had two engines dedicated to VTOL. The advantages are lower complexity, lower noise, lower weight, and lower exhaust temperature and speed (less surface damage).

Is the JSF more "brute force" than the Harrier? Basically the Harrier takes its raw thrust and steers it downward. Since the thrust needs to act through the center of gravity during VTOL, the four nozzles are up at the midpoint of the aircraft, instead of at the rear. This precludes afterburning and moves the engines forward, giving the Harrier its characteristic, front-heavy appearance. This, and the large engine inlet area compromise performance in the high-speed forward flight regime, limiting the Harrier to subsonic speeds.

VTOL prefers a high bypass ratio (think of a helicopter), i.e. a large fan. With the JSF, you have a single engine, but with two fans, each optimized for its respective flight regime: the high-bypass-ratio (1:1 !) lift fan, and the low-bypass-ratio (0.2:1) forward fan at the engine inlet. This is why the JSF has twice the vertical lift as the AV-8B.

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