back to article At the Toyshop of Doom

Today sees the opening of DSEi, the UK's biggest weapons and kill-tech trade show. The whole ExCel centre in the Docklands is full of exhibitors showing off their guns and gadgetry. The place is packed with generals and admirals looking to snap up the latest must-have piece of kit. You like guns? We have many. Also, portable …

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Anonymous Coward

Sick

> we'll be bringing you lots of military gadget coverage over the next few days

Thanks for the warning. I'll make a point of not reading at all for the duration.

Maybe I'm the only one, but pictures of guns make me feel physically sick. Strangely, I can't disassociate guns from killing and wounding and pain and death, like some people seem able to.

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Prices?

There's some things I've always wondered about these shows.

Do the things they show there have price-tags on them? Are there salesmen in bad suits offering discounts if you buy now, pay 2009? Can you take samples out on trial invasions and return them if they're not up to your requirements?

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Bighorn - a missed opportunity...

... for a Longhorn-based joke.

(Yes, I know that in the wake of Vista all of the Longhorn stuff has been forgotten. I'll get me hat.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sick

You obviously wern't brought up on Doom.

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@Sick

You can't dissociate pictures of guns from their purpose yet you can ignore their necessity in the real world? A world where conflict is inevitable despite delusional wishes that it isn't so.

Ultimately freedom and law are defended with force. Diplomacy can work because it is backed by the threat of force if diplomacy fails. If this country is attacked by a hostile power, how would you like our government to respond? Offer the attackers a quick chat about their aggressive behaviour or armed, military response? What freedoms are left, that the government hasn't given/taken away, were fought for with guns. Your personal dislike of guns doesn't change the fact that guns are necessary and we need to arm our military with effective, modern weapons.

Good show, El Reg, for not being afraid to cover important topics like how technology affects how soldiers fight.

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Go on Sir, pick it up and feel the craftsmanship...

Umm, very nice. What happens if I press this button here...?

Aaaghhh, no Sir, NO!! Not the RED button!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sick

"Maybe I'm the only one, but pictures of guns make me feel physically sick."

Then I'd be suprised if you didn't pass out or have an attack of some sort watching primetime TV.

Grow a pair of processors!

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What ...

... no Eddie Murphy jokes ?

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more

Yes please post more, the blurrier the better. or stop rationing the camera operator's cigarettes.

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can you get me

Can you get me entry into the show?

How about a free sample of a set of Gen 3 night vision goggles?

Please!!! I will Bambi eyes!

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Anonymous Coward

@ sick

Guns are simply tools, the same way that knives, explosives and cars are.

do all those things make you sick as well, since they're often used to kill people?

now, a gun is a tool with a very specific purpose: to destroy what it is fired at. but really now, being ill from looking at them?

product of the liberal times I suppose. being unable to change your viewpoint or even be openminded enough to accept the reality of things is a typical sign of the super-liberal.

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a celebration of a wise saying.

"Peace through superior firepower."

after all, who wants to go to war with an enemy who can rain kinetic-energy projectiles from space down on your head with no warning of what's coming?

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generic title

@Michael - I'd quite like to know prices too, since we (UK tax payer) often end up paying for foreign arms sales via our excellent ECGD (Export Credit Guarantee Department).

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Anonymous Coward

Given the dodgy quality of the photos...

...I have to ask, were you really allowed in there with a camera?

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Sick

Let me guess, BAe Systems trying to con the world into buying the crap only HMG considers worthwhile? If we have to use force at least let it be well priced, on time and capable of doing the bloody job.

Now, anybody interested in a used TU-95. Will accept a swap for a couple of Tormado F3's.

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H

If you have to ask, you can't afford...

The old addage above is still inforce at shows like DSEi* which incedentally i agree is a death-fest and not welcome in the UK. Leave it to the US. I guess Reed slacked it after years of pressure similar to the views earlier (both anti & establishment) and thinking "let's cut it loose, it's hassle" - eventually the next events company will do the same if the pressure is applied in the right places.

*Im sure the "UK-Export Credits Guarantee Department will do nicely"...no, no, we don't need payment details just now. www.caat.org.uk/issues/ecgd.php

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One thing I'd like to know:

Have you been given press passes, or did you pay to enter?

Personally I think the whole show is exceptionally distasteful. I appreciate the need for guns in certain UN mandated peace-keeping situations but beyond that do not see the need in this world for machines built purely to kill people.

However, those wings look damn cool.

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Anonymous Coward

silly liberals.

how are tools distasteful? yes, tools meant to cause harm to objects, but only tools. like chainsaws. or knives. or axes. or blowtorches. or cars. or piano wire.

and yet each and every one of those things can be used to kill someone, quite gruesomly, in fact.

so, should we get rid of all those things?

nevermind that getting rid of guns would turn people into sheep purely at the mercy of the folks running the show, in addition to the criminals.

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Oh sure

it's fairly distasteful and wars don't really have to happen at all however that doesn't stop those who profit by them from coming to power and using this stuff so it's interesting from that level.

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Silver badge

Hey, if those wings really work...

...where the hell is my flying car?

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Don't be a tool

@ sick:

death tech - brought to you by the same species that invented the spear, the flint ax, and the bow, and proceeded to use it on other humans, not just the animal prey and predators these things were originally (supposedly) intended for.

you're a bit late to the party.

the wheel is used in many mechanical applications, starting with transportation; it was also used for torture and execution.

the syringe is used to inject curative agents subcutaneously and intravenously; it is also used to administer lethal injection, to spread disease (HIV, hep) or to feed a drug habit.

electricity is essential to most functions in our post-industrial civilization; it is also used to torture and murder people.

an inanimate object has no intent. the Ebola virus is more dangerous to a human in the same room, than a loaded gun. actually, if the human becomes ill from the Ebola, the gun may provide a faster, more merciful release.

objects are meaningless without context.

as for the person who provided the traditional "damn librul" remark, after you're done grunting and scratching yourself, please consider that liberal does not mean pacifist. i am a former US Army NCO, my views are decidedly left of neo-conservative (pro-choice, pro-human-rights, anti-Iraq-war, non-religious, pro-environment-conservation, anti-imperialist, gays do not threaten my marriage, etc.), and my idea of gun control (aside from hitting my target) is teaching firearms safety to anyone old enough to hold a gun, mandatory training, no exceptions, except for the mentally challenged and the legally blind. too many kids in the US get killed by other kids, who don't know how not to play with guns.

an anti-gun sentiment is meaningless out of context. maybe this person had a very negative experience associated with guns. could be a purely emotional knee-jerk reaction. much like your snap generalization, actually.

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Tooling up

The "gun is just another tool" argument doesn't appear to be that strong. Some of the previous posts have underplayed the real purpose of weapons with phrases like "to destroy what it is fired at" or "tools meant to cause harm to objects".

Weapons are tools *designed for* harming people. A different concept to, tools that *could be* used to harm people. Weapons and their use therefore belong in a different ethical context to other tools. Hence having different outlook on weapons is justified.

Certainly the self defense argument is good; walk softly and carry a big stick and so on. However if selling the weapons we build ostensibly for our own defense (a) puts them get into the hands of people who will quite happily use them indiscriminately (with all the misery that entails), (b) means they get used against us and, (c) we as tax payers end up subsidizing (a) and (b) above, there are clear rational and moral imperatives to improve how the arms industry works.

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As used on the Famous Nelson Mandela

Our Government is pretty much funded by these guys. Big guns = Big Bucks. Read the book, be surprised. Definitley When children from a school set up an arms dealership, wuite successfully may I add.

Read it skidmarks!

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Anonymous Coward

Silly hippies.

Stop whinging about "Eugh, makes me feel ill" or "Has no place in our country" etc. Wars happen, deal with it. People want to kill people, stop being so morally elitist and trying show you moral superiority by shunning war.

Not all cultures and countries around the world shun war and get all "offended" at the prospect of conflict. Just because you do and most Western countries do dosn't make a blind bit of difference.

I'd have loved to have gone - as I recall it's an industry/government only show - no public, no press etc.

I believe the Tau of Starship Troopers is one we should all adopt "Violence is the supreme authority from which all other authority derives."

Violence for teh win. BOOM! Head shot etc. Insert random web-ism here. : )

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fucking war

...what is it good for?

We've become more technologically advanced then emotionally advanced. We'll blow ourselves up if the planet doesn't eat us first.

Looks like some pretty cool shit at that show though. We are never so creative as when we are finding ways to destroy.

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@Barnaby

Hear! Hear!

Love guns. Hate the Arms Industry... Exporting weapons has so many times led to them being used against the exporter or their allies, and when the exports are thinly-veiled Government subsidies to our munitions industry, then I'd rather they stopped the exports and just paid BAe to produce stuff for us to use.

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The Registry gives thumbs up to supporters of illegal wars, terrorists and homegrown murderers

What a shame. I had just finished reading Mark Thomas' book, As used on the famous Nelson Mandela, and after hearing about the closure of DESO I naively believed that some sense was returning to the world.

But unfortunately, The Register seems to think that the weapons industry is just an extension of the computer games industry and that it is fun to go "ooh! look how big a bang that can make" or "wow! it can slice and dice and comes in a really cool shiny black case". Unfortunately, the level of journalism seems to stop there (about the same level as Nuts magazine) and doesn't seem to bother to consider who are using these weapons (weapons dealers don't care if you are the "good" guys or the "bad" guys) or who are on the receiving end (always the "bad" guys, even when they are innocent civilians).

By promoting DSEi and it's work as a series of light articles you belittle and devalue the efforts of all those people who work so hard trying to make people aware that, whether the weapons industry is necessary or not, it is corrupt, greedy and directly responsible for the murders of thousands of innocent people every year.

So, the fact that you are so "chuffed" at being at DSEi can only lead me to say that, as a reader of The Register for 4 years, I am no longer interested in your news or opinions and I will find my tech news somewhere else from now.

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Ethical dilemma

I always have this problem when articles come up about military tech.

I start off reading them and grumbling about violence and the oppression and murder of millions of people throughout history, but then the small boy in me takes over with...

BOOM BOOM! RATATATAT BANG!

Robots! Guns! Lazers!

Awesome!

more gun pron please

.....I am ashamed ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Hold-on, hasn't our beloved Gov killed the industry yet?

Labour killed our successful handgun industry with a stupid knee-jerk law (which did NOTHING to lower gun-crime), why haven't they smashed the rest of the arms industry? It's successful, it makes money for the country (better than most of our European "partners"), how come Labour haven't managed to kill it? Don't the unions realise this is a burgeoning capitalist business at work here, they usually manage to ruin any of those! And all on show in Red Ken's own back yard, how amusing. My congrats to the UK arms industry for still being an area where we can hold our heads up high and say we truly innovate and often lead.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sick, Mark Dibley and the follow on posts (james, B Shubin etc)

Sick, you seem a 'little' melodramatic, the concept of guns isn't really making you physically sick ? Point well made though, you stirred up emotions judging by peoples responses.

Mark, your also a little far off, do you think everyone will sign a peace pact agreeing to destroy all weapons and just swear at each other when annoyed from now on ?

For James, your as delusional as Sick, did you not notice that most arms are used offensively when countries feel a bit brave having more arms than someone else ? Its's not really as if we use them for defense only. Most modern weapon usage seems to have centered around one large rich country which seems to position itself as world policeman (without anyones invitation).

Hardly the scenario of "when all other options fail" and yes, us brits are the lapdogs to the latest fiasco.

B Shubin, your idea of gun control is by my books what causes the problems in your aforementioned country, without wishing to downplay tragedy didn't you notice all the massacres that happen in your schools and society ?

Your lack of understanding of gun control is a fairly typical stereotype to me, please take a look at gun crime levels outside your own country, will you open your eyes a little bit please ?

You might see other countries get along quite well without the right to bear arms and try to exclude guns from getting into the hands of psycho nutters.

Having said all that can you guys @ El Reg see if you can get one of those laser guided missile thingies, I'd love to 'test' it on my stereo wielding neighbours son....

True Fire and Forget (about the little bleeder....)

Bliss.

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UK arms industry?

Hold the phone...what makes you think the UK arms industry is a success? BAe turns over a lot of money granted, but most of it is a direct feed into the MOD budget where we the UK tax payer is stung for late, poor and vastly overpriced crap that no other government would touch with a 10 foot pole unless there was a hefty bung involved.

The British arms industry - BAe - is actually about as much use as the great British car industry, and just about as British. Very few manufacturing jobs are actually still in this country, and if it wasnt for there malign influence at the MOD BAe would quickly be down the road and far away. Don't swallow the hype, do the research instead. Facts and Figures dude..facts and figures.

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@ Sick et al

A greater man than I put it best (said man being Homer) ...

"A gun is not a weapon, Marge, it's a tool. Like a butcher knife or a harpoon, or... or an alligator."

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Anonymous Coward

in two minds

Mind A : Coool gun stuff!!!

Mind B: Oh great, look more ways to kill, maim and generally not be very nice to your fellow man. Isn't it a shame that there is still a requirement for these things.

I have to agree with b shubin and teaching kids about just how dangerous these things are. When I was young and went hunting with my uncles every time we were shown just what happened. A rabbit (dead) would be put over a low branch and then shot at close range. I can tell you that you would be in no doubt that they are not to be "played with"

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Silver badge

Are you all daft?

Guns don't kill people, people kill people. As long as there are haves and have nots, or fanatics who wish to impose their vision of the world upon us, there will be a need for military grade weapons.

Animals fight and even kill for mates or territory. While they have hoofs, horns, or claws, we have evolved in to using tools to do the dirty work.

And for you bleeding heart liberals, remember the Falklands.

On that first pic, the "gun" (green on a tripod) is both a 20mm grenade launcher (400rnds per min) or a .50 cal. machine gun.

The 20mm shells can be smart shells, making easier to kill the enemy and less collateral damages.

Next to it looks like a .50 rifle. (semi-auto)

Next to that looks like a .30 cal rifle. (Not sure if its a .308,.300Win Mag, or .338 Lapua.

Next to that on the left looks to be a squad automatic. Possibly a .308 (7.62 NATO).

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Wheres the IT angle?

Lewis, good on you for getting into DESI and taking photos. And to all the detractors of the weapons industry, if you don't like it, don't look. El Reg's circulation/readership will hardly change, I suspect, when the few detractors who posted here leave never to return.

I've worked in the defence industry, at BAE SYSTEMS, BNFL, and some smaller contractors. The tech is bleeding edge, the employment in the UK is huge - so what if a few projects run over budget? I'd sooner spend the money and be able to put up a Typhoon when a Russian Bear comes knocking, or indeed, remind the French that we won at Waterloo. (What a shame the Chunnel high speed line now comes into St Pancras!)

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@ b shubin

well said, sir!

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Anonymous Coward

RE:"Maybe I'm the only one, but pictures of guns make me feel physically sick."

ha ha.. flame on!

maybe you should head on over to hippytech.com and plant a cyber tree?

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Some observations

To all of you attempting to go down the 'it's a tool' or 'without context everything is neutral' line of argument. Seriously, you just shot yourselves in the foot (pun intended). Whereas with the other 'examples' you give (syringe, wheel, hunting implements, etc.) there are clear uses that are not related to killing, maiming or otherwise harming human beings, guns and equipment of the type on display at this 'show' clearly have no such alternate use. The whole basis for the show's existence is the enabling, through sale of arms, of the destruction of other human beings. The idea that, somehow, cluster bombs, automatic weapons and missiles have a non-lethal use that might otherswise justify their existence is laughable at best and delusional at worst. Besides which, if you want a 'context' just look at the show itself, that gives them context and that context is clear: buy this equipment to kill people (or enable you to kill them more efficiently, etc.).

Don't try to conflate this with arguments about gun control either. This is not about domestic control of firearms, it's about the proliferation and sale of arms to those who wish to meet out destruction on a national, or international, scale. Whatever your views on an individual's right to bear arms, it is not even close to a position on one country's 'right' to attack its own, or other countries', citizens.

The problem I have with The Register writing articles like this is not necessarily the equipment itself, but the show that they are giving advertising to.

I can see why The Register might see it as a 'cool' idea to cover this show. It often runs articles on tech-related military stories and this might seem like a natural extension of this. It is not. The only reason this show exists is to explicitly encourage the sale and use of these pieces of 'tech' where the only aim is to oppress or otherwise harm human beings. By having a presence and reporting on the contents of the show The Register implicitly condones the sale and use of those weapons and equipment. Trying to pretend otherwise is self-delusion, you're mentioning the show, you're giving it free advertising, you're condoning it.

Note I'm not jumping up and down screaming about feeling sick or attempting to impune the intellect or personality of those posting here (or The Register for that matter). I just hope that The Register has thought long and hard about the nature of the beast it has just implicitly condoned and that it has a reasoned line of argument it can report here about why it feels it is not participating (albeit implicitly) in the promotion of the international arms trade.

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A few projects run over budget????

Adam - When you say 'what if a few projects run over budget?' could you name any BAE project that has run under budget, early (or even on time), and been better than kit already in production from other suppliers? Why do we as UK tax payers end up paying more to H&K(owned by BAE at the time) to repair our rifles, than we would if we purchased brand new M16s? why do our Apaches cost £40 million each when Israel buys theirs for £12 million, or shall we talk about Nimrod????

I would rather send an F-16 up against a Bear than a Typhoon and save the 200 odd million pounds per aircraft (aside from the 100 odd that the RAF will mothball because they dont want them, cant crew them and cant afford to run them) but then maybe i value my nationalistic 'pride' in BAE less than you do. I would prefer it if my taxes didnt act as a subsidy for a private corporation to produce late, poor kit for our armed forces purchased by a department of state that is so bad at its job even the govt select committee is running out of suitable phrases to describe the cluster f*** that is the MOD.

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re: Bliss

My comment is not about weapons, war or any such naive dreams as instant world peace. My whole comment relates purely to the level journalism that celebrates the weapons at this show as "Toys for boys" whilst the reality is that the weapons are often sold, either illegally or via exploited loopholes, to governments around the world that are on UN/EU weapons embargo lists. I merely wanted to register my disapproval of the proposed series of future articles that will promote these companies who exploit a system that does not do enough to ensure that the products are legally sold.

To ask for responsible and sensitive reporting is not to be soft or a hippy. To ask for such a serious subject to be treated with less of a flippant attitude is my way of communicating grievances.

(And yes, I am still reading this page to ensure I can defend my comment)

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Anonymous Coward

oooooo

....are no booth babes like those you get at PC + Consumer Tech shows?

ps: guns, girls and IT is cool - can't you merge your website with "Guns and Ammo"?

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guns

Ian Michael Gumby

The 3rd tan one is an FN SCAR. Airsofters have this as their latest toy now

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the channel is smaller than the Atlantic

@ Adam Wynne

When will Brits realise the channel is narrower than the Atlantic? We garlic-munching continentals have NO interest in hurting the UK, we all have too much to lose in a globalised world!

Whereas your transatlantic friend will drop you like an old smelly sock at the first occasion...

PS: although I'm not in favour of weapons, war and all the like, at least the French government can nuke whoever they decide is a threat, without having to ring Washington first.

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Hold on...

Who's bright idea was it to allow the Swedes sail a warship up the Thames?

The last time that happened they get drunk, indulged in copious recreational theft, set light to the place and took all our beautiful women!

(Though we did get our own back by having their longship clamped in Liverpool)

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@Sick haters

Hey everybody, calm down - it seems perfectly reasonable to find the whole concept of guns and killing and stuff sickening. Sure, it may be a necessity, but that doesn't mean we should all feel great about it. I reckon there's a few soldiers in the world who've seen their buddies blown to bits next to them who found the whole experience quite sickening, and they're in the business of using guns to kill people. I personally find human excrement quite sickening, but that doesn't mean that I'm a super-liberal who can't change my views and isn't open-minded enough to accept the realities of life. I've been known to excrete on occasion, but I don't hang around afterwards revelling in the joy that is my excrement, I tend to just flush and move on. I don't want to think about how I'd feel if I saw pictures of an exhibition about it all...

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Anonymous Coward

@bruce

Spot on.

BAE is always over budget and half what it produces doesnt' cut it. The MOD is lacking in inteligence to this fact so the army can't get what it needs because it over pays for what it can't have. And the select commitee is lacking the power to sort them out. But our government doesn't want to rock the boat as it means jobs for Britain and that means backhanders from big business... I mean... votes... No wait I mean Peerages... errrmm..

Did you know the aircraft carriers don't have sea harriers becaues the replacement planes don't work on the existing carriers, the new carriers are behind and so there is a ten year gap in our naval air defence. The MOD still outdated the sea harrier knowing there was no replacement. (Missiles and land based planes do the job)

Did you know the RAF is so cash strapped the Eurofighter isn't equipped with bullets, the stress on the airframe is so great when firing the machine gun that it increases the amount of servicing beyond the monetry resources.

So how about we rethink where our tax payers money should go and get a better deal for our armed forces.

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Guns don't kill people.....

Rappers do!

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Why...

... are people bleating about Reg covering this? Is reporting on an event the same as "promoting" it now? Maybe the nature of the reporting? Well it's not exactly an advertorial and I seriously doubt Reg readers are the target market for this kit in any case... although many are interested to see how the tech of the day is applied is this context, however unsettling some people may find it.

The fact is, the reporting on this event has provoked some debate about the significant ethical issues that are raised... surely a good thing. I don't think it's fair to 'shoot the messenger', even with a really cool gun.

And I suggest that anyone wanting to read articles on serious subjects without the "flippant attitude" has come to the wrong place entirely.

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Anonymous Coward

Guns don't kill people,...

...bullets do.

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Anonymous Coward

A message from CAL

Here at the Campaign Against Life we wholehearted approve of more technology of death and salute el Reg for providing us with more.

As everyone knows the only good human is a dead one.

We hope to promote more ethnic sectarian violence based on trivialities such as religion / skin colour etc with the ultimate aim of precipitating global thermo-nuclear war and the summoning to Earth of the eldar god Aztaroth (which amounts to the same thing).

Yours in blood, charred bones and screaming madness,

Nyarlathotep

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