A petition urging Prime Minister (for the moment) Gordon Brown to cease all further spending on the controversial Eurofighter Typhoon third tranche has appeared on the Downing Street website. The petition could gain substantial support among the army, the navy and those who support them: it's unlikely to find favour with the air …
Bugger Off !
It should be renamed UKIPFighter or worse !
for the moment
>> Prime Minister (for the moment) Gordon Brown
That deserves an award (or at least a pint or two).
22 signatures so far, all male! I don't know what that tells you but it tells you something!
Hold on now
Can MP's buy these things on expenses?
Flogging a particular horse
Enough with the broken record.
We know you don't approve of the planned spend on Eurofighter - you covered the point sufficiently in an previous article.
If you want to carry on with this particular topic book take your soapbox to Speaker's Corner, other wise tell us about other IT-related Defence issues.
Try as you might...
...but you won't get that fat dictator in number 10 to listen. The MOST POPULAR petition on Number 10 for a long time is 'Resign' - even his peers in the cabinet want his meddling sausage fingers to let go of the wheel. The self righteous nob announced the other day that if he didn't think he was the right man for the job then he wouldn't be there.
Just look at the poll results, Brown. Get out.
Can't believe I had to scroll up
Saw "In one word, what's wrong with the British armed forces these days? That word is Eurofighter" and actually scrolled up to check the author, even though subconciously I knew who it was.
Keep cranking the handle and churning the articles out Lewis..
Having worked on the EuroFighter
Having worked on the EuroFighter I always thought its was a bit a misnomer. What is the point of building a state of the art fighter if you share the technology with whoever wants to pay for it?
Now if it was called the UK Fighter then we could use it to bomb the hell out of our French/Spanish/EADS Partners.
Of course if it was build in Britain by a British Workforce then BAE would probably have sold it to the Middle East with a HUGE bribe to go with it. Then of course BAE would have had to withdraw from the Credit Export Guarantee fund so that the Serious Fraud Office isn't allowed to investigate that HUGE bribe. Also blocked by Tony B Lair.
Then of course Sadamm Hussen would have seized/bought/stolen the jets and used them against our lads when we were bringing freedom to the people.
Well there is irony for you.
We build a state of the Art Fighter....
Sell it to a foreign country.
British Tax Payer underwrites the debt
Foreign country refused to pay for the jet so the tax payer picks up the tab.
BAE gets a bonus for making a profit for their company
Our Jets are used against our troops to bring freedom from tyranny.
And we call them stupid.
Shame to all those who voted BNP. The people we need to be worried about are British.
Black helicopters because we paid for those as well.
I have a better idea
Stop our involvement in the pointless and dubiously legal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and use the money / resources / personnel so saved to protect and support those military personnel that are in legitimate combat theatres.
And you can still buy Euro Fighters and aircraft carriers and helicopters oh my!
Patrick Seurre, the Petition Creator, joined by:
Looks like it takes as long to update, as the moderatrix takes to approve these......
Move on already
When you first started writing for The Register I really enjoyed your articles. Now that Typhoon has become your one and only stuck record I'm rapidly losing respect for your opinions. I know you are a fish-head and as such hate the crabs. But this is beyond belief. How about harping on about other complete disaster and mega-expensive projects. We know that the cost has exploded out beyond £20bn, but even so, there are other white elephant projects that we should also look at. How about the £2bn on Bowman, another ultra-late, crap project. What about the Type 45? Why didn't we just go and buy Aegis? What about Astute and the Vanguard replacement? These could all be canned to pay for some new land-rover replacement for the Army.
I wish you would stop harping on about Eurofighter costing more than the F-22 and about it being less capable. Firstly, according to wikipedia (I know - not authoratitve) the cost per aircraft of the F-22 is $339m. That compares to your made up figure of £180m which is still nowhere near. Furthermore, if tranche 3 goes ahead, the Eurofighter Typhoon isn't less capable than the F-22 - especially when you consider the downgraded avionics fit that the Americans would put in any F-22s for sale. Anyone who has done exercises against American jets (as I have) will be able to tell you that the Americans make shiny kit, but their avionics isn't as good as the best Britain can produce. I've seen Tornado F3s best US F18s simply because in 8 vs 8 air combat, JTIDS provided far better situational awareness. Eurofighter has an incredible plug and play avionics systems that is far ahead of much of what the rest of the world uses and should allow us to re-role a lot in the future.
I'm sure there are similar arguments behind sticking with the Type 45, or Astute. But until we start seeing a little more balanced reporting on this topic, we won't find out about it from you.
Start being the military correspondent you originally were Lewis, and get off your soapbox about Typhoon.
One flaw with this plan
The chances of any money from a cancelled Tranche 3 reaching our troops are slim to none. It will be P*ssed up the wall some other way.
Eurofighter go home!
We don't want any of those foreign aircraft types in our BNP, UKIP and English democrat back yards!
It'll steal our aircraft's jobs and rape our women.
...how much is that one costing us? More than the Eurofighter? Less?
It's costing us billions and by it's very nature will never be used by any sane person.
Surely we'd be better of telling the world that we have new nukes. That would serve the same effect as a deterent. The UK could then think of spending the money more sensibly (on a machine to repeatedly kick military top-brass in the nuts, for example).
As for the Eurofighter, you're right Lewis, it's a PoS and it's not going to be very useful.
At least the Harrier has VTOL - what's this thing got? Nothing to write home about, that's what.
Anonymous coward, tell us more
you seem to actually know stuff, you should write it up and post it, we'd all love to hear someone with ACTUAL experience, I know I'd like to hear a few things that you guys know about, I mean stuff like you put here, about the F3 vs F18, that sort of stuff we never hear about.
Also, what do you mean plug and play in the eurofighter?? I know a friend who worked on the jaguar and said that the entire piece of kit just unbolts and pulls out on a frame, like a socket in a computer, just unplugs and bingo, you replace another in 30 minutes. Is this what you meant?
write it up, put it out, educate us all, thanks for a well informed comment to a stuck record article.
I went on to the number 10 site to look for this petition, but couldn't find it.
However, I did see one asking to ressurect the TSR2 program and retrofit it with 21st century avionics... it had 39 signatures. Many people didn't realise this at the time, but as well as allowing us to possibly scrap our nuke subs, it would have made an awesome heavy interceptor (climb rate of 50,000 ft per minute plus great acceleration and top speed) and, if it HAD been built, then Tornado would have become something like the F-18 and Eurofighter would have been unnecessary. With updated technology, it would still rule the fuckin' skies (except in a dogfight).
I guess the lesson of history is, what you're not willing to pay for now, you pay more for later...
Now I'm torn. Should I sign this one or the Eurofighter one? I'm off home to have a good look in the mirror before I decide, as this is clearly a weighty decision.
Stuck record AC
Some rebuttal for you
Globalsecurity.org (a better source than wikipedia) addresses the vexed question of Raptor cost at length
The highest figure given (probably the best, as the Yanks like to ignore development costs) is $345m, well within the the range of $s you might have got for £180m within the past year as Mr Wolfram tells us:
And the £180m figure is a damned sight less made up than the unit costs the RAF have been known to give out, less than £50m on occasion.
As for Type 45, I have covered it ad nauseam and given it the kicking it deserves (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/03/royal_navy_vs_ufos/ and http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/27/hms_diamond_launches_ouch_ouch/ to cite only the Reg efforts) - to the same cries of "stuck record" and indeed "traitor" and "disloyal bastard" from the naval community. I have jabbed at Astute, too (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/05/08/bae_sells_us_sub_knowhow/). My very first foray into print was an attack on RN waste and inefficiency. I have written at least 8 articles for the Reg slating Bowman (http://search.theregister.co.uk/?q=bowman&advanced=1&psite=0&author=Lewis+Page&date=the+dawn+of+time&site=all+The+Register+sites&results_per_page=20).
You obviously have a very selective memory of my stuff if you've really been reading it from the start. And as for always picking on the crabfats, I am formally speaking an ex crab myself - CUAS 88-91, the RAF taught me to fly in fact - and still have some good friends in the light blue mob. As an ex-Navy guy, it's possible my impartiality is flawed - but your own 11 years as an RAF engineer officer may have prejudiced you just a tad more. I get nothing but laughter from my RAF mates at the suggestion that the F3 was in any way a decent fighter, for instance.
Another week, another Lewis page anti-Typhoon article, who would've thought? Put the soap box back in the cupboard and go buy/read some defence related technology articles Lewis. You remember those? This being The Register and all, an IT slanted technology based webazine.
And will you please, for the love of whatever you deem Holy stop comparing projects which have yet to get under way to projects which are all but complete? On the one hand you're saying we should believe BAE/Thales can deliver two shiny new 65kT carriers on time and on-budget - while you castigate BAE continuously for cost overruns - I've a word for you "Astute" - 8 subs (maybe ... only 4 building), 48% over budget and years late. I'll believe the tax payer doesn't pay one penny more than the original budget for the two carriers when I see it, I don't expect to see it ...
As for the future nuclear deterrent, you're kidding right? £20B will be way off, way way off. Does that figure include all the monies being spent at Aldermaston on new systems right now? How about contributions to NIF? What about the D5 project/s underway in the U.S.? They couldn't build Astute on-budget (or anything near it) - there is no way they'll build four new submarines of higher capability than Vanguard for anywhere near their prices. And let's go back in time to something called Chevaline - hugely expensive and recently admitted to being "in hindsight probably not the best solution". A hugely expensive project that now sits in museums and classified files. Yet you have the gawl to near constantly criticise any and all RAF projects - the RAF who have been a cornerstone of our success in battle for decades.
I like forward to new non-anti BAE articles on projects like Taranis, nEURon, Barracuda, Hypersonic missiles, Metameterials/superlenses and the like. You know, interesting, inciteful non-soapbox technology information ... the reason people read this site.
sell some of its Eurofighters on to the Saudis
can we please stop selling hi-tech weapons to countries who are fundamentally opposed to our entire way of life, but happen to have lots of oil!
Bring back the Ark Royal.
It would have saved a lot of Welsh lives if it had been parked in the south Atlantic a few years back. Going further back at some 1/4 or 1/2 million each the MoD should have had more than 4 Spitfires on the order books the day war broke out.
If the Ark Royal had been parked in the Falklands and loaded with ex WW 2 aircraft there wouldn't have been a Falklands war.
I am all for nice new things but lets finish with the real good stuff first eh? BEFORE we throw it all away next time. I'm all for digging up Mz Handbag and hanging her, drawing her and quartering her. Blue handbag and all.
Not Eurofighter... stupid Labour government
"More than any other single thing, the Eurofighter is the cause of the terrible financial paralysis now gripping our armed forces."
I disagree. I would say it's the Labour gov't who went around slashing budgets for the people who defend the country. Within that, maybe Eurofighter is the one large thing that takes money, but the lack of funds is the original cause.
What's that? We don't have the money to throw at the Armed Forces? We'd need milliards (sic) to properly kit out the ground troops and we don't have that? Hmmm... tell that to the wunch who suddenly had all this money to bail out some people who fucked up the economy, thereby leaving the rest of us in the shit.
Fact one - the F-22 is not some super, undetectable stealth plane. It can be seen on modern radar from most angles and is thought to be detectable by the AESA type radars as used by Eurofighter even head-on from range. It is thought to be just as vulnerable to different wavelength detection technologies as the F-117 shot down after being detected by reflected signals from mobile masts over Serbia in '99. Raptor has stealth in a narrow spectrum only.
Fact two - in making the F-22 radar-stealthy against 90's radar, Lockleed made a compromise - no wing pylons. This means it can't carry as wide a range of weapons as an upgraded Eurofighter. To carry any large missile like the Harpoon missiles carried by the current F/A-18 it would need a bolt-on wing pylon and also lose a lot of its radar stealthiness and range. Guess what - Typhoon can already carry Harpoon amongst others, including the Storm Shadow cruise missile which gives even the current Typhoon the ability to stand off at range and get the job done, without having to get all close where stealth is needed.
Fact three - in designing predominantly for radar stealth against '90s radar designs, Lockheed made a poor compromise on IR and UV stealth. Poor IR and UV stealth means that enemy aircraft can detect it at long range simply from the friction generated by transonic flight (in the Typhoon's case the detecting kit is the PIRATE-IRST system - I have yet to see any details of any IR or UV detection system carried by the Raptor). This is particularly surprising stealth design ommission by Lockheed given that the Russians were well-ahead of NATO in airborned IR and UV detection kit as far back as the '80s! However, UV and IR stealth were design features for the Eurofighter, and in these areas it is MORE stealthy than the F-22. And as shown by the recent F-15SE, radar stealth features can be added to existing designs if required, and there is nothing to stop BAe from adding some conformal bits to increase the Eurofighter's radar stealthiness.
Fact four - whining fish heads should look up who did the shooting down of the enemy aircraft by Brits since WW2. Besides the innaccuracy of the statement (an Indonesian Air Force Hercules "crashed" whilst trying to avoid interception by a RAF Javelin over Malaysia in the 1964 confrontation, which is technically a kill, especially as the Javelin returned minus one Firestreak missile), all too often, as in the Falklands, the RAF had to provide many of the pilots to get the kills (RAF Flt Lts Barton, Penfold and Smith got a kill each over the Falklands, whilst Flt Lt Morgan got two, plus at least five RAF pilots that scored kills flying F86s with the Yanks over Korea). Just because the Admiralty decided they wanted to keep the nuke subs rather than carriers don't blame it all on Eurofighter and the RAF.
Fact five - we are stuck with the stupid numbers for Eurofighter due to political tie-ins to European, multinational projects. These are mainly due to the fact that a Labour Government stuffed the UK air industry in the '60s (remember Duncan Sandys?). Ever since, there has been this stupid penchant for joint projects. Most are limited successes and too many are grand failures. Contrary to believe, the UK industry (well, BAe, seeing as that's just about all that's left), can do projects alone if given the Governmental support and left free of political interference, as proven by the BAe Hawk program, which is arguably the most successful fast training jet program of any country since WW2 (we even sold it to the US Navy).
Fact six - whilst our air combat has mainly been in distant places where the only resource usually was the Fleet Air Arm, the air force with the greatest jet combat experience and most success since WW2 is Israel's, and they don't have any stealth aircraft. In fact, the aircraft credited with the recent raid on the Syrian nuke facility were humble F-16s, and this was against one of the most advanced air defence nets in the World. The Israelis have shown that planning, training, range, good payload capabilites and EW capabilities are far more important than just radar stealth.
Fact seven - the Raptor is not invincible. There is a famous USN F/A-18F which has a Raptor "kill" painted on its nose after a Red Flag exercise. The F-22 jock believed his own hype and ended up letting himself be manouvered to the point where the F/A-18F pilot got a gun kill, probably the most embarrassing for a so-called superfighter. It has also been reported that, away from carefully constructed exercises such as the Red Flag encounters, the Raptor has been "killed" by such simple jets as an F-16C (you, remember, the unstealthy '80s "cheap option" fighter the Israelis love?).
My preference would be to take the existing Eurofighters the RAF has got, bring 90 max up to Tranche 3 standard PLUS add the gun back in, then tell the rest of the Eurofighter consortium to get stuffed. Then offer to build every component of completely new airframes for the Saudis and Japs as we could do it all with the right investment (after all, BAe desinged the EPA which was the bassis of the Eurofighter by themselves). As for the RAF, once they have got their 90, make them use a BAe Hawk 205 variant for the rest of their needs as it will be just as useful for the majority of UN policing actions and massively cheaper. And forget the F-35 in any form - just navalise another 30 Typhoons and put catapults on the new carriers. At least then Lewis might stop whinging.
That's OK, you brits can always...
... buy a couple Rafale....
There are also reports of at least one RAF Venom FB6 kill on an Egyptian MiG-15 in November 1956 during the Suez Crisis. And (hilariously) an RAF Tornado GR Mk1 claimed a "kill" after an Iraqi MiG-25PD hit a mine from a JP.233 dispenser attack on the Fal-Taqaddum air base in the First Gulf War (which means the GR version actually has more combat kills than the fighter version!). Technically, as the MiG was taxiing, it is not a "kill" by RAF rules, but is by Yank rules. By these rules, there are also two RAF Buccaneer "kills" on Iraqi transports at Shayka Mazhar Airfield using LGBs.
So much for the FAA getting all the "kills".
Reg reader starts a petition (which still has hardly any signatures) on a subject you believe in. Cue two pages of regurgitating the same details from your last hundred articles on the same subject. So where is the news?
You acknowledge that you've been called a broken record and yet you continue to act like one when you get even the hint of something you can write to complain about the Eurofighter. Odds are that the person who started the petition did it specifically as a bet to get this out of you, with extra payouts if you mentioned helicopters and poorly paid servicemen. They are laughing all the way to the bank, only missing out on "BAE are evil" to complete their bingo card.
I've signed mainly because if I can do anything to help the lads and lasses then that's a good thing.
Wasn't the Eurofighter thought of being in a European Airforce, I think the Navy had similiar plans for a joint warship, and mainly because Terry (Taliban) hasn't got any fighter planes.
...and bombing them isn't working.
There is also little interest in operations in Afghanistan from our European neighbours, obviously I'm not privy to the "bigger picture" but it does seem the traditional fighter is not proving its worth in this particular war. So it would be wise to spend it on something else like IED detection for the Pongo's (Army), but then the MOD never does anything sensible too many chiefs.
...and still more!
And don't forget reports that Biggles once shot down one of Ginger's paper aircraft in the officers' mess using a catapult fashioned from two spoons and an elastic band!
The yanks saw wisdom (at least their budget master did) and have attempted to decide to ditch the obscenely expensive F-22 in favour of aircraft slightly less capable in some areas, but significantly more cost effective. It probably can't shoot down other planes as well, might not be quite as stealthy, but it does tick all the right boxes for what we really need planes for.
So why can't we do the same? Yes it means one aerospace business gets all the contracts for the time being, but that doesn't mean the others can't go back to the drawing board and return with a competitive plane of their own.
The reality is unless we do something particularly stupid like go to war with China or for old times sake have a pop at Russia, there aren't any countries out there that can put an airforce into the sky in sufficient numbers to be any sort of threat to Nato or US air superiority.
As Lewis has pointed out, our main requirements seem to be either protecting shipping lanes from pirates, or ground support in places like Afghanistan. The Taliban are rather short on numbers in the plane department, and if our wars with the Iraqis are anything to go by, then we wouldn't have much to worry about from N.Korea or Iran. In fact I seem to remember the Iraqi airforce spending more time trying to find safe hiding places than actually getting involved in any sort of handbags with planes significantly older than F-22s or even Typhoons.
So Apaches for the Army good, Eurofighters meh, and something that can take off from non-arrestor wired, stunted aircraft carriers better.
If we really don't want to give all the western orders for aircraft to one corporate, why not ask for an equivalent to the F-35 from a few of the others? It'll take a decade or two, but I don't see any Russian tanks on the horizon and the entire west owes so much money to China it would be cheaper and more efficient for them to foreclose on us than start a war.
Air defence fighter
Whilst I do appreciate a good rant, there is another reason why we need more Typhoons - the air defence of the United Kingdom.
The tornado F3 is being stood down at an accelerated rate, and we will be very hard pushed to respond to any meaningful breach of UK airspace in the short term.
Say a couple of russians wandering down from the Norwegian sea, and the fighters are routed up north, as things stand at the moment we would be hard pushed to get a quick response to any incursion from the rest of the continent.
For the carriers, it might make better fiscal sense to pitch in with the USMC and go in with the America class carriers - the projected air wing for each of these consists of 12 V-22s, 8 AH-1s, 10 F-35s, 4 CH-53Ks, and 4 Navy CH-60 helicopters. Total cost for the ships is actually below that for the Queen Elizabeth class ships.
Eurofighter is a peace enhancing project.
Step 1: Get together with all your traditional enemies.
Step 2: Pool all your defence spending.
Step 3: Piss it into a big hole in the ground.
Now nobody has any funds left for military hardware and can't afford to go tho war.
Eurofighter is a Good Thing (TM)
I'm with Charles on this one.
Eurofighter could be a practical way of curbing this country's tendency to jump into every single conflict zone. How about we pour all that military spending into aerospace research, and quit getting involved in any war that doesn't involve air-to-air combat.
Cancelling wouldn't save any money because of the penalties?
I thought it was accepted that the penalties that would result from cancelling trache 3 would be as great as just buying them?
That was the impression I got from Defence of the Realm, who appeared to take the pragmatic view that it would be better to buy the planes and hope we can sell them at a later stage to recoup at least some of the cost?
I'm assuming they were correct on that, because they if they missed a chance to knock the MOD then it would be a first.
@ Matt Bryant
You're bang on with the F-35 comment - just upgrade enough Eurofighters to Tranche 3 and we end up not needing F-35s anymore. Then the £5 billion plus we spend on doing that is actually an enormous SAVING in the future as we eliminate the cost and risk of (very) likely over runs in the budget and timings of that project.
As I said above, pay now, or pay more later.
Yes, it would be nice to have the Tranche 3s for any (slim) possible conflict with Russia.
But we have a LIMITED BUDGET. This is an EIther/OR situation.
We need a few high-end planes that can handle special missions- first stike against Iran etc
But then we need just standard half-decent plains that do the job against piss-poor old Russian equipment, or those with No planes at all. As must as readers love to slag off the septics, we are not gonna have a war with them any time soon, But off the shelf F35s and apachaes cheaply and soon as a basic, cheap, but very conpetent plane for our ACTUAL needs at the moment.
Then buy more helicopters/armour for the troops dieing on the ground as we speak.
Lewis, ignore the knee-jerk anti americans, and those that want to debate the minute of the EuroFIghter Vs F22. The point of these articles is about the opportunity cost of buying Eurofighter and keep spreading the word what a daylight robbery this is!
WHAT IS WRONG WITH DEFENCE SPENDING?
You ask what is wrong with Defence spending and then postulate an answer. The question is valid - your answer is not.
The correct answer is the money we spend on the Royal navy, excluding the Deterent boats. Our current Royal Navy is so weak and useless that it could not convoy a single skip safely from Falmouth to Felixstowe. It can not operate against any effective enemy of the Crown without coalition partners, unless you count a a few pirate speedboats that are armed with little more than assault rifles.
Our proud Navy, that defended these islands, protected the convoys and made victory in WW2 possible is a sick, resource consuming, joke and the real waste of Defence resources is the 2 new aircraft carriers, which are totally without purpose other than the jobs (read political support) they bring in some of the less salubrious areas of the Realm.
Good question. Wrong target.
Hey, so maybe it'd be a good thing to scrap Tranche 3 AND to call back the guys from the American wars in the Middle East then?