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back to article New RAF transport plane is 'Euro-w*nking makework project'

A peer and former defence minister has described the A400M military transport plane - which is being bought by the cash-strapped UK armed forces for a secret but outrageous amount of money - as a "Euro-wanking make-work project" in the written Parliamentary record. Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders and the A400M Programme …

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Reliability Of Eurofighter vs. F-22

F-22 crashes: 4 to date

Eurofighter crashes: 2 to date

The EFA has been produced in slightly larger numbers than the F-22, has longer operational history but the *absolute* crash count is only 50 % of the F-22. How do you spin this Lewis ?

Also, EFA already faces the SU-34 in Lithuania, while the F-22 does not dare to do that.

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What that got to do with it?

Not only has this post got nothing to do with the article which makes no mention of the F-22 or the Eurofighter, but it's a straw man argument in itself, since I don't ever remembering reading Lewis advocating the F-22 over the Euro fighter - ever.

The F-22 and Eurofighter are different beasts entirely and even in the US the F-22 is seen as a failed project, not even the Americans want it any more. However the failure of the F22 doesn't make the Eurofighter a success. It's still an overpriced waste of money because in all recent theatres of war we've been fighting countries with no competent airforce to speak of and therefore no need for an air superiority fighter in great numbers. What we need is an updated ground attack capability, a task for which the Eurofighter was not designed and is barely capable of.

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both worthless pork for the war pigs

Bets neither aircraft shoot down a baddie in the next 25 years. Now if only we could figure out a way to counter that super sophisticated technology the AK47 and RPG which is killing both Brits and Yanks plenty.

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A possible counter to the Kalashnikov

Short Magazine Lee Enfield.

Even if it has to be in 5.56mm

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Anonymous Coward

@Richard 120

As Lewis is "by default" in Euro-bashing mode, I decided it is time to do the same with American Technology in General. That's called "Tit For Tat" in your language, I guess.

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@asdf: EFA IS Already Worth It's Cost

..ask the RAF what they use to intercept the Tu 95 Bombers coming down the Norwegian coast, loaded with supersonic distance weapons (which can carry nasty nukes).

..ask the Estonians, Lithuanians, the Polish and basically everybody else east of Germany whether they prefer to be protected by Luftwaffe F4s or Luftwaffe Eurofighters (in addition to their aging MiGs the Russkies know very well (b/c they build the RADAR themselves)). I am sure they are really happy their airspace is protected by EFA.

The opponent is the SU-34. Do a little research and then think about your statements. Nobody (outside the Anglosaxon world at least) wants war, but neither do we want to be bullied by the Kremlin's airforce. I guess EFA saves YOUR personal sitting flesh.

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The Glorious C-17

... had numerous cost overruns, reliability problems and never met initial specs. The "austere runway capability" remains highly doubtful.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_C-17_Globemaster_III

"A January 1995 GAO report revealed that while the original C-17 budget was US$41.8 billion for 210 aircraft, the 120 aircraft already ordered at that point had already cost US$39.5 billion.[26]"

"In April 1994, the C-17 program was still over budget, and did not meet weight, fuel burn, payload and range specifications. It also failed several key criteria and tests that had been conducted to evaluate its airworthiness.[20][21][22] Airflow over the aircraft caused problems with parachutes and there were other technical problems with mission software, landing gear, etc.[23]"

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seeing as how we are quoting Wikipedia...

Regarding the A400M:

"The first test flight, originally scheduled for Q1 2008, was postponed ... early January 2008 that continued development problems with the engines had resulted in a delay to Q2 2008 before the first engine test flights on a C-130 testbed aircraft. The first flight of the aircraft...had again been postponed..."

"On 9 January 2009, EADS announced that the first delivery has been postponed until at least 2012. EADS also indicated that it wanted to renegotiate "certain technical characteristics" of the aircraft."

"the A400M is €5 billion over budget, 3 to 4 years behind schedule..."

"the aircraft is overweight by 12 tons and may not be able to achieve a critical performance requirement..." "...insufficient to carry a modern armored infantry fighting vehicle..."

Et cetera et cetera.

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So...

it's now available and operational with high reliability at £70m/unit.

What's your point?

More pertinently, what's your connection to Aitrbus?

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Talk about old news....

15 year old news, to be exact. Lewis is using the PROVEN cost, payload, and range figures in his argument, which include the shortfalls you mentioned.

Those cost overruns are history and the CURRENT, fixed price is half that (of course, THAT number is just a guess) of the A400. It's also had a long time in service to work out bugs. Lewis is spot on here.

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Anonymous Coward

What we need to fix this...

... apparently is a jolly old world war, forcing us to focus on what works for the least cost possible. Instead of creating make-work for the highest cost possible.

Though I'd prefer if most of the fighting would happen on the North American continent instead of Europe because the USoA badly need that happening to them, just to give them a chance to grow up and stop creating havoc elsewhere just because they can.

Then again if the choice is world war or no world war, I'll take the "non" any time. But it'd still be nice if governmental procurement, including military procurement, wasn't such a shameful affair.

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"Can't we all just get along?"

Clearly not. However, wishing war on anyone is also clearly wrong.

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The last time that happened

We let the US do nearly all the transport aircraft development and building for us because we were working flat out to put bombers and fighters into the air.

End result. Post war most every airline in the world is operating DC-3/Dakotas and not Yorks or Lancastrians

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the cnn phenomenon

War is fun as long as you can just watch cool footage on CNN. Once you quit forcing the rich to risk their offspring as well you can count on a near constant state of war. No bid cost plus contracts are a lot tougher to come by in peace time.

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Anonymous Coward

Minor point of order

Not wishing war on anyone. Thought I said so pretty clearly too. Iff such a thing would come to pass I'd prefer it passed over there because it migth cure them of their world-wide juvenile wanton meddling.

I am concluding that apparently a war is what would at least provide a strong incentive to stop wasting all that money and instead try and conjure up some useful kit. The two wars in the middle east aren't cutting it... much. If you have better alternatives, do share.

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Anonymous Coward

I love

I love the lords, they do a fantastic job of keeping the media hungry children other wise known as MPs in line. The day we lose them is the day we're doomed to a completly crippled media driven popularity cult of a political system.

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Quite true

Much as there is much wrong with a bunch of out of touch old men with a tendency towards working whilst "tired after dinner" running the country they sadly really do seem to do a better job than the elected house....

Which probably says a lot about what we've stuffed the commons full of.

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Ford Focus

The reasons we bought a Ford Focus was because it was a good little runner, every garage in the land could fix it, new parts were cheap, and if AA were called out, they would almost certainly have parts in their trucks.

If i were in the armed forces, I would want something that cost little to run, was easy to fix and get parts for, and did the job.

But obviously, if I were a Euro Govt minister, I would want to pour zillions into a Euro company so that I could hold my head high -- just as M&S still source 100% from UK suppliers, to support the Union Jack and to buy into patriotism as part of their brand.

Oh, wait...

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Megaphone

And there'd be nothing wrong with that

If it weren't for the fact that any pan-european project has three times it's value skimmed off the top for something that rolls of the production line obsolate.

And for an aircraft manufacturer to so massively misinterperate the costs of building it demonstrates that a hell of a lot of people in this project need a damn good sacking for sheer, mind-boggling idiocy.

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wim

replace

idiocy with greed and you ll be a lot closer

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Go

Comparison of C-130, C17 and A400M

According To Wikipedia:

Criteria A400M C130* C17

Range*Payload: 155kt*km 94,8kt*km 225k*t*km

Max Speed: 780km/h 643km/h 818km/h

Max Payload: 37t 22t 77,5t

Refueling Cap: yes limited only receiver

No Paratroopers: 116 64 102

Austere Landing Cap: yes yes very limited

=======================================

Discussion: The claim that the A400M is a "slow turboprop" is clearly FUD. The C17 is just 5% faster than the A400M.

Also, the A400M clearly has better payload*range product, because it uses the most powerful turboprop of the West, only being topped by the Russian Tu-95 turboprops. The latter a/c is also a quite formidable platform; turboprops are indeed very competitive.

*"SuperHercules", apparently only existent on paper at the moment

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Anonymous Coward

Wikipedia

And of course wikipedia is THE definitive source for stats and performance figures on highly technical projects like military aircraft. (sarcasm)

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In theory, theory and practice are the same.

"The aircraft is intended for use on short, soft landing strips and for long-range, cargo transport flights."

There are a total of 3 test A400M aircraft, with a total of 400 hours flight time and none in actual service. Think it has much real-world testing taking off fully loaded from a crappy landing strip?

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Anonymous Coward

So

..you think it implausible that the brand-new A400M performs better than the 50-year old C130 ? Even if Wikipedia is not perfect, the numbers are making sense to me.

Can you come up with a better source ?

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Re: Wikipedia

Actually, Wikipedia is probably not that bad: you've got a lot of information out there in various forms about aircraft, and there are a lot of people who are very interested in the subject matter for whom Wikipedia is a good place to pool their knowledge. Many of those people probably worked in the aerospace sector and know what they're talking about.

Take a look at a selection of aircraft-related pages on Wikipedia and you'll see that the level of curation is a lot higher than the average page. Knee-jerk sneering at Wikipedia when the stuff in question probably comes from decent sources and involves knowledgeable contributors is a display of ignorance for the sake of fashion.

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Anonymous Coward

Analysis

So, if this is all true - *why* are they spending hundreds of millions to retain work in the EU. These guys are not stupid, there must be a reason - that's why some analysis is required. For example, there may be a few hundred assembly jobs, but there wlll also be jobs created for EU suppliers for parts etc. Perhaps the business case stacks up ?

Why are we dependent on US electronics ?

The US are a long standing ally, however, it's good to have some level of independence.

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Try landing a C17 on a dirt-track

The A400M may not be as fast as a C17, or have its lifting-capacity, but it doesn't need a long tarmac runway to land or take off. Its demo at Fairford this year looked quite good.

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Grenade

ORLY??

You mean the C-17 can't do what the RAAF does with theirs on a regular basis?

Like flying into dirt fields in Northern Australia:

http://www.defence.gov.au/exercises/ts07/images/gallery/20070703/default.htm

Or flying combat missions into forward dirt airfields in Afghanistan in support of active operations:

http://www.defence.gov.au/op/afghanistan/gallery/2010/20100531b/

Your post would be funny if it wasn't so ignorant.

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Headmaster

An unbelievably bad bargain for the British forces.

So still a bargain then?

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Boffin

Yes

In the sense that a bargain is an exchange of goods or promise between parties. A bargain may be a saving when you're happy about it, which is why we refer to an exchange that favours us as a bargain in the vernacular, but a bargain can also favour the other side. The point is that a bargain is an exchange, a deal, a contract or settlement. A bad bargain is a bad bargain, it has no good sides merely because it's called a "bargain".

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Coat

That's exactly what I meant!

Honest :-)

I'll get me coat.

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Mixed fleet more expensive to run? Can we even buy C-17s and C-130s?

Whilst Lewis always likes to highlight the lower purchase cost of Septic kit (where the cost of development has largely been shouldered by the US taxpayer), he carefully avoids considering operational costs. Whilst a mixed fleet of C-17s and C-130s may be a cheaper purchase (and that's "may be" as we don't have a UK buy price for them, just the one the US negotiated), operating two types of aircraft is more expensive than one as you need two sets of parts, two training courses for all the servicing crew, two sets of pilot training for the different planes (nowadays meaning two sets of simulators too), and usually two sets of Squadrons as we don't usually run mixed units in the modern RAF. Whilst Lewis talks about "commonality" with the US and other nations, it is not guaranteed that any nation even using C-130s will have the same engines or avionics pieces as we use whould we need to borrow a part, and even then we don't get them for free - if the friendly nation does decide it wants to give us a piece of kit (and there is no guarantee that a partner might even have the part in stock), we still have to pay them for it. So that might be of little advantage over the A400M, especially as we can ship any part worldwide in 24-hours by commercial means (think DHL) if required. Sure, DHL might not want to ship into Kandahar or any other warzone, but then we'll probably have a well-stocked forward base in any such area anyway, it's the places in between where we might have to land a faulty transport that we would need to ship parts and servicing crew to (and servicing crew can go by commercial flights too).

And then there's possibility that we might not even be able to order more C-17s and C-130s for many years. Boeing's C-17 lines are busy building for other nations. We know when the A400Ms will be delivered because we're head of the queue. And whilst I'm a big fan of the Herc, the C-130 is a 50-year-old design, even the C-130J is based on a 70's development, isn't it about time we looked at a modern successor? The US has killed the Avionics Modernization Program for the C-130 that was supposed to bring it up to spec, so to actually buy C-130s with the capability of the A400M would mean an expensive avionics development as well, so Lewis's cost projections are wrong.

And then we get to the real myth in Lewis's schpiel - that he can confidently predict the buying patterns of other nations. I'm sure he said the same about the Panavia Tornado when the Saudis were looking at it. We know he said the same about Eurofighter. In fact, Lewis seems to have been wrong a lot before, so how can he guarantee that no foreign country will buy A400Ms?

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Yes because

... the Typhoon has been a roaring success overseas? C'mon, the one nation we've sold them to has taken action (bat shit insane action, no less) to close down a fraud investigation into our arms sales. Plus we were obviously flogging them Typhoons we didn't want but were contractually signed up for.

Get a grip man.

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Wrong. Also sold 15 EFAs to Austria.

look it up.

We should make Ireland, the small Baltics and Poland also buy a considerable number of them. After all it's German money saving their economy from utter destruction...

They are invited to beed it up with their own subsystems and contribute to the improvement of EFA.

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RE: Yes because

"......the Typhoon has been a roaring success overseas?...." Well, compared to the F-22 it certainly has! It looks like its main competitor in the export market is going to be the F-35, not the F-22.

Looking back through the history of political meddling in our aircraft industry, we have had respected politicians shaft us before, such as when Lord Mountbatten went into overdrive to kill off the TSR2 in favour of the American F-111 "multi-role" aircraft and the Blackburn Buccaneer (Mountbatten was a fishhead too, like Lewis, and was desperate to keep the RN's Buccaneer). Mountbatten used the same arguments - the F-111 was supposed to be cheaper and more capable. In time, Mountbatten was proven wrong - when the F-111 finally arrived it didn't even match the capability of the TSR2 prototypes, had grown massively in price, and didn't get close to real capability until after many years of painful and costly development. It never did the fighter-interceptor role it was supposed to offer in addition to being a bomber. Likewise the land development of the Buccaneer had a long and difficult development. The F-111, which was also supposed to dominate the export market in the same way as the F-22 was supposed to, proved to be an export failure, notching up a paltry 24 units to the unhappy Australians.

Yes, the A400M does look expensive, and politically loaded to keep European workers busy, but I can't see the argument for a mixed fleet of C-130s and C-17s being such a better choice without some more in-depth analysis.

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Don't let fact get in the way of your flawed analysis

A400M cheaper than C-17/C-130 mix?

Yes, because the costs associated with supporting 174 aircraft (A400M) is going to be much cheaper than supporting 230+ (C-17) and 280+ (C-130J) aircraft that also has have global supply chain, and whose development and support equipment and logistics had already been paid for and readily available? Your logic is screwed up.

Seeing as both the Australia and Canada both run a C-17/C-130J mix successfully and economically, and Qatar, the UAE and India will be doing so soon, rather says your analysis doesn't add up.

Shipping parts DHL?

Your aircraft is used for combat missions. Troops on the ground need equipment in theatre ASAP. Your transport goes unserviceable. Yes, lets get DHL to ship to ship the needed part to us in 24hrs or so. Lets hope they don't misplace it, or hope the part needed is smaller than a microwave oven. Wouldn't it be a foolish situation if the USAF across the apron from us operated the same aircraft and had the part sitting on a shelf? You're running a military operation, not a corner shop selling sweets!

The AMP isn't for C-130J aircraft, it is for all the legacy C-130E and H models the USAF still has in service. Why would you modernise the cockpit of a new aircraft with modern electronics?

The C-130J has little in common with the original models. Didn't your mother tell you that appearances are only skin deep?

No one is going to buy Typhoons. They are yesterday's fighter aircraft. If you are going to spend that much money on a fighter (instead of cheaper F16/F18/Gripen) you may as well spend it on a F35. The Saudis bought them because they have more money than sense and some of that money got kicked back into private accounts.

So far the A400M has been exported to South Africa (only because they were bought in on the production program, now cancelled due to costs doubling) and Malaysia. Recently Airbus said they were pinning hopes on a RAAF order to replace older C-130H. Seeing as the RAAF operate the C-17 (loves it!) and the C-130J successfully (which you thought was bad to do), I think the RAAF would rather more C-17s and C-130Js.

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RE: Don't let fact get in the way of your flawed analysis

More like you didn't let any thinking get in the way of your "analysis"!

".....aircraft that also has have global supply chain...." So, please explain how the Lockheed/Boeing supplychain is any cheaper than the Airbus one? Din't you notice all those commercial Airbus aircraft taking sales from Boeing over the years, all over the World? And don't let the fact that the RAF does almost 80% of it's transport airtime overhead of those partner countries that will be buying A400Ms too, many of which do not operate C-17s. Even the route out to Kandahar overflies mainly European countries that will be buying A400Ms. So your "global" issue just seems to be a world of hot air.

".....both the Australia and Canada both run a C-17/C-130J mix...." Both countries had to make the decision before the A400M was available, so they really didn't have much choice. And both are just about completely dependent on the US for their aircraft, despite Canada in particular once having a very capable aircraft-building industry.

".....Your aircraft is used for combat missions....." Transports are rarely used for "combat missions", the majority of time the modern RAF transport is spent trundling through the friendly skies on longhaul supply trips. And many of those airfields that a broken A400M might set down on don't have USAF C-17s flying through them. The last two times NATO had to move masses of troops out to the Mid-East for the two Gulf Wars they turned to commercial companies to supply the majority of aircraft to fly the troops in. In the first Gulf War, three US troops were airlifted into Saudi by commercial airlines for each one flown in by the USAF. I'm told it was almost as high for GW2 and the NATO Bosnian campaigns.

"....Yes, lets get DHL to ship to ship the needed part to us in 24hrs or so....." <Sigh> I suppose it was too much to hope that you would realise that the example of DHL's 24-hour promise is actually BETTER than that achieved by even the USAF? DHL was listed as a "service supplier" to the USMC, US Army, USAF and USN during both Gulf Wars. As a military family, we used to hitch rides home from Germany and Cyprus on RAF and sometimes USAF transports. We once had to wait for four days in Rome (hardly the far end of the "global supplychain") for a part for an USAF Herc. I thought that was bad, but the pilot told us tales of how some aircrews would often "let a bit of kit go u/s" so they could catch a week or more in Hawaii! I'm told the practice hasn't stopped, despite your belief in an uber-efficient USAF and Amercian aircraft industry.

"......The C-130J has little in common with the original models...." The C-130J actually has a massive amount in common with the old models. Whilst Lockheed have tried to paint it as "all-new", the USAF - desperate to get the buy through Appropriations - admitted to it having "80+% parts commonality" - that doesn't sound all that different to me! Maybe your mother should have suggested you spent more time looking more than skin-deep into your facts.

".....No one is going to buy Typhoons....." Actually, the current downturn in the World economy may push the F-35 price up and make the Typhoon more appealling to some countries. And I like how you compare the long-range interceptor Typhoon with the less-capable F-16/F-18/Gripen. But then the F-18 has been one of the aircraft that helped expose the over-hyped F-22, as shown by this two-seat Growler (yes, the ECM version!) that carries an F-22 "kill" after it out-manouvered an F-22 on exercise (http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2009/02/growler-power-ea-18g-boasts-f-.html). So much for the "golden bullet" F-22!

"....The AMP isn't for C-130J aircraft..." Wrong! The AMP's original idea was to bring ALL the USA's C-130s up to a common avionics standard so they could be used at night and in bad weather, two things that many of the current USAF C-130s don't fly in! In fact, the USAF is constantly amazed at what the RAF Herc pilots manage with just NVGs and a bit of practice. The failure of the AMP means that the USAF is still looking for an update and possibly a replacement for the C-130 in general (and Lockheed are bricking themselves that it won't be another rehash of the C-130).

".....Seeing as the RAAF operate the C-17...." Yes, on longhaul transport, not into Kandahar. And they only settled for the C-17s as they didn't have another option at the time. But ignoring the RAAF, which are the other side of the World, the A400M does give the RAF and other European AFs another option to the C-17, and one that can do the rough-field work the C-130 does too. I don't see why you have such a hard time seeing that one aircraft that can replace two (especially as one, the Herc, is getting very long-in-the-tooth) would appeal to the politicians, especially when they can protect European jobs (and that means votes) at the same time. I suspect it's that you don't want to see that.

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Grenade

Argument cont...

So you want to score points by pointing out that the A400M is so late that it missed perhaps the two most important contracts outside of Europe? Australia and Canada between them could have purchased more than 40 airframes. Because of the delays, prices per unit is going up. Prices are going up, govts are cutting back on orders. Govts cutting back orders, price goes up. Are you seeing a pattern here?

Not combat missions? Not into Kandahar? If you look further down I've linked to the ADF website. Not only are the RAAF flying into big, sealed, safe airfields like Kandahar (it isn't some remote base, you know. If you fly F-16s out of it, it isn't a "rough field") but flying supplies and armoured vehicles by C-17 into their forward area of Tarin Kowt which only has a dirt field. The ignorance in this forum regarding the capability of the C-17 is incredible. Just because the RAF is too afraid of denting their C-17s, doesn't mean others are afraid of utilising their aircraft to support their troops.

I'm not going to comment on the state of the RAF sudpply chain as I don't think either of us have enough knowledge, and I agree that commercial freight operators have their place (after all, DHL operates contract flights into Baghdad), but I'll make two points. 1) You shouldn't be relying on a commercial entity for your mission critical parts during combat operations in Afghanistan. 2) All respect to DHL and its ability to fly parts to the UAE, but the US military has the deepest and most capable supply chain, if not the most efficient by commercial standards...if you are running the same equipment as them. What makes the C-17 so attractive is the option to plug straight into the USAF support chain, not only for parts but for upgrades to hardware and software.

Airbus != Airbus Military. A400M != A330. I can't speak for the supporting of Airbus military aircraft (because there aren't any of them yet), but if their sister company Eurocopter is any guide their parts support is terrible. Helicopters on the ground being cannibalised to keep others flying because Eurocopter can't get of their arse and supply parts under contract. Brand. New. Aircraft. NH90s.

This is a better example because there are going to be FAR fewer A400M airlifters in service than A330s.

The AMP program does not cover the C-130J. "Wrong!" fail, you fool! Show me a link where it is said it does. The whole point of the AMP program is to provide a standard glass cockpit to C-130 aircraft that still have an analogue cockpit, such as the hundreds of C-130E and H models still in service. Seeing as the C-130J already has a glass cockpit, why would they spend the money on them.

http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/support/maintenance/c130/index.html

The point isn't to fly in night and bad weather, they can already do that (as you then implied the RAF can also do - it really isn't that amazing!), but having a common cockpit layout over all the legacy C-130 fleet, reduce maintenance (analogue cockpits require a lot of maintenance), and reduce cockpit workload and improve pilot navigation.

BTW, AMP is back on with funding for 200+ cockpits. AMP didn't "fail", the money was taken away and given to more pressing programs. Now it is back.

Your blind faith of the Typhoon is touching, but entirely misplaced. No one would choose the Typhoon over the F-16, and you supplied the reason: "...how you compare the long-range interceptor Typhoon with the less-capable F-16/F-18/Gripen".

Key word: Interceptor.

Most air forces do not require interceptors. How 1980's Cold War! It is almost quaint!

Most air forces require their combat aircraft to carry and drop bombs, which the Typhoon can't do. At least not yet. And by the time Eurofighter has added the capability, the world (and the RAF) has moved on to the F-35. The only reason to buy the Typhoon is because you aren't allowed to buy the F-35.

By the time the F-35 has been in production a few years, the price will drop significantly. The F-35 will end up cheaper than the Typhoon, but more capable.

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RE: Argument cont...

"So you want to score points by pointing out that the A400M is so late that it missed perhaps the two most important contracts outside of Europe?...." Wow, that's a bit like me saying the C-17 can't be a success 'cos the Wright brothers didn't fly one at Kittyhawk! There are a few more countries looking to buy replacements for their tired C-130 fleets than just Australia and Canada, and they won't be looking at the C-17.

".....AMP is back on with funding for 200+ cockpits...." That won't even cover half the US fleet. it also means the US will have to stock two supplychains for the different cockpit instruments as well as the completely different supplychain for the instruments for the C-17, a problem that won't be there for the A400M.

And I love how you say that relying on commercial companies like DHL is "bad" and totally ignore the fact that all the US forces use DHL! Of course all Western forces are using commercial companies for all types of roles, it simply makes their budgets stretch a bit further. Whilst it would be nice if our forces didn't have to use commercial companies to fill the gaps, it sure wouldn't be nice paying the tax bills to cover it!

"....Your blind faith of the Typhoon is touching...." In case you haven't heard, on the one occassion the Typhoon meet the Raptor that has been made public, not only did the Typhoon win the fights, the USAF sulked when they realised the Typhoon's radar had no problems tracking the "stealth" F-22. So far, the Typhoon has trounced the F-22, the F-15 and the F-16 on NATO exercises. Your faith in the infalibility of US aircraft isn't touching, it's just comic.

"....No one would choose the Typhoon over the F-16...." The Typhoon has had no problems trouncing the F-16 and F-15. In fact, the Saudis showed much interest in NATO exercises where the Typhoon beat the F-16 and F-15, seeing as that's what the Israelis have.

".....Key word: Interceptor....." Actually, the Typhoon is an air-superiority fighter, long-range interceptor and (with Tranche 3 bits) a reasonable ground-attack aircraft. The F-16 can do air-superiority but nowhere near as well, is reasonable in ground-attack, but can't do the long-range interceptor role without losing half the weaponsload to tanks. Even the updated F-16 models lag the Typhoon on avionics, don't have such toys as the IR sensors or voice control, and the CAPTOR radar completely outclasses even the AN/APG-80, which means the Typhoon will see the F-16 first and kill it at range. Even if the F-16 does manage to close to dogfighting range where it used to be the yardstick, that was in the '90s, the more modern Typhoon can happilly turn and beat the F-16. But, before you embarrass yourself any more, the conversation's about the A400M.

"....Most air forces do not require interceptors...." What, still going on about the Typhoon? Well, if you insist on making yourself look stupid, maybe you'd like to explain why the US bought the F-22, a one-trick pony of an interceptor? Ignoring the UK has more airspace to cover from intruders than any European NATO partner, do you think maybe we bought them for fun?

".....The only reason to buy the Typhoon is because you aren't allowed to buy the F-35...." Really? So the fact that the Typhoon will carry more AAMs, have better air-to-air sensors, and will be faster and able to do the whole shebang at a range the F-35 can only match by strapping on tanks and carrying just a gun, those things don't matter then? If you hadn't noticed, the F-35 is being bought by the RAF to replace the Tornado GR4s, not to replace the Typhoons. The F-35 simply won't do what the Typhoon already can.

".....The F-35 will end up cheaper than the Typhoon, but more capable." Oh, execpt for the whole air-to-air role, where the F-35 is pretty much a big ball of suck compared to the Typhoon. It is only designed to match the F-16, a fighter the Typhoon already eclipses quite comfortably. How many AAMs can the F-35 carry? Want to know how many more the Typhoon can carry? Or how the Typhoon, fully-armed for air-to-air, can go 40% further on internal fuel alone than a naked F-35A? One of the simple arguments against replacing the RAF Typhoons with F-35s in the future is that the F-35 sale would have to include extra pilots and extra flying tankers to provide what the Typhoon does now. Maybe we could convert some A400Ms.....

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FAIL

Unbelievable

Title says it all.

After watching the recent CH4 Euro Gravy Train documentary I think it is time to sack all MEPs and pick people from a lottery that have an IQ > 120 and make it their civic duty to be an MEP.

...and same for MPs.

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Scared now

It would be nice, however, if you chose a figure somewhat further from the midpoint of the bell curve; at least two standard deviations away, possibly three. Yes, this restricts your pool of available subjects, but hopefully they will have sufficient agility to accommodate any role they acquire in a future cabinet. The major dangers of this scheme are that IQ tests are not infallible so you may end up with idiots savant making the grade, and the sneaking suspicion that The Dark Lord of the Sith will pop up in a position of power again.

You see, I don't WANT to be an MEP or MP.

Hmm. I suppose that makes me even more suitable for the job, according to Douglas Adams.

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Thumb Up

Not a bad idea for the lords

But maybe something more along the lines of a year's compulsory jury service than a lottery.

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RJ

I love the fact

That you can refer to someone as the "Dark lord of the Sith" and have a large percentage of the population know who you are talking about.

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Anonymous Coward

As someone with an IQ high enough to join mensa

but too lazy to even try, but I digress, I can tell you that smart people can make astoundingly intelligent but mindbogglingly unwise decisions. To the point that just about everyone but themselves immediately spot the problem. Yes, it is entirely possible to outsmart yourself.

Currently being an M[E]P is about charisma and popularity, and it might do to change that, it's the most glaring problem with democracy. It's about who you know, about brokering power, about exchanging favours, horsetrading and compromising.

But even if you manage to change all that it still isn't merely about simple intelligence. It's also about people, about administration, about leadership, about statemanship, and a bunch of other things. How are you proposing to find such people, and put them in power? How do you ensure they won't abuse power, the tired old who will watch over the watchers?

Just filtering on intelligence alone is neither sufficient nor strictly necessary. Though it might help, what likely helps more is /vision/, and then hope that vision is realistic and useful to pursue.

I think we all have things that irk us, that have us itch to do something about it. There are certainly a few things I would want to change. Should I ever be in a position to do so, my greatest wish is that I'll know when to stop, and then step down, leaving something useful that won't immediately be broken down by the next in line.

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"French defence minister either unbelievably ignorant or simply lying"

Why either/or? Could be both.

Anyway, if the goal is to keep factories factoring, why not build C-17s under license? That doesn't keep Eurodesigners in a job, but they're apparently incompetent anyway.

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Joke

He's a French Politician...

... of course he's both

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Silver badge

C17? Surely you mean C130?

The C17 is nowhere near able to land on short bumping strips as well as the A400M, contrarily to what Lewis boldly states, so it's not going to be able to do the job in 'stan.

The C130, on the other hand, can, but it's an ageing craft, slow as fuck and in dire need to be replaced (according to some) -maybe not the most pressing concern when money is tight, though.

Anyway, that's beside the point. The US won't let you build the things under license I suspect (they want to keep the jobs and the revenue stream. Not to mention tech "secrets").

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Troll

Phanom C-17s?

http://www.defence.gov.au/exercises/ts07/images/gallery/20070703/default.htm

http://www.defence.gov.au/op/afghanistan/gallery/2010/20100531b/

Either those are ghost C-17s, or a the RAF are a bunch of weaklings not willing to get their C-17s dirty.

Harden up!!

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FAIL

Sir

Don't we have some kind of oversight committee for military spending who can crucify some minister or other over this?

Or did we lose that ability when we sold our soul to Europe?

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