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back to article RAF Eurofighters make devastating attack – on Parliament

The RAF has blown up two apparently abandoned Libyan tanks using a Eurofighter Typhoon jet in a move which appears to have been motivated more by Whitehall infighting than by any attempt to battle the forces of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The following video was released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) yesterday afternoon, less …

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Reality of Costs

I'm a little confused here, surely giving £12 billion to UK citizens working at BAE systems is better than giving £6 billion to America because the UK workers will spend the £12 billion on council tax, VAT, income tax etc etc.

Isn't money flowing around in the UK economy better than money sent to America and a bunch of new unemployment benefits to pay. Even if we get a crappy plane that only does an average job.

Maybe an economist can enlighten me.

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Black Helicopters

Reality of Costs

Ideally, if you can save £6Bn then that's £6Bn you can spend on something useful for the economy (or less tax you need to take).

But even if we assume that the government would only waste it somewhere else and "Buy British" regardless, very little of the £12Bn gets back into the UK economy because very little of it goes to pay UK workers. BAe are no more 'British' than BP - except when it suits politicians.

Defence is the only industry where the customer is constrained to buy British (or Euro-collaborative) & never mind the cost, the quality or the lead times involved.

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Anonymous Coward

Out of those 12, 9 will probably end in the USA

Out of those 12, 9 will end in the USA. BAE is only nominally British corporation now.

In any case, Lewis is probably wrong about the real reason for the shooting spree. The real reason is that the spare parts shortage may make a demonstration at a later day unfeasible.

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Anonymous Coward

"Maybe an economist can enlighten me."

The evidence suggests that that is unlikely.

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Buy Brit, or buy what works..?

Isn't it the job of the RAF (and the UK government, for that matter) to buy what *works*...? They are, presumably, going to be using whichever aircraft they buy in enforcing the interests of the UK, and doing that with second-best, ESPECIALLY when top-line kit costs less, is failing at their mission.

Dunno 'bout you, but I'd prefer my government not toss aside pants-loads of cash in exchange for shoddy kit.

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FAIL

You have completely missed the point.

Lewis continually makes it, and people continually miss it.

If you want to subsidise industry, then by all means do it, but be upfront about it. Don't do it out of the defence budget. It's things like this that result in no aircraft carriers and too few helicopters and Better Off With Map And Nokia.

Not that I'm expecting things to change.

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Anonymous Coward

We can always buy more F-35. They are costing only $300million at the moment

Bargain, although they are years before being a usable state.

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Anonymous Coward

reality of costs

ah, kinda, but nope not really, because the money was coming out of our pockets in the first place. Basically they are saying

Happy xmas, here is a wee prezzy for you, oh, by the way i had to borrow your money to buy it.

yes some of that money will filter back in to the tax system but in terms of the benifit to the UK economy its a net loss.

Or think of it another way, the previous govenment spent a collosal amout of money on the banks, good for the banks, yes, and good for the people who had money in their banks, but they cant keep giving money out to everyone as they are all ready trillions of pounds in debt, in fact if you think about it, you I and every other tax payer out there who holds money in those effected banks effectively just brought their own money again.

No what would be better is to save as much money as possible now by scrapping this waste, reduce spending and our huge debt THEN reduce taxes, encurrage private sector growth, get companies making crap and selling it off abroad, that is the only way to improve the whole economy. Recycling our money isnt and wont improving anything as a whole, oh except the people (CEOs) and those companies who hold the govenments hands that is.... whoops sorry bit of a rant there! :)

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Paris Hilton

Spending money to make money - or not

[[I'm a little confused here, surely giving £12 billion to UK citizens working at BAE systems is better than giving £6 billion to America because the UK workers will spend the £12 billion on council tax, VAT, income tax etc etc.]]

If you paid us £6 billion for a bunch of F-18s, where would the other £6 billion not spent go? Wouldn't it possibly remain in the pockets of the UK taxpayers?

Also, I believe part of the problem here is not the question of how much will be spent going forward with the current project vs. switching over to F-18s; it's a question of how much could have been saved if the off-the-shelf jets were purchased at the start, plus also a question not just of pounds cost but also length of serviceability. (I hope I correctly understand Mr. Page's point that the Eurofighters are scheduled to be replaced just about the time they've worn the mold hairs off their tires.)

The one nice thing you can say about all this is that at least this demonstration (probably) didn't kill anyone, as they were nice enough to bomb tanks nobody was capable of using anyway. How perfectly polite! ;)

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Boffin

uh, not really

The difference is that when you buy abroad, you have no real reason to proceed with purchases, if the military need goes away.

When you develop internally, all sorts of trumped up logic is brought to bear to purchase weaponry of limited use in order to preserve jobs.

That's how Canada is getting saddled with F35s. Not because we need them, but because they will provide Canadian jobs somewhere. Now, we could be getting Apaches and 4th generation fighters instead, but there must be some reason we need to have F35s despite our geographical location. And there must be some reason we will be spending such a huge chunk of our, underfunded, military budget in purchasing a few handful of fighters.

Witness also the US and their struggle to close defense bases and terminate programs even the Pentagon doesn't even want.

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Anonymous Coward

British?

Yes, the money that goes to UK tax paying BAE employees will be recycled into the economy, sort of. Some of it will in turn be sent overseas as the employees spend it in various ways.

However a significant portion of that money will end up going into BAE's profits and, effectively, be insulated from paying into the UK. BAE Systems is not really a UK company in a way that means anything - it is a multinational so its employees and tax affairs will be spread across the globe. I wonder how many of its shareholders are UK tax payers...

In effect, giving £12bn to BAE is quite like giving £6bn to an American company....

Also, even putting that aside this is a fallacy known as the parable of the broken window (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window). It would be better to spend the right amount of money on the aircraft and then spend the rest of the money in the right place, rather than hope that spending all £12bn on the aircraft lets the money recycle properly.

Personally, I'd rather see £6bn go to the US for a plane and £6b be spent on local schools.

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Grenade

Not my job to fly crappy planes

You're right, it's about where the money goes. The RAF will fly what they are given and do as they are told. Wars are stupid anyway and if it was not for the death and destruction this latest 'no fly zone' folly would be a funny joke. The worst hardware we provide the forces the more unsuccessful their wars will be, which pleases me.

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buy crap

I prefer it if they buy crap so they can't fight effectively.

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Coat

Great news!

Does this mean Lewis will finally stop describing the Typhoon as a "pure air-to-air fighter"?

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Sure...

It has "austere bombing capabilities" - austere being defined as being capable of destroying undefended and indefensible scrap. Handy, that. You know, just in case the junkyard wars people make a military move - you can get their parts supply chain.

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Boffin

Not quite...

Actually, in this case "austere" means being able to carry up to six Enhanced Paveway II dual mode laser/GPS-guided bombs, and self-designate targets using a Litening 3 pod. Which is rather more LGBs than a Tornado can carry, and a lot more than a Jaguar could.

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Scrap Heap Challenge

I have stuff like that tank. On my to do list. It would be handy if the RAF sent a Typhoon to blow it up, save me the guilt of having not got it back on the road yet.

Depleted Uranium explosion.

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FAIL

why f18?

On the bbc website to accompany a story about US bombing on Libyan targets they showed an interesting aircraft, think it's called an AV8-B.

Why don't we buy those instead?

Not even funny is it the ludicrous lack of joined up thinking..

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re why f18?

Ah yes, the AV8B. Also known as the Harrier. Sounds vaguely familiar.

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AV8B...

Wait, didn't y'all just toss aside a bunch of those?

Is it too late to go rummage them out of the bin?

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AV8B...

It IS too late to rummage them out; the Typhoon has used it's austere bombing capabilities on that bin too.

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LPF
WTF?

Its articles like this that make me weep!

Billions upon billions wasted for no good reason whatsoever, except to fund the retirement plans of MOD mandarins and Military personelle , but dont worry , pretty soon some munchkin will come along , spouting how his brother /sister/father-in-law benefits from having this a job in the UK

While british servicemen die on the front lines due to equipment shortages and the pride of the nation is once more rubbed in the dirt to fund the lifestyles of the arms industry !

I would fill the rest of this with swear words but quite frankly I just want a drink! :(

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Grenade

maybe we would find less wars to fight

if we had less equipment to fight it with.

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Unhappy

...make me weep!

Mmm yeah, it would be far better if the billions was wasted on creating and sustaining US jobs.

Worked for the motor bike industry/car industry/electricity industry/water industry/insert as appropriate.

Not.

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Grenade

Too narrow a comment.

"The story of bomber capability on the Eurofighter has been a cockup from start to finish"

In keeping with the story of MOD procurement, then?

Grenade? 'Cos that's what they need in their underpants!

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All that money

to build a plane just to blow up an abandoned unserviceable tank, well wasn't that, "our tax", money well spent. Yes because tanks that don't move or fire anything pose such a threat!

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FAIL

RE: All that money

".....an abandoned unserviceable tank....." Oh dear, old Lewis's converts don't even need assistance pulling the wool over their own eyes, they're happy to do it themselves! Leona needs a reality check. Because, of course, Lewis was able to use his superhuman, intercontinental-range x-ray vision to look inside the tank, confirm it was empty, and also his intimate knowledge of Soviet tank technology (they teach a lot of that on RN minesweepers? Really!?!) to be able to deduce it was an "unserviceable" tank. Of course, the rest of us, just looking at the MoD's video, would only be able to tell that the Typhie found some Libyan tanks at night and successfully smacked them without itself getting smacked, which is not an easy task. For all Lewis knows, they could have been manned and with weapons hot and just waiting the order to move out and attack the rebels the minute those pesky RAF fighters had gone (the Libyan's probably read Lewis's bumph and thought "oh, it's a Typhoon, what me worry"......).

So, once again another useless load of bilge from Lewis, full of exaggeration and bile, and pushing the F/A-18? Puh-lease, whilst the F/A-18 is a good jet, compared to Typhoon it is a dodo in air-to-air, and no better in ground attack either. The real problem around the Typhoon project has always been the meddling politicians, the aircraft is far better than Lewis wants to believe.

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Stop

Did you read the article ?

I'm not normally in the business of defending people but.....

"The Telegraph reports that the location struck was "an abandoned tank park". "

So it seems highly like that this tank was A. Abandoned (empty) and also B. Unserviceable (probably leading to A)

Also fixed your last sentence for you... "The real problem around the MOD has always been the meddling politicians, the aircraft is far better than Lewis wants to believe."

I think here Lewis and yourself are in agreement, since he is not critizing the jet but the politics.

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Anonymous Coward

"Pu-lease...

...whilst the F/A-18 is a good jet, compared to Typhoon it is a dodo in air-to-air"

And when did we last need air-to-air - don't we just send cruise missiles in to destroy their fighters on the ground before sending in planes to destroy their heavy arms?

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WTF?

@ Matt Bryant

"whilst the F/A-18 is a good jet, compared to Typhoon it is a dodo in air-to-air, and no better in ground attack either"

So in other words you could have the same ground attack capability, without the virtually useless air-to-air capability, for an order of magnitude less TCO per plane? What exactly is the problem with this?

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FAIL

RE: Did you read the article ?

I not only read the article, I obviously thought about it a lot more than you did. So, the Telegraph has inter-continental-range x-ray vision? Was there a Telegraph reporter on the ground, in place to confirm that the "tank-park" was indeed abandoned and the tanks were definately not useable? Don't tell me, it was in a broadsheet so it must be true!

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FAIL

RE: "Pu-lease...

"....And when did we last need air-to-air ...." <Takes deep breath, counts to ten> It's operating a no-fly zone, so air-to-air capability is kinda VITAL. Especially as the Typhies are operating hundreds of miles from the nearest friendly base or support and could conceivably have to face a dozen MiGs if Quadaffiduck decides to give it a go, which means the best air-to-air capability is required. Try thinking, you just failed the last time you needed to do that.

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FAIL

RE: @ Matt Bryant

"....for an order of magnitude less TCO per plane?...." Seeing as you have zero ability to define the exact cost per unit of even the basic F/A-18 airframe for an UK order; the cost of the additional avionics upgrades to bring it up to the required RAF spec; or the cost of just keeping the base airframe in service, let alone the additional avionics bits plus training required, I can comfortably state that you are talking out of your rectum. Please try thinking for yourself rather than just accepting what Lewis pukes up as gospel.

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RE: RE: Did you read the article ?

Since your comment was clearly a rant at Lewis I took it in that context.....

"So, once again another useless load of bilge from Lewis"

The article I was talking about was this Lewis's.... which was an article commenting on the Telegraph article. Of course a good reporter should check sources but how far to take it ? You're correct that really to know something is true you have to be there so I guess you belive nothing you see on tv or read since you were not there ?

Of course not... so now I'm defending the Telegraph article now as well by stating that they covered the MOD report as best as they could.

Want me to defend the MOD too ? Ok, how about the fact that many tanks are all parked in the same spot long enough to be found and taken out in the middle of a war seems pretty likely they were abandoned and not useable. Or are you suggesting the Lybians would park working running tanks all together and not use them even when they could ? Seems a but silly when you have a population + rebels to subdue

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FAIL

RE: RE: RE: Did you read the article ?

<Yawn> So, what you're actually having to say is you don't know for certain, but you THINK they might have been abandoned tanks and MAYBE unserviceable.

"......how about the fact that many tanks are all parked in the same spot....." Really? So in your mind, tanks run around in some kind of never-ending circuit, never needing to refuel or bomb up, or for their crews to get some sleep or chow? And they never take cover in built-up areas in an attempt to avoid UN/NATO airstrikes? The vid shows three tanks (not "many") and some other vehicles, not exactly a massive number. Want to re-think that last schpiel?

".....long enough to be found...." So, in your obviously massive experience, how long do you have to look before you can find a tank? Is there a mandatory five hours you have to put in first before you're allowed to find one? Of course, you might want to consider that the RAF knew they were there because recce or satellites had already found them.

"....and taken out in the middle of a war...." Yes, 'cos modern aircraft blowing up tanks is just so uncommon and unlikley! Did you forget that whole Gulf War 1 and 2 thing, there were lots of vids of US and RAF bombers doing all sorts of nasty things to Iraqi tanks all over the news.

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RE: RE: All that money

Of course you could be right. However the speed which the video came out obviously indicates they want people to know about this success. The timing indicates it's a political move. Pardon us for being cynical about the reality of what we are shown. Farm more important that the jet is seen to be doing a good job than any damage done to any tank no matter how dangerous to the freedom fighters (sorry peaceful protesters).

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Grenade

So less-than-smart bombing then?

Couldn't we save even more money by dropping MOD civil servants, former ministers & directors of BAe on Libya from a great height?

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Silver badge

But we've already shat on them from a great height?

See title.

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Typhoon vs Rafale

This war shows at least something: the Rafale is a real usable multirole fighter when Typhoon is useless.

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Anonymous Coward

re: Typhoon vs Rafale

Potemkine - armchair expert.

Typhoon was built to a specified requirement. Just because the requirement has changed doesn't make the aircraft useless.

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FAIL

RE: Typhoon vs Rafale

"......the Rafale is a real usable multirole fighter when Typhoon is useless." Really? So. what extraodinary level of logic did you use to get to that conclusion? Let's compare - Rafale has blown up Libyan tanks, so has Typhoon; Rafale has flown counter-air without engaging any Libyan jets yet, and same for Typhoon. So it looks about even, which implies (using your "logic") either Rafale is just as junk as Typhoon, or you are just a gromless Fwench troll with the weakest of non-arguments. Please go back to the Teletubbies forums until you have grown up enough to participate in adult conversation.

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Easy Tiger

Based on your argument the Rafale is at least as good.

The cost of a Rafale is about 1/2th of the cost of a Typhoon. UK is continuously looking towards having the French shoulder at least some of the cost for the carrier fleet development. The French will use Rafale for their carriers.

All of that adds up to the obvious question - why bother with the Typhoon and the F35 when the Rafale is both good enough for dealing with most dictatorships which have lost the perspective where exactly are they in the pecking order. It will probably be integrated for taking off British carriers before the F35 too.

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'Typhoon was built to a specified requirement.'

You're quite right - that requirement was the Cold War.

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Pint

the people who developed the requirement are useless.

"Typhoon was built to a specified requirement. Just because the requirement has changed doesn't make the aircraft useless."

No, AC, it doesn't just mean that. It also means the people who developed the requirement are useless.

(AC, you call Potemkine an armchair expert, but you're obviously an armchair expert when it comes to management.)

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re Easy Tiger

And the F-35 is shaping up to be the next enormous waste of money.

It is basically a very expensive high speed group attack aircraft with minor abilities as an interceptor.

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A slight precision

> Rafale has blown up Libyan tanks, so has Typhoon; Rafale has flown counter-air without engaging any Libyan jets yet, and same for Typhoon.

To be precise, it's more "one static, abandoned tank" in case of Typhoon, 'tanks and artillery and command centers and ammunition stockpiles everyday" for the Rafale - Oh, and for air superiority, the only Lybian jet shot down was by a Rafale...

So, nice try, little Troll, so sad your fantasy doesn't match the facts

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RE: Easy Tiger

"Based on your argument the Rafale is at least as good...." Wrong! All it shows is that in the situation so far they are operating equally well. But, the Rafale cannot meet the RAF's requirement for a long-range interceptor. The Fwench already tried offering it to the RAF, the Germans and the Italians and it didn't meet their requirements. Even the RN did consider the Rafale as a cheap option to the F-35, but decided it was a better bet to wait for the unproven F-35 than accept the limited Rafale, and that is really damning as the F-35 is already not considered good enough to replace the Typhie in the air-to-air role. In fact, IIRC, the Rafale as yet to pick up a foreign order, so it seems everyone else is also thinking the Rafale is just not the best option.

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RE: A slight precision

"......Oh, and for air superiority, the only Lybian jet shot down was by a Rafale...." Monumental fail! The Rafale killed a Galeb - that's a subsonic armed-trainer, about the air-to-air equivalent of stepping on a bug! And, as I hear it, the Galeb wasn't even up and fighting, it was landed on the runway when the Fwench "shot it down" ( but missing the other Galeb of the pair - how hard is it to hit a taxiing trainer?). So, not an air-to-air victory. Try again!

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