Ho hum - other AC Saturday 16th May 2009 06:23 GMT
I shouldn't but I can't resist...
"serious, adult nuclear weapons are political tools in a way that Eurofighter isn't and can never be"
Not so, unless you believe that all conventional forces are more or less worthless politically, which they clearly aren't, as history has proven time and again. This is another insurance policy against a diffferent threat, probably as likely as a nuclear threat, but it still costs the same amount of money to cover for. And Eurofighter has a lot more uses than Trident.
Funnily enough, the biggest possibility is that a nuclear attack against Britain would be launched from the mountains of Afghanistan, in which case Trident will be completely irrelevant and any counter strike could be launched from the Vulcan they got flying again last year.
"The number of RAF air-to-air kills since 1949? Zero"
It's one actually, but so what? You'd be as well quoting the number of enemy ships sunk by the Navy over the same period. All it proves is the value of a good insurance policy. Deterence.
"at some stage we're going to have to say that the odds are that its not going to be common, in much the same way as mass cavalry charges weren't common in 1974."
Facetious. Nobody has cavalry units anymore, but most nations still have an airforce. Some of the countries that don't like us even have modern combat types.
"it's going to be an exceptionally generous American fighter controller that lets a Eurofighter have a pop at a fantasy enemy, as opposed to letting an American fighter have the glory and the medal,"
That assumes the US will be with us in any future conflict. The point of having a European defence industry is that Europe can look after its own needs.
"Since 1945 the British military have been fighting insurgents every year except 1968. Sooner or later we'll have to say that this is common."
The common thread in these conflicts is that the Army has either defeated the insurgents or a peace has been negotiated (OK Cyprus is the one exception I can think of). This tends to suggest that they're actually quite good at it and quite well equipped, in spite of the ravings of the Daily Fail and other rags.
"Quite a number of people pointed out that Iraq couldn't pay its international debts and that the Kuwaiti attempt at cross-drilling into Iraqi oil fields was more than a little foolish given that Iraq had a vast army and the Kuwaitis didn't."
OK, did anyone predict that the F-15 would be involved in the Gulf? When the spec was drawn up by the US, did they write it with combat against the Iraqi air force in mind? No, it was based on experience in Vietnam. That supports the point that you never know who you might be up against tomorrow. Good insurance is required.
"I think the report that Bush got said: Bin Laden Plans Strike in United States."
Which supports the point originally made. Nobody believed it because it was too fantastical.
"But this begs the question of how precisely Eurofighter will stop people taking over airliners, the attackers being armed only with Stanley knives and a few hours flight training?"
I never knew counter terrorism was written into the Eurofighter's spec.
"Really? It looks to me like we're preparing for the long-dead Cold War, rather than reality."
Nobody knows what the reality will be in 25 years time. That's why you buy better than any opponents you might come up against. Who predicted the end of the Cold War in 1984?
"We haven't got the money. Which British Infantry formations do we cut to pay for them?"
This is actually an interesting point. We would actually, after cutting Eurofighter, still have to pony up for a new fighter, so any saving has to be offset against that. The only other alternative is to buy the ruinously expensive F-35 in even greater numbers.
It's already in service, and spending £5 billion extra to avoid buying more F-35s may save us in the long run. As for cutting infantry, I thought low recruitment levels were the main reason for shrinkage (certainly true where I come from), but maybe I'm wrong.
"Most of the Eurofighters will never be used, we have only 120 fast jet pilots and 270 Eurofighters."
By my calculations that would mean only 4-5 pilots per fast jet squadron in the RAF (26 or so squadrons), meaning we should already scrap 2/3 of the fleet. Are you sure? Please explain.
"And yes, Lewis is hot under the collar about this. Its important for our nation. Its just that Lewis actually understands how bad things are."
I've no problem with this, it's just that the many good points he makes are drowned out by the sound of soapboxes being thumped and axes being grinded, which is a damned shame. We're not tabloid readers, so stop treating us like that.
The only other beef I have with the articles is that they aren't wide enough in scope. For instance, even our cousins across the pond are pissed off at cost overruns and delays. It seems to me that this story has been repeated in a few other countries, so let's see how shit everyone else is procurement too?
Maybe you could pass that on to Lewis the next time you see him...