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 …
Doesn't that cut both ways?
"If the Americans ever decide to cut off the supply of spare parts, the A400M will not keep flying for long"
Whereas if we bought American planes in the first place and they decided to cut off the supply of spare parts...
Bit of a specious argument I think!
If the Americans ever decide to cut off the supply of spare parts
True, but at least we pay a lot less for the pleasure of being shafted.
that's the very argument he's making isn't it? To say that the A400M gives us more operational sovereignty than American kit is bunk - so buy American and get good stuff cheaply.
Re: Doesn't that cut both ways?
I think that you are misinterpreting Lewis's point - if the point of buying A400Ms is to avoid dependency on supplies of American parts for the Boeing aircraft, then this is a fail because there is so much American content in the A400Ms. Additionally, those American parts are subject to American Export controls - which will limit the foreign governments that the aircraft can be sold to.
We Don't Need A Single American Screw
After all it was Messerschmitt who invented the Jet Fighter. The Tu-95 turboprops who regularly scare the Anglosaxons are also mainly the work of German engineers. And contrary to other reports we are capable of making our own semiconductors. With ASML and Zeiss Europe can give America the middle finger, if needed.
Any more questions ??
one of thing
Many of ASML tools contain American developed software. Just saying.
Hmm kind of interesting how this Yank has gotten quite a bit of work from European semi conductors companies such as ASML, most of it on the US side of the pond. Fact is Europe and the US are so intertwined as it no longer being possible for any large project not to contain both.
American Cost Overruns: F-35 - 100 %
translate.google.com will perform translation.
Your point? Yes the USA war pig makers are just was wacked as yours. The only difference is we pour such a retarded amount of $ that come war time we usually do have some kit we can use for most any purpose (and when we don't we can still afford to buy 10k IED resistant personale carriers). Lewis's point is the UK can't afford to waste cash (whether the US can in the long run is also an open question) on dumb military purchases as the economy is quite a bit smaller and can't get $ from the Chinese (good ole Tbills) any time they want.
I wondered how long it would take Lewis to get on that story... a first for Hansard, is how it was reported elsewhere.
One thing about the 400M are the ...
sexy looking propellers.
A couple of points...
Where does Lewis's C-17 pricetag of £70m (say $112m?) come from? According to the DoD themselves (see http://www.defense.gov/contracts/contract.aspx?contractid=4307), they spent $1528m on 8 C-17s this year - I make that about $191m a piece.
Also, how many of those 60 C-130-operating nations are third-world outfits that can barely keep their own air forces flying, never mind help the RAF keep flying too?
Oh, and contrary to what Lord Gilbert claims, there aren't 2600 C-130Js in use - LM only announced the delivery of the 200th C-130J in July (http://www.lockheedmartin.com/news/press_releases/2010/100720ae_c130j_2nd-hc130j.html). The C-130J is a somewhat different beast to all previous C-130s - they don't call it the "Super Hercules" for nothing.
Why not buy Russian?
Lets face it, i trust them as much as the Yanks. At least they tell someone when they are going to f**k them over!
Why not buy Russian?
Hopefully without getting too technical and deluging the comment section with intricate detail.
"Coz they're shit."
Buy russian kit
Let me see, resilient kit, well-built, better performances, better sustainability... wait, no, they are the ENEMY, stop that at once! Let's buy some playmobile-grade kit from our friends across the ocean instead. It's not as if they're playing us as tools, is it?
Better yet, first Western buyer
will get some great terms because the Russians / Ukrainians need a breakthrough like this to wipe out the prejudices against them and allow them access to the West, and they know it. They might give you the first plane for free.
It'll greatly improve relationships, and they can stop (or reduce) selling weapons to China. Every moron in NATO says they should understand China is the real threat, blah, blah, blah; but what can they do when the guys to their Western Theater is threatened by this conglomerate slowly expanding towards their borders, setting up BMD, while the Eastern Theater is giving life support to their arms industry? The way to show China is the real threat is to get friendlier, understand that they do have interests, buy things from them when they got cheap, reasonably good kit (like transport planes).
They should have gone for the An-70 in the 90s rather than fooling with the A-400 project. If they had done this, all of Europe would have FINISHED re-equipping with a modern, medium military transport by now; rather than both sides struggling towards the finish line and looking as if they will hit the finish line almost at the same time (the An-70 is much closer to the finish line but they have less money to push it through).
Russia vs USA
Russian aircraft specs:
-able to take off in any weather at any altitude
-once airborne, faster and shorter turns than any oposition
USA aircraft specs:
Amazingly for this kind of flippant remark
... you are remarkably close.
Indeed, when the ACPS-SOR (the Canadian requirement for the C-17) came out, in addition to such basic requirements as range-payload performance, among its criteria (in Tier 2) were coffee- cup holder. Tier 1 is mostly dominated by specific types of electronics.
It would have been fine, of course, if not for what's NOT on the list. Which is any real statement of the grade of runway it was to operate in. In the minds of the SOR's writer:
"Austere Airfield – an airfield having little or no support in terms of maintenance or logistics. It may be temporary with little or no conventional aerodrome infrastructure. Landing surface may be unprepared/unpaved, unmarked and unlit."
Apparently, if the runway had to be made of titanium-alloy, it would still qualify. This suggests the author either had no idea of what is really important, or knows the C-17 would not be selected if he puts some realistic requirements for the austere airfield...
In contrast, among the requirements when the Russians specified the IL-76 was a specification that it had to work with only 6kg/cm^2 ground pressure
plus ca change
"People often argue that huge planes like the C-17 aren't suitable for shorthaul work in Afghanistan, of course. This isn't because they can't do the job - a C-17 is quite capable of landing on rough airstrips and has a ramp - but because big jets are seen as too valuable to risk on the more dangerous tasks."
Yes, by all means, please send your smaller, MORE EXPENSIVE planes into the high-risk areas....
>Yes, by all means, please send your smaller, MORE EXPENSIVE planes into the high-risk areas....
They are not much more expensive when you look at the real-world costs of a C17. But that's irrelevant, as the C17s can't land or take of from the airfields in said "high-risk areas". Airfields with >2.3 km of hard, well maintained tarmac strip are not very frequent in 'stan. That's what the C!7 needs in order to take off safely. The A400M (and the old slow Hercules, for that matter) can take off from <1km bumpy strips. Not quite the same playing field.
For a superpower like the UK ...
which has to fight world wide wars on really big scale, the A400m is probably not the best solution. Just like Frigates and Destroyers and so on.
This is small stuff for lesser nations, Italy or Luxembourg.
Sir, you made my day!
Wait, you were being sarcastic, right? Regardless, I laughed, so thanks.
Ok for the US to outrageously subsidise its plane manufacturers to build military aircraft and corner a market but not us Europeans, we should just shut up and support the US economy.
Support the US economy? Hardly, we have a negative trade balance with virtually everyone in the world including enormous ones with Germany and China. Keep dreaming the US costs the UK more jobs than vice versa.
Yawn...here we go again!
Bunk and junk...journalism is supposed to be about reporting the facts and maybe a bit of speculation with some spin on the side, instead here we have yet another case of puffing out a 3 or 4 para story by regurgitating the same old anti european/buy USoA tripe. What should have been a story about some has-been in ermine making comments after one too many sherberts has been turned into yet another diatribe. Change the record will ya...
Same landing requirements?
Surely you're jesting.
The C17 needs more than 2.3 km of _hard_ strip while the A400 only needs ~1km of _soft_ strip. That is indeed a huge difference, to the point that it's meaningless to compare them on any other aspect. That's probably why Mr Former Minister compared the A400M to the C130, not to the C17 (also he appears big on interoperability, and virtually no-one flies the C17)
Not taking any side on this one, just stating the facts.
"The C-17 can operate on small, austere airfields with runways as short as 3,000 feet (914m) "
"The C-17 currently holds over 20 world-class airlift records, including payload to altitude time-to-climb, and the Short TakeOff and Landing (STOL) mark in which the C-17 took off in less than 1,400 feet (427m), carried a payload of 44,000 pounds (19,958kg) to altitude, and landed in less than 1,400 feet (427m)."
are you sure of those facts?
The C17 needs the 2.3km to take off with a full 77-ton load (i.e. a full size battle tank plus a small truck). The comparable distance for the A400M would be infinity, since it couldn't get off the ground with that load.
The A400M needs 940m run with its 37-ton max load - the comparable distance for the C17 seems hard to find, but since min takeoff at min weight is 900M, it might be about 1600-1800 metres. Not brilliant, but not terrible either.
Of course, if short takoffs/landings into soft strips are really a significant concern, the chances of either of these 100 million dollar/euro planes being used is basically zero - some rusty old C130 or ex-soviet charter plane would get used instead.
It all seems a bit silly to me - arguing about whether the UK should buy Gucci or Ralph Lauren when it should really head down to TK Maxx and buy whatever's on offer.
Because hauling air across large distances is unbelievably useful, innit?
First of all it is unfair to call a man a liar since he knows that should america withdraw the rights to use their part, the Fremch would carry on using them anyway and if push came to shove we could all design new avionics for them.
Why pour Billions into the US economy, forget the Tactical requirements for a moment and see this for what it really is....A way of boosting the european economies.
Every penny spent on US hardware is money down the drain, spend it with european companies and you get a lot of your money back in tax, you give people jobs, you dont have to pay those peoples dole money.
There is far more to defence spending that getting the cheapest initial price possible and i'm probably not alone in saying i'm getting really broed with Mr Page's scathingly short sighted articles on defense.
Military spending for teh grate econermy
While you are right that there is more to military procurement than mere money, none of them should focus on "creating jobs" and "pumping money into the economy".
For one, there are more, and better, ways to prop up the economy. If you have to do it this way because you have no other then frankly, you're doing it wrong.
For another, you run the very real risk of losing sight of the real objective, that is to provide your military with the kit they need to do what they do best, defend your country.
The primary consideration for the question, "who will build it, or rather, where will it be built?", is strategic. If you order it from examplistan, then you likely won't be able to any longer once the shooting with examplistan starts. Though this is not always a given. The Dutch did sell weapons to the Spanish and helped fund their rebellion and war of independence from Spain that way.
The problem with this reasoning nowadays, as Lewis has often pointed out, is that even nominally British companies like BAE are now in part or entirely American-owned, and worse, lots of critical parts for the things made are coming from America. That's right, critical parts have to be shipped in from across the pond and are not manufactured locally. So, once the shooting with America starts, you're in a pickle. Even with the A400M.
Back to building an aeroplane. You can spend a lot of dough on reinventing the wheel, or you can buy already-existing gear that's at least comparable, maybe a lot cheaper. Not because those projects didn't overrun, but because the development costs and overruns have been paid for by the Americans -- for military gear the first batch is most expensive for that reason. And you know exactly what you'll get, when you'll get it, and what it'll cost. Best of all, you can start training your crews on the new kit right now.
And since we're in a pact with them anyway, we'd be operating with them often enough and then it's far simpler to raid their stacks of spares --or of any of the 60-odd other countries using the same aeroplanes-- than it is to ship them in from our suppliers. Which is exactly what the good Lord Gilbert pointed out.
Besides, we already depend far more than we realise on them anyway. Suppose we drop the treaty. What will we no longer have access to? Go on, think about what'll happen.
If you want some of the jobs too, then make a deal to buy some straight, and license a bunch to build in your own back yard. If you continue to bicker and argue about ownership, then again I point out that the Americans own our defense industry just like the Chinese own America. And our R&D, and so on? Well, it's not getting much useful done now, is it?
If you're serious about jobs and keeping stuff "in the country", then open a public tender and get at least two, but better three or four, conglomerates of investors build you a prototype. Pick the best one and buy a shedload of those. Yes, several parties will have wasted investor monies. But that's not public money and you ought to get better gear that way. Right now airbus has a blank cheque and no incentive not to keep on writing.
I'll agree that Lewis can get a tad repetetive about it, but he's not wrong.
While I don't always agree with Mr. Page......
Defence spending should be all about equipping the best of us with the best of kit to do what has to be the most demanding and dangerous job we have.
Anything less is criminal.
You do realize
that the cost of those taxes are added to the product price, so we wind up getting fleeced the correct amount, don't you?
There are only a few conditions when building all the arms by yourself is a good idea:
1) You are capable of building a full-spectrum of arms yourself. Note that this does not mandate NIH syndrome, but you must have a domestic (even if inferior) capability in case the foreigners cut you off.
Except for the United States, probably only Russia and China come close to meeting this criteria.
2) You have a fairly strong political need to use force w/o restraint from other major arms sellers.
The US, Russia, China, and a few "rogue nations" like NK or Iran qualify for this. Otherwise, while it is nice, in the modern world it is probably not a "need".
If 1 AND 2 apply to you, then you should retain a strong independent arms industry, even if its products may be more expensive and/or plain inferior to foreign competitors. Obviously, this does not apply to Britain or most of Europe today, so there is only 1 reason to build arms:
3) Your arms industry is actually competitive on a cost-capability basis.
Though you are right that all else being even, building the arms yourself is slightly better economically than just importing, in comparison to the good that the same amount of money might have done invested in civilian services and industry, arms business is still a waste, as the Soviet Union found to its sorrow.
Thus, if a British or European weapon provides similar capability at the same (or very slightly higher cost), sure, build local. Otherwise, in most cases the net loss rapidly exceeds the net gain, and you are better off buying cheap weapons elsewhere and directly investing the saved cash into civilian industry.
Ultimately, the defense budget is the defense budget. Not only is it immoral to sacrifice capability to pad industry, it just ain't too good at it.
Looking back at this sensationalist piece from same author:
I will take this latest article with an ocean of salt.
Ahhh there's my coat - time to leave the soap box hall
Lewis Page and Buy American
Another article by Lewis which tells us all to buy American. Does Lewis have a contract with the US arms industry.
The funny thing here is that the relevant comparison is between A400M and C130J. The C17 has no real rough field capability because it has jet engines which are highly likely to suffer foreign object damage in rough field landings. Also reverse thrust on a jet cannot be used on anything other than concrete runways because of foreign object damage, so if you did try to land on rough fields you would be doing so on wheel brakes which will mean much longer landing runs.
The C130J could well be a better buy than the A400M, but Lewis should at least compare apples with apples. A C17 to A400M comparison is not apples to apples.
Also, in the past every time Lewis has compared the F22 to the Typhoon he hasn't compared the same price measurements - I worry he is doing the same here. With F22 to Typhoon Lewis routinely compares flyaway cost of the F22 with program cost divided by number of units built of the Typhoon. The Flyaway cost of the F22 is substantially less than program cost divided by number of units ordered (or build).
...who the hell cares anyway...
Since the next big war is going to be with China and they will kick us in the b***ocks so hard that the people they're attached to will probably make orbit.
Its immateriel (see what I did there?) what we buy and from whom - if it comes to a proper war the situation is as follows..
America: dead in the water, mortgaged to the hilt.. no help there then
France: enough said
Russia: most of their kit above the size of a machine gun is more rust than bodywork and more filler than either...
GB: given that this will happen probably outside of the next 20 years (i hope) the best we'll be able to throw at them by then will be the dusted off Duxford collection... and I'll tell you now I am not going to be the poor sod who ends up with the 1 1/2 strutter thanks all the same.
It matters not a jot or a tittle what we buy, if they put up 30 to our 1 we are dead meat...
Oh, and in case anyone wants to mention that we won the last lot... be reminded that we only won the battle of Britain because a fat morphine addict was in charge of the other side and they could build big enough petrol tanks into their fighters... if anyone won that war it was the Russians, not the west, and even thats debatable given the fact that Herr "oooh look, another chance for tactical fsck up... woo hoo" Hitler was in charge.
Given that our best bets as allies are either a country that legs it at the soonest opportunity, or one that puts more bullets into its own side than it ever does the enemy... I think the chances of us coming out on top are pretty much zero...
So it makes very little difference what we buy and where from... if The Great Steve ever cancels the iPhone contracts....
"You're all invited to a mass slaughter, General Melchett wants to move his Drinks Cabinet 6 inches closer to Beijing..."
'Euro-w*nking makework project'
as opposed to 'US-w*nking makework project'?
Which has more value as toilet paper - the US dollar or the Euro?
future long-range passenger Airbus
What Mr Lewis Page ignores here is what purpose the A400M serves: he seems to think it's "only" a military transport aircraft, but with petrol running low in the world, does he think we're gonna fly passenger jets at 850km/h across the Atnlantic ? Or are we gonna fly turboprops at 700km/h ? Now that the OMC (and even the EU) forbid subsidies, on what sort of money will Airbus develop such a new aircraft ?
And *THAT* is the A400M: a subsidy for Airbus to develop the next generation of air transport. Bring it on, and f***** Mr Page.
If UK military spending doesn't support UK jobs, why do we need to spend ?
The entire defence industry is a complete waste of money anyway. You get military type like Lewis living in his ivory castle demanding the best toys for his war games. The fact is he would get nothing if the UK bought everything American becuase we cannot afford to blow money on American kit, we need the payback of export sales and spending on UK jobs. Selling the Eurofighter means more toys
for the boys. The A400 is a long term product, it could be selling for 60 years like the C-130 and as you say the commercial prospects for turboprops are massive with its lower fuel consumption advantages over pure jet engine.
The whole reason for the A400 delay was the EU demand to develop a turbo prop engine and not simply buy a P&W model. So the EU is subsidising Airbus, at least they are not burning $25billion a year on the shuttle make work project.
Please for the sake of humanity could all of you who just come here to bitch about how much you dislike Lewis Paige articles PLEASE STOP READING THEM.
I stopped reading Lewis Pages articles
I just read the comments so I can enjoy the slagging off he gets. Its patently obvious that he has no idea what he's talking about. These articles are simply trolling to get a response, like every troll he use his own invented/selected figures to justify his argument (buy American) .
For instance the C-17, it actually costs $200million ( last customer who bought six) and obviously fulfils a different role to the A400M, the UK has them and is happy with them. Incidentally their extra load capacity is not as great the paper numbers specify as they are limited due to the airframe stresses. The US has C-17's coming out of their ears but they don't have the budget or desire to buy more air transport, even though the A400M would fulfil a definite role as the C-130 is simply too small. Having allies with the A400M and the US with an excess of C-17 suits both sides as we are co-dependant already, if we can share aircraft carriers why not air transport?
The US is quite capable of horrendous cost overruns and missed specifications. There is still the possibility of the F-35 being cancelled (program cost per aircraft now stands at $140m and will rise). F-22 is costing near to $300million. Makes the Eurofighter at 120euro million look quite reasonable. Dassault Rafale program cost is 138 million euro's per aircraft...
But if you want to see a really crazy over priced piece of US kit, have a look a the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, unit cost at this early stage is $22.5million and its incapable of surviving IED's
Dassault Rafale program cost is 138 million euros per aircraft...
And the merkins refused to let their precious craft compete against the Rafale in a dogfight when the Emirates asked them to...
Does anyone smell that hint of fish, or is it just me?
Organisation Conjointe de Co-operation en matiere d'ARmement
Why is it that all European projects end up with a French name? There are lots of other languages spoken in EU and, by the way, the most common second language throughout EU (England aside) is English.
If EU wants help preserve a dying language then why not choose one in even more need of help than French - Welsh maybe?
For the same reason...
... that the new Eurocodes (civil and structural design) were written in French and then translated into English and all the other European foreign languages, meaning you end up with a document that makes little sense and is almost impossible to read...
... because if you don't, the Frogs take their ball and go home. Or wave a white flag. Or go on strike...
... actually, I'm wrong, of course.
They generally do all three.
You've only got to look at any of the pan-European projects to see this. Didn't they try the same with EFA, saying "Yes, I know we're only buying 10% of the jets and the agreement was that work would be shared in proportion to the spend, but we want to do 50% of the work, and all the manufacturing must be in France."
And I seem to remember that they had a similar stance with ITER as well?
Bicoze vee can
Who's gonna come and tickle the French aerospace industry under the chin? BAE? I think not.
France happens to have a very deep "insular" view on some stuff, like hard physics, aerospace and the like. Arianespace, Dassault, various cyclotron projects and such have drained significant ressources from the state's budget, while the UK and others were just buying US kit and hiring US boffins to save money. Now the result is obvious: The UK launches PARIS (as respectable as that might be, it was launched from Spain. Ha!) while France is energy self-sufficient and even sells leccy to their neighbours, has the technical ability to build and launch real space rockets, to built their own aircrafts, and to build and maintain huge cyclotrons. Tim might have invented the Internet, but he did so while working in France. Bitch. (ever thought of what "CERN" means?)
Under the current clownish management, this is slowly disappearing, alas.
Goes both ways
The original Hercules design may be over 50 years old, but quite a few old ideas still work. After all, we ARE flogging airships back to the US:
If we are looking to save UK jobs, maybe we should be looking at some SkyCat 1000's. Might only do 185kph, but it can carry 1000T, and is a UK company. Might be slower than a C17/C130/A400, but it is a whole load quicker than a ship. No runway needed, tarmac or otherwise. No port needed, just enough space to unload.
Yet again Lewis states opinion as fact and tries to trick the non-military readers into believing his half truths. Lewis either you really are ignorant of the military or you are deliberately spouting this rubbish to try and get a job with one of your beloved US military companies.
- The C130J was sold to the RAF without long range tanks as it can cruise higher than the C130K and therefore use less fuel. However, as it is too slow the civilian ATC will not let it fly high enough (it gets in the way of the civilian traffic that can fly faster) therefore flys lower and uses up its fuel faster!! Not exactly brilliant from your friends at Boeing Lewis? Even the C17 is not as fast as the airliners because that was the way it was designed.
- Just because the C17 can do rough strip landings does not mean you can do it. First you have to train the crews and the RAF has no spare capacity. Secondly, you need the spares to support and to fix the aircraft afterwards. Rough strip landings + big jet engines = lots of FOD damage = fan blade changes = money the RAF does not have!!! The best rough strip ac the RAF have is the C130k as it has metal props that can take far more punishment than the composite blades on the C130j and A400.
- Just because the C17 can do para dropping, low level etc etc does not mean you can do it. All the low level stuff adds to the airframe fatigue and therefore servicing costs (hence why the RAF has retired some older C130s and paid a fortune for some to have new wings). The question is whether the A400 will suffer from fatigue more than the C17/C130J and how expensive the engineering aspect is to replace wings etc. So Lewis why don’t you research this instead of making up facts to support your articles? What are the servicing/hour rates costs for these aircraft Lewis? Oh, and of course you need to train all the crews to do all this.
- The idea that the USAF and RAF etc share spares is a good one but not true. They should be able to share stuff, beg and borrow but the RAF can not and will not. When aircraft deploy they take a certain amount of spares with them and if they need anything else it comes from the UK. The A400 will not change this and it would be no different if we had 30 C17s!
- “Interoperability” is an aspiration that the militaries have. Different air forces using the same aircraft does not automatically give you interoperability. While Boeing will make you a C130j it is up to the buyer to choose what radios, avionics etc it wants on it. When the RAF bought the C17 it also bought the radio fit direct from the USAF in order to achieve some interoperability but there are still differences between the UK C17 and the USAF ones. That is sadly life but blame the politicians not the military as the sign the contracts.
- Don’t forget the C17 project was nearly cancelled and was late. That is sadly life when making military aircraft so just because the A400 is behind schedule does not automatically mean the aircraft will be a bad one.
- Stating that the C17 can carry double what the A400 can is also largely irrelevant. A C17 can be filled by one Chinook because there is no more space despite it having the power to carry significantly more weight. An A400 would also be filled by one Chinook so in practical terms there is no real difference between the 2 aircraft. So you would need to research how many times the C17 is operated with a larger payload than the A400 is capable of which is probably not that many. Did you research this Lewis or is it easier to use dodgy math and reasoning?
- To all the wikipedia aircraft experts please stop comparing stats of different aircraft it is meaningless in real terms. There are so many variables that effect aircraft/weapon performance etc your analysis means nothing. A big issues often ignored on these boards is the fact the capability of aircraft is determined not just by what the aircraft can do but the competence of the crew and costs of providing (for enough hours with all the relevant systems working at 100%) that aircraft to the crew. So Aircraft X may be able to do capability Z but it needs a trained crew, engineers, spares and importantly finance to do it. This is the main limiting factor for most military forces these days, including the USAF.
So in summary another article of dribble and armchair aviation facts by a man who is desperate for a PR job with Boeing.