back to article Eurofighter Typhoon: It's EVEN WORSE than we thought

Yesterday the UK National Audit Office published a detailed report on the current status of the infamous Eurofighter combat jet – nowadays officially known as Typhoon. We here on the Reg defence desk have always had a low opinion of the cripplingly expensive, marginally useful fighter: but even we were amazed by the new facts …

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  1. hplasm Silver badge
    Megaphone

    What a bunch of

    Armour-plated idiots; those that thought up and managed this disaster will probably be sat back with their feet up on a small boy, smoking rolled up fifty-pound notes and there is nothing we can do about it.

    Grr!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Not really

      Those who managed this were under-trained, under-paid civil servants (or noisy stand-ins from the miltary) without a clue as to how to manage a project, with no long-term oversight anyway. If they still have a job it'll just be in another cold, drafty MoD building as they watch their dismal salary and pension eroded away, with no incentive to give a toss about their current project either.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "under-paid civil servants"

        What makes you think people are underpaid in the civil service?

        Pay is good there these days, and coupled with huge holiday allowances, great job security and a spectacular pension, I think we deserve to get competence for our money.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Paris Hilton

          "Pay is good there these days"

          Great - so now backdate that pay by 25 years and tell them all to buck up their ideas retrospectively too.

          What is still absent is any sort of long-term responsibility for delivering any projects. But at least try to grasp that anything you can spout about now is not going to recitfy the fallout from the last half-century of disastrous procurement.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          FAIL

          Overpaid Civil Servants?

          "Pay is good there these days"

          "huge holiday allowances"

          "great job security"

          "spectacular pension"

          This lot needs a serious WTF.

          In which department, and at what grade, might all these benefits be found?

          At a time when public sector (including civil service) workers are enjoying the benefits of massive pay cuts, sudden and extensive changes in working conditions, redundancies both voluntary and enforced, it's difficult to see how any reasonably informed person, no matter how biased against the public sector, having the brass neck to make such assertions.

          That said, there are those who continue - for what reasons I've never had a clue - to insist that there's some sort of moral gulf between the public and the private sectors... Who return to "I Pay My Taxes" as though public sector workers are somehow exempt from that same taxation and are not, therefore, essentially paying themselves... Who take every opportunity to make scathing remarks about how wonderful life is in the public sector... Presumably it's only the unyielding morality of these people that enables them to resist the temptation to get one of these fantastic, 'grass-is-greener' jobs, like collecting refuse, or dealing with vomiting, fighty drunks on a Friday night. Or enduring vile and vicious verbal abuse and patronising condescension from people who think that just because "You Work For Us" and "I Pay Your Wages", it's okay to treat them with utter contempt.

          The truth is that both private sector and public sector workers make an essential contribution to this country, and both sectors are suffering massive problems at the moment. Both sectors' workers are in the shit: the only ones still enjoying a nice gravy train seem to be the ones in high places. Sure, there are overpaid public sector managers and executives, enjoying far more benefit than they deserve. But before you rant and condemn every last worker for that, try looking at the banks: largely private sector; largely responsible for the global financial crisis; and largely run by men who must surely be having trouble keeping track of the zeroes on their bonuses.

          Anyone who has the gall to suggest - even imply - that the either sector's workers are somehow universally better off, that they're somehow more sheltered from the storm, is clearly someone who's never bothered to look much beyond the opinion columns of the Daily Mail, and could probably benefit from learning a little about their subject before spouting nonsense.

          (Yes, I do work in the public sector, and hence yes - Anonymous Coward. Because, being in the public sector, I also enjoy the wonderfully unfair benefit of being able to say exactly what I like about the public and about government with complete immunity from being fired. Oh, no, wait...)

      2. Neil Stansbury
        FAIL

        Aw...bless...queue the violins

        For the age old bullshit Civil Service excuses:

        ...

        1) It's some-one else's fault (AKA "it's not my responsibility")

        2) We don't get paid enough to be motivated (AKA "I can't be bothered")

        3) We don't have the training to do the job (AKA "I'm not qualified")

        Let's face facts - being a civil servant is a lot like being on the dole - except that they don't need to scratch on every week.

        The British Civil Service truly are the cancer of this nation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          what a big pile of steaming shite, from said

          "Let's face facts - being a civil servant is a lot like being on the dole - except that they don't need to scratch on every week.

          The British Civil Service truly are the cancer of this nation."

          Oh, I never realised that those who sign on have so much work to do!

          STUPID ENGLISH TWAT NEEDS HIS HEAD KICKED IN!

          Lets ensure that shit like this isn't allowed to make policy, or we are all fucked.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    So what's the downside?

    So in summary, without some air capability we won't be able to start wars all over the shop when our masters demand it? In the meantime we have a genuine air superiority fighter that is genuinely defensive. A bit of overspend is cheaper than fighting dubious wars.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Filling in holes

    I read somewhere that the peculiarities of capitalism mean its good to pay people to dig holes and fill them in again. Is this what the defence budget really is? Keeps dangerous people off the streets, well ours anyway. And wastes a vast amount of money on badly planned engineering efforts like the typhoon and whatever that pointless plane was that got scrapped unused. Also since we are selling these to nutters in the middle east maybe the yanks are asking us to make it shit compared to the raptor?

  4. Thomas 18
    FAIL

    Why don't we just sell the rest to the Saudis too

    How long will it be before we have Air-To-Air drones that can outfight trained fighter pilots anyway.

    They don't need to worry about G force (as much)

    They don't need oxygen, cabin pressure, ejector seats.

    Kamikaze is 100% less kamika

    Only need worry that the communication protocol gets hacked and we all know that would never happen with the MoD.

  5. P Saunders

    They are actually cheaper than this

    If you factor out the bribes and "commissions" paid to various public servants and trench coated strangers.

    1. Turtle

      No, it isn't.

      "I read somewhere that the peculiarities of capitalism mean its good to pay people to dig holes and fill them in again. "

      You need to read a better book. Henry Hazlitt's "Economics In One Lesson" would be a good place to start (and that is probably where you would finish, too.)

      1. tomsk

        uh...

        I think you'll find that in mainstream (ie not-batshit-insane) economic circles, Keynes is still considered a major figure - certainly rather more authoritative than Henry Hazlitt...

    2. Maurice Shakeshaft
      Flame

      In a real world you'd be right....

      However, our Politicians and Civil don't live in a our real world they live in Westminster and Whitehall. They will be quite prepared (and have demonstrated several times recently) to drag us into a war for which we are un or poorly equipped.

      We have Chinooks planned over a decade ago waiting to go into service... and this is just one more example.

      Not one person in Whitehall or Westminster will be substantially reprimanded or lose their job or pension over this but there will be a significant number of working folks who will or have. The bigger the cock up the closer the defense lines. Draw swords, repel borders, fire grapeshot...

    3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Ilgaz

        Export restrictions apply to UK?

        I really don't think USA wouldn't sell F-22s to UK because of some export restriction.

        F-22 is really state of art and good plane, it is just damn expensive to produce and maintain. Think like Concorde. It didn't have any restriction to sell to USA.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Philolai
          WTF?

          What?

          The US has made it abundantly clear that the F-22 is not for export, not even to Israel or Australia which declared an interest. I understand that the UK government couldn't even convince the US to give us full access to the F-35's source code. As for the Concorde comparison - one is a state-of-the-art piece of military hardware with numerous classified technologies and subject to a very tight arms export regime and the other was a way of transporting overpaid executives across the Atlantic.

          1. streaky Silver badge
            Black Helicopters

            RE: What

            "I understand that the UK government couldn't even convince the US to give us full access to the F-35's source code"

            That was the position at one stage, but we got various exemptions when the US had a real president.

            Comparing the Typhoon with the F-35 project is a huge diversion, it's apples to oranges - the F-35 has wildly different project parameters. Yes it's coming under fire but it's still going to work out cheaper and better than the Typhoon.

            The real comparison on a time and capabilities comparison is the F-22 which is about half the price and with total project cost at about $360m per-plane. As for the F-22 and UK access I'm pretty sure it could have been figured out - the real problem is nobody even tried. Nobody asked.

            The benefits to UK/US military compatibility are endless, something seen by the Bush administration in the F-35 which could have been easily extended to the F-22 with independence and I'm sure it could have been made palatable to congress.

            The 1958 US/UK MDA agreement basically trumps any concerns that can be laid at the door of sharing the F-22 program. If we can share nuclear secrets and the trident system there's no reason we can't share the F-22. There's something to be said for sharing development costs as with the F-35 also.

            At the end of the day the US got a better aircraft for less and questions should be asked why, this is a given.

        3. seven of five

          F22 export

          > I really don't think USA wouldn't sell F-22s to UK because of some export restriction.

          Think again. We would get the downgr^H^H^H^H^H^Hoptimized for export version, lacking all the fancy "integrated systems" stuff we don´t have anyway (like having JSTARS guide your munitions) since the yanks didn´t let us have those in first place, yet get charged for them (export surcharge, different language manual, RHD, you get the drift...).

          Britain (or anyone in Europe) does not have the infrastructure to fully utilize the F22.

          otoh, none of the above is any defense for the desaster we made of that excellent "Jäger 90".

          In my (not so) humble opinion multirole aircraft are shite anyway..., Spitfires AND Stukas, now that would have been sometthing.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            pointless

            Let's stop pretending this is about 'defence'. The US is not going to be under attack from military aircraft and neither is the UK, so air superiority fighters are nothing more than expensive 'look-at-me' entries in an international cock-waving contest. As for foreign policy interests, the yanks have F22s, it still didn't win out against Facebook and Twitter in the fight to keep our friendly Arab dictators in power.

            The economics of spending 10s of billions of pounds building military aircraft to ensure oil supplies is evidently pointless. If they spent 10% of that money on developing alternatives then they wouldn't need to secure foreign oil supplies anyway. And there would be no rich Saudis to fund jihad.

      2. veti Silver badge
        FAIL

        @Anonymous

        "... British engineers and technicians are still equipped with the skills to keep on producing military equipment in an independent manner,"

        Oh please. Throw enough money and time at a problem, and there is virtually nothing you can't do. "Skills to do it in an independent manner" would imply the ability to do it within a reasonable time and cost framework, which is precisely what they *don't* have.

        Seriously, in this fantasy scenario you imagine, where we're abandoned by the Americans and cut off from the Europeans, how much of the total national effort do you think should be spent producing Eurofighters? I suggest that a more rational use of our resources in such a case would be to build handheld rocket and SAM launchers, LAVs and IEDs with which to fight the occupying power. You could equip a whole battalion of real soldiers, for the price of just one Typhoon.

        "As someone with a relative involved in the programme", obviously you see the necessity to keep it going. But you have to make that case to the people who are *paying* the bills, not just those who are charging them.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        really

        this doesnt put any money in to the economy, think about it, the MOD buys something from a company, fair enough that company gets a sizeable chuck of money, but given that the MOD doesnt have any money in the first place that money must come from somewhere, and it does, tax, so they tax everyone else there by removing money from the private sector to buy something, except its not as simple as that, becase we still need to pay all the idiots who came up with this idea in the first place so we have to be taxed more so to make up the difference, so in actual fact whenever the MOD or the govenment in general spends anything on anything we are all taxed for it and its doesnt add value to the econemy at all, the over all effect is negative, yes that one company will do well out of it but you need to think about the bigger picture.

        whats needed is for us to actually sell something to other people outside of the country, this is why, or partly why the country is so screwed.,

        1. Yag
          Happy

          Good ol' Frédéric Bastiat at work?

          n/t

    4. Mephistro Silver badge

      They should worry

      "Only need worry that the communication protocol gets hacked..."

      I'd bet there is a way to make an effective jamming device for anything that relies on radio signals, for a very small fraction of the cost of the drone. You don't need to hack the communications protocol to make a drone almost useless.

      1. Rob Dobs
        Heart

        Only if they are being controlled by radio signal

        I think GPS signal jamming is likely to be a more useful defense system to drones of predator bots.

        A well designed drone wouldn't be remotely driveable just for this reason.

        So much better to just make 10,000 of them, and punch in the GPS co-ordinates you want them to to either attack or observe. This way they are not able to be subverted or taken over.

        Also, like most missiles once launched, there would be no taking it back.

        Also GPS jamming won't be fool proof. It would be pretty simple (especially as tech improves) to load up maps, and visual topology to compare to, the drones could find their target based on geological markers (say 2 miles north of the Washington Monument, or a particular hill or valley.)

        They could also work like mating migrating birds: Sleeper cells in the country to be attacked release homing devices that act a simple targeting system. 1-2 plants could place dozens of these simple radio devices all over a building. Swarm flies over town, senses the signal and attacks like a swarm of killer angry bees.

        Welcome to the future where despots and tyrants can reign death from afar.....well cheaper and easier than now anyways....

        1. Mephistro Silver badge
          Grenade

          @ Rob Dobs

          Drones are remotely controlled for a good reason, i.e. prevent massive SNAFUs where a software glitch/bug, an error in the coordinates or some allied unit being where it's not supposed to be, or all of the above, cause lots of harm to the party using the drones or to innocent bystanders, with a big PR recoil. In a far future, things might be different, but that would need some kind of true IA. Of course cruise missiles use some of the techniques you list, but they are used in totally different ways to armed drones. They can't do 'search and destroy' nor 'area denial' missions, which afaik are armed drones bread and butter, they only attack fixed targets whose coordinates are well known.

          1. fajensen Silver badge
            Flame

            What PR recoil?

            We have killed scores of innocent people in Afghanistan, regularly light up wedding parties and all manner of similar mischief. I bet that the drones are about as discriminating in killing Taliban as the "stir fry" explosive/incendiary mix dropped on Dresden in WW2 was in killing Nazi's!

            Nobody here gives a shit about brown people; It is funny how we still have to fight their civil wars for them, though.

            1. J-Wick

              Not all of them...

              Only the ones where we want their land or resources.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Who says it's only RF Control?

        Maybe for the UK. But the US, China, Russia have military satellites in orbit that could conceivably "talk" to their drones through point to point lasers. Try jamming that.

        Currently, the US Airforce controls its drones in Afghanistan from a base near Las Vegas by way of satellites. The article doesn't state what communcations is used, but even if it's still RF, it's very hard to jam a spread spectrum tight beam RF signal that's coming from/sent to space if you don't have satellites of your own.

        http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/05/08/60minutes/main5001439.shtml

        1. Charles Manning

          Lasers jammed in Blighty

          Being under perpetual cloud and all.

    5. Alan Firminger

      We already have

      But we call them missiles.

    6. Charles Manning

      GDP, not capitalism

      GDP is unfortunately over used as a measurement of economic performance.

      GDP does not distinguish between productive activity and unproductive activity. It is unfortunately easier to stimulate GDP through non-productive activity than productive activity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        @All above

        Maybe I should have added the joke icon as people seem to have taken my economic comment seriously... I was just joking in an obviously obtuse manner that they are wasting money on an epic scale for no real reason other than incompetence. Strangely enuff I was not seriously suggesting it is a key part of government x,y or z's economic strategy to blow cash in this way :-)

  6. Matthew Smith

    Fuck thrust vectoring

    'The Raptor has thrust vectoring for unbeatable manoeuvrability in a dogfight: the Eurofighter doesn't.'

    The Eurofighter doesn't need it because it achieves the same using its canards. Speed wins. Any design that kills its speed on purpose in order to turn is inferior. The only advantage thrust vectoring has is that it works better at low speed (<100 knots) and so impresses the crowds at airshows. You do not want to be travelling at less than 100 knots with a mach 2 missile after you.

  7. Miek

    Doh

    Couldn't we have just bought into the f-35 fighter-thingy ?

  8. Michael Jennings

    The joys of Europe

    When the Royal Australian Air Force wants new planes, it just buys them from the Americans. It usually takes a couple of years from the decision to the first delivery, and the cost is whatever was agreed upon. I bet the RAF wishes it could do this, too.

  9. Turtle

    So this is how they are doing it!

    Well clearly the political classes in the UK have finally found a way to implement the "unilateral disarmament"-type policies that they seem to have wanted for some time and were not able to implement in a more obvious manner. It would seem to be a continuation "by other means" of the same head-in-the-sand pacifism that prevented the UK from having been able to prepare in any way to meet the threat of Hitler.

  10. James Hughes 1

    Couple of points

    Lots of people were employees making these - so there is a uncounted benefit there (direct cost - how much money would be spend on their dole) These people them spend money which is of benefit to the economy. I'm not saying the project isn't a disaster - it certainly seems to be, but not quite as bad as quoted perhaps, once these other items are factored in.

    And are there not a few ground attack tornado pilots about to be made redundant - surely easier to retrain than to start from fresh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Harrier

      Of course neither Typhoon or Raptor has the ability to stop and let the other guy fly past. This worked really well in '82 when the Harrier was used in anger.

      Nor will they fly off one of our dinky carriers...

      Need I say more?

      1. Captain TickTock
        Pirate

        Dinky Carriers

        .. we still have carriers?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not sure I agree here.

      I think you'll find that most of the folks who make Eurofighters are (highly) skilled and 'The Dole' would not come into it much, if at all. If they hadn't been employed in this project then they would have been employed elsewhere. Indeed, that they were not employed effectively elsewhere could be seen as a twofold blow. They were employed using taxes that need not have been collected/spent and had they been efficiently employed their work may have resulted in more effective unit production leading to higher employment in the UK overall.

      What we are really talking about is the 'Opportunity cost' associated with this unmitigated commercial and defense disaster. If we had in place administrators who didn't have their heads in dark places then maybe we wouldn't have bought these machines. Alternatively, if it had been determined that the Eurofighter was the way ahead and the project had been effectively delivered then the costs would have been substantially less or we would have had more for less.

      As it stands this is just another cock up in a long series of MoD cock ups from which nothing seems to have been learned.

      I'm reminded of a line from towards the end of "Burn after Reading" .... "what did we learn from this.. I'm not sure, sir,.... Well, I guess, Not to do it again...." but it was a comedy and they were American spooks.

    3. graeme leggett

      Not without precedent

      leaving aside the as yet to be delivered F-35 the MoD has had some experience of purchasing fixed wing US combat aircraft:

      There was the attempted purchase of F-111s in the wake of the TSR-2 (it casts a long shadow) which was scuppered on costs and exchange rates.

      There was the Phantom, which was bought and then was tailored to use British engines resulting in a degree of remodelling, and some UK contractors provided parts for it.

      If you go back further to the war, there were the P-38 Lightnings which weren't as fast as the manufacturer had led them to believe, and the P-51s which had an engine that didn't like the high level combat over Europe.

      1. Alan Firminger

        Many models of US a/c were bought

        But only one was bought in significant number - the Dakota.

    4. Anton Ivanov

      And how is the Eurofighter faster or more agile than a Sukhoi-35?

      Yeah, and I am a tooth fairy.

      Su-35 can run circles around it _AND_ outperform it in terms of speed alone. Both. Typhoon top speed is 2M, Su-35 is 2.25Mach. Stall speed on the Typhoon is about twice higher, Gs are lower, turn radius at most speeds in the operational envelope, you name it.

      As far as having a mach 2 missile on your a*se - accelerating to 2M is exactly what you do _NOT_ want to do. At Mach2 you are on afterburners so any missile will home on your exhaust and keep a lock. Most Air-to-Air missiles nowdays are 2.5M+ with active engagement speed at 2M+, air defence missiles go as far as 6M engagement speeds. A fighter with afterburners at full blast going at 2M is a dead meat. 95% probability hit on any modern missile system.

      What I find really funny here is the constantly perpetuated myth that UK is somehow more prepared for warfare than let's say Russia because Russian pilots do not clock enough hours. Ditto for a few of the other usual suspect "potential enemy" states. With all due respect the numbers of flying hours quoted by the NAO are actually probably worse than Venezuela or more importantly Argentina.

      1. ChrisC

        Umm

        Against a modern *IR* guided missile, being on full afterburner wouldn't usually be a smart thing to do (although there are some boundary case exceptions where gaining speed at the expense of an increased IR signature would turn a near-certain hit into a near-certain miss), but you seem to be forgetting that before you get into the engagement envelope of most IR-guided missiles you more often than not have to first make it past the ones that don't give two figs how hot or cold your airframe is.

        As for your comparison with the Su-35, some of your claimed advantages don't seem to be backed up by publically available data. You also fail to note some of the disadvantages of the Sukhoi apparent in this data - higher wing loading, lower operational ceiling, lower rate of climb, lower thrust/weight ratio, not to mention that it's significantly larger and thus easier to spot once you get into the sort of close-in fight where things like stall speeds, Gs etc. are important.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      Mark 3 Chinook helicopters

      The fault isn't so much the suppliers per se, as MOD procurement.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        AC@14:39

        "The fault isn't so much the suppliers per se, as MOD procurement."

        And with 20 000 of them it's going to be difficult to pin down *whose* responsible.

    6. Nick Wallis
      FAIL

      employed != working

      > Lots of people were employees making these

      There were thousands employed on Typhoon, very few of them actually did any meaningful work. Some of them even used to turn up on Saturday mornings at overtime rates just to read the paper.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        Indeed!

        I'm currently reading El Reg instead of working on A400M CDS...

        Joke alert... or not?

    7. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      If you must employ people, employ them to do something valuable

      The argument that this project kept people employed and kept money in this country is really poorly thought out.

      For a start, whatever the project at this level, you'll find that most of the sub-contractors are not based in the UK. The ones you don't tend to give much thought to, the consultants, analysts and at the other end, the raw material producers etc. Then this was a European project with construction and development costs spread across several countries, so only a fraction of the management and manufacturing costs stayed in this country. Altogether the amount of money which stayed directly in the UK for this project is going to be a tiny fraction of the overall whole, certainly not worth overpaying for.

      Secondly if the government must spend tax payer money to keep skilled workers employed then they should be doing so via investment and tax-breaks for commercial technology companies who have to produce products that actually work, represent value for money and which have genuine export potential.

      It would have been considerably cheaper to pay those workers benefits and contribute to training courses to keep their skills sharp than to continue with this project when it was running so far over schedule, over budget and so obviously far behind the current technology.

    8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Down

      @James Hughes 1

      "Lots of people were employees making these - so there is a uncounted benefit there (direct cost - how much money would be spend on their dole) "

      One of *the* classic excuses to save some defense white elephant.

      "Defense" industry jobs are some of the *most* expensive jobs created in *any* industry (merchant gamblers in the City of London cost *more* in pay but funnily enough the UK govt has *never* had to pay people to take those jobs).

      You could shut down the *whole* programme and pay *each* person there their *lifetime* salary and it would *still* be cheaper.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        Relax, Don't Do It

        John, your comment was *the* classic stressful comment and perhaps the *most* stressful comment of *any* of the comments I have read this *whole* time. *Each* comment I read in my *lifetime* will *still* be less stressful. I've *never* seen anything like it! *More* relaxation is needed, sir ;)

    9. Mark 65 Silver badge

      @Michael Jennings

      You're missing a very big point - the Aussies buy straight from the yanks because they have zero options - there is absolutely no way they could ever build a combat aircraft without resorting to sticking a gattling gun on a Cessna and both of these would have to be bought from overseas.

    10. Mudgiestylie

      Thrust Vectoring...

      It achieves what exactly without Thrust Vectoring? Are you seriously suggesting that TV was added to the F22 to impress families at airshows? TV reduces thrust requirements for cruise, climb, and decent. reduced thrust requirements mean lower fuel consumption, which means longer range, greater takeoff weight, and can also lead to faster top speeds. TV makes a plane FAR more maneuverable, especially when used in tandem with canards... just imagine a UCAV with this. It could pull turns for long periods that would kill a human pilot. TV can supplement control surfaces for maneuverability, meaning you'd need smaller or less control surfaces, which means a lower RCS. You are right that you generally do not want to do a high angle turn at low speeds when a missile is headed towards you, as you lose too much inertia (i.e. cobra maneuver), but there are plenty of scenarios where being able to do acrobatic maneuvers is a useful feature.

    11. Keith Smith 1
      FAIL

      Dogfight Much?

      Spoken like a true vetran pilot. . . NOT. Flight to climb is important, and so is being able to get out of the way. A missle traveling M2 does not turn on a dime. Way, way too many factors to dismiss anything. If ducks could shoot back, we wouldn't have as many duck hunters.

    12. foo_bar_baz

      Plenty of European countries

      ... do exactly that.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Why can't the MOD

    just tell Germany and Spain and all the other countries involved that we don't need any spares from them, and build all the spares for the UK fleet in the UK.

    That way, we'd end up with the only fleet of Eurofighters in Europe that actually have spare parts.

    We'd also be able to sell additional spares back to other European nations that can't organise a piss up in a brewery AND there won't be further embarrassment for the MOD when their Saudi customer wants spares for their planes because we'd be able to supply them!

    1. bolccg
      Megaphone

      Unintended consequences

      There were lots of intended consequences of steps taken to "manage" our partners on the project (specifically Italy and Spain). There were concerns that they would either bail on the procurement or stuff us on parts so steps were taken to prevent this.

      On the procurement side the terms were agreed that the first person to leave the project would carry punitive costs. At the time, it was expected that either Spain or Italy might run out of money and this term essentially meant that the first person to give up would pay the same costs as staying in but obviously with no planes to show for it. Then it turned out that nobody wanted Tranche 3 in the end but nobody could say so because nobody trusted the other nations not to stiff them and take the chance to get out scot free by activating that clause. That is why, for a long time, the Typhoon section of the Major Project Report was classified and not publicly available - it revealed certain planning assumptions. We initially tried to evade this by selling some of "our" planes to Saudi but our partners, seeing themselves outflanked, objected. Eventually the Treasury got legal advice that under German commercial contract law the penalty would probably be capped (still at something ludicrous) and so we began Tranche 3 discussions with the suppliers. I think ultimately the Saudi order did come off our quota.

      On the support phase, we signed contracts saying that in any given year Germany and the UK would each spend 1/3 of the support expenditure (for parts, not necessarily services) and Italy and Spain would pay the other third between them. The intention was that the UK and Germany would set the speed and Italy/Spain would have to catch up. But several years ago Italy basically said it had no money left and rather than us pulling them up, they started to seriously pull us back.

      Honestly, the contracts for this project are ultra specific about workshare and industrial splits and all that. It's as bad as Lewis says and more so.

      1. bolccg
        Unhappy

        Ahem...

        First line - *unintended*. Obviously not intended!

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Ahem...

          If it's obvious, why comment?

          1. bolccg

            Meh

            it's a turn of phrase. It just means something along the lines of "I'm sure you worked this out already but just for the avoidance of any doubt,". I can use that phrase instead in future if you'd like.

    2. Alan Firminger

      Re unintended consequences

      We have been in a no quit contract before, with France - yes Concorde.

  12. lou

    Surely not?

    Defence spending in waste shocker?

    Who'd have thought the government would have found a way to channel tax-payers money into the pockets of British companies whilst maintaining a fleet of shiny toys.

    At least some of the money will have been paid back in tax by RAF servicemen/women and employees of the organisations that support them.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Nice one - Win win

    Without this cost, we could put all the students through a decent education, all the old people new young could probably keep their pensions and without the wars hundreds of thousands of people would still be alive, the UK would be a safer place to live because it would not have enraged so many people to cause them to become extremist and we would all have a lot more civil liberties.

    All in all a great decision by the politicians, win win everywhere. And they complain about banker's bonuses? Nice one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not only that ...

      ...we could also ensure that the decent education paid for by the savings had sufficient scope for giving people the skills to become engineers so that we could design and manufacture things efficiently, manage procurement contracts so that we don't get ripped off at the government level by multinational companies or the necessary legal training to do something about the massive loopholes that allow these corrupt/incompetent defense deals to go through without someones arse being seriously on the line when it turns into the inevitable clusterf*ck that it often does.

      1. ravenviz
        Flame

        Re: Not only that

        That I agree with but general agruments about what specificially to spend wasted (over-)budget on are just not constructive, of course we know where money should be spent, we should concentrate on where it should not be wasted.

  14. Goffee

    What Raptors were on sale exactly?

    I believe the conversation went something like this:

    Us: "Hello, America. Please can be buy some of those spiffing Raptors?"

    The US: "Screw you!"

    Us: "But, they're so shiny"

    The US: "And screw your mom!"

    So that bit of the argument is rather irrelevant.

    1. bolccg
      Stop

      Not really

      Even if we can't buy them, surely they give an indication of what sort of benchmarks there are out there for cost/capability?

      The Typhoons are, by any measure a disaster. It simply is not possible to spin your way around it. Indeed, what is the point of doing so anyway? National pride? Good grief. We got done. Badly. Someone should be held to account for it and things should change and nobody is helped by pretending otherwise.

      1. Sandy106
        WTF?

        LoL

        "The Typhoons are, by any measure a disaster"

        Kind of funny how we in the US are always told the F22 is a complete cockup and that the Eurofighter is better than an erotic massage from a naked Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton

        1. Rob Dobs
          Happy

          Maybe if you like VD

          Depend on what you like.... I would prefer to not catch whatever those skanks may be carrying around. I kinda figure that being so full of themselves they probably are selfish lovers and almost surely give shitty massages.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Yes Minister

    I can't help but think of that episode of yes Minister where Sir Humphrey says it's important for Britain to be at the heart of Europe so that it can basically scupper its plans and keep the EU's cohesion weak for the benefit of Britain's personal interests.

    Could the MoD be at the same game with this?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Yes Minister

      I am both amused and depressed that this program - made 20 years ago remember - has so many episodes that are still relevant today (Trident, freedom of information, MOD/civil service cock-ups, dodgy contracts etc etc).

      Did they not realise it was a satire, not a documentary?

      1. nichomach
        Joke

        Actually...

        ...they THOUGHT it was an instruction manual...

  16. Jon Smit
    Grenade

    Dog Fights?

    No fighters have been involved in dog fights since the Korean War. They only need to get within 20 miles to lose off their missiles to knock out an opponent. As for the US aircraft fighter being used in combat - all they've done for the last 10 years is drop bombs.

    Pretty much the only useful aircraft the UK needs for combat is the Apache helicopter, which are mostly used by the Army. Is the "Register Defence Desk" going to declare war on them next?

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Vietnam

      Had plenty of dogfights, despite the presence of 20+ mile range missiles. Why? Because the politicians wouldn't give the US forces the Rules of Engagement to fire without a positive visual ID, by which time it was all a bit too late.

      Also you may want to review the Falklands war where there was quite a lot of dogfighting what with the Navy's Sea Harriers only having short range missiles and guns.

      I'm also sure the Israelis have done a lot of dogfighting since the '50s.

      So actually yes dogfighting ability is important because at some point your wonder weapons fall short and you end up in a turning fight within visual range and it all gets quite emotional.

    2. LPF

      @john smit

      No dogfights since korea? you ever hear of the falklands war you nimrod!

    3. Miek

      Falklands

      Wasn't there some form of plane-on-plane action during the Falklands ?

      1. nichomach
        Joke

        Are you...

        ...invoking Rule 34 on the Falklands War?

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          @Rule 34

          That made my lunchtime. New keyboard please.

    4. F111F
      Boffin

      Guns, guns, guns...

      And that type of thinking led the US to remove the gun from the F-4---bad mistake that was eventually fixed in late models. That's why all subsequent fighters still have guns, because you DO get into close-in turning fights that a missile won't work in; or you've used up your 4 to 8 missiles, but you can squirt off a couple of rounds of 20 or 30mm and make the other guy's bad day even worse.

    5. Chris 244
      Headmaster

      Damn, I lost my missiles! What do I do now?

      Losing your missiles is bad for you.

      Loosing your missiles is bad for the enemy.

    6. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      o.O

      o.O

      Origins of Top Gun are...?

      Gun kills in 1967 were...?

      Most fighters (even dedicated in air superiority role) still carry cannon because...?

      AIM-9's and ASRAAMs are... ?

      Oh.. I see... successful troll is successful.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Moron

      WRONG! This was exactly the thinking of the Americans after Korea - which is what fucked them over in Vietnam - if you knew any less about AIr Combat you'd be a member of the MoD!

    8. Keith Smith 1
      WTF?

      Sigh, Really?

      I'm afraid there are some Isriaeli pilots who may disagree, along with a few of my relatives who flew in s/e asia and other places. Tomcat was a joke with all the fancy missles. Kept falling into the ocean. F18 and 16 were a different story. Then of course the AWACS up there to watch and protect. Lots of toys indeed. Apache is one awesome machine though.

  17. Elmer Phud

    Same old, same old

    We will have these lovely shiny planes kept under wraps as there will be no budget for pilot training. Wait a few years and flog them off real cheap (vast loss) to "the dictator who is currently 'our friend' ".

  18. David Lucke

    Useful for a bit more than 3 years

    You appear here to be assuming that despite the massive delays to the eurofighter meaning it won't be at full operational readyness until 2018, the f-35 will turn up as scheduled in 2021. I would submit that its quite likely that the f-35 will also not turn up for another 5 or 6 years later than expected, giving the Eurofighter nearly a decade of full service, or will be cancelled completely some time in this parliament or the next (along with the mothballing of the rest of the navy - after all, why would an island nation need any kind of fleet?) leaving the Eurofighter as the only aircraft option until we get the next generation of UAVs in. Say in 2100. Or 2200.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spare parts - Salvage

    One almost imagines that the recovery teams tasked with getting to downed aircraft are intended to recover anything useable to get other aircraft flying again just as much as preventing it falling into unfriendly hands.

    I wont be surprised to see posts detailing this policy as confirmation.

  20. JaitcH
    Alert

    "the Eurofighter has no stealth features at all." No problem!

    In times of conflict the plan could be to fly the Eurofighter around, like decoys, so the enemy would be suckered in to chasing them.

    Meanwhile the Raptors could pick off the enemies aircraft and all, hopefully, would be well.

    P.S. Not even 'best friends' Britain can get Raptors as no opportunity for export currently exists because the export sale of the F-22 (Raptor) is barred by American federal law

  21. R J Tysoe
    Grenade

    Can't we just...

    ...bring back a few BAE Lightnings. They looked nice and would probably be more than a match for any enemy we're likely to come across for the next few years, particularly after we wait for the Americans to soften them up. Toss in a few Vulcans too. Job done.

    Grenade, because the ground attack pilots will have to be chucking them out of the cockpit.

    1. Is it me?

      Think you'll find...

      It was English Electric.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pedants corner here

      English Electric Lightening, I believe. Damned good looking rocket, too. Nice roar with the afterburners.

      Their is an AIrframe in Nottinghamshire and, if it has not been removed, one just SE of Newark East of the A1.

      1. Goat Jam
        FAIL

        "English Electric Lightening"?

        Wasn't that some sort of powered toothbrush?

      2. paulc
        Happy

        EE LIghtning

        "Their is an AIrframe in Nottinghamshire and, if it has not been removed, one just SE of Newark East of the A1."

        there's also one at BAE Warton, but you can't see it from any public vantage point...

        I loved Lightnings... even got a jolly in a twin stick one as well...

        1. NoOnions
          Thumb Up

          Rochester Airport, Kent

          Has a great one on display - they were kind enough to place it by the road, so it always cheers up my journey as I drive past.

    3. Is it me?

      And Vulcans

      Were Avro

  22. Magnus_Pym
    FAIL

    Yes Lewis.

    After all the US has a spotless record on supplying aircraft to the RAF on time and on budget doesn't it.

    Hint: no it doesn't.

    1. LPF

      @AC

      We would have got both the phantoms and apaches on time and on budget, but had to make changes to their engines to provide work for the vampires at BAE!

      1. Magnus_Pym

        It alright saying ...

        ... what would have happened but it's best to look at what did happen. The phantom didn't do what they originally said it would and F111 didn't actually do anything until along after they became obsolete. These where both bought because they where both 'cheaper' and 'ready sooner' when compared to the home made alternatives. Neither cases where true. We can't keep falling for the same old flannel can we?

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Happy

          @Magnus_Pym

          "We can't keep falling for the same old flannel can we?"

          Well in an ideal world you shouldn't, but in *this* world?.....

      2. asiaseen

        BAE don't make engines

        In the case of the Phantom, it was make-work for Rolls Royce.

      3. Is it me?

        Umm

        BAE were not around for Phantoms and the Apache was Westland.

  23. Magnus_Pym

    Actual use cases

    As front line fast attack aircraft are not actually very useful these days the only real use for these things is to look good at air shows.

    I think most people agree, they do look good at air shows.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It sounds like...

    ... this country of some 60 mio souls manages an airborne attack capability of, er, about one fully qualified squadron? Sounds about as effective as hanging some bombs under a nimrod and flying around the desert with that. And that would've been cheaper to boot, amazing as that may sound.

    Had to laugh reading the article, to tears; you can't pay for entertainment like this, except of course it's all tax money. All in all I'd prefer a night at the opera, and sod the seniority game.

    Oh, you wanted air capability too? Just buy up and ship to Blighty a couple Russian fighter factories lock, stock & barrel, and train a bunch of local bods to run the plants. Relabeling the knobs and levers to English is cheap and even training everybody to read cyrillic is simpler and cheaper than all this. Add a couple Russki engineers to come up with decent new stuff and you'd get at least two thirds of US capability for maybe one third the price of what you're paying now. Think big, and all that.

    Complimentary opera tickets to the usual address please.

  25. jason 7
    FAIL

    Is BAE involved in this.................

    ...and making lots of money from it?

    What concerns me is having to pension the aircraft off so quick. The US is still flying some F-15 airframes (okay they are falling to bits but how would you look after all that high stress airtime) after 35 years.

    The level of cock up is just stupendous.

    Why does no one get a bollocking for all this? Its billions of pounds of waste. Wastage to a certain degree should be legally classed as negligent theft. Until we have legal penalties for this kind of misconduct in the public sector it will keep on happening.

    As they say "its only taxpayers money!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is BAE involved in this.................

      "...and making lots of money from it?"

      Probably. Where the beauty contest was between Eurofighter, F35 and Gripen, BAE Systems managed to have their finger in each of the pies - for the latter, I seem to recall them acting as foreign sales agents for Saab, although perhaps not in the Nordic region.

      Still, nice work if you can get it.

  26. scub
    Paris Hilton

    buccaneer

    I fondly remember sitting in Biology class, thoroughly bored and often glancing out the window to see a buccaneer skimming the horizon near Culloden to the south of Inverness. I seem to remember everybody moaning when they where replaced by Tornadoes, even the Pilots thought they were crap.

    I could be wrong, but in the First gulf war, weren't the Buccaneers used to get in close and light up targets for the tornadoes who would attack from a very safe distance?

    anyhows, same old same old, never heard anyone complaining about harriers tho` have you?

    If it will shoot down a hijacked plane, then it will probably do alright. I see more copters and drones in the future TBH.

    ~ Biology class? - Paris? Geddit?

  27. tim morrison
    Thumb Up

    I went to the inaugural flight of the Eurofighter...

    It was at Farnborough airshow, and it was a big deal because the company I worked for was going to be making bits for it. They hired buses and we had a nice day out watching the nice new pointy plane.

    I think I was 18 or 19 at the time.... I'm 43 now..... This plane MUST be cutting edge....!!!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Speaking as one of many who have had dealings with the f*ckwits at the MOD...

    ...this comes as absolutely no surprise at all. They couldn't write a procurement contract to save their lives, and their idea of negotiating with suppliers basically always seemed to involve either making veiled and not-so-veiled threats, hinting at how much money they might have but expecting people to guess, or just plain throwing their toys out of the pram when people won't do things for the amount of money they had in mind. That's when they're not blowing three times the budget on something pointless without understanding the facts. They also wouldn't understand a coherent requirements spec if it got up and bit them on the arse, much less are they capable of actually producing one. And the military mindset basically removes any concept of accountability until you hit the very top of the chain - by design - at which point you're dealing with bureaucrats who acquired their teflon shoulderpads early in their careers and are past masters at the art of making things someone else's problem.

    1. Sean O'Connor 1

      Title

      I've never really understood why we need the MoD to do the procuring. Couldn't we just give x billion quid to the RAF and tell them to go buy some stuff they need?

      1. Andy Moreton

        Noooo....

        What would we do with the 80,000 people who currently work in MoD procurement? it's not like they are good for much else.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          YESSS!!!!!

          "What would we do with the 80,000 people who currently work in MoD procurement?"

          Replace them with one bloke who just rings the manufacturer and says "one of these please mate". We'd get screwed just as badly, but at least we wouldn't have to pay their wages for the pleasure.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Cannon fodder

          but first someone competent would have to procure the cannon

        3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Noooo

          "What would we do with the 80,000 people who currently work in MoD procurement?"

          Target practice?

        4. Jonathan Richards 1
          Stop

          Sorry about introducing some facts...

          ... but I recently had occasion to measure the number of people (warm bodies, not notional civilian+military posts) employed by the UK MOD in procurement and support of equipment. Your 80,000 number is nowhere close. Try 17,400.

  29. jnewco81
    FAIL

    Wow

    I'm pretty sure anything with the word Euro in its name ends up being a colossal waste of money

  30. ChrisC

    Rather more?

    According to the figures you've used in the article, the unit cost of the Typhoon is only 3% higher than the unit cost of the Raptor. In my book, saying that something costs rather more would imply an increase rather more than this...

    Then there's the question over comparing costs in different base currencies in the first place - had you written this article just over a month ago the Typhoon would have appeared to have been cheaper than the Raptor thanks to the exchange rate being poorer back then. Write the article again this time next month and, if the exchange rate continues its recent recovery, it could be accurate to describe it costing rather more (in dollar terms at least)

    On another note, whilst the Typhoon might not be a stealth aircraft, to say it has no stealth features at all may (if you believe even half of what's been stated publically regarding the Typhoon design) be considered a bit misleading.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They've "got form"

    Anyone who has spent any time in the RAF will know about the absolutely farcical decisions made by the MoD that usually result in equipment being late, the wrong choice, no spares, nobody trained to operate it, etc., etc. The most worrying thing is that depsite the age-old adage of "learn from mistakes, preferably someone else's" they never do.

    Take " the dismal Tornado F3" for instance. Designed to be a missile platform capable of taking out Russian bombers, preferably beyond visual range (BVR), its purpose was then changed - hence the change from 2 Sidewinder stations on the F2 to 4 on the F3. This wouldn't have been an issue if all of the kit designed to be used on it had been installed on all aircraft but it wasn't. Some squadrons didn't even have a squadron's worth of certain equipment, therefore necessitating the constant fit and remove which in itself probably increased the maintenance required and reduced the life.

    For example, I was once at an air combat manoeuvring meet in Denmark and I still remember the F3 pilot's huge grin on landing after "shooting down" 3 F16s in a single pass. JTIDS, AMRAAM, ASRAAM and all the other things every F3 should have had meant that the first they knew of his existence was when they had a simulated missle up their exhaust pipes. Squadron's at that time were lucky if they had one of those items on half theoir aircraft, let alone all on all.

    Until there is some accountability and a major change in procedures we will still be reading of similar issues in another 100 years time.

  32. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    Lewis - quick question

    Hey Lewis, quick question - How are the costs associated wih the Typhoons panning out for the other nations who bought in (Germany, Spain, etc.)? Because honestly i havent heard a thing here in Germany mentioning them in a bad way. And if they were being such a huge drain on every country, i would have expected at least Spain (with its huge debts, and economy close to collapse) to be squealing like a stuck pig about the Typhoons!

    So if its only England that is in pain because of these things, what did the others do to avoid the huge costs, etc (apart from perhaps instigating good management and accountability! Something the MOD is sorely lacking!)?

  33. Doug Glass
    Go

    Typhoon vs. Veyron

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4eYXK9R56U

    Obviously you guys love and really need this sort of chest-thumping aeroplane.

  34. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Simple reason why

    The US make aircraft for themselves, they a number of companies to show off prototypes and then they choose one. One company designs and builds them, simple and effective.

    In the EU the aircraft is designed made by a group of EU companies, the work has to be spread out to be fair and the language barriers combined with distance just make it expensive, slow and bureaucratic. You have the issue of specification accuracy and integration, i.e. will the darn thing fit together when assembly is attempted.

    You also have the requirement that the plane documentation and interface be translated into all possible languages in the EU.

    The UK either needs to build its own planes or just buy US planes. Also, if buying US planes don't gasp when given a high cost of software to go with it, just pay it as it will work out cheaper!

  35. Lars Silver badge
    Joke

    Disturbing indeed

    "The odds are good that the Typhoon will never drop a bomb in combat"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      re. Simple reason why

      It would be nice to think that the reason for the Eurofighter cost fuck-up is because Europeans can't manage large complex high-tech projects; but how come Airbus is able to do this? Airbus has to compete against Boeing for commercial aircraft and seems to do this with some success.

      I think the real source of the problems lies with the military and the MoD and the insistence of involving BAe Systems in every major contract.

      Funny that Airbus seems to have gone from strength to strength since BAe sold its shares in them.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        ARRHHHH!!!!!!!

        Is this the same airbus that's in the process of completely cocking up the order for a plane that's something like a Hercules but costs several times more than a C17?

      2. Is it me?

        Ah a sensible point...

        Airbus is in charge of it's own destiny, and has a stable go to market vision on continuous improvement on a basic design for a conservative client base who are risk averse, cost conscious, and safety minded for whom they can present a basic 90% complete platform, just like Boeing.

        Compare and contrast this with defence aviation or UK rail procurement where even where you have a standard product, the MOD or DfT want to fiddle with it as infinitum and you have your answer.

        If you want a cheap effective product, decide what you want upfront, don't change your mind during procurement or development, or just buy off the peg. The US by the way pay a number of defence contractors to compete for a design and then choose the best one. Sadly we only have BAE left. Hawker, DeHaviland, Avro, Handley-Page, Supermarine, English Electric and Bristol have all gone. But we could do it on a European scale. We do need BAE economically, sadly they don't serve us that well.

    2. Jonathan Richards 1
      Go

      Yes, I can see the joke icon...

      Your ironic remark needs some straight backup. If the odds were *certainty* that the Typhoon would never *need* to drop a bomb in combat, that would be a f*cking good outcome, wouldn't it? Especially as the Ministry of Defence's stated mission is to be "a force for good in the world".

      The Vulcan made its only combat contribution in the Falklands conflict (which, everyone please note, we did NOT call a war, at the time, for excellent geopolitical reasons), but was a successful aircraft nonetheless.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Will never...and Can never...two different things

      Just because it won't, doesn't mean it's not a perfectly capable vehicle for doing so, especially for our modern reliance on more precision-based bombing tactics.

      Witness:

      http://www.fighterplanephotos.com/v2/user-content/uploads/wall/mid/78/Eurofighter_Typhoon_Fighter_Plane_Photo_-_16.jpg

      caveat: carrying LGB's like this is not the most efficient mission profile, especially without a LITENING pod (ground-based illumination might be required), and only 1 external fuel store means the range into enemy territory at combat speed/alttitude is limited.

  36. bill 36
    WTF?

    The empire is over

    "RAF pilots won't be ready to do bombing missions until 2016"

    Why do we need to bomb anyone anyway?

  37. binner
    Black Helicopters

    NAO

    what I am concerned about is the role of the NAO. Why are they not regularly reviewing all government spend on projects costing more than say £500million ? Why is it only when it is too late do the NAO get involved ?

    apart from pointing and saying "someone did a bad thing" do they have any other remit ? couldn't the NAO be made better use of to try and put the brakes on some of these disasters earlier ?

    or am I pissing in the wind ?

    black helicopters cos we need more of them

    1. Archie The Albatross
      Thumb Down

      Really?

      TV not working?

      BBC News offline?

      Newsagent shut?

      Never mind, go back to your Grauniad.

    2. Jonathan Richards 1

      Major Projects Review

      @binner: The Major Projects Review is undertaken annually. The NAO is involved in all MOD procurement projects right from the beginning.

  38. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Cole not Dole and Sukhoi

    So it's vital that we subsidize defense jobs whatever the cost because they are vital for national security - but subsidizing the pits was a commie plot.

    Now we have an expensive eurofighter that could possibly beat a Russian fighter - except the Russians can simply turn a tap and cut off all our gas (and soon oil) leaving us to launch the fighters with a tea light candle from Ikea and some AA batteries.

    Can I propose an alternative in which we kept the pits open and bought SU27s. Then we could have a proper war with the Russians - which we would win because our chaps have better mustaches.

    And because our currency would be up there with Canada's, Australia's and other coal producing countries - we could buy them for now't.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sooooooooo.....

    We are paying a lot of money for political expediency that was drawn up in the 1980s. As opposed to buying F22s (which for political reasons we can't) or F35s (which we would buy mainly for political reasons - the Russians and French, and even Swedes have better offerings for sale, or we could even just buy FA/18s) - F35s are undoubtedly inferior to both Eurofighters and F22s anyways.

    But the big question is: "what do we need these things for anyway"?

    If we go up against underdeveloped military nations (like Iran / Iraq / Wales etc.) then anything that flies and can drop boom-boom will be perfectly good initially. And then we will get bogged down in the guerilla (or counter-insurgent or whatever you want to call it) phase where it just turns into a Viet Nam in a different climate, and possibly with harder to pronounce names.

    If we go up against anyone with a decent set of kit then either they are non-NATO so we invoke the NATO treaty and let the US show us how good F22s really are, or it is someone like the US or China (or NATO tells us to fuck off) in which case we have no chance in a stand-up war so we send in the Trident.

    So yes, we spend too much safeguarding local jobs, taxes and tech whilst showing solidarity with our closest partners. So what? You think that money would be better spent elsewhere? Look: we have at the moment elebenty gazillion pounds worth of useless Eurofighters. Instead we would have had elebenty gazillion pounds worth of useless F35s or F22s or big fucking pimp cups or Justin Beiber albums (she could do with the money) - its a big expensive white elephant which ever way you look at it.

  40. Roland 3

    re: su-35

    politicians and faceless bureaucrats have stuffed the eurofighter. changing an aircrafts purpose stuffs up the goals perused by the designers. its TSR-2 all over again. "no one" is to blame for the indecision and "no one" is to blame for interfering!

    the su-35 is a great aircraft. however the "top speeds" are not so important if you factor in being able to supercruise with weapons load. russia cocked up supplying jets to the west when they left the german air force out to dry with spares and support for the mig 29s! had they bent over backwards im sure some su-35s and mig-35s would be adorning many western air forces.

    if you want ground attack - the A10 tankbuster is a great platform. cheap & rugged & in service! technically you only have to be better then your opponent. the biggest non-western powers are china and india and i cant see either being invaded any time soon!

    as for the f35 - reports already say "cant run, cant climb and cant hide" and is too overrunning costs by a large margin.

  41. Bram

    EuroFighter 2000

    Let's not jump the gun, From my knowledge of stealth it means that the overheads will be high for the life of the aircraft so I don't believe that is a great difference. However the reason why the thing is so expensive is because it was meant to be ready in 2000. Hence its original name EuroFighter 2000

  42. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Knighthoods all round, then.

  43. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Sooooooooo.....

    We aren't looking as daft as the Germans, they proposed the eurofighter to defeat the Migs of the East German airforce.

    They are now looking at selling those same Migs to some dodgy third world dictator in order to pay for their slice of Eurofighters.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Revell & Storm Shadows

    Does this mean that Revell - maker of plastic airfix-style kits - got it wrong by loading up it's 1:72 & 1:48 eurofighters with Storm Shadows?

    Say it ain't so!

    Mine's the one with my fingers super-glued into the pockets.

    1. Mr Mark V Thomas

      Re:German Migs

      They sold them to Poland for the token sum of €1 some time in the 1990's, to supplement the ones already in use by the Polish Air Force, at the time...

  45. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    We paid twice for this shite

    Air to ground capabiltiy was supposed to be in Final Operational Capability, but wasn't. So the taxpayer stumped up the money *a second time* to add it in 'Extended Operational Capability'.

    Bonkers.

    Whoever signed that off in the Ministry wants shooting.

    As for Bob 'Facking' Smith - Chief Systems Engineer, he may have sworn a lot, but we can now see he was toothless at sorting out the multi-national teams that put this thing together. I hope he's suitably shamefaced as he heads for retirement.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MOD Procurement

    Arrogant tossers that dont have a clue

  47. James Pickett

    Yes Minister

    "Did they not realise it was a satire, not a documentary?"

    It was meant to be a satire, but kept revealing the truth. Still does.

  48. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
    Troll

    Next time...

    ...buy Dassault!

  49. Paul 135
    Stop

    grass is always greener

    A lot of people here talking nonsense about how the situation with the f-22 is so much better. NOT! Read any of the latest news from the US about how the f-22 doesn't really work as well as intended, had hideous reliability and maintenance problems, and is also having problems with parts (f-22 designed so that the manufacturing of parts was distributed amongst practically all US states = supply and severe reliability problems).

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Boffin

      @Paul 135

      "and is also having problems with parts (f-22 designed so that the manufacturing of parts was distributed amongst practically all US states = supply and severe reliability problems)."

      SOP since at *least* the days of the B1 (The USAF's *first* stab at fully replacing the B52).

      Handy for the "But Senator,jobs in your state *depend* on this programme. The xxx (some mom and pop outfit who will be able to knock out the mil spec version of something you can get at Home Depot for $2 at just 400x the cost *once* the lead con has upgraded their facilities) are a *vital* part of our supply chain and this contract is *key* to their staying in business (becasue the grew 3x to do this contract).

      This is how military con-tractors work and the con is *definitely* on.

    2. Paul 135
      Stop

      ...not to mention that the so-called "technical superiority" of the F-22 may be marketing BS

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eb_jqsg13wY

  50. Fish

    Lewis' Fan Club

    I notice Lewis didn't quote sections 1.8 or 2.3 of the report, strange he's normally so careful to provide balanced journalism...

    Section 2.3

    "The development and installation of progressively enhanced capability across the project is delivering a more capable aircraft than originally envisaged, and as a result, the Department is confident that it will meet required military tasks with fewer aircraft."

    Section 1.8

    "The Department has built on its experience introducing innovative commercial support arrangements for its Tornado and Harrier fleet and placed contracts for the support and maintenance of the aircraft with BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce in 2009.....performance targets are largely being achieved."

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Lewis' Fan Club

      Maybe he just didn't believe them.

  51. Nigel R
    Grenade

    Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs

    For a compact and enjoyable (if a little dated) synopses of how the UK taxpayer funds some of the biggest Offence oops I meant Defence spending waste in the whole world, on a GDP per capita basis, look no further than

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lions-Donkeys-Dinosaurs-Lewis-Page/dp/0434013897

    who needs a dictatorship if you have an electorate as docile as the UK's?

  52. DS 1

    I like the Euro fighter

    And I believe it has a very good basis for dogfighting. I don't believe in Lewis's idea that an Air superiority fighter is not required, indeed, I believe in future years, it will be badly needed. However, the plane itself is one thing. The comedy of Labout and the EU lovers and others involved is another ball game. A plane with no spares, a lack of flight time (Hint, Air Superiority depends on being the best pilots, because the plane can be a secondary factor to a variable degree) is a total fail within the ethos.

    Britain's defense budgets and planning are currently destroyed, and a total shambles. Its going to take a great deal to fix it.

  53. Bill Cumming
    Coat

    Ahh... this takes me back...

    ...Playing EF2000 on my PC.

    That's the only High point in the whole Eurofighter project's history...

    Just to think that game's 15 Years old...

    Mines the one with DOSBox emulator and my copy of EF2000 in the pocket...

  54. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Flame

    "The Department is confident"

    I've no doubt that the MoD is confident to the point of arrogance in its own ability.

    To ensure *no one* is to blame for this latest f***up.

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Nothing to do with the EU

      Eurofighter might be a European project but it has never had anything to do with the EU. It exists purely because Britain comprehensively trashed its aerospace industry in the 1960s and doesn't have the capacity or expertise to build planes independently any more.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      They don't make them like that anymore ...

      It had ground attack capabilities and cost under 50 quid too.

  55. tardigrade
    Coat

    No stealth?

    Clearly Lewis has underestimated the ground attack variants stealth capability. If their are no pilots trained to fly it and by the time there are it will be out of service. There will be none of them in the sky. Therefore the enemy will never be able to see them.

    I'd call that pretty damn stealthy.

  56. Mudgiestylie

    Why not...

    What exactly was/is the advantage of the EF-typhoon over buying more F35s or begging the US to sell you F22s? From what I can tell, both are superior to the typhoon in just about every way, except for maybe the limited number of bombs the f22 carries. I'm sure if the UK would have made a big enough fuss about it, we would have sold them to you. In fact I wish that would have happened, since it might have helped keep the assembly plants from being mothballed and lowered the per unit cost for us. Im not really sure what objections we may have raised, but by all accounts our governments trust each other and share sensitive info and technology constantly. I mean we build your trident d-5s for you for gods sake, and even the warheads in them are based on the w76... so why not sell some friggin planes?

  57. John Latham
    Badgers

    Opportunity costs

    Annual defence budget: £37bn.

    Trident replacement: £3.5bn a year for 30 years (according to Greenpeace, 2009).

    Annual NASA budget: £10bn.

    So if we retain ICBMs we can afford three NASAs and fight zero wars?

    Win.

  58. Potemkine Silver badge

    Money

    "we UK taxpayers will have shelled out no less than £215m for each of our 107 jet"

    Ha! For 5 times less UK could have acquired Rafale, which is a true multi-role combat aircraft, and that would have been a sign of willingness in term of european integration, at least speaking for the hardware.

    I'm sad for the name "Typhoon", the first one, the Hawker, was a splendid aircraft.

    1. foo_bar_baz
      Coat

      Having any inkling of military procurement

      The translation of manuals and "adapting" the aircraft would have made the Rafale 5 times as expensive.

  59. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Boffin

    A question on flight time

    Sure it's expensive.

    But how much is *necessary* now?

    How good are simulators (bearing in mind that the UK once was a world leader in this area. IIRC "Rediffusion" being one of the names of the time).

    They did *order* some flight simulators did they not?

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    is it any better than the Harrier?

    I'm not a plane geek so forgive me for asking this question. Why are we getting rid of Harriers jump jets for Eurofighers / Typhoons? Are they actually better? Would it have been cheaper to upgrade the Harrier's or make the next generation of fighters based on that design?

    I wonder if anyone took bribes to let this project happen.

    1. Yag

      Just guessing...

      But VTOL/STOVL like Harriers have a few drawbacks inherent to the design : The crafts are expensive, maintenance is a pain, performance is so-so (especially for fighters).

      The price is one of the main reason why the UK recently changed their mind about the F35 and decided to buy the CATOBAR version instead of the VTOL version : it's cheaper to add a catapult and enlarge a bit the carrier than buying the VTOL... At least if EM catapults are ready on time.

      However, the F35 will be able to land on the french carrier Charles de Gaulle, thanks to some military agreements. How ironic for the UK to be reliant on the french for the "navy" part...

      Footnote :

      - VTOL : Vertical Take-off and Landing

      - STOVL : Short Take-off Vertical Landing (usually a planned VTOL with engines finally too wimpy to manage the take off part)

      - CATOBAR : Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      AC@10:25

      "Why are we getting rid of Harriers jump jets for Eurofighers / Typhoons? Are they actually better?"

      Excellent question. Strictly the Harriers are being sacrificed to keep the Tornadoes in service (although they've sacked quite a few of the pilots for those as well).

      it could be said the Harriers have gone because the RAF wanted something new fast and shiny andt he MoD were not smart enough to work out a way of getting out of the whole contract without *paying* the whole contract price. Defense accountancy. Love it.

      "Better" is a tricky question. It's designed to match the mach 2+ fighter planes of the Warsaw Pact countries and the USSR.

      Except neither exists any more. So it's better at dealing with a non existing threat.

      Upgrading the Harrier *would* be difficult in some ways. It's not a fighter, although its vectored thrust (people bang on about TVC with the Raptor. TVC makes and the Pegasus engine made Harrier possible) . It was originally designed to hit ground targets in support of ground troops.

      Stealth was *never* a high priority in its design so it would show up on Al Qaeda's radar (if they *had* any radar). Engine mods to improve thrust (Plenum chamber burning is the phrase that comes up) could probably have bought the thrust up to avoid water injection and let it go supersonic even in the hot and high conditions of Afghanistan but you'd still need to take a wing off to do an engine overhaul/replacement.

      Harriers date from the time when NATO realized that the USSR had the *precise* coordinates of *all* those nice new 5000 feet reinforced concrete runways it had built on file and ready to program in to their aircraft/missile flight computers at a moments notice and the resulting cluster bomb (or nuke this being the 60's) attack would make a mess of said runway.

      It's a lesson modern air forces forget at their peril. Destroy the runway (or the planes on the ground, as the SAS did in the desert in WWII) and your numerical superiority or pilot skills become *irrelevant*.

  61. Ooo-wait-BUT!
    WTF?

    8 pilots - 107 planes

    nice...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Re: 8 pilots - 107 planes

      Spill your beverage on the seat? Never mind! Just drive another one out of the hangar next time round.

      Saudi bloke: "Why is the seat sticky on this one?"

      Technician: "Oh that's a feature to stop you sliding around as you pull a tight turn!"

  62. Leeroy Bronze badge
    Stop

    When facts are not facts at all.

    While I agree that the project looks like a mess and has cost a lot of money, aircraft generally tend to be quite expensive. A few of the presented "facts" seem to be slightly off.

    "And the Raptor has third-generation Stealth: the Eurofighter has no stealth features at all.

    From the sales brochure

    "The Low observability technology is incorporated in the basic design." -snip- "The Eurofighter Typhoon is, by any standard, a low observability aircraft with a fleet effectiveness superior to any other competitor. The airframe is constructed mainly from Carbon Fibre Composites (CFCs), lightweight alloys, titanium and Glass Reinforced Plastics (GRP). "

    The pilot can also control the electronic emmissions of the aircraft directly including features such as passive radar etc. This seems to sugest the aircraft does have at least some stealth features.

    "The Raptor has thrust vectoring for unbeatable manoeuvrability in a dogfight: the Eurofighter doesn't."

    The F22 has thrust vectoring due to its size. The EF is a much smaller plane and uses its foreplane / delta configuration to increase manuverability without sacrificing speed as the F22 does when using thrust vectoring. It is believed that the EF would be superior in a close quarters (less that 20 mile) engagement with an F22.

    "The Raptor is a hugely more sophisticated and powerful aircraft"

    More sophisticated ? it can not attack ground targets, imagine the outrage if the UK had bought a fleet of "Air dominance fighters" that could not attack ground targets ?

    A few more points, EF service ceiling 65'000 ft vs F22 60'000, runway length 2500 ft vs 7000 ft oh and the icing on the cake is that the EF can target an F22 at BVR (beyond visual range) defeating the design goal of its main competitor (if you can rellly call it that). FFS you should be behind the plane and its designers even if the financial side is a complete clusterf?*k, a bit of national pride would not hurt every now and again !

    1. nichomach
      Thumb Up

      Well said, Leeroy.

      I like reading Lewis on death-tech, but he does sometimes tend to let polemic take precedence over fact.

    2. tomsk
      WTF?

      madness

      1) The Typhoon does have some features aimed at reducing its radar signature, but they're trivial compared even to those of the F35. Compared to the F22 they're barely worth mentioning. The sales brochure may not be the best place to look for unbiased information on the plane's abilities.

      2) The claim that the Raptor "can not attack ground targets" is stark, staring madness. What is your source for this bizarre claim?

      3) The Typhoon's alleged ability to shoot down the F22 at BVR rather depends on its ability to detect it before it is itself detected, no? Given that the F22 is a true stealth aircraft and the Typhoon isn't, this may in practice prove to be a sticking point.

      4) National pride isn't a good reason to pretend to believe things we know to be untrue.

  63. Tony Rogers
    Pint

    The Master Plan ?

    People need to know more of the factories on the Derry Peninsular in Ireland.

    The Irish Strategic Bomber Command are as we write, launching the new "SPUD 1" missile. The Poteen fueled Hellraiser MK ll sidearms are believed to be the most fierce

    tracking arms ever produced since the "Chipmunk" flew.

    The Chipmunk has now been updated to the present MK Vlll equipt with the latest Irish Linen

    "Anti-Macasser's" in the cockpit. Air crew are well catered for with the addition of an outside loo

    for those long range missions to the Scilly Isles.

    Pilots are being are being trained to be able to operate at the high "G Forces" by total immersion

    in high presure Guiness Tanks.

    Field Marshall Spud O'Leary" wants more Euro involvement and Euro's to finish the job.

    Lets give the boyo's the money now to finish this wonderful plan.

    ( if this all sounds rubbish....check out the MOD,s plans again )

  64. Astarte

    Grand Unified Theory of Multinational Procurement

    Once upon a time some clever chaps in MoD (PE) decided to test a theory. It had the right feel to it and went something like this:

    If one nation can design, develop, produce and maintain a weapon system for £X then the total cost for 'n' nations would increase by the root of the number of nations. For example, for two nations to the total project would be 1.7 time more expensive. And there's a nice 'but' here – they would share the bill which meant they would actually get the weapon system for half of the total. In other words they'd get it for %70 of the original solo-nation procurement (cost 1.4X). Tempting. Increase that to three nations and the total cost would be 3^0.5 or 1.7 times the cost shared which equals %58 of the single-nation cost. Even more tempting.

    Extend the theory to four nations and they'd each share the total cost of twice the original or %50 each. The more the merrier because no single nation was responsible for the overall project costs and they'd all get part of a very expensive result at a good discount.

    What they didn't expect was that government and industrial management and bureaucracy costs for each nation would increase steeply because of the complex multi-national relationships most and differing work practises. Each company would use its own standards methods, standards and work practises but English would be 'the Language' for everything; they'd need more committees and more complex management to deal with the three other nations. Why care – they'd still be paid and, with no single nation in charge, they couldn’t be told how to do things. With hundreds of companies involved came many hundreds of methods. Remember, there was no leading design authority. At the time it was not thought important – like buying a Sony TV for use with a Panasonic PVR.

    The technical requirements were far from ideal – vague and poorly often worded but perfectly well understood by each company in their own context and so there was no end of confusion. It was clear the requirements had needed a re-write at a more 'atomic' (non reducible) standard. Fair enough but it didn't happen until after contracts had been let and of course everyone wanted more money to adopt the re-written requirements.

    A central authority was necessary to make sure the bits came together correctly but the companies were often reluctant to divulge their rationale for the way they did things. This resulted in countless disagreements and a fair amount of bullying.

    How on earth did the ISS turn into a successful project with more than 20 nations and world-wide input get off the ground? Answers on the back of a postcard please.

    Eurofighter is still a very good weapon system, it's a pity it's been smothered and strangled – a bit like the rest of the UK I suppose.

  65. S Larti
    Grenade

    At least the Eurofighter looks nice

    So we get a lot of expensively useless toys. Rather than the MOD spending all the money stocking up on light bulbs at £22 each when they are available for 65p, or £103 a time for screws, believed to be on sale online for £2.60.

    Oh wait, they've done both.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12643966

  66. Mips
    Jobs Horns

    The RAF...

    ... is still pissed off from loosing the nuclear deterrent. So it's Spend! Spend! Spend! all the way.

  67. codemonkey
    IT Angle

    I Love it,..

    There are two strands to this story

    1) Business as usual. Your tax payers money straight into the hands of private companies.

    2) Less murder machines on our planet. Result.

    No more killing please people, this is not the dark ages. Fuck, it’s not even the 90s. Time to grow up.

    Peace.

    I'm still looking for the IT angle mind...

  68. Bob-Bobomobomoboss

    Since we won't have any military anyway...

    Why not just paint them all red and give them to the Red Arrows?

    Would make for some impressive high speed displays especially as all these defence cuts sound like there's only going to be about 12 pilots left in the RAF.

  69. Alf the Unlucky

    More anti-Typhoon bile

    More inaccurate anti-Typhoon bile from Lewis Page. The man distorts facts better than a Cabinet minister.

    Take this:

    "At the moment it has received 70: the last of the 160 planes ordered by the UK will be delivered in 2015."

    And then this:

    "It is now acknowledged that the development and production cost to the UK of Eurofighter will be £23bn with planned upgrades. This means that we UK taxpayers will have shelled out no less than £215m for each of our 107 jets"

    Hold on, he's now deciding the unit cost is based on a final fleet size in order to make a flattering comparison of the F-22's cost. That is deeply misleading.

    I see he says the USAF F-22 fleet will be based on its 189-aircraft production run. Some of those aircraft wil crash (I think one has been lost already) in service. Should he not divide the active USAF fleet accordingly by the total unit cost?

    He is talking utter rubbish so much does he hate the Typhoon. Total production costs including R&D would, on these figures, have been £143.75m per aircraft, not $350m. And many Tranche 1 aircraft withdrawn early are likely to be sold to Oman. It's hardly Eurofighter's fault that, 20 years after the project was launched, the MoD has decided to reduce its frontline fleet to less than half its planned force.

    Also:

    "the NAO reports that of the 70 Eurofighters the RAF currently possesses, just 42 are actually available to flying squadrons"

    So what? How does a reader know if that's good or bad? If you mulitply the number of squadrons that flew the Tornado GR1 at its peak by the typical 13 aircraft complement you'll find it way short of the 229 delivered. Why? Well, even the MoD is not so stupid that it knows it will lose aircraft during the type's service life so it builds in an attrition reserve to its fleet. It also knows that aircraft will be in various stages of servicing at any period ranging from a Primary to a Major, when the aircraft is out of service for several months. So you need additional airframes to retain the desired frontline fleet. So, what is an appropriate ratio of frontline aircraft to total fleet? I don't know and I'm pretty sure Lewis Page doesn't know either.

    As for criticism of the lack of flying hours what on Earth does this have to do with the aircraft? If the MoD can't or won't afford the cost of providing sufficient pilots and appropriate training hours this can hardly be deemed a fault of the aircraft!

    Political delays and changes of mind plus inept contract handling are failings of the project as a whole but that simply shows that any project, whether a built-in-America solution or an entirely homegrown one would have been equally affected.

    -- Iain

  70. A J Stiles
    Stop

    Better idea innit

    Close down the army, navy and RAF altogether. Spend the money we save on essential civilian infrastructure, including alternatives to fossil fuels -- which ultimately will mean we don't have to get involved in any more wars over oil (which annoys people enough to make them want to blow us up).

    And if for some reason we do need to go to war in the meantime, then we can just hire mercenaries.

  71. despairing citizen
    Unhappy

    Academic issue

    It's not really an issue if we are not going to have pilots to fly them,

    having got rid of 40% of our pilot intake (not the MoD leaked early 25%, and hope nobody spots it when the real numbers come out rouse), it will take around 7 years to generate new combat ready fast jet pilots.

    We could just have bought F-18's as a cheaper paper weight though!

  72. Francis Offord

    Fly Navy

    I spent 22 years in the RAF and thought that we had to endure some terrible political decisions but this is far worse than anything we had to suffer. At least the decisions then were taken by politicos who had a slight idea of necessities but were usually held in check by servicemen, it appears that this is no longer the case as decisions are being taken by servicemen who have no idea as to what they are doing. We had, in 1940, a government who had knowledge first hand of service requirements and experience to make correct decisions, now we do not as nobody I can recognize has experience of the problems of the services and certainly no training in economics. Is it so surprising when we have an educational system which in in denial as to it's actual purpose. Let us ensure that, for the security of the nation (or should that read nations?) within this island we manage to acquire some professional assistance in order to manage our defences. Had this been the state of affairs in 1940 we should all have been speaking German and ruled over by "amphibian devourers", not a pretty thought.

    Still, we get the government we deserve and appoint but we do not ever get value for money. It appears that this is a universal problem and it is easy to see how dictators are appointed when nobody stands up to be counted or punished for wrongdoing.

  73. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Couldn't we have just bought Gripens?

    The Swedes are looking for export markets for their latest Saab fighter. It's hellishly less expensive than either the Typhoon or the F35 and available right now. BAe is even one of the subcontractors.

    Meanwhile, is anyone going to place any bets on which MoD project is going to go massively tits up next? I'm plumping on the aircraft carriers on the grounds that BAe has never put anything into the water on schedule or on budget.

  74. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I cant be bothered to read all the posts

    but I cant believe its the civil servants who are actually charging this kind of money for a heap of shit - presumably that's down to the private companies that don't seem to be able to build it?

    When I've worked on project planning, if there was a problem with the proposed plans we tried to sort it out, business seems to build as many of the knowingly incompatible parts as possible, charge for them and then blame the civil service after giving them all the advice necessary to get to the stage we are at. Makes fucking up a bank look like childs play.

  75. Jemma Silver badge
    FAIL

    I think I am going to cry...

    @ whoever - The original tempest/typhoon was great - when its tail wasnt dropping off and squishing cows - and when it wasnt winter and the engine had to be left running overnight (all night every night) because if you tried to start it cold the oil would just sit and grin while the Napier Sabre bent itself more out of shape than an el reg commentard...

    Its all academic since if we are lucky all these things are going to be used for is a cheap target scoring drone for idiot politicians - and to pretty up Duxford Air Show once a year.. assuming they are fit to fly...

    If we arent lucky, they are going to be cheesed (like creamed only it takes longer) by the fighters of the Chinese AF when they invade europe.

    More to the point - it doesnt matter what you are flying - at all - if the other guy gets the jump on you and hits you while you are daydreaming/researching rule 34 as it relates to your ex and her dog... you will still BURN and DIE...

    I dont know how much it would cost, but I am sure its possible to go down the local engineering shop with some old plans and get us a nice airforce with the pocket change in the kitty...

    How, I hear you ask

    Its perfectly simple - the purpose of the planes hasnt changed - just how they are powered and all the electronical kit.. so why not just go back, build uprated & updated ducted-fan/turboprop versions of old stalwarts as the tempest/typhoon - spitfire/seafire - beaufort or B-25 for ground attack/bombing...

    See, its all very well hollering that speed is of the essence and manueverability and all that - but its been proved that all you need to do is get the jump and you, or they, still win 80% of the time.

    So why spend shed loads of money on speed, when its a white elephant?

    Then you have people saying - but if you are flying something thats top speed is 500-550mph (a speed that Griffon spitfires, with a bored-out merlin could just about manage 60 years ago) against something that can do mach 2.25 - remember viffing, that trick the harrier could play?

    newsflash - everything low and slow, that will set your bald spot on fire if you are standing too close when it starts up can do the same trick... drop flaps/wheels, back throttle to just above stall, watch flyboy barrel past you looking bewildered, and then shoot him.. It was done in Vietnam/Korea for heavens sake with biplanes dropping grenades out the door. A German WWII ace almost got court martialled because the same thing happened in tests with one of the first Me262.

    Its all irrelevant anyway, because its numbers that matter these days, and we don't have them.

    What should be done is one person who has the authority to make the decision cans the whole program - the jets are taken to bits, and those bits recycled into a new autonomic flight/fight system - that way we don't lose the value we've spent but we get something that can fight way beyond the envelop that is currently possible (as has been stated before, fighting could be so much more fighty, if it wasnt for the requirement to bring the fleshies back in one piece) - and (assuming they dont use Windows CE Embedded) wont be looking at ramblers on the Cairngorms from below on a more or less regular basis...

    I don't think there is any thing to be gained wingeing about Typhoon any more - because there is nothing anyone can do to change or cancel it. The government cannot back out, because it would be political suicide on a scale yet seen (even compared to their efforts now), the air force don't want to back out, because then they *will* be asking to borrow Duxfords planes (or the Confedarate AF, at probably half the price) so the only way is to stop now, and make something from the mess of the typhoon project, by moving the thing forward as a remote piloted fighter/munitions platform.

    Yes, that does seem like more expense, but if its done properly, at the right price and properly overseen - then we will have a fighter/fighter bomber that is more capable and alot more future proof...

    Or we could just be sensible - and buy a few boatloads of patriots and the like and be done with it - after all - I am sure there is some African country with a friendly (if politically dubious) government that we haven't palmed our overpriced military crap on somewhere ... after all, turning a load of rifle armed tribesmen into Whiskas with the Typhoon should be well within its capabilities...

    Oh wait - its hot and sunny in Africa *sigh* and jets dont like to go out when its hot and sunny (can a harrier *get* sunburn...?)

  76. sloop
    WTF?

    Typhoon vs Raptor

    Why would you buy a Typhoon as opposed to a Raptor, which is cheaper, more manoeuvreable and "stealthier"? Because you're a moron, perhaps; or maybe there were "sweeteners" in the deal?

    If the article is "true", this is one HUGE cock-up! If I were a UK taxpayer, I would want to see several (if not dozens) of rolling heads.

    Bad form MoD

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Because, as usual, this article is full of missinformation

      You can't buy a F-35 becuase they are still developing it and it probably would be ready for deployment for another 10 years. The F-35 price is also uncertain although it keeps getting more expensive. Its also VERY expensive to run, the Canadians are have doubts about it.

      http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/release/123416/pbo-says-jsf-could-cost-canada-c%2430-billion%2C-twice-government-estimate.html

      The F-35 is looking like a very expensive aircraft at $300million dollars.

      Lewis also failed to point out that the report notes that the Typhoon is NOT more expensive that over aircraft such as the F-35 and Rafele, unless you fiddle the figure like he is wont too.

      The F-35 could well end up as a white elephant; expensive, pointless stealth, under armed, heavy and oversized making it an easier target.

  77. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge
    Black Helicopters

    the £12 screw

    I think the overspend on these projects and the aparent lack of interest in making decent aircraft belies the real reason they cost so much. The money is really being spent on secret projects. Obviously to remain secret they have to launder the money through a public non-secret project.

    I have chosen a black helecopter but I expect it's really hypersonic ramjet attack drones.

  78. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Flame

    Gotta love absorption costing.

    "How much for 200 Eurofighters?"

    "£2Bn"

    "How much for 100"

    "£2Bn"

    Why, because that's how much they've *priced* it at.

    And while the Chairman of BAe enjoys unlimited access to the PM that sort of price will *never* be questioned.

  79. Death_Ninja
    Go

    I think I must have worked in IT too long...

    ...couldnt we just outsource the whole defence of the UK?

    In fact an outsourced, leveraged EU defence force would prove to be excellent price-performance.

    Outsourcing is always better value *ahem*

  80. Christian Berger Silver badge

    What I don't understand is...

    If those officials are of the opinion that such fighter jets are important, why are they outsourcing it's development to private companies? Everybody knows private companies are inefficient.

  81. Andreas W.
    FAIL

    Let them die, Spock.

    Apparently the European aircraft industry is just too stupid to produce reasonable aircraft at reasonable prices and it only survived because our politicians are even more stupid.

    Should we leave the European aircraft industry to die a quick death (including the civilian one, if that's how it needs to be)?

    I'm sure in the next 100 years we'll always be able to buy either from the USA or from the Russians for a much cheaper price, as you would always have a fierce competition.

    I'm not sure where the money went, but I'm sure it would be cheaper to let our aircraft experts go to the USA, Russia and China and have the non-experts be put on the dole.

    Regards from Germany

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      Regards from Germany

      Frankly, speaking with insider knowledge, if Eurofighter had dispensed with the Germans it would have come in a whole lot cheaper and more capable.

  82. Joel 8

    And I Thought The US DoD Was FUBAR'ed!

    To think that the eye-watering cost of the marginally useful Raptor could be surpassed is an all out attack on the senses. Reading things like this makes me feel like I live in Bizzaro-land.

    Now keep in mind, the F-35 is ridiculously expensive, designed for enemies that do not exist, and marginally better than an F-18 or F-16. Look at the spec's anyway. I do not fly arecraft, but I do understand things like wing loading, range, max climb, etc.

    If you look at those numbers the F-35 is maybe a half-step backwards, as is the Raptor. The USAF has this pie in the dream of BVR engagements, but the BVR requires beacons to identify friendlies. How hard would it be to home in on a beacon using triangulation? Besides, I do haven't heard any reports of the Taliban, or our mythical bugaboo Al Qaeda flying any aircraft, let alone anythign as sophisticated as an obsolete F-104! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!!

    BTW, has the UK gone after the teachers and sanitation workers yet for their ridiculously lavish benefits and pensions? ROTFLMAO! It's about time to go Egypt on this F&*CKING BULLS*&T!!

  83. Peter 6
    FAIL

    Also...

    You want to know why they're expanding the capabilties of the Typhoon to handle ground attack? The fact that the F-35 is continuing to be a delayed over budget behemoth threatening to de-rail the procurement programs of multiple countries as well as the Americans. I'd though you would have kept that on the quiet being as biased towards American kit as Arsene Wenger is towards Arsenal.

    Speaking of which maybe you should declare any interests you may or may not have.Just saying.

    Just because Britain can't watch its finances properly doesn't mean you should have a pop at a perfectly good plane like the Typhoon.

    For shame Lewis, for shaaame.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Suddenly...

    ... F-15s for air superiority and A-10 warthogs for ground blasting don't sound too ridiculous, do they?

    - Both were built in the '70s;

    - Both were proven to fly with parts missing, - including but not limited to - large portions of wings;

    - Both can carry any new fancy missiles if required, and by all that is Holy, one of them has the biggest Gatling Gun there is.

    Add Harriers for good measure between both of 'em, choppers for ground support and you have all bases covered. Not to mention 3 of these can take off short grass runways, or practically anywhere.

    ...or...

    Ditch these Typhoons and buy used F-15s, slap canards and Thrust Vectoring on them like NASA did and be done with it. Hell, even F-16s fare better, since they can carry bombs, dogfight, and are cheap in comparison.

  85. Wibble257
    FAIL

    More dribble

    What a surprise, Lewis writes an anti-RAF article that also claims US made kit is brilliant!! Lewis just face it, Boeing are not going to give you a job so quit the PR!!

    The Tranche 1 aircraft issue is a red herring and I am sure Lewis knows this. Due to the lack of aircraft those early jets have been thrashed and therefore will be worn out by the time they are being scrapped, that is why they are being scrapped!!!

    The Typhoon is fully operational and can drop bombs already. The only thing holding things back is money for flying hours and therefore manpower (not enough crews trained etc). There is no money and that would be no different if we had bough US kit.

    There is no doubt the MOD has bodged up the procurement but the Typhoon is a highly capable aircraft that this country needs. The F35 has been slated and is in trouble, running late etc so we can not rely on it turning up on time and being able to do what it is supposed to do (F35= jack of all trades, master of none). The F22 is also not working as planned, is stupidly expensive to operate and knowing the USAF they will not send it anywhere dangerous anyway (too expensive when you have cheap F15s, F16s, F18s etc).

  86. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Boffin

    A note on staff costs

    The average UK weekly salary is £499 according to

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=285

    Assuming you worked from 18 to 70 your *lifetime* salary would be £1 349 296

    On the claimed cost of one aircraft at £216m that would pay off 160 workers.

    Or nearly 34 years of the RBS bosses bonus for 2010 (£2m in cash, £4.5m in shares).

    it's one hell of a lot of money. Still "There's always an enemy, you just need to know *where* to look for them."

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