back to article Britain must send its F-35s to Italy for heavy overhauls, decrees US

Britain will have to send its supersonic F-35 fighter jets to Italy for heavy overhauls, the UK Ministry of Defence has confirmed to The Register. BAE Systems will maintain an airframe maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) capability at RAF Marham in Norfolk, according to a US announcement earlier this week. …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
    Devil

    WHAT F*** Economies of F*** Scale

    I would understand economies of scale when you are dealing with 10K fighters. That is not the case - for the amount of fighters in Europe and the projected MTBF you are at any given time overhauling 1-2.

    Any "Economies of Scale" bullshit blows the bullshitometer off the bullshit scale.

    More like "ridiculous cost of the overhaul rig" combined with "ridiculously complicated (ala Boeing Dreamliner) supply chain.

    1. Gray
      Holmes

      Re: WHAT F*** Economies of F*** Scale

      And the landing gear axles will be serviced and relubricated in Sweden; the windshield wipers will be replaced at a German R&R* site (refurbish or replace decision facility); the ejection system will be the baliwick of France (ooh-la-la!, zee bottoms up!) and the relettering and exterior iidentification and insignia decal inspections and replacement process has been let to Belgium. Scheduling, requisitions, forms, security processing and certifications remain under Pentagon guidance. Cheers!

      1. Magani
        Joke

        Re: WHAT F*** Economies of F*** Scale

        ... the ejection system will be the baliwick of France (ooh-la-la!, zee bottoms up!)

        If your ejection seat has its bottom up during operation, the F-35 driver has un problème sérieux.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: WHAT F*** Economies of F*** Scale

          Past experience suggests that might happen when crossing the Equator. Or some other imaginary line...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WHAT F*** Economies of F*** Scale

          > If your ejection seat has its bottom up during operation, the F-35 driver has un problème sérieux.

          Why???

          1. JLV Silver badge

            Re: WHAT F*** Economies of F*** Scale

            >Why???

            Read up F-104 Starfighter aka Widowmaker

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Calrissian's Conjecture

      "This deal is getting worse all the time"

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Right, That's It

        OK, enough. We the people are persuaded the F35-B will be a costly crock of shit (CCoS).

        I vote that we convene a nationwide scrapheap challenge to equip HMS Queen Bess and HMS Welsh Charlie with cats and traps. I've got a couple of old radiators, a knackered BBQ, some kettle leads and a horse shoe magnet. I'll also throw in free access to my underwear drawer, but I do warn that underwire these days isn't what it used to be.

        Then we can have a special Britain's Got Talent to pay for a few dozen commodity fast jets.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Calrissian's Conjecture

        Well, I'm sure there is a fallback for sending engines to Turkey if things go pear shaped. Russia, perhaps.

    3. asdf Silver badge

      Re: WHAT F*** Economies of F*** Scale

      Well the scale of this Charlie Foxtrot might well never be matched by man again. That is unless we count on someone like Boeing to get us out of the solar system.

    4. JLV Silver badge

      Re: WHAT F*** Economies of F*** Scale

      Humm, as much as I think this, like most F-35 related stuff, is complete utter bollocks, "economies of scale" does make a warped kinda sense in this context.

      When a country can only afford 2 or 3 dozen of an "affordable, high-volume" combat aircraft, it kinda makes sense to centralize major repairs so that you don't set up a huge infrastructure that has little repairs to do.

      (Of course, so far, it seems that even with low volume, F-35s keep their support crews plenty busy.)

      Also, keep in mind that during a conflict away, the major repair shop @ home will not be near the front line troops and will require shipping to anyway. Plus, Italy is much closer to the Middle Eastern oilfields and Iran than the UK, innit?

      Don't take this as an endorsement of the program, nor of the loss of sovereignty that an F35 purchase seems to imply in general. And, hmmm, yes, Turkey being involved at a key point makes no sense - both given their current political status and their long time enmity with Greece and tendency to veto anything Kurd-related. Giving them much to much power to dictate NATO activities.

      Just that setting up major repair shops everywhere for such limited volumes may also not make sense. Though if you have Norfolk already anyway, I concur with the BS meter being off the scale.

      1. Kernel Silver badge

        Re: WHAT F*** Economies of F*** Scale

        "Just that setting up major repair shops everywhere for such limited volumes may also not make sense."

        In a commercial situation that would be quite correct - but in a defense situation where profit and loss are not a consideration then surely it is up to the customer to decide if they want to spend the money or not.

        1. Lars Silver badge

          Re: WHAT F*** Economies of F*** Scale

          I have a slight feeling RR will decide who services their engines, not the customers, get over it. And besides what is it some of you Brits think you are better at building than the Italians, the French, the Germans, anybody, get real.

  2. P. Lee Silver badge

    Oooh. Italian maintenance!

    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. wolfetone Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

      Can't be any worse than American engineering judging by this plane.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

        I'm guessing part of the problem is that a lot of it was outsourced, badly. There are good American engineers, just it would be good if they would hire them, occasionally ;)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

        "Can't be any worse than American engineering judging by this plane".

        A stinging rebuke is headed your way as soon as I've got one.

        And, boy, you'll be sorry.

    2. Mephistro Silver badge

      Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

      Careful with those stereotypes. Italy has produced lots of outstanding engineering, including what is considered by many as the first desktop/personal computer -(the Olivetti Programma 101), many terrific cars and several outstanding airplanes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

        >Italy has produced lots of outstanding engineering,

        And some very shit boiler valves that constantly leak or fail.

        http://www.newtonnet.co.uk/house/boiler/

        This is a bastard of a job but that's down to crap British layout.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

        Italians certainly know how to dress too (and I'm being gender neutral here).

        Still, most of these facilities will be manned by the same specialist UK/US folk that would have serviced it in the UK.

      3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

        Careful with those stereotypes. Italy has produced

        Produced versus maintained. Look them up in the dictionary.

        I somewhere have an old card on what "What is Europe" card from a late 1990-es holiday in Ibiza.

        What was Europe supposed to be - A place where the Mechanics are German, Lovers are Italian, Police are British, Cooks are French and all of it is Organized by the Swiss.

        What did we get: A place where the Mechanics are Italian, Lovers are Swiss, Police are German, Cooks are British and all of it is Organized by the French.

        I have seen it in two versions by the way: the even more fun is "organized by the Italians"

        Alternatively, watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxqwXNfYmOQ

        While South European engineering is generally excellent (both Italian and Spanish produce some really cool stuff), South European maintenance...

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

          While South European engineering is generally excellent (both Italian and Spanish produce some really cool stuff), South European maintenance...

          Config file wipe blunder caused deadly Airbus A400M crash – claim?

          1. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

            The A400 crash was *not* maintenance. That was *initial configuration*.

            That's been fixed since.

        2. Mephistro Silver badge

          Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance! (@ Voland's right hand)

          "Produced versus maintained"

          Nowadays we can see maintenance failing everywhere. In the case of private enterprises, it's seen as a cost centre, so everybody and his brother are skimping maintenance costs.

          Ditto in the case of government. Nobody is going to win an election saying "We maintained our roads in perfect condition, thus preventing many accidents"*.

          But regarding Italian Mechanics and Engineers, mechanics at Lamborghini or Ferrari aren't too shaggy, are they?

          * But they should've. Educating the public on these kind of matters in the schools would make fuck-ups like the elections of Donald and Adolf, to give just two examples, far scarcer. ;-)

          If we don't teach kids about critical thinking, logic, complexity, negotiation and such, we can't expect them to elect good leadership in the future. It's not just presidents or prime ministers, but many/most politicians, who will be spilling seven hues of bullshit for weeks instead of confessing to a SNAFU, even a small one.

          1. Red Bren
            Headmaster

            Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance! @ Mephistro

            "If we don't teach kids about critical thinking, logic, complexity, negotiation and such, we can't expect them to elect good leadership in the future."

            Which is why politicians are more concerned that kids are able to regurgitate facts and figures than have the ability to think. An educated electorate might not listen when told which section of the community to scapegoat for society's ills and might start to blame the vested interests holding the levers of power.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

          The issue is many foreigners don't understand actually there's two Italy - the north that competes with Germany, the south that competes with Greece (guess The Economist published a "corrected" map some time ago). Guess the F-35 maintenance will happen in the same facility where they are being assembled, at Cameri. Look yourself on a map where it is.

      4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "Careful with those stereotypes. Italy has produced lots of outstanding engineering,"

        Indeed.

        Italy made about half of the modules of the ISS.

        A fact NASA don't like to emphasise.

      5. Wibble257

        Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

        But also the gearbox for the Merlin helicopter. Again, this was political as Westlands had already made a perfectly good gearbox that was then scrapped.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

          Since the Italians completely bought out Westland by 2004, a few years after Merlin entered service, perhaps it was just waiting to happen anyway?

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

        And great motorcycles (Piaggio, Cagiva, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Belgarda-Yamaha, Gilera, MV Agusta) braking systems (Brembo), specialist gearbox makers Graziano https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graziano_Trasmissioni as used by Audi, Mercedes-AMG, Aston Martin .... VM Motori

        Aermacchi

        Finmeccanica ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

          > And great motorcycles (Piaggio, Cagiva, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Belgarda-Yamaha, Gilera, MV Agusta) braking systems (Brembo), specialist gearbox makers Graziano https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graziano_Trasmissioni as used by Audi, Mercedes-AMG, Aston Martin .... VM Motori

          > Aermacchi

          > Finmeccanica ...

          Sophia Loren

          Ornella Muti ...

      7. The First Dave Silver badge

        Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

        "many terrific cars"

        I say: Name Them!

      8. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

        have to say their bathroom saniatry ware is beautiful to the eye, almost a shame to take a dump in it.

    3. boltar Silver badge

      Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

      At least the reverse thrust will be in perfect working order!

      1. JustNiz

        Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

        ...and the horn.

    4. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

      "Heaven is where the police are British, the lovers French, the mechanics German, the chefs Italian, and it is all organized by the Swiss.

      "Hell is where the police are German, the lovers Swiss, the mechanics French, the chefs British, and it is all organized by the Italians".

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faxlore

      The planned F-35 maintenance system sounds like some sort of intermediate Purgatory...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

        > "Hell is where the police are German, the lovers Swiss, the mechanics French, the chefs British, and it is all organized by the Italians".

        The problem with these jokes, apart from being old, is that in order to work there has to be at least an inkling of truth about them. As it happens, German police are amongst the most professional I've come across (just don't get on the wrong side of them, they know how to dole out some impressive aggression), and there are some truly excellent British chefs around Europe (not the idiotic TV celebrities).

        1. Kurt Meyer

          Re: Oooh. Italian maintenance!

          @ AC

          " 'Hell is where the police are German, the lovers Swiss, the mechanics French, the chefs British, and it is all organized by the Italians'.

          The problem with these jokes, apart from being old, is that in order to work there has to be at least an inkling of truth about them. As it happens, German police are amongst the most professional I've come across (just don't get on the wrong side of them, they know how to dole out some impressive aggression)"

          AC, I believe the joke (which is seen on t-shirts over here), is making reference to these men when it says "the police are German".

  3. localzuk

    What a clusterfrack

    The idea of outsourcing maintenance of military equipment to foreign nations, especially now we are leaving the EU, seems moronic.

    As the Belgian example shows, our allies are only are allies when it suits them.

    All military equipment should be serviced/serviceable in the UK plain and simple.

    1. IsJustabloke
      Stop

      Re: What a clusterfrack

      "especially now we are leaving the EU"

      And what has the EU got to do with using NATO allies to service equipment? try not toconflate teh two things please.

      That said, I agree our kit should be serviced in the UK. If it were up to me I'd also be designing and building it too.

      1. Mephistro Silver badge

        Re: What a clusterfrack (@ IsJustabloke)

        "And what has the EU got to do with using NATO allies to service equipment?"

        Red tape and customs, mainly. Which IMHO is bad enough.

        And given The Rug's statements regarding NATO and Russia during the Presidential Campaign...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What a clusterfrack

        Well since deliberately aggravating Russia seems to be off the menu ..... who cares?

        Apart from certain officials who really ought to be brushing off their resume, or making their apologies to Karma, or something ...

    2. boltar Silver badge

      Re: What a clusterfrack

      "All military equipment should be serviced/serviceable in the UK plain and simple."

      Sadly in the UK with governments of all parties in recent decades, military considerations have had lower priority than political ones with regards to our armed forces. Personally I think this situation is borderline traiterous as it puts the entire nation potentially at risk for the sake of some glad handing, but I won't kid myself anything will change until its too late.

      1. daemonoid

        Re: What a clusterfrack

        "Sadly in the UK with governments of all parties in recent decades, military considerations have had lower priority than political ones with regards to our armed forces."

        And yet the UK politicians still approve the 4th largest budget in the world for military spending. I'm not sure how much more committed you would want them to be...

        1. Red Bren
          Mushroom

          Re: What a clusterfrack

          "And yet the UK politicians still approve the 4th largest budget in the world for military spending. I'm not sure how much more committed you would want them to be..."

          That would be great if the money was spent at home, rather than going straight to the coffers of US weapon makers.

          Can't we adopt a Vendor Managed Inventory policy where we only pay for these things if we actually use them? It would make sense for Trident, seeing as the UK would need the Yanks' permission to launch its "independent" deterrent anyway

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What a clusterfrack

            As I'm not a Brit I wasn't aware that you'd need US approval to use Trident. Good luck getting that under Trump.

            Of course, optimally, that would never be required, but...

            1. Archtech Silver badge

              Re: What a clusterfrack

              "Of course, optimally, that would never be required, but..."

              That really is the understatement of your (and anyone else's) life. You do realise that, if Trident were ever launched, it would mean the death of everyone in the world?

        2. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: What a clusterfrack

          Handing out billions of pounds to armaments manufacturers is not the same as providing properly for the defence of the realm.

        3. M.Zaccone

          Re: What a clusterfrack

          "And yet the UK politicians still approve the 4th largest budget in the world for military spending. I'm not sure how much more committed you would want them to be..."

          The politicians do seem to spend this budget really really badly! Or is it down to civil servants? I have no idea. It has all gone a bit tricky at any rate!

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: What a clusterfrack

          "And yet the UK politicians still approve the 4th largest budget in the world for military spending. I'm not sure how much more committed you would want them to be..."

          Sir Humphrey: Bernard, what is the purpose of our defence policy?

          Bernard: To defend Britain.

          Sir Humphrey: No, Bernard. It is to make people believe Britain is defended.

          Bernard: The Russians?

          Sir Humphrey: Not the Russians, the British! The Russians know it's not.

    3. hoola Bronze badge

      Re: What a clusterfrack

      Just shows the power of the woolly suit/PowerPoint/Posh dinners. The entire thing was clearly a total disaster to everyone except the top brass. It would have been far cheaper and probably for more useful to have done the full capability upgrade for the Harrier. At least the thing actually flew, and more to the point proved itself in the very theatre for which the F35 heap of scrap is supposed to work in.

      Yet it may be old but the Harrier was a seriously capable aircraft that an upgrade could easily have brought into the 21st century.

      Oh sorry, I missed something, no American involvement, no billions of dollars or pounds going to foreign companies......

      WTF.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hypocrites..

    They keep preaching how we have a united Europe and how we should all join forces and work together. But when it comes to army requirements it's every country for themselves (sort off). Instead of the Eurofighter (a European project) we'd rather turn to the US and get this mess. Even US experts have shared concerns and warnings and this plane, but naah.

    Holland got the F35 to replace the F16 Starfighter, but as it turns out the "obsolete" F16 is superior to the F35 in many ways (such as its action radius and amount of ammo it can carry).

    So we get a plane which costs more, can do less and we don't even have full control over what we can do with it. Such a bargain :P

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Hypocrites..

      If the 'pilot killer' starfighter is superior to the F35, then gods help the poor guys who get to fly them.

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Hypocrites..

        The Starfighter killed 104 German aircrew.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_F-104_Starfighter#German_service

    2. Zolko

      Widow Maker

      it's the F-104 Starfighter or the F-16 Fighting-Falcon. And it's the F-16 Fighting-Falcon that is superior to the F-35 for air-to-air combat.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Widow Maker

        Ah, the Widow Maker. Happy memories...

      2. ArrZarr Silver badge

        Re: Widow Maker

        Wait, they're still using that thing? The plane with wings that would look undersized on your average insect?

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Widow Maker

          No, "we" are not using the F104 any more. The Netherlands used to have 186 F-16s, only about a quarter of which remain in operation nowadays and all of which are now fast approaching their airframe time limits.

          So the F16 HAS to be replaced, not a matter of IF, but when. Given what is currently available the F35 is probably not the best choice, but it most certainly isn't the worst. (They gruesomely expensive and entirely unsuited to the Dutch use case Eurofighter would be, even though many people less versed in what we do with our jets argue otherwise).

          Given the F16 still holds it's own in anything we've thrown at it recently I suspect the best option would have been to ask MD to build us another 200 F16s. I doubt they would have refused and in the end we'd have more jets for a lot cheaper than the 37 F-35s we are probably getting now (maybe a few more if President Muppet manages to drop the dollar some more or the euro miraculously recovers some value). Plus we'd have had all the maintenance and parts stores all ready to go.

          1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: Widow Maker

            Given the F16 still holds it's own in anything we've thrown at it recently I suspect the best option would have been to ask MD to build us another 200 F16s.

            You do not need to ask anyone. Turkey builds them and exports them under license and the licensed build is fully certified for NATO procurement too. They are the most updated design too (much better than what NL has at present). You also get (potentially) some of their new weapons as options in the process.

            A side effect of Erdogan's "Restoration of the Turkish Empire" complex is a set of missiles which vastly exceed in range and operational capability anything USA was willing to export. All of that integrated to the local version of F-16 (they are certifying that one for F35 too by the way): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOM_%28missile%29

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Voland's right hand Re: Widow Maker

              ".....is a set of missiles which vastly exceed in range and operational capability anything USA was willing to export...." What tosh! Never heard of the JASSMA? As it is, the Dutch would be far more likely to buy the European Storm Shadow rather than a poor Turkish clone.

          2. Michael Duke

            Re: Widow Maker

            The last Block 60's only rolled off of the line in 2014 IIRC and the add on order from the UAE has restarted production so another 200 would not be an issue.

          3. fnj

            Re: Widow Maker

            So the F16 HAS to be replaced, not a matter of IF, but when.

            Why? No, I'm serious; why? Much, much older B-52s are still flying and will be for a long, long time to come. So are DC-3s. Heck, there are still two B-24s and assorted other WW II warbirds that are flying. If wing spars and other pieces do fatigue, you just replace the pieces.

            1. boltar Silver badge

              Re: Widow Maker

              "Why? No, I'm serious; why? Much, much older B-52s are still flying and will be for a long, long time to come. So are DC-3s. Heck, there are still two B-24s and assorted other WW II warbirds that are flying. If wing spars and other pieces do fatigue, you just replace the pieces."

              I'm guessing the frequent high G loadings on jet fighters fatigues the airframe much quicker than that of a bomber which leads a fairly uneventful life at 40K feet. Also its not just a case of finding fatique and replacing the bits - I imagine its the the potential for sudden catastrophic failure in the air through undetected fatique deep in the airframe that they're worried about.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: Widow Maker

                "I'm guessing the frequent high G loadings on jet fighters fatigues the airframe much quicker than that of a bomber "

                Yup. Fatigue cracking in the spars is not to be sneezed at - and is why, even without a meatsack onboard there are lifetime airframe limits for aircraft (as in, only allowed to pull so many 9G turns, etc). They don't fly so well if a wing falls off. (Yes, I know about the unwinged F16, but it wasn't pulling a turn at the time)

                1. Dave 15

                  Re: Widow Maker

                  Bet they still outfly an F35 even after the wing fell off.

                  Especially near a thunderstorm

              2. LDS Silver badge

                Re: Widow Maker

                Another issue is being able to fly within the range of the latest generation of AA weapons, and the next one. F-16 are still a good plane when you have already enforced air superiority - but it may have hard times to enforce it. B-52s again are only useful as "bomb trucks" when the enemy can't shoot them down. IAI was able to destroy the Syrian plant defended by modern AA batteries, but it needed to made them inoperative first using other means.

                The F-35 was designed with that in mind - but the outcome may not be the best one, because it's the result of many compromises - something that in the US designed planes happens in cycles, especially when some bright mind in the Pentagon decides they need a single airplane for multiple roles. Actually, only truly outstanding planes were close to it - despite often being not designed really with that in mind. Many other showed the issues of trying to address many different needs, while keeping the plane "cheap".

            2. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: Widow Maker

              @fnj,

              as said before a fighter gets much heavier loading and fatigue cracking becomes a problem. The RNLAF F-16s have all received a midlife upgrade that basically involved stripping the entire airframe down and replace the center frame section. This has allowed them to rack up more air time than any other F16 fleet afaik but there is only so much they can do to keep these things flying. Since the midlife upgrade was already performed a refurb now would involve basically building a new F16. On top of that the onboard avionics and weapons systems are starting to get a bit long in the tooth and could do with an upgrade that is not possible in the existing airframe. So replacement quickly becomes the better option. Why they chose the F35 is anyone's guess (but I'd date put a wager on some shenanigans from high level officials being involved coming out into the open a long time after the aircraft have been delivered)

              1. Dave 15

                More fun to be had

                Seems the good old TSR2 was faster, went further, carried more, turned better, climbed harder.... we apparently have a part complete TSR2 (the forth one they made but didnt finish) to use as a starting point. True we might consider it worth fixing that landing gear but hey, what a wheeze, restart production of a 60 year old British aircraft because it is better than the yankee one of today

    3. Jos V

      Re: Hypocrites..

      I suppose you mean the F-16 Falcon, which incidentally replaced the F-104 Starfighter.

      But yeah, get your argument. Sigh.

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Hypocrites..

      I wish the US had reworked the F15 and F16 instead of the POS F35. I do like the F15 personally as there's something about having a fighter so overpowered by its engines that it can stand on it's tail just after takeoff and climb straight up. The F16 and F18 are still great airplanes as is the A10.

      But, money and the power of lobbyists talk very well here in the States so we don't get what we need but what some clown wants to sell. Which, they're doing along with what PT Barnum said about "a fool and his money" and "one born every minute".

  5. H in The Hague

    Take back control

    "Given that the US apparently controls who does what with the F-35 even after it has been sold"

    But I thought we'd just voted to take back control?

    1. Zolko

      Re: Take back control

      But I thought we'd just voted to take back control?

      from Europeans only, you're still the Yankees servants.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Take back control

        "from Europeans only, you're still the Yankees servants."

        So is the rest of europe while the US pays more than twice as much into defending europe as the rest of the NATO countries put together. Funny how europeans were running around like headless chickens when putin invaded georgia and ukraine asking Obama what he was going to do about it.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Take back control

          Some European leaders were. Many European people were shrugging and saying the people of the Crimea want to be part of Russia anyway and maybe we shouldn't be building up massive military forces around Russia in the first place.

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Take back control

            "Some European leaders were. Many European people were shrugging and saying the people of the Crimea want to be part of Russia anyway"

            If you shrug your shoulders over the annexation of part of a soverign state just because you think some of the people there might be happier ruled elsewhere then you might as well throw away the map of europe and redraw half of the borders. Also since when did ignoring a dictators illegal actions EVER make any of them more inclined to follow the rule of law?

            "maybe we shouldn't be building up massive military forces around Russia in the first place."

            Yes, god forbid would should respond in kind to russian military build up. No, we should just tuck our tails between our legs and run off like typical EU cowards.

            1. h4rm0ny

              Re: Take back control

              >>If you shrug your shoulders over the annexation of part of a soverign state(1) just because you think "some"(2) of the people there "might"(3) be happier ruled "elsewhere"(4)

              Corrections to some of your weasel wording:

              (1) An autonomous region attached to a sovereign state which snaffled it up after WWII.

              (2) "Large majority"

              (3) Are known to by reputable surveys and the fact that by referendum the people there didn't want to be controlled by the Ukraine.

              (4) The country that the Crimean Peninsula used to be part of and which the people there identify as.

              >>"Also since when did ignoring a dictators illegal actions EVER make any of them more inclined to follow the rule of law?"

              (1) Putin has majority support in Russia. You might not want to believe that but he does. Standard of living has risen dramatically in his time in office.

              (2) Strawman because what I was saying was that most European people don't want confrontation with Russia. Putin's feelings on our lack of desire for a war are immaterial to whether we want it or not. (We don't).

              >>"Yes, god forbid would should respond in kind to russian military build up."

              If NATO forces are surrounding Russia at key strategic points right on its borders, it's a little whimsical to affect that its a defensive and reactive measure. Building missile bases in Poland (against the wishes of the majority of Polish people) is provocation, not defence.

              >>"No, we should just tuck our tails between our legs and run off like typical EU cowards"

              Does that actually work on people? Calling people cowards for not wanting to act aggressively towards our neighbours? I'm sure there's some hyper-testosterone'd uneducated types out there that will leap up to attention if you tell them they're cowards, but I don't think it's going to work on El Reg forums.

              1. boltar Silver badge

                Re: Take back control

                "(1) An autonomous region attached to a sovereign state which snaffled it up after WWII."

                They didn't "snaffle it up", it was given to Ukraine by Krushchev. So unless you're claiming him and the supreme soviet had no authority to do so Crimea has been - and still is as far as every other country on earth is concerned - part of Ukraine since 1954.

                "(3) Are known to by reputable surveys and the fact that by referendum the people there didn't want to be controlled by the Ukraine."

                Cite. And I don't mean by a russian polling agency or the currupt local government there - an independent survey.

                "(4) The country that the Crimean Peninsula used to be part of and which the people there identify as."

                If you want to go back into who used to own which bit of land, then Crimea should be handed over to Turkey as it was part of the Ottoman empire before russia captured it.

                "(1) Putin has majority support in Russia. You might not want to believe that but he does. Standard of living has risen dramatically in his time in office."

                Its easy to have majority support if you suppress all rival candidates who arn't patsies and have full control over the media so you can broadcast your propaganda.

                You should write fiction, you have a talent.

                " I'm sure there's some hyper-testosterone'd uneducated types out there that will leap up to attention if you tell them they're cowards, but I don't think it's going to work on El Reg forums."

                Says the man who just did exactly that.

              2. John Presland

                Re: Take back control

                You carry on, don't you?

                I lack the energy to respond to each of your líes - and I don't get paid for doing so; what's the rouble rate today? - so I'll just respond to one in each of your posts.

                The missiles to be installed in Poland are anti-missile missiles. They can have no offensive use, unlike the nuclear-capable Iskanders that you have moved into Kaliningrad, whose targets undoubtedly include Warsaw.

              3. Dave 15

                Re: Take back control

                Stop looking East and look West for the real threat.

                While I dont dispute that Russia is scary and probably not pleasant look at the behaviour and stance of the USA.

                US military spending 611bn

                The next 9 countries added together... 640bn

                this is not defence but active offensive spending

                Interestingly of course the US also controls the armed forces of some of these 9 - e.g. UK (we do as we are told without question... ask Blair).

                Now it turns out that not only do some of these forces (the UK ones) act only when told to but because we are totally dependent on American supplied planes, missiles and even in our case maintenance of our supposedly independent nuclear arsenal , suggesting that the American military is even stronger than on the surface could be believed.

                Looking to Navies..

                US 10 aircraft carriers, 22 cruisers, 62 destroyers and a pile more other stuff

                Next place...

                China 1 carrier (like Russia, UK claims 1 at the moment but it has no planes, a second is to be commissioned but will not only have no planes but a stack of mothballs and no crew). 0 cruisers, 25 destroyers and some other stuff

                No the UK navy once upon a time was the strongest in the world but was only the size of the next 2 added together, not in possesion of over half the worlds fighting ships.

            2. Archtech Silver badge

              Re: Take back control

              Who are you, boltar, and where do you come from? You seem to have an unreasonable grudge against Russia.

              The whole case about Russia's "annexation" of Crimea is ridiculous, and you know it. Crimea had been part of Russia since 1793, when the USA was just being formed. It was only ever moved into Ukraine as a result of an arbitrary administrative act by Khrushchev (himself a Ukrainian), at a time when it was never imagined that Ukraine would be split apart from Russia. In 1954, of course, there was no such nation as "Ukraine" - it didn't exist independently until 1990-1 when the USSR dissolved itself. The oldest part of Russia was, of course, Kievan Rus which existed before the Norman Conquest of England. And Ukraine ("borderland" or "march") has long been known as "little Russia".

              Moreover, almost everyone in Crimea wanted to become part of Russia again. No one ever asked them in 1990-91 if they wanted to be Ukrainians, did they? Try going there now and asking around.

              And are you suggesting that Mr Putin's (and the Russian Duma's) actions in readmitting Crimea are as bad as the USA's in bombarding seven separate nations, occupying several of them, and killing millions of people? Or that the sensible Russian precaution of moving some military forces close to a threatened part of its border (while still within Russia) is in any way comparable to NATO piling up soldiers, armour, aircraft, ABM systems and cruise missiles within spitting distance of Russia?

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

                Re: Archtech Re: Take back control

                ".....there was no such nation as "Ukraine" - it didn't exist independently until 1990-1....." Which begs the question why did the Ukranians welcome the Germans in 1941, seeing them as liberators from the Soviets? Yes, in time the Ukranians realised Hitler was just as bad as Stalin, but in 1941 they thought otherwise. But the Ukranian people had their own identity for centuries before 1990, going back as least as far as the Cossack Hetmanate of 1649. You can see that the Austrians recognised that distinct Ukranian identity seeing as they recruited Ukranians into the Ukranian Legion to fight the Imperial Russians in WW1. Post-WW1, that Ukranian Legion morphed into the Ukranian Galician Army that fought the Bolsheviks and the Polish in an attempt to keep the West Ukrainian People's Republic independent. So to claim that Ukraine and the Ukranian people did not exist before 1990 is simply false and possibly due to falling for the Soviet's or Putin's revisioning of history.

                ".....Or that the sensible Russian precaution of moving some military forces close to a threatened part of its border (while still within Russia)...." So Ukraine is "still inside Russia"? If you really believe Putin didn't send troops and heavy weapons into Ukraine then you're living in a bubble.

                "....is in any way comparable to NATO piling up soldiers, armour, aircraft, ABM systems and cruise missiles within spitting distance of Russia?" LOL, what "piling up"? The NATO troop levels have plummeted since the fall of the Wall.

                1. LDS Silver badge

                  Re: Archtech Take back control

                  Also, Ukrainians don't speak Russian - but Ukrainian which has not little differences. Despite the forced russification, despite the deportation of whole ethnic groups. Saying Ukraine is "naturally Russian" if just like saying Hungary (or Northern Italy) should be still part of the Austria, or the whole Ireland part of UK. And I wonder what those agreeing with Crimea invasion would say if the US invaded Cuba - which was a US land since it got it from Spain (together with the Philippines....).

                  1. h4rm0ny

                    Re: Archtech Take back control

                    >>Also, Ukrainians don't speak Russian - but Ukrainian which has not little differences. Despite the forced russification, despite the deportation of whole ethnic groups. Saying Ukraine is "naturally Russian" if just like saying Hungary (or Northern Italy) should be still part of the Austria,

                    But we're not talking about "Ukrania", we're talking specifically about the Crimean peninsula. An attached land mass which was previously part of Russia and which was ceded to the Ukraine (such as it was under the USSR) after WWII. Russia has not invaded anywhere else, only this specific peninsula which was a separate region (both administratively and geographically) from Ukraine as a whole.

                    >>And I wonder what those agreeing with Crimea invasion would say if the US invaded Cuba

                    If the Cuban people overwhelmingly were US emigres and wanted to be part of the USA, then they should be so. I'm not sure that's the case, though. Crimea is about half the size and a fifth of the population of Cuba, incidentally. Unlike Cuba, which is a country, the Crimean Peninsula is a ruled territory. A better analogy would be if the people of Northern Ireland voted they wanted to be part of Russia and the welcome they gave to Russian troops arriving was called an invasion of England.

                    1. LDS Silver badge

                      Re: Archtech Take back control

                      Crimea was "russified" by Stalin - first population were greatly decreased by the famines of the 1920s, then Tatars were deported to central Asia. Other ethnic group were deported as well. Of course, replaced by Russians.

                      Something alike was applied to others regions, i.e. Bessarabia (Moldova), East Prussia, and other boundary regions.

                      Russian performed a true ethnic cleansing - fearful that some ethnic groups were not so much aligned with the central power...

                2. Archtech Silver badge

                  Re: Archtech Take back control

                  "The NATO troop levels have plummeted since the fall of the Wall".

                  The NATO troop levels in Poland, Romania, and the Baltic states? Fascinating - I didn't think there were any there at all when those nations were under Soviet rule.

          2. Kurt Meyer

            Re: Take back control

            @ h4rm0ny

            "maybe we shouldn't be building up massive military forces around Russia in the first place."

            I'm very interested in your description of these "massive" military forces.

            Perhaps you could enlighten the readership with an order of battle listing the western troops that will be commencing 'Unternehmen Barbarossa 2' some time very, very soon.

            After that, please furnish the OOB of the Russian troops ready to "Defend the Motherland".

            No doubt the Russians will be heavily out numbered.

          3. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Take back control

            Just like many shrugged when Russian tanks crushed any hope of freedom in 1956 Hungary (exactly sixty years ago, but fearful people like to forget), or in Czechoslovakia in 1968. Many also believe there's good business to be made with Russian oligarchs... so why not sacrifice some Eastern people for money? Just, usually they find later it was not so advantageous... dictators have the nasty habit of changing any game rules at their whims..., and usually after a little while become megalomaniacs who believe they can rule the whole world, if not stopped earlier, and let know they can't attempt stupid moves.

            1. Lars Silver badge

              Re: Take back control

              The "Russian oligarchs..." moved to London, and there is good business, but explaining that is out of your and my hands much because it's totally futil to start from them, and so is my comment.

        2. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Take back control

          Please stop being so bloody ridiculous.

          The Russians "invaded" Georgia for about five days, after the Georgians attacked them and killed both Russian and UN peacekeepers. Then the Russians went straight back to their own country, leaving Georgia fully independent.

          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8281990.stm

          https://euobserver.com/foreign/28747

          The Russians have never invaded Ukraine, and have no intention of doing so. (Washington's cunning plan was that the Russians would invade, so Mr Putin cleverly didn't). If they had, they would have captured Kiev within a couple of days and the war - like the Georgian episode - would have been over within a week. If anyone sincerely wants to inform themselves about the Ukrainian situation, try reading this article for a start:

          http://theduran.com/heres-why-russia-has-not-invaded-ukraine/

          For an amusing 5-minute debunking of Senator Inhofe's notorious "Russian tanks crossing into Ukraine" photos, watch this. It gives you a very good feel for the reliability of many Ukrainian sources, including the Kiev regime itself.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMfiKJ-YCxY

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Take back control

            "The Russians "invaded" Georgia for about five days, after the Georgians attacked them and killed both Russian and UN peacekeepers."

            "The Russians have never invaded Ukraine,"

            You should really have concentrated harder in Shill class at KGB headquarters. You're not very good at this.

            1. Archtech Silver badge

              Re: Take back control

              On the contrary. I have never been East of Venice, I don't even speak or read Russian, and until a few years ago I voted Conservative at every opportunity. (Until I realised that the British Conservative Party isn't actually conservative). I have a degree in history from a good university, and I am very careful about my sources.

              I can't imagine why 11 people (and no doubt more to come) have voted your comment up. Presumably Reg readers are heavy on technology but credulous politically. Or maybe it's just the "crowd" effect. However, no matter how many people believe (or say they believe) a false assertion, it remains false.

          2. John Presland

            Re: Take back control

            I didn't know the trolls of St Petersburg bothered about what's written in the Reg.

            About one -sixth of Georgian territory remains under Russians occupation. Your comments about Ukraine are equally misleading.

        3. HausWolf

          Re: Take back control

          You do realize Bush was president when Putin invaded Georgia, right?

        4. Dave 15

          Re: Take back control

          Some of this of course dates back to the USA screwing europe during ww1 and ww2, especially the Brits who the yanks have always hated.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Take back control

      Yes. Our government will have more control over the choice of who it will give control to. We will have less control over our government, as a layer of legal recourse is being stripped out in the process.

    3. kmac499

      Re: Take back control

      They've obviously taken a leaf from the Apple business model playbook.

      We'll sell you expensive new shiny stuff; and when it breaks, if you have it repaired by a third party it will 'auto-break' (tm) even more..

      1. Dave 15

        Re: Take back control

        I thought the Apple autobreak after repair thingy was patented

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Turkey is a godforsaken corrupt shithole

    In a country where they can't even deliver food hygiene, clean tap water or safe buildings, what makes you think they can repair complex fighter jets?!

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Turkey is a godforsaken corrupt shithole

      Read the article carefully, the Turkish firm is almost half owned by Pratt & Whitney, so it'll be the Yanks taking the money for repairs, the Turkish firm is a bit of pork to make sure the Turks bought the F-35. I'm not saying the work will be done any better, but customers will be encouraged to just buy a whole new engine.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Turkey is a godforsaken corrupt shithole

      Turkey is a major manufacturing site.

      It builds anything and everything from plastic food boxes (some of the best ones by the way), trhough white goods (Beko), through power tools (RTR), Ford and Renault vehicles to F16s and long range cruise missiles.

      They had some major quality issues with the first manufacturing sites 20 years ago. Renault Clio Mark 2 built by Turks was a complete and unmitigated disaster. That is in the past.

      While some of the stuff Turkey builds today (like Beko) is not the latest and greatest it has a better build quality and reliability record than most of what is built and assembled in the UK nowdays.

      In any case, a place which builds long range cruise missiles and F16s should not have an issue with taking a contract to overhaul a piece of a modern fighter jet.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Turkey is a godforsaken corrupt shithole

        And Vestel (most UK branded TVs and setboxes?)

        Still. Turkey might leave NATO and join with Russia?

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Still. Turkey might leave NATO and join with Russia?

          No, Erdogan will attempt to play in the middle to maintain and strengthen his power. He knows well enough Russia will eat him easily if he leaves NATO, and also the frictions with Greece are still alive. Also, Turkey needs European companies to keep its economic level - Russia would not be able to sustain that. But it will use Russia to obtain what it wants from Europe and US.

          With Trump, he has good chances. I'm very sorry the Curds will be sacrificed, despite having fought against ISIS that ground war US and Europe feared to fight. Once again, lame politicians will sacrifice their allies.

      2. Duffy Moon

        Re: Turkey is a godforsaken corrupt shithole

        Isn't it the Beko stuff that's prone to spontaneous combustion?

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Turkey is a godforsaken corrupt shithole

          Beko stuff that's prone

          Yep. A couple of models. Shit happens. So are others manufacturers in any case.

    3. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Turkey is a godforsaken corrupt shithole

      "In a country where they can't even deliver food hygiene, clean tap water or safe buildings, what makes you think they can repair complex fighter jets?!"

      Well, the USA can deliver food hygiene, clean tap water and safe buildings (mostly) - but, as we keep seeing, it can't even design and build complex fighter jets.

      The world is not as simple as you would like it to be.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Turkey is a godforsaken corrupt shithole

        Well, the USA can deliver food hygiene, clean tap water and safe buildings (mostly) - but, as we keep seeing, it can't even design and build complex fighter jets.

        Not so sure about that. Clean tap water? What about Flint? Food Hygiene? We keep having recalls on produce and meat. I'll give you the safe buildings (mostly) part. There are signs things are breaking down a bit as infrastructure gets old and no one wants to spend the money. Same for food inspections and quality control of the food supply.

        As for complex fighter jets... maybe if the DoD would stop trying to do a "one plane to rule them all" type of thing, and stop adding untested "features" it might have worked out.

      2. Kurt Meyer

        Re: Turkey is a godforsaken corrupt shithole

        @ Archtech

        "I have a degree in history from a good university."

        Go on, pull the other one.

        "Well, the USA ... can't even design and build complex fighter jets."

        Honest to goodness, I laughed out loud at that.

        "The world is not as simple as you would like it to be."

        Quite unlike your humble self then, eh?

        1. Dave 15

          Re: Turkey is a godforsaken corrupt shithole

          Turkey probably is a god forsaken corrupt shit hole.... but that description unfortunately equally applies to the UK and USA. We pretend it is legal for MPs to screw the tax payer for repairs to duck houses and pretend the very rich civil servant with that wonderful new job isnt really being rewarded for giving a stonking great pile of my cash to a corrupt foreign power (like the USA) in return from some unflyable, unworkable, unmaintainable death traps (when they run our of fuel hours before the Russian Sukovs an have to turn for home the radar footprint is as huge as only an Americans arse can be)

          None of this pretence actually prevents it being obvious we are living in a corrupt quagmire of sewage

      3. fajensen Silver badge

        Re: Turkey is a godforsaken corrupt shithole

        it can't even design and build complex fighter jets.

        Sure the USA can design fighters. The problem with the US incompetence is "just" Crony Capitalism: That there is a lot more profit opportunities in designing an unreliable piece of crap that needs repairs, major maintenance, upgrades for decades and no downside for doing this because all the cronies have each others back.

  7. Frenchie Lad

    Think Positive

    Need to look at it from the bright side. No chance of picking a fight with a Turkey or Italy unless you win within the limits of the maintenance schedules.

    A peacenicks dream scenario! Heaven 'elp the military planners.

  8. 0laf Silver badge

    How is that supposed to work in the European wars that they were built to fight?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      For the time being Turkey and Italy are in NATO and so are most countries you need to overfly to get to them.

      So this should work... For the time being...

      Though to be honest, the spread of the supply chain across such a wide geography does not bring confidence that parts will be available when they are most needed - during wartime.

      Also, what do you do if you need to overhaul one stationed at let's say Port Stanley? Haul it all the way around the world to Italy? Or even more likely - disassemble, load it into a container and send to Italy. That would have been funny if it was on a comedy show. When patrolling an actual contested (or god forbid conflict) zone - not so much.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Voland's right hand

        ".....Though to be honest, the spread of the supply chain across such a wide geography does not bring confidence that parts will be available when they are most needed - during wartime....." But this is only intended for peacetime. In the event of a major NATO war (not "peacekeeping"), the RAF would recruit and expand and take on their own maintenance duties. This sharing out of duties means all the buyers get some economic return whilst minimising the costs of peacetime servicing.

      2. Dave 15

        Shipping...

        mmm, yup, shipping them back will be a great idea.

        The Royal Navy have apparently scrapped their ship to ship missiles, appears the rather pathetic f35s ar insufficient in number of longevity to survive more than a sortie. Add this together the containership of scrap f35 stuff will very shortly be sitting on the bottom of the ocean with big holes in it

  9. MrXavia

    I don't get it...

    I just don't understand why we would buy the lame duck that is the F35...

    From the look at things, it would have been cheaper to design and build our own fighter from scratch in the UK... Although a new European jet would have been the way to go if you wanted to partner up again.. (the Eurofighter is an amazing piece of kit)

    Politicians should never be allowed to make procurement decisions like this, they usually mess up...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't get it...

      From the look at things, it would have been cheaper to design and build our own fighter from scratch in the UK...

      Or even buy some from Russia ;) Anything has to be better than this over priced under engineered pile of crap.

      1. Mephistro Silver badge

        Re: I don't get it... (@ Ivan 4)

        "Or even buy some from Russia"

        The Russians seem to be OK with allowing other countries that have purchased their planes to produce the spare parts, so it would make sense to buy from them PAK-FAs -lovely planes, by the way- together with the permits and designs to produce every part needed locally. And we could probably buy half a dozen PAK-FAs for the cost of a single F35. And the PAK-FA avionics and electronics are simple, sturdy and don't use 'The Cloud". ;-)

        The obvious downside is that by doing this, we would be supporting Putin, Steven Seagal and Gerard Depardieu! :-D

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: I don't get it... (@ Ivan 4)

          >>"The obvious downside is that by doing this, we would be supporting Putin, Steven Seagal and Gerard Depardieu! :-D"

          This gets into Milo Minderbinder territory, but are you sure that it's not more advantageous to Russia to watch us demolish our own military capability than to throw them a few million here and there?

          1. Mephistro Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: I don't get it... (@ Ivan 4)

            "but are you sure that it's not more advantageous to Russia to watch us demolish our own military capability than to throw them a few million here and there?"

            It depends. If the state-of-the-art in politics and government procurement contracts is pure clientelism and corruption, the Russians can have both the -not so few- millions and the comic show, plus some political leverage.

            On the other hand, if politics and procurement were based on the best interests of the country and...

            Pfftttt... [gasps] sorry, I can't go on...

          2. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: I don't get it... (@ Ivan 4)

            Why would Russia care about the UK's military capability? (Such as it is). Our interests do not clash anywhere in the world. (Now that Britain no longer owns India and does not have to worry about "The Great Game").

            1. h4rm0ny

              Re: I don't get it... (@ Ivan 4)

              >>"Why would Russia care about the UK's military capability? (Such as it is)."

              Well it shouldn't need to, but as we seem to act as a tool of the USA who want regional dominance, I guess its relevant to them.

      2. Dave 15

        Re: I don't get it...

        There is a good video on youtube from an Australian journalist. The Sukov is a third of the price. And on the positive side is faster, more heavily armed, more manouverable and has a much greater range than the f35. On the downside the F35s front on radar footprint is smaller making it harder for missiles to hit it. Of course when the F35 goes home for some petrol the arse radar footprint can be seen from Saturn (like the arse on most Americans)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't get it...

      "...it would have been cheaper to design and build our own fighter from scratch in the UK..."

      In a major UK program led by BAE (Billions Above Estimate) ?

      1. MrXavia

        Re: I don't get it...

        BAE would still be cheaper than this mess... plus would mean more jobs in the UK, even if it was a European project (We can partner with european countries on defence even if were leaving the EU)

        I see the future of air combat being a new BAE/Dassault drone based on Tarranis/nEUROn, but we still NEED manned fighters aswell, because we cannot rely on drones all the time..

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: I don't get it...

          >>"BAE would still be cheaper"

          Possibly the most damning indictment of what a mess this is that one could imagine.

    3. John Presland

      Re: I don't get it...

      Buy a couple of hundred F16s

    4. Kurt Meyer

      Re: I don't get it...

      @ MrXavia

      "Politicians should never be allowed to make procurement decisions like this, they usually mess up..."

      I'm very interested in hearing your alternative(s).

      The military?

      The ordinary citizens?

      Who would you allow to make procurement decisions?

      1. DanceMan

        Re: Military Procurement

        Military procurement has been a mess in Canada for decades spanning two very different governments. Doesn't seem to be simple to get it right, or efficient.

      2. Dave 15

        Re: I don't get it...

        Perhaps having some experts actually assess need, capability and compare rather than one guy taking a massive back hander or caving in to a threat.

        Frankly I would rather divine the runes from a 6 month old babies shit filled nappy than listen to the crap from any of our civil servants or politicians (and all those in the top levels of the military are the same type from the same colleges... all of them very anti British)

  10. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Imagine the service call ...

    "Hello, you've reached Turkish Engine Rebuilds and Kebab House. Press <1> for F-35 service, <2> for back of the factory cheaper parts and servicing, <3> for Doner Delights Kebab"

    "I need an urgent F-35 engine service"

    "Well, we're a bit busy at the moment. If you can drop it off the first week of December we'll try to fit it in ..."

    "When will it be done? I really need the plane flying as we're currently having a bit hoo-har don't-you-know."

    "Hmmm, Well, if I can get the parts - the USA doesn't like supplying us since we became a fundamentalist Islamic State and Trump dismantled NATO - it might be done in June."

    "Not before that? The North African desert sand ..."

    "Oh, Sir. Sand you say? The usage protocols specifically forbid use in windy or dusty environments. And <tappety tap> I see from the usage logs you've also been flying below 2000 feet over the sea ..."

    "But it's carrier based ..."

    "That may be Sir but your original contract said the carrier would be a white elephant, in dry dock being serviced most of its life and not used at sea. The salt will have played havoc with the engines gangol pins ... we'll have to do a full rebuild and ... you're looking at next August/September ..."

    "<2> ...<2> ...bloody <2> ... Hello? How much is a used Harrier?"

  11. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Look on the bright side

    Trump may well cancel the program, or go ahead with his ban on exporting technology; then we will save billions and build all the hospitals that were promised by BREXIT.

    And convert the aircraft carriers in to Drone Carriers.

    Which would you fear, half a dozen badly designed aircraft armed with about 20 missiles in total, or 100+ ROTM drones armed with hundreds of missiles, and no fear of death??

    1. MrXavia

      Re: Look on the bright side

      I like the drone carrier idea, i've mentioned this myself to others on occasion...

      Although I still think we need some STOVL jets to fly from them, I wonder if traps could be added and the Eurofighter modified to take off from a ramp?

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Look on the bright side

        It's possible to add, just spend another 2 billion (per ship). You would also need catapults to get anything off the deck. Plus buying something capable of flying from a carrier. A Eurofighter is never going to be able to land on a carrier (more than once anyway).

      2. fnj

        Re: Look on the bright side

        I wonder if traps could be added and the Eurofighter modified to take off from a ramp?

        No to both of those. Well, that is, anything is POSSIBLE, but it would be just as cheap to design a new STOL. What REALLY ought to be done is build more Harriers. If the tooling and plans have all been destroyed by criminal idiots, reverse-engineer the things. I'm not kidding. It worked for Stalin when he had the Tu-4 copied from interned B-29s.

        1. MrXavia

          Re: Look on the bright side

          The harrier was a great aircraft, but limited in many ways, I expect BAE could come up with something much better combinign their knowledge of the Eurofighter with the expertise of Harrier operations...

          I am thinking short term though, if we abandon the F35, then STOBAR is the way to go, and a STOBAR Eurofighter is the best option I can see that keeps development & maintenance in the hands of allies.

          1. ISP

            Re: Look on the bright side

            Russia and India currently both operate the SU-33 from their carriers using STOBAR so it is quite feasible. Russia I believe are moving to the MIG-29K as it has more modern avionics and being smaller they can carry more.

            So what you are looking for is something reasonably small with good STOL and rough strip performance that should then be easily navalised. Like, I dunno the SAAB Gripen? I guess that's why there's a design team in London working on Sea Gripen now.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Look on the bright side

            "keeps development & maintenance in the hands of allies."

            "Allies" seems to have become a somewhat fluid concept these days.

            1. Lars Silver badge

              Re: Look on the bright side

              ""Allies" seems to have become a somewhat fluid concept these days." That is a very very old "concept".

      3. Dave 15

        Re: Look on the bright side

        Just dust off the Harrier plans. Yup the ramp is a good idea.

        Alternatively stick some wires and catapults on the ships as they should have had from the start and build some buccaneers. For fun we could put the admirals, civil servants, defence ministers and prime ministers involved in the whole f35 mess on the catapult and see just how far they fly (probably further than the f35)

    2. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Look on the bright side

      Er, sorry to interfere with your militaristic fantasies, but what exactly were you planning to attack with those drones?

      And don't forget that if they piss off anyone with any real defence capability, they will simply sink the carrier in about 5 minutes.

      1. Anonymous Cow Herder

        but what exactly were you planning to attack with those drones?

        I think you're mistaking this

        https://www.firebox.com/Parrot-AR.Drone-2.0-Elite-Edition/p5369

        with this

        http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/02/11/pentagon-kills-its-killer-drone-fleet.html

        1. John H Woods

          Re: but what exactly were you planning to attack with those drones?

          Those drones are indeed fierce. As to whether they are fierce enough to protect the carrier they have been launched from ... I'm not sure that's a job for which they are particularly well-equipped ...

  12. Strahd Ivarius
    Trollface

    And after Brexit...

    You will have import taxes when sending the planes to Italy, export taxes when shipping them back to the UK, and some other taxes we will think of later...

    1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: And after Brexit...

      Not to mention the paperwork for importing/exporting weapons components...

  13. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Given that the F-35 is such a turkey itself, sending it there for maintenance seems somewhat appropriate.

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Proper name

      The correct designation is "the F-35 SuperTurkey". Hence the destination.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This was never about defence. It was about the neoliberal 'club' making money - which is what they've done in spades.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Neoliberal-neocon grouping. Those were the imcumbents. The ones who were desperate for war.

  15. Mike Richards

    Ah... it all becomes clear now

    We use the aircraft carrier to haul these pieces of junk to Italy and bring them back again.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Ah... it all becomes clear now

      Well, there are worse things than a cruise in the Med.

    2. Dave 15

      Re: Ah... it all becomes clear now

      Put the planes on the carrier and send both to Turkey and let them do what they seem to do for us all the time (I guess because our own government thinks we are incapable) and demolish the lot.

      We could at the same time reopen swan hunter and a few others, build some more Illustrious and Harriers. Simple, cheap, effective

  16. Andy 97

    You have to question why this information is continually being leaked and (also) the mental clarity that was employed when ordering these aircraft in the first place.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a Canadian looking in, I have to wonder why the Brits, or any Nation with that level of education and population, can't build their own military equipment is unimaginable. It can't be the cost, judging by the F35.

    And with Trump as American President now you'll all have to wonder if he'll allow the flow of equipment, knowledge and information to flow.

    I, honestly, expect the worst from the Trump Presidency and with so many crazy right-wing Christians in the American military I suspect he'll have a great deal support there.

    Britain, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, Eastern Europe, and the Asian Pacific Rim need to get their sit together fast.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      It can't be the cost, judging by the F35

      The amount we, and everyone else, should be paying would be considerably less than what it would cost to design and build the same ourselves. Our political masters know that and also chose to believe the US when they said it would be the bestest thing ever and be in service years ago. It also keeps us in good standing as loyal lackies.

      If it can't be done, will be over budget, late, with numerous problems, it makes more sense to let someone else fail than fail one's self. Though it does rather screw up having a defence force and planning for that, I doubt it would have worked out any better if we'd done it ourselves.

      I am a peacenik at heart but not a pacifist, so I do understand the need for defence and it does seem ridiculous to not have sovereign control over one's own military. If it ever does kick off we really don't want Trump or anyone being able to stand-down our military because America wants to protect one of their best buddies.

      1. HausWolf

        True,

        If the orange buffoon decides not to defend the Baltic states because they didn't pay enough protection money, it would be inconvenient to not be able to use your jets because you can't get spare parts due to Vlad tweeting his bff telling him to not sell you any.

    2. Archtech Silver badge

      "I have to wonder why the Brits, or any Nation with that level of education and population, can't build their own military equipment is unimaginable".

      A very good question. To see the answers in all their horrible detail, see "Empire of the Clouds", passim. Note that Britain had the world's first 1,000 mph jet fighter shortly after WW2, but the government decided to scrap it and give all the data to the USA free of charge. This approach was followed quite consistently until the UK had no military aircraft industry left.

      In a properly-run country, those responsible would have been tried on charges of treason.

      1. Roger Mew

        gifts

        Exactly the reason the US offered to take the UK on as a state in the 50's they got, the nuclear bomb, colour TV, TV, the UK version of Jet engine, missiles, rocketry, to name a few.

        " Down and down you go, the little ol' Britain we love" ode to the ss little Britain.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: gifts

          Actually the rot set in about 1940, when Britain was facing the Axis alone because the USA refused to give up its neutrality. After about a yar of war Britain, which had been close to broke all through the 1930s, ran clean out of assets and had to beg the USA for credit. This was given - and paid off finally, I think, in 2006. But we also had to hand over most of our overseas bases and all our most advanced military technology. None of this was ever acknowledged, of course.

          While mentioning "Empire of the Clouds" just now, it occurred to me to wonder if the apparently treasonous conduct of successive governments - both Labour and Consevrative - might have been, in reality, compelled by agreements made in wartime and protected by strict secrecy clauses.

        2. Roger Mew

          Re: gifts

          Lookit the UK is phucked and it was offered to the US back in the 50.s and the government refused. The UK was in sooooo much manure something had to be done it was bankrupt. the EU was the only way to go. Now idiots like Davies are going to shag the arse out of what is left and the UK will have to break up and become part of the US. The toilet cleaner has now been added by Davies, it just needs the toilet to be flushed now.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        @ Archtech "Britain had the world's first 1,000 mph jet". What a complete rubbish you write.

        Try to educate your self like with the Wiki here:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighter_aircraft#Jet-powered_fighters

        The speed of sound is 768 mph by the way.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          re: British supersonic jets

          I admit that I got a couple of different things mixed up; my copy of "Empire of the Clouds" is not to hand. The early work was done by Miles - see for example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles_M.52. Far from a complete production aircraft certainly; but the project was scrapped before it had a chance of getting so far. The 1,000 mph jet was the Fairey Delta 2, much later (1954) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairey_Delta_2

          But the overall pattern is the same. British firms got well on the way to world-beating aircraft, and then politicians cancelled the projects and handed the results to the Americans. At https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_X-1 the first words you will read are:

          "In 1942, the United Kingdom's Ministry of Aviation began a top secret project with Miles Aircraft to develop the world's first aircraft capable of breaking the sound barrier. The project resulted in the development of the prototype turbojet-powered Miles M.52, designed to reach 1,000 miles per hour (870 kn; 1,600 km/h) (over twice the existing airspeed record) in level flight, and to climb to an altitude of 36,000 ft (11 km) in 1 min 30 sec.

          "By 1944, design of the M.52 was 90% complete and Miles was told to go ahead with the construction of three prototypes. Later that year, the Air Ministry signed an agreement with the United States to exchange high-speed research and data. Miles' Chief Aerodynamicist Dennis Bancroft stated Bell Aircraft was given access to the drawings and research on the M.52,[2] but the U.S. reneged on the agreement and no data was forthcoming in return".

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. DanceMan

        "but the government decided to scrap it and give all the data to the USA free of charge. This approach was followed quite consistently until the UK had no military aircraft industry left"

        In Canada the Avro Arrow, same approach, same result. In the early to mid-fifties, Canada had its own straight wing fighter jets, equivalent to the US T-33's. When the Arrow was cancelled, US aerospace firms conducted hiring in motels near the factory.

    3. Dave 15

      For heavens sake

      It is not we can't. Its not even that we can't build better stuff. Or that what we build is not cheaper / better value. It is that we are too stupid to give the greedy back stabbing two faced back hander taking slimy turds who make the choice enough cash.

      Just look at the latest Army deal.... tanks with a hull built in Spain (use them to defend Gibraltar) and engines made in Germany. The tanks and the aircraft carriers are all built from foreign steel while we shut down steel plants and pay people here to be unemployed. Even yes minister couldnt have made this mess up

    4. fajensen Silver badge

      Britain, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, Eastern Europe, and the Asian Pacific Rim need to get their sit together fast.

      That's what I especially like about The Donald, his flailing about causing that rear curtain to come down before time, messing up the programme before all the re-education camps are ready:

      “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre.”

      Frank Zappa

      Right Now they are trying to not get anything together, hoping that the need will pass, however, when The Donald is re-elected they will.

    5. Roger Mew

      Shortly the UK or more likely Britain, will not be able to afford nor have the technology to construct too much. They have just rejected entry applications from many highly skilled people that had jobs coming to the UK, the UK are being forced to leave the EU satellite space group, many high tech companies are leaving and heading for the EU, and some covertly, so shortly the thing between France and the UK over certain aircraft and other military stuff will have to end after brexit (the techies will not be able to travel freely amongst other reasons) so the best bet will be a rowing boat and some model aircraft. Further, the transport of vehicles to Italy will have a furious tax levied on them due to not being in the EU. The fall of the empire is almost nigh with just the rest of Ireland and Scotland remaining. With the US using Scotland as a base and separated from the UK then what can England afford.

  18. Doc Ock

    It's not the fact of Italian maintenance that worries me, it's the fact it's American made that gives cause for concern:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQ1j-2_Hof8

    1. Dave 15

      What about the deluded MOD release a while bck

      They claimed Wales was a maintenance and repair centre. Someone was deluded, its just a mail forwarding depot. What a con, whole thing is a con. We should scrap the entire order and build ourselves a few hundred Harriers, and given the ships are so huge we should also build few hundred buccaneers. At least we know both planes work. We could do it in batches.. first batch exactly as original, second batch with modern engines and radar absorbing paint, final batch updated radar etc as well

      Even setting up a totally new factory it would still be cheaper, the planes are known to work, known to be reliable and have proven combat ability

  19. Magani
    Unhappy

    I wonder...

    ...where Australia is going to have to send its F-35s for a grease and oil change? Back to the Good Old US of A?

    The UK is a 'Level 1 partner', Italy is a 'Level 2 partner' while Oz (like Turkey) is Level 3, so not much chance of having a local dealership here if the UK doesn't rate one. The only other country in the region likely (and not currently confirmed AFAIK) to order this Hammacher Schlemmer of fighters is Singapore whose status is 'Security Cooperative Participants'.

    Someone's got this nicely stitched up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder...

      >Someone's got this nicely stitched up.

      Fat Tony arranged it.

      AC because I don't want burying in the Desert for telling you.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: I wonder...

        >>"AC because I don't want burying in the Desert for telling you."

        Dr. David Kelly is buried here in the UK. Nowhere near a desert!

    2. Wookster

      Re: I wonder...

      Australian contractors (BAE Systems Australia, Northrop Grumman Australia, GE Aviation Systems Australia and RUAG) have been given the maintenance contracts for Asia Pacific including repair, overhaul and upgrade services for F-35 components including avionics, aircraft structures, electrics, landing gear and pilot life support. Also included is engine repairs and the repair of airframes in the southern Pacific.

  20. MJI Silver badge

    Can't we just DIY service?

    We have some good aircraft mechanics in the UK, we have Airbus and BAE so they can repair them.

    As to engines, how long for RR to make a suitable one? Well at least RR engineers could service the F35 ones.

    But bring back Harrier!

  21. MakingBacon

    Ship them straight to Italy after purchase ...

    It will save a lot of time, effort and money in the long run.

  22. Jose Luis Martin Mas

    App Store

    "What do you mean I have to go to the F-35 Store to install these new avionics????"

  23. Falanx

    Except they can't.

    The F35 is a US built plane, that contains a considerable amount of hexavalent chromium. Under the requirements of EU/1907/2006, otherwise known colloquially as REACH, flying an aircraft to another country for maintenance is considered importing an article. An article that contains well over the legal threshold of hexavalent chromium.

    This won't end well. But it will end hilariously.

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: Except they can't.

      AH, a return to the 1950's; fins and loads of chrome!!!

  24. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Go

    Because the Pentagon looked at the way Airbus puts planes together and said....

    "Hey, we want some of that!!"

    Every nation in the consortium has to get their cut of the work.

    And The Donald talking about cancelling the F-35 program may be one of the more lucid things he's said.

    1. Dave 15

      Re: Because the Pentagon looked at the way Airbus puts planes together and said....

      If he does I will be cheering

      Perhaps we could then find all our civil servants involved (traitors the lot of them) and hang the lot from the yard arms on our one armed naval vessel in Portsmouth. Might have to do it in relays of course. We could then feed the bloated corpses into the nearest gas fired power station and we would for once benefit.

  25. CJatCTi

    It's a war plane

    Looking at the direction of travel of Turkey we will soon have a war plane who's engines are made by dictator who is best buddies with the man that is trying to start a fight with the west.

    Can we please have some more bits for our planes so we can stop you friend from invading Ukraine / Poland?

  26. storner
    Mushroom

    Repairs? Ha! - we don't even have spare parts

    One of the news stories here in Denmark this week (apart from Donald) was that we must buy spare parts for our F-35's now, because production of spare parts for our version of the F-35 will stop in a couple of years.

    Oh, and our F-35's haven't arrived yet, it will be some years before they touch down here.

  27. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Erm

    Did I imagine the announcement that they'd be maintained by BAE at Sealand?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Erm

      That was the avionics.

      But it raises an interesting question. The avionics are serviced in Wales, the engines in Turkey. Who gets to plug the engine into the wiring harness?

      1. Mephistro Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Erm (@ Doctor Syntax)

        "Who gets to plug the engine into the wiring harness?"

        The interns, of course!

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: Erm (@ Doctor Syntax)

          ... the Chinese interns?

  28. Roger Mew

    So where are we

    Back in the 1950's the UK was heavily in debt and the US asked/ suggested that the UK become part of the US, but the UK refused. We could have been a totally separate but state of the US and all our debts therefore wiped. However, our empire was shrinking,...fast, and our only option was to remain basically bankrupt or join the EU.

    So here we are, full circle, no engineering, no empire, no eu and in debt and forced to not fix our own kit. the UK has basically 2 options, stay in the EU or be a totally unsupported state of the US without the benefits just like the Philippines was. now look at them. The model for the UK, possibly not, but not far behind. Not allowed to fix our own kit!

    Either we start building our own kit again as we cannot afford to pay others, or we just go down the plug hole.

    have the Brexiters started to smell the coffee yet! seems many politicians are starting to realise that leaving the EU will drop us right in the cacky, Pay the Turks to repair our planes, tell 'em to get f....

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: So where are we

      "seems many politicians are starting to realise that leaving the EU will drop us right in the cacky"

      I think most always did. There was the numpty fringe that didn't. The referendum was expected to silence them. I think there were a few closet believers on both sides who were counting on the referendum going remain. AFAICS we now have a closet leaver as PM who can't believe her luck and a closet remainer as Foreign Sec who can't believe his bad luck.

    2. Dave 15

      Re: So where are we

      We build our own stuff is and always was the best option. It is doing both the Germans and the Chinese a pile of good. The Germans don't go abroad to get their police cars they shop right there in their own country. The British of course go straight past our own factories and beat a path across the channel to pick up the freeby trips and backhanders

    3. Dave 15

      Re: So where are we

      Turks... EU????

  29. Tubz
    WTF?

    and we all know how reliable Italian built and maintained stuff is, ask any Alfa or Fiat owner !

  30. Scroticus Canis
    Holmes

    You just couldn't make up all the bollocks associated with the F35s & the new carriers!

    I find it beyond comprehension the complete catastrophe that the new aircraft carriers and the F35s have been.

    Stupid decisions from the start and yet more money will be spent on this snake oil.

    1. Dave 15

      Re: You just couldn't make up all the bollocks associated with the F35s & the new carriers!

      Yup, everyone involved in every stage of the purchase, specification and planning should be hung. How is it the biggest aircraft carriers we have ever built can't fly standard war planes???? For heavens sake the little Hermes managed (before someone stuck a ski ramp on her nose)

  31. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Windows 10

    A little while back I got some downvotes for comparing the "ownership" of the F35 with the "ownership" of Windows 10.

    The only significant difference is that at least when Windows 10 was forced on so many people, there was no upfront-cost. Who gets to choose what updates are required and when, who decided when and how it can be used etc seems remarkable similar.

    This is WaaS, Warplanes as a Service. Is the s/w management in the cloud?

  32. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "This was said to be because the Americans have the lead on PR relating to F-35 maintenance arrangements and not because, as El Reg suggested, the US supplier tail is wagging the British customer dog."

    No offence, but

    1) We're talking really, really big fat tail and really tiny skinny dog here.

    2) Do you really think the UK is a customer in this setup - as in "I'll order what I want, and get it, or will take my business elsewhere"?

    "The ministry also strongly claimed that Britain retains sovereignty over the UK's F-35s, saying: "Whilst the UK is participating in a global support solution, it will still have full sovereign control of its aircraft and its carrier strike capability."

    I'm kinda missing words like "fully operational" or something like that. When the spare parts dry up, for whatever reason (and there are many possible scenarios), the UK will have full sovereign control over a heap of very expensive scrap metal.

  33. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Central Services

    Listen, this old system of yours could be on fire and I couldn't even turn on the kitchen tap without filling out a 27b/6.

    - Harry Tuttle

  34. jgarbo
    Pirate

    The Russians are loving this...

    ... totally screwed war fighting debacle. "Sorry, Ivan, can't fight today. Engines not back from Italy. Next week perhaps?"

  35. Dave 15

    Just read the MOD

    They claim we are a repair hub in the UK... that claim is clearly from all other sources total and utter crap. The whole thing is a mess

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