back to article New Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters can't transmit vital data

Britain's latest military helicopter fleet has still not had a tactical data link capability fitted, two years after the aircraft entered service. Although the new Leonardo Wildcat helicopters have already been deployed operationally aboard Royal Navy warships, including deployments as the sole helicopter aboard frigates …

  1. Gti Jazz Blue
    WTF?

    You couldn't make this up

    WOW how much does each Wildcat cost £26M? and it still has to rely on Voice Mk1 for data exchange - what bean counter dreamed up this saving.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: You couldn't make this up

      They also cut the external fuel tanks which pretty much halved the endurance. On a naval helicopter. Because having fuel is so over rated when the only place you can land keeps moving.

      1. sawatts
        Facepalm

        Re: You couldn't make this up

        I think that you'll find you can "land" anywhere. Taking off on the other hand...

        (seriously, no Link-16? shouldn't be allowed to fly in a warzone!)

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: You couldn't make this up

          'I think that you'll find you can "land" anywhere'.

          In the middle of the ocean???

          1. sniperpaddy
            Facepalm

            Re: You couldn't make this up

            I think you missed the sarcasm

        2. Rattus Rattus

          @sawatts

          "shouldn't be allowed to fly in a warzone"

          It probably isn't allowed to fly in a warzone. If its carrier is ever deployed, it will probably have to offload all helicopters first. After all, why would you need those?

    2. mwnci

      Re: You couldn't make this up

      I mean it's not like "Over the Horizon Targeting" and "Battle Damage Assessment" is a real thing is it? oh wait......

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: You couldn't make this up

        'I mean it's not like "Over the Horizon Targeting" and "Battle Damage Assessment" is a real thing is it? oh wait......'

        Don't I still wake in a cold sweat trying to remember all the paragraphs for voice reporting OTHT. I always felt BDA was best conducted at a distance though, in case all you'd done was really annoy them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You couldn't make this up

          The ARSSE article on the 'Future Lynx' seems relevant here.

          It's talking about the Army version but it's the same aircraft. The article is 10 years old.

        2. mwnci

          Re: You couldn't make this up

          Still on the plus side, it does make the case for Drones eh?

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: You couldn't make this up

            'Still on the plus side, it does make the case for Drones ehv

            Oh I'm sure the MoD would cut the datalink from a drone as a last minute cost saving...

        3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          " it's not like "Over the Horizon Targeting" and "Battle Damage Assessment" is a real thing"

          Oh it can do all that.

          The crew just can't actually tell anyone about the results before they land.

          Which may be a bit late.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: " it's not like "Over the Horizon Targeting" and "Battle Damage Assessment" is a real thing"

            'The crew just can't actually tell anyone about the results before they land.'

            Oh you can but the baud rate is worse than dial-up.

            Calculating the baud rate for human speech is left as an exercise for the reader. On account of me starting Friday evening.

            1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              IT Angle

              "Calculating the baud rate for human speech "

              Well speech vocoders can do human speech in 2400bps. At 200 words a minute with an average 7 characters a word that's say 108 bps.

            2. kmac499

              Re: " it's not like "Over the Horizon Targeting" and "Battle Damage Assessment" is a real thing"

              Simples ; Send it out on a recce in a known direction. If it comes back OK; if it doesn't, that's where the hostiles are.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You couldn't make this up

      "you couldn't make this up"

      Reminds me of John Fortune being interviewd about his work with John Bird on the "George Parr" interviews in the Bremner, Bird and Fortune series. When asked how you go about satirising topics he gave some explanation but then added that it the topic was governement policy then simply repeating it verbatim was normally better than anything you could write yourself!

      Remember one where "General Sir George Parr" was explaining the preparations for the Gulf War and with great excitement went through a series of items saying how amazingly well the army was equiped only to add, when interviewer said that that would clearly help in Iraq, that "of course, we always expected to fight a war in nothern Europe so the uniform was too hot, camoflage was wrong colour, tanks broke down in sand" before at end of interview offering suggestion that the UK and US wrote to Sadaam Hussein and asked him that as he clearly wanted a war then would he mind coming over to northern Europe to fight it!

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: You couldn't make this up

        The 2Johns one on the new fighter "... and that's when we add the trunk and paint it white"

        Ironically I think it was written about a previous fighter project but perfectly describes every more recent one.

    4. JBlond

      Re: You couldn't make this up

      What do you expect - the ACOS in charge of IT is Dan Cheesman is a Royal Marine. They Andrew is so busy with hacks trying to get promoted its all short term great ideas like Artificial Intelligence and Cyber instead of getting the basics like radios and data links right. They can't even get a ship to sea without it breaking down.

  2. hplasm Silver badge
    Facepalm

    WTF?

    How did so many idiots get into positions of power?

    The Idiocracy is all that is 'trickle down' it seems...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      You've got to remember what 2008 was like. Years of Brownomics finally hit the buffer.

      1. Baldy50

        Re: WTF?

        'Brownomics' Truly awesome!

      2. Rosie Davies

        Re: WTF?

        Tsk, tsk, tsk and there was me thinking that is was the global crash triggered by the sub-prime lending racket in the US that threw a spanner in the works. What a silly girl I must be.

        Rosie

        1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: WTF?

          "What a silly girl I must be."

          No one's saying Brown didn't have a little help....

        2. isogen74

          Re: WTF?

          "Prudence" Brown was quite happily borrowing £1100 per man, woman, and child in the UK per annum *before* the sub-prime bubble exploded as well as selling off government property and gold at rock-bottom prices. His ability to spend far in excess of tax receipts has nothing to do with sub-prime nor the credit crunch, the crunch just exposed it as the unsustainable "economics" that it was ...

        3. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: WTF? - triggered by the sub-prime lending racket

          As I understand it the poor people who took out mortgages mostly paid them back. It was the "real estate developers" whose speculative dodgy condos were classified AAA that caused the real meltdown, according to Gillian Tett and others. (But I agree with you in general terms - if Brown had told Blair that bank deregulation was a bad idea, he'd have been out.)

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "How did so many idiots get into positions of power?"

      The MoD has a "procurement" staff of about 23000 for about $18Bn

      The Israeli MoD about 500 for about $15Bn (IIRC from El Reg previous article)

      Clearly someone is doing it wrong.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        Re: "How did so many idiots get into positions of power?"

        Perhaps the MOD's procurement program doubles with the government's "Hire the Mentally Challenged" program?

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: "How did so many idiots get into positions of power?"

        Clearly someone is doing it wrong.

        Obviously, the Israelis as they have not followed the US and UK model of procurement. Or maybe it's not "procurement" per se, but departmental empire building and job security?

        I do admire some of the stuff the Israelis do such as this as it's just a lot more efficient and cost effective. Other countries (US? UK?) could learn a lot from them. I'll stay out of the politics, etc. for this discussion.

        I do believe that if the procurement departments were cut down, the savings would be reflected in budgets and hopefully, the cost per unit would drop since Joe Contractor/Builder would have less people to deal with.

      3. Julifriend
        Alert

        Re: "How did so many idiots get into positions of power?"

        Simple maths indicates that the extra spend over the Israelis (£3bn) divided by the extra staff (22,500) works out at about £133k per annum per staff member. Which seems a little low for high-level 'Sir Humphries".

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: "How did so many idiots get into positions of power?"

        "Clearly someone is doing it wrong."

        That depends if "it" is 'hiding true unemployment figures' or something else.

        Padding out the Civil Service is a time-honoured way of cheating.

    3. jMcPhee

      Re: WTF?

      At least they can use a USB instead of a MIL spec 5-1/4" floppy

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        "At least they can use a USB instead of a MIL spec 5-1/4" floppy..."

        Is that the notorious "rugged floppy"?

    4. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      "How did so many idiots get into positions of power?"

      The intelligent, creative, productive people were all busy doing useful work.

    5. JamesPond
      WTF?

      WTF?

      "How did so many idiots get into positions of power?"

      It's really difficult to get fired in most UK government departments, unless they are cost-cutting.

      Instead of going through the months of HR quagmire to sack someone, it's easier to get them promoted out of your department into another. Hence the cream stays put and the shite rises. And certainly in the UK, the 'old boys network' means it doesn't matter what you know, only whom you know.

      It also seems to help if your golf handicap is in single figures.

  3. SkippyBing Silver badge

    This weeks name

    I think technically it's now Leonardo Helicopters to differentiate it from Leonardo the parent company, which used to be Finmeccanica. But the UK bit of Finmeccanica is now known as Leonardo Marconi Westlands and parents the UK bit of Leonardo Helicopters.

    Because branding is so important for weapons systems.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: This weeks name

      Obviously. Who wouldn't want to put 'Stark Industries' on all their bombs and missiles? What could possibly go wrong with that?

    2. The IT Ghost

      Re: This weeks name

      I always look for corporate logos on the missiles that go whizzing by me. Doesn't everyone?

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: This weeks name

        I always look for corporate logos on the missiles that go whizzing by me. Doesn't everyone?

        Well we should. We don't want to buy the ones that miss their targets a lot, right?

        1. cosymart
          Headmaster

          Re: This weeks name

          Most air to air and surface to air Missiles are just that, they are designed to "miss" the target by a close proximity and then explode. lots of stuff flying about at high velocity hitting sensitive bits (lots of these on an aircraft). The only Hitile [sic] that I am aware of is the Rapier surface to air one.

      2. sniperpaddy

        Re: This weeks name

        The humiliation of getting hit by a knockoff Prado.

        Now a Raytheon? Stand up and take it like a man.

    3. dmck

      Re: This weeks name

      The company is called Leonardo MW Ltd.Where as stated MW is for Marconi Westland.

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: This weeks name

        Would that be the Marconi that went bust 15 years ago, taking a lot of investors' money with it?

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1339789/Marconi-from-boom-to-bust-in-a-year.html

        No wonder they prefer to hide the name as an initial.

  4. lglethal Silver badge
    Joke

    Lets just wait...

    until THOSE usb sticks get left on a Train somewhere...

  5. Baldy50

    Probably...

    A shit load safer than transmitting it anyway.

    1. sawatts

      Re: Probably...

      "A shit load safer than transmitting it anyway."

      ...Hi guys, we detected some in bound targets during the mission, I've got the data on the stick. Hello? Hello?...

  6. chivo243 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    ruggedized sneaker net

    With combat boots instead?

    Yeah, we saved a cool million on that decision. Looks like it's bonus time for me!

    Helicopter just for effect...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Treason

    Whoever at the MOD thought this was a good idea should be shot for treason.

    1. Smooth Newt
      Stop

      Re: Treason

      Defence procurement has been an ongoing disaster for decades. Lots of smart and honest people have tried to fix it during that time and none have succeeded because it is institutionally incapable of being fixed.

      Fortunately the British haven't needed to fight any serious wars unaided against a competent and well-equipped enemy for very long time. We should just accept that the purpose of defence procurement, and indeed the rest of the MoD, is to enrich defence contractors and prop up small parliamentary majorities, and that the Americans are expected to do any serious fighting for us. Now when is that nice Mr Trump coming to have tea with Her Majesty?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Treason

        none have succeeded because it is institutionally incapable of being fixed.

        I agree nobody's fixed it, and that the culture is deeply entrenched. But there is a simple solution - kick out the incompetent wasters of the civil service, make the whole MoD military personnel, reporting as an extra "service" to the chief of the defence staff.

        Then the military have only themselves to blame. The military command structure is very good at shouting at people until they do what is needed (or court martialling them if they don't). Give them a finite total budget, with some forward visibility to stop the dogfuckers at the Treasury messing things up, and then they have to control specification and out-turn cost, they can balance projects against revenue costs. fight amongst themselves until they realise that is a zero-sum game. From a national perspective we'd know what we're spending, the military can never complain that they were "given the wrong kit", and the budget for toys wouldn't bloat since they'd have to choose what gets cut if they overspend on a particular project. The defence industry would suddenly find that the buyer didn't give a hoot about their lobbying, and that said buyer just wanted a product that worked, at the agreed cost and time. Equally, the military would be accountable for any spec changes or errata, with the certainty that they'd have to cut spending on another toy.

        Simples. And if they really fuck up, we'd still be better off than today, because even with a load of inappropriate and broken kit, that's what we've got now, but we'd have the concept of a set defence budget.

        1. ciaran

          Re: make the whole MoD military personnel

          The Army, Navy and the Air force are all permanently at war... with each other. Why do you think the harriers were scrapped? Kill strike from the Air force.

          The MoD is there to try to keep them apart. Their basic tactic is to say 33% each. So actual needs are not considered. If the army wants a budget increase to buy, say, new guns, its going to cost the MoD 3 times the price to keep the other 2 happy.

          So if the military were in charge, it would have to have 3 co-chiefs that sign of on every expenditure. War by meetings. With meetings.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: make the whole MoD military personnel

            So if the military were in charge, it would have to have 3 co-chiefs that sign of on every expenditure. War by meetings. With meetings.

            I'm cool with that. After a couple of Chiefs of the Defence staff have found that their pension has been halved or cancelled for fucking up defence procurement, the next couple of incumbents would understand that they had to stick to the brief of buying the best set of weapons between the set budget and the demands of politcians for capability, without undue favourtism.

            So that takes about six-eight years to take effect? Big deal, the problem won't be solved otherwise.

          2. Spider

            Re: make the whole MoD military personnel

            Harrier, MPA and numerous other Naval capabilities (hydrography was dear to my heart hence a resigned commission) where killed or hamstrung under the disastrous leadership of ex 1SL West. He happily sold his service for a peerage and a seat on the gravy train under Labour.

            Not that the civvies in procurement didn't do their bit, but he encouraged and signed off on it.

            As an aside - spent a evening exercising will power at a dinner that included a married couple who both worked in procurement. 1 was designing work station layouts for T45 ops room despite never having been on ore than a ferry, and the other Longbow comms (he learnt all about comms from clansman). It nearly soured my port I don't mind telling you.

        2. sniperpaddy

          Re: Treason

          Nope. The problem is some generals are gods onto themselves without civilian oversight to balance the benefit across the forces.

          An influential general could hog the budget just for his own guys.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Treason

        Defence procurement has been an ongoing disaster for decades. Lots of smart and dishonest people have lined their pockets during that time.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Treason

          Have you noticed that countries that actually need to defend themselves against genuine credible military threats manage to do a lot better? (Israel, Russia, China, Iran...)

          The real reason that most Western defence procurement is so immensely inefficient from a military point of view is that it isn't really a military exercise. Its real purpose is to transfer money from the taxpayer to the "defence contractor" (armaments manufacturer) as rapidly as possible. As long as the product looks vaguely military, that's good enough. After all, it will never be used in anger, and it isn't meant to be.

      3. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Treason

        It's only institutionally entrenched because of the way politicians think - if that is the verb I am looking for.

        Based on my experience, which included gathering very detailed information for the most accurate possible bid in a UK defence procurement auction, the way the system works is this:

        1. Government argues for a long time before drawing up a completely impossible set of incompatible, over-ambitious, technologically starry-eyed specifications.

        2. Government invites bids.

        3. Lowest bid wins. This comes from a cynical corporation with vast experience in contract engineering, deception, arm-twisting, blackmail, and other essential political skills.

        4. Honest bidders give up in disgust, having wasted millions doing the job properly. (The winning bidder merely pulled a number out of a hat, calculated to appeal to the politicians and civil servants who, knowing nothing whatsoever about the subject domain, will believe anything and the cheaper the better).

        5. In a few years, winning bidder tells MoD (in strictest confidence, of course, so the proles don't get to hear) that it turns out the work will take ten years longer and cost (say) £5 billion more than the bid.

        6. Bidder asks senior MoD mandarins and political leaders, "Will you accept the extra cost and time, or shall we tell the media how utterly incompetent you are?"

        7. Mandarins and politicians bend over.

        8. Rinse and repeat.

        9. After a random (but long) period, project is cancelled. Bidder keeps the many billions it has been paid; government (and taxpayer) gets nothing.

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Treason

      Whoever at the MOD thought this was a good idea should be shot for treason

      Due to the wonders of defence procurement, what is the likelihood that the execution would attempted using a rifle fitted for, but not with, bullets?

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Treason

        No problem. In that case, I for one would be perfectly happy for our glorious government to outsource the job to its best friends, Saudi Arabia.

        Their means of execution are simple, direct and pretty much foolproof. You just go on hacking till the thing comes off.

  8. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Trollface

    Brainless

    ...in the infamous phrase "fitted for but not with".

    So rather like the MoD beancounters and the content of their skulls (or lack thereof)?

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Brainless

      Or the F-35 (with respect to engine).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the Falklands War it was discovered that the new combat overalls worn by ships' crews were made of a man-made fibre that fire melted into the skin.

    The previous, more expensive, versions were made of cotton that only charred in the same circumstances - and therefore burns injuries were not made worse. Another case of financial economy making something not fit for purpose.

    1. boltar Silver badge

      "The previous, more expensive, versions were made of cotton that only charred in the same circumstances"

      Presumably treated cotton, since natural cotton fibres burn quite nicely.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "Presumably treated cotton"

        Washing with a small amount of alum suffices nicely.

    2. Strahd Ivarius

      I thought that since the Forrestal incident in the sixties it was known to be a bad idea?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I thought that since the Forrestal incident in the sixties it was known to be a bad idea?"

        What I had missed was that the combat gear apparently was cotton - but not everyone had had time to change out of their ordinary polyester uniform clothes.

  10. phuzz Silver badge

    "The Ministry of Defence insists its £178bn equipment programme will create thousands of jobs over the next few years."

    Well, someone has to carry those USB sticks around.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      And all those bagmen need well-paid close-protection squads to ensure none of them do a runner with that hefty holdall.

    2. montyburns56

      They could train some pigeons to do it, as that recent BBC4 documentary showed, it wouldn't the first time that they had proved to be a valuable tool in combat.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It would be cheaper to just pay them £1M each in redundancy and then buy off the shelf from the yanks.

  11. CJatCTi
    WTF?

    And they have to land to ask for directions !!!

    Watch the video on BBC news http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-38996750 of Helicopter pilot lands to ask for directions in Kazakhstan.

    And it that doesn't worry you about the competency of the West, compare these photos of defence ministers

    http://epicpix.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/741e5_f7f2d4a004f4a58a.jpg

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: And they have to land to ask for directions !!!

      It's hardly going to worry me about the competency of the West, I'm fairly sure Kazakhstan isn't in NATO.

      Of course you have to question what sort of amateur wouldn't just read the road signs.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: And they have to land to ask for directions !!!

        "It's hardly going to worry me about the competency of the West, I'm fairly sure Kazakhstan isn't in NATO."

        Quite. And if its got to the point in Kazakhstan that they don't even have any working GPS in the helicopter or even a backup radar system and military ATC to tell the pilot where he is then I don't think we need to worry about them being a serious military player at least!

      2. CJatCTi

        Re: And they have to land to ask for directions !!!

        It reads as it was a UK pilot "The Ministry of Defence said the pilot had been taking part in a visual orientation exercise when he lost his bearings." And look at the size of the thing.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: And they have to land to ask for directions !!!

          'It reads as it was a UK pilot "The Ministry of Defence said the pilot had been taking part in a visual orientation exercise when he lost his bearings." And look at the size of the thing.'

          That'll be the Kazakhstan MoD, the UK one doesn't operate a lot of Mil-8 Hips.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Coat

            Re: And they have to land to ask for directions !!!

            That'll be the Kazakhstan MoD, the UK one doesn't operate a lot of Mil-8 Hips.

            Yet.

            1. SkippyBing Silver badge

              Re: And they have to land to ask for directions !!!

              'That'll be the Kazakhstan MoD, the UK one doesn't operate a lot of Mil-8 Hips.

              Yet.'

              It's fewer than it used to...

        2. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: And they have to land to ask for directions !!!

          "The Ministry of Defence said the pilot had been taking part in a visual orientation exercise when he lost his bearings."

          Very few helicopters will fly without bearings.

    2. The IT Ghost

      Re: And they have to land to ask for directions !!!

      "Visual Orientation Exercise". I think the exercise failed, and its time for a COURSE in it instead. Nice to see the pilot pulled rank though, and made is co-pilot actually get out to ask for directions.

  12. adnim Silver badge
    Joke

    Carrier pigeons?

    Air to ground pigeons.

    Air to air pigeons.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Carrier pigeons?

      The helicopter is quite fast so they would have to be enhanced cyborg-pigeons with jet packs.....

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Carrier pigeons?

        As this is about the navy, in other words about stuff that happens at sea it's the perfect excuse to fit sharks with lasers. To be used as a comms link / relay station. Yes, that's what the lasers will be for.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Carrier pigeons?

          "it's the perfect excuse to fit sharks with lasers."

          Sadly, Frikkin' Sharks are now an endangered species after a recent round of tornadoes. On the other hand, Hammerhead Sharks almost seem to be designed to have lasers fitted, what with the special mounting points at the front.

      2. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Carrier pigeons?

        Pidgeons with jet packs...

        Couldn't they skip the pigeon bit and strap the USB stick to the front of a guided missile?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The UKs answer to "Pentagon Wars" ...

    weekend treat for anyone who hasn't seen it ...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDYpRhoZqBY

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The Ministry of Defence insists its £178bn equipment programme will create thousands of jobs over the next few years."

    Or.....

    "The Ministry of Defence insists its £178bn equipment programme will create thousands of votes (in a constituency that's moved from Tory to Liberal and back again), over the next few years."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The Ministry of Defence insists its £178bn equipment programme will create thousands of votes (in a constituency that's moved from Tory to Liberal and back again), over the next few years."

      The main purveyors of that technique are currently in the cheap seats at Westminster. It was the infamous twat Gordon Brown who ordered the two carriers before the specs were properly finalised, doing so purely to try an protect Labour seats in the arse end of Glasgow. Hence our embarrassing need for the even more embarrassing F35B.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Planes, No Carriers, No Subs...

    So are Britain's enemies in charge of MOD and the procurement process?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No Planes, No Carriers, No Subs...

      So are Britain's enemies in charge of MOD and the procurement process?

      Yes - commonly called "politicians". Especially the higher echelons - commonly called "Ministers".

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: No Planes, No Carriers, No Subs...

        I think they have just discovered the secret to eternal peace - make all weapons so expensive and complicated that you can't afford to use them and they don't work when you try.

    2. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: No Planes, No Carriers, No Subs...

      "The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies".

      - Robert Conquest’s Third Law of Politics

  16. Martin hepworth

    weapons system

    Neither has it weapons system and wont have for another couple of years to replace the Lynx's Sea Skewer

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: weapons system

      Skua, after the bird. Although the Sea bit has always struck me as slightly redundant.

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: weapons system

        "Skua, after the bird".

        I fear you have missed the point.

  17. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    at least you lot have something *new* to play with

    Us canucks are still mucking about with 28 CH124 Seakings.

    Damn things are as old and cranky as *me*

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: at least you lot have something *new* to play with

      Canada's defence procurement seems to be almost as bad as India's. Makes cancelling the Merlin order seem increasingly bone headed.

  18. User McUser
    Black Helicopters

    Alternative Angle

    There's another spin on this - "New Navy Helicopters Hardened Against Network Based Attacks"

  19. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    No problem

    You could just hover over a convenient Starbucks and use their free WiFi.

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: No problem @Paul

      LOL, nearly sprayed whiskey over my laptop.

    2. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: No problem

      >You could just hover over a convenient Starbucks and use their free WiFi.

      In future battles there will be inflatable pop-up Starbucks, holographic Starbucks and stealth Starbucks deployed around the battle zone. None of them will serve a liquid that can be described as coffee.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No problem

        Mystic Megabyte@

        On the basis of your last sentence, you obviously mean 'Costa' not Starbucks.:)

        [Although strictly speaking, both Starbucks & Costa DO serve a liquid 'described as Coffee', it just is being somewhat 'economical with the truth', as evidenced by actually tasting it !!!]

        It would also make the requirement that 'Costa' are integrated into our UK forces as the 'Advance Communications Corp', much easier. :) :)

        Maybe all WiFi-providing Coffee Chains could form a global alliance that would be allowed into all Battle Zones, rather like the Red Cross/Crescent !!! :)

        Solves both the communications problem and the fatigue issues of a Battle Zone. !!! :)

        1. Barry Rueger Silver badge

          Re: No problem

          Starbucks & Costa DO serve a liquid 'described as Coffee', it just is being somewhat 'economical with the truth'

          "Alternative facts" if you please.

          1. Baldy50

            Re: No problem

            If this is true!

            http://finance.yahoo.com/news/starbucks-brand-perception-plummeted-since-220353319.html

            Pay your taxes, like Google and the rest, toads, not too bothered about who you employ as long as you're not exploiting people, which I know you are!

            It's not that good either, mine is way better at a fraction of the cost, commercialism and screwing us for the shareholder, enuff said.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        None of them will serve a liquid that can be described as coffee.

        I'm one of the ones that does not see the appeal of burnt coffee. But they seem to be do a bang up business.....

      3. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: No problem

        Oh, it'll be *described* as coffee all right.

    3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: No problem

      I don't see what the fuss is about. Just attach a stamped addressed envelope and label to the USB stick that says, "If found in or near a crashed helicopter, please put into attached envelope and post".

      Although if the posties are on strike that day ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Just attach a stamped addressed envelope and label to the USB stick

        Or get out of the business altogether. FedEx guarantees overnight delivery, and I bet they're a lot more reliable than an F35. Just got to make sure they know to leave it at the door and no signature required.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just attach a stamped addressed envelope and label to the USB stick

          So just sub out the whole shebang to FedEx -- targeting, delivery, feedback on efficacy. Just make damn well sure that Return To Sender is not allowed. That's perhaps the future of battle - FedEx vs. UPS, all munitions delivery by autonomous vehicles given their targets by AI.

    4. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: No problem

      Find a BT homehub equipped house- apparently they are optimised to beam WIFI straight up in the air to waiting helicopters...

  20. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    FAIL

    ..Ministry of Defence insists its £178bn equipment programme will create thousands of jobs...

    And that's just the ones in the British undertaker and grave digging industries!

    So your scout helicopter acting as your AWACS radar has to fly back to the ship to give it the data on the squadron of Russian Backfires coming in? Seriously, you couldn't make this stuff up!

  21. Potemkine Silver badge

    It's just RN's implementation...

    ... of RFC 1149. Clever, using helicopters instead of pigeons reduces latency

    1. theblackhand

      Re: It's just RN's implementation...

      And the ability to add additional USB sticks makes bandwidth upgrades a piece of cake. A quick trip to Maplins can increase bandwidth by ten- or even one hundred-fold

      Bet you can't do that with your fancy in-flight data links....

  22. Tomislav

    Why not use swallows instead of pigeons? European for normal thumb disks and african for the larger 2.5" variety...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      How are they going to carry it?

      On a line under the dorsal flight feathers ?

  23. ecofeco Silver badge

    For want of a nail...

    See title.

  24. Bluto Nash

    Really?

    "The vital data link capability was deleted in 2008 as part of a cost-cutting exercise by the Ministry of Defence."

    What a bunch of f*cking boneheads.

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      "The number of civil servants in the Ministry of Defence was reduced as part of a cost-cutting exercise..."

      There's an announcement you'll never see.

  25. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

    Net stockings

    Net stockings - standard Navy issue.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical MOD. No doubt if this gets someone killed a D notice will be issued to save the ass of the politician who demanded the cut backs.... Remember the rapier missiles on the Falklands ?

  27. Scroticus Canis
    Unhappy

    Depressing lack of surprise at this.

    Just another tick on the long and lengthening list of MoD failures.

    God help us if we do actually have to defend ourselves close to home.

  28. TRT Silver badge

    kinetic littoral stimulation

    Followed by a satisfying bang.

  29. David Roberts Silver badge

    Drones.....sneakernet.......

    Just carry a bunch of drones which will return to base with the USB sticks. Amazon may have some suitable ones.

    Of course you might have to tinker with the anti-missile defences.......

  30. iRadiate

    Use Bluetooth.

    EVERYTHING is better with Bluetooth.

  31. Martijn Otto
    Joke

    Tactical Data Officer

    With these new helicopers a new job title is created, the Tactical Data Officer. It is the TDO's job to stay on the radio and relay all vital information through the encrypted radio link.

    This will create many many jobs, as promised.

  32. Andy 97

    Whoever closed this deal must have the biggest expense account in the history of direct selling.

    This kind of thing happens all the time with governmental procurement and it's not going to stop.

  33. Brian Allan 1

    Always Morse Code and Semaphore Flags...

  34. Archtech Silver badge

    Nothing new here...

    'Now, basically, the defense of Great Britain rests in the hands of our Sea-slugs. {...} Now I must admit here, that there is a very strong possibility that our Sea-slugs won't get through. The British Sea-slug is a ludicrously cumbersome vehicle depending as it does on a group of trained runners carrying it into enemey territory. Mind you, the boffins are working on this one day and night—thinking of fitting it out with some ingenious device—wings or something along those lines and turning it into some kind of flying machine, in which case it will be renamed "Greased Lightning."'

    —Beyond the Fringe, "Civil War"

  35. murri

    Commentards

    Technocrats you all

  36. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    "An uplink is considered essential for preparation of the battlefield, analysing patterns of life and delivering a kinetic effect in a littoral situation if required"

    So basically, "Ready, aim, fire and try not to kill anybody who doesn't deserve it".

    Pompous twat.

  37. Winkypop Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Hey! No fair guys, stop shooting at us!

    We're still downloading our data!

  38. crediblywitless

    A "kinetic effect in a littoral situation" is "blowing things up on a beach".

  39. Vinyl-Junkie
    WTF?

    "...kinetic effect in a littoral situation.."

    Doesn't this translate as "we'll kick sand in their face"?

  40. subject

    This is extremely unkind. Plainly the users are inadequately trained in security and this is a belt 'n braces security precaution to prevent enemy hacking the feed and sending ship-killer SSMs down the channel.

    It was, after all, a similar security lapse that led to the Beyond the Fringe expose of the British stealth Seaslug nuclear deterrent, relying as it did on teams of highly trained runners carrying it deep into enemy territory, literally under the radar! Later technically improved with new systems such as "sleeper" cells of British Olympic relay runners infiltrated into enemy territory 40 minutes in advance of the primary delivery platoons.

    If that is insufficient to allay your fears, let me remind those doubters and doomsayers that it was the same service, the Fleet Air Arm, that crippled the Bismarck with its stealth Swordfish torpedo bombers, cunningly disguised as targets for German AA guns. German ingenuity and technological superiority yet again outwitted by British cunning, pluck, and stupidity at its best.

    And if there are still any gutless frog-eating reverse-gear-tank-driving whining white-feather Bremoaner merchants, there are still a few zero-electronic-signature radar-proof stealth Tiger Moths in service somewhere to give the lie to all your cowardly Europhile technological nit-picking.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tip of the iceberg

    No TDl? Ask them how long it took to get the windscreen wipers to work?

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