back to article Brit semiconductor tech ended up in Chinese naval railgun – report

A Chinese firm's buyout of a British semiconductor company may have directly led to China developing railgun weaponry and electromagnetic aircraft carrier catapults for its navy, according to reports. An anonymous source, identified as a former Dynex exec, told The Sunday Times that the acquisition of Dynex Semiconductor by …

  1. Ryan 7
    Boffin

    IGBTs are used to power every modern electric train, from any number of different countries.

    They're not a massive British secret innovation, and they have uses all over the world.

    The Times article seems like a lot of hot air.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      How convenient that when we are being told "we must stop China getting her hands on western tech and semiconductor companies" there is an article which purports to provide compelling evidence why we must.

      If there weren't so many people who believed such piss-poor propaganda I guess they wouldn't even bother with it.

      1. vir

        Trigatrons have been around for a long time as well. If you don't really care about modulating the output, they could probably handle railgun-type currents just fine.

        1. veti Silver badge

          I'm pretty sure "modulating the output" is pretty darn' important, if you actually want to hit anything much smaller than an ocean at a range of 100 nautical miles.

          It's very interesting what's happening right now. China has pretty much caught up with Western weapons technology, and is actually gaining an edge in some areas. Which has triggered an orgy of blame-calling in Western defence industries, which have been sucking off the public teat for decades on the pretext of assuring that precisely this couldn't happen.

          1. James 51 Silver badge
            Mushroom

            @veti The German navy did something similar and caught up on the British navy within a generation from pratically nothing. I don't remember that ending well for every one. What you'll find is that they stick really big ones on the illegal artifical islands and tell everyone in reach that the sea is China's now and there they'll kill anyone who says otherwise regardless of how many legal cases they lose.

            1. Uffish

              re: "catching up"

              The US military industrial complex has been known to catch up on technology by some pretty dubious means also, and as for buying up companies to get at the good technology, well ....

              You can't expect others not to do what is almost standard practice in the field.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "...if you actually want to hit anything much smaller than an ocean at a range of 100 nautical miles..."

            ...you need guided munitions i.e. shells that can identify their targets and can steer themselves towards them. This is already a WIP though.

            One problem with rail gun projectiles flying at the velocities proposed is that they'll be very hot; the high-speed passage of the projectile through the air will cause a lot of heating, so they should be able to be tracked using IR electro-optical systems. Intercepting them will be another issue though; being much smaller, they'll be even more difficult to stop than the the hypersonic cruise missiles now in development.

            Another problem with rail guns is their limited range. Whilst 100s of km is good range for a gun it means that the gun has to be within 100s of km of its target and well inside the 1000s km range of hypersonic missiles.

            In fact, the best use-case for a rail gun is as a point defense against hyper velocity missiles, although it won't be long before those missiles will be able to detect an incoming rail gun round, thanks to its bright heat signature, and attempt to evade it.

            And so the weapons race continues.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      "IGBTs are used to power every modern electric train, from any number of different countries."

      I doubt it's the concept of an IGBT that's of concern here. It would be the various processes and physical dimensions involved in making the wafers and getting a decent yield. That kind of 'secret sauce' means that this particular manufacturer can mass produce the necessary "stuff". It's also theoretically possible that China _COULD_ deny "that stuff" to everyone but themselves, now.

      Keep in mind who the Chinese government people REALLY are...

      a) they employ millions of people in what can only be described as "sweat shops" but with more modern tech.

      b) they pollute the CRAP out of their own cities, because other nations basically pay THEM to do the "polluty" things.

      c) a small number of people have the vast majority of the wealth. Most people earn only a fraction of a typical 'minimum wage' in any 1st world country. It is likely that most of the people making iPhone could not afford to buy one, EVAR.

      d) they are WELL KNOWN to do "internal use only" knock-offs of western tech, because they have the schematics, board layouts, components, and willing 'minions' to make it happen. "4th shift" it's sometimes called, "off the books" manufacturing of copyright and patent violating stuff.

      Given this, and a pile of cash they're _NOT_ sharing with "the people", what do you expect? It's like the royal coffers of the "communist" nation are full to the brim now, and they want to flex their muscles and ensure it *STAYS* that way, indefinitely.

      Understanding them means understanding human nature. That government has too much wealth power in too few hands. _ONLY_ corruption can result from this.

      And we, in the west, have ENABLED them.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        "And we, in the west, have ENABLED them."

        And which part of the West has done the most to "enable" them, Bob?

        1. James 51 Silver badge

          Re: "And we, in the west, have ENABLED them."

          I never thought I would agree with Bob but a broken clock etc etc. Western companies and those they outsource too put their factories in China because the labour was dirt cheap and there were little to no enviromental laws for them to abide by or they could pay to have officals look the other way. It probably would have eventually happened anyway but this shift in manufacturing has vastly accellerated the process.

      2. Dave 15

        So...

        In all not much different to us except that they are investing in manufacturing, using spare cash we give them to buy raw materials and generally have a good future ahead because they are planning for it.

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        And we, in the west, have ENABLED them.

        And, if you look at history, exactly the same thing happened 200 years ago with a small, new nation across the Atlantic from the mother country..

        Yes. Pretty much all of the high-tech stuff that built the US was technology stolen directly from the UK. So, what goes around, comes around.

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "It's like the royal coffers of the "communist" nation are full to the brim now, and they want to flex their muscles and ensure it *STAYS* that way, indefinitely."

        Not forgetting the Peoples Congress are about to vote on a minor constitutional change to allow the Chairman to be Chairman-for-Life.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, at least after brexit, once we've got one of these amazing trade deals Boris keeps telling us about, the Chinese will be able to buy tech directly rather than having to buy whole companies.

      1. jackalek

        Are you refereing to the deals we may get in years time ?

        There is a nice checkerer here https://havewegotafuckingtradedealyet.com/ which tells me we've got nil so far....

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Weird

          I find the idea of governments "striking trade deals" completely weird.

          In the first place, we should be quite clear that nothing any government can do will actually HELP trade. All that is required for trade to flourish is for some people to want things and services produced by other people. Left to their own devices, money will change hands and everyone is happy.

          What governments are really good at is obstructing trade. They can do this in many ways, but mainly by levying tariffs and imposing red tape. Economic theory suggests that everyone is best off when there is universal free trade, but there are always people who think they can profit by unilateral tariffs. And sometimes they do - for a while.

          So what does it mean when a government employee tells us that they are "negotiating a trade deal"? It means that they get together with their opposite numbers from other governments, and (over the usual seven-course dinners with vintage wines paid for by us) they decide how much they can soak us - the producers and consumers - for the pribvilege of buying goods and services.

          1. James 51 Silver badge

            Re: Weird

            It will be stuff like, soaking your chicken in bleach allows your industry to offer lower prices because they operate in ways which would be illegal here. Therefore we will add a tarrif to prevent a race to the bottom your industry will win because we aren't will to sink as low as you are. Or if you sell goods to us below the cost it takes to produce them, we'll add a tarrif to prevent you destorying the native industry here and are free to ramp prices up till the pips squeak.

  2. Connor

    Return of the Battleships?

    Radar and AI controlled railguns could surely see the return of more guns on ships and perhaps bigger ships with lots more guns? As noted shells are cheap, quick to fire and easy to store compared to missiles. With improved software controlling the guns and the radar they would surely and perhaps ironically make aircraft and missiles obsolete, after all it is a lot easier to shoot an aircraft or a missile out of the sky compared to a shell. Maybe Britain picked precisely the wrong time to start building those huge and really expensive aircraft carriers and should instead of chosen to build a couple of battleships instead?

    1. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Return of the Battleships?

      All it takes is electrical power.

      In quite large amounts.

      Given that a lot of the fleet doesn't even have enough electrical power to drive the propellers this may require a bit more thought.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Return of the Battleships?

        Given that a lot of the fleet doesn't even have enough electrical power

        That... depends... whose fleet. I do not think these guys have any power shortage issues.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: "That... depends... whose fleet"

          Yeah, I'm sure the Chinese have hundreds of strategic icebreakers.

          1. veti Silver badge

            Re: "That... depends... whose fleet"

            Captain... Kirk... is that... you?

          2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: "That... depends... whose fleet"

            Yeah, I'm sure the Chinese have hundreds of strategic icebreakers.

            Today - no. You should remember that they have a talent for buying "scrap" to be turned into floating casinos and that scrap somehow ends up getting out to sea in a pristine freshly painted state and launching fighter jets from the main deck.

      2. Dave 15

        Re: Return of the Battleships?

        Thats just our fleet - ill conceived and flawed designs... aircraft carriers many times the size of anything we have had before that cant cope with traditional planes? If we have vertical take off planes then we could have used Ark Royal, Illustrious and Invincible and spent all the billions of the queen elizabeth and whatever the other target is called on building another 5 or 6 of the Invincible class to sail with the ones we had.

        We could also have built more Harriers when the yanks were (as usual) late with something that basically fails any test of suitability (such as flying in bad weather or having enough range for a meaningful fight).

      3. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Return of the Battleships?

        This obviously calls for heavy government investment into research on massively parallel arrays of electric eels.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Return of the Battleships?

      I await with interest the rerun of the Battle of Jutland/Skaggerack with nuclear powered Dreadnoughts. What future Beatty will turn to his flag captain and say "There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today" as it turns out the reactors aren't big enough to fire the broadside and work the engines? Because I don't think the MoD has got any better in the last hundred years.

      1. Dave Bell

        Re: Return of the Battleships?

        A huge element of that was bad ammunition-handling procedures in the Squadron of battlecruisers that Beatty commanded. He wanted a high rate of fire, and cared less about accuracy. One of those rather dangerous officers who talked a good line. Essentially, there were bagged cordite charges exposed to the flash from explosions, all the way between the turret and magazine. When there was a penetration, and battlecruisers were relatively lightly armoured, there was the inevitable earth-shattering kaboom.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Return of the Battleships?

          "A huge element of that was bad ammunition-handling procedures in the Squadron of battlecruisers that Beatty commanded."

          However, the Navy also had unreliable shells, less accurate rangefinders than the Germans, and a failure to realise that accurate rangefinding and good quality shells meant the Germans could open fire at long range with plunging shells that hit the deck, not the topsides armour. The whole thing was a complete foul up. High rate of fire was a hangover from the wooden Navy true, but given inaccuracy and failure of shells it was at least a rational tactic. The ammunition handling turned a major crisis into a fatal disaster, but it would have been less important had the Germans not kept hitting things.

          1. jmch Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Return of the Battleships?

            " it would have been less important had the Germans not kept hitting things"

            Yeah, how unsporting of the enemy to actually be any good!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Return of the Battleships?

              "Yeah, how unsporting of the enemy to actually be any good!"

              You might guess from the way I carefully refer to it as the Battle of Jutland/Skagerrackschlacht that my sympathies are pretty equally spread on both sides.

              My grandfather was a railway worker in France in WW1 and was wounded and invalided out. But, as a good Communist, he didn't blame the Germans. He blamed Capitalism. If you read Christopher Clark's book The Sleepwalkers, he ends up doing pretty much the same thing. If any war was a bankers' and arms manufacturers' war, it was WW1. Serbia were extremely useful idiots.

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Return of the Battleships?

            High rate of fire was a hangover from the wooden Navy true

            Who was it said that the one thing wrong with the military is that they are always preparing to fight the previous war?

          3. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: Return of the Battleships?

            "...the Germans could open fire at long range with plunging shells that hit the deck, not the topsides armour".

            That kite won't fly. As I pointed out, at the very moment when the Germans blew up several of Beatty's ships, the British shells were landing up to a mile OVER the German battlecruisers.

            The British battlecruisers were just a very bad idea, pushed to its extremely awful limits. They might as well have had no armour at all. The Germans, in imitating the British battlecruisers, showed some common sense and made them more like fast battleships. The German battlecruisers soaked up punishment and proved almost impossible to sink.

            At the Battle of the Falkland Islands, in which two of the first battlecruisers covered themselves with glory by destroying two big German armoured cruisers, they fired hundreds of rounds before getting a single hit. Eventually they pounded the Germans to pieces and sank them.

            It is not widely known that, after the battle, a German 8-inch shell was discovered about five feet away from HMS "Invincible"'s forward magazine. Had it gone a metre or two further, Invincible would have gone up in smoke and flames as she did two years later at Jutland, and the battlecruiser concept would have died. Saving thousands of lives.

        2. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Return of the Battleships?

          Also, Beatty was very casual about target practice. His battlecruisers often missed the enemy by more than a mile (usually "over"). In contrast, the 5th battleship squadron - the new "Queen Elizabeth" class - were extremely accurate at similar or even greater ranges.

          Practice makes perfect, and counts for a lot more than elan or fighting spirit. The same syndrome repeated itself with the destruction of HMS "Hood"; the German gunners got the range immediately and scored several hits, one of which was fatal. The death blow may even have been dealt by the heavy cruiser "Prinz Eugen", as even its 8-inch shells could have penetrated Hood's inadequate armour. It would be the supreme irony if "Hood", the biggest example ever built of Jackie Fisher's battlecruiser concept, was sunk by a heavy cruiser - precisely the type of ship the battlecruiser was designed to hunt down and destroy.

          An 8-inch shell that hits is a lot more effective than a whole salvo of 15-inch shells that all miss.

        3. Dave 15

          Re: Return of the Battleships?

          High rate of fire vs accuracy

          In the days of Nelson it worked well, ships at point blank range the more metal you could chuck at the opposing ship the more likely you were to wreck it.

          In theory the same applies totally to two battleships... however when the range is 10 or 20 miles you need the accuracy.. it is no good splashing water all around you actually have to hit the opposing ship

      2. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Return of the Battleships?

        Funny you should mention the Battle of Jutland. After pulling off a strategic and tactical masterpiece, Admiral Jellicoe had to hold back and allow the High Seas Fleet to escape almost unharmed. Why? Jellicoe was a member of the "young school" of naval officers and was trained in the use of mines and torpedoes. He rightly feared that, if he signalled a general chase, the Grand Fleet would steam right into minefields and torpedo salvoes - invisible weapons against which battleships had absolutely no defence.

        Today, mines and torpedoes are still paper to the battleship's stone. And, of course, aircraft and missiles have improved beyond all measure. A modern battleship would be a floating tomb.

    3. Dave 15

      Re: Return of the Battleships?

      Possible but the range of a missile and or plane will always be greater than that of a lump of iron/shell however you fire it. This is why you will not replace missiles with these guns. However you might modify the system to do a rapid fire gun and replace the 'goalkeeper' guns with electronically firing ones - the amount of storage required for each 'bullet'/'shell' is smaller because you dont store the explosive and its container.

      The laser probably works better than throwing metal around for most purposes anyway.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Return of the Battleships?

        "Possible but the range of a missile and or plane will always be greater than that of a lump of iron/shell however you fire it"

        Missiles and planes are horrendouly expensive. Even if the railgun itself would also be expensive, projectiles would be relatively cheap. So it's a great weapon to have for developing nations or ones not expecting to intimidate any of the major powers.

        The other advantage is that I expect the lump of iron is tiny compared to missile/plane and have correspondingly tiny radar signature. It would be much more difficult to detect incoming attack before being hit, and perhaps even the origin of the attack. That makes it very dangerous in the hands of anyone willing to take a calculatd gamble.

        "The laser probably works better than throwing metal around for most purposes anyway"

        The laser intercept of incoming missiles has repeatedly shown itself ineffective. If you could get the accuracy, projactile would work better, and being able to throw multiple projectiles very quickly would surely work better as an intercept method.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Return of the Battleships?

          "Missiles and planes are horrendouly expensive".

          That turns out not to be the case. The ships that are so easily sunk by missiles and planes cost far, far more.

          A typical modern aircraft carrier costs at least several billion dollars.

          A typical modern Russian or Chinese jet fighter costs a bit less than $100 million. (Western types more, especially with engine).

          Missiles are even cheaper.

          "Hewson estimated the cost of the Club-K system, which packs four ground or sea-launched cruise missiles into a standard 40-foot shipping container, at $10-20 million".

          https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-weapon/deadly-new-russian-weapon-hides-in-shipping-container-idUSTRE63P2XB20100426

          1. Dave 15

            Re: Return of the Battleships?

            Even though I heard reports that the bean counters in the MoD are happy to send our warships out around the world without even the most basic missile cover... a million pound missile too expensive to protect a billion pound ship and its crew.

            Accountants the bain of everyones lives.

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Return of the Battleships?

      Maybe Britain picked precisely the wrong time to start building those huge and really expensive aircraft carriers and should instead of chosen to build a couple of battleships instead

      Well - in a shooting war against an opponent of a similar technology level they might last a bit longer.

      But only because there would be more of them..

      Small, cheap, well-armed and plentiful ships should be the way to go - historically the British Navy has excelled because of it's technical, tactical and orgainsational edge, not because it had bigger guns. The one time it did have all the bigger guns (Battle of Jutland) it was a pretty embarassing failure since the things that had enabled the Navy to beat Napoleon (tactics, training and organisation) had all, largely, been ignored.

      But that would mean that the arms manufacturers didn't get vast wedges of cash and the admirals wouldn't get their big toys. So it's not going to happen. Instead, they waste money on a nuclear deterrant that we can't use if the US doesn't want us to and a massive missile-magnet that we don't even have planes to fly from (unless the US wants us to).

    5. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Return of the Battleships?

      While a battleship is slightly smaller than an aircraft carrier, it would sink much more swiftly thanks to its large weight of armour. (Although a reasonable design decision would be to have no armour, as any hit would be fatal regardless).

      I haven't yet seen any coherent explanation of how a railgun would actually hit anything at ranges of over about 10-15 nautical miles. It may pack a lot more power than a conventional 16-inch battleship gun, but what about accuracy? In WW2 state-of-the-art battleships fired thousands of rounds at targets that were well in sight above the horizon, and missed almost all the time. When firing over the horizon you need to fire a number of ranging shots before bracketing the target and firing for effect.

      Another question is why a battleship with railguns would be able to survive directs hits by hypersonic missiles. The missiles would come from sources well out of range of a railgun - or even within range, as a railgun could never hit an aircraft or a missile - but would still arrive before the railgun could even reload after its first shot.

      The bottom line is that guns of any type are hopelessly outmatched by modern missiles. Unless, of course, the gun fires a guided projectile which is itself a missile.

      1. Dave 15

        Re: Return of the Battleships?

        Modern sensors allow you to work out the pitch and roll of the ship and therefore adjust your aim for this. We have improved ability to find range, position, speed and direction than ww1 and even ww2 with modern radar

        We also dont need to crank handles to aim turrets any more. So in theory we can hit things better than in previous wars.

        However with a gun once the shell is on its way it will go where it was aimed. A missile can adjust for many different things - a ship sinking, a ship turning and so on. Mind you ... missiles can also end up confused by bits of tin foil...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Return of the Battleships?

          "Modern sensors allow you to work out the pitch and roll of the ship and therefore adjust your aim for this."

          Nelson's navy relied on highly trained gunners to do this. The enemy tended to aim at the rigging because it was a bigger target. Unfortunately when you have the windward of the enemy, even if he severely damages your rigging you are still going to travel in more or less the right direction while making holes in his woodwork.

        2. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Return of the Battleships?

          "Modern sensors allow you to work out the pitch and roll of the ship and therefore adjust your aim for this".

          You will find, if you look, that this had been accomplished by 1914.

    6. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Return of the Battleships?

      Radar and AI controlled railguns could surely see the return of more guns on ships and perhaps bigger ships with lots more guns?

      Not really. The range and killing power of a realistic naval railgun is the same as the cost and killing power of a modern multiple rocket launcher which costs a fraction of the cost per projectile and can fire cassette warheads with guided projectiles and observation drones (to see how well your bombardment is doing).

      A converted trawler with a 9A52-4 (or its NATO counterpart) mounted on it costs less than 3 million per unit and in the several thousands to tens of thousands per shot, does not need an expensive power source and can be built "in quantity".

      So if you actually CAN get within long range artillery range, long range artillery stops making sense. It is totally outgunned by battlefield rocket systems which cost peanuts and can be easily converted for marine use. The only reason they are not is because that would remove the justification for ridiculous pork projects like the gun on the Zumvalt class destroyers (which costs 1M per shell fired).

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Return of the Battleships?

      Not a chance. Too big a target, too easy to hit, too much of a concentration of forces in one vessel, in one place, making it too valuable to lose.

      Ultimately, even when you ignore the financial costs, they're too fragile for a weapon system.

      Funny to think of battleships as fragile, but along with costs, that's the reason why no one uses them anymore.

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Return of the Battleships?

        It may seem funny, but below the waterline a battleship is extremely fragile.

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

        (By the way, the fruity-voiced announcer gets the ship's name wrong: conventionally it is pronounced "Barram". As for "the first time...", a U-boat torpedoed and sank HMS "Royal Oak" in the opening days of WW2 - in Scapa Flow).

  3. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Trollface

    Ironic?

    Technology sold to a railway company used in a rail gun?

    Somehow I have this picture of the 18:15 being ejected from Euston like a massive projectile.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ironic?

      They would have to train in using the technology first.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Ironic?

      Somehow I have this picture of the 18:15 being ejected from Euston like a massive projectile.

      Wishful thinking goes both ways. Unfortunately most railguns will eject it exactly as it goes in real life after ~ 50 shots.

      That is not as bad as it seems by the way. Most WW1 battleships needed an overhaul of the main caliber after ~200 shots if using a full charge as needed for the maximum engagement distance. After that their precision went to hell.

      So if a railgun manages to reach several 100s shots without deteriorating it is actually fit for use as main caliber. We are not that far off from that.

      1. Dave 15

        Re: Ironic?

        Just looked up 335 full charge shells for a BL 15", apparently most reliable of the war

        The Challenger gun gets to 1500 shells... surprising, I recollect being told tank guns had only 3 or 4 rounds before the rifling was too worn but that it was ok as their life expectancy against the over whelming numbers of russian tanks was about 2 shots

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Ironic?

      Somehow I have this picture of the 18:15 being ejected from Euston like a massive projectile.

      Followed by a luminous green gas and a flightpath that ends on Mars?

      That'll teach them to invade us! That history book by H.G.Wells is pretty good.

  4. Arthur the cat Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Names

    Dynex produces, as its name suggests, semiconductors

    The name doesn't suggest anything to me. A quick Google for Dynex comes up with (as well as the power semiconductor firm) health systems, hydraulics, consumer cables, remote controls, batteries, plastic extrusions, TVs, paper shredders, drugs, a Venture Capital outfit, an eBay tat seller, a Canadian construction company, climbing gear, …

    Most company names these days seem to be designed to be as bland and meaningless as possible.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Names

      From the article:

      "the acquisition of Dynex Semiconductor by Chinese railway firm Zhouzhou CRRC Times Electric in 2008... ...Dynex produces, as its name suggests, semiconductors"

      Dynex Semiconductor is the name of the company, referred to throughout the rest of the article as Dynex.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Dynex was based in Canada and ran out of the old Marconi Semiconductors site in Lincoln

      Story here

      BTW there is a special edition on (IIRC) every even year in February of the relevant IEE journal devoted to railguns, mass drivers and EM launchers in general.

      At the end of the day the UK Govt has held (for a very long time) the attitude "F**k em it's not our business to decide who owns a UK company."

      It goes along with not placing any additional weight on wheather stuff is mfg in the UK for bids (which is allowed under EU bid rules but might stop you getting the absolute rock bottom price from, guess who, mfgs in countries that do support their own industries).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Pint

        Re: Dynex was based in Canada and ran out of the old Marconi Semiconductors site in Lincoln

        At the end of the day the UK Govt has held (for a very long time) the attitude "F**k em it's not our business to decide who owns a UK company."

        At least this time they paid for the IP, instead of the normal approach of using state-sponsored hackers to steal it.

        Absent a glass half full icon, that one on the right will have to do.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dynex was based in Canada and ran out of the old Marconi Semiconductors site in Lincoln

          Absent a glass half full icon, that one on the right will have to do.

          Of course, I've realised that icon IS a glass half full. A pint glass with a southerner's measure of beer, all head and no body.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Names

      > "Most company names these days seem to be designed to be as bland and meaningless as possible."

      That's because any company with international pretensions needs to worry about how their company name and/or logo will be perceived in various countries. With so many diverse languages being spoken it becomes difficult to find any syllable combo that doesn't offend someone, somewhere.

      And the logo issue isn't much better. An ice cream company once got grief for their logo showing swirly ice cream and nothing else. Seems it looked too much like Arabic script. I think it was alleged to resemble the Prophet's Name, or possibly the name of some naughty/embarrassing body part, I forget.

    4. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Names

      "Most company names these days seem to be designed to be as bland and meaningless as possible".

      They can't help it. Ask one of the highly profitable companies that specializes in finding such names, and they will tell you that almost every pronounceable and non-obscene name left is ridiculous.

  5. Alister Silver badge

    I'm quite sure China have been building IGBT for years, it's nonsense to suggest that acquisition of a British firm in 2008 would suddenly, magically mean they found out about something which has been around since the early 1990s.

    1. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Not so. Everyone has been using them, but that doesn't mean everyone has always been capable of making them. China has been playing catchup with a vengeance in the last few decades, calling in foreign specialist expertise explicitly to assimilate it.

      And that's not some armchair supposition - I had a contractor complain to me about a China job requiring his specialist big-ship-engine tech where he went out, set it up, and was then called back to the country on pain of non-payment because it didn't work (which it did before he left).

      The reason it didn't work is because they'd carefully dismantled it to reverse engineer it, but not well enough to understand it, so they couldn't reassemble it properly. So they force you to come back, blame you, and loom angrily over your shoulder while you work (to study the bits they didn't get right).

      Corporate espionage I can understand. Being rude, however, I cannot forgive. Especially as that specialist contractor was an elder.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Disassembly and reverse engineering is why many western companies nowadays don't even bother selling to any asian customers.

        They're so shameless about ripping off any company they'll happily take somebody (anybody, doesn't know if they have any knowledge about the product), give them a camera and a return plane ticket to some western trade show (with a single overnight hotel stay if they're lucky, none if not) and tell them to photograph anything interesting. And these people will photograph ANYTHING. One of our sister companies produces coaches (busses) and they regularly have people at trade shows spending hours coming back again and again photographing even the tiniest insignificant details of the wiring in the bagage compartment. They have at times simply locked them in there just to be rid of them for a while.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          They're so shameless about ripping off any company

          Much like most big companies, everywhere.

          Corporate espionage isn't just a Chinese thing y'know. Except in the West it's called 'Market Research'.

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            The Chinese in general are way more blatant about it than western companies though.

            1. Archtech Silver badge

              Horrid

              Don't you just hate it when foreigners (who are inferior by definition) demonstrate how much cleverer they are than you?

        2. Archtech Silver badge

          Stupid little bandy-legged brown and yellow people, eh?

          "Disassembly and reverse engineering is why many western companies nowadays don't even bother selling to any asian customers".

          Because Asians would never think of buying something from the original customer. Or just finding out how it works by observation.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      agreed, IGBT's aren't that new. however the process and specs of VERY high current IGBT's may be the kind of intellectual property they have acquired...

      just like integrated circuits have been around since the late 1950's or very early 1960's, but the ability to make the latest/greatest Intel CPU is the 'secret sauce' that only their chip foundries have. Similar for the RAM and SSD storage, yotta yotta yotta.

  6. EveryTime Silver badge

    IGBTs are an almost ubiquitous device in high power motor controls used on large equipment.

    They are slowly being replaced by high voltage MOSFETs, as higher voltage devices are introduced and equipment is redesigned to use them. But for very high voltages IGBTs are still the only game in town.

    With the market being overwhelmingly economically important civilian uses, it's difficult to see how this can be re-cast as a sale of military technology.

    1. Alsibbo
      Mushroom

      Thyratron tubes (and Triggered spark gaps) are still used at the absolute extreme of speed and power, in fact if there has been power semiconductors that rival them I would be interested to hear about them!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > "...it's difficult to see how this can be re-cast as a sale of military technology."

      An article that stated "They stole our stuff and are making money with it, the swine" would have much less punch than one that stated "They stole our stuff and are turning it into big guns to point at us."

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        A fortiori

        And still weaker would be the actual truth: "They bought our stuff and are making money with it, the swine".

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Britain's post-Brexit answer to maintaining national prosperity is to go full throttle into cutting-edge technologies, racing ahead of other countries to commercialise and license the technologies we develop."

    Just as well nobody else has thought of that !

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Something to be acutely aware of

    In a novel field of endeavour, any failure to engage by home forces will automatically default to tech going abroad in to foreign and alien lands/hand/hearts and minds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Something to be acutely aware of

      That's a bit short and pithy for you, sir. Or maybe your account has been hijacked?

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Something to be acutely aware of

        That's a bit short and pithy for you, sir. Or maybe your account has been hijacked?

        There's an easier answer involving a lack of psychoactive substances..

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Something to be acutely aware of

          With amanfrommars I'm not so sure it's a lack or 'just the right amount' thereof.

  9. Rich 2

    China

    For decades, the US and Europe have been incredibly short-sighted in how they deal with China.

    We have poured money into the country in the pursuit of [insert cheap commodity of your choice here], here in the UK, we have let them buy-out business after business. We're even letting them build and run a nuclear reactor for us, and it goes on and on and on

    And while this is going on, you have a dictatorship running the place (China, not here :-)) of the likes never seen before in history, from a defence point of view they are much more dangerous than Russia ever was, and we point nuclear bombs at each other (just in case).

    China is playing a very long game, and the rest of the world are walking straight into check-mate

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: China

      You forgot to add that the Chinese now own vast swathes of Africa and S. America.

      They own most of the US National Debt.

      The word 'inscrutable' seems an apt description of them?

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: China

        "Own" is a tricky concept when it comes to assets outside of your country. Britain "owned" the Iranian oil fields until 1952. The Rothschilds's owned their bank until Mitterand took it in 1982. Shell "owned" Sakhalin Island until Putin decided he wanted it in 2006.

        The US could just decide to default on its national debt. Britain could decide to nationalise its nuclear industry.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: China

          @Adam 52

          Britain could decide to nationalise its nuclear industry

          I think the French and Chinese governments may not like their nice little earner being taken away from them

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: China

          @Adam 52

          LOL - you almost had me there.

          1. Mark 65

            Re: China

            @AC: The US will undoubtedly default on its debt as it has absolutely fuck all chance of ever repaying it. It can't even inflate it away it grows so fast.

            1. veti Silver badge

              Re: China

              @Mark 65: the US will never default on its debt as long as either Republicans or Democrats are in charge. It would upset all their donors too much.

              They'd rather cut absolutely everything else, with the possible exception of their own salaries and expenses, before "cutting the money they pay out to rich people", which is what defaulting would mean.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: China

        The word 'inscrutable' seems an apt description of them?

        Does that put the US and UK on the list of scrutable nations?

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: China

          "Does that put the US and UK on the list of scrutable nations?"

          Very much so. As I mentioned before, capitalists are the most predictable people in the world.

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: China

        "They own most of the US National Debt."

        Maybe not MOST of it, but certainly a whole lot of it, and the previous U.S. president made SURE of that [having doubled the national debt in his 8 years in office]. [ok Congrab didn't help either, being all too willing to pass 'continuing resolutions' indefinitely, but still]

        so yeah, now a foreign entity owns a big chunk of our national debt. But that COULD be weaponized: "We go bankrupt".

        Not sure WHAT would happen, then...

        1. ZanzibarRastapopulous

          Re: China

          > "so yeah, now a foreign entity owns a big chunk of our national debt.

          > But that COULD be weaponized: "We go bankrupt"."

          That's a problem for China not the US.

          The US can't actually go bankrupt.

      4. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: China

        "The word 'inscrutable' seems an apt description of them?"

        It seems probable that intelligent people always seem "inscrutable" to stupid people.

    2. Mike Richards

      Re: China

      It’s quite common for China to demand IP transfer for companies wishing to work in China. Siemens for instance cooperated on building high speed trains in China and saw all their laboriously acquired IP handed over to Chinese companies which now market very similar trains all over the world.

      And then there are the flagrant IP abuses in China which sees Western designs stolen wholesale - have a look at the Landwind X7 and see if you can spot a slight resemblance to the West Midlands’ finest.

      1. Jan 0

        Re: China

        > the flagrant IP abuses in China which sees Western designs stolen wholesale - have a look at the Landwind X7 and see if you can spot a slight resemblance to the West Midlands’ finest.

        My brief research revealed that the Landwind is a copy of a shameful thing called an "Evoke". If that's the finest thing that the "West Midlands" can produce, then they should be embarrassed. Or should we cheer the mountebank who's pulled the wool over those inscrutable eyes?

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: China

        "have a look at the Landwind X7 and see if you can spot a slight resemblance to the West Midlands’ f

        finest."

        Given that they purchased the tooling, most of the factory and everything else except the name (BMW held on to that), it shouldn't really be a surprise.

      3. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: China

        And Siemens makes IGBT too, probably using them in their high speed trains. Let's do it the propaganda way: "Connect the dots, it's because of Siemens if China can make railgun!"

        Or not.

    3. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: China

      "For decades, the US and Europe have been incredibly short-sighted in how they deal with China".

      Mandatory (disputed) Lenin quotation:

      "The capitalists will sell you the rope with which to hang them".

      Lenin probably wouldn't have put it so pithily, but it's essentially true. No real capitalist ever thinks beyond next quarter's profits.

  10. Dr_N Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    It's what Britain is good at ...

    ... selling off stuff!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's what Britain is good at ...

      "... selling off stuff!"

      As Tory ex-PM Harold Macmillan said about the Thatcher years' privatisations of public enterprises: "selling off the family silver".

    2. fredj

      Re: It's what Britain is good at ...

      Not quite. The game is asset stripping. The asset strippers get the cash and Britain gets sweet f.a.

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: It's what Britain is good at ...

      ... selling off stuff!

      Of course - Britain is a nation of shopkeepers!

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: It's what Britain is good at ...

        Of course - Britain is a nation of shopkeepers!

        And, as Napoleon discovered, shopkeepers get *very* annoyed if you try to cut off their supplies.

        (Google on "The Continental System" which was a forerunner of what was tried in WW1 and WW2. It didn't work the first time either - largely as the result of the Royal Navy. Admittedly, Wellington and his allies kicking the crap out of Napoleons armies didn't help. Nor did Napoleons idiocy in invading Russia)

  11. Velv Silver badge
    Coat

    Need something quick to switch that 1.21 gigawatts when you hit 88MPH

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You'll be needing the flux capacitor, these are insulated-gate bipolar transistors, sometimes they are happy but sometimes they are sad.

  12. Alan Brown Silver badge

    "Yellow Peril", much?

    Seriously folks, just about all the IGBTs being churned out in China are going into their bullet trains.

    As for Railgun tech - The USA has been working on it for decades, as have many other countries and like the Nazis all the way back in the 1930s, nobody has yet been able to solve the problem of the barrels shredding themselves after a few shots.

    Being able to fire the things is another matter and relatively easy. IGBT or other technology is just a fancy switch which might allow lower kinetic energies to be achieved and save some barrel wear but that comes at cost of reduced range and velocity.

    Being "at a comparable level" with the USA isn't saying much given the lack of actual progress in the part that matters, since 1937 (ok, you can get 20-50 shots out instead of 3-4, but that's not much use when you actually need to use it outside of the laboratory)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Yellow Peril", much?

      Jees, all they have to do is coat the rail and shell with carbon nanotube coating. Easy peasy. Keeps the rail from deteriorating as quickly ;)

  13. eswan

    Do they make zhou-zhou trains?

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    The *real* tough part is not nS (or even pS, with the right design) switching, it's the

    huge currents and voltages needed.

    That's pretty special tech.

    But then modern high power hybrid vehicles don't use commutators any more. They are electronically switched.

    They also need high power, high current, fast switches.

    Actually if you want to do this is also the old school "Saturatable reactor" tech. This puts a specially built (sort of) transformer in the circuit. Depending on the design it either switches on or off, dumping all the power to the drive coils, but the saturator correction does not need such a high power. Obviously it's likely to be heavier, and trickier to engineer, but not impossible.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The *real* tough part is not nS (or even pS, with the right design) switching, it's the

      You've just described old fashioned car ignition technology, by the way.

      12V at modest current used to saturate the magnetic core, contact breakers open turning the primary into a resonant circuit (capacitor/inductor), energy dumps into spark gap through secondary with many turns.

      Now think how big the inductor is going to be to make this work with a railgun, and the forces on the core and secondary trying to tear the whole thing apart. In both cases the value is going to be "frigging huge".

      Capacitive discharge might work better. For one thing it's much easier to design a self healing capacitor than a self healing inductor,

      1. vir

        Re: The *real* tough part is not nS (or even pS, with the right design) switching, it's the

        I recall Texas Tech's railgun used several 3/4 turn inductors that were on the scale of a small house. They also used dynamite to close the switches. Perhaps somewhat impractical for a ship.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: The *real* tough part is not nS (or even pS, with the right design) switching, it's the

          "They also used dynamite to close the switches. Perhaps somewhat impractical for a ship".

          Although on a British battlecruiser it wouldn't make much difference.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: The *real* tough part is not nS (or even pS, with the right design) switching, it's the

        You've just described old fashioned car ignition technology

        Oi! Less of the 'old fashioned' if you please. One of our cars still uses it. And, as long as we can get a Lucas-pattern coil that doesn't die in five minutes, it'll still be working after the Chinese/Russians/terriorists EMP us all..

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: The *real* tough part is not nS (or even pS, with the right design) switching, it's the

      "Actually if you want to do this is also the old school "Saturatable reactor" tech."

      yeah, about mag-amps... they're notoriously inefficient, so they'll heat up really fast. Additionally, you COULD make a mag-amp rectifier, but regardless you still need to feed them with AC, and not DC, which means that charging a bank of super-capacitors and then RAPIDLY discharging them into the railgun system to fire it would be out...

      nice try, though. Sorry to pee on your parade, to wet your blanket, to hose you down in your moment of passion, to poop your party, to ...

      compare to much smaller (and lower dissipated power) IGBTs and/or MOSFETS. Hell, with optoisolators you could get away with using standard bipolar, or even (if you're really tricky) use SCRs. A few decades back I saw some static inverters that actually used a bank of SCRs in the output stage, big bolty-looking things, several inches in diameter. I think these inverters were designed in the 1970's, long before IGBTs and vertical MOSFETS came around. And they had massive cooling fans, too.

      Anyway, there are LOTS of ways to skin cats, remove one's clothing, etc..

  15. K Silver badge

    "That will not only make the world a less safe place"

    I suspect the author of that statement has never visited China, and the closest cultural experience he's had is going to a local takeaway!

    They're a nation of makers and traders, all they want to do is sell their wares and earn a living from it, in the past decade, we've seen them go from copying (or stealing, if you want to see it that way), to innovating so of the best Tech we currently see. They actually have little interest in "projecting" power, considering their population size, they actually spend little on their military (Even their 1 aircraft carrier was brought second hand)..

    As for my credentials.. I've spent a lot of time there (my brother lives in there and married to a Chinese lady)

    1. Mark Exclamation

      Re: "That will not only make the world a less safe place"

      That's true of most of the general population of most countries. However, the governments of most of the countries behave in a completely different way.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: "That will not only make the world a less safe place"

      They have had little interest in "projecting" power, because there was no point while America was intent on being top dog.

      But since their military tech has pretty much caught up with America's, they've been getting more muscular. (Just ask Taiwan.) And the Donald has encouraged them, in all sorts of ways - by pissing on the US alliances with countries like South Korea, Japan, Australia, by telling them all that China can control North Korea, by pulling out of the TPPA, by telling everyone how great his mate Xi is...

      Historically the Chinese empire has been land based, which is why aircraft carriers haven't been of much interest. And now that they are turning more outward - aircraft carriers are fast becoming obsolescent anyway. When your land-based stealth fighters have a range in the thousands of miles, who needs carriers?

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: "That will not only make the world a less safe place"

        " When your land-based stealth fighters have a range in the thousands of miles, who needs carriers?"

        Stealth is obsolete. China's mainly built them to show that it can.

        What makes aircraft carriers obsolete are things like the DF-21-D and DF-24. The funny thing about carrier escort groups is that they only have so many defensive missiles and then they're all sitting ducks for a landbased ASBM with decent range and effectively unlimited "reload" capability. You don't even need to sink a carrier to render it useless. A hole punched in the flight deck is enough to make the fleet return home for repairs.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: "That will not only make the world a less safe place"

      "They're a nation of makers and traders, all they want to do is sell their wares and earn a living from it,"

      Actually they're a nation of scientists and inventors, with a lot of stuff we take for granted in the fabric of our society being chinese in origin (even the gun/cannon - Genghis Khan brought those to Europe).

      For some reason the chinese turned politically inward just before the industrial revolution, but technologically they were more advanced than the west until the 19th century.

      They've been playing catchup for the last 50 years after having their shoelaces tied together by other powers, but now they're back and they're ready to develop and trade with all comers.

      Incidentally what has been the biggest economic driver over the last 4-5000 years has been access to cheap energy (slaves, then steam, then electricity). China's R&D into civil nuclear energy (and particularly its molten salt investments) is set to make it the world's superpower for the next century when it translates that into economic modular reactors for developing countries to power _their_ economic miracles in the face of carbon restrictions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "That will not only make the world a less safe place"

        @Alan Brown

        You've hit the nail on the head here. Many in the West are rightly afraid of nuclear power, but it can be done far more safely with other technologies. We in the West went down the nuclear power road we did as a "cheap" way of guaranteeing a "low cost" nuclear weapons grade stockpile. It could have and still can be very different for civil power generation.

        "China's R&D into civil nuclear energy (and particularly its molten salt investments) is set to make it the world's superpower for the next century when it translates that into economic modular reactors"

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Even their 1 aircraft carrier was brought second hand

      2 A/Cs, 3rd is under construction.

    5. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: "That will not only make the world a less safe place"

      @K "they actually spend little on their military"

      They've just announced an increase of 8.1% for 2018, to 1.11 trillion yuan (US$175 billion). Their second aircraft carrier they are currently building themselves, as part of a programme that includes a nuclear-powered carrier.

      As for just wanting to "sell their wares and earn a living from it", do you think those islands in the South China Sea are being built for new shopping malls? Remember, Napoleon made the mistake of dismissing the British as a 'nation of shop keepers".

      I don't need "credentials" to follow and remark on international news, but I am a long-time resident of Hong Kong and I visit the Mainland. While there is a lot of interest in commerce, there are also very patriotic elements and an authoritarian government that is about to fix its leader in position for life.

    6. ZanzibarRastapopulous

      Re: "That will not only make the world a less safe place"

      > "They actually have little interest in "projecting" power..."

      What's with the fortified islands then?

      1. Scroticus Canis

        Re: "What's with the fortified islands then?"

        They don't sink like aircraft carriers and don't need special aircraft for take off and landing on them.

      2. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: "That will not only make the world a less safe place"

        "What's with the fortified islands then?"

        A few scattered islands a few hundred miles from the Chinese coast, protecting the biggest trade route in the world - on which China is far more dependent than any other nation.

        What's with the Falkland Islands, then - one-third of the way round the world from Britain?

        What's with Diego Garcia, then - almost exactly on the opposite side of the world from the USA?

    7. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: "That will not only make the world a less safe place"

      They're a nation of makers and traders

      So is/was the UK. Which didn't stop us having the largest empire/hegemony that the world has seen to date.

      Which was almost entirely based on capuring other countires in order to gain their resources. Why trade when you can own outright?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    China does not play by the same rules

    "Deutsche Bahn thinks first and foremost about Deutsche Bahn, and Siemens first and foremost about Siemens," explained deputy chief engineer of China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock, Lu Renyuan. "But, in China, each person thinks about how we can all advance our nation together."

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/harmony-and-ambition-china-s-cut-throat-railway-revolution-a-692969.html

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: China does not play by the same rules

      But, in China, each person thinks about how we can all advance our nation together, else they disappear.

      There, fixed that for you.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of the Stargate SG-1 episode "Beachhead"

    LANDRY

    What did you do?

    NEROUS

    Oh, it's not what I did. General. What I have done pales in comparison to your contribution. And by now... the force field has almost entirely enveloped the planet. Which makes them unstoppable.

    *Goa’uld voice* And we couldn’t have done it without you.

  18. KSM-AZ

    Roll back time . . .

    30 years. Replace the word China with the word Japan. Wnat goes around. <smile>. Film at 11.

    1. Jan 0

      Re: Roll back time . . .

      Make that over 50 years, back when I was ogling Honda 250 Super Dreams and my boss was ogling incredible multichannel chart recorders. Of course we both bought amazing Japanese cameras (to help with more predictable '60s ogling:).

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Roll back time . . .

      And roll forward 200 years and, unless we are all radioavtive dust, the planet will be talking about the conflicts between the superpowers of India and China.

      And the west will consist mostly of old, faded countries dreaming of past glories and living as client-states of one of the superpowers.

  19. Alsibbo

    Whats wrong with Thyratrons? They have been able to switch many Megawatts (and probably GW) for years

  20. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    y'all need to go read up on "Superiority" by a Mr C. Clarke.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a positive sign for Brexit

    Britain can still make things that countries outside the EU want to buy!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting to see that initial discussions about a UK-US trade deal have revealed a US stance that UK companies with a significant overseas share holding should be excluded from any agreements. A strong opening move from the US, one feels.

    ( its not clear whether the UK's "top negotiators" are involved with this or with the BrExit talks - although many of them are from the usual consultancies I'm sure we can rely on them to put the country's interests first )

  23. ScottishYorkshireMan

    ... and the reactors?

    Big hoo-ha here. Yet there's no problem in taking Chinese money to build us nuclear reactors? Aye, and they think that the chinese won't have an off button for the cooling systems of those?

    Makes a bit of railgun tech seem a bit well, meh?

  24. Aodhhan

    Well, no worries about BREXIT

    Who cares about brexit anymore? Since China is buying up more UK companies every year, it will soon become part of the red giant. Soon, learning Mandarin will be compulsory in every UK school.

    Look at the bright side... it will no longer be part of the 5 eyes community.

  25. x 7

    Memories of jet engines to Russia.......

    without that piece of stupidity the Korean and Vietnamese wars would have been rather different

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019