* Posts by Jackonicko

2 posts • joined 16 Sep 2009

Most expensive RAF aircraft ever takes to the skies


well, actually

A FLKA (Funny Looking King Air) can do the FLIR/FMV part of Nimrod's role quite well, but can't do the same spectrum of Afghan roles (a King Air laden with kit has two operators only, limiting what it can do, it can't carry the same comms gear, it can't fly high enough, it can't locate enemy signals as well (aerial configuration), it can't carry the same ESM and it can't offer the same radar surveillance capabilities).

And it certainly can't do the Nimrod's other roles, and for as long as we're a maritime nation, and for as long as we have SLBMs, them we need those capabilities.


More nonsense from LP

Why does the Register persist in giving Lewis Page a platform as their de facto military air correspondent?

He lacks knowledge and insight, and his “buy US instead” and “spend the money on boots and bayonets” prejudices skew everything that he writes.

He unerringly gets it badly wrong on Typhoon, and now he’s doing the same on Nimrod.

Page persistently calls the Nimrod a Comet, implying that this is a 60 year old airframe.

It isn’t. Though based on the Comet configuration, the Nimrods were extensively redesigned, and were newly built in the late 1960s.

The new Nimrod MRA.Mk 4 is mostly newly built, re-using only some re-lifed fuselage and tailplane components, rigorously rebuilt and re-lifed making these new aircraft.

Page calculates the Nimrod ‘price’ by dividing total programme cost by the number of aircraft being purchased by the RAF. This includes all the R&D, and ignores the fact that planned production has been scaled back in defence cuts. It isn’t a unit production price, and it isn’t what you’d pay if you wanted to buy another one. He then compares it with marginal unit production costs of the aircraft’s competitors. Did no-one teach him about the need to compare like with like?

“India, for instance, earlier this year ordered a fleet of 8 brand-new P-8 Poseidons, the type the US Navy is getting, for $260m each - 40 per cent of what Britain will pay for its Nimrod MRA4s.”

But had India ordered eight MRA4s, rather than eight P-8s, it would not have paid anything like Page’s claimed $660 m price.

Page claims that the P-8 would offer lower running costs, but does so without any evidence, and indeed in the face of many indicators to the contrary. He ignores the fact that no P-8 will be available for export for another five years - when MRA4 is on the verge of entering service.

Page also ignores the P-8's many problems – many of its ‘critical technologies’ are judged to be immature, and many of its sensors are judged to be inferior to those being incorporated on the MRA4.

Page maintains that a “cheap unmanned drone” can fulfil the same role. This is a risible claim – a drone can lift an EO sensor, but cannot lift the ESM and radar that Nimrod offers, and bandwidth limitations make it impossible for the unmanned platform to offer the same capability and flexibility.

As usual, Page produces witty, polished, readable prose, but as journalism it’s shabby, ill-informed and poorly thought through.

Don’t the Register’s readers deserve better?



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