* Posts by Alf the Unlucky

4 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

UK's first stealth jumpjet rolls off line – but we don't want it

Alf the Unlucky

Nothing in it for us?

"It's a US aircraft being built in the USA; there's nothing about it that puts anything into the UK economy "

I think you'll find that a substantial amount of the airframe is built in Salmesbury in Lancs. Britain has invested in excess of £2bn in this programme and is the only Tier 1 partner. So whether we buy the A, B, or C model, we still get an aircraft with rear ends built in England. As will everyone else taking one of the projected 3,000 aircraft to built.

That sounds like a good deal for our economy.

Eurofighter Typhoon: It's EVEN WORSE than we thought

Alf the Unlucky

More anti-Typhoon bile

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

Take this:

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

And then this:

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

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

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

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 And many Tranche 1 aircraft withdrawn early are likely to be sold to Oman.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


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

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

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

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

-- Iain

Raptor over Blighty: Watch the stealth fighter in infrared

Alf the Unlucky

Export correction

"Austria, Saudi-Arabia, Greece all bought the EFA. "

Erm, I think you'll find Greece cancelled its Typhoon order.

It seems likely that Oman will order Typhoon soon although whether these will be new-build aircraft or ex-RAF Tranche 1 machines is not clear.

Alf the Unlucky

A little disingenuous

Whatever else it may be the Typhoon is undeniably cheaper than the F-22. It's cheaper because it's not a stealth fighter and doesn't have some of the capabilities of the F-22. That's not to say it isn't still very, very capable.

It shouldn't have cost so much but political interference played a major part in delays and cost over-runs. However, it remains the most potent fighter in the world aside from the F-22 and, unlike the Raptor, is exportable.

Some of the author's claims are disingenuous to say the least.

"The RAF is likely to receive 160 planes for this, though many will be mothballed as the service does not require and cannot man up nearly so many Typhoons.

The likely useable UK fleet of say 120-30 jets...will thus have cost Uk taxpayers £200m apiece or more, well north of $300m at current rates."

There is a fixed element of R&D in the programme cost. Cut the order from 232 to 160 and you immediately add £20m to the overall unit cost. If the RAF does indeed operate a fleet of only 130 aircraft then either the non-used aircraft will be stored and therefore capable of being activated in an emergency or they will have been sold and generated revenue for the MoD. Either way, to calculate the unit cost of £200m from a low front-line fleet total and compare this unfavourably with the F-22 is highly misleading.

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