* Posts by EvilDrSmith

25 posts • joined 30 Jan 2018

UK.gov finally adds Galileo and Copernicus to the Brexit divorce bill

EvilDrSmith

Re: To anyone pro-Brexit

Agreed

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EvilDrSmith

Re: To anyone pro-Brexit

I broadly agree, apart from it actually being democratic to hold another referendum - democracy, like justice has to be seen to be done, as well as to be done. The most voracious cries for another referendum are from those people that have been trying to overthrow the decision from the start.

Whatever the arguments for a new referendum may be, it will clearly be seen by many as an attempt to frustrate BREXIT, and as such would be harmful to democracy.

Add in that the EU (and ECC/EC) has a history of telling countries that have held referenda on EC/EU issues to think again when they came back with the 'wrong' result, and also the suggestion (repeated below I see) that it should be a three way referendum with two options to leave, thus ensuring the leave to vote is split so that remain can win, and any attempt to force through a second referendum would be viewed as an attack on democracy, and be even more highly divisive than the original back in 2016.

Which is pretty much what you said.

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EvilDrSmith

Re: To anyone pro-Brexit

So at the time the referendum bill was in parliament you wrote to your MP insisting he or she oppose it?

Or wrote a strongly worded letter to the Times, demanding the rules be changed?

Or took to the streets and opposed the whole process in a demonstration parliament square?

Or actually, you did nothing, smug and confident that your side would win by the rules which you knew (or which you would have known if you had made the modicum of effort to find them out).

And then only when you lost could you be bothered to do anything (that being, posting rudely worded comments on a discussion board).

How many of the people here so upset with the vote did anything to help the remain campaign?

How many volunteered to hand out fliers outside rainy stations, or deliver leaflets to a two-mile stretch of houses?

The rules were set down clearly, and in plenty of time, There was no widespread disagreement with them (with the exception, if I recall, of the SNP, who I think did object to some of the rules, but also to the whole idea of the referendum anyway).

How many even bothered to vote?

As a society, we agreed the rules and we agreed that the result would be implemented.

We reached a result.

We implement the result.

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EvilDrSmith

Re: To anyone pro-Brexit

You're logic is sound, but I disagree. Democracy is something that we in the 'liberal west' take for granted, yet it is so incredibly fragile and easy to lose, and it is invariably so difficult and bloody to restore.

You do not defend democracy when the government is a dictatorship, and the gulags/death camps are in operation - by then it's way too late; you defend democracy over the first little things.. when the PM tries to lock innocent people (erm.. terrorist suspects) up for 90 days without charge or trail.

Or when attempts are made to overthrow a decision of the people by assorted individuals, many of whom fail to understand that democracy doesn't mean that we all vote and that they then get what they want, but some of whom are politicians carefully noting how 'the people' are accepting that democracy can be ignored (if they accept it once, they have no fundamental principle over it happening again, and again, and again...).

Whether BREXIT is good or bad is irrelevant (and a matter of opinion).

We agreed a set of rules for the referendum. We agreed that the result would be implemented, on the basis that +1 vote was enough. We reached a democratic decision.

We now implement that decision. Anything else is an attack in democracy.

And it's never a waste of time to stand up and defend democracy.

I will no doubt now be heavily down voted. Meh!

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EvilDrSmith

Re: Neverendum

You missed out that the breach of the law committed by the leave campaign was because they took advice from the Electoral Commission, who stated that what they were going to do (in general terms) was legal, when, in fact, it was not. And that the Electoral Commission then attempted to cover up their own part in this to the High Court.

From the High Court ruling:

Conclusion

94. For the reasons given, we conclude that the Electoral Commission has misinterpreted the definition of “referendum expenses” in section 111(2) of PPERA. The source of its error is a mistaken assumption that an individual or body which makes a donation to a permitted participant cannot thereby incur referendum expenses. As a result of this error, the Electoral Commission has interpreted the definition in a way that is inconsistent with both the language and the purpose of the legislation.

So the Electoral Commission have found the leave campaign guilty of serious crimes, but the High Court has found the Electoral Commission (in effect) misled the leave campaign, causing that breach of the law.

There have also been numerous accusations of breaches of the rules by the remain campaign which the Electoral Commission has failed to investigate (not investigated and found to be unsubstantiated, but failed to investigate).

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EvilDrSmith

Because in a democracy sovereign power comes not from parliament (or even the sovereign), but from the people.

If the peoples' representatives ask the people for direction, then they follow the instruction they get back from the people.

The sensible thing is, of course, never to be stupid enough to ask the people a direct question like this in the first place.

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EvilDrSmith

Re: Neverendum

The difference is that we vote for our representatives to parliament, on the strict basis that they fill that role for a period not exceeding 5 years. When we then have the next general election, we are not 'changing our mind'; once we vote for our MP, that result is fixed and permanent, and is not, and cannot be, over turned, because some people don't like the result / think it may be harmful.

We (the nation) voted in a free and fair referendum, which was not just authorised but instructed to occur by act of parliament. We voted to leave the EU: the exact details of what this meant were indeed unclear (other than it meant leaving the single market, leaving the common external tariff area / customs union, and ending the general jurisdiction of the ECJ, all points that were absolutely clear during the referendum). Parliament voted to enact that result, and duly started the process for leaving the EU. It would be an over-turning of democracy to stop that process: the instruction to leave the EU has been given and so should be carried out.

Once we have left the EU, then anybody is of course entirely free to make the case to then reverse that decision, just as once your duly elected MP takes his seat in parliament, you are entirely free to start campaigning, for or against him/her, for the next election.

Of course, given that the only previous time the people of the UK were consulted on membership of the EEC/EC/EU was 1975, which was a referendum won by the remain campaign, it might be viewed as hypocritical for supporters of remain to insist on another referendum in less than 40 years from 2016.

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Blighty's super-duper F-35B fighter jets are due to arrive in a few weeks

EvilDrSmith

Re: STOP BUYING FIGHTER PLANES !!

"if you want a intercept - buy a missile"

The attitude adopted by the UK government in the 1950's that was a significant (though not sole) factor in the decline of the British aviation industry. And which was not fully thought out, then.

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EvilDrSmith

Re: A plane so expensive it’s useless

While $20mil for an F16 is floating around as a number on the internet, it seems to be the lower-end figure of what the USAF pays; I doubt that it represents a realistic number for the cost-per airframe for a nation acquiring the aircraft from scratch (thus needing to set up all the support infrastructure, etc).

That's not to say that it won't be a lot cheaper than an F35, but probably about half the cost.

The F16 also entered service in the 1970's. It's a good aeroplane. It's also 40+ years old and obsolescent.

An F-22 can't be had for any sum of money. The production line is closed, and the US decided that it would be unavailable to any and all foreign customers.

No idea what the cost an F14 was - it's been out of service with the US for so long now, I couldn't even reliably guess when production ceased - some time in the 1980's at a guess. The Iranian's still use it (bought by the Shar prior to the revolution). Slightly ironically (given the constant incorrect claims made about Typhoon), the F14 was designed for air-to air only, as fleet air defence fighter, though did have a ground attack capability 'bolted-on' in later life (the Tomcat became the Bombcat).

I suspect that rather than F14 you may have meant the F/A18 - currently in the E/F model (Super Hornet aka Super Bug). A good, sound aeroplane, the original (A/B) version of which entered service around 1983. So a 35 year old design - again, it's obsolescent.

Regarding flight experience and costs of training - a significant issue, which the ever increasing use of ever-more-realistic simulators is addressing - if you crash the simulator, the trainee walks away and you reset the simulator, you don't need a new aeroplane and a new trainee. Simulators also tend to be cheaper to operator (no jet fuel needed).

As for career over if you crash - I doubt it, plenty of service pilots have crashed. Sometimes it was their fault, sometime not. They don't generally get dismissed from the service or permanently grounded (there is a medic limit on flying again following multiple ejections, I think - not sure of details).

If the plane malfunctions and the pilot bailed out, than a very expensive component of the plane (the highly and expensively trained pilot) has been saved for re-use. It's not his/her fault the plane malfunctioned.

Less anyone mistake me from the above - I am not a great fan of the F35.

It seems to me to have been a poor idea to create the three variants: there must have been design compromises, particularly with regard to the -B model affecting the -A and -C models.

The maintenance system seems perfectly cost efficient for a civilian logistics operation, but unwise for a military system.

It's taken too long and cost too much.

But it has some very clever features that will probably prove highly effective. It does actually work, and (as regards the -B model) is easier and a safer to fly than a Harrier, so should end up killing less of its pilots (*I'm not sure how many Harrier crashes actually killed the pilot, but they were noted as being tricky to fly).

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EvilDrSmith

Re: bombing cities

Indeed they were - hence 'the bomber will always get through'. What the theories tended to miss was the relatively poor capability of a bomber force to 'destroy' a city with 1920's / 1930's technology. Douhet also underestimated the effectiveness of the air defences opposing the bomber - 'A bomber will always get through...but if we shoot enough of it's companions down, they'll give up bombing long before they actually destroy the city'.

Of course, that's taking the broad view...if it's you and your family under the bomber(s) that gets through, then the city is destroyed quite enough.

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EvilDrSmith

Re: re: anything to add

Not again...

As I and others have pointed out on more than one occasion, the UK intended the Eurofighter (Typhoon) to be a replacement for the RAFs Jaguars (amongst others).

The Jaguar is a ground attack aircraft.

Typhoon was designed to replace a ground attack aircraft.

Typhoon was designed to be a ground attack aircraft.

The actual implementation of that capability was delayed because it wasn't a priority, and the Cold War ended (apparently), and defence budgets amongst the partner nations were slashed, leaving not a great deal of funds for defence spending relative to what the people in charge wanted to spend money on.

However, Typhoon is and always has been capable of fulfilling the ground attack role.

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F-35B Block 4 software upgrades will cost Britain £345m

EvilDrSmith

Re: It's not RAF nor UK It's Nato ...

The Typhoon vs Indian Su30 claim was actually 0-12.

However, it was apparently made in an Indian equivalent of the mail on-line, and, from what I read reading around the subject at the time, no more reliable.

It appears to be based on the RAF playing nice in the first couple of days that the Indian pilots were there and learning the area, prior to the exercises starting properly (the idea of the exercise being to learn from each other, not humiliate the guests). When the actual exercises started, the Su30's suddenly weren't anywhere near as good.

That's not to say that the Su30 isn't a very good aeroplane. But so is Typhoon.

The SU 30 gets its very good manoeuvrability from thrust vectoring - but if you're not moving in the direction you are pointing, you tend to generate a lot of drag that slows you down. And if you've vectored your thrust, a large chunk of that thrust is not available to counteract the drag.

Typhoon gets its very good manoeuvrability aerodynamically, and so keeps its energy (speed) much better. (Apparently, if I understand all the technical bumf correctly, which I might not have).

Both has IRST (passive detection), both have helmet-mounted sights (giving high off-boresight missile lock-on).

Typhoon carries ASRAAM, which can successfully engage a target directly behind the aircraft, which I think remains a unique capability: RAAF did it, firing from an F/A18:

http://www.yourindustrynews.com/raaf+has+successfully+fired+asraam+at+a+target+located+behind+the+wing-line+of+the+‘shooter'+aircraft_26109.html.

Typhoon also has what is claimed to be the best Defensive Aids System fitted to a combat aircraft (incorporates warning receivers, threat library, expendable decoys, jammer and towed decoy).

As I said, the SU30 is a very good aeroplane, but so is the Typhoon.

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EvilDrSmith

Re: It's not RAF nor UK It's Nato ...

"who cheat by including service pensions as defence spending"

Financial and Economic Data Relating to NATO Defence, published 13 April 2012 (by NATO), makes it clear that "Personnel expenditures include military and civilian personnel expenditures and pensions".

The same document notes that defence expenditures do not include pensions, in one exception: Bulgaria.

So including military pensions in defence spending may seem to mis-represent the degree of funding on active defence capability, but for NATO countries, it's not cheating. The change in UK accounting procedures simply made us compliant with the rules.

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EvilDrSmith

Re: and Pigs might fly a.k.a F-35

Stealth does exist, it's just not binary ( 'you have it or you don't'), but shades of grey.

It's about reducing the radar return from the aircraft to the detecting system, and the basic physics behind shaping and radar absorbent (or transparent) materials doesn't change just because your opponent also understands these principles and has made his detection systems less vulnerable to them.

Whether 'full stealth' is worth the financial cost or other design compromises necessary to achieve it is, of course, and entirely different question.

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EvilDrSmith

Re: They're bringing 617 back ?

Went from Vulcans to Tornados. Disbanded as a Tornado squadron when??? can't remember, but quite recently, as a prelude to reforming with F35.

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EvilDrSmith

Some sound comments, but implying the new UK carriers are 'the wrong ships' ignores a whole host of very good arguments for STOL carriers and against the 'cats-and-traps' type (which arguments have been repeated more than once in these comments pages).

Also, referring only to UK air-to-air kills strictly limits your data set - plenty of air-to-air kills have been achieved by supersonic capable aircraft (Indo-Pakistan wars, Arab-Israeli wars, Various US adventures, East Africa, etc)

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EvilDrSmith

Re: Submarine palaces for marine fauna

"As to the UK, we ought to know better after the Falklands (where we had to keep the carriers out of range of pretty much any and every threat, or lose the war) but politicial stupidity and short-sighted penny-pinching will always have their way ... our two "supercarriers", if we have to fight against a real opponent, really are just big, fat, dumb floating targets."

And yet, without the carriers, we would have lost the Falklands war.

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UK.gov: Psst. Belgium. Buy these Typhoon fighter jets from us, will you?

EvilDrSmith

Re: @ wolfetone

Cynical is good....

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EvilDrSmith

Re: @ wolfetone

Indeed...Lewis has never much liked Eurofighter / Typhoon, and at no point have I ever claimed that the programme was necessarily well managed.

However, that doesn't change the fact that the Typhoon was conceived and designed to replace Phantom FGR2 in RAF service in the air defence role, and Jaguar in the ground attack roll.

The RAF considered replacement of the Phantom (and stopgap Tornado F3) as more urgent than the replacement of the Jaguar, so development of the Typhoon gave priority to the air-to-air capability (I think the Luftwaffe and Italian air forces shared that view, since they both were also proud possessors of relatively new Tornado strike aircraft).

While I am always happy to read Lewis' articles (invariably entertaining), I prefer not to base my opinion on a subject purely on his views; if I were at home, I could add a fairly long list of book and magazine references on the Eurofighter /Typhoon dating back to the 1990's, which provide a somewhat less biased record of the development history than Mr Page.

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EvilDrSmith

Re: @ wolfetone

>Sigh<

No.

The Eurofighter / Typhoon was designed to meet a number of requirements, including replacing the Jaguar ground attack aircraft in RAF service.

As I and others have said before it was always designed to have an air-to-ground capability.

It was not an expensive 'fudge' upgrade; it was a sequential development of planned capability, which is still on-going.

In fact, the UK were arguably the drivers for the current capabilities of Typhoon - the Germans in particular were reluctant to continue with the development of the aircraft as agreed, after 1990, and for a while pushed hard for a less capable (=cheaper) option.

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EvilDrSmith

I think the contenders now are Typhoon, Rafale and F35.

The F16, while still a good aeroplane due to continuous updates, is obsolescent, and any nation looking to maintain a first-line airforce is looking to replace them (if it's their only tactical jet).

F/A18 was in the running for Belgium, but was withdrawn, because of "unfairness in the bidding procedure" (i.e. they claim it was skewed in favour of F35). But the F/A 18 is also obsolescent, and it may just be Boeing realised they had no chance.

The Gripen was also an option for a while but was withdrawn, because SAAB couldn't guarantee the support requirements (the contract is apparently to be government to government, which means government foreign policy impacts on what the supplying company can actually supply).

The Rafale bid may not be fully compliant with the Belgium requirements (not sure of the details of this).

So in practice, there isn't really a 'something cheap' option, if they want to keep a first line (NATO compatible) capability.

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South China waters are red, Brit warships are blue, HMS Sutherland's sailing there

EvilDrSmith

Re: re: You can't manufacture sovernity by manufacturing islands

Well, by and large, the Brit's never kicked the natives out - Diego Garcia / Chagos islands excepted.

Britain got to rule the waves by finding unoccupied islands, or pinching occupied ones, and keeping the population (need someone to work in the dockyards).

But it was all within the bounds of what passed for international law at the time (again, Diego Garcia possibly excepted).

And assuming your comment was actually a not-so-subtle reference to the Falklands, nope, no population kicked out by the Brits, just the illegal Argentinian* military occupation forces (twice).

*Not strictly correct for the 1832 event, since the Argentinian Republic hadn't been declared at that point.

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Secret weekend office bonk came within inch of killing sysadmin

EvilDrSmith
Headmaster

Re: And sometimes the flood is concrete

"...a small quantity of sugar (about 0.05 per cent of the weight of cement) will act as an acceptable retarder: the delay in setting of concrete is about 4 hours....A large quantity of sugar, say 0.2 to 1 per cent of the weight of the cement, will virtually prevent the setting of cement."

Properties of Concrete (A M Neville). 3rd edition (which probably shows my age, somewhat).

I have a dim and distant memory that the effects of sugar retarding the setting of concrete were first discovered when sacks previously used to transport molasses were then used to transport cement. But that might be me imagining things.

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F-35 flight tests are being delayed by onboard software snafus

EvilDrSmith

It was quite late...

Tornado F3 (not Typhoon F3), obviously...

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EvilDrSmith

>sigh<

Please, for the love of God and the Vampire Baby Jesus, will people please stop repeating this rubbish that the Typhoon was designed to be only a fighter, with surface attack capability added as some sort of after thought.

The RAF wanted Typhoon to replace the Phantom FGR2 in the air defence role in UK and Germany, Typhoon F3 in the air defence roll in UK and the Jaguar as a close air support / ground attack aircraft. Typhoon was ALWAY intended to have an air-to surface capability.

And it's really not hard to find this out - just read a book, magazine, or even website written by someone that actually knows what they are talking about. For example:

RAF Yearbook 1997: "The aircraft (Typhoon) will provide the major element of the RAF's front line strength...in the air defence, ground attack and tactical reconnaissance roles."

International Air Power Review, Vol20 (2006): "Though all of its customers placed their primary emphasis on getting the aircraft into service in the air-to-air role, the aircraft was designed from the start to be a swing-role fighter...capable of switching from air-to-ground to air-to-air...The aircraft has always been a versatile, deployable, multi-role aircraft."

I could list (many) more references but that just gets boring, and it's quite late.

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