Friday, April 24, 2009

Brown Ignores Merkel's Pleadings Over Eurofighter

Tonight Newsnight reported that the government is considering cutting back on Britain's part of the Eurofighter, the new fighter plane for the RAF being built as part of a pan-european effort. I understand that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, telephoned Gordon Brown on the morning of the budget to personally warn him that whatever other cuts he may implement, cutting the UK's part of this key euro-project shouldn't be one of them. It's interesting that the UK's financial position should be thought of as being so weak by a major European partner. Interesting too that Gordon Browns reputation as a continual cutter of the defence budget built up during his decade as chancellor should be so well understood by Britain's allies overseas.

30 comments:

Oldrightie said...

he will also ignore our pleadings to call an election. mad as mad can be. He really is.

an ex-apprentice said...

The two Tornado F3 Air Defence squadrons in Leuchars, Scotland, will now disband in September 2009, a year early, as a cost-cutting measure. That will leave responsibility for UK Air Defence solely with the two existing Typhoon squadrons at Coningsby.

This will reportedly cut the number of fighter aircraft on standby to protect British airspace from 25 to 12, which equates to between 6 and 8 operational jets at the current readiness rate.

From September the Americans, with 72 F15's at Lakenheath, will have a greater capability to defend our airspace than the RAF.

Jimmy said...

He should reassure Merkel that the UK's commitment to defence spending will not fall below Germany's.

Scrof said...

I would imagine that Merkel's call was more about protecting German jobs than anything connected to European security or the interests of NATO.

They've been more than happy to let British soldiers do the fighting and dying in Afghanistan thus far.

Eddie said...

Am I correct in thinking that in the November PBR Darling predicted the UK economy would reduce by 1% in 2009. Now revised to a 3.5% reduction?

If in November he predicted a 1% fall for the whole of 2009, does a 1.9% fall in the first three months not show just how ridiculous any forecast he makes is?

Man in a Shed said...

Never mind that - wait till they cancel the Aircraft Carriers and F35s...(just after the general election of course which in their insane minds they think they might still win).

Thatsnews said...

Labour has form for this.

TSR2, anyone?

Martin Day said...

Brown is useless and It makes me wonder how on earth such a thing, then i think about one of the ministers at the MOD! A fool who thought Gordon Brown comptent! LoL

The interesting thing is about the level of Tax:

Quentin Davies at around 4:18 into the clip QD says that the tax burden on the rich should not be increased! In fact the way he says it makes him look pretty distasteful about it! :smile: QD just before his defection was also writting to the then C of E to see how much a reduction of IHT from 40% to 10% would cost!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_7010000/newsid_7014300/7014393.stm?bw=bb&mp=wm&asb=1&news=1&ms3=22&ms_javascript=true&bbcws=2

Martin Day said...

Has Gordon got trouble with his defector turned defence minister?

http://delivernothinglabourparty.blogspot.com/2009/04/brown-in-trouble-with-defector.html

Hawkeye said...

Brown does not listen to anyone. Why is Merkel surprised?

Jabba the Cat said...

Should of gone for American fighters and transporters a long time ago and saved everyone loads of time and money as well as getting technology that works out of the box.

Jonathan Cook said...

This government seemingly love to commit us to wars, yet hate to pay for them. Witness appalling conditions of troops houses and lack of equipment etc...

Labour will happily spend billions infringing our civil liberties with projects such as 'ID Cards', yet they baulk at the cost of truly protecting the liberty of us an others.

Unsworth said...

@ Jabba the Cat

"...and saved everyone loads of time and money as well as getting technology that works out of the box."Like those Chinooks, eh? You know, the ones that the Americans delivered but we can't use...

The King of Wrong said...

Why do politicians still think they can cut Typhoon? The contract is watertight, written by the finest lawyers HMG could find, in order to stitch up the Germans, who were percieved to be the least committed of the partners.

Oh, and the cost - from NAO figures - is about 0.2% of the current deficit. Huge saving, yeah?

Obsidian said...

Iain, cutting back on Eurofighter isn't a problem.

The whole thing is a mess, we committed to purchasing 232 of them, a third of which would be mothballed, and hence a total waste of money, and the MOD is desperate to try and get rid of the first tranche (fighter only) in order to use the later multi-capability ones.

We don't need so many Typhoons, what we do need are plenty of Raptors and a replacement for the Chinook.

Clive said...

Oh the irony. Back in 1991, Helmut Kohl wanted to pull out, breaking contracts. Then in 1995 all participants cut the number of aircraft they were going to acquire; UK from 250 to 232 and Germany from 250 to 140. Under the terms of the contract, that should have reduced Germany's work involvement from 33% to 24%. But the German government argued and complained and eventually retained its original level of workload.

Merkel's complaint is based purely on self-interest. And the Eurofighter has always been more of a political project than a military one. The prototype made its maiden flight 15 years ago for pity's sake.

Oh, and re Thatsnews:

Labour has form for this.

TSR2, anyone?
Don't forget Duncan Sandys Defence White Paper of 1957 out of which only the English Electric (later BAC) Lightning and the TSR2 survived. The Saunders Roe SR177 and the Avro 730 were just 2 of the projects cancelled. The English aircraft industry never really recovered. Look at every British military aircraft project after the cancellation of TSR2, they were all joint ventures with other countries.

strapworld said...

we do not need defence! We have the EU to protect us.

Anonymous said...

There is a good non-economic argument for cancelling the third tranche of Typhoon. Why do we need more air defence fighters (272 on order) than the USof A which has just announced it is stopping production of the F22 at 178? What is the threat (apart from the French)? Hanging a couple of bombs on a Typhoon doesn't make it a ground attack figher, we don't need them.

The Penguin said...

NuLiebore, truly lower than scum.

The Penguin

JPT said...

Brown ignores a lot actually.

davidc said...

jabba the cat @ - ' as well as getting technology that works out of the box.'

very true but with one caveat, you need to buy the software codes at the same time to make it all works.
chinook mk 3 helicopters anyone ?

neil craig said...

But apart from proving how machp Europe is what exactly is the point of the eurofighter. Some years ago an Israeli-American team produced a truck sized lasar that destroys shells in mid-flight. When it faces that the eirofighter will go from the most expensive fighter in the world to the most expensive shrapnel.

Jabba the Cat said...

@ davidc said...

" very true but with one caveat, you need to buy the software codes at the same time to make it all works.
chinook mk 3 helicopters anyone ?"
Did I mention helicopters? No, I referred to fighters and transports...

Scary Mary said...

Eurofighter is shit. Best rid of it asap.

simon said...

Good. the Eurofighter is a Euro-porkbarrel project. Cutting it is exactly the right thing to do. Merkel's concern is purely about keeping cash flowing into the German armaments industry.

davidc said...

jabba the cat - "Did I mention helicopters? No, I referred to fighters and transports...
and i agree with your opinion that we should have bought a package deal from the u.s. but the point i am making is that no matter what bit of kit one wishes to purchase unless the complete package includes the software,the result can be a very expensive load of unusable hardware.i gave as an example the chinook mk3 's where , for 'economy' the mod failed to include the necessary software in the initial purchase. as a result the helicopters sat for years in yeovilton unable to fly except in clear dry weather with a height restriction and are even now undergoing conversion back to the mk 2 spec.in the hope that some day they will enter service albeit not for the duties envisaged. of course no one at mod knows who took the decision so no surprises there.

John Pickworth said...

"Interesting too that Gordon Browns reputation as a continual cutter of the defence budget built up during his decade as chancellor should be so well understood by Britain's allies overseas..."
And, no doubt, our enemies too!

Perhaps someone could email the Russians and ask if they'd be awfully kind and NOT invade at this inconvenient moment? I'm sure they'd be happy to postpone any hostilities until we're able to find a shilling for the meter!

Forlornehope said...

The trouble is that the Eurofighter is the last war's aeroplane. If the aim was to keep European countries in the fighter business it could have been developed without being put into production. The trouble is that it was and we are where we are. Cutting a few units from the end of the production run will save very little. The money has largely been spent. The aircraft is, by design, much cheaper to operate than the older Tornado and may well be worth introducing for that reason alone. The next generation fighters may well be unmanned. Duncan Sandys was right after all, just about 70 years ahead of his time.

Little Black Sambo said...

Who committed us to this silly scheme in the first place? We ought to have bought from the USA.
As for aircraft carriers, if we get rid of enough planes we shan't need them either.
PATHETIC.

Clive said...

Who committed us to this silly scheme in the first place?Damn near every Defence Secretary in every government for the last 30 years. The original joint proposal between BAe (UK), MBB (DE) and Dassault (FR) dates back to late 1979. Dassault pulled out in 1982 and Aeritalia joined at the same time when the project became a Panavia programme. 1983 saw Spain join the party. 1985 brought agreement to go ahead with the project and the rejoining of Spain. Prototype first flew in 1994. Production contract signed early 1998 though funding was announced in 1996 by the Conservative government and confirmed by the Labour government in 1997 as part of their initial commitment to maintaining the Conservative spending plans.

We ought to have bought from the USA.Not necessarily the best idea. For starters the US has a tendency not to export the best of its aircraft, and there tend to be technology restrictions related to those aircraft (both fixed wing and rotary) that it does export. And the TSR2/F111 debacle left deep scars on the MoD.

vw. distant - the point of time in the future when we may get the aircraft we want.