Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Pigeon Power

Watching the news today, I see that the Eurofighter Typhoon, the RAF's new front-line fighter, won't be capable of attacking ground targets until 2018; it's also a reported 75% over budget, which doesn't say much for the procurement controls over defense spending under the last government.

Don't mistake me, it's a great aircraft and ideal for its original design role of a Cold War interceptor aircraft to take on the best the Russians could offer. However, with our ground-attack and carrier-based Harriers now 'binned' and the venerable Tornado fleet as old or even older than my own two aircraft, one might understand why Col Gaddafi had his own aircraft up attacking 'rebels' over Libya today, knowing full well that he has a good seven-year window of opportunity before we offer a serious risk to his airspace!

I jest of course and if Gaddafi continues with his day long speeches he might find that 2018 comes sooner than he thinks. Not that he's got a world class airforce in the first place. He's lost two Mirage fighters to defectors who flew them to Malta and a Sukhoi SU22 which crashed near Benghazi, where his ageing MIG 23s appear to be grounded too.

Today's grainy attack footage appeared to show either a French Mirage or a Russian Sukhoi 24 but either way, if the European countries decided to deny him his airspace, then the Libyan airforce aren't any match for anything in our NATO inventory. Mind you, if oil prices rise much further we won't be able to afford to fly!

While I recognise the cuts across the public sector are a necessity, given the appalling state of the nation's finances, I do worry that reducing our armed forces back to the level of the Middle Ages may leave us unhappily exposed in an uncertain world where the norm appears to be many small wars, globally distributed instead of one large one at a time. I take comfort from the fact that the Chinese People's Army are reportedly training 20,000 carrier pigeons in anticipation of a conflict where the internet and telecommunications are knocked out and where feathered friends, much like the original news of Wellington's victory at Waterloo, will carry the day when they finally feel strong enough and confident enough to challenge the United States as the dominant global superpower.


Anonymous said...

At least then the cost of a good Chinese Take away will start to fall......

1 o'clock Rob said...

In my opinion the Eurofighter program should have been scrapped years ago when it became apparent that we didn't need an interceptor type aircraft anymore. It seemed to me a "job creation" exercise and nothing much else. Just like the Nimrod project that finally has been scrapped.

Why we continually spend tens of billions on Defence when we haven't actually had to defend our shores for over 60 years is beyond me.

The money could be better spent elsewhere.

Bluenote said...

I think you just answered your own question, Rob. It is because we have spent on defence and maintained both a conventional and nuclear capability that we have not had to defend our land over those years.

The worry now is, that the cuts have created potential weaknesses that could be exploited, particularly to further flung British interests like the Falklands.

Personally, I would prefer to see the government standing up to the EU, the European Courts and the trade unions rather than attacking those who, by tradition, have no right of strike or protest, the armed service and the police.

Anonymous said...

put both aircraft carriers backin serviewith full comliment of harriers before its to late the french wont help us

Anonymous said...

anon again!
The Tornado was initially ordered by those big spenders, the Conservatives. Inflation put the price up. Now, it's outdated (Saudi's have had them since 1979) so let's look for something new and much more expensive until Labour rule again!