Archive for Eurofighter

HMS Dauntless Goes To The Falklands

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, England, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 02/02/2012 by floroy1942

It seems the only thing Britain can do to stop the Argentinians from taking over the Falkland Islands, is to send our newest, most up-to-date warship, HMS Dauntless, a type 45 Destroyer.

HMS Dauntless – Can She Do It Alone?

From the rhetoric you would think Dauntless can stop any future invasion single-handed! One Navy source is quoted as saying, Dauntless could “take out all of South America’s fighter aircraft let alone Argentina’s.” Another said: “It can shoot down Argentine fighters as soon as they take off from their bases. This will give Buenos Aires serious pause for thought.” Hmmm! Ever hear of a stand-off missile or well-aimed torpedo matey?

Dauntless Fires A Sea Viper Missile

Dauntless is equipped with Sea Viper anti-aircraft missiles and Sampson radar which is said to be more powerful than that of Heathrow airport. It is hailed as the most advanced and sophisticated anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic ship in the world, and according to the Navy, could defend the Falkland islanders from air attack all on its own. Admiral Lord West, the former First Sea Lord and Falklands veteran, sent this message to the Argentine government:  “Should there be any foolish nonsense from Argentina, Dauntless can sit just off the airfield and take down any aircraft coming in. It’s a game-changing capability.” That is an enormous amount of faith to put in a new ship and its crew. One can only hope its anti-submarine defences are as good as its anti-aircraft defences.

I did predict in an earlier post  that since the demise of our carrier fleet and the harrier jets in the last round of defence cuts, the Falkland islanders would be practically defenceless. https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/falklands-to-be-handed-over-to-argentina/

General Sir Mike Jackson

It seems I am not the only one with that view, for last week, General Sir Mike Jackson, a former head of the Army, stated just that by saying: “The demise of jets capable of launching from aircraft carriers would make it just about impossible to recover key strategic strongholds” He went on further to say: “The official answer will be that it would not be possible for the Argentinians to gain a foothold on the islands, in particular to take Mount Pleasant airfield, which is key to the British defence plan. We have a large international-sized airfield to allow for very rapid reinforcement by air, should circumstances so require. But I suppose I have learned in life, never say never. What if an Argentinian force was able to secure the airfield? Then our ability to recover the islands now would be just about impossible”.

Mainstay Of The Islands Defence – The Eurofighter

From the current information available, it would seem the government is putting all its faith in the four Eurofighter aircraft based at Port Stanley airfield that would ‘hold the fort’ long enough for reinforcements to be flown out from the UK. Four fighters against an invading force backed up by the Argentine Air Force does not seem like a lot, no matter how advanced the Eurofighter is. It would take only one or two bombs on the runway to put the airfield out of action and give the fighters nowhere to land. Not only that, but any reinforcements would have no option but to ditch in the sea.

The Ascension Islands – A Vital Refuelling Stop

The next great flaw in the plan is the presumption that the American’s would allow refuelling of  any aircraft flown out from the UK at Ascension Island in the Mid-Atlantic, even though it belongs as such to Britain. The American’s, who share the island for intelligence gathering, have exerted more and more influence over what goes on there, all due to the oil finds around the Falklands. In 1982 they did not object to the British Fleet refuelling there, but it is far from certain they would this time. American Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has already made it plain America is backing Argentina for a negotiated settlement of the Falkland Island sovereignty. So the chances of help from that quarter look mighty slim. Without the refuelling capabilities of Ascension Island, any operation against the Falklands is a non-starter. That goes for ships as well as planes.

The Falkland Oil Field

It would not be unreasonable for someone to question why all this political sabre rattling is going on over what is really a small insignificant couple of islands in the South Atlantic. Oil! That’s what! The Argentine heart has quickened now they know there are huge oil reserves buried under the seabed around the islands. I am pretty sure that is the reason for American interest and it’s backing for Argentina in the war of words, plus the sudden change in its ‘special relationship’ with Britain. People should have learned by now that the American government doesn’t do anything unless its in America’s interest.

The defence cuts may have been hailed as good for the government’s purse, but with all that oil in the mix I have a sneaking suspicion the whole thing could unravel in the not too distant future. I sincerely hope not.

Roy.

Is Cost Effective Government Possible?

Posted in Britain, England, Europe, Germany, Insanity, Mobile Phone, Modern World, MP's, Parliament, Police, President, UK, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/10/2010 by floroy1942

The old adage: “If you want to make money – get a Government contract” is as true today as it ever was. The bigger the country, and thereby the government, the easier it is to charge extortionate fees for the provision of services.

Sir Philip Green

The sheer depth of government miss-spending has been revealed in Britain today by a report issued on an ‘in-house’ investigation by a well known High Street name, specifically Sir Philip Green, owner of the ‘Top Shop’ chain of stores. He was commissioned by David Cameron, the UK Prime Minster, to look into government spending with a view to cutting expenditure. What he uncovered defies description!

He stated quite frankly, that if he operated his business in the same way, he would be bankrupt within in days.

Government Waste?

In Sir Philips view, literally billions of the huge £191 billion budget could be saved by government departments with better co-ordination in the procurement of services. As an example, he estimates that a massive £600 to £700 million could be saved on the annual British Telecom budget of £2 billion. Renegotiating contracts with companies providing mobile phone services, and even office supplies and coffee could save up to 40% of the annual budget.

Damn! There Goes Another £1.45

The differences between departments in the costs being forked out for mundane things such as a box of copy paper (from £8 to £73), printer cartridges (from £86 to £396) and a cup of coffee (90p to £1.45) are to say the least, quite staggering. Who in their right minds would pay £396 for a printer cartridge? Talk about being ripped off!

Never Heard of Video Conferencing?

Sir Philip also criticised the 400,000 nights a year spent by M.P’s in hotels in London in order to attend meetings at a cost of £30 million. In the modern age he found it incomprehensible that so much money could be spent on people who must attend meetings personally. Quite rightly he puts the question: “Have these people never heard of video conferencing?”

M.P’s transport costs such as taxis and hire cars is a huge £551 millions a year. Someone from an anonymous car hire firm wrote in to say her company were being paid by the government £156.28 a week for a small car, which a normal customer would get for £99!

At the Heart of it All

It’s amazing to think that no-one in the financial side of government, i.e., The Treasury, has checked up on this kind of thing for so many years. It’s the same old story of there being no accountability within government circles! Government laptops, so often in the news for being left behind on buses, in taxis and on tube trains by government officials in sensitive jobs, cost up to £2000, while a little research on the internet revealed identical models for just £800.

Sir Philip also questioned the advisability of moving a government agency to new offices in the Midlands with a rent of £1.2 million a year on a 20 year contract, fixed for 15 years, when shortly after the department was abolished leaving a commitment of £18 million. Mismanagement of real estate by government departments costs the taxpayer £25 billion a year but could be drastically reduced.

The final report due out on Monday should make very interesting reading for Governments world-wide, especially in the rest of Europe and the United States. With luck, it will begin a wave of in-house cleaning by many governments, but I doubt it.

The Eurofighter - Costly, But Worth It

When government contracts are awarded for new military hardware, buildings or transport links etc., we all know that the project is going to cost e.g., £25 billion, but when the final accounting is done the end figure can be five times that or more. Good examples are the Eurofighter from BA Systems and the Channel Tunnel, both of which went way over budget.

Boring the Eurotunnel

Such major contracts are first put out for tender and presumably the lowest bidder wins. In my opinion, over the last three or four decades many companies have intentionally put in ridiculously low bids, one for which they know they cannot complete the task, just to get the contract. Once the contract is signed, they are fully aware the price can be jacked up once they have started work.

This is no way to run a business, and running the government services for any country is just that, a business on a larger scale.

The Secret - Make it Stick!

Governments must realise that if a supplier quotes a certain price for work to be carried out, the company must be held responsible for ensuring the end product for the quoted price. Companies dealing with government departments, be it the Ministry of Defence, Transport or whatever, must be made to put in realistic bids for services to be provided. There is nothing wrong in allowing perhaps a 3-5% cost over-run in today’s turbulent markets, but it should be no more than that.

The problems highlighted by Sir Philip Green only go to emphasis that much tighter control is necessary on government spending, for in the long run, it always comes from the pockets of the general public in the form of taxes.

This is 'In-house'

The present coalition government is currently looking for ways to reduce the annual budget by many billions of pounds with cuts to defence and the police force high on the gender. It would seem wise for them to first look in-house before taking such drastic measures, and the assistance of men like Sir Philip would be invaluable in such an exercise. By this I mean top flight business men with a known track record like Sir Philip who pulled BHS back from the brink into a good solid company, not some fly-by-night stock exchange wannabe.

Obama, Zarkosy and Merkel - the Big Three

Britain is by no means the only country afflicted with such woes. I am sure the economies of all the major nations could see a dramatic upswing if the leaders, like Angela Merkel, Presidents Barack Obama and Nicholas Sarkozy were to employ businessmen in strategic monetary positions within the government as fiscal advisors.

Another Good Place to Start?

Without a doubt, we will not see an end to the worlds economic woes when duly elected governments and leaders allow such wastage at the top, while telling the public it is time to ‘tighten belts’.

I firmly believe in the old saying, which should apply especially to governments: ‘If you must lead, lead by example!’

Roy.


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