October 2017
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Britain’s new fighter plane – “Can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run”

One of the events planned for yesterday’s naming of Britain’s wonderful new floating white elephant – the Queen Elizabeth II aircraft carrier – was a fly-past by the fabulous new US-built F35B joint strike fighter jets which will use the carrier. Sadly we didn’t get the fly-past as the F35B was somewhat indisposed. Yup, you guessed it – the plane doesn’t work. Apparently the entire fleet of F35 aircraft has been grounded until engine inspections are completed. On June 23, an F-35 caught fire as the pilot attempted to take off at a Florida air base. According to Reuters, one unidentified source described the incident by saying, “The engine ripped through the top of the plane.”

There were also plans for the F35 to take part in air-shows this summer. The way things are going, you’re going to need awfully good eyesight (or a good imagination) to see one.

Yesterday I wrote about the catastrophically useless aircraft carriers being built in Scotland, with some major parts being made close to Gordon Brown’s Kircaldy constituency in order to get votes for Labour – a decision which caused the carrier to be redesigned as it was found to be too high to fit under the Firth of Forth bridge. Still, perhaps we should be glad that the MoD spotted this small detail in time, otherwise they’d have had to embarrassingly dismantle the bridge in order to get the carrier out to sea.

The first of these massive floating already-obsolete sitting ducks is about five years late and instead of costing £3bn for two carriers, we’re probably going to end up paying about £6bn each.

However, the MoD’s incompetence is not confined to the carriers. Our military bosses have also botched the purchase of the F35Bs. These may start flying from the one carrier, that isn’t immediately mothballed to save money, by around 2020. The sad story of this plane’s bungled development is too long and involved to recount here, so I’ll just give a few key points:

1. It’s a ‘jump jet’ A wonderful feature of the F35B is that it has VTO (vertical take-off) capability. Like the Harrier it is replacing, the VTO capability makes the plane very versatile. But the VTO features also make the plane overweight and underpowered. So, while you can deploy it almost anywhere in the world, it can’t turn, climb or run as fast as Russian-, Chinese- or French-built planes. It’s OK for bombing and shooting up enemies on the ground, but it’s a flying coffin if it ever gets into aerial combat.

jumpjet

2. Jump jets don’t need great big aircraft carriers If you’re really stupid like me, you might also be wondering why we’re building two massive sitting-duck aircraft carriers for a plane that has VTO capability. Like helicopters, VTO planes don’t need aircraft carriers, at least not very big ones. I guess our military leaders must be a lot more cleverer than I am to have bought eye-wateringly expensive underperforming VTO fighter/bombers for a carrier built to carry better-performing conventional take-off planes.

3. “Whoops, we forgot to buy the software” One of the many cock-ups by our military donkeys was that when negotiating the price of the planes, they forgot to include the software that was needed for them to fly. When asked about this by the House of Commons Defence Committee (DC), some chump from the MoD claimed that the MoD were “actively negotiating” for the handover of the software. But a member of the DC pointed out what should have been a no-brainer, “it is no good when you have signed up and handed your cheque over then to go back to negotiate the release of technology”.

I could go on, but I imagine most readers get the picture. The MoD has paid consultants from PwC and McKinsey over £100m in fees to ‘improve’ the way it buys military equipment through its Smart Acquisition programme. Yet the bungling buffoons still can’t do single thing right with most military equipment programmes costing four to five times the original estimate and taking two to three times as long as intended making much of our hardware obsolete before it becomes operational.

2 comments to Britain’s new fighter plane – “Can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run”

  • Paris Claims

    I repeat my comment from yesterday, the idiots that squander our money must be held personally responsible for their breath taking incompetence.

  • shortchanged

    They are Paris, its called promotion.

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