Author Topic: The Sunday Times - Typhoon “the economics of the madhouse”  (Read 7421 times)

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Offline isibob

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The Sunday Times - Typhoon “the economics of the madhouse”
« on: January 09, 2011, 04:46:35 PM »
Sorry if this has already been posted but have any of you picked up the following

The RAF is to axe 53 fighter jets that cost at least £4.6 billion and only became operational three years ago.
The Typhoon aircraft, previously known as the Eurofighter, only came into frontline service in June 2007, but a senior air force officer says they will be “approaching obsolescence by 2015”.

The decision to scrap the jets, regarded as among the most advanced in the world, was described last night as “the economics of the madhouse” by Jim Murphy, the shadow defence secretary.

“The government appears to have no respect for the RAF and the crucial role it plays in our defence or for the serious costs to the taxpayer,” said Murphy.

The 53 Typhoons that formed the first tranche of the order, are thought to have cost about £86m each.

The other jets coming into service over the next few years, which will have greater capability, will cost well in excess of £100m each.

However, Air Vice-Marshal Greg Bagwell, who is in charge of all RAF frontline attack aircraft, told Aviation Week magazine that the “Tranche 1” Typhoons would not be required beyond 2015.

He said the jet would become “prohibitive for us to operate” and “too expensive to modify” once Britain had taken delivery of more capable planes. Saudi Arabia is already buying 72 aircraft originally intended for Britain and there are now plans to sell up to 15 more “Tranche 3” jets to Oman. Scrapping the 53 Typhoons as well will leave the RAF with just 92 of the planes. The MoD said: “We consider all options when disposing of military equipment to ensure the best financial return for the taxpayer.”

Plus one Vulcan of course ;) albeit in private hands
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Offline Joseph

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Re: The Sunday Times - Typhoon “the economics of the madhous
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2011, 05:12:47 PM »
In some ways it is stupid. However if it is true that the cost of updating them is so prohibitive then it may well make sense.

All individual and companies make decicions like this every day .

Capital cost, Wriiten down cost and the cost of modifying or replacing.
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Offline sickbag_andy

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Re: The Sunday Times - Typhoon “the economics of the madhous
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2011, 05:57:09 PM »
That's not the first time the early marks of an aircraft have had a short life as upgraded versions come on stream. I believe some of the early Lightnings had a very short lifespan for example - but the later ones which saw refinements to the design went on for ages.
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Offline Topsy

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Re: The Sunday Times - Typhoon “the economics of the madhous
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2011, 10:40:34 PM »
Quote from: "sickbag_andy"
That's not the first time the early marks of an aircraft have had a short life as upgraded versions come on stream. I believe some of the early Lightnings had a very short lifespan for example - but the later ones which saw refinements to the design went on for ages.
I bet the early Lightnings weren't £86M a pop though.  :o
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Offline Mayfly

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Re: The Sunday Times - Typhoon “the economics of the madhous
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2011, 07:39:58 AM »
Quote from: "Topsy"
Quote from: "sickbag_andy"
That's not the first time the early marks of an aircraft have had a short life as upgraded versions come on stream. I believe some of the early Lightnings had a very short lifespan for example - but the later ones which saw refinements to the design went on for ages.
I bet the early Lightnings weren't £86M a pop though.  :o


I bet 'in real terms' they weren't far short either!
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Offline eddief

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Re: The Sunday Times - Typhoon “the economics of the madhous
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2011, 11:18:44 AM »
"The economics of the mad house" says the Shadow Defence Secretary...

Well whose party was it that ordered a bunch of jets with prohibitive, longer-term maintenance/upgrade costs in the first place?

Let's face it, they haven't exactly got a great track-record when it comes to getting good value for public money in respect of military aircraft development (Nimrod also added to the list).  Ludicrous sums just thrown into an ever-growing pit.

So whilst this 'house' might be slightly 'mad', it was the last one that was truly 'ga-ga'.  So easy for them to sit on the sidelines now, chucking mud despite having created (or at least done nothing about) the situation for so long themselves...
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Offline speedy

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Re: The Sunday Times - Typhoon “the economics of the madhous
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2011, 12:25:08 PM »
From looking at the dates of the Eurofighter project, it looks like by the mid 1990s we were already locked into having the things anyway.....
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Offline eddief

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Re: The Sunday Times - Typhoon “the economics of the madhous
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 01:12:43 PM »
Quite possibly the case but somehow, we now seem *not* to be locked into Nimrod or Typhoon in quite the same way now & all that changed was the Govt..?  Methinks somebody simply bothered to start questioning where all that money was going & for what purpose (instead of just writing out blank cheques).

Meanwhile, why is this a doom & gloom headline anyway?  How come nobody is saying "Well done for having actually SOLD some of these aircraft & therefore generated some well-needed income for UK?"
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Offline Gully

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Re: The Sunday Times - Typhoon “the economics of the madhous
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 01:37:33 PM »
Quote from: "eddief"


Meanwhile, why is this a doom & gloom headline anyway?  How come nobody is saying "Well done for having actually SOLD some of these aircraft & therefore generated some well-needed income for UK?"

Indeed - the intention of selling off some of the GR9 Harriers that have just been withdrawn from RAF service is also generally overlooked.

Along the same theme, I wonder why BAe has not completed the MRA4 programme as a 'speculative' venture for sale abroad? Perhaps they were content with dragging out the development programme at the country's cost, but not their own. Doesn't say much about their confidence in the end product either. Of course, it may well be that contractual arrangements with the MoD stipulated the destruction of the airframes in the event of cancellation, but it does seem a missed opportunity to clawback some of the taxpayer's cost to date.

Gully
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Offline speedy

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Re: The Sunday Times - Typhoon “the economics of the madhous
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2011, 02:08:21 PM »
Quote from: "eddief"
Quite possibly the case but somehow, we now seem *not* to be locked into Nimrod or Typhoon in quite the same way now & all that changed was the Govt..?  Methinks somebody simply bothered to start questioning where all that money was going & for what purpose (instead of just writing out blank cheques).

Meanwhile, why is this a doom & gloom headline anyway?  How come nobody is saying "Well done for having actually SOLD some of these aircraft & therefore generated some well-needed income for UK?"

That is a valid point, however we'll never really know what the small print ever said.  Yes, I have little doubt that getting rid of stuff will save money in the long term.  However, we could 'save' millions by scrapping 558 if you use that logic....

People will still question the fact that while the ongoing costs will be saved, just in airframes the current encumbants have authorised £8BN worth of unused and lightly used kit to be scrapped.  To me the word scrapped does not imply it has been sold.  Surely there must be a buyer out there for the stuff, even if any sensitive kit had to be removed?  It seems criminal to simply squash any unwanted stuff and turn it into bean cans with the amount that has been spent on it, and I'd be saying that no matter which of the three Tory parties were in power.....
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“If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: it's all balls.” — R. J. Mitchell

Government.  If you think the problems they create are bad, you should see their solutions.