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I think it rhymes with clucking bell…

The head of the RAF’s fighter and bomber force has said that drastic cuts in the Government’s defence review “worry the hell out of me” and would leave the Air Force only “slightly above Belgium” in squadron numbers.

Yes, that’s the six squadron RAF. Cheers Dave you 100% proof absolute parrot-faced wazzack who’s underpants reek of rancid lemon curd. You are not even a cunt Dave. Not even a cunt. You lack the blood and fury for cuntery Dave. You are just dismal. That’s the RAF Dave, the Royal Fucking Airforce. That’s the oldest independent air force in the World and…

Oh fuck me Dave! Fuck me rigid. OK, let’s get this straight. The RAF will no longer have a maritime patrol capability because Nimrod MRA4 has been chucked to the wolves despite being just about to enter service. Yes, folks, that’s the most expensive scrap duralumin in human history. Three and a half billion pounds of it. Of course we don’t need maritime patrol aircraft because we’re part of Europe now and no longer an island nation whose major source of income is seaborne trade. Do not get me wrong here MRA4 was a disaster waiting to happen. I have been saying for many years now we should have replaced MR2 with P-8s but does anyone listen to me? The only thing worse than building MRA4 was cancelling it at 11:59. Hell’s teeth! The Duncan Sandy’s White Paper of ’57 which infamously declared the manned combat aircraft obsolete didn’t even cancel the Lightning Interceptor. Sandys himself said, “Unfortunately it has gone to far to cancel”. That was three years before the Lightning F1 entered service. The Nimrod didn’t get even that grace – it was chopped as it was entering service.

Of course the Cold War is over and we need not fear enemy submarines starving us into submission (though quite what nine, yes, nine Nimrods would have done is moot) because nobody would ever try that. I mean it’s not like the Germans ever tried it (twice). Me Gran never saw a fucking banana for about five years. Oh, yeah, and the whole edifice of Western Civilization almost bought the farm as well. Possibly due to the lack of tropical fruit or Dave as we now call him.

So what’s it looking like… Well, we scrapped the Harriers, the Tornado F3s are on the way out after a remarkably short service life but then they were shite anyway. Do you know what the only tactic the F3 could use against an F-16 or F-15 was? Light the fires and head for the deck. Pretty much nothing could out pace a Tornado at sea-level. Hardly edifying but at least not dead. But we got Typhoon! Jeez Louise that was like pulling teeth from a recalcitrant mastodon. I mean fuck me that was a 1971 AST and only hit IOC in 2005! Keep that point. It is important. Anyway, it looks like the tranche 1 Typhoons are for the chop. Yup, the T1 and F2 are gonna be scrapped over the coming decade because they are “too expensive” to update to T3/FGA4 standard (able to carry bombs, basically). Oh cunting piss! What is that really about? I’ll tells ya. In the late nineties the Eurofighter (as was) was re-branded EF2000 and the idea was that would be the date at which it would enter service. It didn’t of course and the first Typhoons were delivered ASAP (to save embarrassment) without being full-spec. And yes (you’re gonna fucking love this) this included fitting them with a 27mm Mauser cannon – probably the best aerial cannon going though I do have a soft spot for the NR-30 (MiG-19)- which didn’t work. So why not delete the cannon? Er… The flight control software had been written already and it would cost to re-write it. The cannon was therefore not a weapon but essentially ballast. BAE did consider removing the gun and replacing it with ballast but (a) it was bought and paid for and (b) the actual Rheinmetal-Mauser BK-27 turned-out to be the perfect ballast to simulate carrying a Rheinmetal-Mauser BK-27.

One version of this tragic tale of the gunless fighter was that Labour decided to delete all fighter guns for – I shitteth ye not – environmental reasons. More prosaically it was really about work-share and the fact that the Brits and Krauts had a Barnabus Rubble over who wrote the software for the sighting. The end result was no fucker did. Magic. The same thing happened over AIM-132 Asraam. Way back in the ’80s NATO decided that the AIM-7 Sparrow and the AIM-9 ‘winder needed replacing. It was decided that the US would build the Sparrow replacement and that Britain and Germany would build the new ‘winder. Well, the AIM-120 Slammer happens in America approximately on time but between us and the Germans the AIM-132 doesn’t. Indeed it slips to the extent that the Septics blow a fuse over our European pissing about and re-jig the ‘winder as the AIM-9X, the Brits build Asraam (also sold to Australia) and the Krauts get IRIS-T. This from a program designed to standardize NATO short range air to air missiles. Of course we could have just bought Pythons from the Israelis but that would have been easy. Asraam should have been easy because it was based on Sraam which was based on Taildog and that goes back to the ’60s.

Asked whether this left the RAF on the same level as Belgium, he replied: “I think we’re slightly above Belgium, and we are not a Belgium-minded country.”

He added: “I might, over the next few years, argue that that might not be quite enough.” As recently as the 1990s the RAF had 30 front-line fast-jet squadrons.

We are looking at six squadrons by 2020.

Slightly above Belgium. Some fucker ought to be executed. All my life I have seen my country degraded. I have seen the Royal Navy dwindle to a brace of rowing boats on the Serpentine and the Army eviscerated but the RAF reduced to just about able to handle the Belgians? The fucking Belgians! What the fuck have the Belgians ever done for us? Note not even the Dutch (we’d struggle against the Dutch) but the cunting Belgians. The bastarding Belgians! Jesus wept! The only fucking contribution to civilization Belgium ever gave us was Hercule Poirot and he was created by an English author. That’s it. We are officially finished. I mean the Belgians! Belgium only exists because of us back when we had a foreign policy and the ability to twat fuckers who by and large (let’s leave the Opium Wars out of this) richly fucking deserved it. We invented Belgium as a buffer zone between France and Germany. We did the same with Kuwait and Uruguay. Why? Small countries at the mouths of big rivers can be leaned upon in useful ways. Not, alas, if you don’t have a fucking air force worthy of the name but then that would require Dave to know some history or indeed even be able to find his own arsehole with both hands and anally frig himself.

But we can’t afford it Nick! Well, there are a couple of ways of looking at that. The first is that we can’t afford it. I have, above, and not for the first time, mentioned some of our spectacularly maladroit procurement decisions. No, we can’t afford those. We can’t afford insanity. If I’d been in charge we’d be getting a few wings of Saab Grippen NGs for the money we saved by not pissing around and paying for BAE Systems to pay for Saudi Princelings to get blowjobs from grand an hour hookers. And yes, they would be built at Warton by BAE though BAE’s knackers would collectively be upon the anvil whilst I toted a hammer. Grippen would have perfectly replaced Jaguar one for one. It’s cheap (I mean in fighter terms which of course means horrendously expensive), it’s cool, it’s STOL, it’s got a BK-27, it can supercruise… Nah, seriously though. I might have been tempted by Block 60+ F-16Es from LockMart with the CFTs instead. Why not? Keep all the buggers on the hop I say. I got a good deal on my most recent significant purchase. It was a DSLT (note not a DSLR) from Sony. I only got a good deal there because I also looked at Canon, Nikon, Samsung, Panasonic…

But still! Can we afford it? Can we afford to have an air force rather than an air farce? The cheap (and true) shot is to say we can’t afford not to. But… Look at it this way.

The ConDem spending review cut defence spending and lots of other things. But let’s focus on defence. We spend about 2% of GDP on it. Call it 2.1% because that means if you divide equally between Army, Navy and Airforce then that is 0.7% of GDP for the RAF. That is exactly what Dave “ring-fenced” for international aid. Indeed one of the few areas where this government is spending more is international aid. This includes aid to India. Yes, India that has a bigger air force than ours. Yes, that India. The rapidly growing economy that has a fucking space program and nuclear weapons. It also includes, abysmally, aid to Afghanistan. Yes, whilst our troops over there are called the “borrowers” by their NATO allies because – well, let’s forget fast jets and esoterica like that – they don’t even have toilet paper unless they blag it from some US Sergeant Bilko type. They aren’t getting better kit, more helicopters, rifles that work or even fucking bog roll but we’re bunging The Khazi a fucking bundle to spend in whatever corrupt manner he sees fit. Bless him though! I mean when NATO admit defeat the Taliban will hang him by his scrotulence if he’s fucking lucky. The last time an English government bunged the evils cash to play nice it was called Danegeld. Correct me if I’m wrong here but didn’t King Alfred decide the money was better spent on twatting them? Coming over here with their interlocking plastic bricks rape, pillage and high-quality butter… Sheesh!

There was a time you know when we fuckin’ rocked. There was a time when we didn’t give aid to corrupt regimes (we fuckin’ ran ‘em) and there was time when blood would have been spilt over the idea of a six squadron RAF. That is so far beyond a fucking joke as to be… Words fail me. They do. For once they do.

Now the twist…

Do I believe in helping the needy? Do I believe in digging wells in Uganda? Yes. Do I think our corrupt bunch of bastards giving their corrupt bunch of bastards 0.7% of GDP is the answer? No. I don’t. Do you know what the largest and by far the most effective aid to the third world is? It is immigrant workers wiring money home to their families. Do I even need to explain why that works better than building a new wing on the presidential palace or sending Grace Mugabe shopping in Paris? My wife once worked for an insurance company in Manchester with a lass from Malawi. The Malawian was very helpful on Scottish place names because Malawi had a veritable infestation of Jockulent missionaries way back when mainly because, just like Scotland, it pisses down all the time and they felt at home in the gloaming misery. This woman used to wire money for her Gramps to buy some chickens and such. Vastly more to the purpose than anything Al, Dave or Bono ever did.

My point of course is very simple. Some things are best done by government and some things aren’t. Helping the poor and needy isn’t one of them. Having an air force is.

So am I against helping out the terminally potless? No. Not in the slightest. Indeed quite the reverse. I just don’t want to see that fucked up the same way the military has been. This is not about priorities or charity starting at home… It is about demarcation. It is about the government competently handling defence and leaving the charity to us. Because if they can’t do that then what is the fucking point of them?

7 Comments

  1. JTW says:

    don’t worry about not being able to handle the Dutch.
    We’re going to be down to 3 squadrons by 2020, if there are enough F-16s left by then to keep that many in the air (I see the Netherlands pulling out of the JSF soon, not that it mattered much as the plans called for buying only 75 and some 15 of those to be in storage for replacing operational losses).
    Dutch Navy is in worse shape than the RN, our army is almost non-existent (some shining light decided we no longer need such things like tanks and self propelled artillery because there’s no enemy any longer on the eastern front to use them against).

  2. NickM says:

    JSF is in trouble isn’t it?

    Ah, but we don’t need such things because it’s all shooting at beards with flip-flops right?

    Well, it is now. That’s because NATO’s heavy metal deterred the Sovs. If you can’t deter a threat you are going to face it.

    Turn the argument on it’s head. 20 years ago they would have locked me up for suggesting in 2010 we’d be fighting in Afghanistan. Almost by definition wars are the result of a failure of diplomacy. They are accidents. They are what happens when someone reckons they can give it a go. The Falklands is a classic case. The Argentinian invasion follwed directly from a proposed butchering of the RN.

  3. JonB says:

    Nick, your last paragraph in that comment nails it. This isn’t 1935, and nobody is going to rustle up a few wings of Spitfires in half a decade at the sight of a questionable ‘tache. Military procurement lead times are so utterly ridiculous these days that you have to plan for wars you don’t expect. That includes having adequate heavy metal to deter a serious opponent – maybe the armour hasn’t been hitting the headlines lately but that’s because they’ve generally mangled any opponent of the type they were designed to deal with in short order. Ok, so tanks don’t do so well against infantry ambushes in built up areas, how is that news?

    Why we’ve never had any F-16s I really don’t know – for the air force on a budget looking for a competent fighter they’ve been a first rate choice for thirty years. If I’d been on the Eurofighter contract in the MoD I’d have been tempted to leave quotes from LockMart and Boeing/McDonnell Douglas “accidentally” lying around every time there were BAe representatives in the building. You know, as encouragement. It’s not as if having US planes would be anything new – and maybe we could avoid fucking with the engines to increase the cost like they did with the Phantoms.

  4. Paul Marks says:

    The Welfare State has eaten away at both the nation – and the state. As the state throws everything into a (DOOMED) effort to keep the Welfare State going – everything else (the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, everything) gets sacrificed.

    But it is not “just” the Welfare State – it is also the “welfare for the very rich” the credit bubble financial system and endless bailouts.

    Just last week David Cameron agreed to an enternal bailout system for all Euro Zone nations (and Britain is not even in the Euro currency zone) – not just Ireland (although that bailout is insane), but ALL of them.

    All to keep the corporate welfare going to banks all over Europe.

    As I have said before – the last words of Charlton Heston’s character in the first “Planet of the Apes” film spring to mind.

    By the way how many aircraft could the 30 billion Pound destroy-the-Chiltons-and-violate-private-property rail scheme buy?

    The railway line that no one in the area wants.

    Or the absurd London “Cross Rail” (destroying homes and business enterprieses across London as I type this), or the vast farce the 2012 games will be?

  5. NickM says:

    Paul,
    A lot of ‘planes. More than you might think. Because every defence cut ups unit prices which… These things that epitomise high tech are hand crafted in much the same way Assyrian war-chariots were. It’s abysmal. Where it really shows is in ‘tronics and software. The lead times are such that the computers in modern combat jets are like PC World ten years ago. The RN’s bright, shiny new type-45 destroyers run Windows 2000! God knows what a spotty new teenage rating with an iPad4 will make of that a few years down the line. Do

  6. NickM says:

    you really want to re-boot that fucker when there are vampires inbound.

  7. Paddy says:

    This is the most horrible news imaginable. This country is a disaster.

    100 years ago, this country ruled 1/3 of the world and was industrially dominant in Europe and beyond. Hell, even the Liberals of the time were running the two-power standard!

    60 years ago, this country was recovering from the war, but still at the forefront of technology. Look at all of the space age ambition – Concorde, Black knight TSR2 etc… This was still a country where it was thought that great things could happen. In the 50s it was entirely reasonable that the UK would be at the very top table and that the first man on the moon could have been an Englishman.

    Now we are an utterly mediocre country. The people running this country are either mediocrities who have had a “real” job for two years in the media through family connections or mediocrities who have had a “real” job for two years running a student union. They’re all losers. Simple question – what have they ever done? I cannot think of any achievements by these people. Half of the economy is based on planning permission for people to put a new door on their own property.

    This country needs to make some fundamentally difficult decisions and our leadership is not fit for purpose. Perhaps we could become a colony of Australia? Their horrible “Labor” government wants to double the size of their underwater navy.

    One suggestion that clearly makes sense is to bring the R&D functions of the military back in house. Get qualified scientists in uniform (in the reserve) and let the navy run it. Don’t give the MoD, BAe or French-owned Thales any more money to waste.

    Another suggestion is: do build a navy that regenerates itself and reaches economies of scale. Go American and build ship classes of 50 ships or more, providing 3 new ships each year. This brings in export revenue. (Not from hulls – that is fairly trivial. However, think combat systems. AEGIS is an export winner.)

    Finally, get the structure of decision making right. The French are intrinsically more useless than us, but they have a full nuclear power network, the most competitive space launching facilities in the world and railways that are fast and efficient if only their employees would turn up to work. This is because the right people have the power to say “do it”. Here we pass everything between meetings of useless people without ever making a decision.

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