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Boneyard at Birth

£4 Billion for 9 airframes soon to be in a Coke can near you!

That's a completely new aircraft

It has gone way past piano wire. That would be a mercy. I think it behooves us to consider this for all responsible…


  1. Mr Monzonite says:

    (pedant alert) – Completely new? I thought the fuselages are old MR2s?

  2. NickM says:

    I’m not sure. My understanding though is if they are they were completely rebuilt and re-engined etc. As well as the ‘tronics etc being all spanky new.

  3. Mr Monzonite says:

    I will do some research as I’m not completely sure either. I’ve been into Nimrods since an early age, hence the interest. I almost cried when they cancelled the AEW3 in favour of the Boeing E-3 Sentry. The MR2 they’ve recently got at Elvington Air Museum is well worth the trip. Anyway, I will stop there, I was going to wax lyrical about De Havilland for a while but I’m guessing that may be a sensitive subject on this blog just now :-)

  4. Bod says:

    I always wondered if there was a connection.

  5. NickM says:

    Mr M,

    On DeH ;-)

    Actually I’m faily sure they were the original airframes but complete rebuilds. As to AEW3 I can’t agree. Apart from being hideously ugly, horrendously late and over budget the very nature of an AWACS means that for NATO to all adopt the same system aids interoperability dramatically.

  6. RAB says:

    A few years ago the wife and I had a holiday on Ischia, a little island in the Bay of Naples. Facinating place. It has a castle on an island that is quite spectacular. Anyway in this castle was a Torture Museum. Torture was standard in Europe up until the 19th century as normal to their brand of Juresprudence. Had all sorts of finicky rules about how long you could torture a prisoner for every day.

    Anyway, it was stuffed full of very very nasty gear I would dearly like to use on the useless cunts, thousands of them, at the Abbey Woods procurement centre just outside Bristol.

    They are the twats that order a couple of Aircraft Carriers that have yet to be built, and even when they are, they will not have any aircraft on them because they forgot to order those. Two white elephants that the Govt plans to scrap almost as soon as they are built, but MUST be built, because the penalty clauses to the contracts would cost more than going ahead (fuckin genius’s or what!).

    They are the cunts that bought Apache Helecopters from America, but didn’t buy the computer software for them, grandly announcing that they would write their own, but couldn’t so now they are sitting in a hanger somewhere in bubble wrap.

    They are the utter cunts that have just done this to the Nimrods, and the list just goes on and on!

    My wife works for the cunts by the way, in a Welfare capacity, looking after the needs of our brave lads who come home with bits missing because of our current foreign missadventures. I can’t say too much, because it may get her into trouble, but what the senior wankers have done to her Dept over the last few years has almost every one of them looking for early retirement, so pissed off and demoralised are they.

  7. Ian B says:

    I still can’t quite believe that the whole thing, particularly the aircraft carrier debacle, is really happening.

    We’ve just sent a frigate to Libya. What if we need to send another one somewhere else? Do we still have two?

  8. Lynne says:

    Who cares? It’s only taxpayers money they flushed down the crapper after all.

    Soulless bastards.

  9. Lynne says:

    PS I wonder how long it’ll be before we see some Libyan Mirages appearing on ebay?

  10. Lt Ogilvie says:

    The MR2 pressure hulls were used as the basis for the MRA4, all else is, that is was, new. Still at least the US P-8 will be cheap (for the US) as the UK taxpayer paid for all the R&D on the mission system.

    BTW wouldn’t it be cool if we could put some maritime surveillance into the Med at the moment – just in case anything is happening in the Maghreb or if Iran sends warships through the Suez canal – just a thought.

  11. NickM says:

    Lt Ogilvie,
    I’ve been arguing the P-8 for the UK for years. As to your BTW… One of the most ridiculous themes of late in political circles is that we should focus our resources on Afghanistan. This completely misses the fundamental point that I very much doubt when Dubya was sworn in he thought that combat in that country would be his first act as CinC. Indeed this theme is almost perversely ignorant of history. So yes, some maritime recon based out of, say, Cyprus would be very handy!

  12. Paddy says:

    This is indeed a sad sight.

    When you think of the waste in the system, we could have done better before. This is just useless, simplistic, emergency cost cutting. They are doing this because the military is not ever going to go on strike or revolt while other state employees will.

    The Americans emphatically do not spend a lot of money on defence. If you look up their defence spending to GDP ratio, you will see clearly that they spend less today than Britian spent in the 1980s on this measure. (OK – their economy is vastly superior to ours with a nominal GDP difference in their favour of circa $10,000 PER PERSON, but you get my point.) For this easily affordable output, they have massive power projection. This is about strategic priorities first and foremost. For example, the USA have around 100 Cruisers, Destroyers and Frigates and around 60 nuclear-powered submarines. The cruisers, destroyers and subs can all fire precision land attack missiles accurately from over 1000 miles away. That gives them around 140 deep-penetration strike weapons platforms. Hence, when a US navy cruiser is steaming by, hostile Governments know that they are within strike range and have no possibility of retaliation. In contrast, the UK is dependent on anti-submarine frigates for operations. These frigates only have their gun available to attack land installations. The difference in projection capabilities is staggering here.

    The UK could easily choose to build large American-style ships to get good economy of scale. We are building dud short-runs at the moment. This isn’t rocket science. It started here, for goodness sake! Build 60 large destroyers of the same basic design and you get cost savings. You can transfer crews between ships without additional training. You get value for money.

    Nimrod, Type45 and Typhoon are all disasters. They are so because they have been badly run and implemented thus exceeding costs. I really don’t see how the “solution” to these respective programs was to cut the number of units in half or scrap them altogether.


    “I still can’t quite believe that the whole thing, particularly the aircraft carrier debacle, is really happening.

    We’ve just sent a frigate to Libya. What if we need to send another one somewhere else? Do we still have two?” – IanB

    It makes no difference. We have an RAF station on sovereign territory in Cyprus. The way the UK works is that in a time of major instability in the Middle East we use this unique asset to base three search and rescue helicopters run by two 3-star generals. “More admirals than ships.”

  13. NickM says:

    Yes. Building 6 Type 45s is insane. A side effect of the larger runs is of course reduced unit costs which make ‘em more exportable. Why do you think people are still buying Block 60 F-16s over Typhoon or Rafale etc. Well, that and a block 60-ish F-16 is absolutely kick-ass. It’s a right buggers muddle. I was watching a doc on the Ark Royal’s last cruise. It was extensively re-fitted about three years before being scrapped. And anyway 25 is no great age for a hull anyway. How old is the Nimitz?

  14. Lt Ogilvie says:

    As to P-8 I remember when it was the P-7 LRAACA that was the hot new item. I also remember the competition where no one was surprised Nimrod won (the company then had the word British in its name). I also remember that there were other technical solutions that were, shall we say, more attuned to the spec and the budget (they lost, the company did not have British in the name). I also remember betting that BAe would not finish on cost time or spec and that it would not gross dollar one. I still await my winnings.

    Having said all that the destruction of the MRA4 is criminal and Sir Richard Dannatt has revealed himself as either poorly briefed or an utter cock or both.

    If I were to ask one question it would be about the high turnover of senior personnel on the civvy side of the MOD(PE) team that allegedly oversaw the programme.

  15. Paddy says:


    you’re quite right. If you won’t even buy your own stuff, then you can’t reasonably expect others to take an interest. The T45 is a good air defence ship, but the program has been an industrial failure: half the ships have been delivered for more than the overall budget. Interested countries well-disposed to the UK, such as Australia, might have considered these ships if we could prove they are buildable. However, if the UK with it’s much larger industrial capacity cannot build twelve of them to schedule, it is obvious that the Australians were never going to take on the project to build three of a modified version. They have chosen something that works – a good-looking, well-built Spanish hull with American sensors and weapons.

    The Korean versions of the American destroyers now cost around around half of a Daring and are equiped with 128 missiles as opposed to 48 and two helicopters rather than one. The Daring class is estimated to have cost £6.46 billion: $9.69 billion at $1.5 to £1. If we’d just placed an order with Korea for their latest ships (each cosing $923 million) we would now have 10 or 11 destroyers for the price of 6. They would interact better with the US and would posess deep strike capability built in to the ship.

    If our pathetic government then decided they didn’t need five of them, we could then at least sell them on/give them to Australia rather than just carving them up into small pieces.

    We have the technical knowledge somewhere. For example, British scientific and engineering papers still carry a lot of weight internaitonally. However, it is in coordinating this strategy that we find there is disaster after disaster. This is absolutely no laughing matter. Our country is now unable to defend its core interests.

  16. NickM says:

    Paddy, Lt Ogilvie

    Considering the pig’s breakfast the Foreign Office seems to be making of getting Brits out of Libya I think your cases can safely rest ;-) What a bloody mess.

    Chartering a 757 that then er… broke down. Meanwhile rather than buy C-17/C-130J we are still involved in the farrago of A400M!

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