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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Turkey shoot

From the Telegraph:

MOD in talks to offload Eurofighters because of cash crisis

MOD officials are said to be in talks with foreign powers to offload the Eurofighter Typhoons after running up a £2 billion deficit.

The Royal Air Force had ordered 144 Typhoons and is committed to buying a further 88 after signing up to a trade agreement with Spain, Italy and Germany.

Just brilliant. Decades late, Budget absurdly over-run, and now we... don't want it. But like all good euro-projects, there is no way to correct mistakes:

Since the Eurofighter deal was brokered, both Italy and the UK have shown reticence to buy the ordered jets, asking how much it would cost to take fewer or no aircraft. But that was deemed unworkable because the financial penalties are so harsh.

The Eurofighter contract was designed to discourage countries from cutting back orders making it almost as cheap to take delivery of the aircraft as to buy out of the scheme.


Without wishing to argue that the euro-enthusiasts always get everything wrong, here is a quote from Michael Heseltine's 1989 book, "The Challenge of Europe: Can Britain Win?":

"The European Fighter Aircraft Programme will save the British defence budget £1 billion. It is one of the largest industrial contracts in which Britain has ever participated and the most ambitious co-operative veture in Europe. The French, I believe, now regret their decision to go it alone."

Prophetic stuff indeed.

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