Originally posted by fritz
We are supposed to be 'allies' and that terrible crash on the Mull of Kintyre has no bearing on this.
- Er you'll find there has been plenty of questions raised about the FADEC flight control system used by the type of Chinook that was involved in
Boeing have not been as completely cooperative about that case too either.
MOD interfered with the original specs and wanted more gadgets and goodies above the original spec.
- Er, and what?
Anyway, what do you mean "interfered with the original specs"!?
This is absolutely normal with any 'foreign' procurement.
If you want to talk changes to spec how about when the UK insisted on completely different engines for the Phantoms we bought 35yrs ago?
The idea this is in any way unusual, puts undue pressure on the manufacturer or is just somehow 'damagingly' unattainable is pure nonsense.
If we follow your line of 'reasoning' then the most amazing thing is that when tendering for the contract Boeing did not say either that they were
not going to pass on the flight control codes or that the adaptations and/or upgrades the MOD wanted were not possible.
But the fact is that it is almost always the case that the customer nation want their particular machine (whether it be helicopter or plane) adapted
to more fully suit their own needs.
Go look up the history of almost any of this kind of stuff sold by almost anybody.
U.S did not want to hand over codes - fair enough!
- No, if the things can't be flown without the codes then absolutely not
"fair enough", actually.
As someone has mentioned before, if the UK can have something so sensitive as Trident D5 what the hell is a helicopter control system in
Let's be honest.
This is just another example of the parochial instinct that the US right-wing demonstrates from time to time (the most laughable and outstandingly
damaging example of course was the refusal to share nuclear secrets after WW2 despite British scientists and science contributing so much to the US
But here on our little island, should'nt we be able to build our own heavy lift helicopters.
- The costs of development are so high that cost-sharing is a reality the world over.
Even the USA has to do it these days.
Did we or did we not, have one of the most advanced helicopter industries in the world.
- Once upon a time that is true.
This was called Westland and, if my memory serves me correctly, it was the then Tory government that refused to bail out the ailling company
by purchasing medium lift helicopters and by ordering the super Puma which eventually was made elsewhere
- No, not quite.
(This was the all to do with Maggie and her tory gov's love affair with Reagan and all things American.......it almost brought down the Thatcher gov
at the time, it caused Heseltine to storm off, Leon Brittan to resign and all the trouble that lot eventually led to for them.)
It was 1986.
Westland were in trouble.
Orders were good but mainly on the basis of some new pending and unflown designs (mainly the EH101 Merlin, an excellent machine and, as time would
tell, fully justifying the orders placed for it), so, cash flow was the main issue.
Maggie wanted to use this to turn Westland (a hitherto successful independant UK manufacturer) into mere fitters screwing together early Blackhawks
for the RAF.
In 1986 the RAF meanwhile said it neither wanted nor needed Blackhawks. They still don't.
Heseltine wanted Westland to maintain it's independance and join a cooperative consortium in partnership with European manufacturers.....which is
pretty much what has happened so many years later with AgustaWestland.
(Just google the 'westland affair' and get ready to wade through a ton of links.)
As for the Eurofighter - it is an horrendous waste of money.
- As opposed to what?
Europe should just let it's high-tech aero-base be destroyed and whats left in Britain simply screw together what we are allowed to when we then have
little choice but to buy American, eh?
Or do the wider costs never actually figure into any of this (especially when it has the word 'Euro' included in there somewhere, hmmm?)
Over budget, over priced and way over the supposed delivery date.
- Or to put it another way; a cost-effective solution to the defence needs Europe actually has where the only genuine competition is an American
design so grossly expensive even they are having doubts about buying even half what they originally imagined (with all the cost implications that has)
......a 'warmed over' much older Russian design (however nice it looks) inferior on almost every level to Eurofighter/Typhoon and in need of such
extensive "interfering with the original spec" to stand a chance of being competitive (especially, ironically enough, in terms of it's electronics
(BTW......ask the Indians about their experience with operating and using Russian kit. The back-up is, apparantly, appalling.)
As a side note, I was once sat on Kitty Tor on Dartmoor with a chap who was working on the design of the wings. He said the MOD had opted for
polycarbonate wings which were made in sections, then 'glued' together.
This Chief Technician said there was thought to be a problem with the design because of what he called 'surviveability from small arms fire'. That
is, if [and a pretty big if at that] the wings were hit by anything larger than 50 calibre AAA, they [the wings] would start to 'peel' apart because
they had been manufactured in layers.
Now I do not believe that the MOD would knowingly build in this type of defect into a multibillion aircraft, but it does kinda make you wonder what
corners have been cut to bring this aircraft into operation - given the audit office's outcry over the project's management.
- Interesting anecdote (as they almost always are) but you'll find 'plastic aeroplanes' are the future and becoming the norm the world over (it
also relates to stealth tech....which, hopefully, means the other guy never even sees you to shoot at you at all).
But seeing as I have known some people in what was until recently British Aerospace I can tell you that the wing for Typhoon goes a long way back and
has evolved through several stages and designs; it has nothing to do with the MOD requiring a 'plastic wing'.
Honestly it sounds like this guy was 'guilding the lilly' a little to me.
(It's nothing like the plastics you or I encounter in our day to day lives.
It is actually fibres (like for instance carbon) laid like cloth - where the various directions of the 'weave' is all important for strength - held
in resin(s) - shaped and baked in a vacuum; an autoclav.
By the way it tends to shatter locally rather than peel apart, actually.)
They do test for an ability to absorb some damage you know (and you might like to consider that anything other than maybe an A10 or a big bomber being
hit by anything other than small arms fire is usually pretty catastrophic).
[edit on 21-3-2005 by sminkeypinkey]