posted on Mar, 21 2006 @ 04:26 PM
See below extract. I think the Brits have a very, very good point.
Lord Drayson: JSF Operational Sovereignty Is Vital for UK Defence Interests
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued March 14, 2006)
Lord Drayson, in his first visit to Washington as Minister for Defence Procurement, will today set out the UK's perspective of the JSF programme to
the influential Senate Armed Services Committee.
Lord Drayson, who will be accompanied by Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of the Air Staff, will outline to the committee (whose members include Senators
Warner, McCain, Levin, Kennedy, Clinton and Dole), the importance of the programme to the UK's future military capability and ability to make a
significant contribution to future joint operations with both the United States and other Allies.
Lord Drayson said:
"Our aim is to ensure that future generations of UK and US servicemen and women can continue to stand shoulder to shoulder in pursuit of common
goals. Increasingly we recognise that this will depend upon access to common technology. With its increasing complexity, and the growing importance of
expeditionary fighting power, the necessity to share information and technology between our two great nations both in relation to JSF and more
generally is ever more vital.
"Whilst I appreciate the concerns of some in the US about the issue of Technology Transfer, the British public expect their Government to equip our
Armed Forces with the very best and I am determined to best represent the interests of our national security and our British Service personnel.
"The next key milestone in the programme, the signing of the Production, Containment and Follow-On Development MOU will commit the United Kingdom to
the whole life of the JSF program. We must therefore be sure to understand the nature and balance of the obligations between our nations consistent
with the principles of the agreements on JSF we have signed to date. Operational sovereignty, the ability to integrate, upgrade, operate and sustain
the aircraft as we see fit and without recourse to others is of paramount importance.
"Let me state our bottom line. These issues are important to us because they enable us to make the judgement that the aircraft are "fit to fight"
and we can send our airmen and women into action in that knowledge. This decision has to be one for the UK, indeed the British Government's
responsibility to our Armed Forces, and their families, means that this judgement can only be made by the UK. If we do not have the information and
technology needed to make that decision, then I shall not be able to sign the MOU. I recognise the consequences that would have on the UK's
continuing participation in the programme.
"The UK Government will continue to work tirelessly with the US to resolve this problem once and for all. The UK committed to the JSF program at a
very early stage and, as Level 1 partners, we remain committed. I hope that we can find a way which will meet our requirements for sovereign
capability while protecting the US national security requirements.
"We have no reason to believe that our discussions with the administration will not be successful but without the technology transfer to give us the
confidence to deliver an aircraft fit to fight on our terms we will not be able to buy these aircraft. I am spelling this out because it is so
important to make our intentions clear. I know the British can be accused of understatement."
Lord Drayson, commenting on the issue of the second Rolls Royce engine said:
"The F136 inserts an important competitive element to the JSF programme by providing an alternative choice for the aircraft engine both at initial
acquisition and, importantly, through life, with all the monetary savings that this will offer us both. There is also the potential growth capability
that the F-136 offers as a new generation engine. We believe the F136 engine will lead to lower through-life costs and deliver the best outcome for
both our warfighters and our taxpayers.
"For these reasons and given the importance of the project to Rolls Royce, we expect, as a level 1 partner, to be properly consulted on decisions of
this magnitude. As the Minister responsible for the UK defence industrial base, I still wish to see funding for F-136 included in the Department of
Defense programme. This is something that I will be following up with the Administration this week."
During his 4-day visit Lord Drayson will also be meeting with senior officials from the Pentagon and State Department for discussions relating to our
bilateral defence equipment relationship and will be making a number of calls upon industry, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing and BAE Systems.
1. The Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of JSF is the aircraft selected by the UK to meet the Joint Combat Aircraft requirement.
2. JSF will form the "Strike" element of the UK's Carrier Strike capability comprised of JSF, two new aircraft carriers and supporting systems.
3. The UK is the only Level 1 partner in the US-led JSF programme. The other partner nations are Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia,
Denmark and Norway.