Feeds

Ex-CEO says BAE's British future 'in doubt'

Also: Eurofighter development far from complete

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Turner, and his industry-body colleague Ian Godden of the Society of British Aerospace Companies, were also quizzed on their views regarding the long delayed DIS 2 plans - or even the possibility of a full strategic defence review (SDR) like that of 1998.

"A new SDR might deny [the world role seen for the UK in the 1998 document]," said Turner.

"We liked the DIS ... we don't want certainty today. We would get the wrong answer ... for a time we pushed for DIS 2. Now we don't think that's sensible ... we would lose too much", he added.

Godden said that "there is a balance between being in limbo [as we are now] ... and the wrong result. Industry does not wish to add to the pressures on the MoD at this moment ... we will wait."

Much of the discussion had centred on the fact that delays and uncertainty always tend to drive up the end cost to the taxpayer. This is a known truth with defence projects. Indeed the Defence Committee has previously suggested that if money can't be found to carry forward all existing projects as planned, it is better to cancel some and run the others properly - rather than keep running all of them badly, saving money in the short term but paying more in the end.

Turner was asked what he thought of the idea of cancellations as opposed to delays.

"We don't like it," he said. "We like the DIS".

The always knotty issue of arms exports also came up. Naturally the industry men were in favour of these, but considered that only government backing at the start could make them viable.

"It would be useful to have products," said Turner, bemoaning the fact that at present BAE factories have very little role in the British Army's FRES armour programme - and that there are no firm plans for a future generation of Royal Navy frigates. BAE owns the UK shipyard industry as well as the tank factories.

Turner also appeared to suggest that the incredibly expensive Eurofighter superjet - now reaching RAF service after more than twenty years in development at a projected acquisition cost of at least £20bn - was far from complete, and would be difficult to export in large numbers as it now stands.

This is because the Eurofighter, dubbed "Typhoon" by the RAF, was designed as a pure air-to-air combat plane. It has had some "austere" air-to-ground abilities bolted on lately. However, making it into a proper multi-role jet which would actually be saleable (to other people than the RAF and the Saudis) will require a lot more money to be spent - according to Turner.

"I appeal to the MoD to finish the job on Typhoon," he said, still speaking about export possibilities.

It would seem that reports pointing to a final UK Typhoon pricetag of £25bn+ weren't exaggerated. In the scenario called for by Turner, the RAF would mothball a lot of its current Batch 1 and 2 Typhoons, mainly operating the full-fat multi-role Batch 3s - the same type that BAE would be selling to overseas customers at competitive prices.

Meanwhile, each of the RAF's future, perhaps 140-strong operational Typhoon fleet would have cost the UK taxpayers better than £175m. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.