Stuart Andrew, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, has revealed that Final assembly of the E-7 aircraft and radar combination will be undertaken in the UK.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson recently announced that the Ministry of Defence is in discussion with Boeing about the potential for the E-7 Wedgetail aircraft to replace the current Sentry fleet.

Stuart Andrew recently said in response to a parliamentary question:

“Final assembly of the E-7 aircraft and radar combination would be undertaken in the UK and Boeing have confirmed that it intends to use the same facility to meet any future E-7 sales opportunities for other customers. Through-life, we anticipate that support and training would be undertaken within the UK, directly leading to UK jobs.”

The E-7 Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) System is able to fly for long periods of time and manage the battlespace from the sky, providing situational awareness and tracking multiple airborne and maritime targets at the same time. It then uses the information it gathers to direct other assets like fighter jets and warships. It has already been proven on operations in the battle against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

Further discussions are set to take place before any investment decision is made. If selected, UK industry will be involved significantly with the programme, from modification work to through life support.

63 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent news. Yet another step forward. Some very serious kit coming, all helping the UK technology base and providing well paid, skilled jobs.

  2. Perfectly sensible move, considering the E-7 is not in series production in the US unlike the P-8a or AH-64E setting up final system integration in the UK is not going to have the same cost increase impact.

    Considering there is a very good chance that there will be further international E-7 sales shifting the work to the UK will be a mutually beneficial exercise. It also nips SAABs accusations in the bud.

  3. Another sop from Boeing who’ve been shamed into this latest debacle by the MOD. The MOD had no intention of having any other solution. They’ve been cannibalising Sentry for years to bounce everyone into this purchase. I hope SAAB wins the contract! We’ve become far too reliant on Boeing. There might even be a solution from Japan, after all they have Poseidon but also their home grown variant. The more solutions you have the more you squeeze them for a better deal. The Wedgetail is far too expensive for what it is. Just think how good the Sentinel solution has been for the RAF.

    • “Another sop from Boeing who’ve been shamed into this latest debacle by the MOD. The MOD had no intention of having any other solution. They’ve been cannibalising Sentry for years to bounce everyone into this purchase.” –

      This assumes that the MOD has foresight and long term thinking at its heart. In reality the MOD will bounce from one funding related issue to the next and the run down of the Sentry is more to do with lack of planning and a desire to avoid spending money than any plan to get the E-7. I don’t get the impression that Boeing have been particularly shamed into this, the E-7 is not in series production in the US and only available as a bespoke order so there are little of the economies of scale to lean upon in this case.

      “I hope SAAB wins the contract!” –

      I don’t and most people in the know do either, the SAAB solution is a paper plane.

      “There might even be a solution from Japan” –

      No there isn’t, Japan buys all its AEW&C types from the US. They currently operate the E767 (basically an E3 in a B767 airframe) and the E2C Hawkeye which is currently being replaced with the E2D. Japan has no indiginous AEW&C program currently.

      “after all they have Poseidon but also their home grown variant.” –

      Japan does not operate or plan to operate the P-8a Poseidon.

      “The more solutions you have the more you squeeze them for a better deal.” –

      For a limited number of what is always a bespoke order be it from Boeing, SAAB or IAI ELTA there isn’t the scope to squeeze for a better deal in the same way.

      ” The Wedgetail is far too expensive for what it is.” –

      No it isn’t, when through life costs are taken into account the E-7 which is based upon the most common civil Airliner in the world has significant advantages over its competitors. It also offers synergies in crew competence considering our P-8a order.

      “Just think how good the Sentinel solution has been for the RAF.” –

      It has been a very useful type but unfortunately unloved when it comes to funding, deciding to go with the Northrop Grumman support contract in hindsight was a mistake as we are now left will a fleet that is unique in systems fit and would be expensive to push through an upgrade. It isn’t even the case of putting our remaining airframes through the Block40/45 upgrade. Unfortunately Block40/45 is reliant on the aircraft already being upgraded to Block30/35 something due to our support contract with Northrop Grumman never happened.

      • I don’t and most people in the know do NOT either, the SAAB solution is a paper plane.

        Sorry fast typing missed a word

          • Definitely. When I was a programmer early on in my career I worked in the USA for 3 years and it was a real wake up call to discover that pretty much all my US colleagues had been taught to touch type as part of their Comp Sci degrees whereas I and all my U.K. colleagues mostly did the “two finger peck” to get our code into the computer. For some reason it just never for a second occurred to any of us Brits that being able to type quickly and accurately is a very core skill to improve programmer efficiency. Maybe modern U.K. Comp Sci courses are different now but in retrospect it’s complete madness that my course thought it necessary to include modules on various fairly esoteric physics (e.g. wave guide theory and the skin effect) and pure maths topics but not to teach us how to touch type. Definitely a win for the USA there on basic common sense, or at least it was in the 1970s & 1980s.

      • Hmmm just noted ‘Setinel’ not ‘Sentry in his last paragraph.

        Oh well, nevertheless the points about Sentry are valid in the context and ironically the Sentinel has faced similar issues.

  4. How much work are we actually dealing with here? Is it just a case of both parts being flown in and bolted together as that doesn’t sound all that amazing even if I know nothing about the process.

    This could be a surprisingly large deal or meaningless, which is it?

    • Pretty much what you suggest, final integration of systems that have already been produced in the US and Australia.

      On the other hand if the UK becomes the final fit out centre for the E-7 as is being proffered by Boeing it is not that bad a deal.

  5. How many planes are we getting? Like for like or the usual “it’s better, therefore we can cope with less of them”? Still good news though and happy things are moving forward.

  6. Anyone who would rather have an unproven design with no given budget with different support capabilities than the P8 and built somewhere else please vote now.

    • I’m all for doing more stuff ourselves again and building many new competitive industries, but not on this one. To little time and not enough budget to cope with cost overruns. We need to be looking 10-15 ahead now and identifying platforms and key technologies that we will be buying in bulk and invest in them and make them the best. Once they are ready, then we market them or variants of around the world. We don’t need to do everything ourselves, but I do want to see us doing a lot more down the line.

      • We need to learn from this exact circumstance so we are not caught short again, if indeed this is an area we would like sovereign capability.
        We should be looking at the next generation of airframes and engines that are still on the drawing board which will have exceptional range, invest in our radar technology and control systems so it all comes together at the same time and leaves us ahead of the curve. Then we have something other nations will want to buy and lower costs for our own platforms.

        • The Nimrod debacle never should have happened. To believe a 50 year old air frame could be re manufactured for anywhere near the same cost of quality of a new build airbus was moronic. Add that to fact there would be no possibility of follow on export orders. The people who made that decision would have disappeared had they been Russian.
          Had we selected airbus to make the aircraft we could have even funneled additional money for R&D for increased composites in the wings and body to reduce weight providing it was manufactured in Britain. This could be transferred to their commercial models increases jobs for the long term. Airbus then could have pushed the product in other European markets to challenge the Poseidon. This is so obvious, the fact we didn’t do it infuriates me more than any other defense procurement screw up over the last 20 years.

          • (Chris H) BB85 – Absolutely dead right. Something I was chuntering on about years ago. Nimrod had state of the art kit and brilliant crews. We had the money and knew how to operate them but some bright spark decided on the old Nimrod airframes were tickety Boo … Trying to fit larger hand made wings onto hand made fuselages of a basically a decades old aircraft as you say. With 4 engines.

            I thought the same when people were talking about Poseidon and suggested that a suitable A320neo would make a superb starting point for a Maritime aircraft. Having said that I have to concede given we have had a large number of personnel trained and operating US Navy Poseidons for some years and it IS a series production airframe it was the better choice. I will sidestep the refuelling bit if I may …

      • I think that’s absolutely right T.S.. We can’t do absolutely everything ourselves but we should be picking critical areas where there is volume, both for our own use and for export opportunities, and then get really serious about putting the resources in place and getting the focus and determination to do it properly and produce world-beating products in those areas that we do choose. For me this Wedgetail product space isn’t high-enough volume whereas something like a containerised drone that could host a good surveillance package and maybe even carry a few LMM plus designator as well could dramatically increase the effectiveness of many of our RN & RFA vessels in surveillance and policing roles and be a huge export opportunity.

  7. I was initially very disappointed that the UK Government has given up on indigenous projects and keeps buying off the shelf Boeing products (SAR helicopters, new Chinooks, new Apache, P-8 and now Wedgetails) but if we are doing this we should at least go all out to get the UK as Boeings main non US manufacturing and maintenance base.

    • They can be fitted with a refueling probe, the issue is the cost and certification.

      The MOD so far has not been prepared to pay the integration and certification costs to add a probe to the type.

      The MAA won’t allow a probe to be fitted without it being done properly and with a massive paper trail!

      • Poseidon and Wadgetail are US designs configured for boom refuelling. US AirForces preferences.

        As Fredaykin says RAF could develop a refuelling probe, but would have to undertake all the work and cover the costs.

        Much easier to add a boom to Voyager air tankers.

      • Haddon Cave and Nimrod XV 230 are the drivers for modding aircraft nowadays . The lack of conformity control and Risk Managment of mods on Nimrod where the major factor in it crashing.
        Today, if you want to mod an aircraft (and warships for that matter) you quite rightly have to jump through a lot of hoops before getting approval. No more cowboy mods to get a capability installed quickly. You need to do risk assessments and lots and lots of “what ifs” to move it forward.

          • Link doesn’t seem to upload.. anyway search string was ‘737 refuelling probe’ and it was the Airforce Technology article in case anyone wants to look.

          • I wouldn’t be surprised if Boeing has a concept study for probe installation on the 737, it is a normal exercise to give Engineers new to the company a project to allow them to learn the companies procedures. It has the added advantage that these studies can act as a starting point for future requirements.

            Nevertheless it is all academic, my personal opinion that getting a probe on the P-8a or E-7 would be a silly distraction that would slow down the induction of both types. If we want an organic refuelling capability for these types we would be far better served getting the Boom on some of the Voyagers.

        • Agreed, as I have been trying to explain around here a ‘Can do attitude’ is not enough these days to get a mod on an Aircraft in these post Haddon Cave days! The MAA is the gate keeper and much paperwork is required…

          Then again this issue extends way beyond Nimrod and the core fleet in respect of this issue. I would suggest people have a look at the long standing but very active thread on Pprune “Air Cadets Grounded”, it is truly horrifying and shows a dire breakdown in basic Aircraft husbandry by the MOD and RAF:

          https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/538497-air-cadets-grounded.html

          • (Chris H) Fedaykin – Just a point of order if I may here. I made a general point that Boeing could (indeed should) install Drogue & Probe refuelling systems on Poseidon aircraft during manufacture. Repeat: DURING MANUFACTURE. That argument also now applies to Wedgetail given they are basically the same 737NG airframe. Boeing install all the internal plumbing, electrical and electronic safety and control systems for Boom refuelling in the airframe during manufacture anyway so I was discussing the front fuselage roof differences. I also pointed out that Boeing use Cobham for all the Probe & Drogue and Boom refuelling delivery systems on the KC-46 tanker. So that indicates full supplier regulatory approval to me.

            Sadly you then made repeated and unnecessarily sarcastic and superior comments turning it all into a personally abusive project. I gave up and have since made little comment on this forum. I never ever said (as you misrepresented) that anyone should or could ‘cut and shut’ anything but you insisted Cobham ‘cobble up’ systems. Tell Boeing that. Replacing a Boom receptacle for a Probe is not as you make out a major system redesign and I would be surprised if Cobham don’t already have drawings in place. They have been doing this since 1934

            I never argued against the Regulatory angle as it is what it is but you seem to have a mindset that says ‘No we can’t do it’ and ‘Boeing will charge a fortune’ and then blame the MAA as the scapegoat. Boeing and Cobham are ALREADY certified to do exactly what I was suggesting and on a massively bigger scale on a production line. Are you really telling me Boeing / Cobham would not get approval for a Probe refuelling connection in place of the Boom receptacle?

            And for the record I only suggested Cobham and Marshalls MIGHT get involved if Boeing were totally inflexible and forced a major customer to make post production additions. My main argument was that building Probe receivers into an airframe on a production line isn’t rocket science. Its manufacturing engineering. Work that is already done (to give but two examples) by Boeing with the F-18 and LM with F-35B and C aircraft. Oh btw they use Cobham systems to do it.

            Keep the conversation civil and we can all have an interesting time. Try it.

          • Sigh, yet again Chris H gets all huffy. Didn’t even mention you in this case. Oh well if you want another drubbing…

            “Just a point of order if I may here. I made a general point that Boeing could (indeed should) install Drogue & Probe refuelling systems on Poseidon aircraft during manufacture.” –

            Boeing could fit (or subcontract to an approved third party) the design and fit-out of Probes onto the P-8a or the E-7 but as for ‘Should’ no they are not a charity or morally required to satisfy your hang ups Chris. If UK MOD asks for it then Boeing will more than likely state a cost and move on from that point.

            “Repeat: DURING MANUFACTURE.” –

            Only if the MOD asks for it, if they don’t it isn’t going to happen. In respect of the P-8a the boat has already sailed as the first airframes are in final assembly. Adding a probe to them would have to happen after the event. In respect of the E-7, it could happen during manufacture but only if the MOD asks for it. If the MOD doesn’t ask then Boeing will not waste resource on it.

            “Boeing install all the internal plumbing, electrical and electronic safety and control systems for Boom refuelling in the airframe during manufacture anyway so I was discussing the front fuselage roof differences.” –

            I have told you before go away and have a read of the regulatory documentation, just because the work for boom refueling has been done does not mean that it is immediately transferable to a probe installation.

            “I never ever said (as you misrepresented) that anyone should or could ‘cut and shut’ anything but you insisted Cobham ‘cobble up’ systems.” –

            Yes you have, more than once you have suggested that if Boeing won’t then other companies should outside of regulatory standards.

            “Tell Boeing that. Replacing a Boom receptacle for a Probe is not as you make out a major system redesign and I would be surprised if Cobham don’t already have drawings in place. They have been doing this since 1934” –

            Well lets be thankful that you have nothing to do with Aircraft release to service, because to suggest this simple in the current regulatory environment it is comically out of touch. Why would Cobham have drawings in place? Again they just the same as Boeing are not a charity. Thinking that might be the case is magical thinking at best.

            “I never argued against the Regulatory angle as it is what it is” –

            Yes you have more than once.

            “you seem to have a mindset that says ‘No we can’t do it’ and ‘Boeing will charge a fortune’ and then blame the MAA as the scapegoat.” –

            No I don’t, I have always stated it is possible but would probably be costly. The MAA is not a scapegoat it is the reality that the RAF and the MOD has to operate in now, people have died due to failures in airworthiness within the RAF and MOD. That you can’t get your head around this is more depressing than anything else.

            “Boeing and Cobham are ALREADY certified to do exactly what I was suggesting and on a massively bigger scale on a production line.” –

            I have never disputed that, nevertheless it must be a) Requested b) Developed within the current regulatory framework as laid out by the MAA c) Paid for.

            “Are you really telling me Boeing / Cobham would not get approval for a Probe refuelling connection in place of the Boom receptacle?” –

            I have never taken that position, it is pity that you can’t understand the more nuanced point I am making.

            “And for the record I only suggested Cobham and Marshalls MIGHT get involved if Boeing were totally inflexible and forced a major customer to make post production additions.” –

            Well you suggestion is a non-starter. Neither companies will operate outside of the regulatory framework of the MAA. If Boeing subcontracts them to do the work, if it has been requested and paid for then they would do it but not otherwise.

            “My main argument was that building Probe receivers into an airframe on a production line isn’t rocket science. Its manufacturing engineering. ” –

            No it isn’t rocket science. Nevertheless it has to be requested, paid for and done within the current regulatory framework as laid out by the MAA.

            “Work that is already done (to give but two examples) by Boeing with the F-18 and LM with F-35B and C aircraft. ” –

            And? Probes were requested as program deliverable for the Hornet and Lightening.

            “Oh btw they use Cobham systems to do it.” –

            And? Cobham won the right to do the work on those programs operating with the OEM and within a regulatory framework.

            “Keep the conversation civil and we can all have an interesting time. Try it.”

            I have been civil but I have no interest in sparing your feelings when you type nonsense. Anyhow Chris you are a hypocrite considering you are more than happy to dish out insults and then try to take the huffy high ground when you get called out on it.

          • (Chris H) Fedaykin – You use terms like ‘Huffy’ and ‘drubbing’ and ‘hypocrite’ and you think you are being civil? .. Hmmm … And do quote where I have EVER abused anyone first off. Yes I will give it back when its dished out. Like for like but I NEVER start it. I argue I do not abuse. Maybe Google the difference after all for you every day must be a school day. I am on record with people I have ‘crossed swords’ with strongly that after the event I can still discuss matters in a friendly way and even have a few laughs. I doubt you have a sense of humour….

            And you are clever I will give you that. But maybe too clever by half because you fabricate something I never said and then base half your so called ‘drubbing’ on it. Please quote where and when I have ever said we should operate outside of regulations. I never .. ever .. have. So basically you’re a liar Pal.

            Oh and please don’t ‘spare my feelings’ because as far as people like you are concerned I have none. I merely try to counter some of the comments you make. After all ‘you’ are just words on a screen and you disappear in 2 minutes. You describe what is written as ‘nonsense’ because you disagree with it – Dismissing what is written like that is just your opinion. It means Diddley Squat and you are no more ‘right’ than anyone else here. You may well be a legend in your own timeframe but to me you are just someone who thinks personal abuse, sarcasm and self righteous smugness enhances your own argument. It doesn’t it makes you look what you are

          • “You use terms like ‘Huffy’ and ‘drubbing’ and ‘hypocrite’ and you think you are being civil?” –

            Not particularly, I am not usually that civil to those who seem to think their ideas are the ‘Solution’ to problems that don’t exist.

            “Hmmm … And do quote where I have EVER abused anyone first off.” –
            “Remoaners”, “Sweetcheeks” – Ring any bell for you?

            “Yes I will give it back when its dished out.” –

            That contradicts your above point, be consistent at least!

            “Maybe Google the difference after all for you every day must be a school day.” –

            You never abuse people here?

            “I am on record with people I have ‘crossed swords’ with strongly that after the event I can still discuss matters in a friendly way and even have a few laughs. I doubt you have a sense of humour….” –

            So can I, I have a huge sense of humour. Picking apart your rambling ideas is highly amusing to me.

            “And you are clever I will give you that. But maybe too clever by half because you fabricate something I never said and then base half your so called ‘drubbing’ on it. Please quote where and when I have ever said we should operate outside of regulations. I never .. ever .. have. So basically you’re a liar Pal.” –

            Oh let me see, you want a quote … are yes how about: October 3, 2018 at 14:19

            “There is no technical or safety reason why Boeing could not build such a system into Poseidons or Wedgetail on the FAL. And if they can’t or won’t then I am sure Marshalls and Cobham here in the UK could do it.”

            I have a good memory for such things Chris, asking Marshals or Cobham to do the work without OEM support is operating outside of regulatory norms!

            “Oh and please don’t ‘spare my feelings’ because as far as people like you are concerned I have none. ” –

            Going on this tirade I would say your feelings have very much been poked.

            “I merely try to counter some of the comments you make.” –

            How can you counter something when you get your core facts wrong?

            “You describe what is written as ‘nonsense’ because you disagree with it” –

            I disagree with what you write often because it does not bare a connection with facts…hence making it nonsense.

            “Dismissing what is written like that is just your opinion.” –
            I have plenty of opinions but that doesn’t relate to your factual mistakes.

            “It means Diddley Squat and you are no more ‘right’ than anyone else here. ” –

            Indeed, which means I will merrily carry on correcting your nonsense when required.

            “You may well be a legend in your own timeframe but to me you are just someone who thinks personal abuse, sarcasm and self righteous smugness enhances your own argument.” –

            Thank you that only enhances my personal joy over our interactions.

            “It doesn’t it makes you look what you are” –

            That’s nice 😉

        • (Chris H) Gunbuster – I don’t think anyone was suggesting a ‘mod’ to any aircraft for the very reasons you give. Although the differences are only related to a front fuselage roof panel (as the rest of the refuelling systems are already in place and certified) of course this would need regulatory approval. I briefly suggested in an earlier Thread that Cobham were more than capable of doing the work (if sadly necessary) and are an approved supplier to do such work. Personally all I have ever suggested is that Boeing should deliver all RAF aircraft fitted with Probe & Drogue rather than Boom off the production line. And that the MoD as customer should demand it.

          • Taking a somewhat broader international view, I’m fine with the MoD asking for jousting lances to be added to whatever new aircraft the RAF purchase now or into the future. I am however perplexed that the Voyagers are only able to support droge refueling currently, and not boom. At issue is their capacity to support non-droge coalition aircraft (Belgian F-16s, Dutch F-35s, US P-8s, RAAF C-17s etc), as such they are limited in their capacity to loiter to support broad coalition forces in the most likely application they would be employed.

            Consider that the RAAF A330 MRRT tanker asset has just been rotated out of the Syrian conflict after a 3year continuous deployment because it could support ALL allied aircraft configurations, well after the return of the RAAF Rhinos.

  8. More signs of true commonwealth integration happening, all makes sense for a revived global Britain. Next stop Canada. Quantity has a quality all it’s own (the soviets coined that one), the best way to counter the Russians is with creating the finest kit in the first place, then building as many as is humanly possible for yourself and your allies.

    When everyone starts using their strengths as part of a team the results are incredible. Perhaps, perhaps…consider the ‘commonwealth’ as a team, imagine the combined brainpower of uk, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, each contributing what they are best at, might make Europe a collaboration projects look less inviting. Less cultural bollocks clearer common cause.

    Create a mega company called COMMONWEALTH SYSTEMS that is like BAE on steroids, design and create kit on a global scale. As an ex pomme living in Sydney I’ve watched Australia come to grips with what it’s best at after some disappointing forays into biting off too much, it needs to work as a team. COMMONWEALTH SYSTEMS more and more sense when you think about it. There would be huge challenges,with a ton of detractors and vested interests stymieing things, but the end result…… world beating kit. Time for the commonwealth to be reborn. Timing is perfect…..prime ministers are you listening? Jobs, jobs jobs….votes votes votes.

  9. “Stuart Andrew, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, has revealed that Final assembly of the E-7 aircraft and radar combination will be undertaken in the UK”

    I hope I am right in reading that to mean the aircraft will be assembled here and then fitted out here. I emphasise the ‘here’ twice deliberately.

    If so its a great step forward and opens a few doors for UK Incorporated.

  10. I don’t think you understand what the Commonwealth is…

    It is at best a semi ceremonial intergovernmental talking shop and certainly not a trade block.

    Neither Canada, Australia or New Zealand are interested in forming some new Trade Block with the UK that will be weaker than the ones they are already members of. Canada, Australia and New Zealand are all far more interested in making trade deals with the largest and most powerful trade block in the world…The European Union

    • (Chris H) Fedaykin – Not sure the UK wants to form anther ‘Trade Block’ having escaped the EU Ponzi Scheme… But by all means project a false argument if you wish.

      I suspect your Remainer credentials are showing here and sadly your love of the EU (a foreign power) seems to have blinded you to the importance of the Commonwealth both to the UK and in global affairs, how that very Commonwealth came to our aid when no one else did and has done so often. Funnily enough especially when we were fighting Germany and trying to liberate the very continent that now seems determined to damage us in any way they can. Funny old world innit?

      The Commonwealth are REAL friends. It does after all represent some 55 countries across every part of the globe. Something the EU can only dream of as it gets smaller by us leaving and basically zero growth as recently published. The Commonwealth’s success is that it is a voluntary arrangement and pulls different countries together based on the same common principles we Brits established centuries ago. 16 of its countries even share the UK’s Head of State as their own. Importantly it opens up trade to poor nations rather than excludes them as the EU does.

      As to your rather humorous dismissal of 3 of the other members of ‘5 Eyes’ (oh wait no … they want nothing to do with us…)
      1. New Zealand has had its own personnel based in the UK to assist with the formulation of future trade deal policy and capabilities for nearly 2 years. We even hired one – New Zealand’s former trade head Crawford Falconer is our chief trade negotiation adviser.

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/29/new-zealand-offers-uk-its-top-trade-negotiators-for-post-brexit/

      2. Australia has made it abundantly clear that it sees a UK trade deal as a priority. It has also said it would be open to the idea of the UK joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bloc after Brexit – The Independent from 19th February 2018

      3. Canada has said it is prepared to basically copy the EU trade deal it has to form the basis of a bilateral UK / Canada deal. Given we already trade under that deal we could adopt it the day after leaving if both parties agree. And no we wouldn’t need EU approval as you hilariously suggested would be needed for a proposed Japan / UK bilateral trade deal in another Thread. Neither Canada or Japan is constrained by their trade deals with the EU as to their wider trade deals with other countries. Only an EU Customs member is so constrained. And why we are leaving!

      4. Sorry but the EU is NOT “the largest and most powerful trade block in the world” although that statement can be interpreted ‘as you wish’. But some comparable statistics to ponder:
      The European Union
      Exports $813 Bn
      Imports $801 Bn
      (These are pre the UK leaving and taking $ Bns of GDP and trade with it)

      North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
      Exports $1,017bn
      Imports $1,277bn

      Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum
      Exports $2,592bn
      Imports $2,581bn

      We leave the EU on March 29th 2019. With a deal or without. All the blue flag waving, sarcasm, forecasts of doom and gloom that never materialises and gnashing of teeth will change that simple fact. And I look forward to the UK retaking its place as a global free trading nation amongst friends and likeminded people of the rest of the world.

      • I don’t think you understand what a ‘Ponzi-Scheme’ is Chris. The EU is not one so I wouldn’t try to take some high ground about false arguments…

        “And I look forward to the UK retaking its place as a global free trading nation amongst friends and likeminded people of the rest of the world.” –

        You are in for one nasty surprise…

        • (Chris H) Fedaykin – Oh yes I do:
          “A Ponzi scheme (/ˈpɒnzi/; also a Ponzi game) is a form of fraud which lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors by using funds obtained from more recent investors”

          The EU has some 6 nations (Investors) paying in every year (so recent investors) so that it can spread that money (or profits) to 22 other member states (or other investors). It then created a scheme called QMV that means it can buy majority support from the client majority 22. So 6 investors paying 22 to keep the whole system running doesn’t look like a Ponzi Scheme to you? Call it what you like but its been a fraud on this country for 20+ years. We were OK in the EEC and then they needed the EU. Why?

          Interesting you seize on one two word comment as your prime response. You made an ill informed comment (or three) and I dismantled it with factually supported statements. Or a ‘drubbing’ in your dim language. Its a shame you sort of drifted over all that. Or do you consider factual sources to be ‘nonsense’?

          Oh and while I ask for proof from you Remainers as to the future and I never get any I will ask you: Why am I in for a nasty surprise? Give me ONE simple fact to support your negative opinion. After all its just your opinion right?

    • I don’t think anyone is advocating that anyone give up current trade arrangements to do a new trade deal with the UK. This unfortunately is the mentality of the so called “remoaners” with respect to their blinkered view on the EU. Of course you can have multiple trading relationships – something not possible as a member of the EU.

      • Five eyes alone is a market 55% larger, and 75% wealthier than the EU.

        Maybe in 10 years they will approach it with a different attitude

  11. While we seem to continue to build and acquire at a snails pace, in ever decreasing numbers?

    “Foggo says Russia’s new generation of submarines is highly capable and dangerous. Among the newest is the Borei class: virtually silent, nuclear-powered vessels capable of launching ballistic missiles. The Borei class is the main pillar of Russia’s underwater nuclear deterrent force, similar to the US Ohio class ballistic missile submarines.

    “This is beyond any doubt the future of our group of naval strategic nuclear forces,” the head of Russia’s naval forces, Adm. Vladimir Korolev, said recently at the christening of another new Borei class submarine.

    Russia currently has four of these on active duty, with four more expected to enter service by 2020.”

    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/25/europe/nato-russian-submarines-iceland-intl/index.html

  12. Boeing are playing the long game, they don’t want the UK to procure an Airbus based aircraft effectively creating a competitor product, which if sold to the UK makes it a very credible alternative. Its said that an airbus with RR engines means 50% of the aircraft is UK made.
    I doubt this a full assembly of the 737 more likely conversion work similar to the work Marshalls already do and did for the UAE.

    One of the first jet engines
    First commercial jet airliner
    One of the first jet fighters
    First supersonic commercial jet
    One of the best selling jet trainers

    Now we takes scraps from Boeing.

    Its quite alarming how over the decades we gone from leaders of the aerospace sector to nothing. Yes we can produce parts but have no sovereign capability to assemble large airframe anymore. Soon jet trainer production will be gone and I doubt there’s enough Typhoon orders to keep lines open until Tempest gets into production meaning valuable skills will be lost.

    If these aircraft were ships they’d be built here.

    • I’m no aeronautical engineer, but the E-7 conversion appears to be a pretty significant skin re-build of the 737 fuselage and a major electronic transplant, not just bolting on a few extra bits. It is more likely to be specialist work and would mean that deep-overhaul servicing of the current E-7s (Korea, Turkey and Australia) could ensure continued skilled employment in the UK.

        • The E-7 is a proven aircraft and military asset (no disrespect to the Nimrod), and it is a multi-national though admittedly limited. If the MoD does place the order, the UK can set its own destiny in the conversion, delivery and maintenance of the aircraft and really show it best.

          The other opportunity is linking into the AWAC development platform for the system. This is a joint RAAF and USAF arrangement and the UK has a lot to offer as well as enhance to suit its operating environment.

          • The FREMM is a proven frigate and UK would have a lot offer the Franco/Italian partnership but yet we believe we can do it ourselves and designed the T26 now e have won to competitions with the T26. We could have bought Arleigh Burk destroyers but decided the to design the T45.

            So why when it comes to aircraft do we just give up and by from the US.

  13. I have come to the conclusion after some thought this week that this Forum isn’t fun for me any more so time to shut my little corner down. To those with whom I have had a laugh, friendly banter, ex-mob piss taking and some rigorous but friendly debate thank you. I will miss that.

    To the others?……

    Thanks to DJ also for some informative articles all done on a voluntary basis. Much appreciated. Take care you lot and may I be the first to wish you ‘Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’

    For 2019…..

      • Hi Chris(H)
        Shame to see you go, sites like these need the F and R as much as they need you, me D and G.
        They need a bit of NC and a bit of H.

        These are exciting times in defence and a balance in the blog sphere is sometimes a good tonic to what goes on in the fun bus that is the big smoke.

        It is always impressive to see those with such passion that they keep an eye on the archive, look for a miss quote and look for an assumption of fact when only opinion is offered. These are dedicated resourful people.

        Keep the corner open, not necessarily to comment but to chuckle at the arguements, nod at what you agree with and get angry at comments you don’t.

        We will stick around, like herpes, to provide some opinion and get shot down by those who think their word is fact.

        Cheers
        Lee

    • I’ve just started on UKDj, and I read all your comments and I like and agree with most of what you say. But if you have to leave then fair well and all the best.👍

  14. Just a thought, if the Americans, French and Saudi’s are keeping their AWACS fleet, is it worth Britain refurbishing its E3D Sentry fleet to the latest standards. Maybe get 10 plus years more service out of the surviving 6 aircraft fleet, although spare parts will be a bigger problem. I understand they could have a lot of hours left on the airframes, since only 2-3 are available at any time. It looks like the once 7 E3D Sentry fleet has been underfunded and cannabalised for years. Whats to prevent the MOD doing the same to the future Wedgetail purchase in future. The RAF E3D Sentry fleet would be a much prized source of parts for the 3 other Sentry nations.

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