2 February 2011

Chinooks - hard to credit

Even by the abysmal standard set by the Coalition government in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), the dithering about confirming the Labour regime's very belated order for more Chinook heavy lift helicopters boggles the mind. The Reg has a fair take on it.

The probable reason is that the RAF would fly the Chinooks and the Army, desperate to control its own battlefield resources, is committed to the far less capable Lynx (see my previous post here).

Only the British political capons would regard that as a Gordian knot. The SDSR faithfully reflected the irrefutable fact that the MoD is simply not concerned with war fighting and is entirely given over to grossly over-priced arms deals and inter-service bickering over who gets the jobs and the kick-backs.

MoD appears to be determined to leave no fuck-up uncommitted. As Major-General Julian Thompson, whose land forces were compelled to walk across East Falkland for lack of helicopters, bitterly wrote to The Times (£) last November:
Harrier could still use Kandahar runway if half of it were blocked by Taleban action; can use any make-shift landing site; has a response time of less than 10 minutes, as against 30 for Tornado; performs better in hot weather; requires fewer ground crew; and has better availability.

Harrier can deliver close air support of ground forces anywhere from the existing carriers, has nearly twice as many airframes provided with precision-guided ground attack capability as Tornado; will not require a further £1.4 billion to re-engine in 2014; and can remain in service until 2023 without significant investment.

The existing Tornado force will cost, over 10 years, seven times as much to keep in service as Harrier. . . . The decision to axe the entire Harrier force is strategically and financially perverse.
Thus also the part cancellation and delay in confirming the purchase of further Chinooks. Men's lives are being sacrificed on the altar of inter-service rivalry, just as they were in the Falklands when the unprepared Guards were sent instead of the battalions that were in high readiness. Prestige old chap, don't'cher know?

No comments:

Post a Comment