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MoD spent £600m on Harriers then sold em for £112m

 
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:08 am    Post subject: MoD spent £600m on Harriers then sold em for £112m Reply with quote

MoD tried to cover up selling Harrier jets to Americans for knock-down price of £112m after £600m refit
Senior defence officials knew move was controversial
They urged officials to stonewall awkward questions from the media

By Simon Walters and Glen Owen

PUBLISHED: 22:06, 24 March 2012 | UPDATED: 22:06, 24 March 2012
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2119894/MoD-tried-cover-sellin g-Harrier-jets-Americans-knock-price-112m-600m-refit.html

The Ministry of Defence tried to cover up the fact its Harrier jump-jets were sold to the Americans for a knock-down price of £112million shortly after a £600million refit.

Secret correspondence seen by The Mail on Sunday shows that senior defence officials knew the move was likely to prove controversial, and they urged officials to stonewall awkward questions from the media.

The deal to sell the 74 Harriers, which were decommissioned as part of the 2010 Defence Review, was announced on November 16 last year, a month after Philip Hammond replaced Liam Fox as Defence Secretary.


Secret documents: The MoD tried to cover up the fact its Harrier jump-jets were sold to the Americans for a knock-down price of £112million shortly after a £600million refit

At the time, the Government refused to say how much the US Navy had paid for the jets.

But Rear Admiral Mark Heinrich, chief of the US Navy’s supply corps, embarrassed Ministers just days later by giving an interview in which he said the deal made sense because the aircraft had recently undergone a refit at British taxpayers’ expense.


He said: ‘We’re taking advantage of all the money the Brits have spent on them. It’s like we are buying a car with 15,000 miles on it.’

Now the document, drafted by senior MoD mandarins and headlined Harrier – Implementation Of SDSR Decision – Sale, shows officials were aware that the deal would be regarded as poor value for money.

The paper, dated October 31, 2011, calls the American offer of £112million ‘the best value-for-money, least-risk disposal option for the UK Harrier fleet while fostering good relationships with the US’.

But it adds that the announcement ‘is likely to generate renewed media interest and criticism of the decision to retire the carrier capability’.


Rear Admiral Mark Heinrich, chief of the US Navy's supply corps, embarrassed Ministers when he said the deal made sense because the Harriers had recently undergone a refit at British taxpayers' expense

‘There is also likely to be criticism that the UK is selling the Harriers for much less than they are worth and in effect are throwing a viable capability away... the aircraft were upgraded in the last ten years at a cost of £500million and a weapons system upgrade was carried out in the last five years at a cost of £100million.’

The document goes on to advise against ‘any proactive media engagement’ and to respond to any inquiries from journalists with the ‘holding line’ that it would be ‘inappropriate to comment’ while the sale was still being negotiated.

The decision to take the Harriers out of service was controversial, as was the decision to abandon the aircraft carriers from which they operated.

Critics claimed they were scrapped so that the RAF could keep the Tornado fighter-bomber force intact.

Last night, an MoD spokesman said: ‘Harrier served this country with great distinction but retiring it eight years earlier than planned was the right decision. It would not have been prudent to give a running commentary on the future of Harrier while negotiations were ongoing with the U.S. government.’

Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy said: ‘This is an extraordinary admission. So embarrassed were they that they tried to cover their tracks but have been found out. The decision to scrap the Harrier left Britain with a dangerous capability gap. Ministers have no idea how to clean up this mess.’
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2119894/MoD-tried-cover-sellin g-Harrier-jets-Americans-knock-price-112m-600m-refit.html

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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

amazing

Defence in the Media: 23 July 2012
The Sunday Times reported that Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has been accused of attempting to prevent troops and officials from speaking out after the MOD issued "draconian" new orders. Instructions have been issued to troops and MOD staff banning them from having contact with MPs and MEPs without permission from a special unit of civil servants.
http://www.blogs.mod.uk/defence_news/2012/07/defence-in-the-media-23-j uly-2012.html

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Troops betrayed by the real enemy within
By Richard Littlejohn
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2161228/Troops-betrayed-real -enemy-within.html
PUBLISHED: 23:28, 18 June 2012 | UPDATED: 22:53, 24 June 2012

Why has there been so little outrage over the Government’s defence cuts? If ministers were slashing staff numbers by 20 per cent in any other area of the public services, the BBC and the Labour Party would be incandescent.

Just imagine the furious reaction if they proposed sacking a fifth of all those working in the National Health Service. The bleeding hearts would have a field day. Hand-wringing reporters would be interviewing men and women sobbing into their P45s and railing against the ‘savage’ cutbacks.

There would be Panorama specials on families forced out of their homes and ‘plunged into poverty’ by the heartless Conservative-led Coalition.

Labour MPs would be asking angry questions in the House and leading protest marches through Whitehall.

Yet because these redundancies affect soldiers, not civil servants, there’s barely a whisper. Shadow chancellor Ed Balls, always eager to express his outrage at any reduction in public spending, is conspicuous by his silence on the subject of defence cuts.

In opposition, the Tories spoke about restoring the military covenant which had been so shamefully neglected by Labour, despite Tony Blair’s enthusiasm for sending our Armed Forces to war.

The covenant is designed to acknowledge the great debt the nation owes to those we ask to put their lives on the line on our behalf. But faced with the need to tackle the huge deficit bequeathed by Gordon Brown, this Government has reneged on its side of the bargain.

The defence budget is being scythed back, with the Army bearing the lion’s share of the burden. Personnel numbers are being cut by 19,000 to just 82,000, the smallest ever in peacetime.

No one would deny that there is plenty of scope for trimming the desk jockeys at the Ministry of Defence and the land-locked admirals of the Royal Navy, who outnumber the ships available, but the axe is falling heaviest on experienced officers, NCOs and other ranks.

It was bad enough when redundancy notices were being sent to soldiers on the front-line in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now it has been revealed that servicemen are being sacked just days before they are due to qualify for their full pension.

One 40-year-old sergeant in the Royal and Mechanical Engineers was only three days away from completing 22 years service and receiving an immediate pension pot worth £108,000 when his P45 landed on the doormat.

He has been told he will now have to wait until he is 65 to pick up his pension.

A major with 16 years service in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and Northern Ireland was sacked 86 days short of his full entitlement.

Another officer, Major Rupert Whitham, a 38-year-old veteran with four tours of duty in Afghanistan, was made redundant 12 months short of an immediate pension. He has also lost the boarding school allowance paid to his two sons while he was serving his country abroad.

Serving officers are forbidden from complaining in public. But Henry Whitham, Major Whitham’s father, has spoken out.

He said that 38 out of 50 of his son’s Sandhurst 1999 intake have been sacked before they could qualify for their full pension. Mr Whitham believes this is no coincidence. ‘Enthusiasm and loyalty to the Army have been rewarded by the sack. The decision is not being made on the grounds of ability, experience or commitment, purely on cost. It would appear that capable, experienced and dedicated officers are being sacrificed.’

Three thousand soldiers are being dismissed immediately. The rest will be phased out by the end of the year.

Successive governments have treated the Armed Forces shamefully, while simultaneously and cynically basking in the reflected glory of their excellence and courage under fire. Budgets will inevitably come under pressure at times of economic uncertainty, but the callous and cruel treatment meted out to serving soldiers and their families is matched only by the criminal incompetence of those charged with running the Armed Forces.

Billions of pounds have been wasted on abortive hardware projects and procurement c***-ups. The Government recently cancelled an order for a new generation of planes, but not before £200 million had been poured down the drain.

Two aircraft carriers were ordered at vast expense by Gordon Brown to provide jobs for Labour voters in Scotland. But they will effectively be useless for a number of years because of a lack of aircraft to fly from them.

Meanwhile, thousands of servicemen and women are being thrown on the scrapheap and historic regiments, such as the Duke of Wellington’s, are being eradicated.

None of this prevents ministers from indulging in sabre-rattling on the international stage while refusing to acknowledge that Britain is no longer a major maritime or military power.

Slashing the defence budget is always an easy option. Soldiers can’t take industrial action and you won’t find squaddies considered surplus to requirements chaining themselves to railings or squealing on radio phone-ins about the ‘savage cuts’. The Armed Forces have few champions among the pampered political class.

On Thursday, there will be blanket coverage in the media, much of it sympathetic, as thousands of doctors with jobs for life go on strike in protest at modest changes to their pension arrangements, which will still leave them with ‘only’ £49,000 a year if they retire at 60 or £68,000 a year if they work to 68.

I doubt many of them will spare a thought for the thousands of servicemen unceremoniously sacked in their prime this week and who will have to wait at least another 25 years before they receive a penny in pension.

That’s the real outrage.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

even more galling when you think soldiers have been fighting a global Government ideology rather than defending out nation.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From a book about the physics of Harrier flight... a summary with a sting in the tail...

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/428560

Quote:
Sadly the Harrier [is to be] replaced by Lockheed's F35. The F35 promises higher speed and stealth, but put that into context against the fact that most of the Harriers combat profile, apart from the Fleet Air Arm interceptor use, has been as a low altitude attack bomber where speed is most certainly not important. How can you possibly even see, let alone aim a weapon at a tank whilst flying at 1,000mph at 200ft or less? How many pilots and aircraft have ever actually flown at 1,000mph at below 200ft? The whole point of flying below 200ft is to avoid radar, which has been at least a 30 year practice, so I fail to understand why stealth is at all important, unless air defence radars have massively improved their ability by strip out low level clutter over the last 20 years?
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