Lib-Dems Euro Fighter Cancellation

During the last Leader Debate, Billothewisp watched Nick Clegg announce that Euro Fighter (Typhoon) should be cancelled. In fact I think what he meant was cancellation of the Tranche 3B contract as outlined in his Defence Policy (see summary here).

As I understand it cancellation of the Tranche 3B contract is actually a cancellation of the latter stages of the overall contract. Some Typhoons are already in service. So at least Nick Clegg's grand money saving idea would only seriously damage the RAF's air defence capability rather than completely crippling it.

It is funny how ambitious political leaders simply cannot remember recent history.

You would have thought he would at least be able to remember the utter catastrophe Gordon Brown unleashed on our forces by failing to provide enough helicopters and modern armoured vehicles for use in Afghanistan.

But lets go back in time a little further, and to another country..

Go back to 1st September 1939, and look what happened to Poland. Like us, the Poles had dedicated brave and courageous airmen. Unlike us they had old and out-of-date aircraft ( see PZL P.11 here). While their airmen flew with undoubted bravery, they had little chance of stopping the Germans (even the German bombers were faster than the Polish fighters).

One of the reasons Nazi Germany attacked Poland was it knew the Polish air force was outdated, under equipped and no match for the Luftwaffe. If the Poles had had a up-to-date air force with sufficient equipment then maybe the Nazi's would have bottled it. Then today the world would be a very different place.

Now come forward to a little known aspect of the Battle of Britain. We all know of the success of Hurricanes and Spitfires. Even then these state-of-the-art machines were hard pressed. But what is often forgotten is that there were two other aircraft used in Britain's aerial defence. These fared less well.

These planes were the Boulton-Paul Defiant and the Bristol Blenheim (a bomber conversion). Both of these planes were also flown by dedicated courageous crews but they both suffered such appalling losses that they were soon relegated to night interceptions only. These aircraft were not completely obsolete like the Polish PZL P.11 but were they inadequate for the role given to them. If, at the time, we had had to rely on these aircraft rather than the more advanced Spitfire and Hurricane we would have probably lost. Again the world today would be a very different place.

If the remaining Euro fighter contract is cancelled we end up being defended with what we have got. Air defence will be left to a mix of a few Typhoons and Tornado F3's( which are, like the Blenheim, essentially bomber conversion) The Tornado is now at end-of-life. Tornado F3's are not (and never have been ) highly regarded. Now they are also obsolete.

If Euro fighter (Typhoon) is cut back then we leave ourselves open to aggression from those who are better equipped.

I could go on about who/what/where the threat may be. But is that necessary? Have we not learnt Gordon Browns lesson?

He ignored the need for more helicopters and new armour because the threat, at that time, was not fully tangible.

He gambled with our security and with the lives of our servicemen.

Are we going to make that mistake again?

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