British Aircraft Production Totals

I don’t know how accurate this is from HushKit but it makes interesting reading.

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://hushkit.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/british-aircraft-production-totals/”]

Did we really build 1064 Boulton Paul Defiants – what were we thinking!

And can we please call the Typhoon replacement the Gamecock?

 

EDIT: Spelling error corrected, thanks Andrew!

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Alex
Alex
October 16, 2013 10:57 am

You’ve got to set that against the loss rates, even (or especially) in peacetime – if we built a lot of early jets, it was in part because we also threw them and their aircrew away as if they were cheap as chips.

dave haine
dave haine
October 16, 2013 11:10 am

2000-odd Fairey Barracudas? But only 130 Whirlwinds…

IXION
October 16, 2013 11:22 am

Personaly still waiting for the shrew.

Chris
Chris
October 16, 2013 11:43 am

Not entirely complete; can’t verify accuracy though. I can excuse the lack of the likes of Tornado, Typhoon & Merlin as they were international projects. But apparently there were no Miles Gemini light aircraft made. Nor any Vanguards (passenger or freighter). Nor even any VC10s.

But the trend is completely transparent – fewer and fewer aircraft are being made. Even in the inter-war years where defence spending was slashed (first Peace Dividend) production remained much greater than now – bear in mind the likes of Hawk have been ‘current’ production aircraft for 25 years or more, where the 1920s biplanes were changing so fast few remained in production for more than a couple of years.

Not that anyone has the time (or inclination) to do it, but it would be interesting to see both the rates of production (per year or per month) and the typical unit procurement cost adjusted for inflation. Just to see if lots were sold in past times just because they were cheap.

Hush-Kit
Hush-Kit
October 16, 2013 11:54 am

Good points Chris.
I’ll check facts and amend accordingly.
Thanks,
HK

Chris
Chris
October 16, 2013 12:27 pm

HK – sorry – didn’t mean to create work.

On the subject of Defiants, I admit ever since getting an airfix kit of one I’ve quite liked the concept – but what was wrong with them in reality? The engine is not powerful, and it lacks normal fixed gun/cannon in the wings, but apart from that? And had they been given Merlin power and forward facing guns, would they then have been jolly good?

Bluenose
Bluenose
October 16, 2013 1:00 pm

@ Chris,

Defiant was too heavy and slow, at base. Could not defend itself against [escort] fighters and the ‘formate and fire’ principle against bombers was in general something of a tactical dead-end versus a fast, firing approach and exit.

Appreciate that the German ‘Schräge Musik’ concept was a similar idea, but that was specific to one tactical circumstance.

Nice to see the DH4 up their; very good general purpose aircraft

Ian Skinner
Ian Skinner
October 16, 2013 2:49 pm

The Defiant was built in antcipation of unescorted mass formations of bombers attacking Britain: The Defiants would attack and break up the formations from below and in front, allowing the Spitfires and Hurricanes to attack. The only chance they got to test the theory was during the Luftflotte 5 attack on Northern Britain, however the Defiants were vectored away at the last minute.

most Defiants were built as Nightfighters at which the proved very effective.

Andrew J Boulton
Andrew J Boulton
October 16, 2013 3:09 pm

“Did we really build 1064 Bolton Paul Defiants – what were we thinking!”

Your introduction to the Defiant film mis-spells “Bolton”, which (of course) should be the same as my family name “Boulton” . . . . :)

Deja Vu
Deja Vu
October 16, 2013 4:30 pm

Gosh what a lot of different manufacturers there were.

I seem to remember a memoir by an RAF flyer who had been shot down in WW11 and under interrogation obtained a respite after he told his interrogators he had been flying a Huntley and Palmer* bomber. I think the engines were manufactured by Derry and Toms or possibly Swan and Edgars**.

BAE, Airbus, or EADS just do not have the romance.

*Biscuit manufacturer.
** West End department stores.

Chris
Chris
October 16, 2013 5:12 pm

WiseApe – Now I really do have a soft spot for the Wimpy – one of Barnes Wallis’s fine innovative designs. The first aircraft I believe that used a geometric (or Geodesic if you are being pedantic) network of interconnected struts to create a structurally rigid fuselage, where the standard was to use simple longitudinal stringers that offered little resistance to longitudinal twist. The result (if reports of the time are accurate) was an aircraft that could take enormous punishment and still get its crews home. If I understand correctly, the Wellington and the Hurricane were the two ‘most trustworthy’ aircraft, as in the ones that would keep flying with the most combat damage. In a 1950s book of the RAF (in the loft somewhere) there is a picture of a Hurricane with little left of the wings outboard of the undercarriage, rags for a rudder, half a tailplane, no rear fuselage skin, no engine cowl – and it still flew the channel to get its pilot home (according to the text). Sadly I can’t find that picture on the web, so here’s a lightly damaged Hurricane instead: http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g64/PoorOldSpike/Photos%20Three/Hurricane-dog_zps43453da1.jpg

John Hartley
John Hartley
October 16, 2013 6:03 pm

Various. Looking at the Defiant at Hendon, I thought it would have been better with 2 Merlin engines. That would have left the nose free for 8x .303. So with 12 including the turret, it would have been quite a bomber killer.
In the slang of the time, was a Huntley a homosexual & a Palmer a prostitute? Might have made that bomber quite fun to fly on.
If Britain had the will to build planes today, I would want a Concorde replacement. Same size as a B767-300, so 220 seats, 10900 km range, but cruising at mach 1.15, not the mach 2 of Concorde, or the 0.85 of most subsonic airliners. A clever shape would mean no sonic boom at ground level from a Mach 1.15 cruise above 36,000 ft.

IXION
October 16, 2013 7:39 pm

I hate to poor water on all this trip down a rose tinted memory lane, but…

B Wallis was 100%- except no imitations engineering genius.

But he himself admitted Geodesic construction came about because the British aircraft industry was struggling with integral construction- compare our pre 1940 transports and bombers with the b17 /dc2 and 3 etc. The world was moving on from stringbag construction, and we got caught out of step. (We caught up by the end of the war and excited WW2 with the most advanced industry in the world:- (until it all stalled coz we was boracic).

Some of our designs of the early war years really didn’t get ‘it’. And were retired early and pastured out on Maritime Patrol, training, transport etc. We were rather slow to ax planes from manufacture that the war had left behind- a bit like our tank debacle. The Defiant was an example it did do sterling work as a stop gap night fighter until better was available, but you would never have designed a night fighter that looked like that from scratch.

We did produce some stunners- Spitfire Mosquito Beufighter etc . But for example there are Air ministry reviews making unfavorable comparisons with most US service aircraft by 44′. From a constructional point of view. Perhaps the biggest sin was our perennial fault of under-powering stuff. e.g. That great aircraft the Sunderland had to be operated pretty much flat out all the time.

Chris
Chris
October 17, 2013 9:16 am

Second time of writing because one mistyped key trashed the last finely written comment. Who’d trust £*&$% software?!?

IXION – ref envious eyes – the Air ministry bods were doubtless looking at a) the best of the US aircraft of the time and b) the undoubted advantage they had in manufacturing capacity and R&D funds. On the aircraft side, I recall P51 was ho-hum until it was fitted with Merlin power – P40 was similarly underpowered in its early form. So the Air Ministry was envious of the best few types. Similarly I would wager on the US side there were Generals looking at Spitfire Mosquito Lancaster SeaFury and Meteor with envy. On the production side, we did really well over here considering how small Britain is in comparison to the US, but we were never going to have the resources available to match the Cousins. On the R&D front, unlike the US, we relied on the stubborn brilliance of the engineering stars of the day (Mitchell, Wallis, Camm, deHavilland etc) who pushed their designs through despite official support (lack thereof). Example – read the Wiki page on how difficult deHavilland found persuading the Air Ministry to take his fast bomber design seriously: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Mosquito

On the subject of tanks (off topic) its true those in the army in 1939 were close to useless, but (as we are reminded regularly) they were what the military top brass required and accepted. Indeed, the Churchill is the way it is because it was required to cope with the shell-pocked marshy mire of No-Man’s-Land because the Generals knew for certain that WW2 would quickly bog down into trench warfare, because all future wars would be exactly like the last one fought. Despite the Generals (What? What?) and their Requirements, we clanked into war with Mathilda 1s and A10 Cruisers, and roared out the other side with Centurion. Not bad for 6 years’ development. In contrast, despite the 25 year long study into the replacement of CVR(T), there was still going to be a five year development programme to get from Preferred Supplier selection to Scout-SV In Service Date (ISD). Now it looks like modifying ASCOD into Scout will take 10 years: http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120526/DEFREG01/305260002/U-K-May-Delay-Major-Vehicle-Buy?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE

Anyway. This is an Aircraft thread.

Its easy to look at other countries’ best equipment and compare it to the worst of our own. Given the circumstances, I think our small island did just fine.

x
x
October 17, 2013 9:50 am

The Short Seamew………

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uAgdXiRNLO4/TZDPVHa_AZI/AAAAAAAAAF0/3QQblSpceDk/s1600/Short_Seamew-9.jpg

And if you all don’t start behaving I will post another picture of it. ;)

Posted for no particular reason. Sue me. :)

a
a
October 17, 2013 9:51 am

Sellars and Yeatman’s classic joke about why Pegasus doesn’t really exist:

“There are genuine horses on every page of Handley Cross, but we have never yet seen a horse that was a genuine cross with Handley Page.”

x
x
October 17, 2013 9:56 am

@ Chris re ASCOD

Perhaps somebody has read my post re Bronco, gone off to look at the contract with General Dynamics, and thought of something to spend the underspend on……. :)

Chris
Chris
October 17, 2013 10:28 am

x – ref Bronco – obviously my brainwashing isn’t working – repeat after me: “UK MOD needs Chris’s absolutely brilliant vehicles… UK MOD needs Chris’s absolutely brilliant vehicles…” (mental image of Kaa the Python hissing “Trustht in me; justht in me…”)

x
x
October 17, 2013 10:49 am

@ Chris

OK. :)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 17, 2013 10:50 am

Chris, from your Defense News link:

The MoD has never publicly acknowledged the expected in-service date for the Scout vehicle, although Army officers at last year’s DSEi exhibition in London said it was 2015.”

In 2002, it was the opinion of HQ LAND, when asked to comment on the Initial Gate Business Case for FRES SV, that the proposed ISDs for the whole FRES SV family of 2010-2016 were too late and that the reconnaissance variant should be de-coupled from the SV programme as the requirements were too different, and could be met better with COTS / MOTS already in production. I know, I drafted the letter, which went out under a 2 star signature. Absolutely bugger all was done about the letter, representing nearly 100% of potential users, because the civil servants and gone-native Whitehall military officers in London knew better than we did.

IXION
October 17, 2013 10:55 am

Actually the spams thought the spitfire ‘Delicate’ and the mosquito positivly fragile; not helped by the fact in the heat of the tropics it litteraly came unglued.

Our own view of the Lancaster was by 44 it was ‘obsolescent’.

I do stress we did brilliantly in some areas. Particularly with production rates and positivly leapfroged the yanks with the v bombers etc.

None of the aircraft were bad or in some case very good. Its just that we were a bit out of step in the early part of the war

Bob
Bob
October 17, 2013 10:59 am

RT,

They knew that it could not be brought forward as the money was not in the system that early on. The same reason the Warrior programme is so leisurely.

Chris
Chris
October 17, 2013 11:13 am

RT – that was back when FRES was still (in my opinion) a sensible programme, when MOD “wanted up to 1,500 FRES vehicles to be in service by 2007, including armoured personnel carriers, guided weapons platforms, command vehicles, reconnaissance, indirect fire support, ambulance and repair and recovery versions. They had to be ‘generally in line with C-130 weight and space envelope constraints and afford a high degree of commonality between variants’. A low logistic foot print and easy sustainability were also required” Damn! If only they’d listened to you back then…

Never mind – at least some of us are still working on the *right* type of thing to replace Scorps. [insert smiley face here] Also just what the US Army has decided it needs too.

Its tough being right all the time…

x
x
October 17, 2013 11:31 am

@ RT

So you are saying that the first vehicle we are getting in the FRES family is the one which (as we have often discussed here) was deemed by the professional to be wrong before MoD started selecting a vehicle? And there is a letter stating that in MoD records. Wow. I know the project was screwed. But wow.

FWIW ST Kinetics delivered the first Bronco to the SIngaporean Armed Forces in 2001.

I know some who visit here don’t like Fantasy Fleets but doesn’t anybody on the procurement desks at the MoD flick through Jane’s? Or are they all that uber-professional we know best so far up their own yazoo to condescend to see what else is out there? I don’t mean Bronco specifically I mean anything. I truly think at times it is all a great game and that value for money for the taxpayer or defending the UK or giving the troops in the field (even if that field is soggy ogin or the bright blue yonder) comes second to just frakwittery internal politics or securing yourself a good job post-service. Utter rhubarb. Utter kumquat. All covered in custard and sprinkles. Wow.

Bob
Bob
October 17, 2013 12:02 pm

IXION,

I agree with most of what you say. But how on earth did the UK leap-frog the US with the V-bombers? The Vickers Valiant entered service with the RAF almost exactly the same time as the B-52 entered service in the US. The Valiant was falling apart by 1964. The B-52 is now undergoing yet another upgrade. The UK never did fly a supersonic strategic bomber whereas the B-58 entered service in 1960 and the XB-70 flew in 1964.

The UK certainly had a very early lead in military jet aircraft, in the 1944-47 period (Canberra, Meteor), but then rapidly fell behind again.

DGOS
DGOS
October 17, 2013 12:24 pm

The one that makes me weep is the Miles M52 should have been first through Mach 1

All data sent to US including the all moving tailplane this stayed secret on several later aircraft.

All incorporated in the Bell to be first through speed of sound.

Can just remember as a little lad being buzzed by yellow painted biplane (Tiger?)- adults hit the deck -I continued to stand as being shorter that the adjacent trig point!

Highlight of my misspent youth was 1/1/2 hour flight in B29 (Washington in RAF parlance) .

Was lend lease just using up flying hours – several rivets missing explained load hissing sound at 12,000 feet

Found how difficult it was to manually aim the rear guns on F84’s carrying out stern attacks (aimed from blister by remote control).

Made the Lincoln on the base look ancient .

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 17, 2013 12:30 pm

x,

back in 2002, the order of march (as originally planned) for FRES was UV, then SV, with within the SV family recce variant first, then command, then engineer, then (memory runs blank, but there were a total of 7 planned variants within SV including ambulance, missile, logistic and one other that completely escapes me).

ISD for UV was I think 2008, SV Recce coming along in 2010, and the others following until 2016.

Both UV and SV had separate IGBCs. The letter I refer to was about the SV IGBC, and made little substantive comment about the non-recce variants. As you’d expect, Yr Hmble Drafter was quite forthright about the recce variant, but it wasn’t merely my own opinion – it was properly staffed and collated input from across all of the staff branches, as well as the 2 front line combat Divisions we had, and even referred to lessons identified from Gulf One. All of the various directorates (RAC, Infantry, Royal Artillery, etc etc) were also consulted but not by HQ LAND as at that point they were not part of LAND, but rather AG. However, we all pretty much felt the same way. Just bloody get something better than CVR(T), and PDbloodyQ.

The rest is history, and a classic tale of allowing pointy head doctrinaires to get involved. And an industrial IP policy that was as mad as a box of frogs. And by the sound of it, we’ll be getting a monster wagon in 2020 that no one wanted back in 2002, over-armoured, over-engineered, and over bloody here when it should have stayed in the various dago armies that made the mistake of buying it back in the 90s.

(EDIT: clearly, ASCOD was not a named candidate back in 2002, but the sort of wagon that it is was. Another Warrior, basically. We already had Warriors)

Deja Vu
Deja Vu
October 17, 2013 12:37 pm

Hartley The Huntley/Palmer Homosexual/Prostitute codes were used by the Home Office Departmental Committee under Wolfenden in the mid 1950’s so as not to offend the lady members during discussion.
The Lancaster may have been obsolescent in 1944, but the Avro Shackleton in the AEW role lasted until 1990. Not listed by Hush Kit, but Wiki says 185 were built.

Mrs DV would visit the Project Manager for Nimrod AEW in his office at MOD procurement, in the eighties, and he had a model Shackleton on his desk.

Bob
Bob
October 17, 2013 12:42 pm

That the Shackleton was in still in service in the 80s says far more about the procurement failures of the 60s and 70s than it does about the qualities of the Shackleton.

The fact that the Shackleton was the final evolution of the Manchester (first flown in 1939 as a failed medium bomber) tells us even more.

x
x
October 17, 2013 12:50 pm

@ RT

It is just the irony of it that gets me. Programme screwed. And the first vehicle brought, as it were, is the “wrong” one

I appreciate your views on recce wagons are a synthesis of your experience in the field and take it for granted that are are shared by your peers and not some ramblings from an eccentric a la Lewis Page.

To this layperson there is a need for two vehicles. The pure recce wagon as you have outlined here in conceptual form many times. And a proper light armoured car to carry a cannon for the more combatative tasks. I am just amazed that my appreciation of the situation is so out of line with the official view. But then as I said I am just a layperson….

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 17, 2013 1:02 pm

x,

that’s what we all thought. Get a proper bloody recce wagon, that isn’t compromised by being also a common chassis for all sorts of other stuff (which are important in their own right), and get a different family of wagons that weren’t compromised by also being small light and fast as the recce wagon should have been.

There were still the wheels vs tracks arguments in the recce wagon world, but no one wanted a 30 ton monster. I favoured wheels myself, but there’s pros and cons to all views.

However, budgetary reality is what is is (was back then as well). Lord knows what happened after 2003 when I pushed off. I always felt that FRES was too big a programme (£16 billion, all up). It was trying to be all things to all men.

wf
wf
October 17, 2013 1:25 pm

@RT: how much of FRES was “FCS envy” in your opinion?

Chris
Chris
October 17, 2013 1:33 pm

RT – fully agree ref single chassis solution across all roles. Clearly some should be small/nimble and others big/protected as priorities. I do however believe in commonality of systems subsystems and components such that from the REME point of view many apparently different vehicles use the same support/training. A bit like looking at Golf/A3/Leon/Octavia cars – they don’t look much like each other but to the mechanics they are the same.

As ever, ref all things to all men, I offer an analogy: The desire of requirement writers is to have each new equipment fulfil many roles which results in compromised ability at much higher price. Its akin to deciding to spread training across the entire manpower of the armed forces such that everyone gets an overview of every possible role; each fully the equal of any other. No budget to train in depth – just basic training. Thus once all personnel are identically trained the Army cook might be redeployed to special forces, the ship’s navigator might be redeployed as a fast jet pilot. No personnel would in reality be skilled at any role and all personnel would be brought up to a barely adequate standard for all roles. Completely barking? Plainly there is much greater value in having specialists who are focused on their specific role and are very good at it. The same then should be read across to military equipment – multi-role multi-use reconfigurable materiel is highly unlikely to be as effective as well thought through dedicated equipment.

However as I stated above optimised effective dedicated-role equipment can be produced from a set of common building blocks such that their support is not as diverse as their abilities.

In my opinion.

IXION
October 17, 2013 3:37 pm

Bob

I agree by say 1955 (ish) the US was streaking ahead. The B52 in particular was a masterpeice.

However in 1945 briefly for a few years almost the only serious player in the multi engined jet world was the uk. It’s not for nothing the US used the canberra.

And like i have said before you can forget all that secret German research stuff.

We were king of the jet engine whilst everyone franticly tried to catch up and nick/ copy what they could. We simply did not have the dosh to keep up.

SR
SR
October 17, 2013 4:04 pm

Stuff your Seamews and Defiants – Sea Vixens all the way. Epic British engineering – go have a look round the one in Bournemouth, it’s gorgeous! Still got 600 carrier deck landings in the airframe, apparently…

Think Defence
Admin
October 17, 2013 4:11 pm
Reply to  SR

Buccaneer, Hunter, Sea Vixen, can’t think of a better trio, unless you want to make a foursome with the mad as a box of frogs Lightning

Chris
Chris
October 17, 2013 4:20 pm

WiseApe – ref SeaVixen survivor – my sort of vehicle! Proper trustworthy strong resilient and dependable! What’s not to like?

Mark
Mark
October 17, 2013 4:27 pm

The hunter for me a wonderful jet everything you want in an aircraft of its day.

The greatest of all our post war aircraft was a civi.

Bob
Bob
October 17, 2013 4:42 pm

The Sea Vixen was an awful aircraft; obsolete to the point of being embarrassing when it entered service it is arguably one of the best indications of just how poorly the UK aerospace industry performed at times.

IXION, on multi-engine I only kind of agree, do not forget the B-47 though. On single-engined types the UK started to fall behind pretty much as soon as the F-86 entered service.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
October 17, 2013 5:09 pm

Awful aircraft is probably a bit harsh, but the real measure is that while we were bringing the Vixen (with the Firestreak missile) into service, our friends over the pond were doing the same with the F4 (with Sparrow and Sidewinder). They did of course have the benefit of ships large enough to cope with high-performance jets……..one lesson we have learned.

Bob
Bob
October 17, 2013 5:34 pm

And had already introduced the F-8 Crusader which was successfully operated from Foch and Clemenceau for decades.

Sea Vixen would have been wonderful if it had entered service eight years earlier.

John Hartley
John Hartley
October 17, 2013 5:55 pm

RT Don’t bite my head off, but would the cousins M1117, be anywhere near your ideal recce vehicle? 13.4 tons, reasonable protection, can run at 63 mph, or 440 miles at 40 mph. Armed with a 40mm grenade launcher & a .50 machine gun.

dave haine
dave haine
October 17, 2013 6:11 pm

I don’t think many british aeroplanes were awful- we just took so long to get them into service that they were often obsolescent as they came into service. And when we got them into service, we often kept them longer than we should have (Meteor, Vampire, Venom). Or we didn’t develop them properly. I mean why the hell wasn’t the Shackleton built with Darts, after all the Viscount first flew in 1948, the Shackleton in 1949.

As an aside, the Shackleton is as related to the Manchester as the F100 is to the F86. The ‘Shack’ was based on the Lincoln wing, with a different fuselage. The Lincoln had a different, longer, stronger wing with a different aspect ratio to the Lancaster and even the fuselage was bigger.

My five? Javelin, Lightning, Hunter, Sea Vixen, Gannet. And ‘Budgie’ the 748.

x
x
October 17, 2013 6:19 pm

The Sea Vixen RO’s must have had constitutions of iron and the spatial awareness of a very spatially aware bat. Or perhaps they lacked spatial awareness and so didn’t get sick………

The prettiest carrier aeroplane of all time, the Sea Hawk……

http://www.globalaviationresource.com/reports/2009/iansloan/images/1.jpg

http://www.globalaviationresource.com/reports/2009/iansloan/images/2.jpg

Whoosh!

EDIT: I forgot the Attacker, shown here at the FAA Museum……..

http://cdn-www.airliners.net/aviation-photos/photos/8/6/4/1378468.jpg

@ RT

The £16bn is another thing that shocks me. How the heck does a project to buy a piece of equipment that costs ballpark £3 million a copy and let’s face it isn’t a revolutionary piece of equipment come to £16 billion? That is CASD and FJ territory, that is a flotilla of SSNs. Wow.

Bob
Bob
October 17, 2013 6:27 pm

To be fair to the Shackleton, if it had been produced with the Napier Nomad it could have avoided the hideous Viper booster-jet configuration, increased it’s range and been a much better looker.

Many British aircraft were awful, the archives are full of reports that confirm this. The Albemarle for example, or the Buckingham, or the rather fragile Valiant B.1.

x
x
October 17, 2013 6:36 pm
All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 17, 2013 6:37 pm

Built some shockers. Also built some bloody good aircraft like Harriers, Lightnings, Buccaneers and Nimbats. Perhaps we were slow on the uptake about it simply becoming too expensive to design and build our own advanced jet aircraft for relatively small production numbers. Buying Phantom was a good choice but F3 instead of buying F15/16?
It now seems we may have attached ourselves to the biggest dodo the US have built for generations. Typical.

Mark
Mark
October 17, 2013 6:41 pm

I would add Canberra Vulcan, victor, vc-10 superb aircraft all. US build there fair share of shocker as well so it was in a age of discovery.

x
x
October 17, 2013 6:56 pm

Dodo? Interesting. The Dodo was a species of pigeon, a family of birds we all associate with superb flying ability. :)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 17, 2013 7:26 pm

x, re £16 billion.

Lots of them. Something like 5,000 across all FRES fleets (UV and SV).

£16 billion / 5,000 = about £3.2 million each. Spread over nearly ten years, and replacing a vast proportion of the Army’s current vehicle fleet. So, the numbers make sense mathematically. In a way (I’m not being exact here) it was the equivalent of replacing most of the Navy’s classes of vessels all at once. Whether that is a sensible approach is a different question.

I still think it was too big a programme. Should have been bitten into much more easily wrangled chunks. Being so big, it became unmanageable. Who (uniformed or civil service) was ultimately responsible for that decision I don’t know, but it would have been someone pretty damned senior and they will no doubt by now be enjoying their pension.

FRES aslo got f**ked by 2 separate things: the decision to buy QEC / F35 / Crowsnest (two mega programmes going head to head when there was only money for one, and two services versus one service), and the ongoing meatgrinder in AFG, which “proved” that FRES was the wrong concept. After all, it doesn’t really matter if you can arrive in 24 hours in a sexy wagon out of the back of a plane if you then spend 10 years in the same place because the politicians can’t sort out how to win the peace once you’ve won the initial war. You then become a target in your sexy wagon while you are kept in place.

Bob
Bob
October 17, 2013 7:38 pm

As an addition to RT’s post; the specs that were being floated made the dreamed of unit price optimistic.

I know some people here don’t like to hear it but modern AFV’s are expensive. Foxhound is £900,000 all in. An extreme example but a good IFV will cost you $8-10 million.

x
x
October 17, 2013 7:38 pm

I forgot about the programme size in terms of hull numbers.

IXION
October 17, 2013 8:00 pm

Bob

Like I said later on the US big pockets let it build some shockers and move on quickly to the next a lot often scraping big initial contracts from thousands to 10’s and then move on. This meant it’s knowledge could in effect out accelerate everyone else.

But for example I know a RAF type who landed a Vulcan in the far east in the late 50’s and was greeted by the USAF pilots like he had stepped of a space ship….

Chris
Chris
October 17, 2013 8:09 pm

RT – I thought the numbers had dropped early on to about 3600; looking around for data the Defence Committee in 2006/7 stated the total would be ‘around 3000’ but that was back in the semi-good old days when the 15t vehicles had only grown to 20-25t. Now we are at 32-42t and last year the NAO investigation into AFV procurement stated the ‘original Future Rapid Effect System programme which sought to deliver 3,700 vehicles at a cost of £14 billion’ had become unaffordable. I would be – to coin a phrase – gobsmacked if the buy got close to 3700, no matter how many years its delayed by.

I suspect the savings account set aside for FRES has been raided to help fill in the ‘black hole’ in MOD’s accounts. There did seem to be a remarkable step change from “£37bn overspend and we’re all doomed!” to “the overspend in the defence budget has been cleared.” Especially when on the surface of things apart from a hefty staff reduction programme nothing else seemed to be lost? So I’m of a mind that the allocated future spend budgets got raided big time…

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
October 17, 2013 8:27 pm

,

Maybe that £38bn black hole never actually existed. Once you got way from the story’s pedlars, there were some thoughtful commentators around (even in the Telegraph) who were pointing out that it was an accounting trick based on some very unlikely predictions and forecasts. Were said commentators right? I dunno, but as you say there seems to have been a very quick step change in message from HMG and the cynical might see that it provided a certain party with a lot of cover to introduce defence cuts that otherwise might have not sat well with their supporters.

dave haine
dave haine
October 18, 2013 7:38 am

The nomad was a troubled engine. Darts would have been better for the Shack. A good, simple, robust engine.

Many US aircraft were awful too: Buffalo, Vengeance, Martin B10, Aerocomet, Cutlass, Goblin. There are more, but my point is that during the 30-60’s you could find dodo’s from every country, it was a time of evolution, and revolution in aircraft, and some designs were crap, and some changed aviation, some were too clever for the time, and some were WTF. That’s evolution for you.

Bob
Bob
October 18, 2013 8:53 am

No Dart’s would not have been better, Nomads would have been (the simplified version was coming good) as it would have offered superior low speed endurance which is exactly what an MPA needs.

a
a
October 18, 2013 10:50 am

And had already introduced the F-8 Crusader which was successfully operated from Foch and Clemenceau for decades.

Crusader was a hideous design, though. One pilot remembers:
“During the 27-year operational lifetime of the F8 in the US fleet, the Navy purchased 1,266 CRUSADERS–there were 1,106 major accidents and 186 pilots were killed (not including those lost in combat). When we in VF 154 started flying the CRUSADERS in 1957 the accident rate for the F 8 (number of accidents per 100,000 flight hours) was a staggering 243.9. In 1983, its final year of US Navy service the CRUSADER’S accident rate was 68.82 versus an overall Navy rate of 3.34. “

Bob
Bob
October 18, 2013 12:29 pm

Sounds like the Scimitar or the Sea Vixen then.