World

May 10, 2012

U.K. reverses decision on JSF jet deal

by David Stringer
Associated Press

Britain’s defense secretary is ditching proposals to buy a particular type of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – reverting to an original plan previously criticized by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Defense Secretary Philip Hammond told lawmakers May 10 that Britain would no longer purchase F-35c variants of the Lockheed Martin fighter jet because the cost of modifications to ships needed to accommodate the plane would be about $3.2 billion.

The jet’s design – which does not include vertical take-off and landing – means aircraft carriers would need to be fitted with catapults and arrester gears.

Hammond said Britain would instead purchase F-35B jump jets, which don’t require modifications to ships and are compatible with U.S., French and Italian vessels.

That option was championed by Britain’s previous Labour Party government, but dumped by Cameron after he took office in 2010. At the time, Cameron said the F-35C model was “more capable, less expensive, has a longer range and carries more weapons.”

“The facts have changed and therefore so too must our approach,” Hammond told lawmakers. “This government will not blindly pursue projects and ignore cost growth and delays.”

Work on planned modifications had already cost between $65 million and $81 million, and there could be further exit payments to contractors in the United States, Hammond’s ministry acknowledged.

“It is as incoherent as it is ludicrous,” Labour’s defense spokesman, legislator Jim Murphy said. “The prime minister’s decisions have cost British time, British money, British talent and British prestige.”

He said the policy reversal was a “personal humiliation for David Cameron.”

Britain’s defence ministry said a decision on how many F-35 jets will be purchased will be made in 2015. The country’s military expects to receive its first Joint Strike Fighter jets in 2018.

Australia, Canada, Turkey, Italy, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands are all also involved in the Joint Strike Fighter program, which has been troubled by cost hikes and delivery delays.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Constitutional questions grow over Japan PM’s military plans

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pledge to the U.S. to increase Japan’s military contribution internationally is facing more questions about potential conflicts with the nation’s pacifist Constitution. Opposition lawmakers demanded answers from key Cabinet members at a hearing June 10, after three prominent constitution experts–including one chosen by Abe’s rul...
 
 

Japan, Philippines to talk about transfer of military goods

Japan and the Philippines agreed June 4 to start talks on transferring Japanese military hardware and technology to the Southeast Asian country trying to upgrade its defenses. Tokyo eased restrictions on exports of military equipment and technology last year as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to expand Japan’s military role abroad. Under a...
 
 

U.S., India move forward on joint military research projects

After several years of bureaucratic delays, the U.S. and India are moving ahead with two joint research projects for the military that officials hope will set the stage for greater defense cooperation in the years ahead. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar signed a defense agreement June 4, as part of...
 

 

Saudi Arabia becomes world’s biggest defense importer

Saudi Arabia has passed India to become the world’s biggest arms importer last year as concerns about Iran’s ambitions increase tensions in the Middle East. Saudi spending rose 54 percent to $6.5 billion last year, while India imported $5.8 billion, according to data released Sunday by IHS, a leading analyst of the global arms trade....
 
 

China defense spending to grow 10.1 percent in 2015

China said March 5 it will boost defense spending by 10.1 percent, a smaller rise than last year but in line with large annual increases that have drawn concern among the country’s neighbors over Beijing’s military and territorial ambitions. Beijing says the higher spending is needed to modernize equipment and improve conditions for the 2.3...
 
 

Kremlin pursues military modernization despite economic woes

Hundreds of new Russian aircraft, tanks and missiles are rolling off assembly lines. Russian jets roar through European skies under NATO’s wary eye. Tens of thousands of troops take part in war games showing off the military’s readiness for all-out war. The muscle flexing suggests that Russia’s economic woes so far are having no impact...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>