Alan Quinn criticises Tory governments for their ideological commitment to buying US not UK military hardware; Ronald Fairfax says the Boeing 747 was a project totally subsidised by the US government; George Lewis says any UK failure to continue with its Boeing MoD contracts would result in the grounding of important aerospace assets
Michael Fallon’s weasel words threatening Boeing about MoD contracts (Report, 28 September), following the trade tariffs being placed on Bombardier aircraft (Report, 26 September) are pathetic. His government since 2010 has placed order after order after order with Boeing for helicopters when they could have been made under licence in the UK, keeping British aerospace workers in a job. His incompetent government scrapped £4bn worth of BAE Nimrod submarine hunters in 2010. After a Russian periscope was spotted off the Faslane nuclear facility in 2012, they then ordered £3bn worth of inferior Boeing P-8s. This deal has no substantial UK offset, doesn’t use UK-sourced arms and wasn’t hedged against currency movements. The icing on the cake is that these Boeings can’t even be refuelled in the air by the RAF.
According to Unite the union, by 2020 a quarter of the UK’s defence budget will be spent in the US, mainly because it’s the ideological choice of the Tories to “buy off the shelf” US kit rather than UK hardware. We are losing the ability to produce our own defence hardware. Another irony is that he threatens a trade war against the very country his government is desperate to do a trade deal with after the EU referendum. He would be better off getting David Davis engaging with the EU as we’d have more success together against the US with our European allies than on our own.
Link : Boeing fiasco and UK’s post-Brexit future | Letters