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Monday, June 08, 2015

Britain's defence chiefs face tough choices ahead

RAF F-35 Lightning IIAmerica is anxious about Britain's defence expenditure. Perhaps the problem is the escalating cost of overly complex equipment. Prior to the 1992 British election, discussing the case for cancelling the increasingly expensive Anglo-European Eurofighter aircraft with Labour's defence spokesman, I suggested the defence requirement for this aircraft to be out-dated with the fall of the Berlin Wall; and the shifting Russian political and military landscape.

Labour's defence spokesman — later Tony Blair's Secretary of State for Defence — highlighted the lower front-line servicing costs of the Eurofighter, whilst I advocated that Britain could speedy possession of the lower cost American, General Dynamics F-16 aircraft; significantly enhancing RAF strike capability.

Had I debated with the former Conservative Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Heseltine, a more a European instinct would have been demonstrated. He would have contended that Eurofighter was essential for the preservation and future development of Pan-European, technologically advanced, aviation industries to counter American dominance in this sector.

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