Friday, April 09, 2010

More Eurofighter News

It has been a long time since I have blogged on the Eurofighter project. Remember when the Serious Fraud Office investigation of BAE and its contract with Saudi Arabia for Typhoons was stopped dead in its tracks? Well while I was paying attention to more local news, it seems that case moved forward and has reached a possible conclusion. Though the tale it seems has grown more tangled.

We have an Austrian count with a castle who had to post bond and not leave London. It seems he greased palms in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and his home country of Austria to sell them SAAB JAS.39 Gripens, of which BAE has a stake in.

Then there is an advanced air traffic control radar that was supposed to be sold to Tanzania. But it was never delivered and the BAE adviser in Tanzania pocketed 8 million British Pounds. This is the only charge BAE plead guilty to in the UK with the Serious Fraud Office. It cost the SFO about 5 million to prosecute this case, they may see 2 million in return. The rest of the 30 million will be returned to Tanzania.

The biggest fine though is supposed to be paid to the US Department of Defense because of BAE efforts to conceal information and transactions through the use of off shore shell companies. The fine levied by the US on BAE is 256 million Pounds. But by sheer happenstance a BAE pension fund in the US has experienced a one time windfall of 261 million Pounds which will nicely cover the fine.

Things like this is why reality is always stranger than fiction. Reality does not have to follow rules of believability least the reader exclaim that can't happen. Something or various things still stink about the various schemes BAE has engaged in. One hopes more will come to light and those who have done wrong are punished.


pat said...

Typhoon is a fine plane. Given the current state of the F-35, F-22, the Crusader, the American ship building and submarine program, etc., I would say that every major European and Asian contractor is doing better than the sorry morons that are trying to build weapons in America.

Ed Rasimus said...

I'm unable to comment on Crusader, subs or ship-building, but as a career tactical aviator with some post-military work for the YF-23 program, I'll question the assertion that F-22 is built by "sorry morons." Operationally, that is a lame argument.

Air dominance requires more than agility in an airframe. It currently requires stealth, data fusion of multiple-source sensors and total spherical situational awareness. The old concepts of "dog-fighting", cobras and extreme AOA maneuvering are all fine for air shows, but not for life/death combat.

F-22 is operational today and the only thing "sorry" is the morons who cut the contract to unrealistic numbers.

F-35 development is proceeding quite nicely.

And regarding Anna's post, kickbacks, payoffs and baksheesh have been a way of doing business in the third world and European defense contracting for decades. There is more about politics than defense in all of it.

Anna said...

Pat, I advise you to go look at my previous posts on the Eurofighter Typhoon. It will make American boondoggles like TFX seem very tame. And Ed is right about Eurofighter being about politics and kickbacks. In fact when one wades through the work shares between the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain you will get an impression Eurofighter and its $120 million+ price tag per plane is a form of welfare and not a real weapons program.