23 May 2012
British Aerospace need to start to behave like a manufacturing company and not a defence related venture capitol fund.
That means British Aerospace need to start work as prime contractor and as an airframer with a final assembly line in the UK on a new regoinal jet, business jet or Harrier III etc. Otherwise we will see a continuation of the long decline seen since the 60's. Some UK government launch aid (to hell with Brussels, France and Germany more or less do as they want) will probably be needed.
I don't buy the argument that the UK cannot afford it. The reality is that we cannot afford not to afford it. The company needs to start to be forward thinking and plan to be a major player 30 years from now just as Hawker Sideley did over 40 years ago when they first put their money into developing the Hawk, a very far sighted decision.
Martin Bayliss - Stroud
23 May 2012
Well this is good news for the old Blackburn factory.
Totally agree with Martin on the need to be more creative and innovative - and internationally assertive.
As a result of the JSF, it seems to me that we've already been edged out of complete design of so-called fifth generation manned aircraft for military purposes; while we do need to keep our defence skills relevant we can - and should - continue with commercial aircraft design and manufacture. Arguably, there is still a market for 4th or even 3rd generation-style military jets too like the Hawk, the modern version of the BAC Strikemaster and the Hawker Hunter of old.
Funnily enough in terms of Martin's argument, the BAE 146 comes to mind - another Hawker Siddeley offering - as an example of what we can do and how successful it can be. There was talk of a 146 style maritime reconnaissance aircraft too - shame that wasn't ready to take advantage of Oman's (or indeed our own) needs in that area...
Should BAE stop acting like a behemoth and give more entrepreneurial freedom to its individual units? I am unclear how it is set up but when you think that Vospers in Portsmouth was doing well (I think?) before being subsumed in BAE and facing closure, you have to wonder whether national consolidation is a good thing. A looser framework but free from the predations of overseas companies would be useful and productive.
Michael - Hertfordshire