Boeing fiasco and UK’s post-Brexit future | Letters

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.

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UK defence contractor billed US more than $50m in expenses

Expenses included luxury cars and salaries paid to ‘significant others’ of company’s top executives, according to Pentagon

A British company hired to help train Afghan intelligence officers billed the US government for more than $50m (£38.4m) in expenses that included luxury cars and salaries paid to the “significant others” of the company’s top executives, according to a Pentagon audit.

New Century Consulting (NCC) also spent $42,000 on automatic weapons, using cash to get around a prohibition in the contract on purchasing the firearms and showered other personnel with hefty pay and bonuses. Missouri senator Claire McCaskill summarised the audit’s major findings in a letter to the US defence secretary, Jim Mattis, which she released on Wednesday.

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Lockheed-Martin stock takes second hit from Trump’s Twitter blitz on F-35 costs

Shares in the defense company neared their lowest level since the election as the president-elect continues to air his gripes about price of the F-35 fighter jet

Lockheed-Martin led defense stocks lower on Friday, after President-elect Donald Trump’s latest Twitter salvo over the cost of the company’s F-35 fighter jet, in which he said he had asked rival Boeing to “price-out” an older aircraft as an alternative.

Experts questioned the wisdom of Trump’s “impractical if not irrational” intervention in the world of arms procurement, one writing that “unless the rules of physics have changed”, the president-elect’s request made no sense.

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Defence industry’s stock rises as state budgets bid to meet terror threat

Military action in Syria and a rise in defence spending in the UK, the US and Europe has reinvigorated the once-ailing British arms industry The yellow flare from an RAF Tornado jet lit up Akrotiri base in Cyprus as it hurtled down the runway and roare…

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