Dear Boeing… yours David
Dear Boeing Aircraft company,
David Cameron here. We find ourselves in something of a mess and I am writing to you to request an urgent delivery of some of your excellent P-8A Poseidon Aircraft. Despite being an island nation we currently have no maritime patrol aircraft.
Back in 2010 we conducted our wonderful “Strategic Defence and Security Review”. George kept shouting at us about saving money so I’m affraid it was a bit of a rush job. Liam and I had some bright ideas that we jotted down on the back of a fag packet including axing our maritime patrol aircraft – anyway George was happy. Our clapped out Nimrod MR2 maritime patrol aircraft had done sterling work for years but they were so old they had become dangerous to fly. The RAF, MoD and BAE Systems had got together and created a gigantic omni-shambles called the Nimrod MR4A which was supposed to replace the old MR2. When I came into office they had spent £3.9 Billion to get a single aircraft into service, with another 8 due for delivery at some point. Like a horse with a broken leg, we did the ‘kindest thing’ and put a bullet through the head of the Nimrod programme, destroying the aircraft and tossing away £4 billion of taxpayers money for a small saving on running costs. The slight flaw in our plan was that we had no replacement options or any strategy to plug this huge hole in our nation’s defences.
In 2010 I assured everyone not to worry – we would be involved in “no new conflicts” and the world would stay nice and peaceful until at least 2020 when our defences will supposedly be in better shape. Although no one could possibly have predicted it, lots of naughty dictators and insane Islamic terrorists have really spoiled things. Mr Putin has invaded Georgia, invaded Crimea and is now busy invading Ukraine. He has shot down a civilian airliner, murdering 295 innocent people but he just won’t listen when we have told him off. I’m sure Mr Putin means well and, together with my European allies, we will keep sending him rude messages until he behaves himself. The Russian economy is in the toilet but Mr Putin still plans to raise defence spending by a whopping 30 percent next year to a record post-Soviet high of 3.3 trillion rubbles. Mr Putin has been sending his warships and aircraft all over the place recently and last month we spotted an unidentified submarine off the coast of Scotland. It was slightly embarrassing to have to ask for US, French and Canadian maritime patrol aircraft to help the Royal Navy locate this submarine.
Boeing P-8A Poseidon mission animation (making it look easy to find and take out a Kilo!)
Some people have said to me the current situation is a mirror of the 1930s, in a time of austerity and economic problems we have a fascist state invading nations one by one, while we continue to disarm ourselves and appease the dictator. I say this is nonsense, in the 1930s we had politicians of courage and conviction like Winston Churchill to warn us of the dangers – in 2014 we don’t have anyone like that.
Now remember what I said in October 2010 “I am passionately pro-defence, passionately pro our armed forces and I won’t take risks with Britain’s Defence”. I always mean what I say even if my actions don’t back it up.
Anyway it is now very worrying that foreign submarines may even be in our territorial waters and we have such limited options for locating and tracking these invaders. Thanks to years of cuts, cock-ups and delays (nothing to do with me) the Royal Navy has just 7 attack submarines and we can probably only manage to put a maximum of 3 to sea at once. We do have 8 Type 23 Frigates fitted with an excellent towed array sonar which is very effective in tracking submarines. Unfortunately, thanks to the manpower cuts I made, we have a lack of trained operators for the towed array sonar and of course, those frigates are busy deployed all over the world.
The MoD would love to conduct feasibility studies into possible maritime patrol aircraft options and we could delay the project for years to keep the treasury happy. We could talk endlessly about UAVs or supposedly cheaper European options or we could just stop messing around and buy a proven, off the shelf solution like the P8 which can actually engage submarines. Don’t tell George but the MoD has under-spent its budget again this year and we could use the money to pay for the P-8 purchase. Our big problem would be getting enough people trained and operational in a short time. We would need a squadron of least 12, and ideally more in the long run. Initially at least, they would have to be manned by the RAF using the personnel currently on exchange with various foreign maritime patrol aircraft forces under the “Seedcorn” initiative (around 30 personnel). Sensibly the US Navy operates its maritime patrol aircraft and eventually the Fleet Air Arm should take control of the P8 Squadrons. The vast majority of their tasks are naval, including supporting the Royal Navy’s ballistic missile submarines that carry the nation’s nuclear deterrent.
So Boeing, as you can see we are in a pickle and if we could borrow, lease or buy some Posiedon aircraft as soon as possible it would be much appreciated.
Prime Minister, Great Britain
- Hunting a foreign sub off the west coast: how MoD called in Nato spy planes (Scotsman)
- UK Maritime Capability – The Missing Element (UKNDA)
- Cameron: I won’t take risks with defence… (Daily Telegraph 2010)
- Russia’s Military Will Get Bigger and Better in 2015 (Moscow Times)