earlier he rants on about grammer and spelling mistakes and can't even get the name right "A440M"
Lord Radice: The noble Lord said he did not get beyond page 10.
Lord Gilbert: I dipped into it. Of course I did not read through it. The noble Lord, Lord Radice, is very active on this. I am very interested. They found some idiot called Pierre Vimont-what a lunatic. This is what he is summarised as saying:
"Despite the limited success of the A400M".
I would like to hear anybody else in your Lordships' committee talk to me about the "limited success" of the A400M-it is a disaster, but there is not a word in this report saying why it is a "limited success". The paragraph goes on:
"We also heard evidence that money could be saved by collaboration".
That is a deep insight. Before that, the report notes that Pierre Vimont also suggested that,
"it was important to continue with such projects"
as the A400M.
For the benefit of noble Lords who do not keep up to speed on logistic arrangements, the Americans have found the combination of the C130 and the C17 quite capable of satisfying all their airborne logistical requirements, as have the Canadians, the Australians and the Indians-and so, up to now, have we. When we finally procure this A400M, we will be abandoning the C130 and so will lose interoperability with the Indians, the Canadians, the Americans, the Australians and, by that time, quite a lot more people.
I have been told by a former Conservative Defence Secretary that the Americans were going to close down the C130 production line. That is rubbish, and simply not true. If you read the most recent edition of Defense News, you will see that they are going to go on with more and more sophisticated C130s. The C17 has also proved itself capable of undertaking tactical missions. The A440M is a complete, absolute wanking disaster, and we should be ashamed of ourselves. I have never seen such a waste of public funds in the defence field since I have been involved in it these past 40 years.
I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, takes this all in the spirit in which it is offered. It is not a personal criticism of him, but this report is nothing new. My noble friend Lord Robertson has said this many times before, and nothing is going to happen from it.