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British engineering for the military

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British engineering for the military

Old 22nd Sep 2004, 09:52
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British engineering for the military

As a project for college I need to know about the reputation of the British engineering military products, both for themselves and joint ventures such as the F-35 and the Typhoon (cash flow problems aside!).

I was under the impression that the reputation for British engineering was dwindling? However I cant find any site that reflects (unbiasedly) the reputation of us lot.

Is anyone in the military and/or civil area of engineering (especially aerospace systems) and can offer any insights?

Thanks in advance,
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 10:05
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aaaaaaaaaaaaand cue Beagle!
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 10:10
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I was under the impression that the reputation for British engineering was dwindling?
Blame BAE Sytems, they have habit of going massivily over budget and running late on most, no hang on, all of their projects.
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 10:19
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"Nay, lad" quoth 't Bungling Baron Waste-o-Space. "There's now't wrong wi' owerr reputation, tha' knows. Allus projects has been on time, on budget. Well, on ma' time and budget, that is, not them soft London boogerrs in't MoD box's"

Wiping tears of laughter from his old eyes, 't Baron merrily tucked in to yet another portion of tail and testicle tart whilst Boogeroff, his trusty yet flatlent whippet, snored and farted quietly in front of 't fire.
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 10:28
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Soon to be a mini-series on ITV...
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 10:43
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Possibly the problem is not so much British engineering as British Management. Why, for instance did nobody consider that each Nimrod might be different from its brothers when airframe modifications were being made. BWOS should have remembered that the simular era Victors were all different. So many projects seem to amble on, getting deeper in trouble, before anyone gets a grip. Someone gets the sack plus big payoff and the cycle starts over again.
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 10:53
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Art,

" Possibly the problem is not so much British engineering as British Management. "

You could also add German and Italian management. The jury is still out on the Spanish but time will tell.
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 11:02
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Well, the handover of the A310 MRTT to the GAF/CF takes place next week in Dresden.

How goes the Nimrod Y2K?

Or the KC-767A??
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 11:15
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Blame the managers. UK industry has good Engineers, Scientists etc, but a lot of bad managers. A lot of the problem is that many managers do not have any qualifications, training or prior experience in relevent fields. Thus....

a) They become bean counters - and focus on short term savings whilst not seeing the big picture.
b) They lack an "Engineer's feel" for things - by which I mean they are unable to tell if things are wrong unless its put into statistics and simplistic numbers for them.
c) They try to look at it from an arty farty perspective (see below).

I was shocked a few years ago when I stumbled across the details of some media studies type who was being employed by the DPA on FCBA (as it was back in those days). Exactly how was he considered qualified?

Every procurement horror story seems to be the same - bad management by the contractors , bad management by the Services/MOD, and political goalpost moving. And penny pinching.
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 11:43
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I am all for buying British, only if what they are offering is the right and BEST kit for the job. If things had been done on this basis would we have had, F3, Merlin, Nimrod MRA4. I suspect not. To give our guys the best chance in theatre we need the best kit, not the best British kit.
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 11:51
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'Project for college'
I smell a journo.
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 12:25
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If your nose is right he's a pretty lazy journo, I think there would be plenty of comments in the archive which make peoples' views fairly plain.
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 13:49
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The vast majority of people (as can be seen from the responses you have had so far) don't fully understand the complexities of design, development and production of state-of-the-art military products. The complex negotiations that are involved over sensitive areas such as sensor performance take time and are not resolved easily.
Listen to them and contribute to the demise of British Industry… you can finish your college project and get a job - ABROAD.
You want to know about the quality of British engineering (military products, as this is a military forum):
Vulcan, Hawk, Harrier, Tornado, Typhoon to name but a few.
Quality products.
As for the over budget / late comments, anyone in the know will tell you that every long-term complex military project is inherently susceptible to time and cost increases:
Grippen, Rafale, YF-22 and F-117 to name but a few (recent programmes) which have slipped and gone over budget.
The British lead the world in pioneering technology for: ejection seats, fly-by-wire flight controls, composites and manufacturing, helmet mounted displays, sensor fusion and much more.
Why do people want to rubbish our Nations achievements?
There is a huge difference between military and civil programmes.
How long does the radar and datalink flight test programme take on an A320?
Flight-testing takes a long time from first flight to delivery into service on military products, there is no escaping this and it is more often than not due to the constraints imposed by the aircraft owners (the Government).
In the main, the British produce quality products, we always have. That isn’t to say there is no room for improvement, there is, and always will be.
Unless we continue to invest, we will lose the incentive and the industry will fold.
We then become reliant on buying our defence products from abroad. Think of all the taxpayers money being spent abroad on defence products, what would that do to our national economy?
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 13:56
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Eh oop! Tis' 't Bungling Baron in perrson or I'll go to the foot of ower' stairrs? How ist' tha'? Gerrin' on champion wi' 't owd' Comet Mark 7 ist' tha'?

Bit late to be still at work for tha' terrday, isn't it?
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 14:38
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Smile

Poor Bungle, he doesn’t know much about the world of industry and commerce, he never has any answers, he just moans and moans and moans.
Ahh the Comet been flying for over 50 years – now that’s quality British engineering Joe
A fine example for your project… I’m sure Bungle can tell you all about its pedigree – I only now about pedigree beer and chum (the whippets love it).
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 15:28
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The vast majority of people don't fully understand the complexities of design, development and production of state-of-the-art military products. The complex negotiations that are involved over sensitive areas such as sensor performance take time and are not resolved easily.

You want to know about the quality of British engineering (military products, as this is a military forum):

Vulcan, Hawk, Harrier, Typhoon to name but a few. Quality products.

As for the over budget / late comments, anyone in the know will tell you that every long-term complex military project is inherently susceptible to time and cost increases:

Grippen, Rafale, YF-22 to name but a few (recent programmes) which have slipped and gone over budget.

The British lead the world in pioneering technology for: ejection seats, fly-by-wire flight controls, composites and manufacturing, helmet mounted displays, sensor fusion and much more.
Why do people want to rubbish our Nations achievements?

There is a huge difference between military and civil programmes.
How long does the radar and datalink flight test programme take on an A320?

Flight-testing takes a long time from first flight to delivery into service on military products, there is no escaping this and it is more often than not due to the constraints imposed by the aircraft owners (the Government).


..........sorry but all that needed repeating......................

And it needs saying that the best performing airliner wings in the world to date are all British.

And we have not even mentioned Rolls-Royce technology. If you want an example to quote of R-R dominance in their global industry look no further than the facts behind the HPT blades of the Trent family.
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 16:00
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Another jewel in the crown is Martin-Baker. Ask them what their world-wide market share is for ejection seats.
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 16:45
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Wise Words Wigan Warrior.

Well said.

A personal observation not yet made in this thread is that the customer does not help himself in the procurement process, by posting guys in and out on a short timescale when compared to the life of the project. Sure some guys come back to the same project at the next rank, but by then they are working on a whole different level. For example a Sqn Ldr RM, subject matter expert on sensors or some such thing, returns 3 years later as a Wg Cdr but now is dealing with budgets and contracts.

No real answer to offer other than to say that the requirements capture, specification writing and design process need to have current input from the eventual end users. The end users rarely have any idea whatsoever about contracts and specifications.

BEagle, despite your repeated condemnations the chaps and chapesses employed by "Baron" actually do a damn fine job in difficult circumstances. The same issues are present in any large project. If it was easy everyone would be at it, but its not and only the best survive.

T

T
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 16:51
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Wigan Warrier,

Do not rise to the bait of this ex-spurt. Beagle often produces similar drivel when industry is mentioned. It amuses some, but then little things…..

I think John Farley has made the point, WHO BUILDS THE WINGS FOR YOUR BELOVED AIRBUS!!!!!!!

In addition who builds a large number of the avionic systems for Airbus. (but don’t let the facts cloud a bit of a slagging).

I think the INFORMED person realises that design, development, manufacture and production is complex. It involves a number of interested parties all pushing for their own wishes. Often these become clouded by the need for Blue Suits to make their mark and get promoted.

In reply to the original post, British Engineering is running down, due to a lack of funding for R&D. Recently, it was stated to Unions that only two things were sacrosanct to British technology – Crytos and Nukes.

Therefore, on this basis, Thales, Boeing, Lockheed and others will benefit.

The fact that UK PLC still has a golden share in BAE SYSTEMS, should mean that work is kept in Country. That’s what the French, Germans and Yanks do.

It has to be remembered that no PLC does anything for charity, therefore the profit margins are key. Problem is, the profits are capped (MoD rules), and therefore no matter how hard you work, you can only make a fixed margin. Therefore where is the incentive?

I do agree that poor management does not help when you have talented workers. You will not, however, get the best managers if you cannot pay the best wages, because your profits are capped.

As for Martin-Baker, well if you don’t invest in R&D, no one will develop seats for free. Go ahead buy seats from someone else, and see what happens when you pull the handle in an emergency. It is easy to be critical of costs, but when you want something to work first time/every time it will cost. Who is it that specifies MB seats as GFE for UK fast jets – NOT INDUSTRY.

Beags, I have tried to use simple words so that you can keep up.
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 17:15
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If you read most of the critical comments you will find little concern for the quality of engineering, indeed I have had the pleasure of helping to sell some of it internationally, once even alongside Beags. And who made our job most difficult, the management of a now large aerospace company who did not even know how their kit worked. On another occasion a company totally failed to respond to a serious equipment query from NASA, I still maintain its not our engineers who let the side down but management whose interest is more in self rather than product promotion and all too often have an overconfidence in their understanding of the task. Could it be that the accountant should go back to his books and the engineer be given the reigns back?.
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