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MRA4 end of an era & the end of Woodford

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MRA4 end of an era & the end of Woodford

Old 16th Mar 2011, 09:26
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F3RB:

Of course, I understand what you're saying (although it seems BAe managed to strong-arm Brown into signing a the Carrier deal that would guarantee keeping Rosyth open and the workforce paid even if the boats were cancelled, so maybe there is a precedent) and I know that aircraft and other systems are developed and manufactured in response to a stated demand or requirement from a host nation or other government.

It just sits uneasy with me that BAe seem to have absolutely no qualms about disposing of the capability, both in terms of personnel/expertise and locations, once a particular contract is finished. It seems that they cant wait to get out of the "conventional" aviation business which gave them the backbone of the firm once it had been floated.

I mean look at it:

146 finishes: Hatfield closes.
Nimrod finishes: Woodford closes
Typhoon Tranche 3 finishes: Warton will close.
What price Brough going when the Hawk's time is up?

Once this capability is lost, it will never come back. It just strikes me as cutting off your nose to spite your face (at best) and naked asset stripping/slaughtering the cash cow once you've milked it at worst.

And considering how little of their workforce and how little of their business actually depends on the UK these days, it makes you wonder

a) What exactly the strategic direction of the company is and where it is going and

b) Why the British government seems to be completely beholden to this particular supplier considering the way its management are behaving?

Again, dont get me wrong, this is not a dig at the BAe workforce, not in any way shape or form. Its just that their management have been behaving in a particular way for some time now that is making me quite uneasy and distinctly suspicious of their motives.
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Old 16th Mar 2011, 09:55
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The Old Fat One & Really Annoyed

It states clearly in my thread topic what the thread is about, you have a choice read it or don't. Don't come on here preaching to people about what topics you like and dislike. I posted this topic because there ARE people who are genuinely interested in the MRA4 and Woodford and I will continue to post on these subjects......probably even more so now because I know it annoys people who just want this bit of British history to die and be forgotten.

People like you make me sick
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Old 16th Mar 2011, 09:59
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146 finishes: Hatfield closes.
There was rumour and suspicion at the time that the 146/RJ was sacrificed because they needed the space at Woodford for the MRA4 contract......which was more lucrative.

Just a rumour but its probably true
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Old 16th Mar 2011, 13:12
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Fond memories of Woodford

As a youngster, late 60'-early 70's, did all my gliding (T21) out of there. Seem to remember the hangar with the gliders in had an 'A V Roe' sign at the top middle of the hangar doors.

The golf course next door also had redundant Nimrod nose radar (?) covers used as shelters from the weather. About 8 feet tall and could accommodate 2 people.
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Old 16th Mar 2011, 13:51
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manccowboy

I, for one, am glad that you have had the courage to keep the updates coming. Having been involved in the program from the light blue end for the best part of 10 years, I was looking forward to taking the MRA4 into service with the RAF. I cannot describe the feelings that I felt (and still feel) about the decision last October, I certainly could not have maintained the decorum and decency that you have shown over the last few months. Now that the aircraft are gone, I wish you and everyone left at Woodford the very best of luck, whatever your futures hold.

SFO
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Old 16th Mar 2011, 22:55
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The final pictures of PA-01 & PA-02 can be found here:

AVIATION NORTH-WEST - WOODFORD - NIMROD

AVIATION NORTH-WEST - WOODFORD - NIMROD

A full pictorial of the actual scrapping of ALL the MRA4's will be posted at a later date, due to obvious reasons this cannot be done at the present time.
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Old 16th Mar 2011, 23:03
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Jabba TG12

Sadly Sir, I agree. The Military Air Solutions division is finished. We can kid ourselves that 20-odd Mantis unmanned aircraft will save it, but it won't (BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation Sign MOU to develop UAS proposal - BAE Systems). Once Typhoon is delivered, JSF is assembled and the last of the 28 Hawk 128s are delivered, that will be it.

Oh, and before people start talking Taranis; the Deep and Persistent Operational Capability (DPOC) was cancelled under SDSR. No need, we have JSF and Typhoon (allegedly!).

The end is in sight as far as I can see. The ability to design, manufacture, assemble and maintain a truly "Sovereign Capability" went years ago. Anyway, the one eyed idiot has spent all of our money even if we wanted to spend well over the market price to support this dwindling industry.

Time to get that B1 or B2 EASA Licensed Engineer ticket chaps and fill a maintenance job with the airlines with better job prospects than aircraft manufacture.

The B Word
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Old 16th Mar 2011, 23:17
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@JabbaTG12

Of course, I understand what you're saying (although it seems BAe managed to strong-arm Brown into signing a the Carrier deal that would guarantee keeping Rosyth open and the workforce paid even if the boats were cancelled, so maybe there is a precedent)
The situation with the boats was different. BAE have a contract lasting an additional 15 or so years called TOBA. This guarantees minimum levels of business in the dockyard (not guaranteed to keep both going) which maintains the minimum capability to deliver 'complex' ships I.e. RFA are not covered. In practice, SDSR aside, this would have only been an issue for a couple of years between the drop off of carrier work, and the start of FSC, so signing it was relatively safe.

Along comes SDSR, and changes the rules, but it's far too late. Ship 1 steelwork blocks are practically complete, and virtually all the steel for ship 2 has been delivered, some of the blocks are under construction, and all the long lead time stuff is on order. Putting aside the TOBA minimum levels, cancelling the carriers would mean the MOD would have to pay for the disposal of about 200,000 tons of steel, two thirds of which has already been welded together into hulls. For this reason alone, the decommissioning costs would almost exceed the construction costs thus incurred, plus all the cancellation costs of stuff ordered. It wasn't much due to clever cancellation costs in a clever contract, but more of the practicalities of disposal, of 200,000 tons of steel.

Carving up an MRA4 is easy, a carrier less so.

So why no TOBA for aircraft then? Personal view from me is that aircraft are too complex, too varied and the UK has not really been successful on our own for decades. Pre-SDSR we could not build one on our own, without major problems, and our last two reasonable attempts (Tornado, Typhoon) could not have been done alone without bankrupting the UK. So that, in the round, we have no sovereign manufacturing capabilities to protect whereas in shipbuilding we still do.

It must be bitterly disappointing for all those losing their jobs but the days of maintaining strategic facilities at any cost have gone.

Thought the shipbuilding situation may aid understanding ..... If not offer any succour.
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Old 17th Mar 2011, 10:53
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I see that Woodfords Vulcan '603' is in a sad state as well and likely to be scrapped soon? Like the site it stands on.
mmitch.
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Old 17th Mar 2011, 12:15
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I see that Woodfords Vulcan '603' is in a sad state as well and likely to be scrapped soon? Like the site it stands on.
mmitch.
Yes the Vulcan is being scrapped in a few weeks, I believe the XH558 trust will be taking anything useful off it before its scrapped. I don't know whats happening to the RJ yet though there's rumour its being de-winged and moved off site.

Woodford will be closed by early June.
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Old 17th Mar 2011, 12:34
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Lot more about her fate

XM603 Update - Key Publishing Ltd Aviation Forums
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Old 17th Mar 2011, 12:45
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manccowboy. Your list is missing a few important Types: the Ten (618), Tutor (621), Cadet (631, 638 and 643), York (685), Athena (701) and the not numerous but nonetheless important 707 series.

It would be good to know that old AV's original aeroplane sheds that Spurlash2 refers to and the Club House have preservation orders on them; but I bet they don't.
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Old 17th Mar 2011, 15:08
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Not to mention the Blenheims, Halifaxes, Canberras etc all built under licence.
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Old 17th Mar 2011, 16:22
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Thanks for the explanation Graham, but I'm afraid it doesnt make me feel any better about either the situation or the behaviour of the company.

I give up, I really do. I dont think theres a single day gone by recently when I havent been staggered by the speed of the "race to the bottom" which we seem to be stuck in.

Its almost as if we cant p*ss everything down the drain quick enough.
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Old 17th Mar 2011, 16:27
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or the behaviour of the company.
Would you care to elaborate on this?
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Old 17th Mar 2011, 20:06
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BAES Management Approach

Jabba,

Fair questions you raise - but let's look at the situation from the other end of the telescope.

1. We are the only Western Country who's government insists on competing away national capabilities.

2. We have an incompetent Civil Service who are trying to protect their backsides from redundancy caused by outsouring their roles to a far more efficient Industrial base. Hence every piece of 'government' news about our industry has an anti-industry bias (too-expensive, incompetent, late, the only way of 'saving' the armed forces is more civil servants blah blah blah). BAES, as the biggest, takes most flak - but RR are not far behind.

3. We have an airforce whose most vocal members shout out that if it's not American it must be rubbish.

4. We have a public who don't really want anything to do with defence - it's a bit like not wanting to know where meat comes from - and certainly don't see the need to preserve national capability (particularly when the civil service, government and operators all appear to proclaim industry's incompetence, poor cost effectiveness, shoddy products etc).

5. As an industry we have been suffering a gradual decline for years, such that we are now only really competent as system suppliers (rather than a complete weapon system). We do not have enough throughput, nor any indictaion of any future orders, to warrant 'investing for the future' by maintaining empty sites.

Whilst I don't always agree with the level of emotion put across by MancC, nor necessarily his targets, in this case he is spot on. This is the end of an era - the UK no longer has the capability to design and develop large military systems aircraft. This is entirely down to lack of demand/political will to continue to pay for that privilege, which is an argument for the politicians and if this is the direction the country wants to take then we who work in the industry will just have to accept it.

Against such a backdrop, why oh why do you think any Company should be expected to maintain capability and capacity out of the goodness of their shareholders hearts?

(Rant over - I feel better now)
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Old 17th Mar 2011, 22:53
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GOLF_BRAVO_ZULU
Your quite right about my list not being complete, but I don't claim to be a AVRO historian

There's a picture here of the original A.V.Roe hangers AVIATION NORTH-WEST - WOODFORD AERODROME

And there's a A.V.Roe museum of sorts Aeroflight Avro Heritage Centre

Last but not least the WiKi for AVRO Avro - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I'll try and find out what the plans are for the clubhouse and museum, I should imagine plans have been made but kept under wraps for the time being.

If I find anything out I'll post here.
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Old 17th Mar 2011, 23:25
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Nimrod and Woodford is but a distant echo for this GLOBAL company...

BAE Systems Awarded Contract for P-8a Mission Computer Systems - BAE Systems
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Old 18th Mar 2011, 08:56
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The (US) Navy plans to purchase approximately 117 P-8A aircraft to replace its P-3 fleet.
117!!! Puts the MRA4 program into insignifcance!
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Old 18th Mar 2011, 09:12
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Auction of Fixtures and Fittings

The auction of machine tools and fittings, including a 10m antique boardroom table and 20 matching chairs is now being advertised; it takes place at the end of the month.
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