Tag Archives: BAE Typhoon

Yesterday was fun

Yes, yesterday was fun for several reasons, not in the least that some people (referring to themselves as a member of the Anony Mouse population) are in the misgiven idea that I could be Mr Theodore Raitor. Nothing could be further from the truth!

In the First
In the first the arms industry is a business. I did not make it that way, the American did that during the Vietnam war. They made it a business and less than a dozen boards of directors took home billions in all kinds of manners. I am not opposing that, I am not offering another view, I could but there is some wisdom in taking that route, it comes with successes and it also comes with failures. 

In the second
Following the first, I have at all times the direct believe that ANY sovereign nation is allowed its ability to defend itself, that includes Middle East and Far East Nations. The ability to arm and defend itself should be open to any nation. The Belgium Fabrique National in Herstal founded itself on that premise and for them in the 80’s (optionally 90’s as well) business was good, really good. 

These two rules are there out in the open, the media tends to not report on that side of it all. You see the media relies on ‘click bitches’ and their reporting is centred around that premise. National defence is a well trusted stage for emotional reporting and I am not objecting to that, they merely made a choice. Thats also where I drew the line to failure. Ford created the Edsel and for 3 years they tried that but after year 3 they stopped it, their losses came down to what would now be regarded as a $2 billion loss. They quietly let this failure die, which is what they were allowed to do and yes, we all (the older people) make jokes on it and Hollywood added to that in Peggy Sue got Married. It was all good. Now we see that the Lockheed Martin boys (girls also) are trying to continue their stage after making an investment well over 1000 times and they want it to continue. Losses a thousand times bigger than Ford had, is anyone seeing that marker? Now it is up to Lockheed Martin to do whatever they need to do, because it is their right (and other people’s money) and that is the larger stage, the US taxpayer is paying for that failure. 

For me there is a simple setting. There is a customer (the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) that has a right to defend itself, so I would happily sell them the BAE Typhoon, but there the UK cut themselves when we see the CAAT (Campaign Against Arms Trade) with all these grannies with signs telling the UK government that Saudi Arabia is evil, it cannot have weapons, but they do not hold that candle up to Iran who is funding Houthi attacks on civilian populations. So there is an alternative, China has an alternative. And even if that makes me a really well paid courier. I am willing to ferry those papers between buyer A and seller B. Yes, I agree that getting 3.75% out of $11,000,000,000 is a bit much, but I never made those rules, did I? The US and their business enterprises did that. I merely saw the ball falling and I decided to pick it up. China is not in a war with Australia, the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group is a respectable defence ability offerer (most usual to China) and the US has a lemon, so there is nothing wrong and those trying to create click bitches need to consider that I never made any of these rules, I merely use the rules of the game to get a job and to get a decent payment. If the KSA decides that I cannot have the $412,500,000 and that I am only allowed $50,000,000 I will not be upset (optionally a little disappointed), but that is any mouse who gets the slice of cheese and not the cheese wheel in a building filled with cheese wheels. 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a right to get defence materials and the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group has a right to sell them to anyone their government is not at war with. These are not my rules, the Americans did that and they stood by whilst the Taliban ended with over 8 billion in American hardware and they also did close to nothing when ISIS got their hands on more American Toyota 4 wheel drives then can be found in Guttenberg, New York. So there!

Do I stand a chance? Not really, but the fact that I am willing to do business where there is business also implies that there are other players and as a former NATO boy, I rather see these funds go to China then to Russia with their Sukhoi Su-57 or their new puppy the Checkmate. This is the consequence of making defence a business, its all good and overpaid fun until someone creates a lemon. A lemon one that costs the taxpayer $2,300,000,000,000. Are you awake? Can you see the cost of one article (read: lemon) currently equals the total debt of Germany? 

Do I want in? Absolutely! This one deal could make me more money than half a century of day to day slaving, it is like getting the golden lottery ticket and this really pays off! 

Is it bad for Lockheed Martin? Yes it is, like Ford with their Edsel, all failure is shared, but it could result in a big win, you merely have to watch Nintendo who turned their WiiU failure into a homerun success (Nintendo Switch), I personally see the Lockheed Failure in the same way as we see failures from Microsoft. Too many politicians who ignore the core business and try to steer towards the Fata Morgana of mountains of gold on the horizon, when you do that you merely steer from failure to failure and the defence players better catch on quick. You see the buyers are not interested in hype creating marketeers, they want results and Lockheed Martin is not delivering that and whilst we speculate that the media is taking notes from speculative stakeholders, the buyer in the end is a defence industry who is not interested in marketing, they have a clear goal, not a fictive on on the horizon and that is one ferry I am happy to board (with permission of its captain). It is the direct result of a labour force who is all in touch with feelings and not in line with expected needs and KPI sessions. So yes, yesterday was fun for more than one reason and it could end up being a whole lot more fun if I do get that job.

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Lemon of the Century

Yes, you have seen it, we have all seen it in some form, but when was the last time you saw a genuine Lemon? Not to mention a Lemon of the century. You would think it is a near impossible task, but Lockheed Martin, an American company pulled it off. In thee cases it is so much sweeter if the accomplishment is American.

I made a case to sell (as a corporate individual) to sell the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia either the British BAE Typhoon, or the somewhat better match the Chinese Chengdu J-20. Now, this is not on principles, but the US making Saudi embargo after embargo, all whilst it is mere puppet play and there was no direct need to stop the sales, especially as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was under direct attack by Houthi forces directly sponsored from Iran and the people were eager to ignore that fact. So there I was taking a stab at a 3.75% sales commission, and in light of a $11,000,000,000 sales ticket could bank me $412,500,000 over a few years. Now, I know, am I greed driven? Nope! But I am not walking away from such a massive mealticket! 

All that happened and was mentioned before, but now there are more reasons as ABC news gives us. The article ‘F-35 program’s future uncertain owing to design flaws, parts shortages and cost blowouts’ (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-08/f35-program-design-flaws-part-shortages-costs-opinions-divided/100431664) there we see “He said the combat jet currently had almost 900 design flaws, with seven considered critical.” This is given to us via Former US Marine Corps Captain Dan Grazier. So this is not out of thin air, this comes to us by decently informed people and at what point is anyone accepting a lemon with 900 design flaws? We get it, a plane with a current whole of life cost estimate of $2.3 trillion we need to consider that there is a massive flaw in the entire process. It becomes worse when you see and consider the Naval failure called Zumwalt class destroyers. That is two out of three, so now we merely need to add an army failure and the US forces will be 3 for 3. So how often do major projects on these scales fail? There is optionally the second stage where both China and Russia are not afraid for a war with the US, because the US is lacking in functional equipment. They have functioning 5th generation planes. I cannot tell if they are better, merely that they are. And I am am the mouse who loves that 412 million dollar cheese wheel, whether I retire or eat myself to death is all equally similar and there is a customer base who would want something that actually works so overall there is more than one seller and there is a definite buyer, so I am game.

Yet the article also gives us “It said that would grow to 40 per cent of jets grounded by 2030, if the repair backlog didn’t improve” this implies that the US airforce needs to grow by 250% to keep the effectiveness numbers of 2017, that is one hell of an investment. I am not denying what the pilots are saying, that it is a game changer that it will be effective, we get that, but it has 900 flaws, and there are a lot of questions in the background when we consider the seven critical problems. So when we consider the claim “Mr Grazier said the cost per flight hour in the United States was around $36,000” and the math man in me consider that at present there are (unverified numbers) “1,763 F-35As for the USAF, 353 F-35Bs and 67 F-35Cs for the USMC, and 273 F-35Cs for the USN” it would require the DoD $88,416,000 an hour to get it all in the air, in light of the Afghanistan clambake, which lasted 2 decades, count your losses today. Is someone doing the math here (apart from me)? This is a plane with 900 design flaws. So if China (or the United Kingdom) can beat these costs they have a real chance in getting a new customer in their arsenal and it is one that has money, so that part will be the smallest of concerns.

We could go all (overly) marketing and say:

Chinese
Hellbringing
Equalising
Negotiating

Goalseeking
Defence

Unit

But that might be slightly over the top, what matters is that the US has a real problem and, oh, that reminds me. Is that why they pulled out of Afghanistan? 40% of their flying capabilities wasn’t up to it? I know, it is grasping and it is speculation, but I am trying to get my hands on that 3.75% and that makes me a little giddy. With the Zumwalt it was the principle that it didn’t meet its need, it was too expensive and it was ugly as hell. I still hope to test my new stealth anti naval weapon on it, merely because it is just too ugly to see and congress never approved the shells needed to fire these guns, and a stealth ship with a Raytheon solution is just not a stealth ship. And as a $22,500,000,000 failure it is too expensive for such a failure be allowed. Consider that ABC ends the article with “To respect that dependency, we remain laser-focused on continuing to enhance the capability, affordability and availability of the F-35. With the help of partners and customers, I have no doubt we will succeed.” Which is all fair enough. Now consider that 12 nations have committed to ordering, now consider that if 3 leave that group (Singapore being the most interesting one) and China gets Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE on board as well, the stage changes on a global scale at that point. Now reconsider the military power play where we accept “There are developmental issues that come up because it is a very high technology advanced aircraft. Over time, these issues are resolved.” Yet 900 flaws imply that this will not be resolved until 2029, with spare parts and shortages of equipment lasting until an expected 2036. That implies that these players will not have a real effective airforce for well over a decade, so how many nations will get nervous on that premise and how many will consider a change (please do not change to Russian option, as they give me nothing). So in that light is there really nothing to worry about? And that is before we see the other 9 nations with billions invested all for… what for? 

So whilst I have nothing against Lockheed Martin (I really do not), being in the stage where they are now with 900 design flaws is just too weird. Yes we accept that it is a developing project, but design flaws imply that it is not developing, it was wrongly developed and as such the F-35 should still be in an earlier stage, that is until well over 600 flaws (and the 7 critical ones) were resolved ahead of where they are now. 

So here I am, just a man, a (really) poor man, hoping for his 3.75% before he retires and retirement is not that far away. And in all this, I remain optimistic, because I have things to smile at, especially if I get to test my creative sinking idea on the USS Zumwalt. Yes, it is a gasser (in more ways than one). So feel free to agree (or disagree) but when you see something that should be the lemon of the century, would you not shout that from the tallest building? Especially if it was your neighbour who bought the Ford Edsel. So Ford can now relax, Lockheed Martin surpassed their failure with an impressive larger one.

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RPG Arms race

Yes, I had not forgotten my promise, so before I start resetting the Saudi Airforce from the American options to either the BAE Typhoon or the Chinese Chengdu J-20, all whilst bagging myself a rather nice (and large) commission, I have a promise to keep. It took me a whilst, yet when Bethesda made the Elder Scrolls, they had the alone stage for Fantasy RPG and they grew it rather nicely, close to perfection. Yet I am no ones second fiddle, as such I thought it would be nice to change the game. In the setting where you are a ranged ‘fighter’, or a stealth type, I decided on the Indonesian blowpipe. It has the benefit of stealth, speed, some distance (not overly large) poison dart options and a few more, as such the blowpipe would be in, there is the Trisula (Indonesian version of the Japanese Sai), the Gollocks, yet they also have swords and spears, so there is a whole range of new weapons giving the RPG lover a new set of discoveries to make in how to best give the realisation of mortality to your enemies. And as I was taking a look at the weapons, I came to the conclusion, that as I spread the power of magic, the same could be done to the weapons. Even as we might like all weapons (some people do), giving them the power of one (agility for the blowpipe) removes strength for the sword and spear. It is a little more natural that way. Stealth still has knives and blades, but that person would be less in other weapons, the other way as well, those adapts and better in swords and spears are lousy in the precision of the blowpipe, they can still use knives for stealth parts, but not much more, the stage to reply is set. As I set the stage of magic and weapons, the third need would be there.
The support of the craft of artisan. The agile are good at pottery, but slow and less able to be the armorer or blacksmith, the blacksmith would be less of an alchemist and pottery person, item can always be bought and the fighter can still be a good alchemist in nearly every way, yet the division pushes a person to become passable and average n all directions, or set towards excellence in one or optionally two directions. Too many RPG’s are about inclusions, the ‘you can be all approach’, yet as I have stated towards Ubisoft for the longest time, a game that states it pleases everyone, in the end will please no one. That setting set a larger stage, a stage where you can reply the game, optionally multiple times and face the stage where you see new things at least twice over, it makes for longer joy in a game. 

And all whilst doing this, I got the inside idea of yet another game, based on a golden oldie. It was done by Melbourne House in 1985, yet not unlike the older version, you have to grow your skills, go to places and unlock abilities and unlock moves. So what happens when the stage is not all, but you get one night to do it, you get 5 hours until the final showdown where you are the challenger, and every time you play the game, the powers are somewhere else, so no running to the 6 points to get the max character, you get a stage where the skills you acquire are the skills you have for the final fight, yet the stage is not who presses the button faster, it is more like Nioh, a tactical challenge, we keep on forgetting that the old games have actual diamonds in the rough (sorry Disney), actual gems that can shine, even now on the PS5 can bring joy to millions of Playstation gamers (as such all ideas are always free for Sony Playstation exclusive games). 

So as I finished the ideas of fighting, artisans and magic, it is time to think of a storyline, a main story where we need to set a new level of adaptability, because if you are in one place in one chosen group, you will not face the same story, so what happens when the main storyline is not one story, but there are 5 for you to find? How to go about that part? I can tell you one thing, that has never been done before, I wonder why not?

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