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August 03, 2009

To be, or not to be. So much for that question.

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So much for the Royal Air Force. So much for England.

Britain's last fighter aircraft factory faces closure within five years after the government’s decision last week to curtail its purchases of the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The industry, founded on the Sopwith Camel in the first world war, is expected to come to an end when the last of the Typhoons rolls off the production line in 2014. The BAE Systems aircraft manufacturing plant at Warton, Lancashire, would close with the possible loss of 20,000 jobs at the site and in support trades.

Under the Eurofighter deal, the RAF was due to receive 232 aircraft, now known as the Typhoon, in three batches. They were to be built at Warton as part of the joint British, German, Italian and Spanish project. Last Friday, however, it was announced that Britain would buy a total of only 160 aircraft in what is in effect a £4.5 billion defence cut. The number of RAF frontline Typhoon squadrons will be cut to five from the six that were planned.

Funny how it takes 232 aircraft to man six squadrons but only 160 to man five squadrons. With math skills like these perhaps it is best to leave the defense of the realm to its traditional defenders: The Americans.

By contrast: India has plans to build 100 warships; and with 120 warships the Indian navy is already the fifth largest in the world. Given my pessimism about United States naval power, I think people who believe in democracy, pluralism and genuine celebration of diversity must soon look to India as their protector. Any suggestions on how to secure an Indian passport?

Posted by Ghost of a flea at August 3, 2009 07:28 AM