Thursday, September 23, 2010

ON SKYHAWKS AND THINGS

I usually stay clear of commenting on things military. My time in the sun is long gone and I am conscious that I am no longer up with the state of the play ... I far prefer to advocate on matters concerning Veterans and on which I have some small knowledge.

But the shambles of the on again, off again Skyhawk disposal that was Labour's legacy does deserve comment. Latest reports has the cost in the order of $145+ million and counting.

First Point. At the time Labour decided to scrap the air combat wing they were prevented from selling the fleet because of restrictions imposed by the US. That Labour was so out of favour with firstly the Bush Snr and the later Bill Clinton administrations this took years to work through by which time the value of the aircraft was diminishing by the day and remember always that 'She' had labelled the aircraft as "clapped out" (hardly a welcome endorsement for a potential buyer).

Second. And then Labour with a great fanfare announced that they has secured a deal with Tactical Air Services which went on and on and on and on .... and we well remember Phil Goff's breathless statement just before the 2006 election that it was a done deal and then it went on and on and on because it wasn't a done deal and never was.

Tactical Air Services is now revealed as a toothless tiger short of the readies. Sort of a company that would offer you the Sydney Harbour Bridge at a price and fail to deliver.

And all the while the poor old NZ taxpayer was picking up the tab for maintaining aircraft whose book value had been written down to zero.

Just how many hip operations can you buy for $145m and why did Labour ever really think Tactical Air Services would do the deal. So many questions and so few answers although I know I would never trust Phil G to organise a piss up in a brewery.

The Government has it about right in deciding to cut their losses and offer them up as museum pieces.

And as for those academic worthies who are calling for the Macchi jet trainers to be recommissioned as some sort of make believe. poor mans, strike force I say back to your Chardonnay quaffing. The Macchi are a trainer FFS ... with some well documented engine problems. And even if you were prepared to commit the hundreds of millions necessary to resurrect them then all you would be doing is training pilots to be poached by other air forces at the first opportunity.

I disagreed with the scrapping of the air combat force but it's a done deal with the support infrastructure long gone and you can't wind back the clock.

12 comments:

mawm said...

It seems that the US has some sort of embargo on dismantling and selling off certain systems such as the avionics.

Lesson learned - you don't piss off America. We could still have been part of ANZUS and getting help with maintaining combat ready fighters, doing manoeurves with their forces, etc.

PM of NZ said...

There's a whole generation of sailors out there in our Navy that will never experience the thrill of a four way A4 bounce 20 feet above the flight deck of a frigate.

More's the pity. All because of the military hating Labour.

Anonymous said...

the UK has 100 Eurofighters going cheap.

Of course they're not actually safe to fly but with the UK Tories chopping spending by 20-50% across almost all departments (including welfare!)

we could get a good price.

sagenz said...

The skyhawks would never have been used in combat and were an anachronism from a past era.

What is genuinely scary is the prospect that the LAV's will suffer the same fate. Some of them, despite perceived operational flaws, should be in use in Afghanistan.

Anonymous said...

The sale was always a joke.
What was really appalling was a spineless lefty media treating the sale as a done deal. Instead of a Labour party election porky.

Anonymous said...

"There's a whole generation of sailors out there in our Navy that will never experience the thrill of a four way A4 bounce 20 feet above the flight deck of a frigate."

Wow, that's the best case I've ever heard for keeping air-strike capability. You're really good!

Judge Holden

Anonymous said...

"The skyhawks would never have been used in combat and were an anachronism from a past era."

The Argentinians used them pretty well in the Falklands..
We should have bought those F16's when the US wouldnt let Pakistan buy them. The aussies would have loved us for that.
But too late now, a couple of those star lifters (C17?) is probably more useful today anyway.

Anonymous said...

The bright side is that maybe war is getting so expensive we will have to find some other way to keep the banking elite in profit.

Anonymous said...

help with maintaining combat ready fighters

They're not combat ready and the US never gave us one red cent for maintenance.

That's part of the problem of course - so damn old that no Western country wants 'em, but with israeli upgraded electronics so we can't see 'em to anyone who does want em.

Anonymous said...

We should have bought those F16's when the US wouldnt let Pakistan buy them. The aussies would have loved us for that.


Buying F-16s now - or even a few years ago - is just making the same mistake with the skyjhawks 20 years later.

If we want to get serious about defence then we buy in to the F35 - or perhaps even the Grippen.
Dispersed around the country and fly the of farm airstrip :-)


But, for now, best thing we could do is buy truckloads of shoulder launched SAMs :-)

Anonymous said...

What would have been the cost of maintaining an active air strike force for the past ten years?

Anonymous said...

What will be the cost of not maintaining an air strike force?

I suppose if you're deluded enough to believe that we're living in a 'benign strategic environment' there's no problem.

Paranormal