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 Post subject: Taking us for mugs / British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:47 pm 
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Taking us for mugs

In <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/4886166/How-UK-defence-firms-suffer-for-MoD-Euro-mania.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">his column today</a>, Booker today picks up on the <a href="http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2009/02/british-jobs-for-austrian-workers.html" target="_blank">MAN truck story</a>, but also extends it to take in the broader issues of the undeclared Europe first policy that has blighted defence procurement over the last decade.

Some time ago, I calculated that the British government had <a href="http://defenceoftherealm.blogspot.com/2006/10/march-of-amateurs.html" target="_blank">overspent</a> to the tune of £8.8 billion on European projects, when the same (or sufficient) capacity could have been acquired more cheaply through indigenous production or by buying from other sources.

View full article here

British jobs … for Austrian workers

What is the connection between the demise of the troubled van-maker LDV and the British Army? Well, have a good look at the picture on the blog. It shows an Army truck assembled at the Vienna plant of MAN Nutzfahrzeuge Österreich AG in Austria, and you are now seeing some of them – like the one depicted - over here.

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:32 pm 
Noted.


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 Post subject: Re: British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:20 am 
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Well, let's face it, it had to come to this. I do not seek to minimize what Richard reports if I think it's another 'What if?' story...yes, a national tragedy but surely we're used to these now.
Another 'What if?':
What if those several generations now taking to the streets...or intending to...had thought a tad more before voting for the most destructive governments in our history. Once on the teat they coud never wean themselves from it...failing to understand that lactation is limited, even in the inhuman animal.

As for MAN...I am no expert but know that they build a decent truck...and have done for many, many years. We don't do trucks...the industry was killed by the fathers of those now protesting our sorry state...and can anybody tell me the last decent British truck built here?

Whether cobbling together a bunch of companies with limited expertise in military vehicles to take on a company which has specialized in them for years...to save/provide the British jobs, the bases of which were literally thrown away years ago...is a moot point.
The bottom line is: Could we build a better & more suitable vehicle for what remains of our armed forces...at any price?...and would they ever be delivered before cancellation or the inevitable changes to specification?
No prizes for a correct answer.

British jobs: We live in a small but very complicated world & it's easy to be tempted to simplify.
However, 'What if' at least three generations of complaining Britons had used their common sense instead of their credit cards?

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 Post subject: Re: British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:53 am 
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permanentexpat wrote:
Well, let's face it, it had to come to this. I do not seek to minimize what Richard reports if I think it's another 'What if?' story...yes, a national tragedy but surely we're used to these now.
Another 'What if?':
What if those several generations now taking to the streets...or intending to...had thought a tad more before voting for the most destructive governments in our history. Once on the teat they coud never wean themselves from it...failing to understand that lactation is limited, even in the inhuman animal.

As for MAN...I am no expert but know that they build a decent truck...and have done for many, many years. We don't do trucks...the industry was killed by the fathers of those now protesting our sorry state...and can anybody tell me the last decent British truck built here?

Whether cobbling together a bunch of companies with limited expertise in military vehicles to take on a company which has specialized in them for years...to save/provide the British jobs, the bases of which were literally thrown away years ago...is a moot point.
The bottom line is: Could we build a better & more suitable vehicle for what remains of our armed forces...at any price?...and would they ever be delivered before cancellation or the inevitable changes to specification?
No prizes for a correct answer.

British jobs: We live in a small but very complicated world & it's easy to be tempted to simplify.
However, 'What if' at least three generations of complaining Britons had used their common sense instead of their credit cards?


The lead company was to have been Stewart & Stevenson, one of the major suppliers to the US Army and Marines, with a combat proven truck, one extensively modified as a result of experience in Iraq. It was backed by a pioneering British design team which is currently working for the US DoD on developing its next generation truck. The result would have been streets ahead of the MAN truck, a custom-made, ground up vehicle designed and built for military use.

I researched this pretty heavily at the time and there is one hell of a difference between a civilian truck, which works on nice smooth roads and is regularly maintained, with a sophisticated support system on tap. A military truck is altogether a different animal, having to take constant abuse, poor conditions, indifferent or no maintenance and, not infrequently, an amount of damage - yet keep going.

The MAN trucks are nice trucks - but they are modified civvy trucks with big wheels, painted green. As supplied - and as confirmed by the NAO - they did not meet British military spec. After delivery - and outside the contract advertised, and at additional cost - they have had to be very heavily and expensively modified to make them suitable for operational use. Had S&S trucks been specified, they would have been combat ready as they drove out of the factory. This, like so many MoD procurement contracts, was as bent as a nine-bob note ... awarded wholly on political grounds, the objective being to purchase a euro-truck which would have commonality with other EU member state armies.

The problem with the British military truck industry is the MoD. It buys large numbers of trucks in one batch, wants them all of a sudden and then doesn't buy any more for years, and then wants everything, all singing and dancing, with all its special mods. No commercial company can work this way. By tapping into the US system, we would have got the best of all possible worlds ... a well-proven truck, built in Britain by British workers. And since S&S is now British owned, the profits would have come back to us as well.

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 Post subject: Re: British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:02 am 
... and, as you said in your post, we had the wherewithal to build them.

I take it that that would have meant no more than niggling expected minor delays at worst?


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 Post subject: Re: British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:04 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:07 am
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Location: Wellingborough
Exactly right Richard.

Once again this nonsensical posturing of the political classes playing at being 'good Europeans' is shown to more important to decision making than ensuring the right equipment is made available to troops on the ground.

The potential cost is not just financial. Lives are also put at risk each time these vanity projects roll out of meeting rooms. But what the hell, as long as people feel good about their pan-European cooperation, the poor bloody military can just lump it.


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 Post subject: Re: British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:13 am 
I expect the decision makers were put off by LDV being part of a Russian industrial complex. ;-)

Odd though, given Deripaska's now known connections, that LDV didn't get the work.

The Americans don't get these things that wrong usually. Boeing will get the air refuelling tankers on the second time around and I bet the US will engineer the return of S&S to their fold - or perhaps buy BAE?

I could see Brown doing a deal with them on that. Swap BAE for General Motors to save a few jobs in Liverpool and Luton. Yeah, that sounds about right.


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 Post subject: Re: British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:20 am 
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GP wrote:
I expect the decision makers were put off by LDV being part of a Russian industrial complex. ;-)

Odd though, given Deripaska's now known connections, that LDV didn't get the work.

The Americans don't get these things that wrong usually. Boeing will get the air refuelling tankers on the second time around and I bet the US will engineer the return of S&S to their fold - or perhaps buy BAE?

I could see Brown doing a deal with them on that. Swap BAE for General Motors to save a few jobs in Liverpool and Luton. Yeah, that sounds about right.


LDV was not owned by Deripaska when it bid for the work. If you read the piece, you will see that it was run as a management buy-out - losing the MoD order crippled the company which then led to Deripaska grabbing it for a knock-down price. If it had won the MoD contract, it would still be an independent, British-owned company.

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 Post subject: Re: British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:25 am 
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Tony Sharp wrote:
Exactly right Richard.

Once again this nonsensical posturing of the political classes playing at being 'good Europeans' is shown to more important to decision making than ensuring the right equipment is made available to troops on the ground.

The potential cost is not just financial. Lives are also put at risk each time these vanity projects roll out of meeting rooms. But what the hell, as long as people feel good about their pan-European cooperation, the poor bloody military can just lump it.


Perversely, after extensive, post-manufacturing modifications - carried out at considerable cost - they will end up being half-way decent trucks, so the military will not be too badly inconvenienced ... although it remains to be seen how they will stand up to the operational tempo. This is an unknown, and something of a gamble. Thye contract will, however, have cost us much more than it should, taking longer and ending up with a product which could have been better. That is about par for the course.

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 Post subject: Re: British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:15 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:59 pm
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RAENORTH wrote:
The MAN trucks are nice trucks - but they are modified civvy trucks with big wheels, painted green. As supplied - and as confirmed by the NAO - they did not meet British military spec. After delivery - and outside the contract advertised, and at additional cost - they have had to be very heavily and expensively modified to make them suitable for operational use. Had S&S trucks been specified, they would have been combat ready as they drove out of the factory. This, like so many MoD procurement contracts, was as bent as a nine-bob note ... awarded wholly on political grounds, the objective being to purchase a euro-truck which would have commonality with other EU member state armies.

The problem with the British military truck industry is the MoD. It buys large numbers of trucks in one batch, wants them all of a sudden and then doesn't buy any more for years, and then wants everything, all singing and dancing, with all its special mods. No commercial company can work this way. By tapping into the US system, we would have got the best of all possible worlds ... a well-proven truck, built in Britain by British workers. And since S&S is now British owned, the profits would have come back to us as well.

Thanks to the business deals you mention the better lorry would have been a euro-truck as well! We could have sold them to the continent...

I wonder if LDV would be capable of building something like a Bushmaster under licence.


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 Post subject: Re: British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:22 am 
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gareth wrote:
RAENORTH wrote:
The MAN trucks are nice trucks - but they are modified civvy trucks with big wheels, painted green. As supplied - and as confirmed by the NAO - they did not meet British military spec. After delivery - and outside the contract advertised, and at additional cost - they have had to be very heavily and expensively modified to make them suitable for operational use. Had S&S trucks been specified, they would have been combat ready as they drove out of the factory. This, like so many MoD procurement contracts, was as bent as a nine-bob note ... awarded wholly on political grounds, the objective being to purchase a euro-truck which would have commonality with other EU member state armies.

The problem with the British military truck industry is the MoD. It buys large numbers of trucks in one batch, wants them all of a sudden and then doesn't buy any more for years, and then wants everything, all singing and dancing, with all its special mods. No commercial company can work this way. By tapping into the US system, we would have got the best of all possible worlds ... a well-proven truck, built in Britain by British workers. And since S&S is now British owned, the profits would have come back to us as well.

Thanks to the business deals you mention the better lorry would have been a euro-truck as well! We could have sold them to the continent...

I wonder if LDV would be capable of building something like a Bushmaster under licence.


The Indians are doing a deal with BAE Systems to produce locally the RG-31 ... designed and built in South Africa. If the Indians can make that machine, then I do not see why we could not ... except that we already own the company that makes the RG-31 and the competitor to the Bushmaster, the RG-33.

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 Post subject: Re: British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:05 am 

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Richard,

I do not know how this plays with the citizens of the UK. I would like to say that it surely would piss off Americans but I can no longer make such a statement with any certainty.

We currently have a POTUS who is very busy destroying our economy and turning the US into some form of french governmental industrial partnership. He is brilliant doing this by creating fear and then coming up with solutions, which extend government control and indebt the nation. It is a cycle which now that he has going is feeding upon itself. This really is a lot more brilliant than Blair.

One can only expect Brown & CO to come up with more words and failed plans. Then again I have always felt that you were a few years ahead of the US. So there is no joy here either as I am unfortunately feel America will soon travel down the path you find yourself.. .. with the people wondering what the hell happened.


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 Post subject: Re: British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:26 pm 
Moralising over MAN's past and British jobs makes strange bedfelows. At the end of WWII, MAN was one of the companies tasked by the British War Office to supply a detachment of Panther tanks to the British Army due to delays in the manufacture of the Centurion tanks on technical grounds. This came about due to the fear that the British forces in Europe may be facing a Soviet onslaught if they decided to continue beyond Berlin. Approximately forty Panther tanks were built by German labour under considerable secrecy and none of the Panthers were given serial numbers. One of the Panther tanks was discovered in a British rubbish dump some ten years ago and is in the process of restoration. So the precedence has already been made and so near the end of WWII.


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 Post subject: Re: British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:06 pm 
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mikee wrote:
Moralising over MAN's past and British jobs makes strange bedfelows. At the end of WWII, MAN was one of the companies tasked by the British War Office to supply a detachment of Panther tanks to the British Army due to delays in the manufacture of the Centurion tanks on technical grounds. This came about due to the fear that the British forces in Europe may be facing a Soviet onslaught if they decided to continue beyond Berlin. Approximately forty Panther tanks were built by German labour under considerable secrecy and none of the Panthers were given serial numbers. One of the Panther tanks was discovered in a British rubbish dump some ten years ago and is in the process of restoration. So the precedence has already been made and so near the end of WWII.


Fascinating story ... have you got a link? And agree - lots of inconsistencies. Under the very limited reparations programme, the German government supplied MAN trucks to the British Army in Germany. I saw some there - German trucks in British colours!

My hang up over the current MAN contract is that it is entirely politically motivated ... driven by the European "ideal" of creating a pan-European army. That in turn is driven by the events of the second and first world wars, which are still very prominent in the minds of the "colleagues" and thus drive the ideology. We thus have the shadow of the concentration camps driving British procurement policy, giving jobs to Austrian workers in order to prevent another war on the continent - and thus taking the bread out of the mouths of British workers. It is not so much moralising about the events, therefore, as disgust that the European ideology is driving British policy, to the disadvangtage of the national interest.

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 Post subject: Re: British jobs … for Austrian workers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:02 pm 

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I had an MAN truck from new. I drove it over roads that you dont see in Western Europe.
The truck was rubbish. I bought it because MAN were supposed to be reliable , but that is the problem of buying goods on past reputations, they may slide downhill as you purchase one.
Dealerships were opened and closed down, so MAN themselves didn`t know which town had one and which didn`t. They were nonexistent past Austria (not now due to...well you know ), they fitted the wrong parts or were nor available, and build quality was low.
Apart from that I enjoyed myself with one.


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