By the early 1980s the trusty Jet Provost (JP) fleet was growing a little tired and it was clear that a replacement would be needed before the decade was over. The most common variant still in service was the T.5, which had first entered service in September 1969 and the vast majority of the 110 machines that were delivered had been modified to T.5A standard (with updated avionics) by the mid-1970s. Even at this point, the Minister of Defence was seriously considering the idea of re-sparring the entire JP fleet. Still on the table right up to the final tendering stage, the motion was finally dismissed when it was made clear that the RAF would be left with a trainer powered by a thirsty and under-performing Viper turbojet. In addition, the aircraft would still have outdated avionics and a poor ratio of support man-hours compared to flying hours. From the arrival of the Hawk, the leap from the Jet Provost to the next stage of pilot training saw many students fall by the wayside when their ability should have been addressed at an earlier stage.
On the steps of Number 10 Downing Street in October, 2011, British Prime Minister David Cameron took a measured stand in announcing the death of the former leader of Libya, Colonel Gaddafi. There was no triumphalism in his speech, no sense of mission accomplished. Citing Lockerbie, the death of Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher and the supply of arms to the Irish Republican Movement, he highlighted a relationship that existed between these international acts of terrorism and the United Kingdom. His implication was clear. No matter what you thought of the situation, the UK had reasons to be thankful that Gaddafi was gone. For the Prime Minister this was a moment of quiet satisfaction. He had fought and won his first war and it had not cost the life of a single British serviceman. It had been a huge gamble. The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) had only just cut major elements from the defence budget. To a background of derision from many armchair strategists, HMS Ark Royal and the Harrier fleet had been retired early. The decision to abandon the Nimrod MRA.4 program was the subject of specific criticism. It seemed perverse to cut the UK's Long Range Maritime Patrol (LRMP) capability when Somalian pirates enjoyed the freedom of the Indian Ocean.
What do you get if you cross a Goliath Sd.Kfz. 302 with the rear of a Kettenkrad and the business end of a Sherman Crab? Not sure? Neither were we, but HDT Global's Protector comes close and all in a package no bigger than Postman Pat's van. Spotted at London's recent arms fair the Protector is designed to clear paths and carry heavy equipment for foot patrols. Currently under development with the US military as part of an ongoing programme to combat lEDs, HDT claim the Protector has been tested successfully in the harshest of environments. While justifiably cagey about how many dark-suited Lords of War had opened their cheque books during the show, MMI is assured the Protector is coming to a conflict near you soon. The only thing likely to keep it out of Afghanistan is the planned American downscale. The Protector can be dropped off by truck or helicopter with the troops it's supporting and trundle beside them at a walking or running pace. The Protector has no combat role other than mobile cover and can be used to transport two battle casualties for helicopter evacuation when fitted with stretchers.
SOUTH KOREA is set to re-launch the bidding process for its F-X Phase III fighter competition after the sole contender, the Boeing F-15SE, was sensationally rejected during a meeting of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) and Defense Minister Kim Kwan-Jinon on September 24. Boeing had looked to be a shoo-in for the $7.3-billion contract after elimination in August of the rival Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 3 and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. DAPA conducted bids with the three contractors between June and August, but only the F-15SE came within the budget stipulated for 60 aircraft. However, the selection of the Boeing product had always been controversial. Former Republic of Air Force chiefs of staff told the government they considered the F-15SE lacking in stealth, which they judged a pre-requisite for countering North Korea's burgeoning nuclear program. According to DAPA spokesman Baek Yoon-hyung, the committee made the decision to drop the F-15SE bid after 'in-depth discussions on the security situation and the combat environment based on assessments of the jets' mission capabilities and prices.'
By the time this issue is published it'll be time for IPMS Scale Model World, better known as 'Telford' to the seasoned visitor. In fact, as you read this Editor's Welcome you may even be midway through drawing up a Telford wish list, or be at the show itself surrounded by carrier bags and chatting with friends. The halls will probably be echoing with the hum of a thousand modelling-related conversations, while the club displays are no doubt inspiring you to get modelling again that evening. Meanwhile the quest to match newly purchased kits with new decal sheets and resin accessories, and recently published reference books, may be causing that feeling of being back in an exam hall at school. But it's all part of the modelling extravaganza and hopefully, once home, you won't experience that sinking feeling of having missed a purchase. Among the modellers I know I often hear: "I'm not going mad this year, I'm only getting what I really need - honestly." I'll wait and see what they actually buy. There can be a lot of 'really need' purchases.
At the end of World War One, Germany was forced into a series of reparations to the Allied nations and was also deprived of much of its wartime industry. It was not allowed to have an air force, and the size of the army was held to only 100,000 men. The Weimar Republic of Germany in the 1920s cleverly used the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty to build the best trained army in Europe. Learning from their defeat, and far more willing than the victorious Allies to adopt new ways of waging war, the Reichsheer (army) pioneered new ways of motorising military units, using cars (disguised as tanks and armoured cars) for training. All of these early vehicles were standard commercial civilian automobiles. The 1920s economic calamity in the Weimar Republic, with unbelievable levels of inflation and near-total debasement of the currency, inhibited the full development of these new military tactics, but planning went ahead. The Great Depression of the early 1930s extended the poor economic conditions, but the accession of the Nazi party to national power under Adolf Hitler led to a renunciation of the Versailles Treaty and the open intention to rearm Germany. The Nazi government started conscription with a major expansion of the military, development of new tanks and military vehicles and in 1935 established the new Luftwaffe (air force).