If there was only one reason why the UK should pull the plug on the A400M – and there are many – it came yesterday in a comment from Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders, as retailed to us by Reuters.
This smug, overpaid, cerebrally-challenged excuse for a human being has the unmitigated gall to tell us that the heap of machinery he is trying to palm off as an aeroplane should be kept going because 40,000 jobs in Europe are directly linked to the project, including 15,000 in Spain. "You can't just look at the plane as a product," he says.
Notwithstanding that any aerospace manufacturer who calls an aircraft a "plane" should not be allowed to live, what this human garbage needs to understand is that the A400M is a product, a machine that is supposed to do things, very specific things, one of which is to fly. It is not a job creation scheme for euroweenies. Furthermore, it is a product that was promised by his dismal excuse for a company and one which it has singularly failed to deliver.
"Are budget restrictions going to put at risk the programme, which still needs investment?" Enders asks the Spanish newspaper ABC. "It means asking if Europe is prepared to not go ahead with the A400M and what alternatives there are."
Wrong questions. "Europe" is not an entity – it is a continent. The people who have the misfortune to be saddled with this overpriced, non-performing heap of junk are soldiers, and they need military airlift, not computer-generated pictures. If he can't deliver – and it is very clear that he cannot – then there are companies that can – on time, to price and to specification.
That is the crunch. It is about time the defence contracting industry woke up and smelt the coffee. The purpose of military equipment is to equip the military, for the sole purpose of enabling that said military to do its job. It is not there for any other purpose and, if the industry cannot deliver, on time, to price and to specification, then it needs to go to the wall.
If he is worried about all those jobs, well perhaps Mr Tom "it's not just a product" Enders could give all those 40,000 euroweenies packs and rifles and send them off to Afghanistan where they can do something useful. I am sure Lockheed could arrange the transportation.
When they get there – with him at their head – he and his fellow euroweenies could then reflect that, in the military, if you do not deliver on time, to price and to specification, the wrong people die. "You can't just look at fighting wars as a product," you know.