Tuesday, 5 May 2009

European military integration? No tanks.

Ever since the Mark 1 crawled across the battlefields of the Somme in 1916 Britain has had a tradition of producing some of the world's finest tanks. All that, however, may soon be coming to an end. With the closures recently announced by BAe of some of its Global Combat Systems factories, Challenger 2 may well prove to be the last battle tank to be made in the UK.

Although this may please the anti-war demonstrators who marched through the streets of Brighton at the weekend, the demise of tank production in the UK will be another nail in the coffin of our military independence and force us even further down the road towards European military integration: we've already got the Eurofighter, next it'll be the EuroPanzer.

BAe blames the closures on the MoD and its disastrous management of the FRES programme and the scrapping last December of the order for 2000 armoured untility vehicles. Of course the recession hasn't helped either.

The Mail: Tanks for the memories... Britain ends tank production after 93 years - and future models will have GERMAN guns
Defence Management: BAE blames FRES debacle for cuts