Newsletter 25
Autumn 2009
Updated on 11Oct2009
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents Hawker Association

America - Washington DC
Book Reviews
Demon News
F-35 lightning II News
Harrier 40th Anniversary
Harrier News
Hawk News
Hawkers In The '50s Part 2
Kestrel Evaluation Squadron
Sea Fury News
Summer Barbecue
    This was the title of the talk given by Dick Wise OBE to the Association on 8 July and it will surely prove to be a highlight of the season.
    After graduating from Wimbledon Technical College with an HND in electrical and electronic engineering Dick joined Hawker Aircraft Ltd in 1961 as a craftsman apprentice, completing his training as an avionics engineer. He joined the new Avionic Systems office at Dunsfold and participated in the ground and flight testing of the Harrier avionic systems including flight observing in the Hunter TMk8M Sea Harrier systems development aircraft.
    He moved to Project Management at Kingston and became Harrier Project Director in 1988 and Business Development Director for BAe in 1992.
    In 1994 he moved to Washington DC as Executive Vice President North America and returning to the UK in 1999 he was appointed Sales & Marketing Support Director and then Business Development Director for Airborne Weapon Systems. In 2001 he returned to DC as Vice President Program Development, retiring in 2005. It was his experiences in the USA that formed the basis of his talk.
America - A View From Washington DC

    Dick explained what life was like inside the ‘Beltway’, the ring road round Washington DC equivalent to our M25, which forms a moat between DC and the rest of the USA. Within reside the political, international and business communities, the first either being in power, out of power or awaiting power.
    The city is divided into ‘haves’ in the East and ‘have-nots’ in the west. It was once the ‘murder capital’ of the USA with some 500 per year in 2005 although the rate has now fallen to under 200 per year! The defence community, including the BAE office, is to be found in the high-rise district round the ‘Pentagon’, familiarly known as ‘the building’.
    Dick was called back to his office on 11 September 2001 (‘9/11’) which had to be evacuated as it was contaminated with smoke from the burning Pentagon, the target for a successful terrorist attack by hijacked airliner. There was great confusion with roads closed, traffic queues, abandoned cars with people using their laptops on the roadside, and mobile networks down. The radio stations broadcast misleading and false information continuously and police and other ‘agents’ roamed the streets, weapons drawn. In the blue skies above, Dick watched an F-16 circling. The Pentagon burned for several days and there were 189 dead including a BAe employee (two others were killed elsewhere).
    There was a change in the American psyche; the people were less confident and had a craving to avenge the deed. Operation ‘Noble Eagle’ for the air defence of North America put National Guard F-16s on 24 hour CAPs (combat air patrols) seven days a week. They were refuelled by NATO tankers from Europe (the first time that foreign forces had been used operationally in the US). Surface-to-air missile systems were deployed by the Washington Monument and troops were stationed at airports. The Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, ordered that the Pentagon be restored externally in twelve months; it was done in ten.
    The airliner attacks were followed by anthrax spore distribution through the post to US senators amongst others, but it was postal workers who were the majority of the seventeen sick and five dead. Decontamination of the Capitol took months but the postal system took two years and cost $130m. The source of the anthrax was traced to a Government establishment; was this domestic terrorism?
    Another worry for the American people. What next, a dirty bomb? Then there were random sniper attacks, fifteen in three weeks with ten deaths. DC was paralyzed with fear, there were road blocks, plazas were deserted and gas stations put up tarpaulin blinds to shield customers from view. A white van was believed to hold the culprits but it turned out to be a blue Chevrolet with gun ports cut in its boot - not terrorists but men on a shooting spree from the West Coast.
    The US Government has three branches, noted Dick: the Executive (the Presidential team or White House), the Legislature (Congress; the House of Representatives and the Senate), and the Judiciary (the Supreme Court). It is a system of checks and balances. Congressmen are elected for two years so are interested in the near term and spend a third of their time fund raising for re-election whereas Senators have a six year term. The Supreme Court Justices are appointed by the President.
    The political calendar starts in January with the President’s State of the Union speech setting out his agenda. In February the President sends budget proposals to Congress for approval by the House and Senate committees who mark-up the bills which are then voted on. In September a conference reconciles the House and Senate bills which go back to the President for signature and passage into law.
    In the defence field there are many ‘stake-holders’ including: the White House, the Secretary of Defense, Congress, the Armed Services, State Governments, the defence industry, think tanks, the Press, Armed Services Associations, trade associations, and single topic interest groups. They all retain lobbying firms or lobbyists, people who know people with influence, of which there are 15,000 in DC.
    Lobbyists need access to Congress and Members need funds for election campaigns so… lobbyists pay for access by donations. (The top ten Senators spend some $250m on election campaigning). The object of the lobbyists is to get funds ‘earmarked’ to named recipients for particular projects. The system is close to bribery and there is a continuous cry to remove the influence of lobbyists but this can’t be done because of the costs of election. The total expenditure on lobbyists in 2008 was $3.4bn. Of course BAe employed lobbyists of a very high calibre with contacts at the highest levels.
    In 1994 Dick’s BAe office had 14 employees (12 US and 2 UK nationals) at Roslyn on the banks of the Potomac River. (The BAE Systems office in DC is now on four floors and employs 100 people, all but one being US nationals, representing all the US business units which employ 30,000.) The US culture is different to the British, and varies from State to State, as is the language. It is vital to understand this. Dick set up ‘war rooms’ for each project so all his staff were fully briefed, not only technically and commercially, but also culturally. For instance, when pitching to supply the Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Tennessee, good ol’ boy country, it was no suits - strictly casual.
    Congressmen have three priorities: jobs, jobs and jobs, so when BAe offered to close a small Royal Ordnance plant in England and transfer the work to RO USA they got the contracts - for five year’s explosives supply (since renewed) and 25 year’s management). 
    Early in 1990 the USN started the Joint Advanced Strike Technologies (JAST) programme to develop innovative ‘building blocks’ for the next generation of weapon systems. US industry was cool; they wanted contracts for new aircraft. With British Embassy support BAe gained access to the JAST briefings and submitted bids. They failed but established the company as a recognised industrial partner. The Department of Defense tried to eject BAe but were thwarted by the Harrier legacy, the UK Government and consultant lobbyists.
    Congress directed that the ongoing US-UK Government ASTOVL programme be integrated with JAST for a Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme to replace the F-16, F-18, A-10 and AV-8B. BAe joined up with McDonnell-Douglas (MDC) to compete against Boeing and Lockheed-Martin (L-M). One of BAe’s jobs was to represent Boeing in marketing role-playing exercises.
    BAe commented to MDC that to survive Boeing would have to rebalance its business by obtaining more military work, if necessary by buying a competitor. MDC dismissed this finding. However, on failing to secure a place in the next JSF round they were acquired by…Boeing! Now BAe was courted by Boeing and L-M and their JSF partners Northrop-Grumman (N-G), and chose the latter. In October 2001 L-M won the $200bn contest.
    Next came the campaign to keep it. L-M were worried that JSF was competing for funds with their own F-22, and Boeing offered the competing F-18, F-15 and UAVs (unmanned air vehicles) as alternatives. Boeing even discussed a possible Harrier III with Dick. So, UK expertise, originating at Kingston was recognised as a critical factor in the success of the L-M JSF.
    Dick also told us about the USN Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft Programme to replace the P-3 Orion. Post 9/11 the US became conscious of the maritime threat. The task boiled down to selling a Comet to the USN! The competitors were: the L-M developed P-3, BAe’s Nimrod, the Airbus A319, Boeing’s 737 and N-G with a UAV and P-3 combination. The USN selected the Nimrod vs. the 737. Why the Nimrod? The USN was short of money and the Nimrod programme was already partly paid for; buried engines gave stealth characteristics superior to the 737; the large clear underwing area gave plenty of space for antenna arrays and UAV carriage; the large bomb bay would hide sensitive stores when abroad; and the large capacity airframe gave growth potential.
    BAe now needed a US prime contractor for access to the next stage so approached L-M, Boeing and N-G. L-M wanted their P-3 to survive, Boeing would offer the Nimrod and their 737 and N-G didn’t want to compete against their largest customer, Boeing. BAe deliberated for some time then withdrew; and Boeing won.
    An interesting sidelight was when Dick was asked to find a Harrier for the Canadian Aviation Museum at Ottawa. He selected an AV-8A from the Davis-Monthan desert storage facility and had it shipped to Canada which did no harm to BAe’s bid to sell Hawks there.
    Dick attended the delivery ceremony for the last Harrier, an AV-8B for Spain. He said it felt like a memorial service for an old and close friend. From a concept in the late ‘50s production had continued until 2003 and it was the UK’s entry ticket to JSF, the biggest defence contract ever.
    Martin Pennel, in giving the vote of thanks, congratulated Dick on this fascinating and comprehensive talk.