THE MAN CHARGED with overseeing the delivery of nine P8-A maritime patrol aircraft to their new base in Moray has explained the vital importance of a decision last week by the United States government.
As reported by insideMoray on Monday, the Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) approved the $3.2billon dollar deal between the UK and the US for the purchase of the Boeing-manufactured aircraft.
Now Air Commodore Ian Gale, the former RAF Lossiemouth station commander and the man who has been charged as ‘Senior Responsible Owner’ of the delivery of the aircraft to Moray, has explained in detail just why the move in the USA was such a vital one on the process.
Air Commodore Gale, who is likely to return to Moray on a regular basis as RAF Lossiemouth prepares for its new role, has created an online blog through which he will keep the public updated on progress.
His latest article explains the decision last week – and, all being well, its subsequent ratification by the US Congress, is a vital part of a convoluted and detailed process.
“The UK is acquiring the P8s under an arrangement known as Foreign Military Sales (FMS),” Ian explained, adding: “This is a process the US has established to share military capabilities with allies and partners and is governed by The Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act.
“To secure a sale under FMS, a government to government agreement is reached (although the negotiations can be complex, the letters that seal the deal are often straightforward) and the customer country then buys the equipment or service from the US government, not the manufacturer.
“This helps keep costs down for all as it allows us to benefit both from the sunk costs of research and development and from the economies of scale of joining a larger US order.”
The next hurdle will be a decision by Congress – Ian explained: “For certain programmes, usually high value or ones that fall under the International Traffic of Arms Regulations, US Congress retains the final say and must approve the Foreign Military Sale.
“This approval comes right at the end of the process described above and means that subject to UK agreement and approval, the deal can go ahead.”
Air Commodore Gale’s blog can be found online here.