David Cameron's 'fear' of Russia has driven him to award Boeing a $2 billion contract
Originally appeared at Forbes
Workers at the Boeing BA -0.68% plant making P-8 maritime patrol aircraft will have the U.K. government’s fear of Russia to thank for an estimated 2 billion pound budget for their aircraft over the next five years. No firm order has been placed at this time.
U.K. prime minister David Cameron included 9 P-8 Poseidon’s in his defense budget on Monday, leading to the likelihood of a fat U.K.-Boeing foreign military contract in the near future. The roughly $260 million aircraft will be used as part of the U.K.’s anti-submarine and anti-surface ship warfare capability which was stifled in 2010 by the axing of its BAE Systems Nimrod aircraft acquisition program.
Cameron had hoped that NATO allies in western Europe would fill the gap in maritime patrol, but the only countries meeting NATO’s 2% of GDP defense spending recommendation are Greece and Estonia.
The Boeing Poseidon will be used primarily to counter Russian submarines in the northern seas and Mediterranean. Cameron calls the Ukraine crisis was a “threat to British security.” His call is similar to what Ukraine billionaire Victor Pinchuk has lobbied for through his foundation’s outreach and media programs, most notably the Yalta European Strategy conference, which took place in Kyiv this year instead of in Yalta. Yalta is in Crimea.
Russia has been supporting separatists in east Ukraine and annexed Crimea, a Black Sea peninsula that was once an autonomous region of Ukraine, back in March 2014.
Britain’s new 12 billion pound ($18 billion) defense budget remains controversial in its spend on heavy equipment in lieu of border security and intelligence. Boeing seems to have eked out the top gun position behind closed doors. Lockheed Martin, Airbus and L-3 all requested open competition, the Financial Times reported.