Aircraft Issues on Table

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Every 18 months British Aerospace and Rolls Royce conduct a meeting somewhere in the world to talk about engineering and logistics issues concerning the T45 aircraft they build.

Last year's meeting was in Moosejaw, Canada. The current one is in Meridian.

"Meridian is the flagship for naval training and it was an obvious choice to come here," said Commander Paul Koch of the Naval Air Assistance Command. "We have representatives from Canada, the UK, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Australia to name a few. I hope that we can share ideas and hopefully leverage some of the technology that the other countries are researching and spending money on."

One of the participants is Capt. Mark Brierley of the British Royal Air Force, currently stationed in Saudi Arabia.

Brierley said an effort to reduce military expense, similar to the BRAC process in the U.S., is going on in his country, too. Personally, Brierley said he does not agree with possible cuts in the U.K.'s defense spending.

"As a military officer, no. But, of course, the pressure on defense budgets is exactly the same in our country. In fact, one of the things that came out of this morning so far is the fact that pressure in defense budgets is already extreme across most of the nations that operate these aircraft," Capt. Brierley said.

The United Kingdom and the U.S. are apparently approaching the problem the same way.

"We're finding there are smarter methods of reducing the costs to make more bang for your buck, exactly the same as you guys are doing," Brierley added.

Participants toured NAS Meridian to watch the T45s in action.