I should practice what I preach and do my research before making assertions. "Busted flush" was what he said:
http://data.parliament.uk/writteneviden ... /91467.pdf
Q15 Mr Francois: Look, when I was Minister for the Armed Forces, I put the
E-3 fleet in special measures because their availability was appalling.
They had to ring my office every morning and tell us how many were on
the line and ready to go. On average, they managed one out of six and
on a number of days there were none. I need no convincing that the E-3D
is a busted flush. I am still reaching for how you can afford this
multibillion-pound programme when you are massively over-programmed
at the moment. Let me have another crack at it: if we decided to go
single-source, did you ask Airbus for a best and final offer?
and also of direct relevance:
Lieutenant General Sir Mark Poffley: Currently we are looking at
something around ’22 or ’23 onwards, because we believe that the threat
will have morphed to the point where it is questionable whether E-3 can
continue in that guise, around about that period.
But that is the sort of
target to start the conversation. Clearly, there are judgments to be taken
as we start to really understand the offer in terms of Wedgetail. I think
there is an opportunity, particularly for this Committee—I know that that
offer has already been made—for a more classified briefing.