UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: March 5, 301 AP.

Utania to buy Lendosan warships!

Minister for Defence Samuel Artos announced this morning Utanian plans to spend C900m of the ten billion pund capital fund on warships and leased aircraft from the Lendosan Confederation.

The deal, explained the minister, had been agreed with the Confederation before the President's freeze on purchase negotiations for military hardware late last month. Utania will be purchasing surplus warships from the Confederation to supplement the current Naval force of Utania. There is thirteen warships in all, consisting of two "light" frigates, five missile boats and six gunboats. All will be employed in coastal protection roles.

Furthermore, the Confederation is leasing Utania one hundred surplus Espectro "Wraith" II jet fighters (see attached). These will supplement the few jet aircraft that Utania currently has, and be used as a "stopgap" measure until the "Firecat" project is fully operational and producing "Firecat" jet fighters.

The total cost for the first two years of purchases and lease would be C570m, and thereafter C250m for the fighter lease, however, by then, Mr Artos explained, the number of jets required would be significantly reduced as "at least" thirty "Firecats" would be in the sky by then.

The Minister explained that Utania was "very close" to signing a contract with "another nation" for the supply, and joint-D&C (Design and Construction) of the remaining equipment to be phase-constructed to "keep costs well-below the C3.3bn mark". The MInister has, with the Lendosan Confederation purchase, only C2.73bn remaining in his 301ap budget, and opposition politicians are wondering aloud precisely how many years the President is planning the heavy military expenditure will continue.

Opposition leader Thomas Kemp MP said he intended to use "this massive waste of spending power" in his Presidential campaign, also citing the "militarism" of fmr-Pres. Hope, his main preselection rival.

Espectro 'Wraith' II fighter jets

©UPA, 301 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)