What conclusions should we draw from the failure of the US's Future Imagery Architecture reconnaissance satellite program?
After all, under longstanding and still secret agreements with the US, Britain has not developed any satellite reconnaissance capability because the US promises to provide us with access to the product from theirs. This has been denied at least once, in 1982. Now, however, it looks like the quality and availability of this stuff is going to decline anyway.
And this at the moment when the Illustrious may be going to take an Italian Harrier squadron to the Indian Ocean 'cos the Navy, post-Sea Harrier withdrawal, has committed all available Harriers - 8 - to Afghanistan, and apparently the RAF's two Harrier squadrons are fully utilised in Norfolk despite being carrier-trained.
Gah. The good news is that we do have the good people at Astrium Stevenage and Surrey Sat Tech, and there's plenty of Arianes available.