UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: January 19, 301 AP.

President agrees to continue "Firecats" project

President Okarvits has, under some protest from his own government, agreed to finance the continued development and construction of "Firecat" jet fighters.

The project was inherited from the Guwimithian government which was designing and building jet fighters in a factory just outside Luka. The project managed to build 25 of the fighters before the regime collapsed and the UNV took control of the dependencies. The project has been financed in terms of labour costs since March 299, but little by way of materials were supplied. This meant there was design work for almost two years but no actual prototype construction was possible.

However, in a press statement, President Okarvits said that during those two years "significant development and advances" had been made in the area of the electronics and less costly areas of the fighters. Prototyping of a new fighter will commence immediately under the President's financing plan, as well as the commencement of construction of a new 40 Firecat jet fighters under the current design or with some minor improvements.

The plant has employed some 160 prototype designers and engineers, and kept over 300 highly-skilled jet construction workers on full pay to construct private planes. Now, another 1300 workers and 200 engineers will be employed by the plant which will expand with the construction of another assembly building. With a total of 1960 staff, and salary budget of over Û60 million, President Okarvits said the total budget of Û200 million should allow the production of 20 jet fighters in the next twelve months, therefore the cost of the fighters would be kept to "below Û10 million each", a significant saving on the Û30 million for new imported fighters.

Some criticism came from the Burovians who declared such expenditure "a waste of much needed development funding", and some in the government coalition, particularly Utani-Saedaj MPs who wanted to see the development commence away from the already-wealthy Luka.

©UPA, 301 AP.

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