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EDO Boss Hills Gets Grilled In Court

x | 02.08.2012 15:59 | Smash EDO | Anti-militarism | Technology | South Coast

EDO MBM Paul Hills faced difficult questions in Brighton Magistrates this wee

EDO boss gets grilling at Brighton protest trial

9:00am Thursday 2nd August 2012 in News By Ben Parsons

Paul Hills, managing director of EDO, has been giving evidence at the trial of two anti-arms protesters from campaign group Smash EDO .

Under cross-examination he spelled out a range of arms contracts the factory is involved in and said the firm is not breaking UK law.

Jessica Nero and Gavin Pidwell deny committing aggravated trespass by gluing and locking themselves to the gates of the factory in Home Farm Road, Moulsecoomb, on April 26 last year.

Their defence is that they were not obstructing or disrupting people in their lawful activity because the work of the factory was not lawful.

Mr Hills was called as a witness to the protest but was also questioned for more than three hours about the company’s work.

He confirmed the factory makes a cable called a field replaceable connector system (FRCS) for Tornado aircraft. The “umbilical” cable – which looks like a washing machine hose – gives guidance information to a bomb and separates from it when it is dropped.

He said the firm does not currently make them for the US government. But he confirmed the firm does have a “development contract” with arms company Lockheed Martin to design them for the F35 joint strike fighter.
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The programme involves the UK, as well as the United States and Israel – who are not bound by the UK’s Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act.

The law makes it illegal to assist any other person in using a cluster bomb – a bomb which releases smaller bombs.

Victoria Kerly, defending Nero, asked Mr Hills whether he could be sure the FRCS cables EDO makes would not be used as part of a mechanism to release cluster bombs.

She said: “You cannot be certain that your product which ends up on planes for the American air force does not enable the use of cluster bombs, can you?”

Mr Hills said: “We are very clear what it is used for. We have not been used to qualify for fitting to any weapons that are classified under the Cluster Munitions (Prohibition) Act 2010.

“I can’t stop somebody doing something wilfully with our product without our knowledge.”

He later said: “If somebody wilfully chooses to do that, we are not assisting in doing so.”

He said Israel does not use the versions of the F16 for which EDO supplies cables.

Miss Kerly produced promotional material used by EDO in 2007 including a claim that its FRCS cable had been “fitted and tested” for equipment used by NATO countries including a “joint standoff weapon”.

Mr Hills said the equipment had not been “qualified and sold” or supplied for that weapon and he did not think it was a cluster bomb. He also said a presentation described by EDO’s design director at a conference in Seattle this year which included references to “sub munitions dispensing from munitions” did not refer to cluster bombs. He said: “The technology we are looking to develop here does not cross into the boundary of the cluster munitions prohibition act 2010. The submunitions we are looking at do not contravene that act.”

Nero, 35, of Graham Road, Mitcham, Surrey, and Gavin Pidwell, 26, of no fixed abode, are due to return to court today (August 2), when police officers are expected to give evidence about the protest.

The magistrates are not expected to reach verdicts until a further hearing later this month.

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Hide the following 7 comments

JSOW cluster bomb videos

02.08.2012 16:50

EDOs cable the FRCS is also used on the A-10 which also uses cluster bombs

smedley butler

Joint Stand Off Weapon = JSOW

02.08.2012 17:21

QUOTE:Miss Kerly produced promotional material used by EDO in 2007 including a claim that its FRCS cable had been “fitted and tested” for equipment used by NATO countries including a “joint standoff weapon”.

QUOTE: Mr Hills said the equipment had not been “qualified and sold” or supplied for that weapon and he did not think it was a cluster bomb.

Funny that. After 23 years in the bomb rack business Paul Hills is yet to find out that the JSOW is a cluster bomb.

It took me 5 minutes on the internet.

Paul Hills LIES

not seeing this

02.08.2012 19:33

Your argument is totally flawed............

Yes, the "tools" (weapon release systems) "could" be used to drop cluster bombs with EDO's knowledge or consent.

But that is like saying that the steel companies, steel could be used to make a tool to drop cluster bombs. Or that a farmers grain could be used to feed a worker than makes a tool that drops a cluster bomb.

You cannot blame people for what others decide to do with a tool
Therefore EDO is not illegal. In the same way that a gun manufacturer is not illegal, or a car manufacturer is not illegal (even though some cars are used to commit illegal activities).


glue on

02.08.2012 19:59

so the defence is that there should be no bomb release cables EVER made because 1 may or may not hypothetically be used to drop a cluster bomb, and therefore no bomb release mechanism should be made in the world..... EVER!

rightttttttt ;) good luck with that. I think the flaws in your defence as clearly apparent even to that of a child.

wax off


02.08.2012 20:10

The FRCS is not a lump of steel. It is a listed and controlled military component that unlike lumps of steel needs an arms export licence to go anywhere.

It is an essential component of aircraft weapons systems and is invented, patented, and manufactured by EDO MBM in Brighton.

Each unit costs over $4000 and is specifically designed and installed for particular aircraft : Tornado, A-10, F-16, F-35 etc.etc

The F-35 A, B, and C, incorporate it.

The F-35 A is the aircraft being supplied to Israel to replace the F-16

Current UK Govt policy since 2006 is not to supply any components to the Israeli F-16 because of its historical use in internal repression in in the occupied territories.

Current UK law makes it a crime to assist the use of cluster munitions in line with the international Convention on Cluster Munitions signed by most countries in the world..

Both the USA and Israel refuse to sign up and continue to claim the right to use cluster munitions in disregard of this international law.

So knowingly supplying it to Us and Israeli military aircraft that have cluster munitions as part of their arsenal is a breach of UK and international law.


lok baby

02.08.2012 21:26


Yes a lump of steel isn't a bomb release mechanism. But the steel company surely knows that they are supplying steel to be made into a cluster-bomb-dropper. Therefore they are also complicit.

The list goes on. Which shows how ridiculous the argument is.

A better argument is:- its the guy who pulls the triggers fault. Not the guy who made the trigger. The bomb release mechanisms are designed to drop all sorts of bombs. Banning them is stupid, because they are not illegal if used correctly and within the law.

You might as well try banning cars because they are used for ram raids.

Or ban kitchen knifes because they are used for armed robberies.

Or ban alcohol because people drink themselves to death

I see little difference between these examples and EDO in a legal sense


the point you miss is

02.08.2012 22:15

The steel company doesn't necessarily know they are supplying steel to be made into a cluster-bomb-dropper - why should they- but the the bomb umbilical cable maker clearly does know, because the bomb umbilical cable has to be fitted and and tested on every bomb before it is passed for use on the aircraft.

There is clearly fault in the the guy who drops the cluster bomb but also UK and international law prohibitsany guy making the cluster bomb in the first place and requires that all cluster bombs already stockpiled be destroyed.

Yes bomb release mechanisms are designed to drop all sorts of bombs and are not illegal if used correctly and within the law, but if they are going to be used to drop cluster bombs they are illegal because this assists the use of cluster bombs.

If you have knowledge that a car you are selling someone will be used in a ram raid you are assisting a crime by doing so.

If you knowingly sell a kitchen knife to be used in armed robberies you assist those armed robberies and commit a crime.

If you knowingly assist suicide by means of overdose of alcohol you commit a crime.

more clarification