F-35B and Harrier combos

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jessmo112

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Unread post31 Jul 2020, 08:48

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... two-months

I noticed in this long article on the war zone that alot of hearts were broken when the Brits retured the Harrier.
This post made me think about the current enviorment and an opportunity that was missed.

1. Is there any possible senario in which a Harrier F-35B high lo mix could be effective?

2. With future budget short falls looming, was it a mistake to sell off the Harrier versus mothballing them?

3. Could you see an issue with Future F-35B orders being delayed, and Harriers being used to help fill in Tac air numbers while embarked?

4. Wouldn't the mothballed Harriers fulfill a purpose as a lower cost air asset, (IE bombing terrorists)
When the exspensive F-35 isnt needed.

Am I wrong or would Naval group think dictate totality dumping the Harrier and starting fresh?
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spazsinbad

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Unread post31 Jul 2020, 09:22

Am I right in surmising you talk about the UK? Why? This is ten years ago and what is 'Naval group think' (as opposed to 'RAF group think' [crabs]). :mrgreen: Seriously I think the article mentioned explains why & what happened. Look at USMC air.
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hythelday

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Unread post31 Jul 2020, 11:59

First of all, why are people obsessed with Hi-Low mixes anyway?

What you miss is that Sea Harrier isn't Low neither in cost nor complexity of operation. I.e. how many flight hours does a Harrier pilot need to stay proficient enough not to kill himself after every mission landing of the boat? (vs how many hours a pilot in a F-35B that lands almost automatically?)

I know it's extremely superficial, but wiki says F-15C (in 1998) and Sea Harrier II (in 1996) cost about the same. What is more obvious is that you need two completely separate pipelines to run logistics and training for these two wildly different aircraft. Don't forget that physical space for MX on the boat is also limited. Don't see how you gonna end up "saving money".

A STOVL carrier is any nation's premium asset. Why would you handicap your premium asset by giving it a, let's say 6 F-35B + 12 Sea Harrier airwing when you could have 18 F-35B airwing? If you are short of cash get rid of naval aviation altogether (what UK did).

"Let's have a Hi-Low mix of sniper rifles with no scopes and regular ammo"
"Let's have a Hi-Low mix of armored brigade combat team, with Abrams tanks but infantry rides in soft skin trucks"
Makes no sense.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post31 Jul 2020, 13:55

IMO, mixing Harrier and F-35B might become possibility when there are ships carrying F-35Bs and other ships carrying Harriers. This will be the fact for some time as Harriers are used as long as they can be replaced with F-35Bs. USMC will use both side-by-side for several years and then there are the Spanish and Italian carriers (with Harriers for now) which could be seen side-by-side with USN/USMC ships (F-35Bs and Harriers). I don't think mixing them up in the same ship would be good solution unless there are only handful of F-35Bs available and some serious conflict emerges requiring all available assets being used.

We might see a "hi-lo mix" of RN Queen Elizabeth carrying F-35Bs and USMC/USN LHA carrying Harriers to combat side-by-side. Harriers could be still useful as weapon trucks with F-35Bs being the eyes and ears and bodyguards for the Harriers. Of course having only F-35Bs would be much better but that will take years to become reality.
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blindpilot

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Unread post31 Jul 2020, 15:25

hornetfinn wrote:IMO, mixing Harrier and F-35B might become possibility when there are ships carrying F-35Bs and other ships carrying Harriers. This will be the fact for some time... Of course having only F-35Bs would be much better but that will take years to become reality.


That's probably the best answer, but even that is being overcome by events as the "world turns." Japan still has a couple dozen F-4EJs and uses them. Same with Korea, Greece, etc. etc. all over the world. That doesn't mean the Phantom is a solid choice for some sort of "low mix". It's just what's left from a transitioning force. Ideally we'd just buy 1,000 new aircraft to be delivered on the same day with prepared bases, trained pilots, full maintenance personnel in place etc. etc. that's not happening.

I still have an old 2005 Ford Ranger pickup. I use it for all sorts of ranch and property tasks. I don't usually drive it cross country, although I could I guess. It's just the newer Nissan Frontier is a more comfortable ride. Some day the Nissan will be the work truck, and I'll buy a Tesla Cybertruck or something. Same thing with the Harrier > F-35B activity ...

EXCEPT .... time moves on and Lockheed has built and is building a bucket load of aircraft every week .... Pull a new Cyber Truck in my driveway and that old Ranger is out'a here. :D

MHO,
BP
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mixelflick

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Unread post31 Jul 2020, 16:33

1. Is there any possible senario in which a Harrier F-35B high lo mix could be effective?
'
A. Provided there are ample F-35B's, I can't think of many. Maybe in a LIC like if we have to go back into Afghanistan. Instead of having rows of very expensive and capable F-35B's, you'd have dispersed Harriers flying those missions. I'm not sure all the F-35 whizbang tech is needed that defeats S-400's, when there are nothing more than Stingers and SA-7's. Then again, you could argue an even lighter attack aircraft (less expensive) could do the job too. I thought they sent up-rated Bronco's in not long ago to test that out..

2. With future budget short falls looming, was it a mistake to sell off the Harrier versus mothballing them?

A. I don't think so. Bringing them back from storage would have cost something, and keeping them flying would almost certainly cost even more. By the time they were flyable/up to speed, you'd probably have an equal number of brand spanking new F-35B's coming off the line.

3. Could you see an issue with Future F-35B orders being delayed, and Harriers being used to help fill in Tac air numbers while embarked?

A. Not provided they continue to stick to the plan. And if there's one thing the Pentagon will not compromise on, it's the F-35 program of record.

4. Wouldn't the mothballed Harriers fulfill a purpose as a lower cost air asset, (IE bombing terrorists)
When the exspensive F-35 isnt needed.

A. They might, but if that's the goal there are likely even cheaper options. Maybe not as capable, but capable enough..
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jessmo112

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Unread post02 Aug 2020, 19:48

hythelday wrote:First of all, why are people obsessed with Hi-Low mixes anyway?

What you miss is that Sea Harrier isn't Low neither in cost nor complexity of operation. I.e. how many flight hours does a Harrier pilot need to stay proficient enough not to kill himself after every mission landing of the boat? (vs how many hours a pilot in a F-35B that lands almost automatically?)

I know it's extremely superficial, but wiki says F-15C (in 1998) and Sea Harrier II (in 1996) cost about the same. What is more obvious is that you need two completely separate pipelines to run logistics and training for these two wildly different aircraft. Don't forget that physical space for MX on the boat is also limited. Don't see how you gonna end up "saving money".

A STOVL carrier is any nation's premium asset. Why would you handicap your premium asset by giving it a, let's say 6 F-35B + 12 Sea Harrier airwing when you could have 18 F-35B airwing? If you are short of cash get rid of naval aviation altogether (what UK did).

"Let's have a Hi-Low mix of sniper rifles with no scopes and regular ammo"
"Let's have a Hi-Low mix of armored brigade combat team, with Abrams tanks but infantry rides in soft skin trucks"
Makes no sense.


Well the Issue is that the UK. Might not have the money to buy all of its F-35s in the 1st place.
Is the Harrier inferior? Yes. But an inferior Harrier is better than an empty ship. It just seemed so short sighted to sell off assets for change When you need to eventually outfit ships.
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Unread post02 Aug 2020, 21:47

Look how creative the JOINTers became. USMC F-35Bs will be onboard to make up the numbers. Perhaps that idea was a gleam in someone's eyes from the getgo? Whatever. It seems to me the two CVFs were in danger of being built already.
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marauder2048

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Unread post02 Aug 2020, 22:56

hythelday wrote:
I know it's extremely superficial, but wiki says F-15C (in 1998) and Sea Harrier II (in 1996) cost about the same. What is more obvious is that you need two completely separate pipelines to run logistics and training for these two wildly different aircraft. Don't forget that physical space for MX on the boat is also limited. Don't see how you gonna end up "saving money".


GAO was estimating new-build AV-8Bs in FY96 @ $24 million.
AFAIK, The F-15C was, beyond the F-15Js, no longer in productions in 1998.
The E-models in that period were ~ $55 million.
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quicksilver

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Unread post03 Aug 2020, 01:18

“It just seemed so short sighted to sell off assets for change.”

Many times there are no good answers; leaders are often (tacitly) charged with choosing the least-worst amongst many bad options.
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Unread post03 Aug 2020, 02:46

Put a Q in the name and remove the pilot altogether. Then again, you really wouldn't gain anything with Harrier versus just a few more F-35B's.
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Unread post03 Aug 2020, 03:05

Enjoy whilst we can. Sundown on the west coast by 2023 and the east coast following in a few short years which coincides with sundown in Spain and Italy. Every flyable minute has been eked out of the airframe. Not worth a Q.

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