UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

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Unread post06 Jul 2012, 12:56

British to accept first F-35B on July 19 By Dave Majumdar on July 5, 2012

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... f-35b.html

"The British will be accepting their first Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II, aka the Joint Strike Fighter, at the company's Fort Worth plant on July 19. That will mark the first international delivery of an F-35, Lockheed says...."

That's all.
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Unread post06 Jul 2012, 14:00

Hoora! Shiny....!



Smells of new jet! The most expensive perfume in the world ;)
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Unread post06 Jul 2012, 14:08

Benny and the Jets:
"Say, Candy and Ronnie, have you seen them yet
But they're so spaced out, B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets
Oh but they're weird and they're wonderful
Oh Bennie she's really keen
She's got electric boots a mohair suit
You know I read it in a magazine
B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets" :shock:
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Unread post09 Jul 2012, 00:50

FARNBOROUGH: Lockheed ready to deliver UK's first F-35 By: Craig Hoyle Farnborough 08 July 2012

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... 35-373942/

"Lockheed Martin will deliver its first F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to an international customer on 19 July, with the UK to formally accept short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) test aircraft BK-1.

The milestone will take place at Lockheed's Fort Worth site in Texas, where F-35B BK-1 flew for the first time on 13 April. Following its acceptance, the aircraft will be flown to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where it will join a US-led initial operational test and evaluation programme for the F-35.

A second UK aircraft has recently undergone preparations to conduct engine runs at Fort Worth, and will be flown soon. Its delivery is scheduled for two or three months after BK-1, according to Steve O'Bryan, Lockheed's vice-president F-35 programme integration and business development. A third STOVL jet will be produced for the UK during the programme's fourth lot of low-rate initial production (LRIP-4)...."
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Unread post09 Jul 2012, 21:30

UK Aircraft Carrier Budget Shortfall Likely Farnborough Air Show » July 09, 2012 by Chris Pocock

http://ainonline.com/aviation-news/2012 ... all-likely

"...The second vessel is now being built but, on current budget projections, the country cannot afford to operate both. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has twice changed its mind on the type of F-35 stealth fighter to be operated from them.

At 65,000 metric tons displacement, the QEII and the Prince of Wales are the largest ships ever built in the UK, and are designed to support a variety of missions, such as amphibious or humanitarian operations, as well as air strikes. Described as eight acres of floating sovereign territory...

...Significantly, the all-steel construction would meet commercial standards, and the MoD has admitted to “a certain degree of risk with regard to shock and survivability.”...

...Recently, the MoD reverted to the F-35B after it discovered–thanks to a £40 million study–that the cost of conversion to “cats and traps” could be a whopping £2 billion. The MoD also said that the next defense review in 2015 might provide enough funds to bring the second carrier into service....

...Two software integration facilities are up and running. Thales is leading on aviation equipment, integration of the F-35 and on power and propulsion. BAE Systems is responsible for the mission systems. The QEII is scheduled to be fully assembled in 2014 and delivered in June 2016, with the Prince of Wales following in September 2018. Sea trials should begin four months after these dates....

...But while estimates of the F-35’s production cost have steadily increased, the UK’s defense budget has steadily decreased in real terms. The MoD sticks doggedly to the mantra that it doesn’t need to decide how many F-35s it will buy before 2015. But the SDSR reduced the number of F-35s to be routinely deployed onboard the new carrier from 36 to 12. The UK total may not be much more than half the originally-planned 138.

When the MoD switched to the F-35C version in 2010, it was good news for the Royal Air Force (RAF). The F-35 is also supposed to replace the RAF fleet of Tornado land-based strike aircraft. Its greater payload, range and internal weapons capacity made the F-35C a closer match to the ageing but still-very-capable “Tonka.” Moreover, the F-35C would have cost 10 to 20 percent less than the F-35B to acquire, depending on how the sums are done.

Now that the MoD has reverted to the F-35B, officials are making the best of it. The UK doesn’t have a 2,000-pound bomb, so it doesn’t matter that the F-35B weapons bay can take only 1,000-pound-class weapons. The STOVL version can be topped up by aerial refueling after takeoff, thus mitigating the range penalty. The additional cost of operating a cat-and-trap carrier, including the extra pilot training that is required, was over half that of the additional acquisition and support costs of the F-35B versus the F-35C, an senior MoD official said....

...Having recognized a few years ago that the F-35B still had a weight problem, despite the 2004 redesign, the MoD was contemplating a shipboard rolling vertical landing (SRVL) technique to solve the “bring-back” problem. In a recent briefing to explain the decision to revert to the F-35B, the senior British officer confirmed to AIN that SRVL would now be further explored.

The F-35B is scheduled to make its first landing on the QE II sometime in 2018. If the switch to the F-35C had been sustained, there would have been a two-year delay. Meanwhile, the RAF’s prospective land-based operations of the F-35 have been largely overlooked in all the debate over the carriers. An RAF spokesman told AIN that the service was hoping to declare initial operating capability in 2018."

A LONG article - best read at source. TAH.
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Unread post10 Jul 2012, 00:16

Is there a particular reason they decided to go with just two super-carriers instead a handful of smaller carriers?
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Unread post10 Jul 2012, 00:57

Smaller carriers were not judged efficient for combined F-35B and helo ops. Going back to F-35B enables this effort. Another consideration was the possible future (although not present) conversion of the straight deck to angle deck later for cat/trap. Recently looked at but binned for back to the future STOVL ops. TOO small carriers are always crap carriers. The old through deck cruisers were made for ASW helo ops in the North Atlantic. Then they were modified for STOVL ops. They were never designed for that purpose from the beginning. RN creativity made them work with the Harrier.
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Unread post15 Jul 2012, 22:46

There are a lot of words at this URL. Just jump to the Question excerpt below and read forward & onward as required...

UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE To be published as HC9-ii
HOUSE OF COMMONS ORAL EVIDENCE TAKEN BEFORE THE DEFENCE COMMITTEE DEFENCE ACQUISITION | TUESDAY 15 MAY 2012

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... /uc901.htm

...Q146 Thomas Docherty: That is helpful.

The Secretary of State told the House that the cost of cats and traps had risen from, I think, £900 million-that was the figure bandied about-to over £2 billion for one carrier, and the suggestion was that it would be a greater sum again for retrofitting. How did the Ministry of Defence get its estimates so spectacularly wrong?

Peter Luff: That is a very good question-one that I would like to know the answer to myself, in some respects. We did underestimate, it is true, the complexity of the conversion process. I want to make it quite clear that it is not an increase: there was some increase in the cost of the equipment, but that is not actually the total picture of the cost. The cost is also a reflection of various other issues, such as the FMS route for the equipment itself, but the cost of the conversion itself was the real issue.

Bernard has been following this very closely for a rather long time, and I think it is best to give him a detailed opportunity to explain the situation.

Bernard Gray: Let us leave aside the start and end point. On the component parts that build up the change, the cost-in particular of the catapult system-proved, on further dialogue with the US, to be significantly higher. I cannot remember the exact figure for that component, but it was of the order of 50% higher than the original estimate for that piece of equipment, largely because of the assumptions, made broadly at the time of the defence review, that we would be procuring half of a US system. The US system has four catapults on a Ford-class aircraft carrier; we would have two. Broadly speaking, therefore, the assumption was that the cost of the equipment would be about half.

In practice, there is a lot more common equipment that is required to drive the system overall, regardless-up to a point-of the number of catapults that went into that. There was also a significant component of additional technical advice, which the contractors in the US were recommending was required. That was of the order of over £150 million. Additional aircraft launch and recovery equipment was required, on top of the cats and traps, which had not been included in the original estimate. The cost of going through the FMS purchasing route and some inflation adjustments were further components. The final component was the degree of invasiveness into the ship that was required to install the cats and traps. I think that we gave the numbers last week: it went from 80 to 280 major compartment changes, as we got into the detailed design. Those are the component parts of how you get from A to B.

To take on your second point about the conversion of the second carrier being even more expensive, that arises out of the fact that having built the Queen Elizabeth, you then have to take her back in, refit her, and take her apart again in order to put that in. Our estimate, which was very preliminary, suggested that it was between £2.5 billion and £3 billion to retrofit it to a fully built carrier, as opposed to just shy of £2 billion to insert it into the Prince of Wales in build. So that is the delta, if you like-the difference between the two.

As for why you get from one to the other, the team worked with and got initial estimates from the United States around EMALS, and had dialogue with people in the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, during the defence review, to come up with a feel for what that cost was. There had always been envisaged a development process that went on over two years, in order to determine exactly what those costs were going to be. Immediately after the defence review concluded, the people working in the Ships Operating Centre in Defence Equipment and Support started that work, and there was a set of approval processes to go through. It has become clear, over the course of that period, that some of the initial assumptions being made were too aggressive, which has led to some of these changes.

One of the reasons why we have effectively cut that two-year process short at 18 months is that we would have been required to commit ourselves to long-lead items for the catapult system, and indeed to commit ourselves to the course of action on the aircraft over the next two or three months. We were looking at a situation where, had we decided to proceed, we would have bought over £100 million-worth of long-lead items for the catapults, for example. That forced us into a situation of evaluating all those data prior to making that choice, because clearly, we would not want to waste any more money.

From that perspective, the decision that was made at the time worked on the best data at the time, which had been discussed with industry. However, when you do all the additional work, it turns out that this job was substantially more difficult than was originally thought, and therefore, changing that decision seems to me to be entirely the appropriate thing to do...."
___________________________________

THE SESSION ENDS at Q157 on this note:

"...As we made this decision in time, our three test and evaluation aircraft will be STOVL aircraft. We did not change any of them, and our ability to fit UK requirements into the block 5 upgrades has been maintained, so our position in the programme is unaffected by this...."
___________________________________

EARLIER starting from Q143 might be relevant but in any case this is a marvellous 'British' Call & Response. :lol:

"Q144 Thomas Docherty: Okay, that is helpful. That was easy, wasn’t it?
Bernard Gray: To have a stab at your personnel number-I am drawing from the depths of the goo at the back of my mind about 100 people in my organisation have been working on it. There will have been other people involved."
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Unread post16 Jul 2012, 03:41

It's interesting to note that the UK carriers are built to commercial and not military structural standards. Penny-wise, pond-foolish?
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Unread post16 Jul 2012, 03:54

popcorn wrote:It's interesting to note that the UK carriers are built to commercial and not military structural standards. Penny-wise, pond-foolish?


I would tend to agree if this is really true. First I had heard of that though. It would not stun me. I would describe a lot of UK military decisions as penny-wise pound-foolish.
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Unread post16 Jul 2012, 04:12

Esoteric stuff for an aviation forum but it is NavAv after all... FLY NAVY!

The info in this 1.1 Mb PDF (page 4 & 5 amongst others) may be useful:

"The [CVF] vessels will be designed, constructed and classed at a number of UK shipyards in accordance with Lloyd’s Register’s Rules and Regulations for the Classification of Naval Ships (Naval Ship Rules) to the following notations:

@100A1, NS1, AIRCRAFT CARRIER
SA1, AIR, RSA2 ESA2, SDA, FDA, CM, ES, LA(NS), TA(NS) @LMC(NS), CCS, PSMR*, RCM, RAS, LMA, NAV, IBS, CEPAC, EP, POL, FIRE.

‘NS’ indicates that the notation is tailored to naval requirements."
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Unread post16 Jul 2012, 23:22

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water (cue the 'JAWS' music with a bit of 'PSYCHO' beep, beep thrown in)...

Ministers 'confident' over aircraft carrier fighter planes 16 July 2012

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18861904

"The government has said it is confident there will not be a second U-turn on the type of fighter planes to be used on the navy's new aircraft carrier....

...newspaper reports say problems with the US-led Joint Strike Fighter project could force another change on the UK.

However, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said he had had reassurances at the "highest level" in Washington....

...Now the Sun newspaper reports that another alteration is likely. It says the US - which is leading the F35-B project - is likely to cancel its orders, as Washington struggles with a government debt crisis.

The newspaper adds that this could force another change on the UK government.

But Mr Hammond told MPs: "We've made a decision to revert to the Stovl [short take-off and vertical landing] system. We are quite confident of the delivery."

He added: "We've had the highest-level discussions with US officials who support the programme."

Fellow defence minister Nick Harvey said people "shouldn't believe everything" they read in the press, adding: "We have every confidence that it will come into service as planned."..."

The SUN newspaper 'report' is here but unsourced: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/ne ... signs.html

I guess this kind of UK press speculation will continue until the US CONGRESS fixes their budget woes and whatever else needs afixin'. That seems unlikely due their total inability to compromise on anything over the past several years it would seem. 'Bunch o'Bastards' for sure. :shock: :D :wtf:
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Unread post17 Jul 2012, 02:01

Totally unsourced speculation on the part of the Sun.
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Unread post17 Jul 2012, 06:24

spazsinbad wrote:US CONGRESS --- 'Bunch o'Bastards' for sure. :shock: :D :wtf:


Just think of them as an organized crime syndicate whose goal is to destroy the USA while making off with as much loot for themselves as possible...then the things they do will make more sense. :D
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Unread post17 Jul 2012, 11:05

SOMEBODY STOP ME!.... (THE MASK with Jim Carrey) :devil:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oiMPKvxQzs

Britain Demonstrates the Flexibility Inherent in the F-35 Program 2012-07-16 by Robbin Laird

http://www.sldinfo.com/britain-demonstr ... 5-program/

"This week the UK government will officially accept its first F-35B. There are a total of 4 under contract, which includes the first operational aircraft to be received in LRIP 7.

This is a re-affirmation of the importance of the F-35 and the B version for the future of UK military operations. After a period of uncertainty over whether the British carrier would be re-designed to carry a tailhook version, the British determined the cost not worth the effort, and remained with the B.

Lost in the public coverage of this debate was a fundamental element of the F-35 program – once you are in the program, you have the opportunity to switch variants or mix and match planes.

It could well turn out over the life of the F-35 program that the UK ends up with a mix of F-35Bs and F-35As. Or Australia, which is now focused on the F-35As, may decide that Bs would be a nice addition, both for the new projection ship and for the flexibility of basing which the B provides...."

More at de JUMP!
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