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Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 10 Feb 2020, 06:41
by marsavian
The RN will probably buy V-22 Osprey when the development to add refueling and/or AEW capability is done as it would also be useful in carrying F-35B spares. In terms of surface ship collaboration it's more mixing up destroyers and frigates to each other's carrier groups which is being mooted, e.g. the Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender has previously been assigned to a USN carrier group. Obviously the QE carriers have spare capacity at the moment to take USMC F-35B onboard as well.

Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 10 Feb 2020, 06:44
by spazsinbad
To my mind it would make sense for the RN to be teamed with the USMC F-35B flat deck fleet, already USMC F-35B squadrons are going to fly from QE class carriers of the RN; however I'll guess politics in peacetime/wartime will trump practical considerations with the F-35B teams nevertheless exercising with a lot of common ideas in mind - cross decking.

Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 11 Feb 2020, 02:18
by zerion
First UK night flights land on HMS Queen Elizabeth
10 Feb 2020

Four F-35 Lightning jets have completed night landings in HMS Queen Elizabeth flying over UK waters on operational training.

The Exercise Lightning Fury training over the North Sea is aimed at ensuring 207 Squadron achieves essential carrier flying and Landing Signals Officer (LSO) supervisory qualifications...



Image ... elizabeth/

Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 11 Feb 2020, 02:31
by spazsinbad
From the 'zerion' post above:
"... The first operational deployment for HMS Queen Elizabeth 617 Squadron and a squadron of US Marine Corps Lightning jets is due to take place in 2021."

Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2020, 01:08
by spazsinbad
Concurrent OPS QE.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, F-35B launch, Jungly view

Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2020, 01:26
by marsavian
F-35B does not need much take off room with a ski-ramp. Impressive combination of air/ship technology.

Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2020, 20:02
by marsavian
Lightning Strikes on Red Flag ... -red-flag/

UK Lightning Force has achieved the latest in a long line of milestones with the successful conclusion of Exercise Red Flag. 617 Squadron deployed five of the state-of-the-art stealth jets to spend three weeks at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas to do battle in the best air combat exercise available anywhere.

“Our experience on Red Flag has been amazing. Lightning has performed really well in this exercise and I have also been really pleasantly surprised as to how everyone has performed in this environment, our team has done fantastically well.” said the Officer Commanding 617 Squadron, Wing Commander John Butcher.

For the junior pilots on the squadron, most of whom have come to the Lightning direct from training, the sheer scale and complexity of Red Flag was potentially a daunting prospect. “There’s a natural tendency to be concerned about what that may entail when you’ve not had that exposure before” explained Wing Commander Butcher.

Some of the junior pilots had only rehearsed some of the events they’d be flying out on the Nellis Range in the simulator. “They’ve been getting airborne and going into a 40 versus 40 aircraft fight with Russian surface to air missiles looking at them and the whole thing has been incredibly exciting” said Group Captain Jim Beck, the RAF Marham Station Commander.

“But most importantly they will know whether they can crack it for real. What they’re finding is that the jet is performing at the top of its game with a set of sensors we’ve just never had access to before in UK Defence. These are fusing together and really proving why we’ve invested in this awesome capability.”

Air Vice-Marshal Ian Duguid, Air Officer Commanding 11 Group said: “This is definitely a key milestone for Lightning. And it’s not just about the high end aspect of what we’re doing in the air on the exercise, but also the ability to deploy virtually half way around the world with the capability to have all the right spares and support mechanisms in place to keep the aircraft and the crews going.

“That is a really important milestone and particularly so ahead of the future embarkations onto HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of which starts in only a few months’ time.”

For one of the more experienced Lightning pilots the significance of the exercise was clear. “Taking Lightning to Red Flag for the first time is a major milestone. This is a brilliant opportunity for us. The size of the airspace, the numbers of aircraft and the simulated enemy air defence systems on the ground, you really get the opportunity to stretch the capability of this jet to the maximum possible extent.

He added, “The situational awareness you get with this aircraft and the ability you have to understand and control all the battlespace is amazing and light years ahead of anything I’ve ever flown and any capability we’ve had in the Air Force.

“The way information is presented to you through the helmet which gives you this 360-degree view of the battlespace is unparalleled, incredible, a massive leap from the Tornado GR4 I flew previously.”

Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2020, 20:05
by marsavian
Cyber Aggressors Challenge Red Flag Forces ... ag-forces/

The personnel from the RAF, Royal Navy, United States Armed Forces and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) who have gathered at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada have one aim - to launch combat aircraft to participate in the most complex and realistic air combat exercise available in the world.

But as in real life, the threats to the successful prosecution of air operations are not limited to opposing fighter aircraft or missile systems. On Exercise Red Flag a team known as The Cyber Aggressors are posing an altogether different threat, seeking to cause as much disruption as possible to gain an advantage for the mock enemy.

First Lieutenant Nathan Grafton, USAF, is a Cyber Team Chief. He said:

“As Red Forces we try to give the Blue Forces a realistic picture of what they would see in a real time war scenario. As a Cyber Aggressor my role is to try and get into your computer or your servers and get the information I want out and then take that capability away from you so you can’t use it against my team.”

He added, “We’re giving the Blue Forces a good picture of where their weaknesses are right now, and they’re shoring up those weaknesses with swift fix actions. As the exercise progresses I’m being a bit sneakier, so they can’t find me so easily. In the final week I’ll try and take everything away from them so they can’t fight us at all.”

The Aggressors pride themselves on having a real person, not a machine, providing the opposition on the exercise. Having an adversary who thinks on their feet, who responds to the coalition defences and tries to defeat them, replicates the real world as US Marine Gunnery Sergeant Mills of the explained: “When you’re dealing with the cyber fight you’re dealing with another individual, it’s person versus person, not tool versus tool.”

He added: “Having a thinking adversary emulated on the network allows us to help the Blue Forces adapt their tactics, techniques and procedures on the fly. That’s real live training, the best we can provide and it really helps you think outside the box.”

The UK Cyber Detachment Commander is Flight Lieutenant Al Hall. “We are here to give UK cyber protection teams experience in a tri-service environment against a near peer adversary. As part of that a network has been created on the UK’s only cyber range at Waddington which to defend our exercise network. A relatively small team has been deployed with the bulk of our team based back at RAF Leeming working remotely.”

He added, “Of primary importance is the integration with partner nations and the constituent parts of the detachment that we would not normally see. The value of our training is not in the defence of our network or the winning or losing but rather in learning how the adversary works and develops.

“We do not have to launch a missile to have an effect but a cyber effect can have a physical outcome such as affecting power distribution, computer systems or enemy aircraft. It is important to protect our networks to allow commanders to have confidence in our own systems.”

One of the RAF representatives on the Aggressor Team is Corporal Sam Jackson who provides Cyber Threat Intelligence. “Red Flag has been a real eye-opener and it’s been absolutely fantastic to work with other organisations and countries and to see how they do things” he explained. “I’ll be able to use the knowledge and experience I’ve gained here to be able to help defend UK networks in the future.”

This view was echoed by RAAF Squadron Leader Greg Atkinson, Chief of Training in the 57th Information Aggressor Squadron who said: “I think Red Flag is incredibly valuable as this is the only exercise where we truly integrate in a fully multi-domain sense. Everyone is here to support putting bombs on targets, it’s training how we really fight.”

Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2020, 02:29
by madrat
Are they chasing foo fighters at Red Flag?

I can imagine they could task searches for potential contacts that are virtualized and have them launch virtual BVR intercepts followed up by chasing real targets that are scripted into the scenario. Maybe expend some firebees to have them chasing virtual cruise missiles and make them visualize decoys from real targets. Give them experience chasing a target that turns out to be something completely non-traditional, like trailing a non-responsive or lost civilian jet through potentially hazardous territory, while screening for threats or experiencing an emergency. Maybe one of the participants is pre-scripted to experience an emergency condition that negates the mission for his wingman and the wingman is caught unaware that it is not real. Virtual gun practice, complete with firing pyrotechnic blanks, would be good experience building. This new system really opens up the envelope.

Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 19 Feb 2020, 03:52
by spazsinbad
Some moar twittertwatter: ... wsrc%5Etfw
QE: "21 days at sea: 6 fast jet pilots qualified✅ @OC207Sqn instructors qualified✅"

Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 19 Feb 2020, 12:37
by marsavian

Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 05 Mar 2020, 22:41
by spazsinbad
This post about future aircraft embarked aboard QE Class (NOT about RN Ships/Weapon Systems) including F-35Bs.

Another UK RN QE protection Helo story 06 Mar 2020: ... protection
Weapon wing integration keeps Wildcat on target for carrier protection role
06 Mar 2020 Craig Hoyle

"The UK Royal Navy’s (RN’s) Wildcat HMA2 rotorcraft will be ready to defend the service’s largest-ever warships from next year, with the integration of key new armaments proceeding on schedule, Leonardo Helicopters says.

An ongoing effort to add Thales Martlet air-to-surface missiles and MBDA Sea Venom anti-ship weapons has completed environmental testing and carriage trials aboard the 6t-class rotorcraft, following the integration of a Leonardo-designed Wildcat Weapon Wing.... [How WILD is my CATwing?]

...The RN’s new carriers will operate with an embarked complement of Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning combat aircraft and Leonardo AW101 Merlin HM2 multi-mission rotorcraft, including airborne early warning examples being prepared via the Lockheed-led Crowsnest programme. Deployed aboard accompanying Type 45 destroyers and Type 23 frigates, Wildcats will provide anti-surface warfare protection for the carrier group.

Each weapon wing-equipped helicopter will be able to carry a maximum load of 20 Martlet or four Sea Venom missiles, or operate with a mixed fit of 10 and two, respectively. With a 13kg (29lb) launch weight, 3-5nm (6-9km) range and Mach 1.5 performance, the laser-guided Martlet is integrated using five-round canister launchers. The high-subsonic speed Sea Venom is 2.5m (8.2ft) long, weighs 120kg and can attack surface targets to a range of over 11nm.

To offset the added weight of carrying the new anti-surface weapons, Leonardo’s aerofoil-equipped weapon wing provides 360kg of aerodynamic lift on each side of the rotorcraft, Wilson-Chalon says. The RN has a fleet of 24 Wildcat HMA2s, with the British Army also using 28 of the type in a battlefield utility AH1 standard.…"

Photo: ... 484219.jpg

Source: ... 04.article

Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2020, 15:02
by mixelflick
So the Brits now have their F-35B's, and shortly will have 2 decks full of aircraft. They've come a long, long way from the Falklands. What I would love is to hear from a British pilot who's flown both the Typhoon and F-35B, comparing and contrasting the 2.

Perhaps then we would have the answer to the assertion that, "No way an F-35 will outperform a Typhoon" or some such comment way back when. The F-35 is mature enough now, and I'd love to hear that pilot's opinion. Yes, we have Billy Flynn's (who's flown both), but I want to hear it from a regular Joe, operational pilot.

If I missed this somewhere, please do let me know. I've looked around though, and have as of yet to find it...

Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2020, 16:55
by neptune
[quote="mixelflick"]So the Brits now have their F-35B's, and shortly will have 2 decks full of aircraft. .....

I know you indicated Typhoon vs. "Bee" but....

today they only have 18 total Bees with 3 of those at Edwards AFB., the other 15 in the UK.

This year 2020, I believe they will only receive another 3. At least they are lots 8,9,10 and 11 with most of the Block 3F systems.....not exactly full complements. Oh, well....they have invited the Corp to fly off their decks, also!
Fly Navy

ps: they should have a couple of dozen pilots (by now) and "some" of those could have flown the Typhoon!

Re: UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

Unread postPosted: 19 Mar 2020, 20:55
by spazsinbad
FLY NAVY 2020 [Eight page PDF of article attached below]
April 2020 Tim Ripley

"Navy Britain’s Royal Navy has led the world in operating aircraft from warships over the past 110 years. Tim Ripley looks at the Fleet Air Arm as it enters its second century of service....

...Lightning Force
The FAA is in the process of getting back into the fast jet business almost a decade after the retirement of the Harrier GR9. This process is being conducted in concert with the RAF as part of the Lightning Force, set up to operate the F-35B Lightning.

The Lightning Force is a fully integrated unit with mixed RAF and RN air and ground crew. Personnel from both services are mixed in the flying squadrons and support elements. Home for the Lightning Force is RAF Marham in Norfolk, where the flying squadrons, training and maintenance elements are all based. Its current units originally stood up in the United States, where their first cadres of personnel were trained. It is eventually intended that some 48 F-35Bs will be operated to support the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

The first flying units of the Lightning Force, No 617 Squadron and No 207 Squadron, have relocated to RAF Marham as the first F-35B flying squadron and the type operational conversion unit, respectively. These are RAF-badged units but the first Royal Navy-badged unit, 809 NAS, is scheduled to stand up in April 2023. One other unit, the RAF’s No 17 Squadron, is still based in the US to carry out test and evaluation tasks...."

Badge: "Culdrose-based 814 NAS has been a full member of the NATO Tiger Association since 1979"

Source: AirForces Monthly Magazine April 2020 No.385