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Unread postPosted: 11 May 2012, 05:09
by popcorn
The grass always appears greener on the other side of the fence.. only problem is in this case it comes with a £5 Billion grazing fee.. the UK will be fine and will find ways to get the most out of their,investment..

Unread postPosted: 11 May 2012, 05:12
by spazsinbad
Yep, agree. It is going to be interesting to watch the RN FAA F-35B progress with STO Ski Jumping and SRVLs etc. - I'll include the USMC also with their CONOPS.

Unread postPosted: 11 May 2012, 05:40
by arkadyrenko
I think we can look at the bright side of this whole discussion. The British have announced to the world that they don't take sea power seriously. They don't really care about being an independent and capable military force. They will always need someone to come and hold their hand if the going gets tough. And, unlike the 1980s, they don't have a big enough fleet to absorb any significant losses.

It makes the USN's job much easier, the USN can and probably will just ignore the Royal Navy. Every advance in aircraft carrier technology and tactics will be done without the RN. Drones, cooperative engagement for fleet air defense, new 'network-centric' anti-ship strike, advanced airborne electronic attack and strike? All of those advances will happen without the Royal Navy.

And in the end, the RN will probably only operate a single carrier with half its designed air wing. And no EW support. And no effective AEW. Look at the bright side, Britain was going to be unimportant in the 21st century, now we have proof.

Why the pessimism you ask? Because the F-35B type carrier cannot be used, on its own, against any competent hostile enemy force. Anti-access threats are rising, hence fleet air defense will be more demanding. On the plus side, the UK has 6 of the most advanced air defense destroyers in the world. On the down side, they've just chosen the route that will prevent them from having any good airborne AEW. So those destroyers will need to continuously radiate in order to protect the battle group. (Unless you want to put half of the air group on permanent rotation to give top cover) But, continuously radiating means that the ship is broadcasting to the whole wide world where the battle group is, thus inviting missile attack. The solution? Operate further out. But wait, the F-35B doesn't have a long range and so it can't operate further out....

The British learned in 1982 that STOVL aircraft just barely make the cut, and against a clear second rate foe. They've chosen the same path for incredibly short sighted, and possibly corrupt, reasons. Its a bit sad to see a former world power die, but we're watching it happen right now.

ps. F-35B CONOPS will be incredibly simple. Get the USN to provide top cover.

Unread postPosted: 11 May 2012, 06:01
by spazsinbad
'arkadyrenko' you have an amazing 'bright side view'. I was so looking forward to it but was so disappointed. Oh well. Dems de breaks.

Unread postPosted: 11 May 2012, 15:02
by spazsinbad
F-35B: Anatomy of a decision 11 May 2012 by Joel Shenton

http://www.defencemanagement.com/featur ... p?id=19743

"...behind the scenes it appears to represent a victory for pragmatism in defence procurement....

...Now the decision has been made the dust will take some time to settle, but some very senior defence figures have been giving politics-free briefings about the background behind the decision....

...Just over a year into the [review] process it became apparent that initial cost estimates had been optimistic to say the least. The design of the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers – the biggest ships the Royal Navy will have ever operated – was not friendly to 'cats and traps', and this was perhaps the biggest hurdle the F-35C move faced. The plans for angled decks [? I think perhaps ski jump is meant here but it shows again either lack of proof reading or understanding - I dunno] and short take-off and vertical landing aircraft were already set in stone, so decks would need to be removed and hundreds of compartments would need to be carved up and re-engineered to get the two catapults per ship on to the deck. Installation would be "substantially more invasive" than had originally been thought, a defence source told DefenceManagement.com. Some 290 major modifications and 250 minor alterations to existing compartments would have to be made on HMS Prince of Wales in order to allow the installation of the equipment. With HMS Queen Elizabeth, which would have already been fitted with a completed [NON?] angled deck, conversion costs would have approached £3bn....

...the UK's planned two catapult system would require substantial re-engineering of EMALS. The US was also insistent that the UK use a foreign military sales process to procure the system, rather than allowing a direct purchase from the manufacturer, which increased costs further....

...As for the QE class carriers, there has only been one 'negligible' building issue involved in this 18-month political flap; a ski ramp was removed from HMS Queen Elizabeth and must now be reinstalled...."

As always sometimes more much more at the URL jump!

Unread postPosted: 11 May 2012, 15:51
by neptune
It's good to see the Brits and their pilots back in the Bee; mostly it’ll be great to see them move on to their next muddling. :lol:

Unread postPosted: 11 May 2012, 16:21
by emc2
arkadyrenko wrote:And I'm not even getting into the utter ridiculousness of the idea that "expeditionary ops" are in any way suitable for a battle group. The British learned first hand that operating STOVL aircraft does not a battle group make. Look at their significant losses in San Carlos Water. Why? Because they needed to keep their carriers, operating short ranged STOVL aircraft, away from the hostile air force. That was 30 years ago, when the Argentine military had only 5 exocet missiles they could launch. Today? Hezbollah has anti-ship missiles.


The UK, unlike the US has some sort of defense against sea skimming missiles in the T45. So if the US wants to attack Syria, Iran or Russia it would have to to be defended by UK or french ships.

The F-35 is absolutely irrelevant to that.

"And in the end, the RN will probably only operate a single carrier with half its designed air wing. And no EW support. And no effective AEW. Look at the bright side, Britain was going to be unimportant in the 21st century, now we have proof. "

The are a whole range of AEW options - helicopter (and its quite a popular option with various navies) , the V-22 and the AW609. Just becuase the USN uses the E2 doesn't mean its the only option or the best- its a compromised solution to fly off a carrier. using a v-22 would be not quite as good, but its more than good enough.

Unread postPosted: 11 May 2012, 22:16
by lb
Firstly engaging aircraft launching anti missiles before they enter launch range is certainly a job for fighters especially carrier based F-35's. See "One Hundred Days" by Sandy Woodward the RN TF commander for some insight. Secondly the notion that "The UK, unlike the US has some sort of defense against sea skimming missiles in the T45" is indicative of not having the first clue about the history, development, and status of the USN. The entire history of development regarding anti air coming out of Okinawa was dealing with mass attacks by anti ship missiles (in that case human piloted). The USN is now on the 4th generation of AEGIS and AEGIS is deployed on roughly 84 active CG and DDG's and increasing.

While the Type 45 is a very good ship it's not superior to DDG-51 and the RN, sadly, is only getting 6. When you've got a TF deployed and are facing aerial threats and are protected by 2 DDG's having fighters such as the F-35 defending the TF is certainly not "irrelevant". As for an AEW version of the V-22 that would certainly be a better AEW platform than the current Sea Kings with Searchwater; however, there is no current program and FOAEW as a notional idea to replace the Sea Kings has been floating around for more than a dozen years. What probably happens is they swap the current, and recently updated, Searchwater from the Sea Kings to new Merlins. Putting another system on a V-22 would of course result in a far better system but at much higher cost and the desire to limit spending is exactly the heart of all these current issues.

Unread postPosted: 11 May 2012, 23:34
by archeman
arkadyrenko wrote:I think we can look at the bright side of this whole discussion. The British have announced to the world that they don't take sea power seriously. They don't really care about being an independent and capable military force. They will always need someone to come and hold their hand if the going gets tough. And, unlike the 1980s, they don't have a big enough fleet to absorb any significant losses.

The USN can and probably will just ignore the Royal Navy. Every advance in aircraft carrier technology and tactics will be done without the RN. Drones, cooperative engagement for fleet air defense, new 'network-centric' anti-ship strike, advanced airborne electronic attack and strike? All of those advances will happen without the Royal Navy.

And in the end, the RN will probably only operate a single carrier with half its designed air wing.

Look at the bright side, Britain was going to be unimportant in the 21st century, now we have proof.

Why the pessimism you ask? Because the F-35B type carrier cannot be used, on its own, against any competent hostile enemy force.

Its a bit sad to see a former world power die, but we're watching it happen right now.

ps. F-35B CONOPS will be incredibly simple. Get the USN to provide top cover.


Ark, wow this is some creepy dark stuff here.
Maybe up the meds? :)
Lower the meds? :?: :?: :?: :?:

I think that it was pretty clear that this move back to the 'B' was the way the wind was blowing - so would there have been this gush of dismissive judgement of Briton from you if they had stayed with the 'C' version? If so, how would that change their outlook?

Unread postPosted: 12 May 2012, 00:16
by SpudmanWP
The F-35B fly's farther, faster, better (more missions), carries more, and has a better change of survival than the Sea Harrier which they were using up to this point.

How is this a bad thing?

Unread postPosted: 12 May 2012, 00:19
by arkadyrenko
The issue is that the British have the modern day equivalent to the Harrier on their carrier. They've built 65k ton LHA's.

I'm frustrated with the decision because it means that the US cannot rely on the British to carry their own weight in any sort of moderately serious conflict. They've chosen a route which turns the British NATO contingent into little more than an additional Marine Corps MEU. Given that Marine MEU's are useful and not exactly rare, this isn't a good step forward for allies helping the US with serious military contingencies.

Unread postPosted: 12 May 2012, 00:25
by popcorn
SpudmanWP wrote:The F-35B fly's farther, faster, better (more missions), carries more, and has a better change of survival than the Sea Harrier which they were using up to this point.

How is this a bad thing?

Not only vs the SeaHarrier but even against the current champ of hip-based aviation, the SH. The F-35B will give the UK the most capable carrier force second only to the USN.

Unread postPosted: 12 May 2012, 00:46
by archeman
British have the modern day equivalent to the Harrier on their carrier.


I think that we will have to wait for feedback from the first few Red Flag exercises to hear if the B is able to hold its own. There is a so much noise out there right now that it is difficult to measure from this distance. It seems to early to despair now though.

Unread postPosted: 12 May 2012, 01:11
by arkadyrenko
The reason I'm despairing is that the British won't be able to go back. Once they've made this choice to have a STOVL aircraft carrier, they can't reverse it unless they wish to do a horrendously expensive modification.

As for the Brits getting the most advanced carrier. May I remind you that they won't have AEW and they won't have an upgrade path. The french can build stealthy replacements for the Rafale, they can add in stealthy UCAVs for their carrier. The British have to wait until someone decides to make a STOVL drone. Finally, does anyone know the range for the F-35B in STOVL attack mode? I doubt that's 490 nm.

Unread postPosted: 12 May 2012, 01:24
by spazsinbad
'arkadyrenko' asks & says: "...Finally, does anyone know the range for the F-35B in STOVL attack mode? I doubt that's 490 nm."

Have you been asleep? But I'll take 490 nm if that is what you think it is? :D