UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

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spazsinbad

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Unread post20 Apr 2012, 12:01

Reverse thrust The prime minister is set to announce another embarrassing U-turn

http://www.economist.com/node/21553064 Apr 21st 2012

"...Switching back to the F-35B will in many ways be a relief to the air force and the navy who, after decades of experience with the Harrier jump jet (controversially taken out of service by the defence review) will be returning to an operational comfort zone. It also leaves open the option of operating two carriers rather than just one. But the downside remains: the B variant has half the range and a third of the payload of the F-35C [try switching those numbers for a better result - I guess that is what 'economists' do eh]. :-) Joint operations with allies, deemed vital 18 months ago, are scuppered. Given the importance of these decisions—Britain will have to live with them for the next 40 years—the seesawing and lack of transparency is disturbing."
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Unread post20 Apr 2012, 13:12

Was the idea of joint operations really to regularly cross-deck with the US and French Navies i.e. swap squadrons including all support and logistics or more along the lines of operating in a joint task force as part of a,coalition?
I don't know how practical the former,would be if they buy the C.,The latter is the likely scenario for future crises and one which the B complements.
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Unread post20 Apr 2012, 14:36

You've got to love people who don't do research :)

If you are only talking internal JDAM load, then it's half. Unless you are talking likely CAS load (SDBs) then it's the same (or 75% as some say 3 per bay).

If external load is compared, it's 83% (15k vs 18k).


On the range, it's 75% either way (450nm vs 600nm).
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Unread post21 Apr 2012, 04:51

Parliamentary Answers – week commencing April 16th 2012 Posted 20 April 2012

http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/04/p ... Defence%29

Question
Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his Department purchased the three F35B variant Joint Strike Fighter jets for testing; and how many will remain operational as part of the RAF fleet.
Answer
Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
In 2009 the Ministry of Defence reached an agreement with the US Government for the purchase of two F35B aircraft, and agreement was reached on the purchase of a third F35B aircraft in 2010. These aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in the current financial year 2012-13 and will be used to conduct joint operational test and evaluation with the US services.

Question
Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for how much his Department sold the F35B variant jet to the US Marine Corps; and when the sale took place.
Answer
Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
The Ministry of Defence has not sold any F-35B aircraft to the US Marine Corps.

Question
Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the F35B fighter jet weighs with a full weapon load.
Answer
Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
The F-35B aircraft’s actual flyaway weight will be dependent upon its fuel load and the weapon load configuration fitted.

Question
Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence
(1) with which allies’ armed forces the STOVL variant of the Joint Strike Fighter would be inter-operable;
(2) with which other nations’ aircraft carriers the F35B fighter jet would be interoperable with a full weapon load.
Answer
Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
holding answer26 March 2012
Nations which operate the Short Take Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter from aircraft carriers would be interoperable with other nations possessing equivalent capabilities.
If land-based, the STOVL variant will have similar requirements to each of the other two variants, and the similarity of their mission systems will allow all three Joint Strike Fighter variants to exchange information. This underlying interoperability between all nations with Joint Strike Fighter aircraft of any variant is an integral part of the programme, aiding the promulgation of a shared situational awareness and ‘air picture’.

Question
Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the maximum number is of (a) F-35B and (b) F-35C Joint Combat Aircraft variants that could be accommodated on Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
Answer
Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers are designed to operate up to 40 aircraft—of which 36 could be Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

Question
Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has stopped any work or deferred signing contracts on (a) the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and (b) the arrester hook equipment.
Answer
Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
We have not yet signed any contracts for the procurement of any Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment, be that the Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System or Advanced Arrestor Gear."
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Unread post21 Apr 2012, 05:30

Fighter jets about-turn 'will harm capability’ 21 April 2012
"Britain will be less able to undertake military operations with the fighter jets that ministers are preparing to buy under a cost-saving exercise, secret defence plans show."

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9217918/Fighte ... ility.html

"...The about-turn follows an MoD warning that it cannot afford the growing cost of installing the catapults required to launch the conventional jets from aircraft carriers decks. The Labour government did not request catapults for the ships, but the SDSR ordered the carriers to be redesigned and fitted with the launch gear. The cost of that conversion is spiralling towards £2 billion, forcing ministers into a rethink that is expected to be confirmed within weeks.

The MoD document, marked “Secret – UK eyes only”, makes clear that the jump jets are both more expensive and not as militarily effective as those originally ordered. “The conventional variant is more effective than the jump jet in almost all cases,” the paper states.

Because of the shortfall in jump jet capabilities, the MoD will have to spend an extra £2.4?billion buying 136 aircraft compared with 97 of the conventional planes, the paper adds...."
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Unread post21 Apr 2012, 06:41

spazsinbad wrote:The cost of that conversion is spiralling towards £2 billion


For one carrier or both?
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Unread post21 Apr 2012, 06:50

Until an 'official statement on decision' the conversion cost is usually plural for 'the carriers'. If the EMALS/AAG is 0.4 Billion pounds for one set, then it is easy to see how the conversion for one carrier comes in at around 1 Billion pounds. Just my guesswork though.

Scroll down from top of this thread page: http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... t-375.html

"...The NAO Carrier Strike report of July 2011 suggested the cost range for converting one carrier of £800 million to £1.2 million...."
________________

Then this thread page scroll down: http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... t-360.html

"...According to Stackley, the current estimate is in the range of USD733 million to USD840 million. This accounts for USD156 million in non-recurring engineering, plus the costs associated with the procurement of ALRE, including a two-track EMALS system and three-wire AAG configuration."
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Unread post21 Apr 2012, 14:41

"...The NAO Carrier Strike report of July 2011 suggested the cost range for converting one carrier of £800 million to £1.2 million...."

Can I assume this was supposed to read £800 million to £1.2 billion?
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Unread post21 Apr 2012, 14:53

Proof Reading. It [LACK of IT!] will kill us all.... :D
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Unread post26 Apr 2012, 18:19

Piercing questions over UK carriers 26 April 2012 | UK By Will Inglis

http://bfbs.com/news/uk/piercing-questi ... 56782.html

"The Ministry of Defence's top civil servant is being called before MPs today to answer what are likely to be difficult questions about Britain’s aircraft carriers.

Ursula Brennan has been summoned by the Public Accounts Committee to explain why there’s been no official answer to a damning report about the multi-billion pound saga....

...Last year the public accounts committee claimed that the full cost implications of the U-turn were not properly understood.

Now the Permanent Under Secretary is being called before the committee to explain why the MOD is yet to answer that report.

Amid persistent rumours the Prime Minister may be about to go back to Plan A - finishing both ships and buying hovering planes - the F35-B - after all, her answers could be pretty telling."
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Unread post27 Apr 2012, 00:05

More WAFFLE at the URL jump....

Hammond 'still considering carrier options' 26 April 2012 by Joel Shenton

http://www.defencemanagement.com/news_s ... p?id=19580

"Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is still asking "a lot of detailed questions" regarding the decision on which variant of F-35 jet to fly from the UK's Queen Elizabeth class carriers, the Ministry of Defence's top civil servant has said....

...Permanent Under Secretary Ursula Brennan told the Public Accounts Committee that an announcement on the carrier programme was not now likely until after the end of the local election purdah period on 3 May, but that the Defence Secretary was focused on the issue.

"Ministers have not made a decision on this planning round," said Brennan. "The Secretary of State for Defence wanted to take the time to assure himself about these issues. He has been asking us a lot of detailed questions and he then has discussions that he needs to have with his ministerial colleagues including the National Security Council.

"That process has not concluded."

Brennan repeatedly refused to reveal how much had already been spent investigating the cost of converting the aircraft carriers, designed with the F-35B Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing jet in mind, to operate the catapults and arrestor gear necessary for the F-35C, the government's current choice of jet....

..."Getting these numbers right, even if it has meant expending longer than we wanted to do so, is the right solution for us."
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Unread post03 May 2012, 21:08

More FUD...

Shooting In The Dark DTI May 2012 by Sweetman

http://au.zinio.com/reader.jsp?issue=416220858&p=55

"...The U.K.'s requirement for a STOVL carrier jet had been a driving force behind JSF and its precursor programs for 24 years when, in October 2010, the new coalition government's Strategic Defense and Security Review (SDSR) reversed course and took a painful decision to go with the F-35C, complete the second of two new carriers with catapults and arrester gear, and place the first in inactive reserve....

...The price of the launch and arrester gear came as a shock (although it was apparent from U.S. budget documents) and nobody had a clear idea of the shipyard modification costs - which allowed F-35B boosters to leak shock horror estimates. The F-35B was taken off probation, and the focus shifted to the F-35C after its tailhook flunked initial tests.

Now, F-35B supporters argue that the program is secure, because the U.S. Marines always get what they want, and that with the "B," the U.K. can have two carriers. But aside from lingering technical issues and an uncomfortably thin margin between empty weight and maximum vertical landing weight, the "B" version may test the Marines' influence...."
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Unread post04 May 2012, 04:48

Yeah, we'd all prefer the UK to eventually have 2 CATOBAR carriers with all the trimmings, but the reality is that the British no longer have the motivation or tenacity to see such a program through to the end. Cats and traps require a great deal of commitment to long-term maintenance, training, and infrastructure; and I don't think the UK has what it takes for that anymore. Two STOVL ships are about all the UK can handle, and that's better than having one of them sitting in mothballs, waiting to be sold off to India or the like.
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Unread post04 May 2012, 13:06

More discussion about Brit carriers:

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... ea-370186/
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Unread post04 May 2012, 13:47

PAGE 26 of this thread already has it covered: STROLL DOWN to April 10th

http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... t-375.html
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