UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

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Corsair1963

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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 03:57

British Armed Forces Poised To Make Big Cuts To F-35 Plans And More

The large-scale modernization promised under the upcoming defense review is likely to be tempered by some severe force reductions.

By Thomas Newdick March 8, 2021

The War Zone



QUOTE: Long seemingly under threat, it now seems as if the ax will finally drop on the U.K. government’s plans to buy 138 F-35B short takeoff and landing (STOVL) versions of the Joint Strike Fighter. The fledgling F-35 fleet is operated by a joint force of RAF and Royal Navy personnel, but which are based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, England when not embarked aboard one of the two Queen Elizabeth class carriers.

The Times reports that a full 90 aircraft will be cut from the planned F-35B total buy, eventually providing a force of just 48 aircraft. To date, the United Kingdom has committed to buying 48 Lightning jets by the end of 2025, but previously the U.K. Ministry of Defense steadfastly held to the 138-aircraft figure in its communications. Officials have said that 24 F-35Bs need to be embarked on the ship for a “credible complement” in the core Carrier Strike role. However, a force of 48 would not allow both carriers to sail with the jets simultaneously, once training and maintenance, and not least all the force’s other frontline commitments, are taken into account. In fact, it might not even be sufficient for one carrier.

Speaking to the U.K. Parliament’s Defense Committee last September, Nick Childs, Senior Fellow for Naval Forces and Maritime Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said he considered a number “significantly higher” than 48 F-35Bs would be required to meet the ambition of 24 jets available for Carrier Strike. Taking into account training and other demands, a figure of 60-70 jets would be reasonable, Childs contended.

In the past, there was unofficial speculation that the United Kingdom might opt for a split buy of STOVL F-35Bs and conventional take-off and landing F-35A models. There have been long-standing rumors that this is the long-term option preferred by the RAF, but with a force of just 48 Lightnings, the case for a split buy would become irrelevant.


https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... s-and-more
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spazsinbad

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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 05:46

ASLO (yes I know) read this at the time a week ago and thought.... wot will be made of this. So now we know. <dublesigh>
MoD looking at ‘cats and traps’ to launch uncrewed aircraft at sea [2 page PDF of article attached]
01 Mar 2021 George Allison

"The Ministry of Defence is currently seeking information on the potential for industry provide assisted launch and arrested recover systems for a range of air vehicles, which would be suitable to fit to a vessel within 3 – 5 years.
The Ministry of Defence say that this request for information is to support the development of the Royal Navy’s Future Maritime Aviation Force with potential for use with both crewed and un-crewed air vehicles. The Ministry of Defence add that it is looking to assess the availability of electromagnetic catapult, and arrestor wire systems for the launch and recovery of air vehicles.

While the Request for Information looks to assess the “availability of electromagnetic catapult and arrestor wire systems to launch aircraft” from a ship, words associated with the previous effort to explore converting the vessels to ‘CATOBAR’ in order to launch carrier variant F-35Cs, it shouldn’t be taken as indication that the Royal Navy are abandoning the short take off and vertical landing F-35Bs and returning to catapult launched fighters.

In fact, the upper and lower weight limits of the catapult and recovery system outlined aren’t enough to launch or recover any variant of the F-35 in normal conditions. It’s far more likely that the launch and recovery options mentioned would be utilised for larger uncrewed aircraft as the armed forces begin to rely on them more and more in place of crewed platforms. My impression, and that of most I speak to, is that this will indeed enable the adoption of larger uncrewed platforms on the carriers....

...According to the Request for Information, the Ministry of Defence have set out the following requirements.

“Potential arrestor solutions ideally should offer:
a. Max trap 47000lbs / 21318Kg
b. Min trap 11000lbs / 5000Kg
c. Energy damping method
d. Potential for energy reclamation

Potential catapult solutions ideally should offer:
a. Max launch weight 55000lbs / 24949Kg
b. Electrical power input required against launch cycle time.”.... [ALWAYS MORE AT THE JUMP]

Source: https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/mod-loo ... ft-at-sea/
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steve2267

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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 06:15

For the amount of money Britain will spend chasing notional cats-and-traps equipment -- design, refits, troubleshooting, redesign, refit repair, etc -- she will have been able to purchase at least half of the 90 F-35's likely to be cut.

All whilst chasing Tempest vaporware. Need to start calling Tempest by its proper name: Teakettle.

I'm not saying don't pursue Tempest. Sounds utterly brilliant (maybe). But gutting the Lightning buy seems so shortsighted. Other truisms that come to mind:

Cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. :drool:

Don't change horses mid-stream. :roll:

A bird in hand is worth two Tempest in the bush. :doh:

Ah well. And I thought us Muricans had perfected the budget cycle pontificating. I see we Colonists are still rank amateurs, where as the English have raised it to a true art form. :bang: :bang: :bang:
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 07:26

steve2267 wrote:For the amount of money Britain will spend chasing notional cats-and-traps equipment -- design, refits, troubleshooting, redesign, refit repair, etc -- she will have been able to purchase at least half of the 90 F-35's likely to be cut.

All whilst chasing Tempest vaporware. Need to start calling Tempest by its proper name: Teakettle.

I'm not saying don't pursue Tempest. Sounds utterly brilliant (maybe). But gutting the Lightning buy seems so shortsighted. Other truisms that come to mind:

Cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. :drool:

Don't change horses mid-stream. :roll:

A bird in hand is worth two Tempest in the bush. :doh:

Ah well. And I thought us Muricans had perfected the budget cycle pontificating. I see we Colonists are still rank amateurs, where as the English have raised it to a true art form. :bang: :bang: :bang:



If, the cut's to the F-35 Force are accurate. It's hard to see the reason for having a joint Lightning Force of RAF/RN F-35B's. Just doesn't make sense. So, are the RAF going to get them all???

Also, with hardly enough aircraft for a single AirWing. Is there really any need to keep the HMS Prince of Wales??? If, not can we expect to hit the Auction Block soon???
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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 07:36

I could imagine 48 F-35Bs being commandeered by the RNFAA, whilst a QE of two becomes the UAV cat trapper in a time.
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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 07:40

It will be interesting to see the US Government/Military reaction to this move??? I am sure many at the Pentagon are having second thoughts about the US/UK Special Relationship.......

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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 07:43

spazsinbad wrote:I could imagine 48 F-35Bs being commandeered by the RNFAA, whilst a QE of two becomes the UAV cat trapper in a time.



If, it comes down to the RN/FAA or RAF getting the F-35B's. My money is on the latter.....Hell, the only reason for the Joint Lighting Force. Was to appease the RAF in the first place. (and save a little money)
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steve2267

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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 07:53

Maybe there's a silver lining in this mess...

RAF get's forty-eight Bees.

The Brits can chase their Tempest Teapot (did I say tea kettle?).

And the USMC finally gets two Lightning carriers... (maybe four if they keep the first two America class as aviation-only. Though that may be less likely after Bonhomme melted.)
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 08:02

steve2267 wrote:Maybe there's a silver lining in this mess...

RAF get's forty-eight Bees.

The Brits can chase their Tempest Teapot (did I say tea kettle?).

And the USMC finally gets two Lightning carriers... (maybe four if they keep the first two America class as aviation-only. Though that may be less likely after Bonhomme melted.)



If, this truly happens I would expect the HMS Prince of Wales will be on the chopping block within a year or two.... :(
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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 08:36

Well that is really something

I guess thanks for all the development money? All of this so they could buy 48?

I guess the good news is with F-35s in production so long, the UK can always come back after the tempest program is gutted.
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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 09:00

Point here was why build two Super Carriers. Only to buy less than a single Air Wing of F-35B's. :shock:
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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 09:51

Is it Dr.WHO the Brit TV series with robots saying EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE? Here is it... CONFABULATE CONFABULATE! OR should it be.... SPECULATE SPECULATE and BARK UP THE RONG TREE ENDlessLY? The BRITS don't know-why should we?
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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 10:30

You may have a point........ :|
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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 11:32

steve2267 wrote:Since the first flight of the Tornado, forty-six years ago, Britain has only had a hand in developing the Typhoon. Cutting her air arms short to finance the fanciful notion of the Tempest is folly IMO.



From 1978 to 1988 BAe (ex Harrier design team) worked on a Supersonic STOVL aircraft of various design iterations (P.1216 etc) including low RCS. That was ditched but the work looks to have helped with participation in F-35.
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Unread post09 Mar 2021, 12:08

basher54321 wrote:From 1978 to 1988 BAe (ex Harrier design team) worked on a Supersonic STOVL aircraft of various design iterations (P.1216 etc) including low RCS. That was ditched but the work looks to have helped with participation in F-35.


Bully for them.

But to change horses midstream, and drop the plane they have that is meeting all its requirements, for their vapor Tempest in a teapot, strikes me as pencewise, pound foolish. Trading that bird in hand for the promise of two in the bush is bloody daft, IMO.

I'm not saying they Brits cannot technically do it. I am saying that given past history, how expensive these endeavours are, and the fact that they desire to push the technical boundaries, cashing in ninety Lightning's for the promise of the Tempest teapot is sheer folly. And I'll be surprised if Tempest ever flies as an optionally manned tactical aircraft, even fifth generation.

Who benefits the most from this? I'd say the CeeCeePee is doing very well. How to win the fight? By preventing the fight in the first place by neutering one's enemas from the get go. I think you have to wonder whether the Brits will even be able to put one carrier with a decent complement of aircraft in the SCS at all.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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