Originally Posted by alfred_the_help
WEBF - Point 1 = wrong I'm afraid.
I hope I am! Apologies for editing my post after your reply.
Originally Posted by eaglemmoomin
I'd have thought they'd either go to the UK operational test squadron at Edwards to get experience with the aircraft or be embedded with the USMC, as in theory they hit IOC in 2015 with the F35B. Mean while regenerating manuals and procedures about deck handling and the like.
I was talking about aircraft handlers and others who are attached to the ship, not an aircraft squadron. My question is threefold:
1. How do you give experience of working with fixed wing aircraft (at sea) to more than a handful of personnel, and how do you allow them to practise that after returning from exchange?
2. What about other personnel involved in running the carrier during flying operations - OOW/Bridge personnel, the Navigator, and various other people throughout the ship - Operations Room, Ship Control Centre, MCO, etc.
Is there any realistic alternative to embarking (fixed wing) aircraft for real?
3. Back to Pilots - naturally some RN fixed wing pilots will not be Stateside, some will stay in the UK for various tasks, others will return to the UK after an exchange. They are trying to grow the fixed wing cadre. What will these people fly? I understand that Tornado and Typhoon flying with the RAF is not an option. NFSF(FW) at Yeovilton has only two Hawks (and are busy anyway), and FRADU at Culdrose are run by Serco and the aircraft flown by civilian Pilots. Not so long ago (last month?) they were recruiting for Pilots, and they asked for applicants with at least 1800 hours and QWI status.
If only NFSF(FW) had a STOVL jet - perhaps a couple of borrowed/leased AV8Bs? It would help with all three points, and if ETPS can safely and economically operate small numbers of foreign aircraft such the Grippen or Alpha Jet, why not NFSF(FW)? Also keep HMS Illustrious
going post 2014, as she still has plenty of life in her.
Innovation has been at the heart of out historical successes, so why to try to use innovative ideas to prepare for CVF and a STOVL future?
Originally Posted by cuefaye
Large numbers of boots on the ground is fundamental, along with adequate AT suppport. Maritime and Air is equally necessary, but must be balanced in terms of affordability and projection. That said, we are sadly well over the rim in both areas, in terms of quantity.
What if the next conflict is fundamentally different to fighting the Taliban, Saddam's Iraq after a decade of sanctions and no fly zones, or Iraqi insurgents? What about the possibility of fighting a nation with a reasonably well equipped air force and navy?