Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
Glojo - I don't carry a flag for any specific service
My point is that we can't continue to act as if we have the resources of the USA - those days ended around 1945
Not another, we're not the nation we were post. As for 1945, I think you'll find the gulf between what we could afford per head and what America could back then, was far wider than it is today.
The principal difference between the UK and USA IN 2012, is they don't spend anything like the amount we do on state provision. I believe there may be a balance somewhere in between, but to run again another line,always dressed up as "time for a few hard facts of life about our position in the world today" is not an eye opener, nor was it ever. We're still about the 7th richest nation on the planet. What we do have is the worst possible value for money in terms of quantity of men and machines from the defence budget. Furthermore, the F35 looks increasingly like a serious future defence arrangement fiasco not just for us but for all involved.
What we do have is the worst possible value for money in terms of quantity of men and machines from the defence budget.
What we also have is much better quality than many other armed forces. It is easy to think the opposite because every issue or failing in the equipment supplied is jumped on by the media. That does not happen in other countries, not necessarily beccause they don't have such problems, but because there are so many problems they are not worth reporting.
Personally I think that some of the MoD standards are too high in terms of the performance vs cost trade-off, and I don't think I am alone, but generally I would choose the better quality because we take fewer casualties that way.
I note that we learned a lot of expensive (in every way) lessons in 1982, many that have not been learned in other forces. To my mind, one of those was the need for good AEW- hence I vote CATOBAR
Thank god, somebody else that isn't mired in pessimism; the way people are thinking at the moment, we're going to talk ourselves into a never-ending recession. Contrary to popular opinion, there will come a day when things start to get better and we'll be in a better financial position; in comparison to the history of our country, it's a few seconds on the clock
With regards to America's bottomless pit of money, well even that is myth; racking up debt at a rate of $1.5 trillion a year is going to come round and bite them in the ass in a very, very big way - hence my extreme distrust of the -B surviving.
Gentlemen, Would you please kindly note I have not mentioned owt about post war, pre war, what we can afford, or what we cannot afford...
my question was..
If we are going to ask the end user for their expert opinion regarding suitability of which aircraft may, or may not be better suited to the carrier role, should we be looking toward UK pilots that have expertise in both STOVL operations from carriers plus conventional catapult and arrester wire launches and recovery.
I'm sure I have read somewhere that we do have Fleet Air Arm pilots qualified in both types and should these be the folks we should be listening to PURELY from the operational aspect of this decision.
Words can't describe my amusement at yet another rant by the man 'Sharkey' himself - aka 'Angry from Grenada'... perhaps too much sun, rum and Patrick O'Brian like his colleagues-in-arms at the Phoenix Think Tank.
If we don't place an order for the F 35 this year, we shall no longer be a Tier 1 partner
Yeah right...given the recent changes in the JSF Programme of Record we could be absolutely forgiven for waiting until certain in-roads are made. We are a Tier 1 partner based on a number of things and having to place an order this year is certainly not it.
What say you to the insider information that the Eurofighter radomes are now cracking up and falling off in the air during manoeuvre?
So what if this is true? Yes, sometimes design engineers do get things wrong on fatigue predictions and such things; however, if this tale is true the fleet would be certainly have been grounded (which it isn't AFAIK) and a full Eng invest would be underway. A fix would be identified and put into action ASAP, esp with the Olympic commitment on the doorstep. Mountains out of molehills; yet another desperate attempt to bolster a bitter underlying arguments about the demise of SHar and the SDSR 10 fallout.
The aircraft in question is part of the development programme. It does not in any sense represent an operational aircraft
No, perhaps not 100% but not far off. These jets are the most operationally representative test and evaluation platforms that have likely EVER existed and the UK have bought two with another hopefully inbound in two years or so. There are plethora of reasons why as well.
On paper, it belongs to the UK because the UK has had to put money into the project
Again, no: The aircraft belong to the UK because we bought them with money and, as is customary in such financial exchanges, really do own them. It has nothing to do with 'on paper' at all.
THEY ARE NOW LOOKING AT HOW THEY CAN ADAPT THEIR AMPHIBIOUS CARRIERS WHICH OPERATE THE HARRIER AND WOULD OPERATE THE STOVL AIRCRAFT FOR THE OPERATION OF NON-STOVL AIRCRAFT
If you mean F-35C or another non-STOVL F/A-type then, unless technology has produced the ability to add operating 'acreage' to these amphibious ships, you can't adapt them to operate off an LHD, or even the new LHX.
I agree that if we were just buying a Carrier Strike asset here then a total weapon system approach to the training, ownership and operation would favour the RN, however I fear that isn't the way its going to go now. The future desire for JSF for UK will likely need a 'carrier capable' platform that won't break the bank in the near-term and that will replace an ageing jet fleet (i.e. GR4) In terms of range and payload this puts favour back in the operating flexibility and basing availability of the F-35B (assuming EMALS on QE is too much ££) and I agree with SSSETOWTF's points that back up the STOVL variant's strengths. The money isn't there to really leap to F-35C now. We've just gone back into recession. Tewkesbury has the RN's only serviceable SSN conducting 'aid to the Civil Authorities' as we speak and the Govt has more important issues to hand than the rantings of bitter old Admirals and authors of 'I alone saved The Falklands' books.
Oh, by the way:
I'm sure I have read somewhere that we do have Fleet Air Arm pilots qualified in both types and should these be the folks we should be listening to PURELY from the operational aspect of this decision
We have a fair number of RAF pilots qualified in both types that also have a voice as well.
Gentlemen, Would you please kindly note I have not mentioned owt about post war, pre war, what we can afford, or what we cannot afford...
Sorry Glojo, your name appeared in the quote in my first post misleadingly, the comment I was addressing was made by Heathrow Harry, only he was responding, seemingly, to an earlier post from yourself. Sorry for any misunderstanding.
I have in one mind's eye Harrier Ops of camouflaged hides and the chaps ready to stand to with blunt bayonet and sad shaking of head from RAF Regt Sgt.
Meanwhile the conventional air force is being bombed in its HAS or has its runway cratered.
Great use of flexible asset.
Fast forward half a century.
In my other mind's eye I have a highly sophisticated machine that can land in a small space/ on a small strip then await the C-130 / C-17 with countless containers of kit, mission planner, miscellaneous 'plane-talks-to-maintainer' computer, squipper lorry for care of that wonderful looking helmet etc.
Meanwhile the conventional airforce is a good 100 nm back happy as Larry and the CVN boys are somewhere in their (not fixed, quite hard to find and sink) platform using their extra 300 nm of range to good effect and stepping ashore to well found airfields when it suits them.
Not an F35B expert, hence asking the experts' advice.
RLE - Actually, that's not a stupid question at all. It's one that is very difficult to answer.
Let's take two propositions.
One, a Super Hornet doesn't land without a whole bunch of smart computing that interprets "where pilot wants to go" in terms of "flap this and adjust that". The F-35C is slightly more so, and I'd argue that one reason that the B is considered easy to operate at sea is that it has a whole bunch of extra control effectors which allow the whole operation to take place step by step - stop, sidestep, land - at the pilot's pace. All this is done by computers that are designed so that a catastrophic failure is about as rare as the wing falling off.
Two, we pretty much know how to use GPS to determine the relative position of two objects (for instance, the center of the three wire and the end of the tailhook) within a matter of inches. Also with good reliability, particularly in an area where there are few obstructions to seeing satellites (for instance, 60 feet up in the middle of the ocean).
So basically, I tell the computer on the airplane: Here is projected position of wire when you get there, and I update this at up to 100 Hz. At computer clock speeds, this makes a CV landing like watching paint dry.
And of course, back in the 1960s and 1970s, we knew how to make commercial aircraft with passengers on board land automatically in zero visibility (and then realized that the exercise was a bit pointless since nobody could drive to the airport anyway).
The basic problem is this: Are you so sure that you will always have autoland that you can do without the manual element and the associated training?
Last edited by LowObservable; 1st May 2012 at 20:54.
Surely a man of your pedigree cannot deny the basing availability or flexibility offered by a STOVL platform? It was the very reason GR7 and, later, the GR9 were in AFG first, and for such a relatively long tenure for a start. Having 200nm of extra range is very nice and I still believe the C would be the right platform in some (not all) cases. Cost, Schedule and Performance are normally prioritised in that order when things start getting hard for programme management. If cost wasn't an issue for CVF (which it is!) and an issue for JSF (which it is!) we'd have the lot, on time no doubt. Sadly the Defence Board is faced with losing one if a change is not made - e.g keep F-35C but lose one or both CVF. Keep the carriers but maintain the original plan/requirement. Lesser of two evils.
Deploy 'ability'? Good point. Hopping a C ashore would present the same issue but you can't do it easily from a CVF autonomously because you won't have the sort of lift platforms to haul the support eqpt 200nm to the FOB. It comes down to what you want to do and for how long.
I join the many on this thread eager to hear the imminent decision and reasons why. Hopefully it will allow the fine people working hard on delivering the aircraft to get on with it with some stability.
I would love to agree with you. Flying off small strips etc was really good fun and gave us a really flexible option. As you say it allowed us to operate from KAF for the years that no-one else in the UK inventory could.
But the Harrier (1 and 2) were made for the job and worst case you could operate with a bowser and a truckload of KRETs with one weapon hoist.
I now stray from the bit I consider myself an expert in to the bit I don't.
I suspect that the F-35B cannot do 'bare base' the way the Harrier could because of what you have to take with you, what kit you wear and what bombs you drop. I might be wrong, but you're only as flexible as what ever brings your kit behind you, and you're only ready to go on the timeline that your support assets can meet.
So I can see (and fondly remember) the utopia of unsupported ops, but think we need to be careful looking forward when we could be comparing apples and oranges. It might be that if the C-17 is u/s or the strip is 10ft shorter than the C-130 can accept, or the maintainers left the spgr for the bombs behind....you get the idea...that 'flexibility' might not be the same with such a high tec beast.
Flying off roads is cool. Being u/s on a road because the jet can't start before it chats to Fort Worth isn't. (Don't know if this is a possibility but you get the idea)
Of course I could be wrong which is why I asked.
Now. You raise a very valid point. This all needs sorting out once and for all, then it all becomes irrelevant. One would have thought that if SDSR was done properly and if all the guesses about costs had actually been estimates and if ACA had actually designed the flexible design all those years ago....if, if, if...we wouldn't be in this sorry a##ed mess.
For all those involved in the CVF, JCA and SDSR programmes undoubted hard work we have created a saga you simply wouldn't believe if you saw it in print.
I also tend to have a lot of sympathy with the 'we'll make it work' chain of thought. Because we will. But in my mind, one variant will be alright for a small island nation, the other will be a world beater.
Do we know that the £1.8Bn is a valid ACA cost estimate? I repeat, the hardware cost of EMALS and AAG are known. The "unknowns" are :
1. Integrating the EMALS/AAG into the ship power management system. The whole system cost less than £100M, so worst case, that's your cost. 2. EMI/EMC with the ships local systems - possibly an issue, but tbc. 3. What on earth at least 12 million manhours (the difference twixt hardware costs and "the cost") could credibly be spent on?
One point - the "flexible design" was never meant to have a full detailed design for exact installation of the cat n'trap systems in it - apart from anything else the ITAR issues prevented that until the FMS approval.
The point of the flexible design was to ensure that the deck was big enough and with area in the correct places to allow an angled deck, there was sufficient "free" space in the gallery deck to fit the below deck systems and that there was sufficient provision in the weight / stability budget to allow for heavy cats etc up top. If those elements had not been in the design from the off, then we would not be having this debate.
Orca me old, we both remember those days in the same vein. You'd be forgiven for questioning the deployability of all the F-35 variants in the same breath. The contracted hardware is cumbersome. The follow on solution will, neigh Shall, be more man-portable and LM acknowledge this. Timeline for delivery of a solution was post-SDD and that is a moveable feast. But, what can be changed to make the best of the SDD deliverable has been looked at in depth. You don't need to hook the jet up to Ft Worth to conduct a turn-round quite like some people believe. It is scenario dependant and chimes back to what you want to do when deployed and for how long. Squirt of gas, onward to your mission? Stay and operate for a week, a month, longer? As you and I both know, everything has always hinged around that.
The jet has its own in-built hoists for weapon loading; just one such example of an efficiency. Others include the diagnostics on board.
NaB. The numbers (means) are always cooked to achieve the desired ends. Such was the case with GR9 vs GR4. Such will be the case with -C vs -B and EMALS. It should come as no surprise that the UK Govt are about to make a U-turn to STOVL and blame cost.
I assume the £1.8Bn could include costs for delays - interest on capital etc. so could be including various issues driven by the conversion decision.
It would be interesting to know how much of the F35B and F35C cost goes into the UK defence industry - and hence is also recouped as tax (if any). I wonder for example if the RR workshare in the lift fan more than compensates for the extra cost. What level of tax is typically paid on US acquisitions of this type?
PS orca - google 'crpa' for one well established jamming solution
Cost of capital can't be more than £100m at the very extreme. Workshare offsets are not a "cost" of the ship conversion, which is what the £1.8Bn is billed as. Delays at this stage for PoW "ought" to be minimal.
12 Million+ manhours is simply not credible. Someone somewhere is making it up. Endex.
" Which brings us back to "whose ends" are best served by fraudulent cost estimates? "
" 12 Million+ manhours is simply not credible. Someone somewhere is making it up. Endex."
NaB, I have to take issue with those. As I am sure you're aware, there is no such thing as an accurate estimate. Estimates are, well, estimates. The credibility or otherwise is entirely due to the quality of the data, assumptions and risks used in whichever methodology is used to derive the estimate. The team doing the QEC costings sit just down the floorplate from me and I know that they take great care to produce rigorous outputs. The amount of scrutiny that is applied these days ensures that.
The use to which the estimates are put following delivery to the customer is another thing entirely. Lies, damn lies and statistics come to mind.
P.S Cost of Capital Charge under RAB was removed from April 2010
In my limited experience, it is very easy to overlook the amount of effort it takes to fully engineer what would, at first glance, seem to be relatively trivial changes. When all we wanted to do was move a couple of lights around on the QE to tweak the Bedford array for SRVL the price was huge - because all the ripple through of all the sub-structure and wiring changes was significant.
It's easy to think that you just go out and buy an EMALS shipset for 400 million, get out your arc welder, bodge it on for a few million more and off you go. I don't pretend to have the foggiest idea about ship-building but I doubt it's that simple. You're assuming the deck's sub-structure was perfectly and fully designed for the EMALS and arrestor gear and their mounting points (or whatever you call the things that you use to attach a piece of equipment that is designed to accelerate or decelerate 25 tones of aircraft in a couple of seconds to/from 150 knots). But you also have to bodge on an LSO platform somewhere and all their comms requirements, move all the lights that were set up for SRVL onto the angled flight deck, and I shudder to think of what you have to do with things like electric power cable looms, electro-magnetic compatibility testing, qualification and certification testing, jet-blast deflector installation & their cooling requirements etc.
I assume any headline costs discussed these days include the full Defence Lines Of Development analysis - so they'll factor in the costs of all the extra personnel you need on deck to use cats & traps, their training, accommodation & pension costs (over the 40-odd year life of the system), the logistical costs to maintain the cats & traps, the costs of disposal etc etc.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that i think 1.8 billion is a bargain, but it doesn't surprise me. I'd love to see a huge UK carrier battle group steaming around the world with a deck over-flowing with F-35C, F-18E, E-2D, C-2 and some Sea Kings (just for old time's sake). However there are good reasons why the US DoD budget is >10 times bigger than ours.
Regards, Single Seat, Single Engine, The Only Way To Fly
Orca - GPS can in theory be jammed, even though there are anti-jam receivers. However, jamming gets easier when the jammer is close to the receiver. This is one thing if you're defending yourself against attack, another in jamming receivers aboard a moving CSG.