Military AviationA forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.
We will get screw*d again by UK PLC, even with Richards and his UK thieves hating policy so just a story - can't even stop Wastelands from screwing us and that is for chickenfeed. What hope have we against pointless FJ purchases (Navy might have a better case for FJ than cold war standbys!)
Thats very nice, and will require Cat/Wires. Looks like a load of Pilots, Observers, FDOs,Chockheads and Badgers will have to go over the pond for a familiarisation course. As there is nobody in todays FAA that could operate, the day to day running of a Strike Carriers complex flight deck
Am not up to speed on the carrier program - would an F18 be able to take off and operate from the current design/is the deck lond enough (if catapaults and arrestors were fitted - can this be done?)? Are the lifts big enough?
If it can, sounds like a pretty sensible option price wise - proven jet, cheaper, etc vs unproven, more expensive jet? That said, we would have to use electric catapaults... which are, also, unproven and thus a bit of a gamble? So not so ideal!
Can't pretend to have enough knowledge of the F/A 18 or F35 to have an opinion other than that it does seem a little odd to be ploughing billions into an aircraft that has question marks over it's performance and payload at a time when we can't even afford our current fleets.
The article was cut down significantly. This was the original text.
THE Royal Navy is set to save £10bn from the defence budget by dropping plans to buy the most expensive fighter aircraft ever built to fly off its new aircraft carriers.
It is set to swap the £13.8bn Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project for an improved stealthier version of the Boeing F/A18 Super Hornet which currently flies off US Navy carriers.
The potential move was discussed at a meeting between Liam Fox and defence chiefs last weekend to discuss cuts to be made in the ongoing Strategic Defence and Security Review.
“JSF is an unbelievably expensive programme,” a senior defence source said. “It makes no sense at all in the current climate and even if we continued with it, we cannot afford the aircraft we said we would buy.”
The Joint Strike Fighter, produced by Boeing’s main US rival Lockheed Martin, would have been the most expensive single project in the defence budget with costs already put at £13.8bn and rising.
The 138 aircraft Britain planned to buy to replace the Harrier jump jets flown by the RAF and Royal Navy were originally supposed to cost a total of £7bn.
But they are currently expected to cost £100m each, making them effectively unaffordable given the dire state of both the defence budget and the nation’s finances.
The JSF programme was originally designed to be enough for both new aircraft carriers and four RAF squadrons.
Buying the more stealthy Super Hornet – known as the Silent Hornet - and cutting numbers to no more than 50 so there are only enough aircraft to fly off the carriers, will cut costs to less than £4bn.
That would save £2bn in development costs over the next parliament and a total of around £10bn over the next ten years.
The £10bn saving would be enough on its own to remove a substantial portion of the long-term cash shortages in the defence budget.
The MoD has already received confirmation from Boeing that it could make the improvements to the Super Hornet that the navy needs to produce the Silent Hornet.
The Silent Hornet will have a new internal weapons bay to reduce the radar signature of the aircraft and improved fuel tanks that would give it a longer range than JSF.
The aircraft is already able to carry more bombs and missiles than JSF and could be produced in time for the first of the two new aircraft carriers which is due to come into service in 2015.
The JSF programme has been beset by difficulties, with Lockheed announcing further delays last week and the British aircraft not expected to be delivered in time for the first carrier in 2015.
Switching to the Silent Hornet would reverse 30 years of flying short take-off and vertical landing aircraft from the Royal Navy’s carriers.
The version of JSF Britain planned to buy is a short take-off and vertical landing aircraft like the Harrier it was to replace. But the Silent Hornet is a conventional take-off and landing aircraft.
The new aircraft carriers are being built to take either type of aircraft, so while it will require the fitting of catapults and arrester hooks, it is not a major problem or cost to switch from one to the other.
A number of Royal Navy pilots are already trained to fly the Super Hornet off carriers having spent time on exchange with the US Navy.
The move will be bad news for the RAF, which offered to axe its entire fleet of Tornado aircraft in the hope that this would mean it would continue to get the JSF.
Now it is set to lose both its Tornados and its Harriers and not get the JSF, leaving it with a single attack aircraft, the Eurofighter, now known as the Typhoon.
This would in itself provide significant cost savings in that a single attack aircraft fleet is much cheaper to maintain and run than a number of different aircraft.
The JSF programme has been beset with difficulties. Britain initially joined it as a development partner and has already put £2bn into the programme.
This was originally expected to cost £7bn with a further £7bn for maintenance and upgrading during the life of the aircraft.
But Congress has reneged on repeated promises by US President George W Bush that Britain would receive full details of the technology on the aircraft.
This will mean that some elements of the aircraft can only be maintained by US technicians increasing costs still further.
The MoD refused to comment on any changes planned as part of the defence review but reiterated that Fox “has made clear that tough decisions will need to be made”.
What BGG may mean is that today magnetic technology is available to launch cats as opposed to steam? Though to be fair since when as UK (plc) ever bought something up to date or ahead of its time. I believe the French are having them fitted to their carriers. Ours are the same as theirs, fitted for not with. Though they have opted for Nuke power which may help generate the power to operate those cats??