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If the oncoming defence cuts do bin the F-35 ( and having seen a few details, I think it IS worth the high price, thing is can we afford it, full stop ), people are talking about F-18's or Rafales...
Am I the only one here who thinks it blindingly obvious to go for the Harrier II+ ?
I know the production line is closed, so aircraft and spares would have to be secondhand from the U.S.
Unless the Americans sulked over not buying the F-35, it would be in their interests to keep the UK a serious asset.
It has AMRAAM with a BVR capablity to defend the fleet, the' big engine' and shares huge commonality with the GR9's of the RAF.
Also no modification to the CVF's would be required; even though the carriers are being built so as to make conversion to 'cat'n trap' relatively easy, no-one can tell me it's that easy or cheap, I've always thought that a feature to make them easy to sell to other navies.
Remember Thatcher was keen to sell HMS Invicible, which as things turned out proved rather handy to the RN !
I know the radar isn't as good as the FA2's Blue Vixen, but AMRAAMS can partly look after themselves, and it's a very potent deterrent.
If the axe should fall on the F-35, how about Harrier II+ ?
I've been on AMRAAM trials with Sea Harriers, and it proved rather good; as for launch velocity and altitude, I would think it compares pretty well with the wonder-jobs, read the figures.
Remember which aircraft - even a GR1 - won the transatlantic race against a Phantom, and the old but true story that a fully loaded Harrier is very nearly as fast as a 'clean' one, unlike most combat jets.
With AMRAAM & helmet sighted ASRAAM, upward firing chaff & flare etc, it would be a very brave or foolish enemy pilot to approach the fleet...
what makes you think there is going to be a replacement? They will be cut because we are broke! Save much more money cutting a capability altogether (not that I support that view) than just buying a cheaper one!
I believe that Easy Street was reffering to the fact that being as high and as fast as you can get your platform affords AMRAAM longer legs. Get high, get fast and shoot first...
If your target is bimbling around subsonic at FL300, that's his bad luck!
With regard to F35, I suspect the RN would be secretly relieved to get the Super Bug if the JSF is binned. The French jet is simply a rush job Typhoon and should not be considered IMHO. Super Bug would give the fleet a very respectable platform for the carriers.
Not the capability of the F35 but is certainly a huge step forward from the FA2.
I don't think your air race argument stacks up, and certainly doesn't add any weight to the case for AMRAAM - the reason the Harrier won was because the race involved the crews being in the city centres and the ac could be landed close to the start/finish points (hence the iconic shots of the GR1 at St Pancras station). The limitation for both GR1 and F4 on the oceanic stage was the AAR. The F4 beat the Harrier by a wide margin in terms of speed, combat radius, altitude and payload. And I don't think the F4 would be a suitable replacement either!
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Who the hell, in the future, do you think is going to be at that height to fight?
No-one can say with any certainty. But the narrow-minded sandaholic attitude which thinks the RAF exists only to operate helicopters in support of the army fighting stone age peasants thousands of miles from the UK MUST be challenged.
The short-sightedness of such an attitude would be highly dangerous to future defence of the realm.
I threw in the transatlantic race just to see the reaction from the Phantom fans !
I'm suggesting this scenario as we simply cannot go on as we are re.Fleet defence.
We all know the CVF's will be lucky to get through the Tory cuts looming, and though one compliments the other and good money has already been spent, it will be very lucky if the F-35 survives as well, especially with a Prime Minister who seems to agree with the Americans that WWII began on December 7th 1941 !
If we do manage to hang on to the carriers, I can't think of a better solution than Harrier II+, which mixes rather well with Joint Force Harrier.
To send them into harm's way without something carrying AMRAAM would be criminal; and as Beagle says, we have no way of knowing who we might end up fighting, we don't need carriers & a decent Fleet Air Arm right now, but we may well, almost certainly will, in future; why else do we have Trident ?!
Taxydual I believe that Easy Street was reffering to the fact that being as high and as fast as you can get your platform affords AMRAAM longer legs. Get high, get fast and shoot first...
Absolutely. I am stunned at the lack of understanding that some display on here! Modern MRAAMs gain quantum leaps in performance with increased launch altitude, irrespective of the altitude of the target.
And it's not just a question of air-to-air "biggest stick" jousting, either. To defeat incoming anti-ship raids against the carrier group, the air defenders need to be as fast as possible (to reach the attackers before they get into missile range) and and high as possible (to be able to launch their AMRAAM / Meteor / whatever at the maximum range). Harrier II+ is an air-to-ground platform with an "aggressive self-defence" AMRAAM capability, whereas F/A-18 E/F are fully-fledged multi-role platforms.
Another huge advantage of choosing a CV-type aircraft (F35C or F/A 18) would be that you could embark US Navy air wings for training purposes at times when the UK air wings were otherwise occupied. Limiting ourselves to STOVL would restrict visitor options to the USMC or the other Harrier operators.
We have to face facts, The UK can no longer be a major player on the World Stage. WE CANNOT AFFORD IT.
I would contest that. We CAN afford to, it's just our politicians CHOOSE not to. Any nation that can spend £110 BILLION (that is over 2 1/2 times the Defence budget) on the bureaucracy that is the NHS can afford to be a world class player.
The NHS has become the UK's Sacred Cow - no political party dare challenge it for fear of loosing votes. ALL other Govt departments lose out because of the NHS (and International Aid) being ring fenced. What we cannot afford is the NHS. A 10% saving on the NHS budget would go a long way to solving the shortfall in Defence, and a 20% saving would probably fix it.
If our French friends can operate the E-2, and do, I think NATO (and as well the EU and WEU formations that operate when a NATO consensus isn't available) would be very well off with another CV operating AEW platform of such quality.
If our friends on the other side of the pond will operate a CV again, there is a lot of sweetness and light that will result.
Here's hoping. Whether it is F-35 or F-18 or something else that flies from the deck isn't as important as having a floating airfield ... unless you are dead certain the NATO/EU E-3 AWACS and future variants will meet all needs.
Originally Posted by taxydual
To build massively expensive floating assets (carriers) and then purchase massively expensive aerial assets (F35's) to defend the massively expensive floating assets is madness.
Since that isn't what the (expensive) aerial assets are for, would you care to try that thought again? Put another way, you don't use F-35's to hunt mines nor submarines.
Last edited by Lonewolf_50; 23rd Aug 2010 at 18:38.