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Old 28th Mar 2011, 01:43   #1 (permalink)
 
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Why is the RAF buying the F-35?

Why is the RAF buying the F-35? And why is the RAF buying the VSTOL version of the F-35 instead of the conventional take off and landing version?

Export F-35 sales are good for the US economy, which is good. However, if I were British, I'd be asking why the Typhoon cannot be evolved into a multirole aircraft that can do air to ground as well as air to air, thereby making F-35 acquisition unnecessary.

And why buy the "jump jet" version? Does the RAF have the rather silly attitude of some PeePruners that take offs and landings `a la mode Harrier are some sort of deep profound, and indepensable British trait, akin to .... I dunno, bad teeth, fretting about class differences, and spanking fetishes.

I don't get it. The RAF would be better off with CTOL F-35's or maybe no F-35's whatsoever and improved, further developed Typhoons.

Last edited by Modern Elmo; 28th Mar 2011 at 02:08.
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 01:53   #2 (permalink)

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An interesting question ruined by a xenophobic rant in the middle. Perchance, your intent all along...
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 01:56   #3 (permalink)
 
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The only good reason I can think of for the RAF to have jump-jet F-35's is to operate those aircraft from Royal Navy ships at times.
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 02:01   #4 (permalink)
 
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Modern Elmo,

A little research before one posts can do wonders you know.

The UK MOD IS buying the F-35C, not the VSTOL B. The RAF doesn't buy anything.

ANY F-35 sales are equally good for the UK economy, the UK being the only tier one partner, fully involved in the design from the outset, and with a good chunk of each aircraft designed and built by UK industry.

As to why the F-35 and why not a developed Typhoon. You could just as easily ask the same question of the US Government, why not develop a multi role version of the F-18, F-16, F-15 or F-22?

So, apart from wanting a state of the art sensor fused LO strike aircraft with a decent air to air capability, why are the US Marine Corps bothering with all this strange vertical take off nonsense of which you speak, as so far they are the only folk who have said that they will buy the B variant?
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 02:55   #5 (permalink)
 
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why not develop a multi role version of the F-18, F-16, F-15

Those aircraft are and have been multi-role. As to the air-superiority-only F-22A, you see what happened: a short production run, and thereafter seldom seen, except maybe at air shows. I suppose there may be a multi-role F-22B some day.

The Typhoon's longer-term future if it remains in its present state of under-development? The F-22A example.

As to the RAF F-35, look at RAF - F-35 (Joint Strike Fighter). Is your Royal Air Force's web site out of date and incorrect?


... The JCA will place the RAF at the forefront of fighter technology and will give it a true multi-role air system that will surpass the majority of other weapons systems in production today ...

... The UK version will be a stealthy, multi-role, all-weather, day & night, fighter/attack air system aircraft that can operate from land bases and the next generation of aircraft carriers...

... Early production aircraft will be powered by a Pratt and Whitney F-135 turbofan engine,... Vertical lift and hover will be achieved by means of a Rolls-Royce developed lift-fan system. Doors installed above and below the vertical fan open as the fan powers up to provide vertical lift. This vertical lift is used in conjunction with the main engine exhaust nozzle at the rear of the aircraft, which swivels down from the horizontal to provide the required lift.

... The JCA will place the RAF at the forefront of fighter technology ( Faint praise there for Typhoon --Elmo ) and will give it a true multi-role air system that will surpass the majority of other weapons systems in production today, or envisaged in the foreseeable future. Coupled with the Typhoon aircraft, JCA will keep the RAF at the cutting edge of military aviation.


In real life, I've been summoned for jury duty tomorrow. If the accused person arouses my xenophobic emotions, I'll probably vote to convict 'em.

Good night, international friends.

Last edited by Modern Elmo; 28th Mar 2011 at 03:15.
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 05:26   #6 (permalink)
 
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Don't let the door bang your arse on the way out.
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 06:19   #7 (permalink)
 
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Well said Load Toad......but it would be more credible if the MoD, RN and RAF updated their websites on all the carrier/F35 articles...they are full of inaccuracies and it is a long time since the Oct SDSR announcements killing off the F35C purchase and a ski-jump CVF - all of which still feature prominently.
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 08:16   #8 (permalink)
 
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As an Anglo-American can I just say that at times the ignornace displayed by those sharing either side of my dual nationality towards the other can be astonishing but in this case I'm utterly gobsmacked.

Perhaps under the influence of the local produce down there in redneck country?
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 08:26   #9 (permalink)
 
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Not quite sure why Modern Elmo was given such short shrift (although, off-topic, the bad teeth cliche has always puzzled me - with the NHS I'd suggest that, in particular, our poor generally have better teeth than America's poor)

Fundamentally, his question is sound, it just needs expanding - why are we buying JSF, instead of buying something that's not as cutting-edge, but is a lot more affordable?

If we're not careful, we'll end up ploughing a lot of money into the programme, see cost keep increasing and platform numbers keep decreasing, before finally having a future government that will announce that we can't afford it and so will cancel it.

MRA4 all over again.
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 08:32   #10 (permalink)
 
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If you don't understand the differences in how we are 'buying' the F-35, then you won't understand why this is apples and oranges.

We are 'buying' a number of flying hours per year - we are 'contracting for availability' rather than buying the aircraft. It is in effect a lease. It is incredibly complex and I only ever scratched the surface of it, but it is a totally new way of doing business. Compared to the cost of re-working Typhoon into something similar, it is a lot less effort for far more return of investment.
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 09:06   #11 (permalink)
 
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Hmmmm,

I'm a great fan of contracting for availability. However, let's not confuse the method of procurement with the product itself.

Is the product (or the capability, if you like), innately too compex and expensive for both our budget and our needs? We could use a CfA approach (or even CfC - Contracting for Capability) with virtually any aircraft out there (we already do it with legacy platforms such as Tornado). But the overall cost will be cheaper with a less expensive platform.

Thus I think the original question is still valid. We can either have lots of cheaper platforms, or fewer more expensive ones - have we been seduced too far down the high-tech route?
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 09:14   #12 (permalink)
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Fundamentally, his question is sound, it just needs expanding - why are we buying JSF, instead of buying something that's not as cutting-edge, but is a lot more affordable?
Buying a new type is inevitably more expesnive due to the need for training, spares etc. Therefore, if the MOD is buying the F-35 to man the carriers, then it is inevitable that any manned component of the the GR4 force replacement will be an F-35.

Whilst it is possible that component could be either the F-35A or F-35B, as opposed to the carrier F-35C, it is unlikely due to the increasingly small commonality in parts between them. The F-35A would also need to be modified for a probe for refuelling. Having a common type would also allow for reinforcement of the carrier force.

I also suspect that the original talked of buy of around 150, if purchsed, will be used for both roles.

I would also suspect that all the above is the subject of intense debate and unlikely to be resolved till after the SDSR review, or with the programme slips till a decision is needed after the next election.

As to the website, I can appreciate the problems in updating the information. Without even a decision that a change to the original planned is required, what can be changed?
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 09:35   #13 (permalink)
 
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F-35

Other threads exist on this forum that comment on the F-35. If it's been missed, readers should have a look at the "US To Stop Work On GE 35 Engines" one which has robust input.
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 11:02   #14 (permalink)
 
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After Suez the british decided they had to stick close to the Yanks - the French decided that the opposite was a better idea

To stick close means supporting the USA diplomatically and militarily

The UK can't afford to field significant stand alone forces any longer so we are normally a junor partner to the Yanks - so we have to have interoperability with their kit.

So we have to buy what they are buying (or selling)
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 11:44   #15 (permalink)
 
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So we have to buy what they are buying (or selling)
I'm struggling on that comment - as this thread is about the F35, apart from the Phantom, which US fast jets have we bought since the Suez conflict? I would suggest we have partnered with Europe far more ....

Granted on the RW/heavy side we have invested in US products (Chinook / C17 / C130 / Sentinel / Sentry / Tri*) but even then this is balanced by the Puma / Wessex / VC10 / BAe146 / Nimrod / Belfast etc.
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 12:49   #16 (permalink)
 
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As others have said the MoD is no longer buying the STOVL version. Also they will be carrier based so does that mean the RN will be flying it?????
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 13:46   #17 (permalink)
 
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ME is misguided, but usually more on the ball that that.
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 18:33   #18 (permalink)
 
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The RAF need the F-35 because it's a great bit of kit that can do things that Typhoon can't (and Typhoon can do things that F-35 can't).

In the 2020+ battlefield you'll expect (or at least you should plan for) things like SA-10, -11, -12, -15, -20 & HQ-9 and their derivatives floating around. Your air threat is likely to include all the Su-27 derivatives, or perhaps even J-20 / PAK-FA class aircraft with some pretty potent A-A missiles.

LO saves you time and money; it's for the same reasons that LGBs save you cash because 1 airplane can drop 1 bomb to kill a target, as opposed to the good old days when waves and waves of aircraft were needed to drop dozens and dozens of iron bombs to get the Pd up. If you're going into a nasty IADS of modern Russian/Chinese/French SAMs you can either use a package of dozens of F-18Gs and F-16CJs, with stand-off jammers & Rivet Joints etc. Or you use a couple of LO aircraft with some appropriate planning - which is what the F-117s were used for with great effect in Iraq. LO is not a panacea that will give the pilot total impunity in all future scenarios, but when well-managed it's an incredibly useful tool to have in the toolbox.

The airplane is much more than LO though, and its sensors are as 5th gen as the LO part is. No pilot flying with a current targeting pod such as Sniper or Litening 3 wants to go back to the good old days of Nitehawk or TIALD. And, for example, once pilots have flown with APG-81 they'll wonder how they ever got anything done with the current generation of radars out there (except the F-22 bubbas of course).

For the UK as a Level 1 partner, the airplanes are effectively free to buy to the UK taxpayer. For every pound we spend on the airplane, the UK Exchequer gets at least a pound back in industrial offsets. We buy 138 airframes, while the rest of the world buys 3000+ more and there are jobs for hundreds of workers for decades at BAE, Rolls, Martin Baker + literally hundreds of second and third tier suppliers. And all those companies pay tax on their profits to the Exchequer. The only downside is that the money comes out of the Defence budget and goes back into the NHS & Welfare budget pots...

So to me, the better question is why on earth should the UK consider pulling-out?

Regards,
Single Seat, Single Engine, The Only Way To Fly!
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 18:36   #19 (permalink)
 
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And Typhoons can't land on ships.

Yet (?)
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 19:17   #20 (permalink)
 
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if that was a car seller trying to sell you his latest toy, with all the gadgets you definitely need, and "oh!, for the check, don't worry, just sign it and I'll fill in the numbers"...plus you've just read that in a matter of years cars will be outdated as everybody will be "beamed" around the places...

You'd have hairs rising behind your neck....rightly so...
because IMHO, no matter you say it is not very convincing :

- you can argue whatever tech specs to justify the toy;
- you can flash out any buzzwords you like (CfA or CfC or whatever);
- you can argue you get back each and every pound you put in...

the matter of the fact is :
- the thing is a bloody endless black hole moneywise with nobody being able to give an approximation of how much is it going to cost;
- the growth capacity of current programs (F18, Rafale, Eurofighter) is big enough to cope with possible improvements for he next 2 or 3 decades;
- especially considering that in about that amount of time (plus/minus a decade) most missions will be performed by UAV/UCAVS and the lot.

Anyway, if I am wrong why is it that so many govts are reconsidering the program if it is such a sure bet??? Surely I am not the only one with hairs rising behind my neck...
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