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Old 25th Apr 2012, 14:28   #561 (permalink)
 
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And (as ever) put logically and in a nutshell by Engines.

That argument (and history) is what should be in the forefront of the debate / debacle regarding the ships and JCA.

I wonder how many of the higher-up non-service protagonists are actually aware of this?
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Old 25th Apr 2012, 14:53   #562 (permalink)
 
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Engines - As ever, an authoritative, rational and well-reasoned post from you without a hint of the self-defeating enmity introduced into the debate by less considerate posters. Thank you for explaining the situation so clearly.
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Old 25th Apr 2012, 15:03   #563 (permalink)
 
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FODPlod Engines - As ever, an authoritative, rational and well-reasoned post from you without a hint of the self-defeating enmity introduced into the debate by less considerate posters. Thank you for explaining the situation so clearly.
Really? Apart from his last 3 paragraphs stating his POV everything else reads like a 'Sharkey' rant.

As always best regards.
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Old 25th Apr 2012, 15:03   #564 (permalink)

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Engines

Thank you for a post worth so much more than many here.

J
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Old 25th Apr 2012, 15:27   #565 (permalink)
 
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I'm with fire n forget. Engine's post is not a generally accepted history, it is very much the current dark blue mantra of "The RAF shafted us over JFH". In particular the "facts" that it was an RAF decision to bin SHar and that the RAF "blocked" the FAA GR7 sqn.

I would also disagree that the RAF isn't interested in sea based Air Power - Air Power is the RAF's business, where the airfield happens to be is largely irrelevant. If that means RAF personnel spending time at sea then so be it.

The RN currently reminds me of Scotland - everything that goes well is due to them, everything that goes badly is the other guys fault.
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Old 25th Apr 2012, 15:38   #566 (permalink)
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With the increasing lack of commonality between the versions, the difference in refueling systems (pending someone paying to have the 35A modified), and the similarity in performance between the A and C, why buy 2 different models? Just standardize on the F-35C.

It would also allow the fleet to be rotated through carrier use and equalise the airframe life.

Last edited by ORAC; 25th Apr 2012 at 19:05. Reason: Typo - put in B instead of C
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Old 25th Apr 2012, 15:47   #567 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by ORAC
With the increasing lack of commonality between the versions, the difference in refueling systems (pending someone paying to have the 35A modified), and the similarity in performance between the A and C, why buy 2 different models? Just standardize on the F-35B.

It would also allow the fleet to be rotated through carrier use and equalise the airframe life.
@ORAC Surely the logical outcome from your post is to standardise on F35C?
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Old 25th Apr 2012, 15:48   #568 (permalink)
 
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It may not be generally accepted history. That does not mean it isn't true.

I don't think anyone (of whichever blue persuasion) would argue that the RN head-shed have covered themselves in glory throughout the JFH saga. However, as the RN no longer "owned" SHAR or it's budget, it could hardly stop retirement, without dismantling JFH and consequently disavowing "jointness".

As for blocking 801, I think there have been a number of debates on that in here, most of which centre on JFH mandating RAF manning / training quals, (despite FAA operating safety records), which the training system was not set up to deliver. So while perhaps not a "deliberate" block, an effective one nonetheless.
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Old 25th Apr 2012, 15:48   #569 (permalink)
 
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Wait, so if the RAF are perfectly happy to do 6 month stints at sea, what on earth is the need for Navy command of squadrons? Sure post a few navy pilots that meet the grade for FJ onto the squadrons, but surely it would make sense to have one cohesive, unambiguous force? Either that or as engines says, a split A/C purchase?
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Old 25th Apr 2012, 16:50   #570 (permalink)
 
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Engines took me back to my childhood there:

I'm singing a higgity, haggity, hoggety, high
Pioneers, they never say die
A mile up the road there's a hidden cave
And we can watch those marginalized and oppressed indigenous peoples
Go galloping by

Anyway - assuming that the F-35A and F-35C make it past sequestration, hook issues, the IPP's flamethrower mode and certain contractors' apparent inability to locate their own body parts without a flashlight and a search warrant, the two-type approach could work and would give the RAF the stealth striker that they want.

As for range, I would pull the gun off the A (which should not be impossible with judicious use of B and C parts). Eliminates a lot of empty weight, frees up room for a lot of fuel, reduces drag and can't hurt the RCS, what with the present configuration being reminiscent of a donkey in Y-fronts. Also avoids introducing a unique new ammo type in the logistics system.
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Old 25th Apr 2012, 17:42   #571 (permalink)
 
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BEagle.

Fixed Wing Fast Jet Flying Training is delivered very well by the RAF, with RN input, on behalf of defence and there is no reason to change that. Except we're changing it to MFTS apparently.

I am unconvinced myself of the requirement for any UK based fast air training for the F-35C given the USN and French make do with T-45C and as far as I have heard MFTS aren't looking at a big under carriage and a fresnel lens with which to practice flying into the ground in a nose up attitude and calling it a landing.

Therefore we actually need to send our small cadre to the US anyway. This leaves EFT and BFT for the UK.
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Old 25th Apr 2012, 17:55   #572 (permalink)
 
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Bastardeux - a good question! The crux of the matter is that the RAF think that carrier Air Power is Air Power and should be done by the RAF. The RN believe that carrier Air Power is Naval Power and should be done by the RN - it's all a matter of perspective.

Interestingly the use of Apaches from Ocean/Illustrious provides the RN with a bit of a quandry. At the moment on one hand they are saying that it is a great capability and no issue with army crews doing it yet at the same time saying that only RN pilots could fly fixed wing from the carriers. It could look a little like their problem isn't with the concept but with the RAF and some sort of perceived failure if the loss of FW in the FAA is long term.
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Old 25th Apr 2012, 19:52   #573 (permalink)
 
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backwards

No. The issue is that the RAF try and do Maritime aviation part-time. You could just about get away with it with the Harrier (no non-diversion flying!) But you will not get away with it on CVF without killing at least one person.

Most people could not care less the colour of the uniform. Call it the Fleet Air Arm of the RAF if you like but....to be operationally effective and safe, you have got to do maritime MOST of the time. That is the point and it does not juat apply to the Pilots, but everyone else in the chain as well, from the Chefs, Engineers, Survival equipment, Ops to ATC staff and the chockheads.
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Old 25th Apr 2012, 20:41   #574 (permalink)
 
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Backwards/ Widger,

Let's not forget that the supervision of flying is provided by FAA on the platforms mentioned above. JFH got away with being provided with a Cdr (Air) and Cdr (Air Engineering) who relied on type specific advice from the embarked unit. Ocean had an aviator in command and a JHC Cdr (Air) for Ellamy. AAC embarked a SO1 'duty holder'. For a two line programme.

This simply won't wash with a CV deck.

The AAC embarkation is a perfect example of how a team of dedicated individuals (right down to Apache Maritime Strike arm patches) got themselves into the correct shape to put a pair of aircraft in harm's way. If you read their OC's response to being awarded a QCVS you will see that it was no short term thing. It took a real effort. Without breaking a sweat, I can think of at least one evening when one of the aircraft almost went swimming and there were issues with spotting and armament that the squadron and ship's team worked through.

So in summary. If you have a team that is keen as mustard on both sides of the fence and are prepared to work your nuts off for quite a long time to provide a small scale flying programme you can make it work.

If you want an integrated capability that's ready at the drop of a hat in an assured manner you need investment and supervision.

I for one would rather we ditched the ridiculous thinking that Joint means sharing everything and went for a Joint which brought our strengths together. RN should man, maintain and command the rebranded Carrier Combat Aircraft offering them up to the ACC in time of war just like the USN does. The RAF should do the same for the Stealthy Strike Aircraft. But we should combine the support facilities and co-locate the base. They could even train together just in case.

But serving on the wrong services' squadrons, swapping jets, reporting on other services' officers, RN unable to effect its own squadron's programme, Naval squadron with embarked jets on a RN CVS ordered to stop flying by High Wycombe? All wrong in my opinion.

But I fear a previous poster is correct. If you own the jets..you hold every ace in the pack.
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Old 25th Apr 2012, 23:10   #575 (permalink)
 
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Widger I don't think that you can say the way Harrier was operated from "carriers" would be the way that F35 would be from the QE class. The huge difference is that the Harrier GR was thrown in late on in life - with F35 it can be planned from the start. Everyone can go to F35 with an understanding of what is required from them, fundamentally different to some guy who "didn't sign up to be on a bloody boat".

At the end of the day there needs to be an assessment (I really don't want to call it a TNA) and the secret is to find the right balance of what has been done before and what new technology enables. This would then drive how much time is needed on board, in the sim or on a dummy deck etc. You then flex this depending on defence need - if we need aircraft in afghan for another 15 years then you lean carrier training as much as possible. If we are going to the Falklands which has been taken because everyone was drunk on Friday night, then you major on carrier ops (or lots and lots of tanking!).

My personal opinion is that the RN will simply have the attitude that they are Naval Power assets and should be on the carrier whatever and will be extremely reticent to let them go elsewhere. I have seen this attitude again and again with the RN - they are extremely protectionist. By contrast the RAF will simply look how best to employ Air Power in a given situation. But I am sure you will disagree.
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Old 26th Apr 2012, 00:08   #576 (permalink)
 
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Backwards,

I am with you to what you will probably think a surprising degree. I think the RN has in the past been devoid of imagination and wit when designing the training schedule for their aircraft and the crab ones they hosted. I think they have been keen to have jets on the deck to the detriment of training opportunities.

The other side of tthe coin is that the RAF, or personalities within it (in the JFH case) were sea shy, thought that no good could possibly come from being embarked and assumed that the jets would be locked in a hangar whilst their air and ground crew would be forced to sing shanties all day long.

There is of course a lovely middle ground occupied by those of both cloths. Sadly in my experience the inhabitants were all Cdrs/ Wg Cdrs and below.
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Old 26th Apr 2012, 00:09   #577 (permalink)
 
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A weapon system or a cruise ship?

Please correct me if I’m wrong but an aircraft carrier by itself is of very little military value; in fact the two QE ships have only a very limited defence armament and no protective armour (both items ditched to cut costs) so have in themselves no deterrent or other military value. What converts these two potential white elephants into potent weapon systems of the first order is the range and capability of their air wing. So most of the time a carrier is at sea without an effective air wing it is a pretty useless and ineffective military asset.For these ships to have any use other than to provide free cruises in the sun to their very large, expensive and highly trained crews they need a virtually full time air wing, anything else is just playing at carrier strike and the whole project should be binned before UK Defence plc looks any more foolish.

Two final points:

If part-time “tailored air groups” are the future, how come no other navy/air force is queuing up to adopt the concept?

The attitude of the RAF was encapsulated for me when 800NAS were refused permission to put “Royal Navy” on the side of their Harriers.

Please note, these comments relate to the QE and PoW being acquired to be full blown strike carriers; if they are to be the world’s largest and most expensive commando or helicopter carriers then that’s fine!!!

Last edited by 163627; 26th Apr 2012 at 00:22. Reason: spelling error
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Old 26th Apr 2012, 00:14   #578 (permalink)
 
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Sadly old chap 800 didn't have any Harriers. It maintained and flew those Harriers allocated to it by the Harrier role office at 1 Group which became HEPC (which stands for something I can't remember).

AOC 1 Group owned all the Harriers, the RN owned none.

I personally think this is sad. I think the fact that it'll be exactly the same with JCA is even sadder.
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Old 26th Apr 2012, 09:29   #579 (permalink)
 
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Please correct me if I’m wrong but an aircraft carrier by itself is of very little military value;
It all depends on what is defined as 'military value'

An aircraft carrier will have a state of the art Command and Control suite, it will carry officers from the Army who will offer specialist knowledge within their area of expertise. It will or should carry a detachment of Royal Marines, plus of course it has its own Royal Navy sailors who in times of need will wear MANY uniforms.

The exploits of one carrier in one commission.
Spain shut off fresh water supplies to Gibraltar and that island had problems with its water supply. The carrier docked, produced water for the island plus its engineers help fixed the island's equipment.

An ocean liner caught fire hundreds of miles out to sea, that very same carrier was one of the first ships to offer assistance. The medical staff worked around the clock to carry out numerous operations and first aid, plus sadly those passengers that died were interned in suitable locations.

Then on to Aden to embark more Royal Marines to offer assistance to an island whose army had mutinied against its British officers (yes helicopters were used to land the Royal Marines but no fast jet activity)

An aircraft carrier is a huge projection of military might whose deterrent value should never be underestimated.

The sailors of the carrier will help sort out the distillation plant on Gibraltar, they helped rescue the survivors from that blazing cruise ship., offered medical attention to the injured and sadly recovered the dead. They also went ashore in Tanganyika not just to help quell that mutiny but also to repair damaged buildings to help patrol the streets whilst there was still unrest.

Were these examples 'one offs'? I very much doubt it as there will always be calls to the British Government for help, assistance or aid and this is quite simply what the Royal Navy does.... Week in, week out, no fuss, no medals, no recognition and no publicity.

To highlight this here is another example:
Whilst serving on a very small destroyer at the request of the Secretary of State for the Colonies we were diverted to the Seychelles where law and order had completely broken down and 'jolly jack' was once more expected to put on a different uniform and not just restore law and order, but get the island back onto an even keel.

A Navy electrician might be fixing a fuse one day, quelling a riot the next and then the following day be in a local school playing with children who cannot speak a word of English. an aircraft carrier will offer far, far more expertise plus of course equipment. Our destroyer had NO doctor and very limited medical supplies, but that did not stop us from dealing with a host of ailments whilst we were ashore on that beautiful island.

I always end up asking myself if the RAF really understand what the Royal Navy does when deployed overseas. I have given a few examples of my own personal experiences but we are also ambassadors, we go to foreign ports where we show those countries the very best of what our country has to offer and the carrier again will always lead the way in that regard. A modern carrier with state of the art aircraft will shout louder than mere words

I guess I had now better take cover and prepare for the 'incoming'
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Old 26th Apr 2012, 13:30   #580 (permalink)
 
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LO,

Thanks for the reply, and I hope your trip back to childhood was a pleasant one - although your reference was a touch obscure for me. Care to explain?

I'm interested by your comments on F-35 - what is the 'IPP flamethrower' issue you refer to? Happy to add some facts if you like (it's less hot and slower than the Super Hornet's, for instance), but PM me if you want some gen. I agree with yr suggestion for the A gun, better to go for the podded system. Saves weight and fuel.

Actually, they started with a 27mm Mauser, then dropped it for a US Gatling design. The 25mm round it uses is a standard NATO one, and more easily available (and a tenth the cost) of the 27mm Mauser item. But when has non-standard ammo ever stopped the pilots going out and buying the kit they want?

And on contractors' performance? See my previous posts. It's a free country, say what you like, where you like, when you like. Just don't get bent out of shape if someone asks you one day to see if you can do any better.

Best regards as ever

Engines
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