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Old 13th May 2012, 21:41   #821 (permalink)
 
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Engines,

I still believe that it was too much to ask JFH to maintain the required CVS promise whilst conducting HERRICK. To be assured otherwise, though noble by virtue of ambition alone, was sadly never going to be born out in reality because manning the OP became the focus for 5 years. Post-HERRICK there was a real appetite and drive to regenerate the less-focused skills and quals.

Back to the thread though...
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Old 13th May 2012, 21:45   #822 (permalink)
 
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SammySu,

Thank you for making a vital point that my own deficient posts missed. The effort at SO1 and below to (both cloths) make JFH work were massive, and my respect for my RAF counterparts grew every day I spent at Strike. The 'failure' of JFH was not down to those individuals, and I am sincerely sorry if my post came over like that.

Sadly, there was a concerted effort at RAF 1 star and above to make maritime aviation a non-capability. This led, I believe, to a decline in basic competencies and currencies - on the deck and in the ship as much as in the cockpit.

Best Regards

Engines
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Old 13th May 2012, 21:49   #823 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
...BAES was the reason for inflating the price of the modification of the carriers. This would be because BAES wanted to keep us in the market for the B model...
Courtney

Spot on as usual. They have just spent £150m on expanding a new factory to build JSF and also RR have investment in the lift fan tech - so I get more than a sniff of a whiff of corporate skullduggery. There is certainly no love lost between the coalition and the defence companies after MRA4. I believe there are just 2000 jobs at risk for JSF which is peanuts - give them each a £200k severence and that would soak up just £400m that we have supposedly wasted and we could have what we need in 2020ish. This has to be protectionism at the expense of defence capability (again!); and as usual the losers are those that have to do the best they can with the uber-expensive crap tools that our defence companies have sold us...

Grrrr

LJ
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Old 13th May 2012, 21:53   #824 (permalink)
 
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Another important point is that JFH was founded pre-9/11. The idea of a decade of combat operations with CAS requirements was not exactly on anyone's mind at the time.
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Old 13th May 2012, 22:38   #825 (permalink)
 
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LO,

Shack!
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Old 14th May 2012, 08:00   #826 (permalink)
 
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On the day of the announcement 1SL stood in front of all RN officers and said he didn't care who flew off the carriers, the important thing was that we were getting the carriers. That was the betrayal right then and there.

And that perfectly exhibits the RN side of the problem and why it is important that any JF Dave has a substantial FAA manning. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any Foos that have got beyond 2-star in the last ten-fifteen years. There needs to be sufficient suitable bods to get maritime aviation experience up to CINCFLEET (or whatever it's now called) and 1 SL. Not exclusively and not all the time, but at least enough to be current.

AFAIK the most senior FAA bod is a 2 star and about to retire, despite having a fairly spectacular background in both command and staff jobs.

Maybe something along the US lines where you don't usually get to drive the ship unless you've got a set of wings might help. Doesn't mean all MCC are FAA, just gives a bit more balance.
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Old 14th May 2012, 08:34   #827 (permalink)
 
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Engines

Yet again I have to dispute your "facts" about JFH.

First to blame the RAF entirely for the demise of SHar is simply not true. It required an extensive mid life update (lots of cash) to keep it going and the RN were happy to lose it.

Second you again gloss over the RN's inability to properly man JFH - hence why there were more RAF sqns than RN. To complain that it is because the RAF demanded a couple more QFIs is in itself telling.

More generally, the dark blue complaint on here that the RAF (JFH) did not fully support carrier capability from 2004 ish onwards shows exactly why there needs to be an RAF input into carrier strike. I don't know if you recall but there was a bit of fighting in the middle east and the need was for land based CAS, not carriers. I am sorry if that is inconvenient but Air power was sent where it was needed, we can't afford to do everything, we aren't the USA.

To be honest I am surprised I haven't heard it suggested that Afghanistan was an RAF driven war to try to disprove carrier air. Some around here need to put their tinfoil hats on and knock that large chip off their shoulder.

End Rant.
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Old 14th May 2012, 09:32   #828 (permalink)
 
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Backwards,

Thanks for your points and happy to respond.

The demise of the Shar was driven by lack of funds sure enough - but that in turn was driven by massive cost increases for the GR9 upgrade (over four fold, due to attempts in MoD to get it done through the back door using unrealistic cost estimates). I have posted before that the RN hierarchy's decision to support the RAF savings measure to can SHAR was, in my view, a huge error. In any case, they most certainly weren't 'happy'.

The RN had real challenges in manning JFH, and in other posts I've pointed out that the RAF had a more professional and thorough approach to manning, training and the role of the OCU. That was helping address those issues. But I have hard information that the RN was ready and able to stand up the second front line unit.

For the record, the reason it didn't stand up was an eleventh hour (very nearly literally at the last minute) decision by RAF senior officers to veto formation of the unit without RN QFIs being appointed to it. They knew full well that generating 'one or two' QFIs at such short notice was an impossibility.

I absolutely accept that the UK could not, and cannot, 'do everything'. I also absolutely accept that there was a huge focus on Afghan ops. But the RAF had taken on responsibility for maritime air, which was a capability declared to the UK Government and to NATO. If the RAF could not maintain the two areas, the honest thing to do was to go to the MoD and say 'JFH needs to can ship ops for period x', and get that agreed and approved. That didn't happen.

I'm really sorry if you think I wear a tinfoil hat. I'm really, really sorry if you think I'd start pinning a war on the RAF. I always take care to pay tribute to the RAF's professional and effective land based air operations, especially the people involved.

Best Regards as ever to all those of all cloths doing the job,

Engines
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Old 14th May 2012, 09:41   #829 (permalink)
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DefenseNews: France: U.K. F-35 Pick Could Reduce Naval Cooperation

PARIS — France regretted the prospect of reduced cooperation with the British fleet air arm following London’s selection of the F-35B short-takeoff, vertical-landing version of the Joint Strike Fighter, and hoped collaboration would continue, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

“We’ve taken note of the United Kingdom’s decision to choose the F-35B vertical-takeoff fighter plane, to the detriment of the F-35C catapult takeoff plane,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said May 11. “This decision may limit our cooperation in naval aviation, which we regret. We trust that this decision, which the British government says is based on budgetary constraints, will not call our cooperation in the naval aviation sector into question,” Valero said.

Naval aviation was one of many elements of collaboration, and close cooperation will continue between London and Paris, French officials said.

The French reaction came after an announcement the day before by British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond of a planned order of the F-35B over the conventional C model for the Royal Navy’s two new carriers, in an effort to avoid high costs and long delays. Fitting the U.S.-made catapults and arrestor gear for one carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, would cost 2 billion pounds ($3.2 billion), double the amount needed to fit the ship out to accommodate the F-35B short-takeoff variant.

London had previously decided to ship the F-35C, opening up the prospects of cross-deck operations with the French Navy, which operates Rafale and Super Etendard fighters off the carrier Charles de Gaulle. The British F-35B can land on the French carrier, but the Royal Navy ships will lack the catapults and arrestors to operate the Rafales and Super Etendard.

In France, the British U-turn drew wide press coverage, headlining a missed chance for interoperability between the two fleet air arms. The afternoon daily Le Monde gave full-page coverage to the F-35 fighter program, and quoted from point 9 of the 2010 Lancaster House defense cooperation treaty, which referred to the capability to deploy an integrated Anglo-French naval aviation attack force.

For the French Navy, a British carrier offering cross-deck operations held out the hope of flying a handful of Rafale fighters from the HMS Prince of Wales while the Charles de Gaulle went into dry dock for its periodic six-month overhaul. And closer cooperation with a British carrier force would have balanced the close ties with the U.S. Navy, where French Navy pilots are sent for carrier training.

One of the questions hanging over cross-deck flights was whether the British Navy F-35C would have been too heavy to land on the Charles de Gaulle. Now, that question seems purely academic.
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Old 14th May 2012, 09:46   #830 (permalink)
 
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Backwards, I think you have just identified the truly expeditionary nature of the Royal Air Force strike role in 2004. In which whole Groups could forward deploy en masse with all of the wonderjets to do the job.

I take no pride in pointing out the forward deployed nature of the 2011 air campaign against forces in Libya, as has been said before.

At least now we can take comfort that apart from the green air force, everything else loves a lot of tarmac, with all the facilities that go with it.
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Old 14th May 2012, 09:52   #831 (permalink)
 
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France regretted the prospect of reduced cooperation with the British fleet air arm
Right.

Maybe the French should upgrade their carrier to support the F-35C so they actually would have something to offer in this agreement.

A far more viable, cheaper, option would be to give them one of the carriers and a half a dozen F-35B's. Although they wouldn't like that as it would interfere with their Rafale sales campaign.

Last edited by peter we; 14th May 2012 at 09:54.
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Old 14th May 2012, 10:28   #832 (permalink)
 
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Not a B,

Quote:
AFAIK the most senior FAA bod is a 2 star and about to retire, despite having a fairly spectacular background in both command and staff jobs.
The current Fleet Commander (new title for CinCFleet) is a 4* aviator (and will be 1SL later this year), there are currently 2x3* aviators and about 3x2*s aviators in the RN. Never has the RN/FAA been better placed to influence the "Competent Authority" debate.

Backwards,

Quote:
Second you again gloss over the RN's inability to properly man JFH
No glossing over by Engines. The RAF senior bods ran an active campaign to slow down and reduce the throughput of RN FJ aircrew. This included cancelling the opportunity for non-direct single seat graduates from Valley to go into the Tornado programme for one tour prior to Harrier conversion and a pitifully slow training regime in 20R (the same is happening at Benson - rumoured 15 months to convert FL crews to Merlin???). The QFI rule was imposed to prevent the formation of 801 Sqn despite the protestations of 1SL at the time. AOC 1Gp and others tried to prevent the term "Naval Strike Wing" being used.

RAF junior officers (SO1 and below) need to realise what their bosses are doing in their name - it is an appalling abuse of power and certainly not in the interest of Joint harmony. The RN have an extremely valid case to run the maritime Strike capability but they are being prevented from doing so by an overprotective and vindictive Air Force.

Last edited by Bismark; 14th May 2012 at 10:29.
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Old 14th May 2012, 11:04   #833 (permalink)
 
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Bismark

Happy to be corrected and very glad to hear it. However, it's too late to rectify the alleged quote from 1SL though, which is what I was trying to get at.
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Old 14th May 2012, 12:16   #834 (permalink)
 
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We all know that if we want the F-35B to act as an EXTREMELY expensive tanker, we have to pay the bill for all the research, development, conversion etc. Has anyone considered how much this would cost and would it even be viable?

The carrier is there to operate where our light blue brothers cannot reach which rules out using their excellent tanking capability so what is this man talking about?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir David Richards
Whilst it is true that the Carrier Variant offered greater range, this is not a crucial advantage – given our major investment in air-to-air refuelling – when weighed against the greater time to bring it into service, and the increasing cost. The balance has tipped back in favour of STOVL, which has distinct advantages of its own, such as versatility and agility.
I accept the Royal Navy has Admirals that have Fleet Air Arm experience, but is that STOVL or conventional carrier experience and to me there will always be a World of difference and where do they stand regarding this decision?

Witter time (Too much pain with too much time on my hands)
My thoughts are the Royal Navy has gone far beyond 'over-stretch' and it is now performing a 'fire brigade' service of attempting to get the right ship to the right location at the right time and that is simply not good enough. We allegedly do not have a Royal Navy warship taking part in anti-piracy patrols off the coast of Somalia? No warship deployed as West Indies guard-ship and the list goes on and on, so can we afford the two carriers and do we have the sailors to man both vessels?

I lean toward all fast jet aircraft being capable of operating from carriers with two year squadron attachments to the warship as part of the duties of these pilots and the maintenance staff required to look after them. Close down a number of RAF airfields to help fund this concept and then ensure we always have one carrier deployed wherever it is most needed. If pilots don't like the thought of going to sea, then fine, don't volunteer for fast jet flying.

If all aircraft are capable of carrier operations then those deployed on Herrick would be deployed from the shore based squadrons leaving the carrier borne aircraft to carry out their sea borne role. One service with the responsibility of fast jet operation and clearly they would need to work hand in glove with their multi engined counter parts with none of the silly inter service bickering.
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Old 14th May 2012, 14:14   #835 (permalink)
 
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F35B vs C

Maybe just a detail, but just like the C version had problems with the Arrestor hook, which for now still need a solution, I recall clearly that even earlier on there where serious doubts about the B versions frontwheel rigidity to withstand the substantial harder loads when used with a (up to 13°)ski-jump ramp.

IIRC up until today it still needs to launch from such a ramp, be it as a test on land or on sea on an existing platform, let alone @ MTOW.

There still remains the very likely possibility that a beefed up front gear is necessary , eating even further in the already very narrow weight margins, more specifically forward of the CoG.

Last edited by kbrockman; 14th May 2012 at 14:26.
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Old 14th May 2012, 14:30   #836 (permalink)
 
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Glojo,

Whatever it is you are smoking, pass it round!

There is little connection re the carriers and the escort numbers in terms of UK funding. If we did not have the carriers then we would still only have 19 frigates/destroyers, if that number. Certainly, without CVF you do not need the T45 (well maybe 2-3 max to protect the amphibs).

To me CVF and the amphibious case go hand-in-hand and both are about projecting power from the sea base (ie no host nation required - always the thing that limits political choice) - and this is why the RN will be happy with the B version. And, quite honestly, why it has to "own" both capabilities.
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Old 14th May 2012, 14:37   #837 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
I recall clearly that even earlier on there where serious doubts about the B versions frontwheel rigidity to withstand the substantial harder loads when used with a (up to 13°)ski-jump ramp.
i don't think there is any problem with the strength of the frontwheel.

Quote:
IIRC up until today it still needs to launch from such a ramp, be it as a test on land or on sea on an existing platform, let alone @ MTOW.
Have they even started serious testing with the ramp? certainly most hundreds of flights have NOT been with it.

Quote:
There still remains the very likely possibility that a beefed up front gear is necessary , eating even further in the already very narrow weight margins, more specifically forward of the CoG
Got a link?

Quote:
We all know that if we want the F-35B to act as an EXTREMELY expensive tanker, we have to pay the bill for all the research, development, conversion etc. Has anyone considered how much this would cost and would it even be viable?
Israel is going to be investigating this. I doubt its going to be necessary with the STOL removing the emergency requirement for tanking. If Israel helps pay for drop tanks then range probably won't be much of an issue either. Then long deck and ski ramp should give plenty of extra weight capacity to carry more fuel and whatever else.

Last edited by peter we; 14th May 2012 at 14:43.
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Old 14th May 2012, 14:53   #838 (permalink)
 
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USMC F-35 don't need ramps and won't. There's video of F-35 getting airborne without a ramp off LHD too. Ours don't either but it gives added safety margin and/or increased MTOW.
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Old 14th May 2012, 15:17   #839 (permalink)
 
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ICBM and Others,

Perhaps I can help on F-35B ramp aspects here.

There were no indications a few years back that the F-35B front leg needed strengthening. It's a JORD requirement for the aircraft to carry out a ramp launch, and the initial design was driven by ramp launch analyses. Of course, tests at Pax will be needed - they were certainly planning to build a test ramp a few years back. In the unlikely event that they did need to beef it up, I think it's most unlikely that it would not be allowed to impact bring back.

It's my view that the UK will need a ramp, and it would be very strange if we didn't use one. A ramp gives significant increases in MTOW (very significant) at reduced deck runs. It also delivers increased safety margins (in terms of time available for reaction to emergencies) at the same time. As I was told by one experienced TP 'knowing you're always going to leave the deck going upwards is a real plus'. Actual angles will come out of the tests, but I'd expect something less than 13 degrees.

Best regards

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Old 14th May 2012, 15:19   #840 (permalink)
 
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Yes there are Videos of two F35B's flying off USS Wasp, my concern is that the pictures of their take off showed them using the full length of the deck to take off from with a very light load.
What we don't want to happen is that any more weight gets built into the Bs as regards the front wheel, it was designed for vertical landing and if the RN for very good reasons needs to to rolling landings is it up to it or for rolling landings to be safe does the B need a similar set up to the C, double wheel etc? Making any British B's different from any USMC B's...
Using rolling landings as I understand it makes use of a rather different skill set to plain vertical landings, more akin to classic carrier landings I would have thought.
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