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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

Old 8th Aug 2008, 01:13
  #1921 (permalink)  
 
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Maybe you fellows take Bill Sweetman's writing a bit too seriously.

Compare this sentence: "Commonality has diminished during the development of JSF. " to this pronouncement, emitted in 1995: "At the inception of the JSF program, in 1995, then-project director George Muellner described the aircraft ( aircraft in the singular -- Elmo) as “70% air-to-ground, 30% air-to-air.” Repeat, year 1995.


"... The F-35 is not optimized for air-to-air combat. JSF is neither fast nor agile enough to choose whether to shoot or scoot against an adversary like the Su-30. ..." Can you cite any evidence for that, Bill? Are you referring to to the conventional takeoff model, the USN version, the STOVL F-35, or all three? Remember, commonality has diminished.

Furthermore, Bill, you persist in implicitly defining air-to-air combat as dosgfighting. That's not the whole picture.

My comments tonight:

(1) All three versions of the F-35 will go into production.

(2) Some of the USN F-35's will have back seats for NFO's. So single engine, two seats for some.

(3) The STOVL version will be as good a STOVL fighter as anyone can make in the early 21st century.

(4) In spite of (3), it is a mistake to center Britains' aircraft carrier program on this one type of warplane with no competitor in its category.

(5) I 'm not sure that aircraft carriers are the UK's top military hardware priority, whether or not the proposed aircraft carriers have catapults and arrester gear.
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Old 8th Aug 2008, 04:16
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Trust us, we are the experts, hey SSSETOWTF?
So one guy tried it once without putting very much thought into it and it didn't work so we should never ever re-evaluate the idea? Do you not give any of the dozens and dozens of very smart scientists and engineers that are looking at SRVL any credit at all? Do you think they might have considered the odd failure case and assumed the deck will be wet, covered in fuel, and pitching in sea state 6 etc? Or do you think they plucked the number 35kts out of their collective backside?
Here's how Bill Sweetman put it last year.Ares: A Defense Technology Blog: F-35B Challenges
Some observers, however, have pointed out that SRVL has inherent risks. How fast "rolling" might be is not clear, but on take-off the F-35B is going more than 80 knots before it gets enough wing lift to make a difference. The Royal Navy's new carriers will not be fast ships, so the 15-ton JSF would probably be touching down with 40 knots or more of relative velocity, nose-up to generate lift, with the engine winding down, and with only the wheel brakes to stop. Any problems, and there is no chance of a traditional carrier-type "bolter" – that it, shooting off the front of the deck at full power and trying again – because the thrust is pointing the wrong way.
the SRVL project is part of "intensive program action" to meet the F-35B's bring-back weight goal, which is "at risk" because of "weight challenges and propulsion system integration issues"....
...All the easy (and even moderately difficult) ways to cut weight out of the F-35B have been done in the course of fixing the 2004 weight gain. Fuel reserves on landing have been pared to a minimum. The engine is giving its best – at service entry, the stress of vertical landings will already reduce the engine's life. Moreover, running the jet hotter is not an easy option. The JSF is a stealthy aircraft and consequently dumps a minimum of heat overboard, in order to reduce its infra-red signature. Instead, it uses its fuel as a heat-sink (as the F-22 does) but reducing the fuel reserve means that there's less cooling capacity. Hence the interest in SRVL
Now a couple of post back.
The big problem with PCB is / was the terrific heat & erosion to whatever surface the aircraft was operating from.
Which makes me wonder, no chance that terrific heat & erosion might also be an issue with SRVL is there? But that wouldn't really be a BAE problem, unless they were involved with building the carriers, I suppose

Now Elmo says
3) The STOVL version will be as good a STOVL fighter as anyone can make in the early 21st century.
(4) In spite of (3), it is a mistake to center Britains' aircraft carrier program on this one type of warplane with no competitor in its category.
Come on now, isn't STOVL JSF just an excuse to give BAE another little job creation work package?

Shades of the Spey Phanton hey? I seem to recall that went a 'little' over as well.

Last edited by Jetex Jim; 8th Aug 2008 at 04:34.
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Old 8th Aug 2008, 05:02
  #1923 (permalink)  
 
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Remembering the Spey Phantom
tornadoken writes that the Spey Phantom was predicated by the ‘Bolter’ performance of the Phantom, (Bolter – missed arrester wire go-around). The decks of HMS Eagle and HMS Ark Royal being smaller than the US carriers that the USN were operating Phantoms from. (In fact USN F4s were flown on and off the 1970 era Ark Royal). However it does appear that the F-4C would have been compatible with the larger CVA01 class, but these boats were cancelled, estimated cost at time of cancellation £100m each.

52 F4K were ordered, for Ark Royal and for Eagle. In the event only the Ark got the F4K, the rest of the navy order went straight to equip 43 Squadron at Leuchars.

Cost of std, F4 say £1.2m apiece, Spey Phantom £3m each.
52 Std model at £3m minus 52 at £1.2m (156 –62.4 = 93.6) the UK paid £93.6m more for 52 Spey F4K

Just a little short of the CVA01 cost.

If we take in to account the 1965 Defence White paper which states that the RAF Phantoms were to be swing role and would operate from land and the RN carriers!!!
See: http://navy-matters.beedall.com/cva01.htm

For the same numbers with the F4M we see for: 118 aircraft 354-141.6 = 212
UK paid £212m extra for its 118 Spey F4M. Or two more carriers and lots of ship yard jobs.

So has the UK aircraft industry been feather bedded by government defence spending (at the expense of other areas) or what?
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Old 8th Aug 2008, 16:53
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Jetex,

Last time I checked Bill Sweetman was a journalist / aviation author (and usually known for writing mass-market trite of little technical rigour - in my opinion), not an engineer, scientist or test pilot involved in the F-35 programme.

His figure for the speed at which wing lift will make a difference is woefully wrong, his assumption of touch down speed is wrong, his assumptions of the touchdown conditions are wrong, but he did manage to guess right that you'll have brakes to stop you with. Given his great knowledge and expertees, he doesn't say why someone would ever want or need to bolter - I'd be interested to hear what they are (how many Harrier mates have ever had to 'bolter' from an RVL, and if so, why?).

SRVL is still a UK only investigation/development, so you'd be hard-pushed to call 'intensive program action'. You point-blank can't SRVL onto an LHD/LHA as the deck's too small.

He must be very smart though to figure out that running an engine at or near full power will reduce the engine life. You can safely say that about any engine for goodness sakes. Clearly though this will be news to Pratt & Whitney and they won't have thought of it. Oh hang on, I think they might have designed an engine or two before. They might have even read the specification that they're designing the F135 to that requires thousands of hours of engine life.

I give up though, in future I concur that we should let Bill Sweetman and the PPrune cynics club design our airplanes, engines and operating procedures as they know best.

Toodle pip,
Single Seat, Single Engine, The Only Way To Fly

Last edited by SSSETOWTF; 8th Aug 2008 at 17:07.
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Old 8th Aug 2008, 17:27
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" we might as well have the pprune cynics have a go at designing "( JSF Carrier type ) .

Please, Jetex Jim, can I have a go ?!

P1216; Offered in several versions, inc twin tailboom & F-35 style aft nozzle, + shutters instead of draggy forward nozzles; forward swept wings & possibly internal weapon carriage were also suggested, and 'do-able' - bugger stealth, increasingly stealthy & intelligent cruise missiles can do '1st day' then one would turn up with a world class fighter, I would think well able to give the Typhoon a run for it's money - well, you asked...
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Old 8th Aug 2008, 18:38
  #1926 (permalink)  
 
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SSSETOWTF

Mr Sweetman is clearly not on your Xmas card list, but he does make the valid point that once you hit the deck, you'd better wind down the thrust sharpish and hit the brakes - which leaves you nowhere to go in the event of "something" going awry. Not good on a shortish land field, a bit tricky one might surmise on a 250m-ish (or less depending on glideslope and whether you get to use the full deck length) narrow deck stuffed with armed and fuelled a/c in very close proximity.

I don't think anyone disagrees that RVL as a technique can increase bringback on Dave B. The question is whether it can be used operationally, with substantial recoveries. One would suspect that using the technique might increase the recovery interval, meaning more a/c in the pattern for longer, with consequent impact on fuel margins etc (negating bringback benefit?) Although its only "supposed" to be used in extremes - the place where those extremes occur is just where one is likely to want to use CVF + Dave and all the bells and whistles.

The thing that is worrying is the almost unseemly manner in which the RVL trials are being thought of as "the fix", rather than a promising experimental technique.
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Old 8th Aug 2008, 19:04
  #1927 (permalink)  
 
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NaB............

............ yes a very valid point indeed.

No point regurgitating the arguments as we all would be pointed to a certain thread (again) but this ac is turning into a pile of poo by the minute!

Those aircraft supplied to the UK will NEVER be a match operationally to their American brethren.

The best bit is those building it will never have to fly it onto a deck, those here supporting it will never have to fail in their mission to support their fellow sailors/marines!!

BIN IT!!
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Old 8th Aug 2008, 19:25
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Not a boffin,

I've got nothing personal against Mr Sweetman, and have a number of his books. But in the same way that I cringe every time John Nichols is wheeled out as an 'aviation expert', I'm afraid my natural inclination is to take Mr Sweetman's utterings with a large sack of salt. He does not work anywhere near the coal face where hard facts and findings are known about.

But my question still stands - what is this hypothetical 'something' that's going to make you want to bolter? If you have a hydraulic or brake issue then you'll jettison whatever you need to and get to VL weight. In 10 years of flying Harriers I don't recall ever hearing of someone 'boltering' an RVL, and that's with a 50kt+ groundspeed touchdown (roughly twice the energy of a 35kt touchdown). About the only thing that I can think of would be an instantaneous catastrophic failure of both brakes at the moment of touchdown. And the risk of that is probably down well below the 10E-6 threshold that we lose sleep over.

I'm not sure that I see the difference between what's a fix and what's a promising experimental technique. If SRVL can be shown to work safely and without any other operational limitations (such as the ATC one you mention - don't know anything about that I'm afraid) then it can't be a bad thing. But it is only one string of the bow. We might yet be able to get P&W to give us more thrust from the F135, the F136 is very promising about being able to generate a lot more thrust, more weight might be trimmed from the aircraft etc. There are a lot of what-ifs and mights, but that's what happens when you're in the very early stages of flight testing a 5th generation aircraft.

It's rather frustrating though when you are relatively close to the programme to see ill-informed comment from the likes of Sweetman forecasting nothing but doom and gloom, based on nothing more than a journo's mood that day, or who bought him lunch - even more so when other people then start quoting it as gospel.

glad rag,

Don't know what you're smoking old chum, but what other military aircraft in history has been flown by the people that built it? It's quite the norm for pilots to fly aircraft and engineers to build them. And I really don't follow your logical leap from a discussion about a technique to land a heavy aircraft on a carrier to a question of operational effectiveness for an AESA-equipped, extremely stealthy weapon system. Can you fill in the gap a bit for me?

I note though that you've conducted an in-depth analysis of 21st century surface-air and air-air threats and compared the detectability of a wide selection of modern air platforms to the relevant emitter frequencies and concluded that the best way for us to provide air support to our sailors and marines is to bin F-35. What are you proposing instead? Nothing? Prayers? Or smoking drugs for everyone?

Regards,
Single Seat, Single Engine, The Only Way To Fly

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Old 9th Aug 2008, 05:19
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Originally Posted by glad rag
........... yes a very valid point indeed.

No point regurgitating the arguments as we all would be pointed to a certain thread (again) but this ac is turning into a pile of poo by the minute!

Those aircraft supplied to the UK will NEVER be a match operationally to their American brethren.

The best bit is those building it will never have to fly it onto a deck, those here supporting it will never have to fail in their mission to support their fellow sailors/marines!!

BIN IT!!

What are you smoking?

The USMC will CERTAINLY fly the F-35B onto and off of smaller flat-decked ships than the RN will... without a ski ramp, too! Don't they count?


The RN/RAF's F-35Bs will be just as capable as those the USMC will get... and be full stealth... that is already guaranteed to the UK.

Just why will " Those aircraft supplied to the UK will NEVER be a match operationally to their American brethren"?

Got any FACTS... or just uninformed hysterical ranting?
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Old 9th Aug 2008, 07:19
  #1930 (permalink)  
 
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SSSETOWTF

The "something" is not what makes you want to bolter. The something (burst tyre, single brake failure, skid on slick where the camrex has worn off) when moving with albeit relatively low speed is what makes you hit fuelled and armed aircraft in close proximity. The point about RVL is that you're in a box with nowhere to go once committed. Pure VL relative velocities are so low that its containable, trap recoveries allow you to bolter in the event of missing the wire, hook strike or foul deck because you maintain rpm and don't use the aircraft brakes.

Rolling is something different - you are committed, you are dependent on the aircraft systems to counter the momentum and if they don't there'll be a spot of bother. As a by-product, assuming the recovery area is purely axial, you're b8ggering up the deck design by essentially removing any parking potential back-aft or port quarter.

I agree, the F136 looks good, but then again so do many things at that stage. I just wish that folk would be careful about RVLs before buying the aircraft based purely on "being able to work around" the bringback issue.

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Old 9th Aug 2008, 10:19
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SSSETOWTF; NaB;

Thank-you for a very interesting debate, which I have followed with interest. What impact on parking and sortie rates do we incur by going down the SRVL route? I fully accept that with enough (largely American) cash thrown at it, SRVLs can probably be made to work, but for me the question is one of how much cash and how much capability vs Dave-C does this cost us?

And surely this is the point: even if Dave-B works with SRVLs and all the bells and whistles, it will still carry a smaller warload less far when compared with Dave-C for about the same money. If true, why are we buying Dave-B?

(Note to WEBF: I think that there's more to it than an RAF Bona Mate conspiracy. At least I hope so....)

S41
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Old 9th Aug 2008, 11:26
  #1932 (permalink)  
 
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SSSETOWTF,

Firstly, I think it a shame that you should personally denigrate Sweetman, who I know to be a fellow PPRuNer.

Secondly, I don't think that you should compare Bill Sweetman with John Nichol.

Sweetman does do some mass-market stuff (though describing it as "mass-market trite of little technical rigour" is unfair, in my view), but his work for Jane's (and now Av Week) is at a different and much more impressive level, anyway. And while he may not have the same grasp of the detail on a given programme as a particular programme insider, he does have excellent contacts, and his grasp of the politics and economics of JSF is exemplary. He has armfuls of Aviation Journalist of the Year Trophies, to the extent that the rest of us know that if his name is on the shortlist, it's time for a fixed grin and no need to write an acceptance speech!

To accuse him of writing according to "who bought him lunch" is disgraceful, and utterly wrong - there are few aerospace journos who are as rigorously independent as Bill is, and it's as offensive as suggesting that you have spent too long being brainwashed by your current paymasters, and too long imbibing the Lockmart cool aid. And that would be offensive, as you are clearly an extremely sharp operator, and a decent and honourable chap. I'm too old to have PPRuNe heroes, but both Bill and you are on a very short list of exceptions to that rule. What a pity you two don't have some mutual respect, even if you disagree.

And I say all of that as someone who believes that if we're going to buy a carrier at all, then a STOVL JSF is clearly and irrefutably the best option to equip its air wing. With a 12 FJ squadron RAF, it's utterly essential that those squadrons allocated to the carrier are flexibly available to do other things. The training burden associated with keeping current for cat-and-trap would mean that carrier ops would effectively be a full-time job for these squadrons, and that would effectively mean two fewer RAF FJ units, and four fewer FJ squadrons capable of sharing the routine operational burden.

It's clear that blokes like Dan Robinson are convinced that F-35B will make good, and that it will do what it says on the tin, and I'm not inclined or qualified to contradict him.

But equally, no-one has reassured me that JSF's costs are under control yet, let alone that the UK will know what it's paying, nor exactly what capabilities it will and won't be getting, when it's required to commit to the programme. Even if you accept the bland reassurances we've been given about op sovereignty and ITAR (and there's nowhere near enough detail or unequivocal guarantee to reassure this tax-payer) this has got to be a worry, while the complete lack of a STOVL competitor to F-35B concerns me, too. And neither Tom Burbage nor George Standridge have been able to reassure me on these programme issues, even if the aircraft is 'technically' and operationally compelling.

And I'd congratulate Modern Elmo on his succinct summary of the real objection to JSF and CVF. "(5) I 'm not sure that aircraft carriers are the UK's top military hardware priority, whether or not the proposed aircraft carriers have catapults and arrester gear."
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Old 9th Aug 2008, 13:01
  #1933 (permalink)  
 
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Secondly, I don't think that you should compare Bill Sweetman with John Nichol.
Very unfair to John Nichol.

For all his short-comings he is still someone who actually has hands on experience of modern(ish) air combat and has taken part in an actual shooting war.

Though I do agree, I cringe sometimes when he is wheeled out for Sky News.
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Old 9th Aug 2008, 14:39
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I mean no disrespect to John Nichol, either. He's really very good at what he does, although what he broadcasts isn't really aimed at the likes of me. He's been there and bought the T-shirt (at an exceptionally high price) and I know him to be a very nice bloke indeed, and he is very much more self effacing and modest than I expected.

He and Bill Sweetman do quite different things, and each of them does those things better than I ever could. I don't have Bill's razor sharp mind, and I certainly don't have John's credibility (through having actually done it) nor his telegenic good looks.....
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Old 9th Aug 2008, 17:35
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Not a boffin,

Your points and concerns are entirely reasonable, but a significant body of work has been done (and continues to be done) to analyse every conceivable failure case. I reiterate that the 35kt deck speed has not been plucked out of thin air. SRVL will not be an approved manoeuvre unless a lot of smart people agree that the risk of losing one aircraft, let alone several parked on the deck, is below the acceptable threshold.

Jacko,

You're a gent, sir and thanks for pulling me up on my rant. I made my point badly and while in a state of some frustration at reading too many pages of inaccurate ramblings and arbitrary proclamations about a programme that is very dear to my heart.

As I said, I own several of Mr Sweetman's books, and spent many a happy hour as a kid poring over 'Combat Aircraft of World War II' etc. But I'm afraid I still wouldn't dream of using the Tactics section of his 'Modern Air Combat' as the basis for my tactics in an air-air engagement. It makes fantastic reading for the uninitiated and gives a soupcon of the overall flavour, but it really isn't the sort of thing that a front-line mate would use. And I'm sure it was never intended as such.

I've read a couple of his articles on F-35/JSF, including the one quoted as gospel above, that have made me toss the magazine to one side / click to the next webpage with a wry smile. They do give the uninitiated a flavour of a fraction of what's going on in the programme, but even if they were 100% accurate the moment they were written (and in this particular case I don't see how it can have been), they're out of date by the time the magazine hits the newstand.

Perhaps I've missed some of his articles, or perhaps it's the old adage that 'bad news sells', but I've yet to see Mr Sweetman write anything paricularly positive about the F-35. I'm reknowned amongst my friends for being a negative and cynical person, yet I am regularly amazed by how good this airplane is and the mind-numbing capability it will give us (and I don't think I've drunk the Lockheed coolaid yet). But no one wants to talk about that and it infuriates me. Looking at what we in the RAF have been able to milk out of the Tornado, Jag & GR7/9 platforms in terms of capability, I just don't understand why people want to snipe at the F-35. Even if the programme totally implodes tomorrow and we get 10% of the capability that we thought we were going to get, it'll still make the guys who transition from one of the legacy platform's jaws drop. And it has an awful awful long way to fall before the programme starts to look like Typhoon's.

Apologies to Bill though for the lunch quip - that was too far.

Regards all,
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Old 9th Aug 2008, 18:24
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SSSETOWTF

I'm sure they are looking at every case. Having been involved in the early stages of looking at RVL myself, I don't doubt that the mechanics, engineeing and safety of them are being given a very serious looking at and I can guess exactly where the 35 kts has come from. Lets be in no doubt - RVL is entirely possible as a means to recover a Dave B with the required bringback.

My concern (apart from the other one!) is the apparent lack of similar effort being applied to the deck management issues. Glib comments from either the IPT or DEC along the lines of "we couldn't do it operationally on C de G as its deck is too small, but CVF is much bigger" ignore the reason why CVF is the size it is. The deck is sized for various different packages in various different flypro - there will be precious little "extra" deck space with a full TAG.

The size of recovery will also have an impact on recovery interval, compounded by RVL. If you've got a pure VL recovery, then the interval between them can be relatively compressed - you can even recover multiples "in line" if necessary. Reliance on a longer runway for RVL will actually take some of that flex away and result in a longer recovery for a given number of a/c, hence more fuel required, hence impact on bringback.

With the decision for B vs C looming, this needs to be fully sorted before making the great leap.
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Old 10th Aug 2008, 18:04
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As someone infinitely more qualified than me asked a while ago, through 'proper channels' and getting zero response, how does the F-35B taxy backwards for on deck parking etc - or is that too 'top secret ? ' - all I can see in the meantime is that an extended noseleg / nose high attitude on deck - ground might give the fan a slight forward component -'don't try & stand around marshalling ?!'
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Old 11th Aug 2008, 09:24
  #1938 (permalink)  
 
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Suspect it doesn't. Another reason why the deck is so large to allow taxi to parking slot and "turn-in".
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Old 11th Aug 2008, 15:32
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how does the F-35B taxy backwards for on deck parking etc - or is that too 'top secret ? ' - all I can see in the meantime is that an extended noseleg / nose high attitude on deck - ground might give the fan a slight forward component -'don't try & stand around marshalling ?!'

There are extremely avant-garde technology devices that might help with that. Tow tractors, that might be what people will call 'em.
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Old 11th Aug 2008, 15:45
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Tow tractors, that might be what people will call 'em.
Someone will be around in a minute to invent a more complicated solution that works no better
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