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Jaguar Farewell

Old 29th Apr 2007, 01:10
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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After speaking to a few old friends, it occurs to me that far from ‘over-egging’ the Jaguar pudding, I’ve actually been guilty of under-stating the type’s usefulness.

Training
Quite apart from keeping the cream of the RAF’s Fast Jet force current ‘in role’ – and with some of the capabilities and toys that the Typhoon has, or will be getting – retaining the Jaguar would have had a number of important advantages even if it did not deploy.

The Jaguar has been largely responsible for training Army FACs over the last 18 months, there are insufficient Harriers available and Tornado is ill-suited to this particular task. Whenever the Army need CAS training, the Jaguar is the platform of choice. I understand that the Army has already started to feel the impact of the Jaguar’s sudden withdrawal – since the Jaguar Force has had to pull out of Exercise Neptune Warrior which would have provided operationally vital training for soon-to-deploy FACs who have not yet undertaken any live control of fast jets.

The Army like the Jag, because, as one former Jagmate told me: “They know that we will turn-up and give them a first-class service, and not ring up an hour later to explain that the jets have broken.”

Every hour flown by a Jaguar is an hour that does not have to be flown (at significantly higher cost) by a Harrier or a Tornado. According to figures published in Hansard, a Jaguar is the cheapest RAF FJ to operate, and a Jaguar Squadron’s annual running costs are a fraction of those of other types. And it has to be said that with the increasing intensity of operations, the Harrier in particular is unlikely to make it until its planned OSD (which will almost certainly slip to the right as a result of JSF delays) without major structural work. This will be so costly as to have made retention of the Jaguar look like an absolute bargain.

Operational capabilities
In the light of the “Utterly, Utterly Useless” comments last year, it would seem to me that any platform capable of providing highly discriminatory close air support ought to be worth its weight in gold, even if air-to-ground payloads might be modest. And No.6 is highly proficient in CAS, and highly regarded by the units with which it has trained. All of the No.6 Squadron Jaguar pilots are fully practiced and proficient at both low and high angle strafe, and they fly an aircraft with a proven, operational 30-mm cannon.
The Jaguar can use IDM to get a nine line brief or target co-ordinates in and out of the cockpit reliably, accurately, and at speed, reducing the need for wingmen to be manually typing coordinates into the kit. Meanwhile the combination of the Jaguar’s HMS with the data-link provides a unique capability.

A Jaguar pilot can search for targets of opportunity, targets of unknown location or Time Sensitive Targets and, once found, can instantly generate accurate coordinates with a single stick-top button press using the HMS sightline, i.e. with no need to overfly the target.

These target coordinates can then be transmitted to the rest of the formation, or to a FAC or JSTARS. Wingmen get an alert in the HUD, and can then make two stick top selections to view it on the AMLCD. With one single button press, the wingman can then ‘drop’ the transmitted coordinates into his own INS and simultaneously send an ‘accept’ message back to the leader. Two further stick-top selections bring up steering to the target and weapons aiming cues.

In the recent exercises in the UAE the Jaguars practiced this capability against targets ranging from Toyota Landcruisers to inflatable Scuds and proved able to find a target and strike it (strafe being the attack option of choice – accurate and discriminatory) with four aircraft inside three minutes flat. In more complex terrain or where target identification is more difficult, you can allow an extra minute to permit a voice description of the target and its surrounding features!

Medium-level CAS would typically take upwards of 20 minutes trying to get ‘eyes-on’ to a target, depending upon the terrain and the FAC’s ability to describe the target, and still can for Harrier and Tornado mates. But the Jaguar pilot can simply plug the target coordinates into his kit, follow the HMS cueing and then confirm with the FAC that he is looking at the right target. A former Jag pilot estimated that they were typically ‘hot’ on target in less than five minutes, and that “No one else can do that.”

I believe that no other RAF aircraft could come close to this sort of capability against time sensitive targets – which would seem to be pretty relevant in current theatres! Perhaps some of our Harrier and GR4 brethren here on PPRuNe will confirm my suspicion that only the Jaguar can do this……..

The data-link also gives the Jaguar pilot the real-time positions of the rest of his formation onto his map display, greatly aiding Situational Awareness and target deconfliction.

Keeping pilots current in using these capabilities would seem to me to be of huge potential value for when Typhoon really starts to pick up an air-to-ground capability.

Deployment
And that’s without considering the potential usefulness of the Jaguar in current operations. Many of us have an old fashioned and out of date impression of the Jaguar’s capabilities – based on the pre GR3A standard aircraft and on the old 102 or 104 engine – as though the GR3A did not exist, and as though the 106 engine upgrade had not happened.

As a result, the whole ‘hot and high’ debate has bee littered with ill-informed comment.

The option to send the Jaguars to Kandahar was looked at very seriously before political considerations came to bear. The Harrier Force badly needs some breathing space, and contrary to much of the bollocks being spouted here and elsewhere, the Jaguar could have made a useful contribution in Afghanistan – though if it had done so, it would have been hugely politically embarrassing after the Force had been emasculated and reduced to a single squadron, and it would have made cutting the Jaguar more difficult to justify.

The absence of any radar or air threat in theatre means that the Jaguar would not need to carry overwing missiles in Afghanistan and could dispense with the underwing ALQ-101 ECM pod and Phimat chaff dispenser. (It also renders the obsolesecence of the Jag's RWR and ECM an irrelevance). With two tanks the Jaguar could carry a centerline TIALD or JRP and two CRV7 pods or two 1,000 lb bombs on the outboard underwing pylons, plus 150 rounds of 30-mm HE.

Of course, if the requirement is simply to tote as much iron as possible, the Jaguar is entirely inadequate - but if it's about delivering 'effect' with precision and discrimination, the Jaguar does it better than its rivals, so some of the criticism that's routinely offered is way off base.

The only modifications needed for the Jaguar to operate in Afghanistan were trialled on one aircraft - these involved the carriage of BOL-IR decoys in the overwing launch rails and the provision of a secure radio. The cost of such mods was insignificant because, as a mature platform, the Jaguar could be upgraded quickly and very cheaply without the expensive input of the Design Authority – as the original J96 and J97 upgrades proved.

The Harrier GR.Mk 7’s jaw-dropping STOVL capabilities are impressive, and nothing can beat a Harrier’s short-field performance, but there are ways in which the Jaguar is a MORE deployable aircraft. There have been examples of airfields that the Harrier can’t use (those massive intakes make it something of a FOD hoover) that the Jaguar can, while the Jaguar can deploy quickly and with a tiny logistics footprint.

When No.6 flew its farewell 12-ship formation on Friday, it did so without needing to use either of the reserve jets – and did so without its engineers having to work for weeks to ensure that it happened – that week had begun as just another working week. I'd like to see any other FJ unit put up a 12 ship with as little notice! And as if to prove that such serviceability and availability was not a 'flash in the pan' the Squadron had only recently brought all seven of the aircraft it deployed to the UAE home with zero support. In two consecutive days of three hops the unit returned without leaving jets scattered all over the Mediterranean, and the seven aircraft landed at Coningsby on time and serviceable.

Once the Americans repaired the airfield at Kandahar, the runway length available increased to 10 000 ft. And the bottom line is that that is more than enough for the Jaguar! After looking very carefully at the Jaguar’s performance it was established that the aircraft could take off and accelerate away safely from Kandahar (3,300 ft amsl) even at 45°C (making Kandahar on a hot day equivalent to about 6,000 ft under standard ISA conditions). A Kandahar take-off was actually simulated by climbing straight to 6,000 ft from take-off, slowing down to take-off speed again and selecting the airbrakes out to replicate stores drag. I’m told that the jet accelerated away just fine from this simulated take off.

It was calculated that the aircraft that would be able to take off with two tanks and two 1000lb bombs at temperatures of up to 35° C and could carry two tanks and a pair of CRV7 rocket pods at OATs of up to 45° C. By increasing the engine TGT by 25° C the aircraft could operate at OATs of up to 48 deg C and this was successfully trialled.

The only reason the Jaguar did not deploy to Afghanistan was that to do so would have made it impossible to retire the aircraft prematurely without awkward questions being asked. I find it astonishing, to be honest, that such cynical manipulation by the politicians has not been challenged, and I'm scandalised that certain senior officers have been complicit in the process.

It strikes me that PPRuNe has a particular responsibility to call those people out for this poor decision - or at least not to be complicit in it.
Jackonicko is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2007, 07:01
  #102 (permalink)  
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Well said Jacko ! Its a scandal they were not used in the 'stan. I never believed that hot and high baloney. So another useful asset bites the dust.
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Old 29th Apr 2007, 08:25
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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Jagueat - Hot & High

I flew Jaguars at 1500 ft (not that high) and +45 with 2 tanks and 4 x 1000 bombs, albeit with uprated Adours and it was certainly possible but the long runway gave an added feelgood factor! We found that the take-off run was sometimes longer than the ODM calculation and investgation showed that, over a black tarmac runway, the temperature at engine intake height was up to 10C more than the met screen actual, which accounted for the loss of performance.
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Old 29th Apr 2007, 08:49
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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Jacko, whilst I understand that as an aviation journalist, you have seemingly reasonable crudentials on military aviation matters, and that you often show an informed understanding of lots associated with mil aviation, but your comments on performance clearly display that you do not fully understand PERFORMANCE and ODM related issues - and the safety margins that are implicit in their calculations. Believe it or not, in safety cases that are necessary for the release and manitenance of ODMs, unfortunately, annecdotal evidence is insufficient to prove them inaccurate.

ie - On paper, the Jag lacks performance to operate at places like Kandahar et al when it is hot and high - with or without a 'war load'. I acknowledge that those who operate the jet have stated that they can 'get away with it', should one of the jets end up in the sand long (with or without load, tanks or seat still attached) - heads would roll in the performance cells of the appropritate advisary agencies that 'allowed' such operations.
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Old 29th Apr 2007, 08:54
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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Jackonicko, what a great insight into the current capabilities of the Jaguar. My experience of hot and high showed it to be very effective! We even managed to do night , unlit straffe which concentrated the mind a bit!! With all the latest additions to the "kit", it must be a very capable platform providing much needed CAS capability.

The politics of this withdrawal are a disgrace and I just wonder how many of those senior chaps involved with this decision, will show up for the weekend at Coningsby!

Good luck to all the guys and girls who I suspect are now off on gardening leave and many thanks for the chance to see the Jaguar for the last time as a pair flashed past the house on Thursday!!
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Old 29th Apr 2007, 10:11
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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Ex F111,

I would be the first to point out that my own credentials are worth 'Jack S**t'.

I would not presume to offer up my own view of the Jaguar's performance characteristics based upon an analysis of publicly available specification figures or whatever. It would be worthless.

I may not have a copy of the ODM sitting on my desk, and I would not have the mental wherewithal for it to be useful.

But those I've spoken to who say that Kandahar is long enough do have the credentials to be taken seriously, do have an in-depth knowledge of the Jaguar's performance, do have the ODM available to them, and have thousands of hours on the type.
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Old 29th Apr 2007, 10:32
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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Jacko,

Not wanting to remove the highlight from what is still and always has been a very fine aircraft,but I find the comments made here :

"The Jaguar has been largely responsible for training Army FACs over the last 18 months, there are insufficient Harriers available and Tornado is ill-suited to this particular task. Whenever the Army need CAS training, the Jaguar is the platform of choice. I understand that the Army has already started to feel the impact of the Jaguar’s sudden withdrawal – since the Jaguar Force has had to pull out of Exercise Neptune Warrior which would have provided operationally vital training for soon-to-deploy FACs who have not yet undertaken any live control of fast jets."

....to be absolute rot! The Tornado is a very capable CAS platform and with its latest additions is very well suited to the task.Jag pulling out of NW has had no impact whatsoever on "soon-to-deploy FACs"!! Some of your other statements are also a bit off the mark,especially in reference to capabilities,but I'm not going to go there.

Regards..
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Old 29th Apr 2007, 12:22
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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................and I have yet to see a Jag during lots of FAC training during the last 18 months.
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Old 29th Apr 2007, 17:23
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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Jacko, Jacko, Jacko,

Your respect and admiration for this fine aircraft and their people is well-founded and admirable to say the least. However, please take some time to carry out in-depth research of some of the other mud-moving aircraft in Her Majesty's Air Force (and I most certainly do NOT include Type-Hoon in that!)

Could you perhaps use your highly respected connections in the journo world to visit Kandahar and the JFH Det there? Or perhaps the TGRF at their 'secret' Middle-Eastern air base? Maybe, just maybe, you would then get a reality check and perhaps even develop some impartiality and (dare I suggest it) lose your blatantly obvious favouritism in light of bare-faced facts. I have read, with great amusement, your little lesson to all of us who actually do the job first hand. You are a speculative miscreant with a lot of Jane's manuals and some dodgy personal connections to get you these quotes.

The only thing I have ever agreed with you on is how much of a g*t Max Hastings is........!

Do a bit of meaningful research and spout the facts, if you would be so kind!
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Old 29th Apr 2007, 19:17
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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Barn Doors,

Rather than simply flapping, why not point out exactly what I've said that's incorrect?
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Old 29th Apr 2007, 19:34
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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There's actually a lot of truth in Jackos post. We looked very carefully at the option to go to Kandahar and it was possible. We could not have operated at the peak of the hottest days but we were only ever looked at to augment the JFH, not replace them, so that they could have a less punishing op cycle. The Harrier is an excellent CAS platform but we could have credibly relieved some of the burden.

It is certainly nice to be given credit for all the effort we have put into CAS over the last year – I don’t know where you have been Serf but providing we were physically in country, I don’t think we have ever turned down a CAS request and we have always been given positive feedback. We have trained FACs on every one of our dets, except this last one. That is a direct contribution to current ops – fact.

Our HMS and data-link really speed up the whole CAS cycle but I know that the Tonkas do a lot of CAS now and should be given credit for it. JFH and Tonkas are going to find themselves even busier in the coming months as they pick up all of our exercise tasking and we wish them all the best.

Franky, it is all water under the bridge now so please let us retire with grace. We know the jet had limitations but we worked around them and always got good results. It is nice to see some misplaced preconceptions knocked down but we are all working hard in the current climate and we don’t need to be sniping at each other. Far from it, JFH and the Tonkas should be hassling to get hold of our HMS kits!

Last edited by Joker1; 29th Apr 2007 at 20:16. Reason: typo!
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Old 29th Apr 2007, 19:47
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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Getting away from the 'Jacko's right/wrong argument' for a minute, I would like to say that the opening statement of this thread show both sides of one of the key issues we face at the moment i.e. leadership (or the lack thereof).

OC 6 went on record in a public forum to make the announcement of the Sqn's demise, and went on to explain why certain decisions had been taken regarding final displays and so on. Compare and contrast this with the silence from the top levels on the subject or indeed, many other subjects such as the formation of Air Cmd HQ etc.

Sir, thank you for letting us know the facts and that you are doing what you can to see the old girl off in the best way you can. I wish you and the all those associated with the Sqn the very best for the future.

SBG

(Served with 6 Sqn during GRANBY)
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Old 30th Apr 2007, 10:51
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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A sad day indeed and just wanted to add my bit for posterity.

I had the huge great fortune of working on the Jaguar flight trials team at Warton, 71-74 and managed or "ran" the trials on E02 (engines) and S1/Xx108 and B1/XX136, I was the last guy to land safely in the back seat of 136!!

I have the most wonderful memories of those times (reflected in my web site!!) and still know some of the people involved back then. It is very sad to see "my plane" go out of service, even if it is after a wonderful 33 years, and I wish all concerned with 6 Squadron today the very best of fortune in whatever comes next.

Steve Broadbent
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Old 30th Apr 2007, 14:29
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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6 Sqn Typhoon

Heard a rumour that 6 Sqn will reform with Typhoon in '08 at Coningsby but is later planned to be the first Leuchars Multi Role Sqn.
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Old 30th Apr 2007, 15:41
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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Another 12 ship just roared over. Final day so getting their monies worth. Just wish that they could really beat the airfield up.
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Old 30th Apr 2007, 16:09
  #116 (permalink)  
 
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Just had 'em through HMP Strawberry, marvellous site. Took me back to my childhood skulking in the back garden at my grandparents in the visual circuit at Colt...and my flight in the T-Bird aged 16...puked from start to finish. Sad day today.

HM
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Old 30th Apr 2007, 16:57
  #117 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks guys!

Sitting on the mower cutting my strip and was able to say good by to the old girls as they passed overhead, forming up for the fly past.

Wonderful sight but a sad one all the same!
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Old 30th Apr 2007, 16:57
  #118 (permalink)  
 
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Angel

God bless
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Old 30th Apr 2007, 17:28
  #119 (permalink)  
 
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Hope the post-flight piss up goes well.
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Old 30th Apr 2007, 18:01
  #120 (permalink)  
 
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Farewell, and I hope that you have a fitting and fantastic celebration. Allways loved and respected.

R.I.P. one Piano I expect....
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