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F-35 Cancelled, then what ?

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F-35 Cancelled, then what ?

Old 9th Jul 2016, 17:23
  #9401 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Rhino power View Post
And before anyone chips in with comments about display routines aren't everything, blah blah blah, I know that, but c'mon, that was as dull as ditch water!

-RP
I wonder about the wisdom of putting it in formation with the F-22.

Whilst the F-22 is not exactly pretty, it is certainly dramatic, edgy and aggressive looking.

Watching it flyby with the F-35 made me think that the F-35 looked a lot like the chubby [email protected] offspring resulting from an embarrassing drunken night the F-22 had with a fat girl.
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Old 9th Jul 2016, 21:05
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Originally Posted by Tourist View Post
... the F-35 looked a lot like the chubby [email protected] offspring resulting from an embarrassing drunken night the F-22 had with a fat girl.
I am guessing that most fighter pilots are OK with that, providing that they keep up enough knots to make a single head to head pass with that target, go vertical, and then join up on the target's six.

Let the flying and the O'Club missions merge.
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 03:01
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USMC F-35B blowing away the display center markers at RIAT today:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gz__nC6jdRI
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 17:01
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How the hell will we tank them to get them in range of the enemy???

UK Air Force Mulls F-35A Benefits as US Jets Visit England

FAIRFORD, England —The British public got its first taste of the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft purchased for the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy at an air show Friday, and it’s just possible they also got a glimpse of the next combat jet in line for purchase........

British F-35 officials at the show confirmed there is interest in the conventional takeoff version and that the issue could start to be addressed as soon as the next strategic defence and security review (SDSR), currently scheduled for 2020.

“What we will do as we go forward into the next SDSR is look at the force mix,” said Air Commodore Linc Taylor, the Royal Air Force officer responsible for delivery of the British F-35 program. “There is an absolute benefit to maximizing combat air power with interoperability with Typhoon and the capability from the [aircraft] carrier. We will look at all of those options as we go forward into the next SDSR,” Taylor said to reporters at RIAT.

Britain’s combat air fleet will be based around the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35B once the RAF’s Tornado strike jet is pensioned off in 2019. Taylor said the F-35A could bring something to the force mix the other jets couldn’t match. “The F-35A offers you a greater range and greater payload. There may be space for an 'A' variant so we will look at 'A' and 'B's in the future, but not the 'C's,” Taylor said. “The F-35 and Typhoon have complimentary qualities but the Typhoon is not low-observable, it can’t get to where the F-35 can get to.".........

The F-35A has been on the RAF’s wish list for a long while, according to Doug Barrier, the senior air analyst at the London-based think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“There has been a long-standing interest on the part of the RAF in the F-35A to meet some of the roles now addressed by Tornado GR4. Greater range and payload performance than the 'B' model, and commonality with the USAF, are likely part of the draw,” he said. “The ground-attack role post the Tornado GR4’s retirement could eventually be divided between the Typhoon — equipped with the Storm Shadow long-range land-attack cruise missile and other weapons — and the F-35A, with the latter offering the ability to penetrate airspace defended by high-end threat systems, using medium air-to-surface weapons such as the MBDA SPEAR 3 now in development,” Barrie said.........
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 17:09
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There could be an argument to get Cs instead of As, with the refuelling simplicity, as well as having both F35 variants being under USN design control.
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 18:20
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No it wouldn't necessarily. Especially if the A is being looked at to fulfil a completely separate set of requirements for the Air Force. A is lowest cost per frame so you get more jets for your budget. There'll never be interop for UK QEC and the C model as we will never get cats and traps. So the A would make total sense. Why carry all that additional weight around for the C when you can't use it 90+% of the time?
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 18:48
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My point was that the RAF does not have any boom tankers, so unless someone pays LM to put a probe on the A, there is a range problem. Also with the Department of the Navy being the lead customer for the B and C their development might go on a similar path the the one that the USAF wants, easier to have more similar aircraft. Obviously I am aware that the C will never land on a RN carrier, it does have a longer range than the A as well. When it was thought that the carriers were to be cat and trap, people seemed very happy with the concept of having the C, has the prospective role changed since then?
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 19:26
  #9408 (permalink)  
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There'll never be interop for UK QEC and the C model as we will never get cats and traps.
Never say never.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 12:34
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I hope some background stuff might be of interest.

The selection of the boom refuelling receptacle for the A model was under debate for some while, especially when the weight issues began to bite in 2003.

The boom receptacle added a couple of hundred pounds of weight, as it had to be made of heavy metals to withstand the pounding it can get. It also needed a hefty and fairly complex retractable ramp door system, and worst of all its location on the fuselage spine took up scarce fuel tank volume - I seem to remember a figure of around 400 pounds of fuel lost.

I know that there was a RAND study done at some stage that looked at the USAF's policy of having all its aircraft equipped for boom refuelling. I seem to remember that it concluded that a probe and drogue system made more sense for smaller tactical aircraft, offering faster refuels at multiple points from a single tanker, and better NATO interoperability. Booms would be retained for the larger aircraft (e.g. B-2, B-52, C-17).

Again working from memory, but I don't believe that the space on the A where a retractable probe ( as per B and C) would be installed has been used for anything else. The main challenges would probably be the routeing of the plumbing and reprogramming the fuel management software.

The C model certainly offers longer range than a C, but at the expense of a lot of additional airframe weight (tons of it) that has to be hauled around with no benefit. A fairly obvious future variant could involve putting a 'C' type wing (without fold) on to an 'A' airframe, without all the additional weight required for carrier ops. Again, my memory may be at fault, but I think that this option may have been looked at at some stage at Fort Worth. However, it was probably a 'US only' effort. Such an aircraft could have had an MTOW of around 80,000 pounds, with an unrefuelled range of around 900 to 1000 miles.

Hope this is of some interest, best regards as ever to those working out the fleet mix,

Engines
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 12:46
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Weren't the Canadian A-models going to be probe equipped?
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 13:25
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UK can and probably will fit booms to Voyager. UK may buy A model for the RAF's future Combat Air requirement, thereby solving the AAR Red Herring.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 13:53
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Interesting that it was specifically stated that the C variant is not an option. It makes me want to don my tin foil hat and question the political motivations behind such a comment.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 14:15
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We did the whole debacle of B to C and back to B, when it was quickly realised just how expensive a conversion of both QEC would be. So, on the basis that the C variant carries significant additional weight solely for conventional carrier ops, it is totally dead weight when you can only use it on another country's conventional carriers. The margin of fuel the C has over the A would be largely negated by the additional weight you are carrying but never going to use for take off or landing. Change the QECs to conventional carriers? That's a different matter, but the costs go through the roof and the UK will inevitably end up with less total aircraft as a result of yet another impassioned U-turn.

So, look at the more important issue. The RAF has a requirement for an addition to its Combat Air "force mix" between 2020-2050. It's called FCAS. Now it isn't necessarily an F-35 but recent interviews say it might likely be. Therefore, why are we even debating a sea-based aircraft for a requirement that is entirely separate from the original one that has resulted in the F-35B? We are buying and operating a load of F-35B from QEC for the next 30-40 years under that requirement. This one is separate.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 14:24
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So, on the basis that the C variant carries significant additional weight solely for conventional carrier ops, it is totally dead weight when you can only use it on another country's conventional carriers.
Yes, the C carries extra weight to enable catapult/arrestor operations. But this seems to beg a follow up question. Does the B's lift fan and related systems not incur an even greater penalty in weight, plus a penalty in fuel AND weapon bay capacity?
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 14:30
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Originally Posted by Engines View Post
I hope some background stuff might be of interest.
Awesome input, as usual.

A fairly obvious future variant could involve putting a 'C' type wing (without fold) on to an 'A' airframe, without all the additional weight required for carrier ops. Again, my memory may be at fault, but I think that this option may have been looked at at some stage at Fort Worth. However, it was probably a 'US only' effort. Such an aircraft could have had an MTOW of around 80,000 pounds, with an unrefuelled range of around 900 to 1000 miles.
And so the F-35D concept begins to take shape: SuperLightning!
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 14:47
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Ken, I see the additional weight on the B as absolutely vital to enable a Carrier ops from our ships in their current configuration. Yes you only need it for take off and landing but sometimes you are forced to require that capability for take off and landing or there is no mission. The B is therefore a self-fulfilling prophecy once the country committed to a STOVL carrier design.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 14:53
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Would conversion of the carriers be more expensive than conversion of the tankers + the cost of developing a bespoke AEWAC capability for the carriers?

There's also the intangible cost of not being able to operate any future UCAV's that will inevitably develop in the next 40 to 50 years.

It seems like a relatively trivial cost saving in the grand scheme of things, for the sake of absolutely zero flexibility in the future.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 15:08
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The Voyager conversion pales in comparison to the c.£2Bn estimated Carrier conversion cost (in 2012) for catapults and an arrestor system. AEW is already planned to be delivered by Crowsnest on the Merlin. Again, we seem to be conflating the subject of a future RAF requirement with the carrier. The RN's future requirements may lie in focusing their [equally] limited equipment budget on other ship programmes, especially as the Carrier Strike requirement is being delivered. Oh, and don't forget the RN want V-22 too. Money seems to grow on trees, it seems.

I'm confident that, should there be a desire for a UCAV to operate from QEC, a novel solution will be developed to launch and recover it.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 15:37
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A V22 AEW was what I was referring to...not cheap.

And you've hinted exactly at what I was trying to get at originally by saying the RN has its own priorities re the carrier, rather than looking at it in the wider context...hence politically charged comment (maybe) about no consideration of the C varient from the Air Force.

A novel landing solution for a UCAV would again suggest a ruinously expensive bespoke design capable of VSTOL. Hence my objection to ruling out any future purchase of the C and by implication any reasonable expectation of a future conversion of the carriers in their long future.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 15:50
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A novel landing solution for a UCAV would again suggest a ruinously expensive bespoke design capable of VSTOL
Given the relative weights, and presumed lower landing speed, a UCAV arrestor system would probably have to absorb less than 10% of the energy of an F35, and could also be designed with different safety criteria. VSTOL wouldn't be the only option...
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