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F-35 Cancelled, then what ?

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F-35 Cancelled, then what ?

Old 30th Dec 2018, 06:43
  #11661 (permalink)  
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I see the USAF has found a role for their early F-35As. Saves the cost of working out how to upgrade them for I suppose.

Will they bother to keep the stealth skin up to scratch? And security iterating away from home base at air shows will doubtless be an issue, as will dragging a mobile ALIS around.

Then in there is the cost - the first $1B+ display team?

Alert 5 » USAF F-35 Demo Team to make N. American debut at Melbourne Air & Space Show - Military Aviation News

USAF F-35 Demo Team to make N. American debut at Melbourne Air & Space Show


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Old 30th Dec 2018, 07:12
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Then in there is the cost - the first $1B+ display team?
Pretty sure it's just one aircraft, and even the first F-35s weren't that expensive. Like the A-10 demo team https://www.facebook.com/A10DemoTeam/
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Old 30th Dec 2018, 17:49
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Originally Posted by Bing View Post
Pretty sure it's just one aircraft, and even the first F-35s weren't that expensive. Like the A-10 demo team https://www.facebook.com/A10DemoTeam/
Hohohoho.

Anyway the F35 has the same need for stealth coatings as it has for spares, according to some....
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 16:02
  #11664 (permalink)  

 
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Forces Network reporting Defence Secretary's announcement of UK F-35 operational readiness
The British military now has nine F-35B Lightning jets ready to be deployed on operations, the Defence Secretary has confirmed.Gavin Williamson also announced an upgrade to the UK's Typhoon fleet during a visit to unveil a new F-35 hangar.
Together, the F-35B and Typhoon will form part of the UK's combat air fleet, interoperability which the RAF says has been tested in operational trials.
https://www.forces.net/news/britain-...4e42-440992797

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Old 12th Jan 2019, 05:53
  #11665 (permalink)  
 
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Uneasy times may arrive for F-35 if Patrick Shanahan becomes the SoD. As a Boeing guy he definitely dislikes all the LockMart-made stuff...
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 09:31
  #11666 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by A_Van View Post
Uneasy times may arrive for F-35 if Patrick Shanahan becomes the SoD. As a Boeing guy he definitely dislikes all the LockMart-made stuff...
Surely that should disqualify him on grounds of conflict of interest?
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 12:02
  #11667 (permalink)  
 
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“If it had gone to Boeing, it would be done much better,” Shanahan said, according to the former official.
Clearly he hasn't followed (or more likely, chosen to ignore) Boeing's stellar performance on the KC-46 programme then...

-RP
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 12:24
  #11668 (permalink)  
 
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I was at the IOC declaration announcement on Thursday, Airsound, and it was most illuminating! One heard some interesting exchanges. I particularly liked this one.

Journo: I’d really congratulate you on arresting the decline in fast jet squadron numbers, but under current plans will we have sufficient mass? With a resurgent Russian threat, and looking back at the force size and structure that we had during the Cold War, we look embarrassingly small – smaller than the Turkish air force – what can we do about that? You’re providing us with great kit, but are you providing us with enough of it?

GW: I think that’s a very interesting question. And I think that you asked it brilliantly well by mentioning……., by highlighting that contrast. I think that there is a real issue that we need to grapple with in terms of increasing mass and increasing lethality, in terms of what we do in terms of all our armed forces, and not just in relation to the Royal Air Force. I think that is one of the challenges that we have, and that is why we are looking at how we can generate more in terms of squadron numbers and it’s also how we need to look at how we improve the whole range of capabilities, because actually, sometimes using the F-35 is not going to be the most appropriate or the most cost-efficient type of fighter to be using in certain conflict zones where there is going to be no real peer-peer threat, and then we need to be looking at how we may be generate some thinking of how we…… – whether it’s through Reaper or Protector, ….. how we actually create those capabilities, so we are matching the type of strike capability with the type of threat.

Journo: Perhaps we need a light attack aircraft, sir? GW: That’s an interesting idea, but I’m always interested to hear interesting questions!

As he left, GW grabbed the journo’s shoulder and said in his ear, loudly enough for those close to hear:

GW: I totally agree with you! I mean, I really want more squadrons!



Last edited by Jackonicko; 12th Jan 2019 at 12:31. Reason: formatting
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 12:47
  #11669 (permalink)  
 
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GW: I totally agree with you! I mean, I really want more squadrons!
So why all the double talk in his on the record responses?

Do the feckers have neither brains or backbone?

Now I understand that speaking ill of the Official Talking Points is injurious to one's career prospects but sometimes waiting and praying one rises to the top tiers of the Totem Pole and thus be able to possibly effect some good change (other than In one's pay packet)....sometimes speaking truth to power is the right thing to do.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 12:59
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There's a few things about GW that I don't much like, but I can't fault him for his genuine boyish enthusiasm, nor, indeed, for his absolute commitment to fighting tooth and nail for defence.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 14:16
  #11671 (permalink)  

 
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As you say, Jackonicko, most illuminating - thank you.

Several papers followed up on the Forces Network report the next day - but, with apologies for the length of this - one of the more thoughtful commentaries came from Howard Wheeldon. As ever, he takes a very optimistic view, but he is always knowledgable and full of insight.
Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson confirm(ed) that not only had the UK’s F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter passed the important Initial Operating Capability (IOC) milestone but also that the £425 million ‘Project Centurion’ upgrade programme had been completed by BAE Systems and its partners on time and on budget. …..

‘Project Centurion’ of which I have previously written in terms of its crucial importance is the enabler programme that allows Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft to carry a much larger suite of complex weapon capability including Meteor beyond visual range missile, the deep strike cruise missile system known as Storm Shadow together with the precision guided attack Brimstone missile system. That this very difficult yet crucial programme has been completed on time and on budget is I am sure music to the ears not just for the Royal Air Force and the MOD but also for all of us that have a vested interest in UK air power capability.

Steve Worsnip, BAE Systems F-35 Support Director, said of UK F-35 having reached IOC, that this “is a proud moment for BAE Systems and that working alongside our partners at Lockheed Martin, MBDA, Raytheon we have been able to integrate the first weapons in the form of ASRAAM and Paveway 1V”. Of course, there is more work to do in the future but for UK F-35 IOC to have been achieved on target is a wonderful measure of success.

Achieving Initial Operating Capability is a vital component part of any defence programme. I almost regard IOC as being akin to self-regulation and may be best interpreted as meaning that a set of important challenges have been completed to the satisfaction of the whole force user or in other words, that ALL objectives set have been met, the aircraft is combat ready in order to deter, deny and defeat threats and challenges it has been designed for. That is not to suggest that there may not be more challenges ahead of course but it does say that UK F-35 Lightning is now more than a nice looking shiny military airplane - it is one that should now be regarded as true defence capability in its own right

Completion and success of ‘Project Centurion’ is of equal if not, timing wise, even more important. What the announcement confirms is that over the past three years in respect of complex weapon firing capability Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 aircraft have been transformed so that they are now able deliver firepower that is everything and more that the brilliant Panavia Tornado GR4 capability that it will shortly replace currently delivers.

BAE Systems and the various partner companies involved such as MBDA and Leonardo are to be congratulated for having done a brilliant and complicated job of work in order to complete a programme that had been too long delayed by past governments.

Typhoon FGR4 already carried a range of complex weapon capability such as the Raytheon UK built Paveway 1V precision guided bomb (plus Enhanced Paveway 2) and in the air-to-air role the infrared guided Advanced Short Range Air to Air (ASRAAM) missile, and radar guided beyond visual range Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air (AMRAAM) missile but until now it has been forced to play second fiddle to the excellence of Tornado GR4. It goes without saying that I welcome completion of this hugely complex programme which, with its its larger payload and increased agility and range, will allow Typhoon to operate in concert with F-35 ‘Lighting’ interacting and exploiting synergy of 4th and 5th generation combat aircraft. With Typhoon and F-35 Lightning the UK can be considered in respect of air power capability with what it needs to counter the variety of evolving threats that we now see in the global environment.

Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier is rightly proud to have seen both the huge ‘Project Centurion’ Typhoon complex weapon upgrade programme and the target of F-35 Lightning ‘Initial Operating Capability’ (IOC) having been reached on his watch. That UK F-35 Lightning aircraft of which nine aircraft are currently based at RAF Marham, these aircraft currently armed with Paveway precision-guided bombs and ASRAM and AMRAAM air-to-air missile capability will eventually, as part of the ongoing development programme, be able to carry and deliver Meteor, SPEAR Cap 3 [medium-range, air-to-surface missile], Paveway 4 Mk3, Paveway 4 tactical penetrator and Block 6 ASRAAM will make this formidable capability.

……

I do believe that in respect of F-35 the MOD needs to provide clarity in respect of future intentions with regard to future F-35 purchases over and beyond the 16 aircraft already delivered and the total 35 aircraft that the UK has either already taken delivery of or that are now on order. It is all well and good the MOD constantly reminding us that the intention is to acquire 138 F-35 aircraft over the programme lifetime but as I told Andrew Chuter at Defense News yesterday in respect future planned mix of F-35A and B variants that are in my view required to ensure a credible F-25 force “They [MOD] need to set out a clear strategy, as opposed to mere definition of intent, in respect of required capacity in numbers and requirement for both the 'A' and 'B' variants. How many U.K.-owned 'B' variants do we really need for carrier strike, and will we see U.S. Marine Corps aircraft permanently based on U.K. carriers”.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 18:12
  #11672 (permalink)  
 
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You may notice in the papers and online news sites that some of those present were clearly under the impression that GW had implied that the IOC declaration had opened the way to deploying the aircraft for use on Shader, and that the newly 'combat ready' aircraft would be sent to Akrotiri to participate in Operation Shader, flying missions against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

That was very much not my impression.

It is true that Gavin Williamson did say: "I won't go into specifics on where they're going to be deployed but this is a fighting aircraft that is there to be used and to keep Britain safe.”

But Williamson also said that “it is important to make sure that you are using the right airframes for the right types of conflict, and at the moment we have got an excellent tool, for operations over Iraq and Syria, in Tornado and Typhoon. Sometimes using the F-35 is not going to be the most appropriate or the most cost-efficient type of fighter to be using in certain conflict zones where there is going to be no real peer-peer threat, and we need to match the type of strike capability we use with the type of threat.”

It’s nice that Howard Wheeldon is upbeat about everything, but the skeptical journo in me would ask a number of questions. I don’t pretend to know any of the answers.

Previous IOC declarations have been defined in terms of having a squadron (or more) capable of carrying out a particular defined role at least as well as the precursor aircraft type. The cynic might suggest that the F-35 IOC definition seems less challenging?

How useful the F-35 would be on Shader, with PWIV as its sole air-to-ground weapon, with no gun, no direct fire weapon, and no LGB capability? Would EOTS give as good an ISTAR capability as even the Litening 3 pod?

And how badly do the RAF really want to put an F-35 in the S-400 MEZ in the Middle East and let the Russians soak up its various signatures?

With all possible respect to a very fine group of aviators, I admit to also wondering how 'trained' the aircrew really are on their new mount. It’s been reported that they've dropped one bomb between them at Aberporth (notwithstanding the fact that 17 have dropped more in the States, including a five-bomb drop). They don’t seem to have flown much, while the simulators apparently still aren't up and running in the UK. So how combat ready can they be? How much of a proper pairs lead/four ship lead work up can anyone have done? How expert on the F-35 can the Squadron QWI actually be?

Could an overseas deployment possibly be more than show-boating at this juncture?

And some of the engineers and support folk privately expressed real doubt that the aircraft would be going anywhere imminently, as there simply aren't the support staff to support meaningful deployments.

And in the light of the USMC experience with its first deployment one might ask how deployable the UK version of ALIS might be? How deployable is the LO repair capability?

And what will be the implications of the need to send aircraft to Cameri for depth maintenance? What are the limits on what the RAF and UK industry are allowed to do to these aircraft, and what effect will this have?

And what about mission data…..?

Is this IOC declaration not the start of a process, in other words, rather than the end?
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 19:04
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Jacko old chap can you help me out - did you mean ‘no LGB’ or is that a typo? If it has PW4 it has an LGB doesn’t it?
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 21:00
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While PWIV is a dual mode I'm not sure that all of the [email protected] guidance modes are available with F-35/EOTS. In particular the capability against moving targets. I think this issue was outlined in the last US DOT&E report.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 22:34
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"I won't go into specifics on where they're going to be deployed but this is a fighting aircraft that is there to be used and to keep Britain safe.”
The French must be shifting into panic mode upon hearing.that bit of news.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 23:21
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
The French must be shifting into panic mode upon hearing.that bit of news.
jings, a yank that does proper sarcasm!

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Old 13th Jan 2019, 08:50
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"sometimes using the F-35 is not going to be the most appropriate or the most cost-efficient type of fighter to be using in certain conflict zones where there is going to be no real peer-peer threat"

where has the RAF fought since 1983 that HAS had a peer-to peer threat? Seems to me you'd have been better off with a lot more but less capable fighters rather than hi-end aircraft for a war that never happened............
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Old 13th Jan 2019, 10:57
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Asturias, a reasonable point, but a more flexible aircraft, opposed to lesser capable aircraft would be a better description; but either should be cheaper than … .

Whilst the lesser capable option might be able to carry most of the new weapons and defensive aids, these will add cost; the major driver is situation and context.
In the F35 instance, the RAF might be better off, but the Navy appears to be running the ‘ship’.
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Old 13th Jan 2019, 11:29
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
"sometimes using the F-35 is not going to be the most appropriate or the most cost-efficient type of fighter to be using in certain conflict zones where there is going to be no real peer-peer threat"

where has the RAF fought since 1983 that HAS had a peer-to peer threat? Seems to me you'd have been better off with a lot more but less capable fighters rather than hi-end aircraft for a war that never happened............
Level playing fields are all well and good but, when fighting a non-peer adversary to the death, I’d have no qualms about possessing an overwhelming technical advantage. If this means I am also on a par with, or better than, a peer adversary should the need arise unexpectedly, then all the better.
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Old 13th Jan 2019, 13:39
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Level playing fields are all well and good but
There's a 50/50 chance you'll lose!
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