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No cats and flaps ...... back to F35B?

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No cats and flaps ...... back to F35B?

Old 3rd Jun 2012, 17:35
  #1001 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Heathrow Harry View Post
When "Flight" - which is highly dependent on advertising from Big Aviation - starts asking questions about the F-35 I think you can see the end of the road ahead
[Cynicism] Perhaps they get far more advertising revenue from Boeing than LM? [\Cynicism]
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Old 5th Jun 2012, 00:28
  #1002 (permalink)  
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Ads follow the readers, not the editorial content, which is as it should be. F-35 ads turn up in surprising places.
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Old 5th Jun 2012, 01:03
  #1003 (permalink)  
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LO - agreed; I was being facetious in a bid to make a similar point about Flight's editorial independence not being entirely beholden to parroting the party line about the F-35.

(That should read 'in a clearly unsuccessful bid...' I suppose...)
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 18:42
  #1004 (permalink)  
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Senate Armed Services Committee worries

F-35 production quality worries Senate panel | Reuters
(Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday questioned the quality of production on the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, citing a "potentially serious issue" with its electronic warfare capability.
The never ending story, also continuing concerns about software, costs again and rework needed on existing aircraft.
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 19:10
  #1005 (permalink)  
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But also some good news;

Government set for U-turn on aircraft carrier - Local - Portsmouth News
THE government is set to perform another U-turn in the Royal Navy’s £6bn aircraft carrier programme.

The News understands the coalition’s plan to mothball one of the 65,000-tonne warships is to be scrapped.

Instead, both HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales will enter operational service in Portsmouth later this decade – as was originally planned by the former Labour government.

It follows the coalition’s recent backtracking on the type of fighter jets it will buy for the nation’s flagships.

‘Planning assumptions are that both carriers will now enter service,’ a defence source told The News.

The move, to be confirmed in the next defence review in 2015, is being welcomed by the navy as it will offer the UK a continuous, year-round carrier capability.

It could also secure hundreds of jobs at BAE Systems in Portsmouth due to double the repair and maintenance work.

The plan to mothball one of the carriers was announced by David Cameron in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) which opted to fit catapults and arrestor gear – cats and traps – to the flight deck of Prince of Wales.

This was in order to fly the longer-ranged F-35C version of the US-built Joint Strike Fighter from the ship.

But after cost estimates to install the gear rose to £2bn, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond reverted to the plan to buy the F-35B jump-jet variant of the aircraft, which don’t require cats and traps to take off and land.
Not really official until the next SDSR in 2015, but fingers crossed.
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 19:21
  #1006 (permalink)  
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What it (hopefully) means is a high-readiness / low readiness mix as per the LPDs - which was only common sense. The mothball / sell option was always a soundbite to indicate political unhappiness with the BAE contract, though Christ knows why, given the amount of d1cking about performed by MoD prior to contract award - what did they expect?

If it actually means two in commish for extended periods, even better, but not holding breath......
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 22:22
  #1007 (permalink)  
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And then to get them fitted with EMALS and some piano wire in due course...
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 22:23
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Just a view on some recent posts if I may: If the F-35B is cancelled (and possibly the C too) then we've just re-negotiated a contract to build two, 65,000 tonne, ramp-decked helicopter wendy houses to propel the RN well into this century with absolutely no FW fast-air whatsoever?! I don't buy that at all, but I stress that is purely my opinion. As much as I also like to think that much of the uncertainty is tactically planned by the media - poor programme expectation with a sudden surge of success making for a much better story that lingers in the public mind.

Two carriers? Brilliant news if true and how it should always have been.
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 23:36
  #1009 (permalink)  
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hypothetical question

If the F-35B & C both get cancelled, and its too late - and too expensive - to fit the catapults, how much would it cost to switch the ships to STOBAR with ramp launched Typhoon or Gripen variants? Presumably the physical changes of fitting the arrestor cables and emergency barrier to the ship would be relatively minor compared with fitting the catapults ?
Any thoughts on how long the actual development of either aircraft would take?
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 00:59
  #1010 (permalink)  
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You can bet there would be no Sea Typhoon or Sea Gripen, it would be Super Hornet or Rafale bought off the shelf. Super Hornet would be my bet, RN pilots already flying it, USN and RAAF fly it and best of all it's not French.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 06:16
  #1011 (permalink)  
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STOBAR Super Hornet???? I don't think it could, not with a decent warlord anyway but happy to be corrected. So getting Super H would mean you'd have to Cat and Trap QEC after all.

Now I think Typhoon could STOBAR..
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 09:00
  #1012 (permalink)  
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Was Typhoon's structure ever designed with that in mind? Anyway, the stalwarts will only ever settle for Harrier III!
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 09:09
  #1013 (permalink)  
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The real stalwarts would only be happy for a Phantom III and a Buccaneer II.

In fairness, true sea dogs would settle for a reengined and glass cockpitted Buccaneer I (so to speak)
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 09:10
  #1014 (permalink)  
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Now you're talking!
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 10:13
  #1015 (permalink)  
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Future of F35 2013 and onwards

This is from a reputable think tank in Washington, more than once they've prooven to be on the money, and Washington certainly listens when they advise it seems.
Recommendations for the US Air Force

Strike Aircraft: Due to strategic and cost concerns, the Air Force should reduce the number
of F-35As it plans to procure from 1,763 to 1.000-1.200 in part by reducing its inventory
requirements for trainer and Air National Guard aircraft.

The F-35 is highly expensive and lacks the longer range important in overcoming some A2/AD threats. In future combat scenarios, including high-end engagements against China or Iran, the U.S. military will not need a 100 percent stealthy manned fighter fleet. Instead, an aggregate capability joint mix of F-35s, F-22s, F/A-18s, F-16s, F-15s, B-52s, B-2s, B-1s, long-range strike bombers, cruise missiles, advanced ISR and UAS will provide sufficient options to conduct echeloned attack operations and succeed in any realistic configuration
of potential contingencies.

Furthermore, the opportunity cost of the F-35 is tremendous. The Air Force plan to purchase 1.763 F-35As has caused the service to defer investments that may lead to greater capabilities in the future.

Recommendations for the Marines

The Marine Corps should reduce its fixed-wing aviation inventory and focus instead on STOVL F-35B strike fighters and a more select group of support aircraft. The Marine Corps
should eliminate its F-18C/D Hornet and EA-6B Prowler squadrons aboard Navy carriers, a major redundancy given that carrier-based strike fighter operations are a primary mission of Navy aviation.


Recommendations for the US Navy

Strike Aircraft: The Navy should reduce its planned buy of 369 F-35Cs by 50 percent and
continue to procure additional F/A-18s after 2014, when the production line is scheduled to close, to make up some of its inventory requirements.

Due to its short range, the F-35C requires aircraft carriers to get dangerously close to enemy coasts or necessitates frequent aerial refueling. While external fuel tanks can extend the F-35C’s range, such tanks compromise its stealth and thereby sacrifice an essential attribute. By buying fewer F-35s more quickly, the Navy will revitalize its strike fleet sooner and free up resources it can use in the 2020s and 2030s to buy combat-capable UAS, which by then should be more technologically advanced if DOD accelerates development now.
All this would mean a reduction of no less than 800-900 F35's for the US alone.
One can only guess what that'll do to the price, it won't be good, that much is certain.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 11:53
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Now I think Typhoon could STOBAR..
And you are not alone:

AERO INDIA: Eurofighter reveals offer to produce navalised Typhoon

A Flightglobal link from the now-decided Typhoon/Rafale contest for the Indian MMRCA. The UK MoD immediately distanced itself from the Naval Typhoon at that time, but it had already muttered about the possibility when it looked like we would not be permitted access to the full codes for F35 a few years back. Possibly a negotiating tactic.

It all looks and sounds fine in the article, until you start weighing up the development risks. Design modelling suggests it is doable but so it did for many aspects of F35 and that didn't turn out so well in in practice. And we would once again be trying to custom engineer a solution for a small production run. This has a huge impact on unit price, even assuming the technical development goes smoothly, and bigger still if it doesn't. The UK might order 50(?) or so aircraft, and likely in small production batches. Now if India had gone for it, then it might have started to become viable. But they didn't and I can't think of any other potential buyers to bump the numbers up.

If sequestration does do for F35, then we are back to the MoD doing it's sums again: Cost of CATOBAR conversion + Cost of SuperHornet/Rafale acquisition + operational costs v. Cost of STOBAR conversion + Naval Typhoon development and procurement + operational costs + risk cost, less savings on logistics and operational costs of operating one type (well sort of) of fast jet only. Hope they have a good spreadsheet programme.

Either option would likely lead back to one carrier only, and the numbers and assumptions would be fraught with risk once more. And all the complex analysis and uncertainty could add some more years to in-service date for the carrier too.

I don't think naval Typhoon is much more likely than the modernised Bucc (which I do like the sound of). And CATOBAR conversion would probably be so expensive by then that it would be cheaper to fit a new carrier to the equipment than the other way round. So, if F35 flunks, then my guess is we will have one big helicopter carrier instead, or none, having flogged them both to someone in the Far East.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 12:03
  #1017 (permalink)  
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Oh God, not again................
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 12:53
  #1018 (permalink)  
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Oh God, not again..
Sorry for boring you old chap. Yes, this is a bit of a Groundhog Day thread. If only Lockheed Martin would get their finger out and get operational jets in service sharpish, then we could all settle down to discussing how it is, and not how it might or might not be.

Anyway, I promise to try harder not to go over old ground again. I also promise to try harder not to go over old ground again.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 20:31
  #1019 (permalink)  
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ICBM and Lowe F,

Sorry, but Typhoon STOBAR is a non-starter in my view - see my previous posts on this particular piece of BAES nonsense. Happy to expand if required, but I don't want to bore. Much the same goes for 'Sea Gripen'. It's possible that a Typhoon could launch off a ramp, but not with a useful payload. Recovery? Problematic.

Bottom line - my view- unless you use a STOVL aircraft that can stop and then land (thanks John Farley), and use a ski jump, you need a proper cat and trap aircraft to go to sea.

The UK looked at ramps on carriers in the 1950s, and the USN have tried ramps with cats, tested F-14s, T-2s and Hornets. The USAF also looked at the concept. The USN concluded that as long as you had a good cat, the extra safety and performance offered by a ramp was offset by limitations on ramp entry speed.

Hope this helps

Best Regards as ever to all,

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Old 7th Jun 2012, 21:11
  #1020 (permalink)  
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I think it's fair to say that if F-35B is cancelled the RN will lose both carriers. Too late to change spec again and even if it wasn't the added delay and cost would see it abandoned as fulfilling none of its raison d'être. So the best hope our dark blue FW aviators now have is -B.

Having only one jet type that could use a STOVL ship certainly removes all fallback options for SDSR 15. Someone has played a blinder if this was 'as intended'
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