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

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

Old 18th Mar 2012, 21:09
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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What a mess. I guess all those fine FAA chaps gaining experience on the F/A-18 will be coming home a little earlier than expected.
And why would that be then?

They are not only gaining experience on an actual 4 generation multi role Strike Fighter (not a Typhoon) as well as maritime operations, all of which will be massively useful to the UK, not to mention the benefit they are bringing to the USN.
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Old 18th Mar 2012, 21:26
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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Given the debate raging in the UK on this subject right now the FAA are doing exactly the right thing and are perfectly situated to cope with any decision that may come.

Agree with FB11, such that if a U-turn is made it would potentially expose how money is 'spent' by large defence companies. $1.9B for modification??? Holy mother of God if that's true!
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Old 18th Mar 2012, 21:32
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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From an outsiders perspective going back to the B seems like the least-worst long term solution.
Apart from all the tactical and technical reasons why it is better to go with
the C vs B , when it comes down to finances this latest decision can only
be regarded as an example of being pennywise but poundfoolish.

Yes they (might) safe 1.2 or even 1.9 billion£ by choosing the ramp vs the Cats
but that will just leave them with a substantially more expensive F35 version, both purchase-price wise and when it comes to the rest of the life-cycle costs.
50 planes for one carrier , or let alone 100 if they decide on getting them both operational far exceeds the costs of implementing (a one time cost) the CATOBAR system.

Also it firmly sets the RN with their backs against the wall when it comes to their future options of wanting less expensive planes for other roles.

When things turn better for the economy in a couple of years and (by some unspecified miracle of destiny) the RN gets the money and has a need for its second carrier (due to whatever crisis may come up by then), they'll be at the mercy of LM to provide them with a full compliment of fighters iso being able to do the logical thing and get a couple of F35's for what they are useful for (1st day war etc...) and get some cheaper supplements to do the rest.

T45 Goshawk for Air Support
F18 SH
Rafale's
old Buccaneers for some odd attack roles (<-- okay maybe a bit far fetched)
UCAV's
.....


This whole double U-turn is completely retarded except if you work for RR and have a stake in the F35b engine.

edit for PS;
Like others said before, I also highly doubt the costprice quoted by the shipbuilders for modifying to a CATOBAR system, this has a strong smell of trying to hide other costoverruns and hoping to get away with it, don't be surprised if in a couple of years when they've chosen to go for the ramp and the F35B there will be another surprise budget overrun of at least half the money they're talking about now.
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Old 18th Mar 2012, 22:41
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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From what I've seen, this isn't the shipbuilder. The contract to do the detailed conversion design and estimate was only let in Oct 2011, so I doubt they have any real numbers to hand.

This smells like a programme office risk-on-risk forecast or worse a MB estimate but including all the other things people can think of adding on. You'd almost think some people wanted to go back to the B for some reason......
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Old 18th Mar 2012, 22:44
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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Arcanum,

whether we end up with maritime AEWACS or not is but a morsel of my argument, my point is that we are sacrificing some very elementary capabilities for this thing; I would imagine we could operate the full spectrum of capabilities, including E2s, if we were getting F18s. Think about it hard, the RAF is ditching 60 Typhoons, which will probably be working quite well by 2018, for the sake of a small number of F35s, which will definitely be delivered broken. New Chinooks, Sentinal, Merlins, possibly Puma, and possibly some A400s have all been given the chop to try and keep this programme affordable...and now I'm being told that we're going to take a far less capable, more expensive version of it that can't take our weaponry and is by far the most risky. What dipsh*t is making these decisions!?

HAS NOBODY LEARNED ANYTHING FROM THE TYPHOON! We could all be raging around in copious squadrons of strike eagles right now, which could be relied upon to go out and win a war! Look at the trouble that's caused us!
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 01:18
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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To the various posters on what happens if we slip back into B slippers:

1. There's no interoperability with the USN - no B will operate from a CVN. Nor will it operate from Charles de Gaulle (security issues aside).
2. There's only training interoperability with the USMC - unless they opt for the UK SRVL to mitigate poor vertical performance. All of a sudden, the WASP class deck seems quite small and they might just need to move a whole bunch of CH-53/CH-46/MV-22/AH-1Z/UH-1Y out of the way.
3. There's no day 1 capability worth the risk of going to target - LO payload.
4. The RN pilots in the US won't be coming home any earlier - Justanopinion post covers the detail.
5. UK Combat Air overall loses just as much from this because they gamble on a Typhoon replacement (C fulfilled DPOC requirement; B doesn't) - cut off nose/spite face springs to mind.
6. F-35A would require either require FSTA to have the whole fleet modified to boom (mucho £££ and a renegotiated PFI) or the F-35A would need to gun removed and a probe fitted....emmm, unlikely and £££xmany.
7. The USMC can't make the B any more operationally capable - the aircraft isn't going to get lighter; the weapons bay isn't going to get bigger; the fuel capacity isn't going to get bigger.

Last edited by FB11; 19th Mar 2012 at 01:32. Reason: more data
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 01:37
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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you're missing a bit of realpolitik here.
Both the -B and -C are failing projects and will probably get cancelled due to the cost overruns and technical issues.
So it makes no difference which we order - it will get cancelled anyway. The only difference is that if we go with the -B, when that gets cancelled we won't have to pay for the catapults....
The ships will then just be mothballed and probably eventually flogged off to India
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 08:24
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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Government plans U-turn on aircraft carriers as catapult costs spiral | Politics | The Guardian

Rather than Dave B or C I wonder if for the same cost we could have :

Two carriers with cats and traps
A full wing of Rafales for both ships/boats
Some Hawkeyes
all with a decent IOC.

Perhaps there would be some change and we could buy a standoff weapon for day one ops.
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 08:27
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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Don't we already have a stand off weapon as used on Libya from the subs ?
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 08:57
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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another bit of realpolitik

you're missing a bit of realpolitik here.
Both the -B and -C are failing projects and will probably get cancelled due to the cost overruns and technical issues.
So it makes no difference which we order - it will get cancelled anyway. The only difference is that if we go with the -B, when that gets cancelled we won't have to pay for the catapults....
The ships will then just be mothballed and probably eventually flogged off to India
Might well be true.
Another possibility is that they want to have the F35 no matter what the cost
will be to assure RR & Bae's F35 profitability, best to assure this is by going for the carrier version that can only use the F35 ,no alternatives possible.
That would also explain the sudden U turn.
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 09:26
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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The Russians have been operating a STOVL carrier for several years although they opted for a more conventional type aircraft, plus arrestor wires. Are they wrong when they made the decision to take that ship out of service and convert it to a conventional carrier with catapults? Where do we go if the 'B' does not come on line?

Was money involved when we ordered our EMALS system?

Was money involved when we decided to exchange one of the early 'B' model aircraft for the 'C'?

How much money has already been spent in the research and development of the carriers to convert them to CATOBAR configuration?

I was told they were never going to be built with that ski jump we saw on the through deck cruisers and yet from all accounts these aircraft are going to struggle taking off with anything like a decent payload. Will that decision also be reviewed and another redesign considered?

If we go for the 'B' then does that means the carrier will not be able to operate any type of EW or AEW fixed wing asset? Would we be able to develop a UAV to carry out these roles? We deserve better.

If these reports are true then is this just another example of little boys wanting to play with bigger boys but not having those toys the big boys play with!

We all know how the big boys treat those little interfering boys that cannot fulfil their promises.
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 11:39
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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Is this the start of a National protest?



STOVL or Stobar .....
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 12:24
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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The Russians have been operating a STOVL carrier for several years although they opted for a more conventional type aircraft, plus arrestor wires.

No they haven't. The Russ have never operated a STOVL carrier. Kiev and her ilk were VTOL using Forgers. Kuznetsov has been STOBAR from the off with Flanker and Frogfoot variants.

Are they wrong when they made the decision to take that ship out of service and convert it to a conventional carrier with catapults?

Don't believe that's what they're doing, but happy to be corrected.

Where do we go if the 'B' does not come on line?

Home, for good. There are no STOVL alternatives.

Was money involved when we ordered our EMALS system?

That's ususally the case when paying for military equipment. However, I'm not sure that the system has been ordered yet. Fox seemed to think he had managed to get a shipset secured for PoW last summer.

Was money involved when we decided to exchange one of the early 'B' model aircraft for the 'C'?

Pass.

How much money has already been spent in the research and development of the carriers to convert them to CATOBAR configuration?

Since the official change to the C variant, I'd suspect a couple of million at most, certainly no more than £10M at the very extreme.

I was told they were never going to be built with that ski jump we saw on the through deck cruisers and yet from all accounts these aircraft are going to struggle taking off with anything like a decent payload. Will that decision also be reviewed and another redesign considered?

You were told wrong. All QEC designs until the official change to 'C' have had a large prominent ski-ramp at the bow. That remains the case for the STOVL option ship.

If we go for the 'B' then does that means the carrier will not be able to operate any type of EW or AEW fixed wing asset? Would we be able to develop a UAV to carry out these roles?

Pretty much. No.

We deserve better.

Yes we do. Through a combination of ineptitude in MoD and elsewhere, deliberate obstruction inside and outside of MB, poor decision-making in the Naval staff and abject political will have combined to make what should have been a relatively straightforward design and procurement process into the current horror show.
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 12:51
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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This is incredible.

The incorporation of cats and traps is now estimated to cost more than the ships were expected to cost in 2008.

People are talking about 2027 IOC, which is astonishing even for JSF.

The pluses and minuses are ably laid out by FB11.

Usually when this kind of goes down, there's something behind the scenes that nobody knows about.

And I suspect that it's more than bureaucratic insurgency.
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 13:04
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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Interesting dilemma and almost certainly a PR12 option being looked at. the bottom line is that the MoD has Billions of pounds to save and is anticipating an increase in Defence spending in about 2015 (which probably will not happen). It has to save the money somehow and reversion to B will be one of the options presented.

The option that should be presented IMHO, is to bin F35 altogether. It is unaffordabble and this obsession with getting a 5th Gen platform is putting the rest of Defence at risk. Convert the Carriers to cats and Traps and buy F18s or Rafale. This in itself will save billions and pull the MoD out of some of its current mire. The problem is that the 2 winged master race are fixated on F35 which will probably be their last manned aircraft before wholesale move to UAS/UAV/RPAS. It is about bums on seats for the future leaders of the RAF (who cannot be anything other than fast jet pilots!)

An F18/Rafale buy will plug the capability gap until future UAS become more affordable/capable. An F18/rafale buy will enable money to be flexed into other areas of need including ISTAR, AT, rotary lift etc. An F18/Rafale buy will however, pull the rug out from under the RAF as it will be a force predominantly occupied with naval aviators.

It is simple ecomnomics. 'Love, we cannot afford a Jag or an Aston Martin, lovely as they are but we can afford a whole fleet of reasonably priced cars and when one is broken we just use another!'
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 13:27
  #116 (permalink)  
 
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The justification of these cost estimates is the intriguing thing. I cannot find an engineering explanation for these "conversion costs". To do PoW, the following activities would be necessary.

1. Acquire the hardware for EMALS and AAG. From open sources based on US costs this is unlikley to exceed £450M for a ship set.

2. Integrate the hardware physically into PoW. This will require five activities :
a) Undertake the engineering calculations and design to reconfigure the 2 deck spaces where the cats are supposed to go. This would be a design team of say 30 people for a couple of years at absolute worst, so around £12M.
b) Modify the structure to accept the EMALS and AAR systems. As most of the structure for POW has not yet been fabricated, this should not be particularly difficult. In materials terms, you're looking at some small tens of tons of steel (say 40 te @ £2000/te), so that's in the noise. In manpower terms, the work content is probably 2000m joint length of weld, which at 8 manhours per metre is 16000 manhours, which at very worst would be about £1M.
c) Modify the Integrated Platform Mgmt System (IPMS) to allow charging of the energy storage devices adjacent to each EMALS from the main 11 kVA power dist grid and also to accept power input from the AAG. The IPMS is an L3 product and involves software (which is never good). However, I'd still suggest you could fix it for £50M at very worst. Anything beyond that indicates that you'd run out of bodies to write it.
d. Install the actual EMALS/AAG hardware. If you had a gang of 30 blokes (alright sparkies) spending ten weeks to install one system, then you're looking at 12000 manhours. Even though AAG is supposed to be a bit simpler, assume all six devices (2 cats, 4 wires) take the same. That's 70000+ sparkies hours which at the very extreme is about £7M (pink ovies don't come cheap!)
e. Set to work and commission. If you assumed 20 people for a year, you'd probably be at the top end and that's 40000 manhours or ~ £4M (worst case).

So, about £450M hardware, £75M direct labour and there might be another £100M in terms of design support, documentation, logistics etc as shown in the US contracts.

I make that just over £600M, but then I'm just a simple metal-basher.

This looks more and more like a whole raft of "other costs" being tagged onto the "conversion" to make it look unaffordable.

Last edited by Not_a_boffin; 19th Mar 2012 at 13:51.
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 13:46
  #117 (permalink)  
 
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NaB - I agree. Which is why I suspect a whole lot of other skullduggery at work.
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 14:09
  #118 (permalink)  
 
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No they haven't. The Russ have never operated a STOVL carrier. Kiev and her ilk were VTOL using Forgers. Kuznetsov has been STOBAR from teh off with Flanker and Frogfoot variants.
Very valid point and it was my poor use of the acronym... What I meant to suggest was that the Russians are allegedly doing away with that hideous 'ski-slope' and fitting catapults.

Are they wrong when they made the decision to take that ship out of service and convert it to a conventional carrier with catapults?

Don't believe that's what they're doing, but happy to be corrected.
I must emphasis I have never read anything in concrete that states this ship will definitely have catapults but this is regularly being printed: (I have emphasised the word 'might'
In April 2010 it was announced that by the end of 2012 the ship will enter Severodvinsk Sevmash shipyard for a major refit and modernisation. The report states that the refit will include upgrades to the obsolete electronics and sensor equipment, installation of the new anti-aircraft system and increase of the air wing by the removal of the P-700 Granit anti-ship missiles. Upgrades might also include exchanging the troublesome steam powerplant to the gas-turbine or even nuclear propulsion and installation of catapults to the angled deck
ALL the footage I have seen of that carrier launching aircraft contradicts what they try to say about maximum take off weights. Granted the footage is quite meaningless and it could be that they could take off with the weights they claim but at what expense I can envisage them using the whole of the deck to get enough speed to take off but what g-forces would this impose on the fully laden aircraft? Same questions for the F-35B which I believe is not the lightweight Harrier?

I was told they were never going to be built with that ski jump we saw on the through deck cruisers and yet from all accounts these aircraft are going to struggle taking off with anything like a decent payload. Will that decision also be reviewed and another redesign considered?

You were told wrong. All QEC designs until teh official change to 'C' have had a large prominent ski-ramp at the bow. That remains the case for the STOVL option ship.
PLEASE accept that I hold you and your advise in the highest of regard but I am sure that many, many moons ago when it was decided to opt for the EMALS system I queried the removal of the ski-slope from the ship's design and I am sure it was your very good self that put me in my place by saying it was never designed to have it? I will tactfully suggest that I am only 70% sure it was you good self as my memory is not as good as it once was but if it were not you, then it would have to be someone of your stature (otherwise I would have queried it)

We have a number of pilots operating from US carriers, we have had the First Sea Lord going up for a 'jolly' in an F-18 so has this aircraft ever been considered as an option instead of the F-35B?

Will the RAF want the F-35B as a replacement for one of their other types?

Thank you very much for the informative replies and are you confident we are going to ever see the Royal Navy operating the F-35 in any guise?
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 14:44
  #119 (permalink)  
 
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Sorry,

Removed because I cannot confirm with a direct quote/link .
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Old 19th Mar 2012, 15:04
  #120 (permalink)  
 
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Glojo

We may be at crossed-purposes here. The QEC STOVL designs have always had a ski-ramp. However, the ski-ramp is not compatible with the cat n' trap arrangement and so once the decision to fit cats to one of the ships and go with F35C was taken, the ramp would have been deleted from that design. The inference was also that if the "other" ship of the class was to enter service as a helo-carrier, then no ramp would be required (or fitted) as it would take up valuable deck space.
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