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

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

Old 21st Jul 2012, 15:52
  #1441 (permalink)  
 
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Wasn't St Mawgan often mentioned as a good location for F-35? Sadly with its closure thats not possible anymore. Would there not be major noise issues with Yeovilton? with 3x Typhoon squadrons going to Lossiemouth it does not leave many other possible locations other than Marham. Coltishall and Cottesmore are both closed. As the GR4s are withdrawn from service Marham would make a great choice. Plus this way atleast the RAF retains 3x fast jet bases, 2 of which are in England.
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 16:35
  #1442 (permalink)  
 
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A reprieve for Leuchars? After all, it was a RNAS originally!
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 17:16
  #1443 (permalink)  
 
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With the upcoming Scottish referendum it would be insane to risk having 2 of our 3 remaining fast jet bases north of the border.
IF the Scots go it alone we should close Lossiemouth If they remain part of the UK then Lossiemouth should remain open.
I guess an independant Scottish Flying Core would be something like that of Ireland, they could maybe station it at Lossiemouth!!!
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 17:17
  #1444 (permalink)  
 
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Or maybe the future RNAS Marham!!!
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 17:47
  #1445 (permalink)  
 
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No noise issues at Yeovilton
When the Phantoms left they received numerous complaints about the lack of noise. Same I believe when the Sea Harriers left. Surely the F-35 is quieter than either of those?
You've got to remember that not so long ago that was one of the busiest bits of air in the UK, and the locals were well used to the local Sea Harriers, Canberras and Hunters, along with lots of low level stuff including Vulcans and F-111s.
Yeovils an aircraft town with Westland and Yeovilton and the various subcontractors all providing work. Anyone who complains would soon be told where to go
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 17:51
  #1446 (permalink)  
 
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Marham is a good choice in comparison to others that are available and viable. It is a short hop to the east coast range complex which runs pretty much from Norfolk to Leuchars. It is a well-established base which will be close to the USAF F-35As out of RAF Lakenheath affording a close-knit daily training relationship with a common platform. Since much of F-35's threat training will be simulated on the avionics the relevance of needing emitters at Loch Ewe, Cape Wrath and such like is not persuasive and the issue of congested airspace to the south of Norfolk can be worked around - go North.

Would St Mawgan/Yeovilton/Lossiemouth be better? From an airspace perspective probably yes, but then you'd have to transit a fair way to work with USAF F-35As and for the southern options, Typhoon (or they'd have to transit to you). Bearing in mind that the RAF's F-35s WILL be the natural replacement for Tornado GR4, it makes absolute sense to preserve RAF Marham given the lack of significant counter arguments and constituency politics concerning local jobs.

I guess we await the formal basing decision in the meantime.
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 18:03
  #1447 (permalink)  
 
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Also Marham has hardened aircraft shelters. I would hope we would wish to keep these very costly aircraft in them when not deployed on the carriers. The shelters at Lossiemouth will likely be taken up by the Typhoons.
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 18:25
  #1448 (permalink)  
 
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Yeovilton or Culdrose would give easy access to the thursday wars. The F-35 will have to be involved in those for training - it makes no sense to trail them across country
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 18:39
  #1449 (permalink)  
 
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Once upon a time the King looked into where he might keep his new stallions. I turned out that they could be very noisy after they'd been fed their oats. One of his knights knew of a place in Scotland where the local serfs would accept 20 groats each to have their windows triple glazed at minimum cost to the coffers. And so it was that the town of Lossie would be the site of the new King's stables.
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 19:20
  #1450 (permalink)  
 
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ICBM,

If I may I would argue that the fact the F-35 will replace GR4 actually nullifies any argument that the two need to exist in different airfields. Afew years of squeeze is irrelevant for a fifty year capability.

Am I right that Marham is the site for some GR4 depth activity? In which case let the GR4 die there, then close the base. (If I am wrong please disregard).

I have to disagree about the East coast ranges. Holbeach and Donna offer little to F-35. In all honesty neither do the 323s and 613s. What F-35 needs is a short sea transit followed by meaningful training overland. Not the 'charge up the north sea through the 323s and pickle somewhere north of Newcastle'. That might be meaningful for the (single and a bit role) Typhoon, not our new striker.

We have big MDAs west of Cornwall and north of Lossie - we just hardly ever use them. (Unless we've lost them as a result - I am not UK based at the moment so can't check)

I think Marham is a silly idea, but that is just my opinion and I am more than aware that none of us is paid to agree with the next chap.

Have a good weekend, fly safely.
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 20:28
  #1451 (permalink)  
 
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Orca,

Can't talk to Marham and the servicing that goes on there sorry. If any Tonka mates are on here that can clarify, maybe your point will be validated. I can, however, speak to the others you present:

Holbeach and Donna are completely irrelevant to F-35 ops. The aircraft will not carry any weapons that would offer any training advantage to dropping in these letterbox-size range complexes. The 323 complex and those further north are segregated restricted airspace to allow tactical training without worrying about avoiding civil traffic. They are of sufficient dimension to allow F-35 to carry out tactical manoeuvres and, therefore, are adequate for 'most' day-to-day training in most of the roles. You raise a valid point about overland training - this will, of course, be required in some but not all training missions. With a 450nm combat radius there are few parts of the UK mainland that could not be reached on any given sortie. Add in air-air refuelling and you've got considerable opportunity to swing between the multitude of F-35 mission roles it is designed to perform. Again, there are arguably many better placed airfields but we either don't own them any more, won't own them in the near future (congratulations British Army ) or they require an additional cost to get them to the standard necessary to operate such a complicated jet.

Lossie was the other viable alternative out of around 3 or 4 - factors such as the noise footprint of STOVL made it attractive. We changed variant, the noise issue went away and then we decided to put Typhoon at Lossie so Marham/Lakenheath have become the focus. I don't see anything changing from that now.

Fly safe
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 20:34
  #1452 (permalink)  
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Not sure what use HAS are given what happened in both Gulf Wars.
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 20:39
  #1453 (permalink)  
 
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I know they are not totally safe but having your aircraft one or two per hardened shelter has got to be safer than having 12 or so in a hanger made of sheets of tin. Especially when said aircraft are very costly and we only have a few of them.
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 21:49
  #1454 (permalink)  
 
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ICBM,

My thoughts are that over water training is all well and good for A-A but not much else. I am sure that the counter point is that one can pickle off a PW4 over water and let it fend for itself much as you could overland.

I have spent many happy hours in the 323s and 613s (the ones off Leuchars...hazy memory) and got a lot out of it as an AD chap. As a mud I thought it a complete waste of my time to be honest.

You are completely right about the ability to go to places and use AAR. I just remember seeing the sums for use of the aeroplane when I was involved more intimately involved in the project and thinking that someone had left transit time out of the equation. In short a mountain and Mohammed situation.

It remains, despite your valid points, my opinion that our Maritime Strike fighter would be better off based somewhere that made sense to train for its core task. Lossie made perfect sense, Mawgan or Yeovilton made perfect sense. I see no added value in Marham, just transit up and down the North Sea to somewhere useful.
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 23:03
  #1455 (permalink)  
 
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Lossie never made sense from a noise point of view. The noise in 'downtown' Lossiemouth during a GR4 takeoff on rwy 23 is deafening - because the town isn't very far away at all. By contrast Marham is actually in the middle of nowhere! Only the married patch gets any significant, long-lasting noise.

As for airspace, well the Marham GR4 wing seem to have coped alright with the training areas available. I seem to recall they did a pretty good job last year! For CAS training there are regular exercises at Sculthorpe, Stanta and Muckleburgh - all no more than 5 minutes' flying time away, and beyond that Salisbury Plain, Otterburn, etc are all in easy range with approx 1hr on task. The TMA over Stanta starts at FL205 so is not a factor (ignore the FL50 on the LFC, it's a long-standing "error" caused by AIDU oversimplifying the depiction of controlled airspace - look at the ERC instead, which is very clear).

Low flying isn't within the F35 CONOPS. If they did want to do it, from Marham a 25-minute transit opens up the Borders (including Spadeadam), the Lakes, Wales or the southwest. Usually at least one of those will be OK weather-wise. Transit time is rarely wasted when your primary weapons are delivered at medium level - 2 or 3 delivery profiles can be practised in each direction. However from Yeovs or Culdrose the northern options would be seriously fuel-limited.

If seeing the ground is the aim of the game for medium-level weapons training, then the British weather dictates that East is generally where you want to be! However, most of the time, operations in the oversea MDAs will be the staple diet. 'Pretend' GPS bombs and cruise missiles might just as well be aimed at the sea as anywhere else. Oil platforms provide nice objects to track with the targeting pod when that is required. If it's air-to-air combat you're after then basing near Coningsby, Lakenheath, Leeming, Leeuwarden, Volkel and Kleine Brogel gives you a huge range of potential opponents to take on in D323.

As regards "embarkation" sorties or Thursday wars - the FOST areas are only 20-25 minutes' flying time from Marham. Not practical from Lossie.

The decision between the 2 really is a no-brainer, before you even start to examine the potential logistic benefits from basing 15 miles away from the USAFE F-35 wing.

Last edited by Easy Street; 22nd Jul 2012 at 00:09. Reason: Looked at an ERC!
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 23:23
  #1456 (permalink)  
 
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All good points mate.

I personally found Stanta incredibly annoying to operate in....mainly because I believed the chart and the FL50 restriction (serious point - I have no reason to doubt you but if given the choice between a AIDU product and 'some bloke off t'internet'....I'll go with the chart!), but also because of the comms required to operate in the Lakenheath approach lane. I never really achieved much at Muckleburgh either really.

Best CAS I did in the UK was ivo Lampeter...but that did require the brown jobs actually going somewhere different - which may or may not be practical for formation work ups. So maybe we are stuck with SPTA etc. (Which was always a pain because you only ever got one of the three 'chunks' and had class A stuff north and east from memory, and low level was tricky.)

Your points on sensor use and medium level deliveries are all valid.

Don't know why we're discussing this really - hardly up to us is it?
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Old 22nd Jul 2012, 06:04
  #1457 (permalink)  
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The decision between the 2 really is a no-brainer, before you even start to examine the potential logistic benefits from basing 15 miles away from the USAFE F-35 wing.
And when did the DoD make any announcement regarding deploying the F-35 to the UK?

With F-35 total numbers expected to dwindle; the pressure to reduce the number of total F-35 bases (from the 40s down to the 30s); and the US focus switching to China and the Pacific, I doubt the present F-15 wing will be replaced for many years - and is more likely not to be replaced when it is retired.
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Old 22nd Jul 2012, 09:09
  #1458 (permalink)  
 
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Marhams such a great base even the local pub shut down, NO facilities, off base, within "reasonable" distance [and even then "reasonable/facilities ?] yeah great place to stuff our final manned air asset!!
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Old 22nd Jul 2012, 10:39
  #1459 (permalink)  
 
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Marhams such a great base even the local pub shut down, NO facilities, off base, within "reasonable" distance [and even then "reasonable/facilities ?] yeah great place to stuff our final manned air asset!!
I feel your pain, even Khandhar has a Burger King, Pizza Hut, Subway sandwich shop, three cafes, lots of shops, Creamery, sunglasses outlet etc etc etc. It's a hard life you folks have to endure (BANTER)
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Old 23rd Jul 2012, 14:54
  #1460 (permalink)  
 
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One might like to consider what the runway is made of first, with the likely destruction to be brought on by RVLs. Yeovilton of course is 7500 lovely feet of Concrete on 27 and concrete on 22 as well. Marham's main is Asphalt as are both Lossiemouth's

Last edited by Widger; 23rd Jul 2012 at 14:59.
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