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CAS confirms purchase of 74 F-35Bs

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CAS confirms purchase of 74 F-35Bs

Old 1st May 2022, 20:38
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CAS confirms purchase of 74 F-35Bs

The CAS has confirmed the purchase of 74 F-35Bs and says its possible 138 of them may be delivered ultimately.Britain confirms plans to purchase 74 F-35B jets (ukdefencejournal.org.uk)

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Old 1st May 2022, 22:31
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Amounts to 3 squadrons and an OCU…. 4 squadrons would be good, as I imagine T1 phoons will be flying blue and yellow colours soon.

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Old 2nd May 2022, 11:24
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Still a bit vague on dates and timelines, and also iffy on numbers - 48 original plus 26 extra orders less 1 submersible/intake cover test article makes 73. The quote is that "all 74 will be operational" so is that one going to be repaired?


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Old 2nd May 2022, 16:17
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It's always reassuring to learn tax payers money is being well spent on essentials...given there are more than a few other, far more pressing, societal requirements.

However, should, the proposed expansion of the fleet happen, given just about everywhere seems to be crammed to capacity, can we expect an announcement about an extended taxiway from Lossie to Kinloss, or expansion plans for Woodvale or Mona ?
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Old 2nd May 2022, 17:13
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Originally Posted by Krystal n chips View Post
It's always reassuring to learn tax payers money is being well spent on essentials...given there are more than a few other, far more pressing, societal requirements.

However, should, the proposed expansion of the fleet happen, given just about everywhere seems to be crammed to capacity, can we expect an announcement about an extended taxiway from Lossie to Kinloss, or expansion plans for Woodvale or Mona ?
I would take issue with the fact that there are any more pressing societal concerns. The #1 priority of the UK Government is defence of the realm. Given the new reality of an aggressive and nuclear threatening Russia, I see nothing even as remotely pressing as equipping the military. High prices and a terrible Health Service are issues that need to be dealt with for sure - not saying that they aren't, but the people in Ukraine would give anything to have the UK's societal issues as the only thing they had to deal with right now.

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Old 2nd May 2022, 18:25
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I am unconvinced with the need for an all B fleet - other than commonality.

Some C's would be nice, but I think that converting our carriers retrospectively to be able to use them properly is probably beyond the bounds of reason and financial reality.

So some A's would give some near commonality, and would provide a decent capability linked to the more likely use of them.

The Harrier field deployment concept of the 70's/80's is beyond likelihood, and the logistic/support tail is not realistically feasible in today's probable/likely need.

Just my opinion.
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Old 2nd May 2022, 18:32
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Originally Posted by Baldeep Inminj View Post
I would take issue with the fact that there are any more pressing societal concerns. The #1 priority of the UK Government is defence of the realm. Given the new reality of an aggressive and nuclear threatening Russia, I see nothing even as remotely pressing as equipping the military. High prices and a terrible Health Service are issues that need to be dealt with for sure - not saying that they aren't, but the people in Ukraine would give anything to have the UK's societal issues as the only thing they had to deal with right now.
Thank you very much. I had started a very similar rejoinder when dinner interrupted me.
I totally agree with you.
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Old 2nd May 2022, 18:45
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Originally Posted by ex-fast-jets View Post
Some C's would be nice, but I think that converting our carriers retrospectively to be able to use them properly is probably beyond the bounds of reason and financial reality.

So some A's would give some near commonality, and would provide a decent capability linked to the more likely use of them.
Agreed. C's would definitely be a force multiplier with more range and weapons load capability. I can't see a reason why an angled deck with cat and traps couldn't be fitted alongside the ski jump as it were, apart from the obvious cost. It would then provide an opportunity for other types to be operated.

The A would likewise have better range than the B but we would be reliant on US tankers as it doesn't have a probe unlike the B and C

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Old 2nd May 2022, 23:35
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Originally Posted by CAEBr View Post
Agreed. C's would definitely be a force multiplier with more range and weapons load capability. I can't see a reason why an angled deck with cat and traps couldn't be fitted alongside the ski jump as it were, apart from the obvious cost. It would then provide an opportunity for other types to be operated.

The A would likewise have better range than the B but we would be reliant on US tankers as it doesn't have a probe unlike the B and C
This very suggestion was considered back in 2010, then abandoned because the yet to be built QE class carriers, according to BAE Systems would cost an awful lot of bags full of money, which the government simply didn't have, inorder to re-design the decks and fit the catapults. There was also some head scratching over how the catapults would be operated.

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Old 2nd May 2022, 23:38
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Cheaper to buy A330 MRTT than fit cats and traps on both boats. So A-model it is if we buy anything different. The B-model doesn’t have a wet wing and so without external tanks it is somewhat short on range and endurance without a tanker (not forgetting that the B has roughly 30% less fuel internally than the A model to start with!).
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Old 3rd May 2022, 01:13
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https://www.airforcemag.com/Lockheed...Weapons-Suite/ 17 Jun 2019 "...The aircraft is largely ready for external tanks. There are 12 stations on the strike fighter for weapons pylons; wing stations three and nine—the two closest to the fuselage—are “already piped to accept fuel on the wings,” Ulmer [Lockheed vice president and general manager of the F-35 program] said...."
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Old 3rd May 2022, 06:42
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SpazSinbad - not the B-models as I understand it?
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Old 3rd May 2022, 07:23
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Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post
Cheaper to buy A330 MRTT than fit cats and traps on both boats. So A-model it is if we buy anything different. The B-model doesn’t have a wet wing and so without external tanks it is somewhat short on range and endurance without a tanker (not forgetting that the B has roughly 30% less fuel internally than the A model to start with!).
You could then AAR the C-17, P-8, R135 and the incoming E-7 as well.....
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Old 3rd May 2022, 07:23
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...apart from the obvious cost.
There's your reason.
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Old 3rd May 2022, 07:27
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The QE's were supposed to be designed so they could eventually choose Cats & traps. But as ever the politicians were happy with the "promise" and never nailed down the costs

Surprise, surprise, when BAe etc were asked later for an estimate it was vast and on a programme that was already eating cash and resources it wasn't affordable at the time.

Long term cost was that the RN is stuck with the B variant for all time. The RAF has the option of buying A or C versions going forward.
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Old 3rd May 2022, 07:43
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F-35 Bs? Putting all your eggs in one, er, two baskets?
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Old 3rd May 2022, 07:55
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Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post
SpazSinbad - not the B-models as I understand it?
Would you have a reference or two for your claim about the F-35B please? TIA
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Old 3rd May 2022, 10:39
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we've been around this circle many times. From previous threads the range difference between the B and C is less than would be apparent as the C has to bring home enough fuel to hold in the landing pattern and the be able to divert ashore - whilst the assumption is the B will always be able to find a bit of deck to land on and can operate with lower reserves. A RVL allows greater carry back, but weapons can always be dumped for a VL.

The C doesn't have any advantages over the A and has several major disadvantages, in particular the larger wing makes transonic acceleration so slow that its a hazard in combat, and the burner to do will burn up most of the additional fuel if its needed - just as the wrong time...

LM has left the space used on the C for a probe empty on the A to allow a customer to specify it. Though with no trials having been done, leaving the customer to pick up the bill, I am not sure if anyone will do so rather than buy boom equipped tanker(s, or enter into an agreement with someone such as the USAF who already has them.

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Old 3rd May 2022, 10:52
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Allegedly, in 2016, the RAF 'showed interest' in equipping 'some' Voyagers with the boom system. But how many and which? The RAF doesn't own its Voyagers and relies on core and surge fleets from AirTanker. Some years ago it was stated that this already costs £1M+ per day, whether they're used or not.

Of course it would have made a lot more sense, from an interoperabilty aspect, to have specfied pods, boom, centre FRU and UARRSI for all Voyagers, but that wasn't the decision. So now all have pods, but only some have the centreline FRU.

Even if the RAF acquired F-35A with a probe, that wouldn't solve the interoperability and flexibility of refuelling non-probe aircraft of the RAF and other nations using the Voyager.

Last edited by BEagle; 3rd May 2022 at 11:41.
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Old 3rd May 2022, 11:09
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there are always other options of course.

For example there are underwing pods available with internal refuelling probes which can be fitted as required - and the IAF have equipped their F-16s with conformal tanks including a Conformal Air Refueling Tanker/System (CARTS).




Reportedly Israel Aerospace Industries has been working on conformal tanks for their F-35s......
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