F35 - Money well spent.

There is no doubt the F35 is a first rate aircraft but why have we chosen, as usual, to put a unique British configuration on how it is used and operated?
I wasn’t aware we especially had.

However, if you mean why have we elected to buy F-35B and integrate it onto carriers capable of cat/trap ops[?], I’d offer the following:

1. The F-35B is being procured to meet carrier and land based requirements.
2. F-35B allows more flexible use of the assets, particularly when having to surge carrier ops.
3. STOVL means we can operate from a far wider range of airfields and ships.

Regards,
MM
 
I wasn’t aware we especially had.

However, if you mean why have we elected to buy F-35B and integrate it onto carriers capable of cat/trap ops[?], I’d offer the following:

1. The F-35B is being procured to meet carrier and land based requirements.
2. F-35B allows more flexible use of the assets, particularly when having to surge carrier ops.
3. STOVL means we can operate from a far wider range of airfields and ships.

Regards,
MM
1. There are carrier and land based variants and it seems the 35B is not actually suited to carrier based operations and we are shoehorning it into a capability it wasn't designed for. A typical UK compromise.
2 Is yet to be proven as the 35B may struggle to operate from the carriers
3 STOVL is not the technique we shall be using as we have decided, uniquely, on SRVL a technique not yet developed beyond the simulator or proven at sea in various sea states.

I think the problems started with the decision not to design the carriers with a catapult, then when the decision was made to retrofit it was found to be too expensive. Already the Government is muttering about purchasing the A variant which will add more confusion to the muddle.

I hope it all works out but there is already a whiff of concrete blocks in the nose cone or chinooks sitting in Boscombe Down for a decade.
 
Last edited:
1. There are carrier and land based variants and it seems the 35B is not actually suited to carrier based operations and we are shoehorning it into a capability it wasn't designed for. A typical UK compromise...
The F-35B is purpose designed for operating from sea given the principle customer is the USMC!

Meanwhile, while there are land based A and cat/trap C variants, operating both would’ve significantly added to costs, complicated support and training and reduced surge capacity on the carriers. There’s also the minor issue that we can’t refuel the F-35A as it elites on boom tanking.

2 Is yet to be proven as the 35B may struggle to operate from the carriers...
The USMC, RN and RAF pilots who’ve conducted trials off carriers may disagree!

...3 STOVL is not the technique we shall be using as we have decided, uniquely, on SRVL a technique not yet developed beyond the simulator or proven at sea in various sea states...
Sims are very high fidelity these days and plenty of very experienced pilots say it’s a viable method. Ultimately, the QEs have big decks so I doubt that there’ll be huge issues.

I think the problems started with the decision not to design the carriers with a catapult, then when the decision was made to retrofit it was found to be too expensive...
Indeed. However, had we gone cat/trap we’d have been unable to surge capacity.

...Already the Government is muttering about purchasing the A variant which will add more confusion to the muddle...
No it isn’t.

...I hope it all works out but there is already a whiffl of concrete blocks in the nose cone or chinooks sitting in Boscombe Down for a decade.
How so?

Regards,
MM
 
The F-35B is purpose designed for operating from sea given the principle customer is the USMC!
Errmm, not quite, the USMC intend to deliver by and support from sea, their primary operational role is to operate from austere surfaces on land. I don't believe the USN operates the B variant from it's many aircraft carriers and the USMC has C variants for that purpose.

Meanwhile, while there are land based A and cat/trap C variants, operating both would’ve significantly added to costs, complicated support and training and reduced surge capacity on the carriers. There’s also the minor issue that we can’t refuel the F-35A as it elites on boom tanking.
I don't disagree, other than the 'surge' capacity which sounds like spin How do the USN deal with that issue

The USMC, RN and RAF pilots who’ve conducted trials off carriers may disagree!
They have yet to attempt the full spectrum of operations, for instance the HMS QE has not flown any F35s and no-one has yet attempted SRVL on any vessel UK or US


Sims are very high fidelity these days and plenty of very experienced pilots say it’s a viable method. Ultimately, the QEs have big decks so I doubt that there’ll be huge issues.
The proof will be in the pudding

Indeed. However, had we gone cat/trap we’d have been unable to surge capacity.
The USN do not seem to see this as an issue. As I suggested typical UK fudge.

Earl Howe, Minister of State for Defence and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, has suggested that a change in F-35 variant may be on the cards after the first 48 F-35Bs.
Thye information comes to light in answer to a written question in the House of Lords asked by the Marquess of Lothian:

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they remain committed to the purchase of 138 F-35B jump–jets for the Royal Navy.”
Answered by Earl Howe
“As part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015, we reaffirmed our commitment to procure 138 F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

The first tranche of 48 aircraft will be of the F-35B variant, which will be jointly operated by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and capable of operating from both land and the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. The decision on the variant of subsequent tranches of Lightning will be taken at the appropriate time.”


Quite simply we have aircraft carriers and aircraft which are incompatible so we are looking for 'innovative' solutions. These may work or may just stay in development for years providing limited or reduced capability.
 
Last edited:
I don't disagree, other than the 'surge' capacity which sounds like spin How do the USN deal with that issue

The USN do not seem to see this as an issue. As I suggested typical UK fudge.
The USN has a large fast jet Aviation component and isn't double hatted with the USAF - so its squadrons are its.
Since each (operational) carrier has its own air wing there's less requirement to surge - they also by virtue of size could surge in the pacific by borrowing Pacific Sqns.

If you only have 2 RN sqns that's not really an option (Yes MM I know the F35Bs are shared - but I suspect F35C would require dedicated squadrons and less intermingling)

The French MN has little to no capacity in this regard and nor would an RN equipped with F35C (hands up who doesn't think any RAF F35Cs would have carrier specific bits removed as maintenance savings or HMG inspired savings in buying)
 
The USN has a large fast jet Aviation component and isn't double hatted with the USAF - so its squadrons are its.
Since each (operational) carrier has its own air wing there's less requirement to surge - they also by virtue of size could surge in the pacific by borrowing Pacific Sqns.

If you only have 2 RN sqns that's not really an option (Yes MM I know the F35Bs are shared - but I suspect F35C would require dedicated squadrons and less intermingling)

The French MN has little to no capacity in this regard and nor would an RN equipped with F35C (hands up who doesn't think any RAF F35Cs would have carrier specific bits removed as maintenance savings or HMG inspired savings in buying)
So in a nutshell the USN have enough F35C to operate their aircraft carriers? I believe that is the plan with the RN with 4 Sqns available and realistically only one carrier seaworthy at any given time.
 
Errmm, not quite, the USMC intend to deliver by and support from sea, their primary operational role is to operate from austere surfaces on land...
Incorrect; it’s a fundamental part of USMC doctrine that they operate F-35B from their LHDs and LHAs. Indeed, the USMC are exceptionally jealous of our QE Class and their F-35Bs will probably be regularly embarked.

...the USMC has C variants for that purpose...
The USMC were forced to buy F-35C due to inter-service Olivia’s with the USN.

...I don't disagree, other than the 'surge' capacity which sounds like spin How do the USN deal with that issue...
It’s irrelevant how the USN deal with it as we’re not the US military and shouldn’t pretend to be.

...They have yet to attempt the full spectrum of operations, for instance the HMS QE has not flown any F35s and no-one has yet attempted SRVL on any vessel UK or US...
Of course it hasn’t, it’s still only on trials!!

As you say elsewhere, ‘the proof will be in the pudding’.

...The USN do not seem to see this as an issue. As I suggested typical UK fudge...
Once again, the RN is not the USN; the latter have the advantage of scale.

...Earl Howe, Minister of State for Defence and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, has suggested that a change in F-35 variant may be on the cards after the first 48 F-35Bs.
Thye information comes to light in answer to a written question in the House of Lords asked by the Marquess of Lothian:

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they remain committed to the purchase of 138 F-35B jump–jets for the Royal Navy.”
Answered by Earl Howe
“As part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015, we reaffirmed our commitment to procure 138 F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

The first tranche of 48 aircraft will be of the F-35B variant, which will be jointly operated by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and capable of operating from both land and the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. The decision on the variant of subsequent tranches of Lightning will be taken at the appropriate time.”...
I can find any number of links to ambiguous ministerial statements in the House; many are factually incorrect even regarding in-service capabilities let alone those some years off. Moreover, once again, how do you propose having sufficient boom tankers to tank theses F-35As?

...Quite simply we have aircraft carriers and aircraft which are incompatible so we are looking for 'innovative' solutions. These may work or may just stay in development for years provided limited or reduced capability.
Utter tosh.

Contributors such as @Not a Boffin and @A2_Matelot are far better qualified than I to comment. However, the QEs are purpose designed - some may say actually over-optimised - for F-35B STORVL ops. As hinted at earlier, the USMC are exceptionally - and I do mean exceptionally - jealous of the ships and how much more suited they are to F-35B ops than their own LHDs and LHAs.

So in a nutshell the USN have enough F35C to operate their aircraft carriers? I believe that is the plan with the RN with 4 Sqns available and realistically only one carrier seaworthy at any given time.
Of for crying out loud!!! There will be NO RN F-35B sqns just as there will be NO RAF F-35B sqns!!! They’re all jointly manned and will be operating from land and the QEs as required!!!!

Regards,
MM
 
So in a nutshell the USN have enough F35C to operate their aircraft carriers? I believe that is the plan with the RN with 4 Sqns available and realistically only one carrier seaworthy at any given time.
Not really
The US has several dedicated wings that spend Their life conducting carrier ops

The UK will have a single wing that will not be exclusively for carrier ops. - To retain or regain those skills is expensive and time consuming (look at the hoops the MN jumps through to keep current when the CdG s inop) unless you opt for Stovl.

So 4 * UK F35C sqns 2 dedicated to carriers 2 land based and weeks at least to generate any surge capacity
Or 4 F35B sqns only 1 of which can expect to be embarked as a matter of course and 3 sqns that can do other things and requalify for days.

At least that's how its explained to me or more honestly how ive understood it).

Edit - Their not there
 
Last edited:
Incorrect; it’s a fundamental part of USMC doctrine that they operate F-35B from their LHDs and LHAs. Indeed, the USMC are exceptionally jealous of our QE Class and their F-35Bs will probably be regularly embarked.
I am sure they are but I am not incorrect their primary aim is to get them on land


The USMC were forced to buy F-35C due to inter-service Olivia’s with the USN.
But why not operate F35Bs from carriers also, the biggest maritime customer the USN sees no use for them.


It’s irrelevant how the USN deal with it as we’re not the US military and shouldn’t pretend to be.
That is simply a cop out, we will operate with them and should be compatible

Of course it hasn’t, it’s still only on trials!!

As you say elsewhere, ‘the proof will be in the pudding’.
So stop pretending you have all of the answers

Once again, the RN is not the USN; the latter have the advantage of scale.
I refer you to my comment above

I can find any number of links to ambiguous ministerial statements in the House; many are factually incorrect even regarding in-service capabilities let alone those some years off. Moreover, once again, how do you propose having sufficient boom tankers to tank theses F-35As?
It's on a par with a leak, preparing the ground for a possibility, the Times also quoted two Defence sources saying the RAF want out of the F35B game


Utter tosh.

Contributors such as @Not a Boffin and @A2_Matelot are far better qualified than I to comment. However, the QEs are purpose designed - some may say actually over-optimised - for F-35B STORVL ops. As hinted at earlier, the USMC are exceptionally - and I do mean exceptionally - jealous of the ships and how much more suited they are to F-35B ops than their own LHDs and LHAs.
I presume you mean SRVL? Because if you mean STOVL that is probably true but not the technique we would use predominantly.




Of for crying out loud!!! There will be NO RN F-35B sqns just as there will be NO RAF F-35B sqns!!! They’re all jointly manned and will be operating from land and the QEs as required!!!!
Calm down princess, I am well aware of that but the RN does have two great big aircraft carriers.

Regards,
MM[/QUOTE][/QUOTE]
 
I am sure they are but I am not incorrect their primary aim is to get them on land...
I would say the USMC’s primary aim is to project ground amphibious effects onto land. That does not necessarily mean their fast air or AH will follow as several ops have demonstrated. Fundamentally, the USMC are planning to routinely operate their jets from LHAs and LHDs.

...But why not operate F35Bs from carriers also, the biggest maritime customer the USN sees no use for them...
Because the USN has the World’s largest cat/trap carrier aviation force. They can therefore absorb the enormous costs of maintaining all the bespoke personnel and training costs associated with that system.

Even back in the 1960s when the RN had 2 gusting 3 conventional carriers and several other assault vessels, they were increasingly reliant on the RAF for aircrew and training. And once again, UK F-35B procurement is not just for the carriers.

...That is simply a cop out, we will operate with them and should be compatible...
No it isn’t.

How would you justify the additional personnel, aircraft (or reduced aircraft availability) and bespoke training system (or enormous costs and personnel issues associated with using USN training) required for cat/trap?

In contrast, with F-35B we are not only fully compatible with the US, we can also potentially cross deck with a greater number of ships and nations. That’s why several key allies are looking at also procuring F-35B for their navies and air forces.

...So stop pretending you have all of the answers...
If I am, so too are fair proportion of experienced personnel in the shipbuilding industry, RN and RAF.

...It's on a par with a leak, preparing the ground for a possibility, the Times also quoted two Defence sources saying the RAF want out of the F35B game...
A somewhat debatable claim and I tend to prefer personal experience to media rumours. Meanwhile, I’ve been in the RAF for quite a few years and I’ve never heard that we are ‘wanting to get out of the F-35B game.’ Remember that both the RN and RAF have quite a successful history of STOVL and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find many who advocate cat/trap.

Remember that the F-35C is the most expensive and least common variant and, once again, how do you propose funding and manning a new boom tanker force for RAF A models?

...I presume you mean SRVL? Because if you mean STOVL that is probably true but not the technique we would use predominantly...
No, I mean STORVL. While STORVL will only be required under certain conditions due to the performance of the F-35B, it will still probably be regularly used and practised when embarked. The QE’s deck configuration and landing aids have been designed with that in mind from the outset I believe.

...Calm down princess, I am well aware of that but the RN does have two great big aircraft carriers...
Carriers we would realistically struggle to equip with a decent Air Wing if that was based on F-35C, the most expensive variant and one which comes with a significant training overhead.

Ultimately, the UK has to cut it’s defence cloth to match its budget. We could undoubtedly have procured to buy F-35C, particularly had the QEs had unwaveringly followed the cat/trap path from the off. However, would the RN have been able to afford the additional personnel, jets and training required to balance the lack of surge capacity offered by a jointly manned F-35B force, particularly as the RAF would still have needed to procure Bs? I suggest not unless capability offsets were found elsewhere.

Regards,
MM
 
Last edited:
A somewhat debatable claim and I tend to prefer personal experience to media rumours. Meanwhile, I’ve been in the RAF for quite a few years and I’ve never heard that we are ‘wanting to get out of the F-35B game.’ Remember that both the RN and RAF have quite a successful history of STOVL and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find many who advocate cat/trap.
The news that the RAF wants out of the F-35B game would come as a surprise to the officer who delivered a lecture to the Shrivenham Branch of the RAeS on Wednesday. He'll need to change his slide pack and tell his 1* (actually two of them - Dave Bradshaw and Linc Taylor) that they're quite wrong about the part the B model will play in the RAF for the next 40 years or so...


It'd come as an even greater surprise to Linc, who was due to be delivering the lecture and who - to the eye of a former DS of his [I have been doing this that long...] - had clearly written the key bits of it himself, or dictated them to whomsoever put the lecture together...
 
Why if the F35B is optimised for shipborne use does it not also have the folding wings of the C version ? Surely the space saving would be beneficial.
Possibly because it doesn't need them?

"Compared to the F-35A, the F-35C carrier variant features larger wings with foldable wingtip sections, larger wing and tail control surfaces for improved low-speed control "

i.e. the wingtips are foldable because it needs bigger wings...
 
The news that the RAF wants out of the F-35B game would come as a surprise to the officer who delivered a lecture to the Shrivenham Branch of the RAeS on Wednesday. He'll need to change his slide pack and tell his 1* (actually two of them - Dave Bradshaw and Linc Taylor) that they're quite wrong about the part the B model will play in the RAF for the next 40 years or so...


It'd come as an even greater surprise to Linc, who was due to be delivering the lecture and who - to the eye of a former DS of his [I have been doing this that long...] - had clearly written the key bits of it himself, or dictated them to whomsoever put the lecture together...
God! How may we serve you? ;)
 
Possibly because it doesn't need them?

"Compared to the F-35A, the F-35C carrier variant features larger wings with foldable wingtip sections, larger wing and tail control surfaces for improved low-speed control "

i.e. the wingtips are foldable because it needs bigger wings...
Cheers, yes there is an 8 foot difference in wingspan. I doubt a lack of folding wings is a problem for us with the QE class, however hangar space is a little bit cramped on some USMC ships.
 
If only there was a forum for Royal Navy issues, perhaps even a thread dedicated to the carriers - maybe like this?

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/cvf-and-carrier-strike-thread.178170/page-464

Cheers, yes there is an 8 foot difference in wingspan. I doubt a lack of folding wings is a problem for us with the QE class, however hangar space is a little bit cramped on some USMC ships.
You mean USN amphibious ships. However the QEC is larger. Folding wings means more complexity and weight
 
Last edited:
Cheers, yes there is an 8 foot difference in wingspan. I doubt a lack of folding wings is a problem for us with the QE class, however hangar space is a little bit cramped on some USMC ships.
I would imagine it was the usual cost/benefit factors.

Firstly, there’s the added cost, weight and complexity. Secondly, the F-35B has thrust jets which extend into the wing. I’d also suspect that there was a desire not to lose any further fuel capacity given the lift fan had already removed one of the fuel tanks.

Finally, I doubt whether the footprint of an F-35B sans wing fold is any bigger than that of an MV-22 or CH-53K with everything folded.

Regards,
MM
 
Stop pontificating on stuff you evidently have no knowledge of whatsoever.

Ever exercised with F-22? Ever worked with them on ops?

Regards,
MM
Hush Sir, the expert has proclaimed...
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top