F35 - Money well spent.

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
For what it is - Liger / Gabby / UK AF commentary Blog Isnt too bad - a bit OTT with the were doomed because cuts routine and a tendency to fantasy fleets.
But I think hes a better source of defence reportage than any of the news papers at present - Just have to separate fact from his opinion or perception of aspirations.

Jeneral28 on the other hand - That's proper loon spud - I cant remember his blogs name now - but its preface used to rip into Gabby and @jim30 - he hates those 2* with a passion.

*He hates me as well but I dont have a blog for him to attack
HM Armed Forces Commentary and still throwing hissy fits at anyone who disagrees with him, threw an epi at UK defence journal a while back
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
No Gabby is Commentary

Jeneral is UK forces review or something - I didn't see his epi at UKDJ - I trust it was spectacular and demonstrably incorrect.
Otherway around, Gabriel is UK Armed Forces, and Jeneral is HM Armed forces Review I was looking at the UK-HM difference rather than Commentary-Review difference, and yes it was spectacularly petulant in the style we've come to know and love.

Actually was HM Armed Forces Review, he's still on twitter as that, but has changed the title of his blog to British Armed Forces Review, and still not worth it for info, but always good for mockery.
 
Typhoon OSD is 2040 and F-35 OSD is 2050 iirc. Therefore, I'd see any new jet gradually supplanting Typhoon over a couple of years and then overlapping with F-35 for at least a decade.

Regards,
MM
At the moment Japan are weighing up various options for replacing their F-2s, F-15s, and related planes. This is a separate project from their purchase of F-35s. They have a date of around 2030 penciled in for this.

My understanding is that they have three options lined up for examination:
  • An all-Japanese plane based on the X-2 prototype. This is widely viewed as now unlikely due to cost.
  • A plane based on an existing foreign design but with considerable Japanese improvements and IP. This looks more attractive from a cost and timing standpoint.

For the second option, they have requested proposals from Boeing, LM, and BAE.
  1. Boeing is expected to propose something based on the F-18.
  2. LM is reportedly expected to be proposing something based on the F-22. I have doubts about that, and suspect that the F-35 would be a more likely basis as its components are currently in production while the F-22 would present a much greater degree of updating from this perspective.
  3. BAE is expected to propose something based on the Typhoon.
Note that with the above we are not talking about license building of existing designs, but rather using an existing design as a starting point for something considerably better than what exists today.

I suspect that the Japanese decision will be heavily based on industrial benefits and access to technology and IP rights. Any analysis which doesn't address these points in depth and give them a high degree of weighting is in my opinion well off the mark.

Boeing can probably make an attractive offer on this point. However, their plane will be rather dated by that point and so less attractive as a starting point for something new. The Japanese plan on fitting a lot of their own electronics, and the F-18 airframe has I believe less technology inherent in it that would benefit Japanese industry. It would though be a useful cudgel to use in negotiations with others.

LM will likely struggle with respect to technology transfer and IP rights due to US government policy. The F-22 may be less of a problem than the F-35 due to its age, but again, US government policy may be major roadblock here. Diplomatic and geopolitical considerations may sway that decision, but the uncertainties involved in this would hang like a cloud over it.

The UK government and BAE would doubtless be very happy to deal on terms which the Japanese would find attractive. The only real question would be whether the other consortium partners who have rights involved in the design could be given terms which they found satisfactory from their perspective. I suspect though that a deal could be done.

Having said the above, we'll ignore any detailed discussion of the pros and cons of each, as that isn't the point of what we are discussing here. Instead I will focus on what this could potentially mean for the UK's own plans.

If the Typhoon is used as the basis for the new Japanese plane, then the Japanese would be financing the development of a major upgrade which would effectively be a next gen Typhoon. That combined with commercial and political factors could result in the UK committing to buying more Typhoons in place of some of the later F-35s.

Or to put it more simply,
  • Buy some F-35Bs now, possibly the 48 currently committed to.
  • Buy some "next gen" Typhoons in or around 2030 to make up the rest of the numbers out of the supposed 130-ish talked about.
If this results in some aircraft acquisition spending being put off for a few years, that may suit the government just fine in terms of resolving some of their other defence budget problems.

I am not in any way proposing the above as an ideal solution, nor am I assigning any likelihood of it occurring. I am simply pointing out that considerations such as this will very likely play some part in the decision making process, including the time line for making the actual decisions.
 
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Typhoon OSD is 2040 and F-35 OSD is 2050 iirc. Therefore, I'd see any new jet gradually supplanting Typhoon over a couple of years and then overlapping with F-35 for at least a decade.

Regards,
MM
You're probably aware:

The Government says some key decisions will need to be made in the early 2020s about what will come after Typhoon. Main Gate (when the main investment decision is taken) is pencilled in for 2025

The briefing also suggests that F-35 procurement could be slowed down due to budgetary constraints which could also affect investment in euro collaborative projects.

Prospects for combat air: What follows Typhoon and Lightning? - Commons Library briefing - UK Parliament
 
At the moment Japan are weighing up various options for replacing their F-2s, F-15s, and related planes. This is a separate project from their purchase of F-35s. They have a date of around 2030 penciled in for this.

My understanding is that they have three options lined up for examination:
  • An all-Japanese plane based on the X-2 prototype. This is widely viewed as now unlikely due to cost.
  • A plane based on an existing foreign design but with considerable Japanese improvements and IP. This looks more attractive from a cost and timing standpoint.

For the second option, they have requested proposals from Boeing, LM, and BAE.
  1. Boeing is expected to propose something based on the F-18.
  2. LM is reportedly expected to be proposing something based on the F-22. I have doubts about that, and suspect that the F-35 would be a more likely basis as its components are currently in production while the F-22 would present a much greater degree of updating from this perspective.
  3. BAE is expected to propose something based on the Typhoon.
Note that with the above we are not talking about license building of existing designs, but rather using an existing design as a starting point for something considerably better than what exists today.

I suspect that the Japanese decision will be heavily based on industrial benefits and access to technology and IP rights. Any analysis which doesn't address these points in depth and give them a high degree of weighting is in my opinion well off the mark.

Boeing can probably make an attractive offer on this point. However, their plane will be rather dated by that point and so less attractive as a starting point for something new. The Japanese plan on fitting a lot of their own electronics, and the F-18 airframe has I believe less technology inherent in it that would benefit Japanese industry. It would though be a useful cudgel to use in negotiations with others.

LM will likely struggle with respect to technology transfer and IP rights due to US government policy. The F-22 may be less of a problem than the F-35 due to its age, but again, US government policy may be major roadblock here. Diplomatic and geopolitical considerations may sway that decision, but the uncertainties involved in this would hang like a cloud over it.

The UK government and BAE would doubtless be very happy to deal on terms which the Japanese would find attractive. The only real question would be whether the other consortium partners who have rights involved in the design could be given terms which they found satisfactory from their perspective. I suspect though that a deal could be done.

Having said the above, we'll ignore any detailed discussion of the pros and cons of each, as that isn't the point of what we are discussing here. Instead I will focus on what this could potentially mean for the UK's own plans.

If the Typhoon is used as the basis for the new Japanese plane, then the Japanese would be financing the development of a major upgrade which would effectively be a next gen Typhoon. That combined with commercial and political factors could result in the UK committing to buying more Typhoons in place of some of the later F-35s.

Or to put it more simply,
  • Buy some F-35Cs now, possibly the 48 currently committed to.
  • Buy some "next gen" Typhoons in or around 2030 to make up the rest of the numbers out of the supposed 130-ish talked about.
If this results in some aircraft acquisition spending being put off for a few years, that may suit the government just fine in terms of resolving some of their other defence budget problems.

I am not in any way proposing the above as an ideal solution, nor am I assigning any likelihood of it occurring. I am simply pointing out that considerations such as this will very likely play some part in the decision making process, including the time line for making the actual decisions.
Two questions:

F-35Cs?

And

How does a 'next-gen' version of a 4th-gen aircraft such as an F-18 or Typhoon work?

I'd expect a 5+/6th-gen to be a fundamentally new airframe - by the time you've 'stealthed' a 4th-gen to the standards needed, it'll look nothing like what you started with.

Surely a clean sheet is the way to go?
 
Two questions:

F-35Cs?
I meant F-35B. I will correct my error in the original post.

And

How does a 'next-gen' version of a 4th-gen aircraft such as an F-18 or Typhoon work?
Next generation of Typhoon, not next generation of American air force. What that would amount to is completely undefined at this time. It would be a plane which used the Typhoon as its starting point, but changed to a degree that meets Japan's budget and schedule. That could be anywhere from a new engine and electronics all the way to something that isn't recognisable as a Typhoon.

The "5th generation" label originates from how the Americans described their own procurement process and doesn't really apply universally. Whatever they bought was by definition "5th generation" to them, whatever they were phasing out was "legacy" to them. They drew up a wish list of the features that they wanted in their new planes and called that feature set "fifth generation".

LM then applied for a trademark on the term so it could be applied exclusively to their planes and used it extensively in their marketing material.

If you go by the original definition of "5th generation", then the F-35 isn't a fifth generation fighter because it doesn't have supercruise (which was one of the original criteria). However, the F-35 is still called "5th generation" because it's what the US bought.

There's no generally accepted formal definition for "5th generation", so it's more of a marketing term these days that anything else. I suspect the term will get dropped in a few years as soon as something newer comes out that trumps it.

I'd expect a 5+/6th-gen to be a fundamentally new airframe - by the time you've 'stealthed' a 4th-gen to the standards needed, it'll look nothing like what you started with.
As noted in my previous post, Japan was looking at an all new aircraft. However, that didn't fit into their budget or schedule, although I wouldn't consider that option to be 100% foreclosed. They are now considering basing their plane off an existing design from abroad and adding new features to it. How much change that will involve is yet to be determined.

Surely a clean sheet is the way to go?
See the above. They have a clean sheet prototype, but finalising the design and putting it into production without having more sales lined up than Japan's own needs would require is considered to be uneconomical at this time.

However, the point of my original post wasn't to debate the pros and cons of Japan's options, although perhaps that might make for an interesting subject, perhaps on another thread.

My point was to highlight some of the political, diplomatic, and economic factors which the UK government will very likely be taking into consideration when deciding how many F-35s of what type to buy. It is necessary to look at the broader picture when speculating on the options available to the UK in this instance.

It would be politically, diplomatically, and economically advantageous for the current UK government to sign a defence deal with Japan based on the above parameters. It would not surprise me at all if the UK government were very willing to define their own procurement plans in a manner which supports such a defence deal.
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
Seems that Gav is keen...

Dogfight over UK's pledge to buy American fighter jets 'could play out like the Westland affair'

A Japanese Typhoon would be a very interesting beastie, given their abilities. Given China's rise to prominence I doubt they'll be sparing the moolah on it. Course it would mean stiffing the gumps for the workshare on the F-35 but bummer. Otherwise ticks an awful lot of boxes.

How much of the IP do we hold on the Typhoon, and more importantly how much of what we don't could be designed out?

Trump isn't going to be in a strong position to argue against this.
 
Seems that Gav is keen...

Dogfight over UK's pledge to buy American fighter jets 'could play out like the Westland affair'

A Japanese Typhoon would be a very interesting beastie, given their abilities. Given China's rise to prominence I doubt they'll be sparing the moolah on it. Course it would mean stiffing the gumps for the workshare on the F-35 but bummer. Otherwise ticks an awful lot of boxes.

How much of the IP do we hold on the Typhoon, and more importantly how much of what we don't could be designed out?

Trump isn't going to be in a strong position to argue against this.

We can export Typhoon without ITAR or IP issues.
 
Seems that Gav is keen...

Dogfight over UK's pledge to buy American fighter jets 'could play out like the Westland affair'

A Japanese Typhoon would be a very interesting beastie, given their abilities. Given China's rise to prominence I doubt they'll be sparing the moolah on it. Course it would mean stiffing the gumps for the workshare on the F-35 but bummer. Otherwise ticks an awful lot of boxes.

How much of the IP do we hold on the Typhoon, and more importantly how much of what we don't could be designed out?

Trump isn't going to be in a strong position to argue against this.

The Typhoon is nothing like half the price of an F-35.

These claims about the imminent demise of the F-35 also forgot a couple of key points.

As the other Tier 1 Manufacturing and Design partner, the UK has to show commitment to the product.

Every F-35 built produces work for the UK, and every one we buy is effectively 33% off the retail sticker price as we build large portions of every F-35 made here in the UK.
 
At the moment Japan are weighing up various options for replacing their F-2s, F-15s, and related planes. This is a separate project from their purchase of F-35s. They have a date of around 2030 penciled in for this...
I know.

...My understanding is that they have three options lined up for examination:
  • An all-Japanese plane based on the X-2 prototype. This is widely viewed as now unlikely due to cost.
  • A plane based on an existing foreign design but with considerable Japanese improvements and IP. This looks more attractive from a cost and timing standpoint...
I would interpret Japan's intent slightly differently.

Tokyo wants to retain it's aerospace manufacturing base but certainly realises it can't develop a credible new fighter design in isolation; equally, it wants to avoid the US essentially becoming the sole Western fighter aircraft manufacturer. Meanwhile, as it faces an increasingly threatening China, a resurgent Russia and continued unpredictable North Korea, Tokyo wants wants to diversify its network of allies which will in turn complicate the diplomatic considerations for potential aggressors. That all provides the additional benefits of smoothing Japan's route to greater engagement on the international security stage (eg deploying MPA to Djibouti and naval vessels to Western Africa during the last Ebola epidemic).

The X-2 has provided useful data but I believe that Japan's primary focus remains the desire to use it as a basis to jointly develop a next-generation fighter for service from 2035 ish with an appropriate foreign partner. I absolutely agree however that the Japanese decision will be 'heavily based on industrial benefits and access to technology and IP rights.'

I do not therefore believe that Japan is serious about developing an existing design such as the Typhoon or even F-22. Indeed, I suspect they'd also prefer that partner to be non-US for IP and the diplomatic factors mentioned above.

Instead, I'd interpret the F-22/F-35 hybrid primarily as a US attempt to ensure the 'F-3' is still-born and struggle to see any benefits whatsoever. As an aside, while the F-22 is an older design than the F-35, the Raptor's greater capabilities and NOFORN status make it at least as sensitive from an IP perspective as the F-35. Any Japanese solicitation for offers are, in my view, merely keeping their options open.

Regards,
MM
 
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Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
The Typhoon is nothing like half the price of an F-35.

These claims about the imminent demise of the F-35 also forgot a couple of key points.

As the other Tier 1 Manufacturing and Design partner, the UK has to show commitment to the product.

Every F-35 built produces work for the UK, and every one we buy is effectively 33% off the retail sticker price as we build large portions of every F-35 made here in the UK.
Our commitment was £2 billion up front. And we get the workshare regardless of our own orders. In fact it's likely to increase if Turkey is cut out of the supply chain.

Other than LM I doubt the American MIC is going to be too upset, they know how strapped for cash we are.

Don't forget that Gav wants to be PM, hence the whole British jobs for British workers. 'Solving' the budget crisis and furthering economic ties with Japan would be a big win for him politically.

He can point out that we get the workshare from the F-35 regardless but could potentially add a substantial deal with the Japanese, move the RAF to a single type saving wonga and afford a few other ( British) bits and pieces which would otherwise have been cut.

Would also placate the europeons, show commitment despite brexit and all that guff.

I do not therefore believe that Japan is serious about developing an existing design such as the Typhoon or even F-22. Indeed, I suspect they'd also prefer that partner to be non-US for IP and the diplomatic factors mentioned above.
They weren't, but their RFI's for a new or joint development didn't get anything useful back. And the timescales are fairly tight, they want something operational by 2030.

You really think they're going to go it alone? Think they'd have to double the budget personally...
 
...they want something operational by 2030...
I believe it's more like 2035 due to the funded upgrades for their F-15s and planned for their F-2s. I suspect that we'll also see Japan either convert some of their F-35 orders to STOVL.

...You really think they're going to go it alone?...
I think you've misread my post; I specifically said they couldn't.

Regards,
MM
 
We produced Taranis for a number of reasons - one being to prove to potential future partners we maintained a credible strategic ability to produce innovate air 'platforms'; post the 'B' word, those potential strategic partners very firmly include Japan. Two sets of island bound monkeys with surprisingly similar interests.

Yarra.
 
We produced Taranis for a number of reasons - one being to prove to potential future partners we maintained a credible strategic ability to produce innovate air 'platforms'; post the 'B' word, those potential strategic partners very firmly include Japan. Two sets of island bound monkeys with surprisingly similar interests.

Yarra.
Regular readers will be bored of me saying this but Japan and the UK's security challenges, constitutions and cultures have numerous similarities...

...although I'm not entirely sure Teranis was a good way to show we can produce innovative aircraft designs! :)

Regards,
MM
 
We produced Taranis for a number of reasons - one being to prove to potential future partners we maintained a credible strategic ability to produce innovate air 'platforms'; post the 'B' word, those potential strategic partners very firmly include Japan. Two sets of island bound monkeys with surprisingly similar interests.

Yarra.
Top of the list of our potential strategic partners outwith the US still remains France and possibly the addition of Germany.
 
Top of the list of our potential strategic partners outwith the US still remains France and possibly the addition of Germany.
I think that that would depend on whose list you're reading!

Regards,
MM
 

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