RN fast jet future

Discussion in 'Royal Navy' started by brave-coward, Oct 21, 2010.

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  1. Not sure if this has been discussed if full.

    Does the early retirement of Harrier mean that the RN will lose all remaining fast jet pilots? My read of the SDSR is that in saving Tornado at the cost of harrier, the RAF has ensured a monopoly on fast jets. This indicates to me that (when it eventually arrives) JSF/JCA is likely to be flown exclusively by the RAF. The logic being that by the likely ISD, the RN will not have flown any sort of fast jet for nearly a decade.

    Has the outgoing CDS secured the future of his service at the expense of the Fleet Air Arm?

    Can anyone better informed than I comment?
     
  2. Well i'm currently sitting in the pilot pipline for the FAA, right at the start too, and we've been told that there IS going to be a FJ pipeline for us still, some of us will as ever go onwards (its around 3 to 5 per 60 pilots trained at BRNC a year) to FJ. What they have NOT told us is exactly how this will work, but in a brief answer we got when 2SL came to visit, it was 'train with the USN, the French and the Spanish in the meantime'

    Yes, the spanish, I kid you not.
     
  3. There are FAA pilots on exchange with the USN. Hopefully the numbers doing this will increase - and I would hope that as the USN is happy enough to let RN play with their fast jets, the RAF should let them play with Tornado.
     
  4. I think someone wrote in another thread that there are currently about a dozen FAA fast-jet pilots on exchange with the USN. I am also pretty sure that there are some FAA pilots in RAF fast-jet squadrons.
     
  5. I agree, best to keep the RN FJ flame alive somehow. I'm not convinced that we will see officers spending 9 years in exchange postings, as inevitably some would get out before JCA comes into service.

    My view would be to give the RN a slice of Tornado or Typhoon (both a share of the driving seats and the support apparatus), in order to "keep the flame alive". However I just can't see the RAF agreeing to it.

    My feeling is that the RAF has screwed over the Navy in order to survive as a sizeable independent service, with the monopoly on FJ. I would be interested to see the justification for keeping Tornado over Harrier given that it has resulted in a gap in carrier strike capability. Not being a jet pilot I don't know what the relative advantages of one platform are over the other in Afghanistan.
     
  6. Harrier only had a few years service life left in it. Tornado should last close to the ISD of F35. If Tornado had gone, there would have still been the gap in carrier air as Harrier went long before the ISD of F35, leaving us with Typhoon only.
     
  7. My question answered. Thank you.

    Perhaps not as centred on inter service rivalries as I had initially thought.

    I take it F35, JSF and JCA are one and the same now? I imagine from what has been published that we are too heavily invested in this programme to go for a 'cheaper' option (SuperHornet or similar).
     
  8. Many in the RAF have been proposing that the RAF should drop the short ranged and less than ideal STVOL version of the F-35 for some years. From an RAF perspective, the cheaper F-35C with it's exceptionally long range, very large weapons load and larger internal bomb bays will make an extremely effective long range precision strike aircraft that will be a perfect replacement for Tornado.
     
  9. Agreed and it looks like the RN might even have a ship to fly it from. But the questions remain: firstly who will operate it? Secondly if it becomes solely an RAF toy, does that necessarily matter?
     
  10. It does because carrier borne aircraft are part of the ship's weapons system and there are no passengers on a warship - the flying officers and airmen are also part of the ship's company. In short, the air and ground crew would have to be navalised whatever their badge. If the aircraft are RAF then they would have to be a dedicated FAA of the RAF, which brings us full-circle.
     
  11. The pilots can go on exchange - but what about the aircraft handlers and everyone else needed to make it happen? The SDSR seems to have turned a blind eye....
     
  12. Having just recently spoken to a good friend who is/was flying GR7's and is a Naval Pilot, things arent that clever. They have been told that the US is looking to stop the exchange programme and possibly short tour the guys already out there!

    As to the end-date of the GR7, they were assured that the A/C would be around for a long time and it is still a far better CAS platform than anything else we have in the inventory!
     
  13. I'm not surprised. Having hosted the FAA chaps and watching them go up-diddly-up in one of your gucciest bits of kit do they then come to the UK and fly a desk as we have a.) No carrier and b.) Nothing to fly even if we had a.)?

    Bit of a one way exchange...
     
  14. Unless the leadership of the RN gets their act together, and starts to act like the leaders of an important Navy, RN has no fast jet future.
     
  15. Might be a bit of sunshine here:

    UK SDSR Results

    "Snapper" says that the Harriers won't be phased out until 2014, and Illustrious may even get a refit.