UK Places Order for 3 JSF (F35B)

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Salvador, Mar 19, 2009.

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  1. Just seen this on the MOD Wedbsite


    Marvellous MoD PUFF!!!

    Whow! this is the best thing that has ever happended to the FAA / RAF.... NOT

    Er! What about the facts:

    No cannon (even though this is heavily in demand for CAS and where the current GR7/9 is known to be lacking)

    Unable to carry much of the UK weapons internally, thus rendering the Stealth claims totally invalid. Stormshadow can only be carried externally and only 1 at that. ASRAAM (2 inside and 2 external!!)

    Meteor (BVR) not implemented and probably never will be (don't know if it would fit inside as they have made the F35B so short (to save weight) probably only the AMRAAM will fit inside.

    Fcuk all range

    Very very dubious STEALTH performance especially from the rear

    Speed and agility severely compromised


    Need I go on

  2. I was amused by the small number: 3

    So, that will be one for each carrier and a spare, just in case one breaks...?

    The world will be quaking....

  3. The 3 aircraft are for initial Test and Evaluation. Technically, we could then change which model we order after that.

    The F-35B is planned to have a podded cannon; only the F-35A is planned to have an internal gun.

    The significance of stealth is largely misunderstood. However, I'd be interested in how Salvador knows the LO performance of the aircraft considering that very little signature measurement has yet been conducted!

  4. MM

    Some people are never pleased!
  5. MM You Got me there... I don't very few people do, I have read from a number of Web articles that the LO characteristics of the F35 from the rear a likely to be poor (unlike the F22).

    I am NOT a fan of the F35, it is overhyped, amd I thing we are being hoodwinked in to buying a shiny new toy, which will come up short of what is needed.

    I would be happier if we were going to buy the F35C but, certainly as far as the FAA are concerned a single aircraft (especially this one) is almost certainly going to lack the speed and agility to counter the new crop of Easten block fighters coming off the production lines and others in development).

    The US will still have the F18, we will not. I think the carrier should be cobentional not STOVL and a lot bigger, better defended and nuclear.

  6. I suspect that F-35 will increasingly become a very hot political topic given the amount being spent on it and, by association CVF.

    The crux of the matter is that if the UK wants to have a ‘day one’ capability, F-35 is the only thing available. Of course many would argue that we will only fight ‘low intensity’ (I hate that phrase because they’re sure as hell not low intensity to the personnel involved!) ops where LO is not relevant. However, with the proliferation of exceptionally capable, medium/long range SAMs such as SA-20, LO may increase in significance, even in ops such as Afghanistan. What, for example, would be our response were Iran to pop up an 80 mile MEZ astride the Straights of Hormuz, over the Iraqi Oil Platforms, or covering the airways into Afghanistan? Unless you have a LO capability that is game over and your only options are to do as you’re told and hand the IPods over, or resort to a strike (assuming that you can find said highly mobile systems).

    My own view is that F-35 complements Typhoon very nicely. In an air-air context, we must avoid looking at F-35 whatever v Su-whatever in isolation. The impact of western C2, ISR, missile and training superiority (assuming of course we maintain that) I would suggest still ensure that even F-35B/AMRAAM would win against J-10/PL12. However, the UK must ensure we retain that broad mix of wider capability.

    Likewise, I do not view F-35 as being as high risk as many suggest. Much of its technology is already flying on the F-22 and there is also the CATBIRD testbed.

    The wider question is can we afford F-35 and CVF? Is that capability worth losing a more balanced RN, manned SIGINT and numerous other capabilities that will potentially be lost unless additional money is forthcoming?

    In a perfect world, I’d dearly love to have CVF, F-35C, a decent MASC and the required escorts and support vessels. But, as we face ever more stringent financial cuts to defence, and given the T45, SSN and MARS support for CVF are increasingly questionable, are they worth the wider impact on our overall military capability? :?

  7. Personally I suspect the future of the pointy end of military aviation belongs to UCAVs and directed-energy weapons.

    Just my 2D in old money.
  8. Magic.. as always you have covered the topic very well. I agree with pretty much all that you have said. My concerns are that although F35 compliments the Typhoon in the land-based scenario there is not an equivalent version for the carriers. Which means that the F35 is doing everything. I believe that it is too much of a compromise. What is the point in having a LO / STEALTHY airframe that cannot carry the desired payload internally thus rendering its LO characteristics to null? It is hard to see what role you would be able to operate with just internal weapons. As you say even the cannon is external (and its not even the cannon that the RAF use! I believe its a 20mm Vulcan).

    Sorry I really struggle to see the point. Develop the Typhoon fully and by more of them for the RAF and buy the F18 or Rafale for the FAA!

  9. Couldn't we just flog off some Eurofighters to some unsuspecting soul, and purchase more brand new Harrier II's? with the cannon the Yanks developed for the AV-8B?
  10. Why would you want to do that? The Typhoon is on another level completely to any legacy aircraft.

    If you want to talk about expensive white elephants then the F22 is where you should be aiming your fire. Pretty much useless in the CAS role and eye-wateringly expensive as well.

    Tiffy is a bargain in comparison and is a true multi-role aircraft, can carry a sh*tload more ordnance for a start!

    Back to the F35:

    Unit cost = unknown (but rising sharply)

    LO = unknown (also remember the US is exporting a less stealthy variant for overseas customers including us)

    Exact specs = unknown!

    The question is, is it worth spending all that moolah for something we hardly know anything about?
  11. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    Taz makes some good points about the F35

    The development is already several years behind schedule and only this week has a significant issue been discovered/released about heat problems which will limit operations in warm places until some expensive redesign happens, mmm, its not like we will be operating anywhere warm or anything. This also raises significant issues about its LO credentials as the ultra hot exhaust vents that are part of the issue seem to be underneath. Now I am no expert on LO because its a hideously complex subject but it makes you doubt things. Of course its not a disaster but it just shows something I think we all know, modern stuff will always take longer than thought and be more expensive.

    There seem to be as many predictions on cost as there are components but one thing is certain, its going up and the reality is no one actually knows how much it will cost.

    It is a very risky programme because it relies on one of the most complex international design, development and construction efforts of any defence programme ever.

    Risk = late + more expensive

    It is under intense scrutiny in the USA and when the Obama defence budget is published soon you simply cannot expect it to come out unscathed, all this affects us.

    Which brings things back to us;

    If one of its roles os fleet air defence in contended airspace then not being able to fit the Meteor in its internal bay is for me a bit of a show stopper. It forces us to fit older missiles that are being replaced by Meteor and means we have to keep 2 missiles in service that supposedly do the same job.

    Will the F35B be great, of course it will with certain caveats but wil it be a step change, no and is it affordable, I don't think so.

    I have long been a believer that the JCA and CVF will be the death of the RN because it creates a seriously unbalanced force that will be so top heavy it wont be actuially much use. Thee RN have trashed the surface fleet to stick with the CVF/JCA and it seems is hoping for a miracle of future funding, trading on tradition and evoking memories of the Falklands etc. Hope and threats arent a good strategy against the Treasury in an unprecedented economic downturn.

    For the RAF, as MM says, there are plenty of other things that the money could be better spent on

    What will happen, unless someone forces the hand of the MoD it will be usual case of reduced numbers and capabilities
  12. Flight

    Flight LE Book Reviewer

    For the RAF and industry with its large workshare the F35 is the only game in town.

    Not so sure about the B as a single type carrier aircraft though.
  13. Why not the C model for the carriers (CVF is meant to be catapult and arrestor wire capable anyway, or at least 'Fitted For But Never With'), and the B model for the RAF (STOVL so they could be dispersed or stationed close to the FEBA on rough airfields if that was ever required in general war again)?

    A whole different a/c type might be unduly pricey, but as its another variant surely it can't be that much difference in cost, or too much difference in having to train maint personnel, keep different spare parts etc.
  14. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    The workshare is not tied to a single order from the MoD, we invested £2billion early on to become the highest tier partner but workshare is linked to orders in total, not orders from the UK
  15. And frankly, unless they kill the program we're going to make a pishing fortune :D