VTOL aircraft for new carriers

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by singha61, May 10, 2012.

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  1. Loads. Only we don't own them anymore.
  2. transcript of the release by Hammond

    "In my message to the Department just before the Easter Break, I brought you up to date on the progress being made on the PR12 budget and the equipment plan.

    Before, we can finalise that process, we need to address one specific aspect of the plan – the Carrier-Strike programme.

    I am announcing to Parliament today significant changes to the programme and I wanted to let you know what was behind those decisions.

    As you know, the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review committed us to building our future Carrier Strike capability based around the new Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers and the new Joint Strike Fighter.

    The strategic decisions in the SDSR was that this capability should be based on the carrier variant of the JSF, rather than the STOVL variant, with the one carrier, initially, converted to operate with the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System or ‘cats and traps’.

    It was envisaged at the time that this would add about £1bn to the cost of the programme but result in decreased through life-costs, and with the first carrier having initial operating capability with its jets around 2020.

    These decisions were difficult and finely balanced – taking into account cost, risk, capability and availability – and, based on the information available at the time, they were the right decisions.

    But if the facts change, we should retain the flexibility to change our minds –to adjust the programme to make sure we have the most effective solution.

    As the programme has matured, and more detailed analysis has been carried out by suppliers, it has become clear that the conversion to ‘cats and traps’ will cost about double what was originally estimated – and would not be delivered until 2023 at the earliest.

    That is unacceptable.

    The cost growth distorts the equipment budget crowding out other important investment in the Armed Forces.

    And the delay extends the time period when our Armed Forces lack a carrier-strike capability.

    The most cost effective route to deliver Carrier Strike by 2020 is now to switch to the STOVL variant of the Joint Strike Fighter.

    We will complete the build of both carriers with ski-jumps, in the STOVL configuration – giving us the ability to provide continuous carrier availability throughout the life of the ships.

    Although the range of the STOVL variant is lower, it is a 5th generation stealth aircraft – with a range significantly greater than the Harrier - and represents a step change in the UK’s combat air capability.

    The STOVL variant has been significantly de-risked since the SDSR, and flight trials from American ships have taken place, with a US Marine Corps initial operating capability date of 2014 declared.

    On the basis of the latest information, we can plan to start flight trials with STOVL JSF off the HMS Queen Elizabeth from 2018.

    The STOVL variant will also allow us to simultaneously operate helicopters and jets from the QE Class thereby increasing our amphibious capability as part of the concept of Carrier-enabled Power Projection.

    The weapons payload envisaged for the UK JSF fleet remains unchanged – either variant can accommodate it.

    Setting aside the decision made in the SDSR is difficult, but it is right in the light of the facts in front of us.

    There will be criticism of the Government – and of the Department.

    But I am clear that it is the right decision for the long-term that matters – not any short-term discomfort that comes.

    The CDS and Chiefs of Staff have confirmed to me that they believe this represents the best way ahead for our Armed Forces.

    Our principle allies – the US and France – are comfortable with the choice we have made.

    This decision now paves the way to finalise the work we have been doing on the Defence budget and equipment programme and I expect to be able make an announcement on that in the very near future."

    Who gives a shit what France think? Did we inform them so that they are aware of exactly what they should surrender to?
  3. There are other threads, but since this is the shortest, I'll comment here - that's not a u-turn, it's a donut
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    At the risk of being labelled one of ' the usual suspects', and to allow people to make up their own minds there's a piece on the MoD website :

    ...and for those on DII ( no, not you at the back )

  5. Which bit of your post is different to the one posted 5 minutes before it?
  6. how on earth can it cost more than one billion pounds to fit cats and traps?

    Ark Royal of 1939 vintage cost less than two million pounds.
  7. [​IMG]
    • Like Like x 11
  8. You just get the MOD to draw up the contracts.
    • Like Like x 3
  9. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    The bit with the video of SofS talking to his people - which you won't have been able to view? :)

    Yeah fair cop....at least I can spell doughnut correctly....whether they are for Dunkin' or not...

    ...or indeed offer the work to a company that has historically thought it could charge WTF it liked because MoD would cough up, having foolishly allowed said company to become a monopoly supplier ....

    You should be heartily cheering the fact that somebody has apparentely found sufficient spine to tell BAes where to get off.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. STOVL not VTOL.

    Anyway, I'm going to scratch my head. Here's a link to a post elsewhere from me that may be of interest:

    I wonder if the cost issue is the only one, or if training and skills (and current capabilities this decade) come into it? Issues which, of course, were discussed at length both on PPRuNe as well as on here and other places?
  11. Now firmly convinced we will never see any version of JSF & have severe doubts that the carriers will ever enter service (with the RN).
    • Like Like x 1
  12. With the caveat that its a politician speking and therefor not trustworthy....

    He does say both carriers will be operational which is a big step forward.

    My intial reaction was that somebody needs to make their mind up but on reflection I think I prefer a government that isn't afraid to change a decision if they doubt they made the right one in the first place.
  13. Cut'n'paste, your words, different slant.
  14. The CDS and Chiefs of Staff have confirmed to me that they believe this represents the best way ahead for our Armed Forces.

    It seems it's what our Lords & Masters in the Armed Forces want so who are we to question the decision?

    Personally I'm amazed someone in the MoD has decided NOT to spend more money but LESS!