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Mar 31 12 12:50 PM
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Nauticus27 wrote:US influence could be playing a part here. It won't have escaped US notice that a UK CTOL carrier is tantamount to a free extra deck for US assets at a time of downward pressure on budgets and numbers. The UK carrier will pootle around with (eventually) a dozen or so UK FJs and (later) some more in reserve but at times of tension we'll usually have a shared interest, the UK "always turns up" and we'll doubtless normally be very happy to host a US squadron or two when needed. Very handy from a US viewpoint and I don't have a problem with that as long as we also have the capability available for times of UK need. It seems this issue did feature in official level talks around the edges of the recent Cameron visit to the US and it's no coincidence that recently a senior US naval figure was proclaiming much lower EMALS costs in a letter to HMG, with the stated aim of ensuring that the UK bases its decisions on accurate figures. If the MOD had been briefing Cameron on the basis of much higher costs then it wouldn't be surprising if he told them to b*gger off and check their facts, so that there can be some certainty that the eventual decision is based on reliable figures.
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Apr 4 12 9:40 PM
IcelofAngeln wrote:Moreover, even the bean-counters should be able to figure out that if they revert to STOVL, then they are bound irrevocably to F-35B; CATOBAR means that Rafale and Superbug are potential options.
Apr 4 12 11:20 PM
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Apr 5 12 5:16 AM
Thanks for link 'Anthony58'. Some bits of it below wot interested me especially (not being so involved in it all).The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Standard Note: SN06278 Last updated: 29 March 2012 Author: Louisa Brooke-Holland Section International Affairs and Defence
http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN06278.pdf [PDF (200Kb)]
"...The current Government switched to the F-35C Carrier Variant of the JSF in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). In announcing the change, David Cameron blamed the previous government for ordering the “more expensive, less capable version of the Joint Strike Fighter to fly off the carriers.” He argued the carrier version is “more capable, less expensive, has a longer range and carries more weapons.” The SDSR said: “overall, the carrier-variant of the JSF will be cheaper, reducing through-life costs by around 25%.”
The SDSR states that the Government’s intention is “to operate a single model of JSF, instead of different land and naval variants.”...
...2.1 How many, when and how much? The planning assumption has been for up to 150 Joint Combat Aircraft but the Government said in January 2012 that no decision on the overall numbers will be made before the next planned Strategic Defence and Security Review, which is not expected until after the next election. The SDSR states that it expects the Carrier to have 12 JSF routinely on board while retaining the capacity to deploy up to the 36 aircraft previously planned for. These will be operated by both Royal Navy and RAF pilots.
The Government also said it will not set a firm in-service date for the aircraft until after the next Main Gate decision, currently planned for 2013. The Government has stated its intention to deliver a carrier strike capability from around 2020. The decision to switch to the Carrier Variant, and the subsequent need to adapt the flight deck, means the Carrier will not be operational until 2020, four years later than originally intended....
...The Government says it is not expecting to make a decision on the actual catapults and arrestor gear system until late 2012. The Government said in May 2011:
'Investigations into the aircraft launch and recovery systems—and a wide range of other factors—are under way. At this stage, the US Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) catapult and the US Advanced Arrestor Gear (AAG) recovery system appears to be the most promising solution, though we have not ruled out steam catapults or MK7 arrestor gear. We currently expect to take firm decisions on the overall conversion strategy in late 2012. The PAC warned that not knowing the conversion costs leaves “the project at risk of cost growth and slippage, and there are new technical risks and challenges integrating the new aircraft with the carriers.”'&2.3 Interoperability "...However, the National Audit Office July 2011 report on Carrier Strike notes that “the feasibility of flying the JSF carrier variant from the French carrier and the French aircraft (the Rafale) from the United Kingdom carrier is as yet unclear.” The Secretary of Defence told the Commons in March 2012 that the collaboration with the French is more about carrier deployment and “not about interoperability of aircraft as such.”...
...2.4 Reverting back to the STOVL? "...The Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, confirmed that the government is reviewing all equipment programmes and has not ruled out reverting to the STOVL variant, saying “if the facts change, we will, if necessary, change our plans”. The Treasury is leading a Major Project Review Group and will submit a report on 16 April, according to the Daily Telegraph. The costs of adapting the carrier flight deck, which Daily Telegraph reports have “risen from £500 million to £1.8 billion”, is cited by the media as a factor in the debate over which variant to purchase. The NAO Carrier Strike report of July 2011 suggested the cost range for converting one carrier of £800 million to £1.2 million...."
Apr 7 12 4:17 PM
10. Yes, Revert to F35B
The magic number, about 40 to 50
This provides the single CVF with a normal operating compliment of between 6 and 18. Some might see this number as too small and no improvement over CVS but the F35B is no Harrier and there would still be the ability to surge, potentially embarking USMC or other operators as needed.
There is also Apache, Wildcat, Merlin, Chinook, Watchkeeper, TLAM, Storm Shadow, Fire Shadow and men with luxurious facial hair to consider, concentrate less on the fast jet element and think about the whole package.
The question on numbers is what is the minimum needed for UK only operations, a Sierra Leone or TITSNBM!
If funds allow this could be increased (the line will be open for a long time) but the concept presented here is to get a reasonable capability at a reasonable cost, one that is aligned with realistic scenarios and actual defence planning assumptions.http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/03/forward-to-plan-b/#commentspost
Apr 8 12 7:26 PM
reiverman wrote:10. Yes, Revert to F35BThe magic number, about 40 to 50This provides the single CVF with a normal operating compliment of between 6 and 18. Some might see this number as too small and no improvement over CVS but the F35B is no Harrier and there would still be the ability to surge, potentially embarking USMC or other operators as needed.There is also Apache, Wildcat, Merlin, Chinook, Watchkeeper, TLAM, Storm Shadow, Fire Shadow and men with luxurious facial hair to consider, concentrate less on the fast jet element and think about the whole package.The question on numbers is what is the minimum needed for UK only operations, a Sierra Leone or TITSNBM!If funds allow this could be increased (the line will be open for a long time) but the concept presented here is to get a reasonable capability at a reasonable cost, one that is aligned with realistic scenarios and actual defence planning assumptions.http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/03/forward-to-plan-b/#commentspost
Apr 8 12 11:42 PM
Dave wrote:If not, one thing certain to cost more to run is F35b AND GR4 replacement. Whatever we buy for the CVs should surely be the exact same thing we buy to replace GR4 so running cost are minimized and flexibility to deploy from CV or land maximized, such an aircraft isn't F35b IMHO, compare GR4 range and payload with F35b if you need convincing.
Apr 9 12 1:32 AM
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