Belgium has chosen the F-35 over Typhoon to replace its F-16 jet, according to national news agency Belga, beating Typhoon.

This news makes Belgium the 12th country to buy the jet.

Earlier in the year, the UK submitted its final Typhoon offer to Belgium on behalf of itself and partner companies. The proposal included 34 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, underpinned by the offer of a “deep strategic, defence and industrial partnership” between the Governments of Belgium and the UK.

Previously, Sweden announced it would not be entering Saab’s Gripen E for Belgium’s fighter contest, the country’s defence ministry announced in July last year. Boeing also withdrew its Super Hornet deal.

In January this year the US preemptively approved a sale of 34 F-35 jets to Belgium.

The deal is worth  $6.53 billion and is also expected include electronic warfare system and the Autonomic Logistics Information System.

The proposed foreign military sale includes the aircraft, four spare engines and various communication and navigation systems “to provide Belgium with a credible defense capability to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with U.S. forces,” according to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency statement.

According to Lockheed:

“The F-35 offers unprecedented technology and supportability across the spectrum of military operations and ensures interoperability with key Belgian allies in a continued shared commitment to defense and peacekeeping activities. There are currently more than 200 F-35s flying across the world, and as the fleet continues to expand, the price will continue to decrease – the current life-cycle operating costs are already comparable to today’s 4th Generation fighters.”

The Belgian defence ministry has yet to officially confirm the news.

99 COMMENTS

  1. (Chris H) – Two main options for Belgium: Typhoon or F-35. Why would they buy Typhoon when the partnership building them has been fractured by the German Airbus going with the French Dassault?

    from a Uk perspective given the FAL building Belgian Typhoons would likely not have been in the UK the value to the UK is less than it could have been. At least we know we will directly benefit from any F-35 orders and by how much. Even if they are built at Italy’s FAL.

    • Hi Chris
      It’s a shame if this is true. The real product for sale wasn’t the aircraft but the intelligence sharing and capability we were offering – hopefully if F-35 is the chosen platform HMG and the Belgian government can come to some agreement with regards to the added bonus package that was on offer if Typhoon was chosen.

    • If Italy is trying to reduce its order of 90 F35 they should lose their FAL for Europe status. When the UK is negotiating it’s follow on order of 48+ plus F35b FAL should then be included in the negotiation.

  2. I would have thought Gripen E would have more than covered all their requirements ….. At s fraction of the F35 purchase price and vastly lower through life costs.

    Still, who was it who said that fighters have four main characteristics:

    Thrust
    Lift
    Drag
    And Politics…..!

    • Their military is practically merged with the Dutch now. With the latter buying F35 then can share costs and facilities etc.

      There would have been time when it would have been nice for the Dutch to have gone F35b and joined us with our carrier venture. They seem more interested now in being with the Germans.

      • A question is are they serious about forming an EU army, which would distract from NATO IMO. In which case more commonality of kit would be important; not that it isn’t in NATO either.

        • The eventual creation of a unified European Armed forces has been in process for years.

          It’s an absolutely inevitable conclusion of the European project.

        • In terms of having a body to deal with industrial war then yes. I think national identity of the forces will be kept for a long time before gradually disappearing. It is a stage on from NATO really, or a stage on from where is now, in that during 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s most nations did a little of everything then in the 80’s and through the Post Cold War period this accelerated to nation’s dropping capabilities because others did them; that would be Europe as obviously America practically does everything with one or two odd exceptions. Even we do this to some extent ask an RN officer about X, Y, or Z and they will say we don’t need that because USN. (Our relationship with the US DoD is very close and complex.) The Continental Western Europeans have took that even further on. The problem is as always the French who always want latitude or to be in charge. The questions are: What if Trump is the first in line of POTUS’s who expect Europe to stand on its own two feet? What if the EU doesn’t survive, what will that mean for the political control of a Western European force?

        • There are a few Federalists within the EU parliament who would like it but they are an extreme minority. There little wider support within the EU parliament and it would flounder as an exercise against the Council of Ministers. As it stands there is little chance of an EU army but that won’t stop I’ll informed kippers banging on about it.

          • (Chris H) dadsarmy – Well he was dead right until he got to ” but that won’t stop I’ll informed kippers banging on about it” which was totally unnecessary and is there solely to goad others into an argument.

            Whether or not it happens will happily be none of my concern but you can see why people believe there will be an EU army / defence force / whatever. Its the only ‘trade block’ that feels the need to pass laws on everyone and have multiple Presidents, a Commission, a Parliament, a flag, an anthem, a currency and open borders. There is therefore a logical if unproven progression to the combined force bit …

          • I felt it was necessary to point out Chris, you regularly tell us how it is important to express ones opinion…

          • (Chris H) fedaykin – You just cannot leave it alone can you? It was in no way ‘necessary’ at all. Your ‘Kipper’ comment was irrelevant to the discussion, the article we are discussing and your wider valid point about some alleged EU Army with which I actually agreed! But you failed to see that apparently. Instead you nitpick and raise a false argument to suit your confirmation bias

            You threw it in for one reason only: To cause an irrelevant argument in which I will not engage as its a pointless pissing contest.

          • (Chris H) So you now admit you are just baiting me on here? I hope the Moderators are taking note.

            Personal abuse and baiting is NOT what this forum is about Mr Fedaykin. Its about people who share an interest (and maybe a love) of matters military and our country and like to share opinions and ideas. You and a certain other feel the need to make it something entirely different with personal put downs, abuse and sarcasm because you think it makes you look clever. Well it doesn’t Old Son it makes you look quite the opposite.

            You will fail like others failed and who no longer post here

  3. We should really celebrate our participation in F35 program more than we do. With a 15% work share the UK benefits significantly from this order.

    Having substantial work shares in three out of four western fighters was a smart way for BAE and the country to go. Meanwhile the French are scrapping around trying to sell just 36 planes to India.

    • For a long while India was the only game in town when it came to trying to sell the Rafale, it was just too prestigious a contest with a massive potential pay off not to contest.

      Most of the current issues relate to the utter Kafkaesque nature of Indian defence procurement and inability to rationalise their combat fleet.

      Add to that the realisation that replacing large numbers of fairly crude Mig-21, Mig-23 and Mig-27 with a modern complex twin engine fighter might entail a significant increase in costs when it comes to their annual operating budget. This all while local industry demands that money should be spent on Tejas an aircraft that has barely the capability of a fighter from the early 90’s (and that is being very generous) yet has been in development hell since the 1980’s!

    • I don’t see thrust vectoring playing a major roll in its overall performance or export success. Captor-E should have been included as standard on the Tranche 3 run, we definitely lost exports due to its snail pace development (mainly because partner countries did not want to contribute towards it). A follow on order from the Saudi it now looking less likely which could suggest the UK/Germany will either order an additional tranche or the production line will shut once current orders are delivered.

    • I doubt the mods you describe would give the Eurofighter any edge in a competition with the F35. The F35 has won every competition its enter into, the cost is coming down to making it harder for the Typhoon to compete. The middle east and Asia there are still opportunities where the F35 will not be entered. Saudi is probably the next big sale which will keep production going, although recent events cast a shadow over a possible deal.

      I don’t think the Tranche 4 is the way to go, we need a Typhoon NG. Need to re-use as much as possible, keep the systems as is but enter into major mods to the fuselage to reduce RCS and just as important bring down ownership cost. This would be a stepping stone to the FCAS.

      Germany need a replacement for the Tornado so one possible partner exists.

      • (Chris H) expat – I think I was replaying at the same time as you but I believe my comments below also answer your comments as well. I think Typhoon is now dead. Long live Tempest.

        • My thinking is more dual track and not instead of. Secure some sales of Typhoon NG (revenue for UK plc), RAF also have something more advance whilst Tempest ramps up, this would be a better option than ordering the now mature Typhoon. Also we’d never sell Tempest to some nations until its mature ie old tech so we could offer Typhoon NG. Keeps the prod lines open until Tempest goes into full production which as we’ve seen with F35 can take more time than anticipated. Worst still end up with costly life extensions of out dated airframes.

          A lot of the development of a new 6th gen aircraft is not just the design and flight testing but how to manufacture new materials and use new techniques never employed before.

          With Typhoon orders unlikely to bridge the gap we need some options. I would assume there’s another option to join with Turkey and co produce and market the TF-X until Tempest is full operational. Whilst we have a 15% stake in the F35 we still need to retain the production skills to build an advance aircraft end to end.

    • (Chris H) Nigel – I think we have to understand that the Typhoon is now at the end of its development and no further orders will be coming through after those already in place (and the Saudi last 48 are now at risk) as the partner nations have divided off into two distinct and competing camps: Airbus / Dassault building the new ‘Eurofighter’ and BAE / Leonardo / RR / MBDA building Tempest.

      The RAF have what it needs to replace Tornado and can now integrate Typhoon with our F-35s. A lethal combination. No other country drove development on the Typhoon as much as we did (Italy worked with us and benefited). RR basically controls Eurojet through its own and indirect shareholdings (67%) and the biggest shareholders in Eurofighter GMBH are BAE and Leonardo (54%). Basically we control what happens within both Eurofighter GMBH and Eurojet GMBH. Interesting how Airbus (ex EADS) in Germany and Spain got the biggest single shareholding and worksahre and yet were not the biggest purchasers. And never sold one export Typhoon. The UK and Italy did that. Also worth noting is these businesses were based in Germany – the country that has done least to buy, develop and maintain the aircraft. Politics!

      For me (and its entirely an opinion) our future development capabilities must go into the Tempest airframe as we (the UK and Italy) already have everything else – EJ200 engines with thrust vectoring and power upgrade, sensor systems, defence systems, avionics, combat systems, helmets, 5th Gen manufacturing knowledge and weapon systems – all from Typhoon. With our current relationship with Lockheed Martin in a wide range of projects we could source the very latest ‘F-35 type’ sensor suites as well.

      Tempest is where our future lies and we simply must push on hard with it. IMHO.

      • (Chris H) – D’UH! Placed the ‘5th Gen manufacturing knowledge’ in the wrong list – should have been with the LM connection. Apologies.

      • Time to increase spending on Tempest and get a demonstrator in the air as soon as possible, 2035 is a long way off with plenty of possible conflicts on the horizon.

        Testing the airframe using currently available parts from Typhoon might be possible?

          • I think i saw a timeline somewhere to deliver Tempest in 2035, its actually a lot shorter than you would think. The first technology demonstrators would need to be taking off within 7 years or something. The thing is does the UK have the budget to develop a UCAV like Taranis and Tempest or will it need to focus on one? I know they mentioned Tempest would have an unmanned capability which makes me think Taranis will be shelved long term as well.

      • We really are the worst and most naughty of all European states aren’t we? 🙂

        It just makes you wonder when you hear about all this guff that we are so dependent on the EU and we can’t do anything on our own how so many of us can be so deluded. It makes you wonder how much we have lost. Imagine if all those jobs had been here. It really upsets and angers me.

        Yet the French always go their own way.

          • Yes.

            In a way I am envious of Rafale. Sometimes looking back one does wonder why after the Falklands why somebody here in the UK in the military or industry or the government thought, ‘Ooh we have winner in Harrier, let’s start to build the next one!’ The French would have done so. Still we have all our figures in all the right pies so we can’t complain. But it would be nice to have something seen as ours and not something shared. Good stuff. 🙂

      • I’m with Chris on this. All Gen 4 /4.5 fighters are The “Flying” Dead. They just don’t know it yet. With rapidly increasing world tensions, all the major tier one militaries are pushing to develop and field not just Gen 5 aircraft but pushing ahead much more quickly on the Gen 6. The U.S. certainly is.

        My position is, it may seem contrary to what I just posted above, the Gen 4.5 aircraft can still complement the Gen 5 and should be bought in greater numbers to save money and to fill capabilities not requiring the Gen 5’s. The buys on Gen 5 should be pulled back to also save money and to model the force on the projected numbers needed in a mixed Gen 5 / 6 fleet.

        All out development and fielding of the Gen 6 should be absolute priority with the goal of entering service in the late 2020’s / very early 2030s. By this time, the Gen 4.5 will not be effective platforms in any first tier peer on peer conflict and can be sold to countries not requiring such a high level of capability. production of all Gen 4.5 aircraft should cease by the early 2020’s to free resources and facilities for retooling and training for Gen 6 production. Gen 5 manufacturing will keep the lines “hot”. JMHO

        Hope this post made sense…

        Cheers!

  4. Tempest is a pipe dream. The UK has neither the funds to finance it, the will, nor the home grown technology. Just because you build a mock-up with no engines, radar, electronics, weapons, etc. and issue a press release fantasizing about the directed energy and hypersonic weapons it will carry doesn’t mean a thing. That roll-out of the Tempest mock-up was worthy of Iran and its newest super weapon.

    • Mate, are you serious?
      The UK has been at the forefront of aeronautics and avionic systems development for years and you are doing this country and all those working in R&D a massive disservice.
      1. Rolls Royce have developed the EJ2xx series engine were it will remain competitive for at least another 10 years. They have not only redesigned the 1st/2nd stage compressor but also the engine core. This gives the engine a variable bypass ratio, introducing cold air past the IP stage which all helps to raise the safe working temperature of the engine thus making more thrust.
      2. The F35 program required advanced materials not only for stealth but also to lower the weight of the aircraft. Southampton University have been sponsored by BAE to investigate material design and production. They developed 3D titanium printing and showcased a number of prototypes. The multi-matrix composites have been developed in this country that are not only light and strong but also very heat resistant that can be used on wing leading edges without increasing the aircraft’s RCS.
      3. Capto-E, Meteor and Decoys. The Captor-E has its heritage based on the Sea Harriers Blue Vixen radar. This has now developed in to a World class leading AESA radar, with the added benefit of mechanical scan to increase it viewing angle. The Meteor missile, is probably the yard stick that all current and future Air-to-Air missiles will be judged by, with cooperation with Japan to further develop its RF seeker. With todays advanced radar seeking missiles the standard chaff decoy is next to useless as it can’t move at the same rate as the targeted aircraft. Leonardo have developed Britecloud which not only can mimic the aircraft’s radar signature but can also jam and spoof the tracking radar. This technology has been years in development.

      Therefore, even though I have only mentioned a few examples, as a country I believe we are in a very good position to not only develop an aircraft such a Tempest, but also provide it with the necessary propulsion, avionics and weapons to make it a world beater!

      • Davey. If you read his comments over many, many months as I have you can see he has serious issues with the UK. Always putting down and highlighting deficiencies.

        I don’t put Pkcasimir in the same park as other well known trolls on this site but he clearly has issues.

    • (Chris H) pkcasimir – I never really bought into the idea that the Russians are trolling media in the UK. But I have to admit you just persuaded me they are ….

      We have every system and capability we need to fly, power, arm, operate and defend a Tempest right now. So our focus is on the airframe and as we have proven with Typhoon, MAGMA and Taranis we can push boundaries there as well as anyone and our history proves it. Indeed we always have led in aerospace we just didn’t have the internal market.

      And we have the money to fund it as well. £2 Bn already earmarked and its going to trigger huge development in technology for a post Brexit UK. Frankly I don’t care where you come from all I know is our best days are ahead of us and it all starts on March 29th 2019 …

      • Can’t disagree with those impressive developments. It’s more about overall costs. Britain and Italy, with a few middle Eastern customers, are not going to buy enough aircraft to make it viable to invest sufficient resource to make tempest credible. How do I know because typhoon shows what will happen. Except this time round it’ll be 300 rather than 600 as no German, Spanish or Austrian buy. Not enough investment to max the tech to make it compete with the us offer and certainly not at a comparable price.

        • Japan, Sweden and Turkey are large potential partners that BAe has built strong ties with. There are more countries to team up with in the world than France and Germany.

          • Indeed. In Europe the Italians, the Dutch and the Swedes for example. They have skills and unlike the French are more likely to accept the UK as technical leader or peer partner in hitech defence projects. The Italians are struggling to persuade the French to merge their warship shipbuilding for example. Opportunity for the UK?

        • (Chris H) Anthony D – I would have a great deal of sympathy for your argument if the whole thing needed 600 unit sales. But it doesn’t. Tempest, unlike Typhoon and even Rafale, is not starting from a blank piece of paper with 4 different so called ‘partners’ pulling 5 different ways which a) increases costs and b) adds time which = more costs all of which has to be recouped in sales. With Tempest we have just us and the Italians

          The key differentiator is that we already have everything that goes into and on an airframe. So we don’t need to re-invent those wheels. We already know how to build 5th Gen aircraft with the F-35 unlike the French or Germans. Tempest will not be a STOVL aircraft although it will probably also be CATOBAR capable saving a huge amount of time and capital. So the development cost base is the airframe and we have already done technical and development work and investment with MAGMA, our work on the F-35 and BAE’s work with UK Government money on ‘Replica’ (I think it was called) which was used to develop a low observable but low cost platform from as far back as 1999. It was eventually displayed upside down on a plinth at Warton! I think it was this (or a copy) that was used at the Farnborough Tempest programme announcement.

          I understand that research has showed we could have developed, built and delivered every RAF Typhoon for less total cost than our co-operation within Eurofighter! We are in an even more advanced situation with Tempest than we were with Typhoon even though BAE had the EAP demonstrator already flying.

    • Sheez that is just wrong and shows a distinct lack of knowledge on the UK defence industry or technological prowess.
      Tempest can and should be built in the UK. Easy for some of our aerospace engineers.
      Just needs governmental backing and we could be onto a winner- like the type 26 design.

  5. “Belgium has chosen the F-35 stealth over Typhoon to replace its F-16 jet, according to national news agency Belga, beating Typhoon.”

    Brought to you by the Dept. of Redundancy Dept.

  6. Im really not sure the comments above are realistic. Typhoon took decades and cost billions. We had time and many partners to fund it. Neither of which is the case with regard to tempest. And this time we’re taking about sixth Gen technology integrated with drones, so even more complicated and expensive than last time!

    Not to mention even latest tranche typhoon havent maximised current known technological capability. So why not just run the production on with incremental upgrades, evolution target revolution.

    Most conflict is not high intensity peer on peer, so we’ll be developing something too expensive to use routinely for counter insurgency or patrolling or duffing up poor nations that can’t even afford forth Gen aircraft.

    For me tempest is the UK showing it’s a worthy potential partner, keeping itself in the game, it’s not a serious solo effort. Europeans must all collaborate as we can’t match the investment America will throw at it’s manufacturers. Perhaps most likely we’ll end up as a tier one partner for whatever America makes, that’s not without risk mind.

    • (Chris H) Anthony D – I have answered all these points above in response to your earlier similar comment above. However I should point out that it was because we had so called partners that delayed the project, played games with funding and then reduced their own orders that made the Typhoon so expensive which then required export orders to recoup those costs. Tempest is a different project completely. But i do agree it does in any case show off our credentials to the wider world. Not sure we want US Incorporated involved other than as contracted suppliers. If they join with us they will demand ownership, it will get bigger and more complex and it will be a Typhoon and the French Groundhog Day…

      As for your comment that:
      “Europeans must all collaborate as we can’t match the investment America will throw at it’s manufacturers”

      Well we tried that with Typhoon and I think we learned the lesson excellent aircraft though it is. And I should gently remind you that the ‘Europeans’ have already decided we are not required. Airbus and Dassault are building the EU’s first fighter aircraft without us and why we are progressing with Tempest. A project that is already years ahead of anything the other team have on offer. Remember we Brits control Eurojet and its EJ200 engines. We could and should decide that there will be no engines for them. We and the Italians control what happens at Eurofighter and could say no transfer of intellectual data as we are majority shareholders.

      Its a hard old world out there.

  7. Well there we have it, now offical, the end of european aircraft manufactoring. Sure France and Germany talk about next gen aircraft but they couldn’t agree before Typhoon was built, also us Brits never give our lads and lasses the best equipment so tempest is a none starter. Every government since 1945 has effectively destroyed British military production by continuing to by American, the europeans are now doing the same. Long live Lockhead and Boeing

    • World leading kit:
      Astute
      Type 26 frigates
      Queen Elizabeth Class carriers
      Typhoon
      Merlin

      Forces are better equipped today than they ever have been but at the cost of mass and resilience.

      • David, You are Talking out your Bottom here, Chris H Is Owning you on this. He was after all, a Legend In his Time.

      • David Anthony Simpson, (Anthony D ? ) are you Serious ? no seriously old man, Are you ? Have you no Idea nor recollection of our once mighty superior Royal Navy ? , Sorry old man but I’m properly disillusioned by your latest non factual and somewhat Wide of the mark Comments here. Christ Bud, You really do post some silly stuff on here and a few other places too , maybe you ought to step away from your Laptop and let Chris H get on with running this site Eh ?

  8. 3 astutes
    No T26
    1 QEC not combat ready
    149 typhoon
    30(?) Merlin
    All great kit but either not enough or doesn’t exist yet. Sad that buying more of this excellent British equipment would actually benefit the UK economy yet the government would rather cut it’s losses and the military regardless of the investment already made. Need leadership in this country that actually cares about it for a change

    • Whats with the negativity, the remaining Trafalgar sub’s are still vastly more capable to anything deployed outside of the USA.
      The upgrades to T23 frigates mean they are still up there with the most advanced ASW frigates anywhere.
      HMS Queen Elizabeth is not that far from being ready for deployment.
      I agree we seem to be short on helicopters, I was not a fan of the army being forced to select the wild cat but I’m guessing it was necessary to justify the cost of developing it if its is to have continued export success.

    • (Chris H) J – I can see you are a glass half empty person. Anthony D was making the simple yet valid point to another negative post that we are CAPABLE of building all this new kit and indeed are doing so. I am never sure why some folks feel the need to run down everything we do and paint the negative over the positive. But to set some balance:
      Astute: 3 in service, 1 fitting out and 3 under construction. All funded
      Type 26: Brand new design sold to the RN, RAN and RCN with first under construction
      QEC: Two boats built for < £7 Bn. One in service and working up final flight trials. Second in service next year.
      Typhoon: 149 of 160 RAF aircraft delivered. Total orders for Typhoon 671 of which some 160 were direct British export sales.
      Merlin: 185 ordered / built serving 12 countries of which the RN / RAF had 72

      So when you look at the wider picture of what this country achieves in military aerospace it is very substantial. And we haven't even mentioned the F-35 yet …

      I agree we should provide more kit for our forces but we also need to recruit more people to operate the kit we already have.

  9. The only thing I can’t make my mind up about with Tempest, is should/could we build a ‘jump jet’ version. Compromises were made in the air frames for F35 a and c to accommodate b’s fan, could/should the same be done for Tempest? The Italians and Japanese both operate light flat tops now so it would feed into their needs.

    • (Chris H) – purely my opinion of course but no I don’t think we will have a STOVL Tempest for the very reasons you stated about the F-35. We already have that capability and it will be good for 20+ years. Tempest is, to me anyway, what I was calling ‘Typhoon II’ before Tempest was announced – all the sensor, helmet, combat, defence, weapons and avionics systems from Typhoon consolidated into a new airframe. Nothing wrong with the latest Typhoon that a new airframe can’t improve.

      • The carriers are supposedly going to have a 50 year service life so perhaps there might be a chance we could do another Harrier and sell a VSTOL Tempest to the US? But that’s so far in the future who knows where we will be? 🙂

    • (Chris H) Helions – If I could slightly misquote those immortal words of one Mandy Rice-Davies (Google the Profumo Affair) “Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?”

      I think all this confirms is that what ever is produced will have a naval version to repolace the Rafale M which is now rather long in the tooth although little used. It will be interesting to see if the new carrier will have EMALS / EMCATS though. The really daft thing is the French were ‘partners’ in the QE carrier project (and why we spent so much with French firms) but they, as always, pulled out and left us carrying the proverbial can. Or rather building two carriers rather than sharing the build on four.

      If their new carrier costs more than $5 Bn they will rue the day they shafted us. (he says hopefully)

      • The French were never partners in the QE Programme. This keeps getting repeated but is wholly untrue. The French and British briefly investigated a joint carrier programme in the 90’s. Those discussions then came to naught. The UK then went on to launch CVF. Thales became the ‘Lead’ in the design, but this is Thales UK in Bristol and there are strict ‘Chinese Walls’ in place with all IP UK owned and controlled. The French later had a change of heart and paid the UK £100m, non-refundable, to study the design with the intention of building PA.2. The UK made it abundantly clear that they would not be making any design changes to accommodate the French. The French then realised they couldn’t afford to progress and left.
        Thats all..

        • (Chris H) Rudeboy – I guess you have a different definition of what a ‘partner’ is. I think when two countries work together to formulate a common carrier design (adaptable for CATOBAR or STOVL) over a 12 month period and both countries pay similar amounts to achieve that design then to me that is a partnership.

          “The United Kingdom and France have reached an agreement on cooperation concerning the future design of aircraft carriers.”

          “We have taken a very significant step forward on the future carrier project in agreeing how the UK will proceed on cooperation with France”

          “There are details to be wrapped up, but our agreement covers arrangements for the management of the project for the next 12 months.”

          – John Read Secretary for Defence January 24 2006

          https://web.archive.org/web/20060711165427/http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/DefencePolicyAndBusiness/UkfrenchAgreementOnAircraftCarriers.htm

          Label it how you will the fact remains the French operated with the carrier project exactly how they operated with Typhoon and indeed Tornado before.

    • Cheers Helions- interesting article.
      What is the bet the French new carrier (2030+) will look very much like QE class, albeit with a bit of a refresh and upgrade?
      France has a glorious history of stealing ideas from others, relabelling them as French then selling the on.
      Rafale vs Eurofighter anyone?
      They were already involved in the QE carrier design at the earliest stages before pulling out of the PA2 requirement a few years in having spent £300+ million on design already.

  10. Chris,
    I’m familiar with the Profumo Affair and understand she died about a year ago. Rather shocking how she had aged… Had quite a run there for a while though! I think I posted a link a few days ago about the French working with the USN to acquire the EMALS – which we’ve also offered to the IN. I understand that the bugs (mostly related to software) are supposed to be fixed during the GRF’s current availability (hope so).

    Thales is the primary systems firm on this I see. As you stated, they should have gone with a concurrent build on the QE’s but perhaps due to the unproven nature of the EMALS and indecision IRT the propulsion (nuclear or non) they decided to bail out. Note that this article still does not discuss propulsion source – wonder if there is debate on that in the MN?

    Cheers!

    • (Chris H) Helions – an even stronger argument for us to keep away from future multi partner arrangements like Typhoon. Just takes one to be awkward and everyone suffers although of course in this case it is the Germans hurting the UK more than anyone else as they would have been built here. I am sure this has absolutely nothing to do with EU matters and the UK negotiations of course.

      Not debating the ins and outs of a murder here just an observation on the difficulties of partnerships. And multiply that by 10 when involved with the French….

      Of course the Germans could make up the 48 lost Saudi orders with their own 48. But I wouldn’t bet a dime on it.

      • Didn’t Germany just sell a load of Leopard 2 7A’s to Qatar. I can’t stand the hypocrisy of it all. You either deal with hard line dictators or you don’t. Pretending to be outraged or care about human rights just because the media runs a bad new story doesn’t full anyone.
        At least Trump is honest and says they safe guard 500,000 American jobs so I’m not going to do anything.

        • (Chris H) expat – I can’t agree on partnerships on a major military project. we in the Uk have seen too many delayed, become more than we wanted and cost far more than if we had done it ourselves.

          Now having said that I have no issue with the countries licence building kit we have developed and designed like the Aussies and Canadians are doing with Type 26. Even Kawasaki built their Merlins under licence. My main issue with Japan as a partner in Tempest is they are just an extension of the US military programme and are fundamentally dependent on the presence of the US 7th Fleet. One goes with the other. So whatever we were developing would go straight back to the USA.

          We have to keep Tempest as a lean project so we can move it on at speed …

          • I’m with you again on this Sir, Britain Can do It all without Partners and more Importantly, without our Seriously short sighted current Government Incumbents. Roll on Brexit, Roll on our new World Market, Roll on The Next British Empire. ( sorry, I might have got a bit carried away there for a bit, but actually, Why the hell not ? ). oh and Chris sir, The French were only ever Interested In one new Carrier. making a total of 3 not 4. just wanted to Clarify that, please be gentle on me.

          • Considering the self built items are massively expensive and under specced, I don’t get the desire to prop up our defense industry.

            Combine that with the main export customers generally being questionable regimes, maybe it’s time to stop wasting UK tax money on propping up our industry with small orders.

            Add to that that the export orders always arrive after the initial British orders are complete and so the UK military gets no benefit outside a few top bass getting directorships.

            Finally add the tiny amount of money that flows back to the UK tax payer for these orders and the marginal number of defence jobs compared to other failing sectors that could do with the money.

            With ever reducing defence budget and constant cuts in order numbers, let’s stop pretending to be a major power and just do what every other 2nd tied power goes and piggy back on the American order.

  11. Chris,

    you might want to take a look at the actual size and capability of the JSDF. Just a rundown of the JMSDF ship roster is pretty impressive and they are slated to increase their fleet by 25% in the next decade. Their first CATOBAR carriers should be on the ways by the end of the of that period as well. They are far from dependent on the ships of the 7th Fleet. It actually kind of the other way around (I hate to say)…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_Japan_Maritime_Self-Defense_Force_ships

    Cheers!

    • (Chris H) helions – Historically and politically they are totally in step with the USA. Look at their purchase record of aircraft since WWII. And good as their Navy may be in 10 / 15 years time it will never then and cannot (like we cannot) compare now with the 7th Fleet let alone the implied might of the US Navy. The 7th is the representation of something far bigger.

      When Boeing went ‘global sourcing’ for the 787 and new 777 where did they go? To Japan and yet arguably the UK is the best producer of advanced material commercial aircraft wings in the world.

      Not sure the bond is so strong after Mr Trump’s recent efforts though.

      And of course Cheers mate

      • Japan is currently going through what Europe did 50 years ago.

        Japan was the cutting edge technology and manufacturing country of the world, but as it’s middle class expended, it couldn’t keep up with prices from other less advanced countries on manufacturing prices, and whilst it was good with electronics, it wasn’t so good not so good with coding, and so lost out to China and the US.

        Japan has lost its cutting edge and it’s esomony is suffering for it. At the same time,.it sees China as this big threat and is effectively entering into a cold war with them. Great way to hide the underlying problems with the economy just like Europe did. Huge miltiary build up to look relevent on the world scene.

        History tells us what will happen next, which is the reality that they can’t afford the military and it has to be cut to pay for welfare and other benefits that come with a declining manufacturing country and expending middle class. Especially in a country where land is insanely limited and so making manufacturing hugely expensive on top of wages.

        Germany was really the only country that managed to avoid this bullet, since they effectively got ‘lucky’ with a huge surge of cheap labor from the east when it unified, in a period where every other European countries failed.

        The US is surviving on the tech bubble, but I fear it will burst eventually, should we keep going down the current route of lack of interest in security and privacyx forcing people to think twice about using them

      • Good morning Chris,

        As usual you make good points here, Japan does tend to stay close to the U.S. in terms of policy, weapons, and technology buys. The JSDF purchases U.S. weaponry most the time when imported technology is needed. Especially in naval and air systems. As you pointed out, the JMSDF is closely integrated with the USN (not just with 7th Fleet) and their combat suite procurement in particular reflects that.

        To understand this, you have to take a look at the history of post-war Japan. Remember, the country was run by the U.S. Military until the early 50’s and it wasn’t until 1971 that the island of Okinawa was returned to sovereign Japanese control by the U.S. In fact the country’s current constitution was written by none other than General Douglas MacArthur and staff.

        As the JSDF was founded and grew, it was only natural that the systems and weapons would be procured from or license built from the U.S. We were / are the only game in town in that respect. They certainly aren’t going to go with China (the two countries have despised each other for centuries – China has tried to invade it several times and one failed invasion destroyed by a hurricane spawned the Kamikaze (Divine Wind) myth). The Japanese in turn had their go in the 20th Century and behaved poorly to say the very least. Hence the anger at the country to this day by Chinese and Koreans.

        Japan absolutely relies on the military alliance it has with the U.S. to ensure its safety and to backstop its military (as does Australia / New Zealand / Taiwan (a special case I won’t go into since it would take a book) / Singapore / etc) It only makes sense that you have compatible systems with your biggest buddy. In the Pacific, that big boy is the USN. The procurement of weapons systems and especially the combat suites needed to interoperate with the USN and USAF across the region reflect that.

        Having said this, you need to actually put the U.S. out of the picture for a moment and take a real look at the stand alone capabilities and weaknesses of the JSDF and the JMSDF in particular since it’s most critical in maintaining control of Japanese waters and territory. It is widely acknowledged as either the the 3rd or 4th most powerful navy in the world depended on who is doing the analysis. In terms of sheer numbers, its escort force alone outnumbers the major combat units of almost all other individual countries.

        That’s not counting its attack submarines and “Helicopter” destroyers which add another 3rd to the fleet in size. Another 48 combatants are being added in the next decade and they will surely add a CVA capability as well, they have no choice and they’re getting the Japanese public accustomed to it by floating the possibility of operating F35Bs off the Izumo class which were actually built with them in mind. The 10,000 ton + Atago and Maya classes are cruisers in reality and the Maya class is being built to serve as the AW commanders for upcoming JMSDF carrier groups. The service is already responsible for protecting its SLOCs out to 1000 nautical miles. To do this effectively in this day and age you need carriers. Period

        It’s interesting to note that they are reportedly exploring acquiring a Wasp ( probably America) class LHA type to quickly upgrade their amphib capability in the face of their most pressing security need – which is over the southern islets being contested with the Chinese. All propaganda aside, those land features were unclaimed and uninhabited till Japan claimed them IAW international law in the late 19th Century – leaving a marker etc. China, as usual, believes that they can bully Japan into giving them up. Japan, however, is obviously not the P.I or Vietnam which can be overwhelmed by sheer Chinese muscle. The enmity between the two dictates that Japan will never back down over this.

        In large part due to PRC actions Japan has begun to address the number 1 limiter of its armed forces – its constitution – which restricts the JSDF to “defensive” weaponry with short ranges and not designed for offensive actions – carriers for instance. PM Abe has been slowly chipping away at this by various means to “reinterpret” the constitution (much as the U.S. Supreme Court does on a daily basis) and recent weapons procurement of long range cruise and anti-ship missiles reflect that. The country retains a strong pacifist streak for obvious reasons but that is changing rapidly in the face of Chinese threats. Their public is much more supportive of operating normal armed forces unrestricted by the terms of the U.S. written constitution from another era as the region becomes more dangerous to Japanese interests and memories of WWII fade.

        Japan is capable of producing pretty much any type of weapon but the cost of designing and building weaponry and aircraft solely for the use of the JSDF is prohibitive but was the case until recently when the country when fiscal reality took hold and it loosened its weapons export controls and began offering some overseas – the failed Soryu tender to the RAN is the best example. This same reason is why Japan buys either U.S. built or, usually, U.S. designed and license built systems. It just costs too much to do otherwise for the relatively limited number needed. You will continue to see a transition of the JSDF from a defensive only structure to a normal armed forces structure capable of both offensive and defensive operations. There is simply no other choice for the country in light of the PRC threat.

        Sidebar: IRT to the 787, it’s interesting to see just how many countries are involved in building its major components. The UK among them. Not being familiar with the whole story of the wings, it’s a usual process to put out tenders for this type of thing, can I suggest perhaps the UK was just outbid by Mitsubishi?

        https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/20/a-wing-and-a-prayer-outso_n_811498.html

        Finally (that’s what your thinking :D), going back to Japan’s reliance on the U.S. for protection. It is the realization that the U.S. is increasingly overstretched and capricious that is driving Japan to “stand on its own two feet” per say. The country realizes that as PRC power increases to meet parity with the U.S., it needs to take steps to ensure that in the case of a U.S. retrenchment towards its alliance (not going to happen, Japan, like the UK, is the cornerstone of U.S. allies in that region) it will have to take matters into its own hands to ensure its security.

        That means one thing. A nuclear arsenal. It’s a little know fact that Japan as early as the late 1960s explored acquiring a nuclear capability. The idea was dropped in the face of stiff American opposition but the idea never went away. You must keep in mind that Japan has the world’s largest stockpile of plutonium not under the control of the IAEA. It has a proven space launch system in its H II series (and what is an SLS with a warhead on top vs a payload?) and it certainly has the technology to either very quickly build (or more likely assemble pre-made components) nuclear weapons. Most analysts in this area believe that this capability could be achieved within a year – 6 months in an emergency.

        This would be China’s worst fear and ironically it is the PRC’s actions which are driving the Japanese to this conclusion – that they will need an independent nuclear force. This conventional buildup is merely a sidebar to this final outcome. Until then, the status quo of a Japan operating under the U.S. nuclear umbrella will continue until the country reaches the conclusion that the arrangement no longer guarantees its security. At that point they will go their own way. Japan – Like Britain is not continental Europe – is not Asia and the real reason why the U.S. guarantees Japanese security in this manner today is less a junior / senior partnership than an attempt to prevent Japan from loosing from lockstep with American hegemony and developing an independent path for the country – which will invariably include a large and independent nuclear force not under U.S. control…

        Sorry in advance for any typos!

        Cheers!

          • You’re too polite Danielle, let’s face it, I was just plain LONG winded today 😀 It’s pouring rain here and I’ve nothing else to do so – HEY!

            Cheers!

    • Helions is right of course.
      The JMSDF is expanding and increasing in size and capability. although they really have to- they are on China’s doorstep and China is likely to have PLAN with a force of 400+ warships by 2035 – they are building frigates, destroyers and submarines flat out to contest the local regional territorial claims against any US and allied response.
      I think Japan, South Korea, US and Australia + New Zealand should be rather worried and therefore by default probably all of NATO and its allies.
      A PLAN with 400+ first rate warships with cheap weapons loads and vast numbers of munitions is going to be pretty hard for us to face down.

  12. The F35 going to be huge sales . After all the trolls knocking the plane saying it will never be built or fly .. It makes me laugh how the tin pot trolls know more than world class aviation experts and proven plane builders they need to stop watching RT and spudnik fake news .

  13. Slightly o/t

    Just read that Hawk production will end next year. I find it astounding SAAB/Boeing we’re able to produce a new aircraft in a short space of time and win the TX. If you’d follow the TX progress there were several reports that Boeing relied heavily on SAAB design teams. Both companies developed the aircraft form there own pockets. Yet BAe which has sold over 1000 Hawks has ploughed nothing back into RnD of a new airframe and the UK next Jet trainer will be foreign. The T2 revamp was mostly paid for by the UK government.

  14. Janes put an article up on Tempest. I think most agree the Typhoon now has very limited sales opportunities. Belgium selected it on price which was always touted as negative for the f35. UKs biggest problem now is stretching fast jet production into the 2030’s when Tempest can be produced in meaningful numbers. There’s orders for 620 aircraft with over 500 delivered, but the UK doesn’t produce all of these and to keep lines open in the UK were going to need more than the 48 Saudi jets. I just can’t see where these orders will come from.

    https://www.janes.com/article/84058/raf-looks-to-typhoon-lightning-tempest-force-in-2030s

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