Britain is looking to maintain a leading role in future combat aircraft projects according to Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier.

Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier, chief of staff of the Royal Air Force said:

“We have world leading capabilities. We are going to define what we want to do in the future. What we’re not going to do is follow where other nations go” he said after a conference of global air chiefs.

“I don’t feel that the UK’s role in this is to chase after France and Germany.”

Hillier reportedly also noted Britain had played a key role in development of the Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35.

The UK and Sweden recently conducted initial talks regarding collaboration on a future fighter aircraft.

This story has now been featured by many outlets however it was broken by the Financial Times.

The organisation say that the MoD is looking to new aerospace partners after being left out of Franco-German programme. This isn’ t new, last year BAE Systems and Turkish Aerospace Industries signed an agreement to collaborate on the first development phase of an indigenous fifth-generation fighter jet for the Turkish Air Force.

The planned aircraft, the ‘TFX’ is expected to be a twin-engine, fifth-generation Turkish ‘aerial superiority fighter’. The aircraft is planned to replace F-16 in Turkush service. As far back as December 2015, Turkey had indicated that it intended to chose BAE Systems to assist with the design of the fighter.

It is understood that Rolls-Royce have offered Turkey EJ200 engine technology transfer and joint-development of a derivative for the TFX. Signing this agreement in Ankara in the presence of The Prime Ministers of Turkey and the United Kingdom, BAE Systems Chief Executive, Ian King, said:

“BAE Systems is a leader in designing, manufacturing and supporting fighter aircraft and is in an excellent position to contribute technical and engineering expertise and experience of managing complex projects to this key Turkish programme. The announcement signals an exciting next step in relations between both Turkey and the UK with the co-operation between BAE Systems and TAI paving the way for a deeper defence partnership. The agreement confirms ongoing collaborative work on the design and development of the aircraft.”

At its peak hundreds of Turkish and UK engineers will collaborate on the TF-X programme helping to support collaboration on the skills, technology and technical expertise required to deliver the programme.

The news regarding Sweden comes as the UK is preparing to release its Combat Air Strategy. This strategy will examine the operational capability needed in the future and the skills and resource required to deliver it. The work will take new and emerging technology into account, as well as export potential, whilst testing British industry’s ability to deliver our future requirements.

It is expected to be launched at the Farnborough Air Show.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“Since the birth of airpower, British industry has been crucial to maintaining our military’s world-leading position. As we celebrate 100 years of the RAF protecting our skies, it is fitting that we create bold and ambitious plans to help our brave Armed Forces keep us safe in the face of intensifying threats. The Combat Air Strategy will bring together the best of British engineering, skill and design, and deliver a compelling vision for the future of air power.”

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, said:

“It is especially fitting that we launch the Combat Air Strategy as our Royal Air Force marks its 100th anniversary. Combat Air capabilities have been at the heart of the RAF’s capabilities throughout its history, and are constantly employed on operations across the world today.

This strategy will ensure that the RAF can continue to remain at the forefront of the high-end airpower technology and innovation we need to deal with future threats, working in close collaboration with UK industry and our international partners.”

The UK is already a major player in the air sector which accounts for 85% of the Britain’s defence export orders. The industry is made up of close to 2,500 companies, generating more than £33.5bn in turnover and employing more than 128,000 people – some 26,000 of them in highly skilled research, design and engineering jobs say the MoD.


  1. Is it just my simple mind, or do manless planes offer the opportunity to operate more airframes? If the answer is yes, then this project and others and others like it should be pursued with vigor. Obviously, any manless craft will need a dedicated land-based controller and ground crew, but the savings could be substantial over today’s manned flight? I would imagine for the foreseeable future, the mix will be 70-30 in terms of operation and a steady increase over the next thirty years in manless missions?

    • Practically yes, but no in that we do not have the algorithms and software to so so yet. On a prototype level we have them, but there will be many years before these are deployed.

      • Not sure that’s quite right Frank.

        An f35 could do the targeting and direct a number of Taranis (lets say) onto target. The flight data etc can be easily programmed (with multiple routes/strategies) and the pilot in the F35 could simply choose the selected path and targeting characteristics.

        No algorithms needed, the MADL encrypted secure line is all that is really needed here and a GPS and targeting system.

        I think the UK is right to insist on person in the loop and see this as being an F35 pilot for the majority of our tasks.

        Taranis should cost £20-40m if we buy to the right scale, as opposed to 120m for an F35b. So yes we should be replacing our Tornado fleet with a fleet of Taranis that can work alongside the F35 and give us some scale. Additionally it then doesn’t matter if the F35 is limited in range – it can send the UCAV’s onto task.

        • Interesting, your scenario could certainly help cover the weaknesses of the F35 in terms of range and weapon capacity and very much play to its strengths even if over time it’s stealth characteristics starts to become Compromised. Could blend in rather well if feasible.

        • Nobody has mentioned the elephant in the room regarding unmanned air systems. There must be a man in the loop else there be a legal nightmare. There’s already major concerns from the CAA governing flying these in congested airspace. There will have to be some form of AI controlling collision avoidance but I don’t think we’re there yet. The manned fighter will be here for quite some time until they sought out both the legal and physical issues of flying a significant number of UAVs in peacetime airspare.

    • Until they can get AI that can do everything a pilot can do and also be able to fit it into an airframe where it is able to function independently (just as a Pilot Does) – we’ll never have “pilotless” warplanes. Don’t hold your breath – they are a long, long way away.

  2. Crikey, I certainly wouldn’t give Turkey the secrets of the EJ2000 engine, I wouldn’t trust them … mainly due to “proto-Hitler” Erdogan. Big mistake from our political masters to help him out.

      • Turkey has been useful for basing aircraft and missles . Otherwise, current leadership makes for an unreliable NATO partner, and a poor choice for sharing advanced military technology.

      • )Chris H) RR has already moved the EJ200 design on from where Eurofighter use it in the Typhoon and from where the Turks will co – build. This of course safeguards our future aircraft and opens up the upgrade market for secure friends flying Typhoon. So not Germany …

        What mystifies me is how on earth the Yanks could think it was a really good idea to give the rebuilding of F135 engines from F-35s to the Turks. I mean they know the square root of sod all about jet engines and why they need this co-operative deal with RR. So much for being a ‘Tier One Partner’

  3. quite refreshing to read. whether the lefty fracker commie Corbyn creatures like it or not, leading in weapon systems development is great economically for any country.

    • (Chris H) That would be the Commie Corbyn who was happily slagging off and insulting the President of the United States on his first visit here while ensconced with his Leftie Guardian echo chamber friends banging saucepans in London.

      And meanwhile in the real world the PM was being as courteous as she could be given The Donald’s insults and trying to correct him on his lack of understanding of what the EU White Paper actually said and keeping him on side for a Trade Deal. Something that will be really needed post Brexit as they are our biggest single country export market.

      The difference between the fantasist Lefties and Real Politik

      • Seriously do you get some sort of kick out of slagging off an irrelevant member of parliament? It baffles me.

        • (Chris H) Evan P – No not at all. I couldn’t care less about ‘irrelevant members of parliament’. And it baffles me why ask that question.

          But I care greatly when a prospective and highly probable PM and Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition seems happier consorting with people who think bashing saucepans is really really clever, who carry placards with that disgraceful word ‘C*NT’ on them while holding hands with kids and who cannot comprehend the difference between a President and individual who holds that position. A man who feels happier gobbing off at Glasto rather than share pride in in our Forces on Armed Forces Day. Of course to him and his loonie Leftie pals the word ‘pride’ now means ‘LGBT’…. #FacePalm

          Of course had it been Boris Johnson (a Tory failure) that Trump was having a Twatter battle with rather than Sadiq Khan (a Labour failure) then he would have been applauding Trump such is the hypocrisy of the man. The idiot is a lying two faced Commie who is a huge threat to the military and economic well being of this country. So yes I care very greatly indeed.

          I wouldn’t trust the fool with two saucepans ….

    • What has this got to do with the article.

      So boring and predictable by both of you.

      Chris, D Trump showed nothing but dispespect to our political establishment, to insist and repeat that a former minister who has just resigned from T Mays government would make a great prime minister while visiting the prime minister is about as disrespectful as you can get.

      I’m not her biggest fan to say the least, certainly not a cheerleader unlike some, but I felt sorry for her being embarrassed at home and embarrassed in front of the worlds press.

      And please wake up and smell the chlorinated chicken, there will be no big fat free trade deal with the US.

      • (Chris H) Sole Survivor & Sceptical – Look Someone posted a comment to which I replied. Its how this forum works. And if you feel that seriously about ‘relevance’ why did YOU comment as well if its ‘irrelevant’. You just made it ‘relevant’…. Think on chaps.

        And please stop this ‘chlorinated chicken’ trigger phrasing. Its boring and an exaggeration. You eat British salads cleaned in chlorine. You drink water with Fluoride in it and in some cases cleaned earlier in the process with chlorine. And I guess you didn’t pay too much attention to the post Chequers Press Conference – there will be a trade deal on agreed terms that will multiply British exports and allow US goods equal access to the UK market as EU goods. Something the EU has discriminated against for decades (like a 10% tariff on US made cars?) Trump is a gobshite but on trade with the EU and over NATO he is bang on dead right. for the EU to cry ‘protectionism’ at Trump is a bit bloody rich but then duplicity is how the EU operates. As Juncker once said: “When it becomes serious, you have to lie”

        Now as to your vague points: Trump is an abusive, thick, ignorant New Yorker who needs a good slap OK? BUT … and this is a huge ‘BUT’ – he happens to be the President of the United States. We, and Theresa May representing all the UK as she does, have to show respect to that democratically established Office of State. He is (like our Queen) their Head of State and Commander in Chief.

        Now given your indicated political preferences you are deflecting from that key point I inferred in that Corbyn, by joining with the saucepan bashers, showed equal disrespect to the POTUS and Two Wrongs maketh Not a Right.

        However we do actually agree that Theresa May through all this week (and indeed for a lot longer with diplomatic Trump gaffes) has conducted herself and represented the people of the UK with grace, good humour and huge determination. She did after all make Trump blink and then publicly backtrack over his ‘Sun’ comments. So he likes Boris? Who really cares now? BJ is done and dusted and will be history pretty soon. Trump showed how dumb he is by allowing his views to be dictated by BJ and Farage. He even uses their phrases!

        The man is f**kwit but he is still POTUS

        • Oh come on Chris, look at the state of what he wrote

          “lefty fracker commie Corbyn creatures”

          What even is that? I think he’s trying to slip in anti-fracking somewhere but instead called them frackers, it was a pathetic, confused post, certainly in my mind doesn’t deserve any kind of response except ridicule, the standard of debate should be better than that.

          About a US trade deal, it was all bluster Chris, do you believe a word he says? He is a proven liar.

          Liam fox had a meeting with US trade officials and we have heard nothing since, the reason for that is US demands are not politically feasible in Britain. US farmers have been lobbying that they be included in any trade deal, so that’s cheap beef and chickens flooding into the U.K. putting a lot of our famers out of business, and that’s hormone injected beef and chlorinated washed chicken, both banned under our current food standards, so we would have to lower our food standards for a trade deal.

          Then there is the other high demand from US trade negotiators, US pharmaceutical companies want access to the NHS as well NHS contracts given to the US private sector.

          I’ll say it now if the conservatives sign a trade deal like that out of desperation they will be out of power at the next election for a decade, the overwhelming majority of the public do not want the NHS touched by massive US corporations, the NHS is an election decider in this country, it has the power to ruin a party if a party partially ruins it.

          The only hope a deal has is if Donald trump ignores the US farmers and Health companies and signs a smaller trade deal covering cars etc and financial services.

          • (Chris H) SoleSurvivor – It doesn’t matter whether I believe Trump or not. He has said in a very public forum that the USA wants a free trade deal with the UK. We are mutually very beneficial to each other in trade just look at the way we benefit rather more from trade with the USA than we do from trade with 27 EU countries. We are each others biggest inward investors – that is far more valuable than actual trade volumes.

            You are not accurate about Liam Fox. He was on TV Channels this very morning (Saturday) explaining what he had discussed with US Officials and business people travelling with Trump.

            Now as to your:
            “Then there is the other high demand from US trade negotiators, US pharmaceutical companies want access to the NHS as well NHS contracts given to the US private sector.”

            So UK Pharmaceuticals don’t sell anything to the USA? Well actually they sold £32.8 Bn (the 5th largest export commodity) to the USA. So why shouldn’t US Pharma trade here? Whats to fear if we can beat their domestic suppliers despite being lumbered with the EU External Tariff that is reciprocated back against us? And of course you make the scary hint about ‘US private sector’ in the NHS a nonsense story that goes with the chlorinated chicken as the trigger phrases used by anti-Brexiteers (as you just did yet again). How on earth could a US company supply the UK NHS if it isn’t based here in the first place? That takes pre-investment. And if it did it would be subject to UK regulations would it not? Just as a UK company bidding for US health contracts would have to be based there and abide by US regulations. Or are you someone else who thinks they will be able to sue the NHS from far distant shores if it chooses not to offer any contracts to anyone? You seem to quietly ignore the rather inconvenient truth that currently the UK has to offer contracts over a certain value via the OJEU to every company in the EU. But apparently thats OK … Hypocrisy again? Or are you suggesting that some trade deal will permit the US Private Health companies to forcibly take over the entire NHS against our wishes? Really?

          • Of course it matters if you believe him or not, you’ve called him a f*****t but because he’s speaking in a public forum it’s gospel.

            He also said at that press conference that he predicted the Brexit vote when he was last at his golf resort in Scotland, he arrived the day after the result had already been announced the lair.

            He told lies about the Sun interview even though it’s on tape.

            He’s been on video saying the US pays for 90% of the NATO budget, that’s a complete lie.

            There are many more, he’s been telling lies in public forums for years so do you still believe because he said something in a public forum it’s definitely going to happen? That’s such silly thinking about politicians.

            How do we benefit from trade with US more than the EU? Exports to the US is 18% and EU it’s 44%. The EU is our largest trading partner Chris I’m not sure where that came from but you heed to check you facts.

            I’ve noticed you keep calling anything you don’t agree with “nonsense stories” I’m using these because I genuinely want to eat just British chicken that’s been prepared using our food standards that we’ve built up for a century, same with beef.

            Chris as much as you want to believe it, this isn’t some remainer project fear, you can get away with using that when it’s politicians maybe.

            But it’s the U.K. farm industry itself that is raising concerns about imported cheap beef from America and New Zealand incidentally.

            It’s healthcare professionals from the NHS itself that is raising concerns about what US influence can have on our NHS.

            In the US pharmaceutical companies are allowed to sue governments and healthcare providers, that was one of the main reasons ttip failed, it wasn’t because of tariffs that you keep banging on about it’s about standards and ethical practices.

            Prime example US pharmaceutical company Elexion took the Canadian government to court to stop it lowering the price of one of only two life saving drugs for a rare blood disease because it would “hurt their profits”

            And that is far from the only example.

            I’m sorry but I and millions of people don’t want s**t like that happening here, you might be fine with the NHS being sued and at the mercy of giant US companies but we’re not.

            And you know what I actually can’t wait until we leave the EU because you and a few others can stop shoehorning it into nearly every single bloody debate, I wasn’t hiding any “inconvenient truth” because the EU were not on my radar in this until you brought them up!

          • (Chris H) Solesurvivor – Once again you foist words on me I never wrote. Where exactly do I say I was ‘happy for the NHS to be sued’? I never dd. What you did there was divert away from the fact that no one could sue anybody unless it was based in the UK OR if it was a trade related matter it would go to the agreed Resolution Body. So again you fabricate a position to suit your argument.

            The ‘inconvenient truth’ to which I was referring was (as you well know) to compare the hypocrisy of people who peddle the ‘NHS will be privatised by the USA’ to the reality that we currently have to allow any company from the EU to bid for, and therefore challenge, any contract over a certain value the NHS puts out. EU Law. So EU firms are OK but not American ones. THAT was the point, nothing to do with Brexit and your diversion was better than I expected of you. In this context it was completely relevant. Something I know you value …..

            I believe in free trade clearly you don’t. The EU itself does not believe in Free Trade either and established the CU and SM to protect its various factions within Europe against the rest of the world. Its why we have the CAP and CFP which created wine lakes, butter mountains, set aside of good British land and dead fish being thrown back into the sea ‘to maintain stocks’. Yes I know some of that has changed but the protectionist philosophy remains. And they bitch about Trump starting to protect his own farmers and steel producers being ‘protectionist’. The point I am making for clarity is the utter hypocrisy of the arguments you and others make about all this US Trade deal. We will set our standards and they will set theirs. And if UK customers don’t like the products they won’t buy them. If JLR adopted your argument you apply to chicken, beef and US Pharma and decided that they would only ship RHD cars to the USA rather than LHD then they wouldn’t sell much. Same here if the product doesn’t meet our standards it won’t be allowed in and if its crap it won’t sell. So why is that a threat to your British salads, chicken and beef? Your argument is holed by the practicalities. Or are you suggesting suddenly we will be forced by the Yanks to adopt chlorine rather than good housekeeping to maintain chicken standards? More chance of the USA starting to drive on the Left Hand Side …

            And if a small country like New Zealand can raise top quality lamb, ship it half way round the world and its on our counters cheaper than UK produced lamb someone needs to ask farmers why. They have been living in an EU protected environment, hampered by rules and its a shame because given a free rein they can be as efficient as anyone else. And if US beef is so good why does UK beef sell so well in the USA?

            In summary the argument I have been making all along is about hypocrisy. That of Corbyn for starters – and then all the rest as, sadly, demonstrated on occasion by your good self.

    • Chris

      “What you did there was divert away from the fact that no one could sue anybody unless it was based in the UK OR if it was a trade related matter it would go to the agreed Resolution Body”

      That’s where you are wrong i’m afraid, you need to understand why the US-EU free trade agreement failed, it has had 14 rounds of negotiations and not even the first chapter of 27 has been agreed, its about as far away as Turkey joining the EU (a million miles)

      “TTIP is that it could allow multinational corporations to effectively “sue” governments for taking actions that might damage their businesses.”

      That is big pharma in the US in a nutshell, it’s in NAFTA, its in every FTA it has, so when anybody is talking about a proposed UK-USA free trade agreement, it’s foolish to not accept and understand that US pharmaceutical companies would be able to sue our government for decisions it makes about the NHS, that will almost certainly be a stipulation to any FTA with the US, and I find it deplorable that any government can be sued for making a decision that’s best for the patient because it affects a companies business. That is big pharma for you, that’s how powerful they are, imagine if BAE were allowed, not only allowed but encouraged to sue the MOD if the MOD decided to use a different company to build the next class of Destroyers lets say, that is what we are talking about here, that is what big pharma does in North America and it’s what has stalled negotiations in TTIP.

      Now about privatization, nobody is being hypocritical here Chris because you have not only missed the point but clearly are not aware of how US free trade deals work.

      Back to TTIP, the US demanded that US companies are “guaranteed market access” to sell services in Europe, and to end monopolies on public services that are provided by the state and a limited number of suppliers, now the NHS is a public service that a small part is provided by a limited number of suppliers, even though it was denied by the EU and US lead negotiators the wording never changed in TTIP and a report detailing the affects on the NHS was blocked from release by our government and the EU.

      You see free trade deals have evolved from just import/export barriers to now include intellectual property, access to public services markets, and “rights” for corporations investing overseas, as well as non-tariff barriers.

      You say it’s hypocritical but its two completely different scenarios, we don’t have to offer any NHS contracts if we really didn’t want to, we could move everything in house if we really wanted to, that’s what we have currently, but the US could demand in a FTA that 15% of the NHS is opened up to their healthcare providers. It’s what was more or less proposed in TTIP.

      The NHS is the 4th largest employer in the world behind only the US DOD, Walmart and the Chinese army, it’s a massive market in an advanced economy in a well developed country, why wouldn’t American healthcare providers want a piece of it, and the scary thing is, which is why it’s being raised often is that the US are the main player in this, they don’t need a trade deal with us, we apparently need one with them, they hold the cards and are the toughest trade negotiators in the world, they don’t need to budge on anything.

      So you see it’s not hypocritical at all, and the government has more or less refused to rule out the NHS will be exempt from negotiations, that’s why people a helluva lot more important than me and you that represent the NHS are worried by the thought of it.

      “I believe in free trade clearly you don’t”

      Damn right I don’t, like i don’t believe in free movement of people either because its just a tool to move the cheap labour to keep wages down.

      Free trade is good in some areas where it can benefit but sometimes tariffs have to applied to protect jobs and to protect domestic industries surely you understand that.

      “And if UK customers don’t like the products they won’t buy them”

      It’s not as simple as that, the majority of people are not that bothered what chicken goes into their frozen chicken nuggets or where their pack of the cheapest chicken breast come from, if it’s American and a pound cheaper it will get bought, the US is the largest chicken and beef producer in the world, they have super farms that are like small towns, it would flood the market and put British farmers out of business, it’s not a case of our farmers need to do more, they cannot compete because of standards and methods and speed of production.

      And what if massive companies like McDonald’s and KFC decide to start using American beef and chicken instead of British, and won contracts with supermarkets to supply their own brand meats, it’s a blatant attack on farming that would put a lot out of business, and the sad thing is it’s not even a problem, nobody is saying British meat is crap and expensive, we are fine as we are with meat.

      And their lies a point about imports, we cant just import products and services because we might benefit another sectors exports in the name of a free trade deal, imports should be their for the benefit of the consumer if we don’t do well in that particular sector, cars and computers a classic example, food we cant grow, mineral fuels another, but meat that in a lot of worldwide famous chefs eyes is the best produce in the world, it’s just wrong.

      • (Chris H) SoleSurvivor – In your argument then the rest of the world outside the EU is in utter chaos, riven with court cases with the US conglomerates dominating global trade. if that is the case how come the USA runs major deficits with most countries? And the WTO has no say either?

        Oh and by the way every trade deal has a resolution body sometimes it is just left to the WTO but neither side can dictate to the other. Its why we will NOT be under the jurisdiction of the ECJ as part of our EU trade deal (if the EU acts sensibly). There will be a resolution panel / body.

        My last word on your distortion of the NHS vs US Pharma – You failed to answer my question that you are suggesting that the USA will demand that we turn the NHS into a private business and that they will then be able to take it all over? They cannot change UK Government policy or UK Law. The NHS (for all its greatness and faults) is embedded in the psyche of this nation. It is utterly preposterous to suggest it will be changed for the benefit of no one else but US conglomerates. Yes they will be able to compete for whatever is put out to private tender but nothing else. Just, as I pointed out, EU companies can compete against UK companies now for contracts that are outsourced. I see no difference.

        Please stop your stereotypical presumptions about what I do or don’t know. I have worked in and around international trade and customs legislation for over 20 years in the TPL sectors. And that included winning a contract with the NHS for the supply of medical gasses. Whatever – you make assertions to be fact that are basically an opinion and have totally failed to answer my questions. Eg:
        * How will we be forced to buy and eat ‘chlorinated chicken’?
        * Same for ‘Hormone beef’?
        * How will our food standards be altered and presumably lowered?
        * Why wouldn’t American food be produced to our standards (why I made the JLR example)?
        * Please explain in simple terms how US Pharma will privatise the NHS?
        * And importantly why oh why do you insist we are so incapable of standing on our own feet and making a success of our own futures outside the claustrophobic protectionist Ponzi Scheme that is the EU? Has the EU finally so castrated our ambition we follow like lambs? (British prime lambs of course not New Zealand)

        there is no point in arguing with you. You are locked into an EU mindset totally opposite my free trade mindset

        • It isn’t my argument, it’s facts, you’re not understanding. I feel like we are going round in circles here, why would the rest of the world be sued by US companies? The US doesn’t have a trade deal with the whole world, I was talking about NAFTA and TTIP, the WTO has no say in that because they are independent trade deals with the rules and legislation decided by the parties in the trade deal.

          I answered your question about privatisation of the NHS clearly in paragraph 5,6,7,8,9 and 10 of my last comment I’m not repeating myself.

          Infact everything was explained in my last comment, I’ve just read it again and it isn’t that hard to understand.

          Read paragraph 2,3 and 4 again for how US pharma will be able to sue our government after a trade deal is made.

          “And importantly why oh why do you insist we are so incapable of standing on our own feet and making a success of our own futures outside the claustrophobic protectionist Ponzi Scheme that is the EU?”

          “You are locked into an EU mindset totally opposite my free trade mindset”

          I’ve never once done that here, I’ve been a Eurosceptic for years and I’ve just said in my last comment I don’t believe in 2 of the 4 freedoms that define the EU so I don’t know why you’re saying that, just because I don’t agree with a US/UK trade deal you’ve made the incorrect assumption I’m defending the EU, I’m not a fan of the EU single market either Chris in its current form.

          So perhaps if you now take me as a person with an interest in how the country is going to succeed after Brexit and not a pro EU cheerleader, you can read my last comment back and try understand it properly without prejudice.

          I’m trying to explain the bad parts of a free trade deal with the US, the largest economy in the world that doesn’t need a free trade deal with us, you consistently complain on here about our deal we have currently in the EU but you’re championing a free trade deal with a country that even the EU couldn’t tame and try get better terms with in their negotiations with them, and that wasn’t about trade tariffs it was about non tarriff barriers and access to public services and giving too much power to US companies it’s utter madness.

          This is crazy this.

          This is what has happened in the country, the fair debate is dead, there is a majority on both sides of the EU referendum that won’t even listen or entertain the other sides legitimate concerns or points because one side thinks the other is a racist “little Englander” and they think the other are self hating euro lovers with their head in the sands that don’t want Britain to succeed.

          And that stupid thought process ruins a lot of debates on here.

          Anyway enjoy your Sunday Chris.

          • (Chris H) Solesurvivor – You have made a considerable contribution to a discussion which you originally challenged as relevant. It was not myself that opened up the debate on the US vs EU vs whatever. You did that with the rather inane Momentum Trigger Phrase ‘smell the chlorinated chicken’ comment. Up to that point I was discussing the threat that Corbyn and his commie chums pose to the UK’s economy and military.

            So you call out someone on relevance then divert the discussion making it even further irrelevant and then get all het up because I disagree with you. If you don’t like that debate don’t make ‘chlorinated chicken’ comments and maybe keep your comments relevant as I did.

  4. Anyone but the French and Germans. France walked away from the Eurofighter project and produced it’s own carbon copy, can’t be trusted

    • Yes and we walked away from the Horizon-class project and produced our own “carbon copy” in the Type 45. That’s what happens when the requirements of the partners in multinational programmes diverge too much. The French walked away from the Eurofighter programme because they wanted a platform that they could operate from their carrier, a capability that the other members of the consortium were not enthusiastic about.

      • (Chris H) Daniel – You forgot to mention the bit about the French demanding total lead in the project, majority workshare and use of inferior SNECMA engines. What the other members of the consortium were ACTUALLY not enthusiastic about. Adding naval capability at that design stage adds very little cost

        • I would point out Chris that adding Naval capability did comprise the Rafael, as it constrained the size and added to the structural weight.

          That said, it’s still a fine aircraft, just lacking against Typhoon.

  5. Dealing with the French and Germans would be impossible given that they only want UK to join after they have established the programme – i.e. 2nd tier partner. The UK is better off starting their own programme with Sweden, Japan etc.

  6. I think we should wait, no one knows what a 6th gen aircraft is going to look like and we may end up making the same mistake as typhoon with a 4.5 gen aircraft,

    In the mean time we should focus on a Taranis UCAV to replace Tornado and supplement our 107 tranche 3 Typhoons and 48 F35 B.

  7. Historic examples of where France has stitched us up.

    1. Anglo French helicopter deal. UK to buy 200 gazelle and 48 puma, France to buy 100 army lynx and 20 navy lynx. France did not buy army lynx after UK contracted to buy gazelle/puma.

    2. Anglo French combat jet deal. UK buys 200 Jaguar while France would buy UK designed AFVG (which became Tornado). France did not buy AFVG and developed Mirage G8 instead after UK contracted to buy Jaguar.

    3. Eurofighter. France demanded design leadership and when this was denied developed Rafale instead.

    4 Horizon destroyer project. France demanded design leadership, even though the UK wanted 12 warships and France wanted 2. UK declined and went on to develop T45.

    • (Chris H) Mike Saul – You forgot the way the French also baled out of the QE / PA-02 carrier project leaving us to build two rather than share the economies of scale of building 4 between us.

      They are a treacherous bunch who manipulate everything for their own benefit. Possibly an admirable trait if you are French but not otherwise. The way Airbus are threatening the UK over Brexit isn’t business its the French Government playing politics. Well I hope both Dassault and Airbus screw each other over.

      Meanwhile we can now do our own rather excellent thing preferably with the far more reliable Swedish SAAB. We are already doing rather well out of F-35 and BAE should be congratulated for the way they were 4 years ahead of the Yanks in sequenced manufacturing adopting automotive concepts to aircraft manufacture. All good experience that can be applied for a UK aircraft. The UK is actually worth more than the sum of its Aerospace parts

      • All Airbus has done is point out the blinking obvious. The possible introduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers would be a severe handicap to their design and production system, as well as restrictions on the free movement of engineers. They would be forced to reconsider all their investment plans and sourcing strategies. It’s something that the car industry executives from all over the world have also said, as well as leaders from other industries. Nothing to do with French or any other sort of politics. In fact, the first person to voice this was Airbus’ COO, Tom Williams, a Brit whom I know well and who doesn’t give a toss for French or any other kind of politician. He was then followed by the CEO, Tom Enders, whose public spats with government officials are legendary, including major failings out with Angela Merkel and the German government, precisely for not doing what the government wanted him to do. So check your facts first and stop talking tosh. I’ve also worked with SAAB and I can assure you they do work hand in glove with the Swedish government and it is very much Sweden first, so they won’t exactly be a pushover either. Truth is nobody knows yet what Gen 6 will look like in Europe and how it will all pan out. Important thing now is to keep doing the research so that we can keep our hand in the game whatever happens.

        • (Chris H) Sceptical once again you move a discussion to a presumed scenario to suit your views.
          The only way there will be any Tariffs or prohibitive quotas / regulations or God Forbis a hard border in Ireland is if the EU keep playing politics and forces a ‘No Deal’. The UK has always stated it wants a Free Trade Deal nothing else. The UK will be (when it leaves) the most closely aligned ‘3rd Country’ in the world to the EU. Its systems, rules, standards and laws are all totally in accordance with the EU’s. Why? Because the Eu wrote the damn things. So I never understand this assumption of negativity as demonstrated by anti – Brexit people. And yet the EU can agree a trade deal with Canada that is nowhere near being in alignment with the EU. And how aligned do you think Japan will be? And which side of this runs the £100 Bn a year trade surplus in Goods and who will be harmed most by Tariffs? Yes the EU not us so there is some really cheap hypocrisy being peddled.

          Airbus is hugely influenced by the French and German Governments through low interest loans / guarantees that have got it into so much bother with the WTO and to say otherwise is naive regardless of your career experiences. They and JLR are typical of big business that the EU likes and so they will prefer the EU landscape An EU that discriminates against SMEs by its plethora of regulation. But there is no reason to see any major change in the trading environment here in the UK. In fact given we will agree Tariff free trade deals with other countries global trade will be easier here in the UK than in the EU.

          So please explain how, when it is so easy to export UK made wings, engines, landing gears, fuel systems and all the rest from the UK to the US and even Chinese FALs despite their being outside the EU, yet loading Belugas for Germany and France will be impossible? Guess how long ‘Customs Clearance’ takes here in Felixstowe on non – EU traded goods? About 20 seconds per container. The USA and China of course aren’t in the EU but apparently thats OK. And by the way its not just Airbus technology being used in the UK. Companies Like GKN deploy their own hard won advanced technology to build those advanced wings made in the UK.

          • Please I voted remain but seeing how we are now treated let’s just leave. The other eu players manipulate the rules to better there nations something the uk doesn’t do cos not cricket. Military deals, partnerships, ordering support ships. In every way they play the game while we play fair. They set the tone for Brexit, keeping us out of space program, next generation fighter, intelligence network that we contribute more too and foil attacks on mainland. Enough I was remainer but God’s sake less talk let’s just do it.

  8. What ever happened to the future FCAS, or will that be a UCAV, and wasn’t their talks with Japan, although they are probably to mixed In with the US, UK has a lot of fingers in the pie right now!
    With the Swedish though, they are great and aircraft, they have the expertise but the requirements are very different surely(single engine vs twin), Im a bit of a noob on aerospace so don’t shoot me.
    Also will this be a typhoon replacement or are we to look at this as a tornado(overdue) replacement and work alongside typhoon, lightning and FCAS?

  9. A great idea to be part of a next gen aircraft.

    I would also like to see the new generation Hawks (Advanced Hawk) be bought and used by the RAF
    Their duel Training and Combat role… would boost our capability.

    My dad worked At BAE, for over 30 years. So all this BAE bashing is all a bit OTT.

    Yes it would be good to see other companies prove themselves…. up to the government I guess!

    • BAE did quite well on aircraft side. Shame they got out of the civil side work too. BAE’s record on the complex ship work less good but still ok, all of these big programs have problems look what happens elsewhere globally it is not all plain sailing (or flying).

    • Trouble is next gen hawk is ok for hitting second string opposition but if we go up against first team? Prob not. As a trainer and reserve, brilliant

  10. BAE is a hugely successful multinational defence company, we should be proud of their success.

    However there are parts of the company on the UK which are solely dependent on UK MOD contracts that deliver over priced poor quality equipment to the UK armed forces.

    Who is to blame for this situation? The UK MOD and the politicians who created it.

    For markets to work properly you need competition to deliver on quality and price, that is why the T31 should go to the company that offers the best solution.

    Regards Typhoon, a great success. But it’s development was slow and painful, mainly due to the Germans having second thoughts following the collapse of the USSR. I believe at one stage they wanted to cancel (which would been expensive for them due fines they would have had to pay) and buy Grippen instead. Once this situation was rejected they thought about a “cheap version” of typhoon, again when the maths were done it would have not been much cheaper with a lot less less capability. So the Typhoon development was dragged out, no conformal tanks, no vector thrust engines and so on. The UK for its part ditched its plans to buy 232 Typhoons.

    • Well said and well remembered, everyone seems to have forgotten about the shambles the German government created with its indecision and delaying tactics.
      I witnessed it on the Project Horizon fiasco, everyone wants design leadership, and when they dont get it, they go their own way to get it

      • As I recall, project Horizon was never a good fit for the RN, as the design was optimised for Mediterranean operations.

        The T45 is designed from the keel up to take on the worse that the North Atlantic can throw at it.

        Power generation issues baside of course…

  11. In 2010 we had circa 300 combat aircraft operationally available.
    72 Harriers
    120 Tornados
    100 typhoons

    Today we have

    100-120 Typhoon almost 50% less
    12 F35b
    40 Tornado GR4

    It’s worth pointing out that since 1990 our combat jet fleet has reduced by circa 80% whilst its commitments have not.

    Tasking is pretty consistent – apart from a large uptick in QRA activity as a result of Russia’s ongoing build up.

    My view is that we need an operational fleet of 138 F35b’s for the fleet air arm to replace the old Harrier fleet and regenerate a fleet that allows 48 to be loaded onto each carrier and allow us to send both out at once if needed.

    I do think we can use a Taranis UCAV to lower these numbers and it is not inconceivable that an F35b could manage 2 Taranis (or similar) to deliver a payload to target from a stand off position. With both being able to take off and land on the carriers. In this case we could lower our operational force to 72 F35B’s with an operational force of 144 Taranis to buddy up. It will also help with the F35’s combat radius as it will not need to have long legs, that can be done by the Taranis.

    We need to be innovative and there is another thread on UKDJ where the Air Marshall is saying just that, problem is he isn’t doing it – all talk.

  12. Once Centurion has been fully implemented on Typhoon and F35 numbers and the platform have matured, things will improve somewhat.

    The overall number is still to low, the quality and capability of the new and upgraded machines is a step change, even compared to 2010.

    A comparatively small force of 20 Centurion upgraded Typhoons, with the full range of offensive and defensive weapons, will be a very potent force indeed.

    Well able to bloody the nose of any would be aggressor…

  13. Agreed John

    But we actually need to have a force of quality and depth, its no use giving someone a bloody nose if you lose.

    The kit we had in 2010 was world class at the time and we had more of it.

    I dont mind how we do it – but we have to have a larger force (in all areas) that can sustain losses

    • Totally agree Pacman, we need more Typhoons and F35’S filling the ranks.

      It’s interesting to ponder the future, it could go in a number of directions, let’s hope the numbers rise.

      I would think a future Anglo Swedish fighter could potentially be a serious player in the world market.

      Let’s say a single engine medium fighter, that finds its place in a market dominated by the F35 …

      It’s going to have to be sufficiently different and cost effective to make it viable, a tall order, but not impossible.

      A fighter with a 40,000lb thrust rated single engine, large single weapons bay, external hard points, comprehensive avionics suite, 800 mile ROA with a full weapons load, thrust vectoring and tailless.

      The above would fit into the market, but it would depend on having enough orders to keep the price competitive.

  14. No. Unmanned doesn’t mean necessarily cheaper or less personnel. Their will still need to be a pilot in the loop. There won’t be any real savings in training costs. And the idea that this means anybody good at video games could become a drone pilot ace is pure fantasy.

    Perhaps the biggest problem we face on this front is that the USN have already started down the UCAV route and we chose not to go CTOL with QEC so we could follow them along this road.

  15. I know the debate about whether F-35 is a marvel or a turkey or somewhere inbetween continues to rage but, as far as the UK’s part in it and what we are getting out of it is concerned I think it is a model that has worked pretty well for us and it wouldn’t be a disaster if something similar emerged for the next-generation fighter as far as partnership is concerned.

    If the UK were to get really ambitious in terms of leading or even almost entirely home-growing a project my pick would be medium sized drones, maybe in range of 50% up to 200% of the Schiebel S-100 payload capacity with similar endurances. The UK is particularly strong in many of the key technologies required in such UAVs and, since not all countries can afford the most state-of-the-art next generation fighters (manned or otherwise), I would think the target market is bigger. Also, since such smallish unmanned drones are by their nature likely to be committed more readily in hostile environments in order to avoid putting pilots’ lives at risk I can imagine that the attrition rates might be higher which, looking at it purely from the perspective of export opportunities, also makes replacement sales more interesting. Such drones would also deliver capabilities that the RN could really benefit from as a significant enhancer for vessels like the River B2s, Bays and possible whatever comes along as the next-generation MCM vessels, potentially useful for the army as well I assume, and there’s potential Border Force use as well. You could probably add police to that list as well. Heck, at the 50% of Schiebel S-100 payload level it might even spin off a non-military variant that might have a chance of getting into the Amazon-etc drone delivery marketplace.

  16. What have Jeremy Cornyn, Theresa May and a racist, bigoted, pig, got to do with the items talked about on this website?
    I thought that this great website is about Military matters and not about people’s political persuasions and the incessant lies about Brexit (from all sides of the political devide) and huge trade deals that are only beneficial and unfairly loaded in favour of uncle Sam (remember America First).
    Can we please keep this to military matters rather than the boring hyperbole we have to put up with in the gutter press…..


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