BAE Systems and MBDA have secured additional funding to complete the development and integration of new weapons capabilities on the UK and Italian F-35 fleets.

The firm say that this builds on the successful integration work that commenced in 2019 by BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and MBDA to upgrade the UK F-35 weapon systems.

“The award will see industry teams complete integration activities for the SPEAR precision surface attack weapon onto the UK F-35s, with the next-generation missile enhancing the UK’s future combat air capability through its network-enabled, high load-out, multi-effect capabilities with extended stand-off range. This will further enhance the UK Lightning Force’s capability to defeat challenging targets such as mobile long-range air defence systems at over-the-horizon ranges in all weathers and in highly contested environments.

The funding will also see the remainder of the integration of MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile completed on both the F-35A and F-35B jets for the UK and Italian armed forces. Meteor’s networking and range capability is ideally suited to the F-35’s sensor suite to provide unrivalled capabilities in the battlespace.”

A team of engineers from BAE Systems, MBDA and Lockheed Martin will now commence the testing, simulation and integration activities in the UK and US, to achieve initial operating capability of both weapons.

Tom Fillingham, Senior Vice President, US Programmes, BAE Systems’ Air Sector, said:

“Advanced weapons systems, such as Meteor and SPEAR, will provide the UK and Italian armed forces with an operational advantage. Our highly skilled engineers have a crucial role across the entire F-35 programme and as part of this integration activity, and we look forward to continuing to work alongside our partners as it progresses.”

Paul Mead, Group Business Development Director, MBDA said:

“We are delighted that work continues at pace to deliver Meteor and SPEAR capability to the F-35; it is also a positive step for the wider F-35 enterprise as it adds additional capability choice for all international customers across multiple variants of the aircraft. MBDA’s integration team has worked well with our BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin colleagues to date and we plan to build on this excellent foundation into the future on this key follow-on modernisation work.”

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Goldilocks
Goldilocks
1 month ago

Does that include Spear3?,

eclipse
eclipse
1 month ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

Yes.

eclipse
eclipse
1 month ago

Does anyone know what weapons will be fitted (and how many) to an operating F-35?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  eclipse

Depends on the threat environment and even the role / tasking of the specific F35.

There is soon going to be a very good range of weapons to choose from.

eclipse
eclipse
1 month ago

Meteor, Spear 3, Paveway IV, anything else?

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  eclipse

ASRAAM, AMRAAM – although that will be dropped I imagine when we have Meteor up and running.
Theoretically the F35 can carry anything thats been integrated with it, but as we havent purchased any of the US weapons our selection is somewhat limited to those 5 choices, or indeed until we purchase additional munitions.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  eclipse

ASRAAM and AMRAAM, latter to be replaced by Meteor.

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

AMRAAM won’t be replaced. We’ve bought an additional c200 AMRAAM D for delivery next year. They’ll be on F-35 and Tranche 1 Typhoon for the remainder of their service life. But they’ll have another 20 years in service.

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

Thats interesting, wasnt aware of the purchase. Typhoon Tr1 are on their way out shortly, and Tr2/3 are all cleared to carry and use Meteor, arguably a better missile then Amraam, depending on what you read.
Just wonder if its got anything to do with costs, as Meteor is a expensive bit of kit? I know we are developing ‘son of Meteor’ in conjunction with the Japanese, or at least exploring this option. If as expected, Meteor is integrated with our F35b’s, not entirely sure why we bought additional Amraams, other then we obviously need them!!!!

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

Meteor won’t arrive on F-35 until 2027. Our Amraam C-5’s had reached their OSD unless they got a re-life programme. That re-life would cost serious money,and only get them another 10 years as a competitive missile. Buying Amraam D to replace them means we get 20 years+. It also meant that Tranche 1 Typhoon would continue to have a medium range missile until their OSD as they cannot use Meteor.

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

Cheers, suspected that there would be a good reason for the buy, just wasnt sure what it might be.

Robert
Robert
29 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

Asraam is made by MBDA so will probably just be updated and modified

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
29 days ago
Reply to  Robert

Asraam will be replaced by Asraam CSP (also known as Block VI). It’s got a new UK built seeker (ITAR free) and other CAMM enhancements. Should arrive on Typhoon in 2022/23. It won’t go on F-35 until 2027 with the F-25 block IV enhancements.
It’s totally new production, the old Asraam will be removed from service. The reason why is that hte MoD realised it would cost almost as much to re-life and update the old missiles as build new.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

I don’t think ASRAAM will be replaced, it’s the main short range AAM. In the air intercept role an F-35 would carry a mixture of Meteor BVR and ASRAAM.

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
29 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

Asraam is getting replaced by a new Asramm version (CSP, also known as Block VI).

Rob N
Rob N
27 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

Yes I think it uses technology from Sea Ceptor/Land Ceptor. I think it may get the active RF seeker. As ASRAAM was the base design for Sea ceptor there will probably little to change.

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
27 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

Definitely won’t get the RF seeker. It’s a newly developed UK IR seeker, its in test at the moment (and was having some performance issues). However, there’s nothing really to stop MBDA from marketing an air launched RF ASRAAM alongside the IR one (like they do with MICA).

There’s also nothing to stop MBDA from doing an air-launched CAMM-ER….

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  eclipse

LRASM. The RN needs to get its interim ASM sorted, pick LRASM then integrate on to the F35B and P8 Posiedon. Lockheed Martin is already integrating LRASM on to the ‘ F35 ‘ but have not formally clarified if that includes external carriage on the B.

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
29 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

They’re also integrating LRASM on P-8 for 2027.

JSM was going to get integrated on P-8, the Australian’s were going to pay, but its gone quiet…and they’re also buying LRASM.

JSM might also get integrated on F-35B, but we don’t know yet. All the trials to date have been on internal carriage, but it won’t fit in the B’s weapons bay. Unless it was agreed as part of the deal with Norway, or someone stumps up the cash it might not happen for F-35B.

Paul42
Paul42
29 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

The Aussies appreciate the capability LRASM provides and have opted to go with it. The USMC is known to be considering LRASM for its F35Bs (external carriage only) but have yet to make a formal announcement. Lets hope the RN goes down the same road, mounting it on our Frigates, P8s and F35B – a perfect all round solution to a glaring capability gap……

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
28 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Let’s hope they don’t….

Because LRASM is a direct competitor to the FCASW…we don’t want to give our politicians any excuse to cancel it…

A limited buy of JSM for F-35B (and potentially P-8), in conjunction with i-SSGM going for NSM would make perfect sense and not compromise FCASW.

Paul42
Paul42
28 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

LRASM is mot a direct competitor for FCASW as such, which is why its being looked at as an interim measure for the RN. But….given the fact that France is currently throwing its toys out of the pram and cancelled a scheduled meeting with us that had FCASW on the agenda, you can’t help wondering if that missile will actually appear??

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
28 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Where LRASM leads, JASSM-ER follows…and they’re both definite rivals for FCASW.

Regardless of the current spat FCASW will be fine. MBDA needs it for exports, otherwise the French factories are rather bare of competitive products going forward.

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
26 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

Unless FC/ASW outranges Kalibr, Oniks, YJ-18 (and Zircon) as a ship-launched weapon then it’s pointless.

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
26 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

“But….given the fact that France is currently throwing its toys out of the pram…”

Let’s have it right, the US, UK and Australia totally screwed France over re the diesel-electric subs that Aus was going to buy, but has now cancelled. I can’t blame France for being pissed off. That said, the price of the proposed subs was an absolute piss-take and I’m astounded that Aus agreed to that price in the first place for diesel-electric subs.

Paul42
Paul42
26 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

There is more to all this than meets the eye. The new Diesel Electric boats were based on a French Nuclear boat design, did the Aussies approach the French about supplying Nuclear powered boats with all that would entail including the sharing of technology?

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
22 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

I’m not sure what point, you’re making. If Australia wanted nuclear-powered subs, why not order nuclear-powered subs in the first place?

Paul42
Paul42
22 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

The point is whether or not the French were willing to share the Nuclear Technology with the Aussies? Essential in order to build Nuclear subs in Australia. It may well be the Aussies never asked , or were told its a no go?

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
21 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

I still don’t know what point you’re making. If the Aussies approached the French for nuclear-powered subs and told it was a no-go, they could have approached us (the UK) or the US instead. France isn’t the only country that makes nuclear-powered subs.

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
26 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

The problem with LRASM and NSM (as well as RBS-15) is that as ship-launched anti-ship missiles they all lack range compared to Kalibr, Oniks and YJ-18. We need a ship-launched anti-ship missile that outranges all of them and that ideally has the guidance sophistication of LRASM, the ability to accelerate in its terminal phase to make a hit more likely, that’s manoeuvrable and that like Perseus can carry mini-missiles internally. A dedicated EW variant would also make hits more likely. We also need an anti-ship missile that the F-35B can carry internally and one that Astutes can fire from torpedo… Read more »

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
26 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Yeah, I really don’t understand why our F-35Bs won’t be getting LRASM. It makes no sense at all. I’m no fan of the F-35, but since we’ve bought it, the very least we can do is give it the best capability available. That said, LRASM could be improved by making it high supersonic or at the very least by giving it the ability to accelerate in its terminal phase.

There also needs to be a sub-launched version of LRASM that can be fired from VL cells and torpedo tubes.

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
26 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

I’ve read that an F-35B could carry 8 SPEAR-3s internally as well as 2 Meteors internally at the same time. Both weapons depend on Block 4 though and I’ve read dates for Block 4 ranging from 2024 to 2027. It could possibly be even later. Why standard interfaces making plug-and-play missiles possible don’t exist boggles my mind. The F-35B can obviously carry other weapons, but it can’t carry AIM-9X, standard HARM, JASSM/JASSM-ER/JASSM-XR or LRASM internally. Personally I’d replace AIM-9X with a new variant of IRIS-T that can be carried internally because IRIS-T is capable of shooting down AAMs and SAMs.… Read more »

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago

I would still like to see UK F-35B get some 1000lb JDAMs as an interim heavy weapon. I still think the F-35 needs the drop tanks that were in all the illustrations for F-35 some years ago.

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Will they be required if the RN looks into Drone refuelling

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
26 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

The MQ-25 refuelling drone requires cats & traps. Even if the QE and PoW are fitted with cats & traps to launch drones, the MQ-25 can’t carry a meaningful amount of fuel. It’s a totally pointless aircraft.

Tommo
Tommo
26 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

Another ,1 for the “should of thought about that first idea” Bin those Bins are forever overflowing with those Hugh

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
22 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

I think we should start buying and/or building aircraft capable of landing on water to refuel our F-35Bs. These aircraft, unlike the MQ-25, should be able to carry a decent amount of fuel to be able to refuel several F-35Bs. Obviously the sea state would prevent seaplanes, flying boats and amphibious aircraft from taking off in bad sea states, but a variant of the Bell aircraft in this link that’s able to land on water could take off in bad sea states I’d have thought: https://www.popsci.com/technology/aircraft-maker-bell-releases-futuristic-aircraft-concepts/ Another option would be to build long-range refuelling aircraft that are capable of landing… Read more »

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
22 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Obviously the hybrid Bell aircraft could take off from the QE or PoW as is, but a variant able to land on water too would make it even more useful and survivable.

Tommo
Tommo
22 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

I’ll get that Idea out of the bin then ,Auto inflatable flotation device is next Idea Hugh

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
21 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Standard flotation devices would work, but I suppose auto-inflatable devices would be a good idea since they’d be inflated only when they’re need and not cause the drag that standard floation devices would when the aircraft is flying. I think you’ve hit on a good idea here.

Tommo
Tommo
20 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

Thanks Hugh, hope the Back room boys at the MOD have read your Post same principle As Automatic lifejackets and liferafts

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
20 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Well it was your idea, not mine! Take care.

Tommo
Tommo
20 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

50 50 can’t be fairer than that I’m allergic tòo Limelight Hugh

Tommo
Tommo
20 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

50 /50 can’t be fairer than that I’m allergic tòo Limelight someone at Whitehall would get the award anyway
Hugh

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
18 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

I was referring to the self-inflating idea Tommo, but OK let’s call it 50/50. Found this article the other day: https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing/us-special-operations-command-explores-amphibious-mc-130-transport-concept/143848.article This might be a way to refuel our F-35Bs, especially if we developed and built loads of USVs, UUVs and drone airships to refuel the MC-130s as well. The MC-130s could also land on lakes and rivers to get refuelled. They’d be much more survivable than aircraft that need a runway to take off, since runways will be targeted in the first hours of a war. An MC-130 can carry just over 37,000kg of fuel according to Wikipedia, which… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by Hugh Jarce
Tommo
Tommo
15 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

Whitehall probably think Cats and Traps is something the RSPCA should be involved with , Hugh it seems that by the time they get round tòo looking into the Best and easiest way of Doing a job with ease and efficiency, the said article in question has long been Classed as obsolete, there doesn’t seem too be Forward thinking in Whitehall when it comes to Procurement I just hope someone, has read your Post Hugh very informative indeed thanks

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
18 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Also we could fill these MC-130s with anti-ship missiles to take out ships from beyond the range of their defences. They could also carry loads of air-to-air missiles and act as missile trucks for the F-35Bs It would also make sense to develop a dedicated EW variant of the MC-130 as well.

Tommo
Tommo
15 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

As like the old 130 gunships (planes) ?

Tommo
Tommo
15 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Spectres Hugh

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
15 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Kinda like the AC-130 gunship, yeah, but instead of heavy-duty guns and Howitzers, they’d be arsenal ships able to carry far more ordnance than an F-35 and so able to overwhelm enemy defences. If they carried Tomahawk Block Va anti-ship missiles and/or JASSM-ER/JASSM-XR for ground attack then these missiles could be fired from beyond the range of enemy defences whether they’re ship-based SAMs or ground-based SAMs.

Throw some MALDs or SPEAR EWs into the mix and these missiles would be even more likely to hit their targets.

Last edited 15 days ago by Hugh Jarce
Tommo
Tommo
15 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

Gottacha Sorry , just had that picture in my head of the Spectre Gunships see what you mean now Hugh

James William Fennell
James William Fennell
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Not needed – a new bunker buster version of Paveway IV is entering service.

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago

Its only 500lb

Tommo
Tommo
26 days ago

Thermabaric ?

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
27 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Been saying this for an age. We need some cheap munitions. Currently we’re dropping £75,000 Paveway IV’s on everything as we have no choice. Much as I’d like to support UK industry, MBDA and BAE do not make a cheap GPS only guided munition at present (and to be honest are unlikely to be able to match the US due to their massive production runs). Buying some JDAM and Laser JDAM at less than £20,000 a bomb makes a lot of sense. Even SDB1 at £28,000 makes sense (Spear will cost around 10X that figure, but is a very different… Read more »

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
22 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

I agree about cheap ordnance, but even £20,000 isn’t cheap, it’s just less expensive than the alternatives. I’d love to know what the mark-up is on these weapons.

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
22 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

Very little is the answer.

You’re talking about a half tonne of complex electronics, explosives and a cast steel case built to the highest tolerances. I’m surprised they can do it that cheap. A basic 155mm artillery shell is c£1000.

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
21 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

“Very little is the answer.”

Source? These companies aren’t charities. They’re in the business of making money.

“A basic 155mm artillery shell is c£1000”

Why? What does it cost in raw materials?

Tommo
Tommo
20 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

1000 pound a 155mm shell is it fixed ammunition or is it Shell and Cordite?
Because I’m afraid its a monopoly in the UK ,I don’t think an Aldi version of Armament production would be feasible dud mentions would be back as the Norm I’m afraid Hugh

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
20 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

I’d like to know what the mark-up is on the ordnance we use.

“Because I’m afraid its a monopoly in the UK”

Well surely that implies that the prices are far higher than they should be.

As for your reference to Aldi, it’s just as good as another other supermarkets in my experience. It’s cheap, but the food is good (and no I don’t work for them).

Tommo
Tommo
20 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

What I meant With the Aldi reference was you can shop around but you can’t With munitions How many Factories in the UK specialise in the production of munitions for the Armed forces if there was as many as Aldi then the price would be lower Compertition would be greater Law of Economics would prevail it seems that the UK procurement is Forton and Mason not Tesco,Lidl, Aldi, Sainsbury Hugh

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
18 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Oh OK, I get what you meant now. I totally agree we need some real competition in the arms industry as opposed to the current situation where a few big names dominate the markets.

Tommo
Tommo
15 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

That’s where the big money is and the door should be open too competiton but alas until that happens we’ll keep on paying through the Nose (school ties ,and odd handshakes still prevail ) Hugh

Tommo
Tommo
20 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

Rude boy , costs and budgets , We had a WEO weapons engineering officer , wherever we were in the Western Approaches High Seas Firing Ranch Ready for either Ikara or Seadart firing ,He would say “Hope the NHS aren’t watching here goes another Dyalasis Machine ” funny at the time but true

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
20 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

I remember seeing the cost of a SeaWolf missile back in the day…it was more expensive than our house…

Tommo
Tommo
20 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

Precisely at least you’ve got insurance if it catches fire ,Never happened when they left the launcher couldn’t imaging 3rd party fire or theft either

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
27 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

I’ve posted this before…so apologies, its a long post. Some thoughts on F-35 weapons and payloads options that I hope the MoD are considering… Here’s the current position (updated since last time), with some speculation and gaps that need to be closed. UK F-35B armament is a little confused at present as a number of capabilities are being developed concurrent with F-35B development and deployment. The truth is that the UK’s F-35B must be regarded as under-armed for anything but air to air or SEAD/DEAD unless more munitions are integrated/purchased and fielded. The obvious point is that the UK’s F-35B… Read more »

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
26 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

“UK F-35B armament is a little confused at present” No kidding. Very little joined-up thinking involved. An aircraft is only as good as the ordnance it carries and currently the F-35B doesn’t carry the best ordnance available by any means. New missiles also need to be developed that the F-35B can carry internally. Either new variants of existing missiles or brand new missiles. “The truth is that the UK’s F-35B must be regarded as under-armed for anything but air to air or SEAD/DEAD unless more munitions are integrated/purchased and fielded.” I’d say the F-35B is under-armed (and under-defended) period, i.e.… Read more »

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
26 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Not sure how useful 1,000lb JDAMs would be considering that F-35s would have to get within range of enemy defences to use them, but conformal fuel tanks and drop tanks for the F-35B definitely make sense imo. If a carrier group is staying out of the range of DF-26 or Kinzhal then our F-35Bs wouldn’t have the range to reach land. Conformal fuel tanks and drop tanks alone wouldn’t solve the problem, but they’d be a good start. It would also make sense for us to start looking into flying boats, seaplanes and amphibious aircraft to refuel our F-35Bs. These… Read more »

Last edited 26 days ago by Hugh Jarce
Jon
Jon
1 month ago

Lots of good news in defence at the moment. I almost expect HMG to increase overall spending to 2.5%, the bare minimum needed IMO.

RobW
RobW
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

That would be very difficult at the moment while the NHS is struggling, education denied extra funding, and welfare reduced after the extra £20 pw was removed from Universal Credit. Defence has already received a budget boost so will need to work with what it has IMO. Headlines about poor performing programs like Ajax do not help.

I have never really understood the desire to express the budget in terms of % of GDP, which seems somewhat arbitrary.

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

% of GDP for defence , is an enigma ,I thought it had been incorporated into Buget spending for monetary differences between NATO members so % of GDP levels the field for poorer members

Jon
Jon
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

Because “real terms” (or worse yet “absolute terms”) doesn’t account for defence inflation running at a different rate to fridge-freezers or loaves of bread. We defend against other countries, and if their spending rises with their GDP, ours needs to as well.

RobW
RobW
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

The assumption is of course that your enemy is publishing accurate figures. If we are talking about China, Russia, Iran and North Korea they aren’t exactly known for their openness.

Also % of GDP is no benchmark at all for the likes of ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Its more for allies isn’t it? Particularly comparisons within NATO. Although even that can be a distraction from assessing true capability in mutually beneficial areas.

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
22 days ago
Reply to  RobW

The thing about defence spending when it comes to European countries is that there’s far too much overlap. There are loads of different types of ships, aircraft and tanks used in Europe. If this money was pooled, then we’d get more bang for our buck/pound/euro and benefit from economies of scale. I’m not talking about creating a European army (although I’m not averse to that idea), I’m talking out making each country’s money go further.

Pete
Pete
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

Is this good news or is it code for a project that has gone overbudget and needs a top up of funds to complete the work. I’m pleased it’s being completed but they haven’t just decided to finish integration!

TypewriterMonkey
TypewriterMonkey
1 month ago

Defence News reported that it will likely cost around $400 million. UK is paying for most of it.

Challenger
Challenger
1 month ago

Once they have Meteor, ASRAAM, Paveway lV and Spear 3 the only glaring admission will be a heavyweight, stand-off cruise missile in the Storm Shadow mould. I’d like to think integrating whatever FASCW produces in the late 2020’s or early 2030’s will be a no-brainer.

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

Storm shadow, wasn’t that going too be for the V force , if so God I’m showing my age

Robert
Robert
29 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

I know what you mean, but no storm shadow is a joint uk/france cruise missile current in service by MBDA

Tommo
Tommo
29 days ago
Reply to  Robert

Thanks Robert In this present climate Anglo/French

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

I hope they can squeeze 4-8 Meteors, maybe even 8 in beast mode plus 2-4 AMRAAM with this update.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Sorry I meant ASRAAM.

DRS
DRS
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Would you ever use ASRAAM with F35 being that F35 is supposed to be focused at a medium range engagement with all the new wizz-bang sensors it has. I presume last defense insurance with a couple carried just in case?

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  DRS

Possibly, but not in the normal dogfighting sense. The beauty of ASRAAM is that it outranges all other short range IR missiles that are used for dogfighting. This means by using the F35s AAQ-40 Electro-Optical Targets System (EOTS) or the Block 4s Advanced EOTS. An aircraft can be detected and tracked well beyond visual and within range. When this is paired with ASRAAM, it means a F35 can engage a target before the F35 is even visually seen. Allowing the F35 to Foxtrot Oscar a lot sooner, but also means that the threat aircraft is engaged long before it can… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
29 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

I’m sure there’s those that think it would still get out fought by an F16.

DaveyB
DaveyB
29 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Not according to last 5 Red Flags.

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
22 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Red Flag uses simulated kills. It doesn’t (and can’t) take evasive manoeuvres, an EW suite, chaff, flares, BriteCloud, a DIRCM system and a towed decoy into account. Pilot skill and experience also counts for a lot and F-35 pilots don’t get enough hours flying them to become the best they could be.

If an F-35 with AIM-120 and AIM-9X went up against an aircraft with a state-of-the-art EW suite and IRST system, a towed decoy, BriteCloud, a DIRCM system, Meteor and IRIS-T, my money wouldn’t be on the F-35.

DaveyB
DaveyB
22 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

There’s a lot of pilots who would disagree.

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
21 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

And there’s a lot of pilots who would agree. And probably F-35 pilots too, except they’re unlikely to say it on record. AIM-120 doesn’t have a throttleable engine like Meteor and so can be easily thwarted BVR. AIM-9X can be thwarted by old Soviet flares: https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/news/a27094/su-22-dodge-aim-9x-sidewinder/ The F-35 needs better air-to-air missiles. Our F-35Bs won’t be getting Meteor until Block 4, which could be any time between 2024 and 2027 or even later. Many F-35s in other countries will stick with AIM-120. AIM-9X can only be carried externally, so negatively affecting an F-35’s RCS. Ideally our F-35Bs would have a… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
27 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Yes agree it is a great choice to defend the fleet. Also a mix of stealth mode and beast mode can be used to match the threat.

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
22 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

Beast mode means carrying ordnance externally which means an F-35 would be easily detected, engaged and shot down. Plus if a carrier group is staying out of the range of DF-26 or Kinzhal then the F-35Bs don’t have the range to reach land (same goes for F-35Cs, Super Hornets and Rafale Ms). Type 45s don’t even carry TLAMs, but even if they did, TLAMs wouldn’t have the range to reach land either. No Western ships have anti-ship missiles that outrange Kalibr, Oniks and YJ-18. VL-ASROC (which RN ships don’t carry anyway) lacks range against the Russian Type 65 torpedo. A… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
22 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

The use of Beast mode would depend on the threat environment as always.

The RN are currently looking at drones to refuel planes and extend their range.

I am sure ABMs, lasers and rail guns will be added to ships to counter the threat.

also you have to find a ship to target it.

I think like the tank people keep saying they are obsolete but they are still being built. Interesting that China is building more carriers. They do not appear to think they have had their day…

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
21 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

“The use of Beast mode would depend on the threat environment as always.” I can’t think of any environment where flying a stealth aircraft carrying ordnance externally makes any sense. It totally defeats the point of having a stealth aircraft in the first place. (Not that the F-35 is especially stealthy, but whatever.) Flying F-35Bs in beast mode (ridiculous name btw) would reduce their already limited range due to weight and drag, drastically increase their RCS and result in them getting shot down by SAMs or aircraft. They wouldn’t get anywhere near the Chinese or Russian coast, let alone be… Read more »

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
22 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

“What is surprising to me, is that a lot of other F35 operators are sticking with Sidewinder.”

Probably because they have them already and they’re widely available, but AIM-9X can be fooled by old Soviet flares: https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/news/a27094/su-22-dodge-aim-9x-sidewinder/

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
22 days ago
Reply to  DRS

AIM-120 can be easily thwarted BVR because unlike Meteor it doesn’t have a throttleable engine, so WVR engagements would be very likely I’d have thought. Plus the ROEs may require visual identification of the enemy anyway (whether they have Meteor or not), which would also result in WVR engagements.

And in any case I’d choose IRIS-T over ASRAAM since it can shoot down AAMs and SAMs.

DaveyB
DaveyB
22 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

What you say about AMRAAM is quite true, by the time it reaches a target 100km or more away its speed has dropped drastically probably below Mach 2, whilst Meteor will still be above Mach 3 when it reaches the target. Meteor is one of the few missiles that has the energy to attempt a second attack if the first one has been dodged. Requires the controlling aircraft to keep the missile updated to where the target is located though! As the missile’s radar will have lost the target after passing it. However, if the aircraft does need to get… Read more »

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
21 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

“What you say about AMRAAM is quite true, by the time it reaches a target 100km or more away its speed has dropped drastically probably below Mach 2, whilst Meteor will still be above Mach 3 when it reaches the target. Meteor is one of the few missiles that has the energy to attempt a second attack if the first one has been dodged.” Yep, plus Meteor can not only speed up, it can also slow down, meaning it can perform high G turns and not overshoot an enemy aircraft performing evasive manoeuvres. “Requires the controlling aircraft to keep the… Read more »

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
29 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Just the 4 in the bays I’m afraid for the foreseeable. The US Sidekick system to get 6 AMRAAM in the bays won’t fit in the smaller weapons bays of the F-35B.
There has also been little interest in adding missiles to external pylons, with the exception of ASRAAM and AIM-9X on the outer wing pylon.

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
22 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

The most glaring omission is the inability to refuel our F-35Bs. If a carrier group is staying out of reach of DF-26 or Kinzhal then the F-35s can’t reach land, rendering a carrier group completely impotent (the same goes for any carrier group btw whether it uses F-35Bs, F-35Cs, Super Hornets or Rafale Ms). DF-26 has a range of 3,000 to 5,000km depending on which source you read. Even if the QE and PoW had MQ-25 refuelling drones (and the cats & traps to launch them), which they don’t, the MQ-25 lacks range and can’t carry a meaningful amount of… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
22 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

Wow Hugh, that’s a lot to break down. But I’ll start with the MQ-25 Stingray. The US Navy’s requirement was for the aircraft to carry at least 15,000lbs of fuel, so it can refuel 4 to 6 aircraft at 500nm distance from the carrier, especially when looking at the pretty poor combat radius of the F18. This ability isn’t something to be sniffed at, as one of the other options was to convert mothballed S3 Vikings as tankers, but they could only carry just over 10,000lbs of fuel. The Stingray is the best available option for increasing the combat radius… Read more »

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
21 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

“Wow Hugh, that’s a lot to break down. But I’ll start with the MQ-25 Stingray. The US Navy’s requirement was for the aircraft to carry at least 15,000lbs of fuel, so it can refuel 4 to 6 aircraft at 500nm distance from the carrier” 500 nautical miles is 926km. The F-35B has a range of 935km and can carry 6,123kg of fuel internally (according to Wikipedia). According to https://www.naval-technology.com/projects/mq-25-stingray-unmanned-aerial-refuelling-aircraft/ “The MQ-25A will be capable of delivering up to 6,800kg (15,000lb) of fuel to a distance of 926km (500nm)”, so one MQ-25 will be able to fully refuel just 1 F-35B,… Read more »

Mark
Mark
1 month ago

Why can’t we just upscale the spear 3 to be twice as big that way commonality of parts and also a missle that will carry a punch. Is it really that hard to do that.

Jonathan
Jonathan
29 days ago
Reply to  Mark

generally lots of small bangs are better than a smaller number of big ones.

Mark
Mark
29 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

But we’re looking for a replacement for harpoon as a stand alone antiship missle. Surly a spear 3 twice the size could be container launched with a booster pack. And used from a fix wing aircraft. The technology is sound and available and production line would need modest change to produce it. It wouldnt cost millions to develope. The spear 3 is a good missle with excellent senors. You could take 3 motors 1 sensor kit and just fit in a larger body with a larger warhead and wing system. With 3 motors synced to fire one after the other… Read more »

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
22 days ago
Reply to  Mark

I agree. SPEAR 3 is subsonic, unstealthy and lacks punch. I suppose it could mission-kill the larger ships by targeting radars, the bridge and CIWSes (as well as the aircraft on carriers), but SPEAR 3 isn’t powerful enough to sink large ships. If SPEAR 3 was stealthy and twice the length (meaning an F-35B could carry 4 instead of 8), it could carry more fuel to accelerate in its terminal phase making a hit more likely and it could carry a larger warhead.

Mark
Mark
22 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarce

Same with brimstone proven tech just put in a bigger tube for more space for fuel and warhead. That’s how the Russians go about things. Design 1 platform and expand it.

Hugh Jarce
Hugh Jarce
21 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Yeah, totally agree.