British and Finnish jets have been flying together over Finland.

The aim of the training is to “strengthen shared security in the Baltic and High North”, say NATO.

The Barents Observer says here that it was last December that Finland announced it had chosen to buy 64 of the F-35 to replace the current fleet of F/A-18 Hornets. The first F-35s will arrive at Rovaniemi in 2026 and all 64, including those to be based further south in Finland, will be in operation by 2030.

With Finland’s decision to join NATO, the cross-border strength of the Alliance’s fleet of F-35s in northernmost Europe will be significant.

Recently, the Royal Air Force confirmed plans to purchase 74 F-35B jets adding that it is “possible” the UK may eventually have a fleet of 138 F-35s. The specific number was revealed by Air Marshal Knighton during a Defence Select Committee meeting:

“I have said this to the Public Accounts Committee, and I will set it out for Committee members here. We have on contract to deliver 48 F-35B aircraft. As part of our planning assumption in the IR and SR that we have just been through, we have assumed an increase of a further 26 F-35B aircraft, which would take the total fleet to 74.

We have said that the decision about further purchase, beyond that 74, will be taken in the middle of the decade, in the context of what we decide to do on our Future Combat Air System programme. It is perfectly plausible to imagine a situation in which we could have the fleet of 138 F-35s that we originally described back in the early 2000s.”

Knighton added:

“We are in the process of negotiating that additional purchase beyond the 48 with the Joint Program Office and with Lockheed Martin. The Secretary of State has been very clear that the final commitment that we make to those aircraft will be dependent on the Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin demonstrating improvements in cost associated with support and the integration of UK weapons. But we have set aside the budget for that increase and for the additional infrastructure, support costs and people associated with it.”

You can read more here.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago

So not sure if that has been indicated before but there is some attempt to put pressure on LM to progress British Weapon fit through the dangling of greater or faster ordering of the type. Quite right too, we know there is a tendency by US companies to do everything they can to pressure the use of US weapons even when more flexibility might actually improve their products appeal to buyers. A politically motivated closed shop I presume that extends control as well as profit.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

After announcing the possibility of replacing their ageing fleet of 600+ F-16s with the F-35, I wonder if the F-36 Kingsnake programme has moved forward after reading this? Interesting times ahead! USAF chief bullish on digital design solutions for B-21, Sentinel programmes23 JUNE 2022 “US Air Force (USAF) chief of staff General Charles Brown said on 22 June that he would like to see a collaborative and digital approach continue across the air force following positive results on its use with the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider bomber and LGM-35A Sentinel next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).” https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air-platforms/latest/usaf-chief-bullish-on-digital-design-solutions-for-b-21-sentinel-programmes “The F-35 has won… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Nigel Collins
DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

There is no way the USAF is going to even entertain some magazine editor’s fanciful projections like the so-called F-36. (F-36 may have already been used anyway by the USAF). Back to reality. the US Air Force has a funding problem. General Brown, the Chief of Staff, has iterated an official USAF policy of 4+1 when it comes to its future fighter force. – F-35, A-10, NGAD, F-16, and F-15EX. For some reason he left out the F-22. The USAF is struggling with the right mix under severe budget limitations. No decision has been made to replace the F-16s with… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Thank you for your opinion DanielMorgan

John
John
1 month ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

I would assume they left out the Raptor because it’s being replaced by Next Generation Air Dominance.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  John

I think 2023-24 will give us a better understanding of what the US Airforce intends to do in the future, John.

https://www.globaldefensecorp.com/2021/04/03/f-36-kingsnake-a-hypothetical-4-75-gen-fighter-jets/

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago
Reply to  John

Correct.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  John

1 Apr 2022
Thus, the USAF decided to divert those funds for research on cutting-edge combat jet designs as part of the NGAD program. Furthermore, the requested budget, which includes funding for NGAD, would rise by $9 billion. The F-22 Raptor fleet will be replaced by this sixth-generation fighter aircraft in the coming years.

See attached link for a more detailed look at the NGAD programme.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/f-22-being-used-to-test-next-generation-air-dominance-fighter-tech

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

We will have to wait and see what happens with congress elections.
It’s funny it doesn’t matter how big the budgets are it’s never enough

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

It is always spent to the hilt and then some. I do wish people would realise how incredible the UK’s defence capability was for how little is spent. The issue is that sheer mass created from older generations of kits is sacrificed in order to have the best of the best stuff at the leading edge. But there is also more rigorous financial analysis in the UK than other countries. Seen through a 2022 lease, something that does have to be addresses is the costs to the MOD of keeping war stocks or items in storage. This is what leads… Read more »

Sean
Sean
1 month ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Completely agree.

As for why he omitted the F22… well NGAD is meant to eventually replace it, although there are planned enhancements for the F22 into the early 2030’s.

Brooklyn
Brooklyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

sad

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Is it politically motivated or is it motivated by simple market economics of most of the jets are US and most of the others such as AUS & JPN use all US systems. Look at it another way. Make all the early blocks 1,2 & 3 US weapons only, in the main. All customers will then have stocks of US weapons and be trained in them so moving over to other weapons is going to be a real drag. Sure then by the time it gets to Block4 then open up the integrations to the holdouts. You can only please… Read more »

johan
johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

The main issue is that to hang a new weapon on the F35s you need access to its onboard systems. and its defence systems. only have to look at what happened when Turkey was going to have a system that could compromise that Stealth tech.

Something Different
Something Different
1 month ago

Is there a reasonably realistic scenario where Typhoons would be a better choice than F35s for the UK? What if the latter had the same weapon fit as the former (e.g. meteor)?

RobW
RobW
1 month ago

Two different beasts. Typhoon is faster and more suited as an interceptor. F35B has a general role but obviously has that stealth ability as a first strike aircraft, albeit without the payload of Typhoon. Both will have meteor once the F35B block IV upgrades happen.

David
David
1 month ago

There are many factors. The UK except for a Sky Sabre system and some SHORAD lacks in depth air defence. Whilst Typhoon could shoot down cruise missiles. If we assume a reinvigorated, Chinese armed Russia was one day the “Peer opponent” are airbases going to survive the supersonic and hypersonic missile bombardment? The USMC is practicing deploying from austere and separated locations in its build up vs China. In that sense I think F35B would be the better choice afterall. Rough airstrips and hot rearming and refuelling. If we are just aiming to fight insurgents in the middle east then… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago

Interesting question – both Aircraft are very capable in their own right,the RAF has enough experience in both types now to definitively know the answer,but due to obvious OPSEC protocols we in the civilian world will not likely know,but i would guess any Pilot given the choice would take the F35b.

johan
johan
1 month ago

Typhoon is a different Breed from the F35s, F35 Sensor suite alone makes the Typhoon a better Platform. Typhoon not a Carrier Bourne Aircraft, BAEs killed that with their design. and if look at the typhoon to F35s ration within the RAF its about 3 to 1.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  johan

Curious how the F35 sensor suite makes the Typhoon a better platform, are you
suggesting the suite on the F35 is inferior or do you mean when working in Tandem with the Typhoon.?.

Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Both working in Tandem compliment each other. The F-35 can provide a better sensor suite to Typhoons. The Typhoons provide a better weapons carriage. A couple of stealthy F35s could be ahead of a couple of Typhoons and provide targeting information for BVR missiles on the Typhoons. Similarly a couple of stealthy F-35s could fly ahead of a pack of “less stealthy” F35s or Typhoons with underwing munitions and provide them with targeting information for their long range stand off weapons. Our “loyal wingmen” currently are other manned aircraft. Also. If your leading F35s are detected by a squadron of… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago

Off-topic but excellent news nonetheless! Turkey’s Baykar will devote all its capacities to meet the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on 28 June. Reznikov said that having received 50 Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) from Baykar since Russia’s invasion in late February, the Turkish company is to devote its energies to fulfiling Ukraine’s requirement for “dozens more” of the aircraft. The defence minister’s comment came a day after Baykar said it was to donate a further three Bayraktars to Ukraine that had been crow funded, in addition to a Bayraktar that… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

That’s good news. It will need protectiom from Russian missile strikes though.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

I wonder if this might be the reason the US is interested in this ammunition upgrade? One for DaveyB to answer!

US Army interested in enhanced M-SHORAD capability for ground threats01 JULY 2022

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air-platforms/latest/us-army-interested-in-enhanced-m-shorad-capability-for-ground-threats

It’s good to see they are receiving some decent kit to fend off Russia.

Ukraine conflict: PzH 2000s transferred to Kyiv24 JUNE 2022

“The Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000 155 mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH) is now part of Ukraine’s artillery arsenal, Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov tweeted on 21 June, thanking his German and Dutch counterparts Christine Lambrecht and Kajsa Ollongren.”

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/land-forces/latest/ukraine-conflict-pzh-2000s-transferred-to-kyiv

Last edited 1 month ago by Nigel Collins
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

Waste of time in a contested environment with a peer level oponent.

The mystery was why those drones were dominant for so long given that the Russians do have semi decent EW. Even just blasting RF at the right frequency from a CW radar would mess things up.

Now the Russians have got their act together they are regularly shot down. The are not fast or high flying so would be easy meat for say a 40-70mm radar controlled cannon….

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago

We need to get all the experience we can & train more pilots up.

Last edited 1 month ago by Frank62
farouk
farouk
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

Ive heard that a number of MPs have started visiting a number of Blue Oyster salad bars looking for men to train up , sorry that was somewhat sexist of me, I should have also included women in that statement:

6cb40965-bada-46d8-bf21-2666ecd96e1b.jpg
Chris.
Chris.
1 month ago

The RAF fleet is looking over stretched!.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
1 month ago

Putin’s Baldrick moment? JohninMK will explain later how the ‘special operation to galvanise the laggard Europeans into taking defence very seriously’ is actually a ‘cunning plan’.

farouk
farouk
1 month ago

Going a little off topic, Ive just read an article on AESA radars and with it ending on the Hensoldt PrecISR (Link takes you to a YT vid) Out to those who know a lot more than I, how would this work on the carriers?

Opera Snapshot_2022-07-01_161739_www.hensoldt.net.png
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
1 month ago
Reply to  farouk

I’ve always wondered this.

If this is the largest ship ever built for the Royal Navy then we were flying piston engined aircraft off much smaller carriers in the past – without steam catapults.

“Winkle” Brown would have flown one of these off and onto a deck smaller than the current QE, if asked.

There used to be an airshow act that landed an aircraft on a moving car roof.

A decent STOL and balls of steel and away you go.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago

I wonder if instead of having a fully qualified fast jet pilot, could you use a cheaper quicker training just for a propeller plane.
Then maybe the answer is to make it unmanned.
Something will be needed with high altitude, endurance for AEW after crows nest. If it is mostly staying within the type 45 defence bubble then its not as vulnerable. Stick a couple of ASRAAMs on it just in case.
Something most likely different to those specs maybe needed for AAR.
Lots of developments coming along in next 10 years I think.

johan
johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Airbus are currently developing the Zephyr which has changed very much from the original type and design and is due to test is latest model this year.

Mac
Mac
1 month ago

Considering that we bought these F-35 B variants specifically for the new Carriers, its rather noticible that they seem to spend 90% of their time going no where near them.

It would have been so much better to go with a CATOBAR carriers and the longer legged, larger payload C variants, given how they’re being put to use. I’m sure the RAF think the same as well.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago
Reply to  Mac

It’s been discussed many times why the QE class with F35B is the perfect combination for us. F35B carries more fuel than a Typhoon or a Tornado, the range issue has been blown out of all proportions. The advantage of VSTOL carrier’s is the aircraft don’t need to spend as much time on board as the traning requirements for keeping the pilots deck qualified is far less demanding compared to catapults.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Mac

Basic level training would only be on land, before pilots are fully integrated and sufficiently trained in the aircraft they cant go near a carrier. EMALS was never going to happen, if it had we would barely be able to use the carriers at all as the US are still having issues with the tech, plus the additional cost of it. Great idea to go with a tech that would have left us without anything we could use. Other than the US which carrier based aircraft have a greater range exactly? The French carries less fuel, goodness knows what the… Read more »

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  Mac

There is a view held by many here that an aircraft carrier without aircraft is quite normal. All sorts of excuses are used to pretend that nothing is wrong. The reason the F35 does not find itself on a flight deck is that we only have 12/15 operational aircraft with a training schedule to match. Your quite right to question the type of carrier and aircraft we should have had. We actually started with the ski jump, then stopped to consider cats and traps which were found to too expensive (?) so back to the ski jump. This effectively ruled… Read more »

Tams
Tams
1 month ago
Reply to  Mac

Just give up. It’s not happening.

And the reason or F-35s see so likely carrier time is that we don’t have enough yet.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago

Poland orders 32 AW149

They will be missile equiped. Images shows what appears some sort of Brimstone?

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

Hi Alex, the RAF could be next with the AW149. Nice and close for some possible joint production, supplies or even better, all in the UK.

Tams
Tams
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Shhhh. You’ll awaken the Blackhawk mob.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Tams

Haha, sorry…I’ll keep quiet…lol 😏

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Haven’t the US just ordered 250+ Blackhawks too? It’s always bigger with the US.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Yes,but i think the interesting part is that will be armed with missiles.

Damo
Damo
1 month ago

Seems reasonable. We’ll buy more so long as you bring the cost down and allow integration with our weapons

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
1 month ago

Interesting. Sixty four ordered, all for their air force of course, all to be in service by 2030. We have twenty three with twenty four more by 2025/2026 with no confirmed operational date for them all and we are planning, but haven’t ordered another twenty six with 2030/2035 in mind. The first two squadrons of eight will be operational by 2024/2025. So sixteen aircraft to be shred between two carriers and the RAF by around 2025. WOW! Only seven years since Number One.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Have they ordered F35B variant, ah no they have ordered the A variant which has the largest production base.

Are they involved with the R&D of the aircraft? Ah no they can just start ordering from an existing manufacturing base and not been involved in the early stages of development.

Do they have a requirement to integrate Finish weapons system and require bespoke software to be coded? Ah thought not.

Compare apples to apples and stop jumping on stupid ill informed media headlines.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  James

I’m not disappointed. I knew someone would come up up with a shoal of red Herrings and a reason for us not doing anything. Well done James. As for stupid (interesting word in the circumstances) every single FACT in my post is varifiable. Maybe you should read about it sometime.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

I didnt say it wasnt verified did I? I simply pointed out why the facts you stated are the case for the order placed by Finland and completely irrelevant for the UK procurement plan.

My points stand.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  James

“compare apples to apples and stop jumping on stupid ill informed media headline” That’s your idea of a non argumentative response is it? Very odd

Andrew Munro
Andrew Munro
1 month ago

I don’t understand if LM can give late ordering countries dates for their in service dates foe f35 and we have been from start can only supply with 1 or 2 every couple of years????

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Munro

They have ordered a different aircraft to what we have.

We also dont want a large fleet of aircraft that then need more money spending on them to be upgraded in a few years, its really not difficult to understand.

We also dont have enough pilots to fly them so why have a large fleet of unused aircraft parked up?

Bean
Bean
1 month ago

“integration of UK weapons” These days both weapons and aircraft tend to be software based. We can update our own missile software to whatever we want, for instance how it recognises which platform it has been plugged into, how it should identify itself to that platform and what platform API it should be using to send and request data on that platform. I suspect the delays in integrating some of our weapon’s has something to do with reports of delays in the development of the F-35’s own software capabilities and so I’m assuming it is currently unable to supply or… Read more »