British F-35B jets have landed on HMS Queen Elizabeth in British waters.

HMS Queen Elizabeth recently left Portsmouth to conduct training with UK F-35 Lightning jets in home waters. Specifically, the ship is sailing to conduct Carrier Qualifications as well as Landing Signal Officer qualifications with 207 Squadron, the UK’s F-35 Lightning training squadron.

HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Commanding Officer, Captain Angus Essenhigh, said:

“It is a real honour for me to be taking HMS Queen Elizabeth to sea for the first time as her new Commanding Officer. This period at sea will build on the successes of the Westlant 19 deployment, providing a fantastic opportunity for the ship to further its generation towards carrier strike, and will train and qualify UK F-35 pilots in UK waters for the very first time.”

Image Crown Copyright 2020

207 Squadron will be flying aircraft to and from the decks, day and night from their base at RAF Marham. Six pilots, both Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, will carry out their aircraft carrier qualification in that time.

HMS Queen Elizabeth and 207 Squadron will continue to train together throughout the year ahead of their first operational deployment together, along with a squadron of F-35B Lightnings from the US Marine Corps, to the Far East in 2021.


I guarantee that this article will attract people proclaiming ‘But these aren’t British jets, they’re American in origin!’, people that will purposefully ignore that ‘British’ in this context is being used to highlight that these F-35Bs are British owned and operated. Leave them to it.

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Levi Goldsteinberg
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Levi Goldsteinberg

That flight board is such a simple but brilliant idea for organisation

John Clark
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John Clark

Yep, plenty of room to announce cancelled easyJet flight there!

Looks like they are practicing RVL to me?

geoff
Guest
geoff

Good Day George. Thanks for an interesting article. With regard to your last paragraph I would add that the Brits have been from the start, the only Level One partner in the consortium and that with British designed and manufactured content comprising one sixth of each F35, then one would be justfied in saying that they are in part, of British origin as well

Regards

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

Better than that – the F35B couldn’t exist (i.e couldn’t be V/STOL) without the UK

Henry Root
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Henry Root

Ironic that we helped the US create the first H-bomb, jump jet, Canberra bomber, radar and jet airliner, they then refused to share the A-bomb with us while now they are loading W76-2 on their subs. Clearly it has only one purpose, to create a nuclear tactical battlefield in Europe and the Middle East. Aren’t you guys a little nervous?

Bloke down the pub
Guest
Bloke down the pub

I wonder how often Americans look at the F35 s operating from their ships and complain that they are 15% British built?

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

They probably don’t know or care, pretty much like most Brits to be honest. I have to say that I am impressed with the way the US ran the F35 project. I know that there were and continue to be issues programmatical and technological, but as international programmes go it promises to deliver a wide range of impressive capabilities and the way it was set kinda tied in a significant production especially when compared to the 750 or so Typhoons… That basically means lots of support work for those involved in the supply chain for decades to come – not… Read more »

Herodotus
Guest

‘They probably don’t know or care’…..the former, more than the latter. Most of them are so ethno-centric!

pkcasimir
Guest
pkcasimir

American corporations dominate the world and the US has armed forces stationed in approximately 75 countries. There are nine country partners in the F-35 program.
This supercilious condescension that Americans are ignorant of the world is only a cover for a massive inferiority complex now that the UK is a middle- level power that has had to be bailed out by the US three times in the 20th century alone.

julian1
Guest
julian1

here we go again – mini Trump!

Herodotus
Guest

Hmmm. My comments were influenced by my extensive experience of working with US technical personnel not US corporate bodies. I’m sure that the US corporations are extremely well aware of the markets that they can plunder….good old Dollar Diplomacy eh! As for the English, the one thing we don’t suffer from is an inferiority complex…we leave that to our colonial brethren. I agree that we have needed US support since WW2…largely as a result of fighting a war on America’s behalf for more than two years. Funny that, confronting the Nazi tyranny bankrupted Britain, whilst America emerged from WW2 twice… Read more »

Spyinthesky
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Spyinthesky

Indeed one can just check now much of the US economy was owned or financed by British Financial Institutions pre war nearly all surrendered as part of ‘lend lease’ and totally reversing the financial world thereafter.

pkcasimir
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pkcasimir

Total nonsense. Britain financed WW1 from Wall Street. Try reading a history book instead of swallowing British delusions about itself.

pkcasimir
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pkcasimir

The UK has never fought a war on America’s behalf. That’s just British delusion. It made no difference to the US strategically if Germany dominated Continental Europe. In both WW1 and WW2 it was the UK that declared war against Germany, not the other way around. Just because the UK was unable to learn lessons from the US Civil War and realize that any modern war would bankrupt it is the UK’s fault. In no way was the UK fighting to assist the US in either World War; it was fighting to preserve its empire. Any thought otherwise is just… Read more »

HMS Monarch
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HMS Monarch

I take you have never read Stedman’s Alternatives to Appeasement then! Roosevelt feared German dominance in Europe and proposed intervention far earlier than Chamberlain’s cabinet. Consider his 1937 ‘Quarantine’ speech against ‘the present reign of terror’ presented by fascist imperialists both in Europe and Asia or his “arsenal of democracy” speech in 1938. Also, we didn’t just declare war on Germany- we fought to uphold the democratic civil liberties and right of self-determination for our allies- Germany was the aggressor.

Martin
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Martin

Sorry you do know that Germany declared war on America in 1941 and not the other way round right? There was no way America was ever going to fight Germany short of Hitler being stupid enough to declare war then British and Commonwealth forces (not England) had to hold the line for two years until US forces were ready including making the largest contribution to D Day.

Henry Root
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Henry Root

Some facts: 1. Britain’s Navy was depleted more at the request of the US after WW1, than by any enemy ever in war. America argued that there would never be peace in Europe if our Navy engulfed the rest of the world put together. 2. We’re pretty good to the US: Radar, H-bomb, Jump Jet, Canberra bomber, Merlin V8 engine, Diego Garcia, just a few of our tributes. 3. We did go to war based on faulty US intelligence re: WMD I think the US military sees the UK for it it can be at times, tea-drinking in-bred aristocratic buffoonery.… Read more »

Rokuth
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Rokuth

“Merlin V8 engine”

The Rolls Royce Merlin is a V12 engine.

Trevor
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Trevor

You are making it up.

julian1
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julian1

the great irony being of course that many “American technologists” are actually Chinese, Indian…even dare I say it British (a small proportion.) I know this because I live and breathe it daily. I can’t find Americans for love and money who are qualified or interested to work in technical roles. Of course the financing (always) and business brains (often, but increasingly less so) is American. Nationalist America doesn’t see or appreciate this. Deluded – but this will become increasingly obvious as America loses its lead which it surely will. Empires rise and fall as we Brits in particular know.

Steve R
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Steve R

“Empires rise and fall…” This hits the nail on the head. We had our empire; 200+ years and then we lost it, as the Romans and countless other empires throughout history have also done. The era of Pax Americana of the last 70 years is starting to draw down. The US, whilst still economically and militarily the world’s most powerful country, is on the wane. China is rapidly catching up and the US will slowly decline as we did. I think a lot of Americans have a hard time understanding this. Many seem to think they are and always will… Read more »

Mr Bell
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Mr Bell

Bailed out how? I wasnt aware we were close to military defeat at any stage in the last 150 years. Ww2 was close but by 1941 our war production was out building Germany’s so we were safe by november 1941, hence why herr Hitler turned East.

Paul T
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Paul T

I personally think that once Operation Sealion was postponed then eventually cancelled the existential threat to Great Britain had gone,but without the USA joining the Allies WW2 would have been dragged out much longer,a Stalemate would be the result.

Alan Reid
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Alan Reid

Hi Paul By late 1940, Britain was effectively broke – and only kept it’s war effort going through American economical assistance. Even before the USA formally entered the war, the intervention of the US Navy and Coastguard in the Eastern Atlantic in 1941, was relieving a hard-pressed Royal Navy. And suffering from over-stretch, in one of the biggest calamities in British military history, Britain lost its Eastern Empire in 1942 – when 100,000 British and Commonwealth troops surrendered at Singapore to about 30, 000 Japanese. 1940-42 was an absolutely desperate time for the UK! Without US engagement, Britain would certainly… Read more »

Trevor
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Trevor

Indeed Japan did not just attack the USA, it attacked the UK. So we were allied between the USA and therefore supporters of us against Germany… instantly.

Dern
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Dern

Try replacing USA with USSR and you’re on to something.

Alan Reid
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Alan Reid

Hi Dern, But remember during “Britain’s Darkest Hour” in 1940 – and the Blitz of British cities that followed – the USSR was an ally of Nazi Germany!

Alan Reid
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Alan Reid

Bailed out how? Lend-lease, perhaps? And we were quite close to military defeat: France, June 1940 and Singapore, February 1942 (loss of Eastern Empire) were two of the most catastrophic military defeats in our history. Plus our cities were being reduced to rubble, and until May 1943 – our Atlantic trade-routes imperilled by U-Boats. Lets not read history backwards, at the time, it must have been desperate – and seemed as though we were losing the war. Luckily, the British have always been agile diplomats, skilled in the politics of coalition warfare, and our way of war has always involved… Read more »

Darren
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Darren

Oh dear.

Spyinthesky
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Spyinthesky

Indeed I was surprised to read only last year how many of Hitlers advisors were telling him in 1941 that the German War effort was unsustainable and once quick success in Russia had failed to materialise that they could not win the War. He then stupidly declares War on the US a while later. What could have won the War was perhaps the technology that the experts were like Hitler himself greatly ignorant of in terms of true potential and had Hitler started the War in 41 as planned or Britain been knocked out by 40 then things may have… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Guest
Spyinthesky

There is so much ignorance and misrepresentation in that ‘contribution’ you could spend hours refuting it with a catelogue of evidence to the contrary but I will simply state two. Firstly that had Britain not stayed in the 2nd WW for two years when it could easily have got a deal not to, then the US like everyone else would be talking or enslaved to German or Russian victors. As one little reminder Germany was 2 years ahead of the World in nuclear technology in 1938. Secondly in the post war period that Trump likes to refer to as when… Read more »

pkcasimir
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pkcasimir

Germany was going to enslave the United States? Are you serious? That statement is just so ignorant that it borders on crazy. Russia was going to enslave the United States? Even crazier. You sir are delusional.

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

Not literally enslave, you idiot!

I think what Sky means is that the US would have been beholden to one of the two, a puppet state that dances to the tune of another.

Like how Trump clearly thinks other nations should dance to his tune.

Alan Reid
Guest
Alan Reid

You’ve certainly stirred up a hornet’s nest, pkcasimir! I don’t believe the United States would have been enslaved by Nazi Germany, either – but in this hypothetical scenario of Hitler triumphant in Europe, one could see a “Cold War” developing between the USA and Germany in the Fifties, with both states probably armed with nuclear weapons – and competing for world hegemony. In this scenario, Nazi Germany would have been a more formidable opponent than the USSR. But to get back to WW2: it’s highly unlikely that America could have defeated Nazi Germany without the support of both Britain and… Read more »

Paul.P
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Paul.P
dave12
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dave12

Hmmm pkcasimir,, as the UK is the 5th Richest nation in the world and is in the nuclear weapon club. I dont think you have much of argument to the UK being a middle power.
Which poor misinformed nation do you come from ?? you obviously have chip on your shoulder with the UK.

pkcasimir
Guest
pkcasimir

The UK can’t deliver its nuclear warheads without leased US missiles. You have absolutely no argument that the UK is a major power. And any statement that it is only demonstrates delusion and ignorance.

dave12
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dave12

Eeerr obviously you are wrong with that statement and delusion you’re self , I’ll ask you again what nation are you from to be so misinformed on UK affairs?
Here is a real fact that UK has the same amount of nuclear missiles as China and as I said before the 5th Richest nation in the world, the UK armed forces are the second largest contributor to NATO,, fact, So sorry seems like you do not know much on this topic.

pkcasimir
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pkcasimir

The UK’s “wealth” is based on services rendered by the City. Approximately 75% of GDP is generated by the services of London. That is not agriculture or commodities or manufacturing. Services are portable and can be moved anyplace in the world. Fact is that the UK just doesn’t manufacture much of anything anymore and no longer has a Navy that protect importation. It’s a hollow wealth. The UK may have the same amount of nuclear weapons but it doesn’t have the capability to manufacture missiles to deliver them. Even Pakistan can do better than that. The fact that the UK… Read more »

RobW
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RobW

Er no. Over the last year the financial services sector employed 3.5% of the UK workforce, generating 7.2% of economic output and 11% of total UK Government tax receipts. Your 75% figure will include all service industries in the UK, including education, tourism etc. Source CityofLondon.gov.uk and PWC. Why does it matter that we buy in Trident? If we didn’t have access to that we would likely have developed our own. We do not need the US’s permission to fire it nor need their satellites so yes it is a sovereign system. We are generating the QE class, have T45,… Read more »

Trevor
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Trevor

I’ve just made the same point. Well said.

Paul T
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Paul T

pkcasimir – RE the Falklands,if the same scenario existed today as happened in 1982,i think we could just manage to re-take them,but it would need a lot of relocation of assets/Ships etc.Quantity (1982) over Quality (2020) has its merits but when us British have our backs to the Wall its one of the few situations we do rather well.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

How the U.S. Almost Betrayed Britain

“Alexander Haig wanted Reagan to side with the Argentines over the Falklands, newly released papers show”

Just another example of why we need to adequately fund our armed forces.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303816504577313852502105454

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

To be honest I think we would actually have an easier time of it now than in 1982. If Argentina actually captured the Falklands the fleet we send would be smaller in number but far more powerful. – QEC carrier. – One or both Albions – 2-3 Type 45 destroyers – 4 to 6 Type 23 frigates – 2 to 3 Astute/Trafalgar subs – 1 to 2 Bay Class landing ship The QEC would only have 15 or so F35s but these would outclass anything Argentina would have, even if they got hold of some MiG 29s or similar. The… Read more »

DaveyB
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DaveyB

Agreed, one weapon we have now, which we didn’t then is the sub-launched Tomahawk. A conflict today would not just be limited to the Falklands, but would also involve removing the means for the “Argentinians” to re-enforce their forces on the Falklands. This would be a multi-pronged assault using special forces attacking ports and infrastructure, whilst the Navy lob Tomahawks at their airfields. Unless they can resupply and re-enforce their garrison on the Falklands, they wouldn’t last long.

dave12
Guest
dave12

pkcasimir !! you are just being silly now talking utter BS ,you really do not know what you are talking about,,since you will not tell me where you are from I will conclude you are from a less privileged nation which would explain your bitterness.

If Pakistan wants to invest its money into nuclear capability
rather than good living standards thats up to them the UK can do both,Yet all your rantings does change the fact that UK measured by WTO puts the UK as the 5th richest nation in the world.
So troll on in bitterness you just sound stupid.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

“So troll on in bitterness” I really like that one, a line I will find a use for.

John Clark
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John Clark

You have a very negative attitude towards the UK, possibly an anxious self reflection on the USA’s diminished position in the world? You are very keen to pick up issues in the UK, don’t worry about us, we are well aware of our issues and problems, we came to terms with the loss of empire decades ago, with great dignity I might add. It’s unfortunate that many in the US simply refuse to see the enoumous issues you face as a country, nationally and internationally. Many people living in grinding poverty, as the US also pivoted towards a service based… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Excellent post John.

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

Cheers Daniele, some people unfortunately live in a state of delusion.

Its incredibly shortsighted to be gloating the UK has no extensive industrial base, when the US has done precisely the same thing!

Anyone who has travelled to the southern states in the US, can see very large areas of wretched poverty, its the same with the rundown predominantly heavy industry based States…

Delusions of grandeur I’m afraid…

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

The UK makes about 7% of its economy from the financial sector. So you need to realise your whole outlook on life. 12% of GDP is manufacturing. Its the 9th largest manufacturing country in the world (and some of those are very large countries). But in reality the value of manufacturing is never been higher. This is because, thanks to increased wealth fresh new sectors have been created… health, holidays going out for cups of coffee.

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

Are you saying,if the US choose to withhold the lease we would not be capable of using the nukes we build? Are we at the withholding of the lease going to immediately hand back the Tridents? Are you also saying we don’t have the means to make a UK version of Trident?

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

And the US leases off the UK.

Diego Garcia – US Navy would have much less presence in the far east without leasing it from the UK.

That’s how allies work. Fair trade.

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

You sound like you would be a barel of laughs down the pub.

Mike
Guest
Mike

The UK isn’t going to be around too much longer. Scotland’s freedom draws ever close. Well said pkcasimir. The arrogance will be knocked out of the militaristic, imperialist English then!

Alan Reid
Guest
Alan Reid

Mike, Don’t be a silly wee laddie – Scotland is already a free country. Incidentally, when it comes to “militaristic, imperialist” nations, one can’t find a better example than the Scots. You do know that we ran the “British” Empire, don’t you!?!

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Indeed pride comes before a fall. I don’t think England has ever recovered from 1066. Walter Scott said it all in Ivanhoe. Righteous indignation is the English hallmark. That’s why people love us so much….😅

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Oh how we laugh, one does think there may be a we bit of a chip on a shoulder.

We pretty much ruled the world, oversaw one of the longest periods of world peace ( pax Britannia ) and invented the modern world.

Now we don’t, but we are wealth, safe and live on a pretty island that is perfect for sustaining a safe happy population.

No inferiority complexes here….just a great big….look what we did……

Rob N
Guest
Rob N

Yes, however the JSF programme set out to produce one plane with minor variations to fulfil differing roles. What they ended up with is three different planes with only some commonality. A sonic may ask would they have not been better of going for 3 separate designS better optimised for their specific roles…. it is notable that the USAF and USN are both looking to develop separate 6 generation planes for their needs. There appears to be no desire for another ‘one plane’ solution.

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

Hi Rob N, I think there is a case for reassessing how we delives this type of capability. We are beginning to see a new approach on the Tempest programme, where system elements are being developed almost independently of the plantform. It has been suggested that the Japanese may join elements of the Tempest programme and use those [sub]systems in a platform programme of their own. Given the way the defence industry is developing along system specialisms I could see an approach where the big money and multi-national effort goes into major system development and airframes are developed on a… Read more »

Rudeboy
Guest
Rudeboy

I’m afraid the 15% figure is a lot of spin. That is the portion of certain models of the aircraft that is made by British companies BUT not necessarily manufactured in the UK.

Current estimates are that around 6-8% by value is made in the UK.

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

I suppose it depends how you look at it, 15% of each build is probably correct, considering we build the backend of every airframe and of course US operated ( nominally British owned, or part owned) companies that contribute to the program, specifically the B model.

But, 5-8% of each aircraft by value, in a build of thousands, stretching across decades, is still a smart return for the investment.

Rudeboy
Guest
Rudeboy

It is indeed. But the 15% cannot be allowed to be unchallenged as justification, specifically when used to support benefits back to the UK as it is fundamentally unsound.

AC
Guest
AC

With regards to the initial order of 48 at what point will we have received all of them?

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

In 2024.

julian1
Guest
julian1

actually, not all 48 have been ordered yet. I think there is still final commitment on the last 13. time is running out to have them no later than 2024

Rudeboy
Guest
Rudeboy

The 13 will only be ordered when Full Rate Production pricing is agreed. That is underway at the moment, the 2024 date isn’t in danger…yet. But it needs to be agreed (principally by the US) first.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Whats the current RAF weopons fit…. 2 x ASRAAM and 4 x paveway… Or do they have AMRAAM internal option as well at moment pending meteor

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

ASRAAM external only. AMRAAM presently internal. Paveway both internal and external.
I hope that helps Pete?

Pete
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Pete

Cheers Meirion

Rudeboy
Guest
Rudeboy

The heaviest loadout we can run at present is 2 Asraam (on outer wing pylons) 6 Paveway IV 500lb LGB’s (4 on external pylons and 2 in internal bays) and 2 Amraam C-5 missiles (carried internally on the bay doors).

Full air to air loadout at present would be 4 Amraam (2 on the bay doors and 2 fully in the bays) and 2 Asraam (on external pylons).

No gun pods have been ordered yet. There is also no external tank option yet. The 4 middle and inner wing pylons have not been cleared for Amraam, Asraam or indeed any missiles yet.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Thanks for Comprehensive answer @rudeboy.

Good to know they won’t be one shot wonders in South China Sea in 2021

PRC getting increasingly touchy over freedom of navigation.

P

Rudeboy
Guest
Rudeboy

One thing no-one seems to have picked up on is how the UK’s maximum loadout at present, and probably until the late 2020’s at the earliest removes the majority of need to perform SRVL. With the removal of Storm Shadow integration the maximum a UK F-35B will carry is well within the aircrafts capability to VL with, particularly if fuel has been burned or ditched. At present the maximum loadout is under 5,000lb’s of munitions (and thats if we include a gun pod…). Even when Meteor and Spear arrive that maximum loadout won’t increase dramatically (Meteor weighs a little more… Read more »

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

Is that just internal loadout, though? If it’s operating for stealth then the loadout wont be much, but what if it’s operating in beast mode? (I do love that term!)

Rudeboy
Guest
Rudeboy

Internal load out at present is either 4 Amraam C-5 or 2 Amraam C-5 and 2 Paveway IV. The 2 Asraam are also usually carried on the outer wing pylon as they don’t increase the RCS much.

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

Although, does SRVL use up more or less fuel than a STOVL landing? I’d imagine less but could be wrong.

Either way, sounds like SRVL would only really be needed for an F35 in beast mode returning with most of its munitions unspent. Good to keep the skill going though, especially if it does save fuel compared to a pure vertical landing.

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

The SRVL uses less fuel than VL. VL all the lift is generated by the the thrust from the lift fan combined with the engines exhaust. SRVL, adds lift generated by the wing, so less thrust is required by the engine, thus using less fuel. Simples..

Rudeboy
Guest
Rudeboy

The fuel cost between SRVL and Vl would be minimal, you’re still running the lift fan and decelerating. At most you’ll save a minutes worth of fuel using a more risky landing mode.
It would also tie up the deck far longer than VL, particularly if you’ve got a number of aircraft coming in to land, you might save a small amount of fuel with one aircraft, but the aircraft queuing behind will burn far more than you save whilst they await a clear deck.

AC
Guest
AC

and how many frontline squadrons, OCU and attritional replacements would we realistically need assuming that we are imho we are unlikely to receive 138

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

I think 5 including the OCU.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I would accept 70, and bite the hand off for 90 to be honest. All B’s mind.
I’m no expert on numbers, but if that number region is the end total and includes some A’s the carrier force is royally screwed.

Ian
Guest
Ian

Would they introduce a third type of plane (A). Why not stick with Navy F35B and RAF with Typhoons

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

It is rumoured there are those in the RAF ( inter service rivalry ) who want the RAF to get the A as it is cheaper and longer ranged. The RAF were once to have the FOAS – Future Offensive Air System as a GR4 replacement. With the likelihood that the UK will not get the full 138, any split between A and B variants will have a critical impact on the ability of the UK to fully utilise the QEC if needed. There have been numerous debates here on UKDJ and elsewhere over the pros and cons of A… Read more »

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

f the R.A.F they’e put enough spanners in the navy’s works it was the r.a.f that swung the idea to retire the harrier, and complained about the amount of aircraft they lost

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Andy – the RAF was caught between a rock and a hard place,either retire the Harrier’s or retire the Tornado, they saw more value in the Tornado.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

No inter service rivalry from you then Andy.

The RAF is to me as important a service as the RN.

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

Fully agree Daniele, just depends on the future of Tempest, I guess.

The RAF won’t get A models and Tempest. If that program is cancelled by DC in SDSR2020 however, A models for the RAF, is pretty much guaranteed, with subsequent impact on the B model.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Look at the USMC thread on the F35c.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

maybe go back to the typhoon and tempest designers and add a VSTOL to the options

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

Problem there is that it will jack up the price by a lot. Same issues as with the F35B: more expensive, shorter range and smaller payload.

With cost, it’s helped that Lockheed Martin is selling F35 by the thousands so there is a good economy of scale. If we produce a VSTOL Tempest the numbers will be in the hundreds rather than thousands so the same economy of scale will not apply.

Rudeboy
Guest
Rudeboy

No-one will repeat that mistake. You may as well build an entirely new aircraft. Tempest will not be compromised by a STOVL variant that would command minimal sales.

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

Yeah. Ironically for a Gen 6 aircraft, we need to make it as simple as possible to keep cost down and maximise sales. Cheaper it is, the more we can sell which drives the price down further, means we can buy more of them.

Plus the other benefits to UK economy, jobs, industry and skills etc.

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

I agree, but I do think the aircraft will be short take off and landing (STOL) capable. I believe this will still be an aircraft requirement from Sweden. Part of their modus operandi for conflict, is to disperse their aircraft to the road network, therefore need aircraft to operate from short straight roads.

Rudeboy
Guest
Rudeboy

Sweden are not developing an aircraft with us. They are in Team Tempest which is looking at the technologies required e.g. engines, avionics, radar etc. They may join with us on the aircraft development later but they are just as likely to share technologies and go off and do their own thing.

Italy and Sweden are both joined with the UK on this in quite different ways..

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

What if we actually did get the full 138, with 70-80 Bs and then the remainder As?

Wishful thinking we will get all of them I know…

Rudeboy
Guest
Rudeboy

Not going to happen. And the main reason…apart from money, is timing. And that timing also tells us all that 138 F-35B will never happen. The intention is to get 48 F-35B for 2024. There is zero room in the MoD equipment plan budget for the remainder before 2030. At most we could hope for 24-40ish additional F-35B to be ordered and delivered by, or just after 2030. And come 2030, on the present timelines, the Tempest will be ready for orders with an in service date of 2035. There is zero chance of anymore F-35 orders when Tempest arrives.… Read more »

Geoffrey Hicking
Guest
Geoffrey Hicking

Then people should never have talked about 138 F-35s in the first place. I for one am absolutely sick of the endless bigging up expectations and then dialing down again. Its humiliating to have to be told robustly by experts that “you can’t have x” after we were promised x. If we won’t have it, don’t promise it in the first place. Some of us don’t actually set out to be fantasy fleeters, but we then miss a detail or order cancellation and WHAM! “Armchair admiral! Fantasy fleet!”. Here’s an idea: Acquire 20. In total. We’d manage with that number… Read more »

Frank62
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Frank62

The elephant in the room is HMGs refusing to change the system so the very biggest earners pay similar proportions of their income in taxes as the middle have to. If we’re the 5th richest, our forces don’t reflect that. They’re critically underfunded & what we do buy costs us lots more than most other nations.

Rudeboy
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Rudeboy

We need to get away from this 5th richest nonsense. It’s a dreadful way of monitoring a nations wealth. We’re actually 26th on PPP. That’s what we need governments to focus on…

Rudeboy
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Rudeboy

138 was the original buy, long, long ago. Since then F-35 has been delayed by years, so much so that it will now bump into next generation programmes and there has also been geopolitical and strategic changes. And that is the fault of the programme as a whole. The reason MoD keep saying it is they have no other number to use. HMG doesn’t want to upset the US, during a delicate part of F-35 introduction to service and negotiations, by saying what everyone knows. The best we’ve got so far is the 138 over the lifetime of the programme,… Read more »

Alan Reid
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Alan Reid

Hi Rudeboy, I think a viable F-35A buy for the RAF would be 70 airframes. That would equip three front-line squadrons, an OCU – plus allow for an attrition reserve. Really, a similar number of F-35B aircraft would also be sufficient for three squadrons to be deployed aboard a Queen Elizabeth class carrier. (And let’s give them all to the Fleet Air Arm!). The costly redevelopment of another airbase would also be required – negating any savings in buying the cheaper aircraft. So I might be indulging in “fantasy air-forces” here! You make some good points about Tempest coming on-line… Read more »

Trevor
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Trevor

Plus Tempest might be a moving target. No pun intended. By the time you want to start, then technology might have moved on and we start again. The F35 my well mature into an even more capable plan by then.

andy reeves
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andy reeves

i think we all know by now that a non catapult arrestor setup isn’t going to happen we’ll have the f 35 which should be good enough,as long as it lives up to the hype

Steve R
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Steve R

The current aim is for 4 frontline squadrons plus OCU so that would total 60 jets. Probably 20-30 for attrition so will end up with 80-90 planes. If we were to have 138 in our inventory all together (wishful thinking, I know!) then we could have potentially 7 squadrons. 7 frontline (84 planes) 1 OCU (12 planes) 1 OEU (4 planes) 38 spare airframes Or 6, with more spares. Realistically we need IMO at least 5 squadrons, preferably 6. This is to have critical mass in numbers to actually be able to front an effective force that isn’t simply a… Read more »

Trevor
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Trevor

The lifespan of the project is or will be decades. Later versions will be surely evolve and be somewhat different and even more advanced. Plus the airframes have a lifetime limit and sadly attrition. So is it not likely that later versions will replace earlier ones? Also…. I do not realistically expect a big mid life refit of these carriers to include Emails, but it’s always possible. So older ‘B’s might (might!) be replaced by ‘C’s.

Ian
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Ian

Steve……Would we have enough pilots…think I read on here that pilot training had been privatised…..we know how successful this can be…

Steve R
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Steve R

Seeing as it will take us until 2024 just to get the rest of the original 48 currently ordered, I dont think it would be an issue. Pilot training takes a long time but then so does getting these planes.

Steve R
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Steve R

Yeah the privatisation of pilot training was retarded. I really hope that gets reversed and doesnt have too much an impact on pilot skill.

Also, I fail to see how it could possibly be cheaper. Must cost a lot more seeing as the private company will be wanting to make a profit. Unless the quality of training or hours in the air to qualify is drastically reduced.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Cheaper in the short term, costs more in the long term, like all these blasted PFI and other privatisations.

But HMG and the MoD don’t give a fig if it keeps the costs down now, later someone else pays.

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

Hi Steve R, Another way to look at it is the force is managed as a single fleet, so rather than have 6 or 7 squadrons with 12 aircraft some of which are in maintenance you get 4 or 5 squadrons with 12 flfing aircraft and those in maintenance are returned to a central pool. This of course mainly works when operating from the home base, when deployed additional aircraft would need to be deployed to allow the squadron to remain at full flying stength, but that is the same issue faced today. Also, as Trevor points out new airframes… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Agree. 4 plus OCU plus OEU. I don’t think the RAF will ever, bar a major uplift, be able to field 7 front line F35 units plus Tempest / Typhoon mix, due to the sheer costs, lack of people, and current lack of political will. 5 Typhoon / Tempest plus the 4 F35 squadrons of B is more realistic. With the major problems in the MFTS and a mere 10 Texan basic trainers where are the pilots and infrastructure to man such a force. We still need fast jets for UK air defence too, which use up much of the… Read more »

WeeWill
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WeeWill

I’ve done some ‘fag-packet’ calculations for this on here somewhere before…of any given fast jet airframe buy for the U.K., the in-service peak only ever seems to be 60-70% of the total order. Assuming Sqn sizes of 12 (and not the current ‘creative accounting’ on Typhoon sqns), including the OCU and OEU (although not certain on the number of actual eval ac) that’s a worst case of maximum 7 Sqns, and a best case of 8.

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

Come March it’ll be 2 years since she first sailed on trials. Time is certainly zipping by. She’ll be sailing on her first operational tour before you know it.

Says a lot for all involved that there have been no significant delays during this phase of the programme. I just wish the programme had not be slowed for 2 years, but we are were we are. Progress since those days has been impressive.

Letting the cameras on board as well was a clever move by the Royal Navy…

Matt
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Matt

Yes…. That short TV series they did was a real eye opener to life on board and with the RN in general. Hopefully they will release another series from Westlant 19.
What a fantastic marketing platform for people interested in joining.
Problem is, with so many young people using streaming services, social media and apps, do they get exposure to these shows on traditional “TV channels”?
[email protected]

julian1
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julian1

I watched both seasons on YouTube so I’d say yes. The question is, do the MoD do any digital/social marketing to this age group? would have thought yes they do

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

Hi Matt,

I don’t think the cameras were on board for Westlant 19, but there are hopes they’ll be along for the first deployment next year, I believe.

Trevor
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Trevor

I’m glad to see these planes in action. Let’s have more of it. But I find the whooha of planes landing here rather than on exercises in the Atlantic a bit overblown. I am scratching my head to wonder why it is a “first”.

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

Hi Trevor,

As firsts go it is probably the least significant, but it keeps the goods news stories associated with the carrier programme coming which I suspect is part of the Navy’s strategy for keeping them. Out forces are getting well used to defending themselves from our numpty politicians – they seem to spend almost as much time fending off bad political decisions as they do defending the country. OK a may be slight exaggeration but I’m sure to you get my point. 🙂

Frank62
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Frank62

HMG is the main threat to our armed frorces, reducing all practically to below sustainable & much we need has been lost. We’re going to be the only CVA operator with no on board SAM system. If we’re going to swan about in the PRCs newly annexed “backyard”, we need to have each vessel properly equipped to current standards. Spin that the QEs will operate with escorts rings hollow when every other CVA operator has both 2 or 3 tier SAM/anti-ship missile defences & much larger escort fleets available. We owe it to our crews even more than to our… Read more »

RobW
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RobW

It has been announced that QEC will sail into high threat environments, like the SCS, with 2 x T45 and 2 x T23/T26. So two equipped with Sea Viper, two with Sea Ceptor, plus the Phalanx on the T45 and carrier.

Is that not a tiered AAW defence, especially when you add in the F35s themselves to (hopefully) prevent air launched missiles?

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

HI RobW, I would say that it is indeed a 2 or 3 tier AAW defence ring. I think what Frank62 was suggesting is that should the carriers be threatened with a saturation attack then you would want as many layers as you can sqeeze in. My understanding is that there is capacity to fit additional kit on the carriers as they have a few thousand tons of ‘stretch’ designed in. So it comes down to suitability, doctrine and money. Some missile systems would interfere with flight ops (e.g. hot launched missile create a blast and obscuration hazard) so it… Read more »

RobW
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RobW

I believe the RN would argue that they have squeezed in as many layers as possible. Sea Viper operates on a one shot one kill philosophy so the theoretical capacity is the same as the USN ABs, which fire two missiles at every target given the supposed limitations of the missile and Aegis compared to PAAMs. I guess the answer is we will never know what is enough unless the sh*t hits the fan, but it the CBG seems to be well defended on paper.

Steve R
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Steve R

That’s what it will sail into the SCS with next year, plus an Astute. To be honest if the QEC were going to war in a high threat environment I’d expect that number to increase drastically.

Going up against a peer or near peer enemy, I’d imagine three Type 45 destroyers and 4-6 Type 23/26, and a pair of Astutes.

We would manage to scrape the units together same as we did in 1982.

Frank62
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Frank62

We have c.1/3 the escort fleet we had in 1982. Saturation ASM attacks is just one of the PRCs(& Russia’s) anti carrier group capabilities. I think we should be doing better at equipping our QEs in case push came to shove in any circumstances. Other navies get on fine with SAMs on their carriers.
For the SCS deployment, the greatest deterrent probably is USMC F35s, so an attack on us is also an attack on the USA.

RobW
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RobW

Yes indeed, I was referring to the numbers that will sail with QEC into ‘high threat’ environments in peacetime. In war you would hope it would have more escorts.

Frank62
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Frank62

If that’s adequate, why does the USN equip their CVAs with ESSM, RAM & Phalanx? After all they have a much larger escort fleet. The Russians, Chinese, Indians, French etc all have 3 tier SAM/anti-missile defences. Even in WW2 when we had a huge navy, one of our carriers was caught with practically no escort(just 2 old destroyers) & swiftly sunk. The escorts argument is just spin. We stingely skimp on weaponry & so risk losing a very expensive ship & hundreds of even more valuable crew. F35s are amazing aircraft, but in war the enemy has a nasty habit… Read more »

Trevor
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Trevor

I’m sure that if we are to show the flag then we should wave a big one. But what high threat do we face? By all means let China wave it’s flag as well. But we buy loads of stuff from China, it’s a trading nation. For our part we are not sailing to Shanghai to occupy it. We are not intent to put down the Boxers.

Helions
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Helions
Paul T
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Paul T

Silly question – HMS QE is in home water’s, would it still have Escort Ships,I’ve not read anything about some company for her ?.

Peter Crisp
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Peter Crisp

I assume they could do combat training against shore based Typhoons? With the US also on board they could do a mini Red Flag type exercise.

andy reeves
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andy reeves

now get the rest of our jets built, then we’re good to go.

Helions
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Helions

The saga continues with our GRFs…

https://news.usni.org/2020/01/28/navy-weighing-costs-timelines-of-bringing-f-35cs-to-carrier-jfk

It is still my opinion that the JFK (and possibly even Enterprise) will be combat ready before the GRF…

Cheers

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

Some interesting reading on the cost of the F35 for those of you who have an interest. “78. Asked about the MoD’s claim that the project remained on budget, he replied that it was, and “has always been”, very unclear what the MoD actually means by “on budget [ … ] at no point have they said, “we are spending x on this aircraft and y on retrofitting it.”72 At the heart of this question of costs is a fundamental problem, according to Alexi Mostrous–that of transparency: “we just don’t know [about the costs and the potential overrun]”.73 79. When… Read more »

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

The link above really is a must-read. We will not know the true unit cost per aircraft until at least 2035 lol “The MoD and the cost of the F-35 programme 88. We asked the Minister for Defence Procurement and her MoD colleagues several times about the cost to the UK taxpayer of the F-35 programme. Pressed on the total cost per aircraft, once support and spares are included, Mrs Baldwin and her colleagues did not answer directly, pointing instead to a recent NAO report which put the total cost of the programme through to 2026, at £9.1 billion, a… Read more »

Ron5
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Ron5

You don’t know the true unit cost of typhoon either.

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

Do you?

Lordtemplar
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Lordtemplar

You also need to consider upgrade costs of existing airframes since the plane is continuously being upgraded (software, weapons integration, etc…)
Flyaway costs are pretty meaningless, since they are a small proportion of total lifetime ownership costs. Unfortunately this gets very unclear when it comes to the F35, especially the F35 B which is estimated to a life cycle have 2100 flight hrs vs 8000 originally planned/promised.

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

I mentioned this in the above post along with the link attached.

Trevor
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Trevor

That’s why, I imagine, we are not ordering any more yet. The final nr of hours will be much higher than 2100. Figures are scaremongering over early production models. Our later batches will be much different.

Rudeboy
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Rudeboy

Lot 11-14 prices are already out there and have been for a while. The price has fallen dramatically.

It’s $101m per copy on Lot 14…

Lot 11 starts at $108m, the intervening lots decrease to the Lot 14 $101m copy.

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

“83. This does not mean that there are no price targets for the programme. As mentioned in the last paragraph, the grouping of purchases into lots is designed to achieve economies of scale that should, as production increases, see costs per unit decline. Mr Babione told us that, at the request of the JPO, Lockheed Martin will be aggregating Lots 12, 13 and14 into what they called a “block buy and an economic order quantity opportunity” of approximately 445 aeroplanes. He also explained that Lockheed Martin’s cost target was for the price of the B model to be $105 million… Read more »

the_marquis
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the_marquis

Also, what about flight hour costs? That’s often quoted at $31,000/hr, but is that for the A, or B and C as well? And what is LM’s target for that?

And would we ever get the full figures? I remember reading a paper of maintenance costs of current and future fighters by Janes, and the UK Govt figure for Typhoon was given as under $10,000/hr, but Janes estimated it to be $21,000/hr.

Rudeboy
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Rudeboy

LM’s target for F-35 is 25 for 25. Thats $25,000 per flight hour by 2025. It’s seen as ambitious but achievable. And for a high end fighter that is extraordinarily cheap. Expect F-35B to be c $30,000 per flight hour as it will cost more than the A variant.

But there is no way that Typhoon is $10k or $21k. It’s not even that cheap in £’s. It’s come down a lot recently…but it’s nowhere near the $25k that LM are looking at for F-35. Think double…at least.

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

A little bit better than the costs mentioned here for the F35A. I assume the B might be more? “Both CAPE and the F-35 Joint Program Office arrived at similar projections for the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant’s cost per flying hour in FY24, with CAPE estimating $36,000 per hour and the JPO pegging costs at $34,000 per hour, said Daigle, who is stepping down later this month. (The two organizations did not provide an estimate for FY25, which is outside of the regular five-year budget cycle.) Either figure would be an improvement from the FY18 rate, in which… Read more »

Alan Reid
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Alan Reid

On the subject of the Typhoon, I’ve read the unit-price for aircraft in the recent Kuwait deal (2016) was £89M.
And I’m sure it was aviation journalist Jon Lake who stated that the TyTAN initiative had reduced the operating costs of the Typhoon in RAF service to near F-16 levels.

RobW
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RobW

Let’s hope we still have 2 carriers to put them on. Most of us were hoping for an increase in defence spending but all Govt departments have just been asked to cut back by 5%. So much for all the “Global Britain” malarkey!

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

Same s..t another day RobW unfortunately, but you begin to see why there will be a shake-up in the defence sector.

RobW
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RobW

Unfortunately I don’t think we will see the shake up where it needs to be. Too many vested interests and too little clarity from Govt as to what our defence forces are actually for. We urgently need a proper review of our priorities and a budget to match. No more of this trying to be a mini USA with capabilities in all areas but spread far too thin. The army needs to be scaled back in favour of an amphibious force. Leave the defence of Central Europe to Germany, France, Poland et al. We should concentrate on our northern flank,… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

You sound like me!

Agreed on all points.

geoff
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geoff

Good Morning. There will always be pkcasimirs on sites such as this who are aggressive and provocative and see things only in Black and White-“America won the war and the UK is a minnow” type soundbites. The reality is that there are no definitive short answers that we can call the truth about much of history and the way things are. An event such as WW2 was extraordinarily complex as were its components-the nations and people involved. My broad brush analysis is that the USA and the United Kingdom had and have still, bonds of language and culture. The demographic… Read more »

geoff
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geoff

…the vast majority of the USA population

Henry Root
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Henry Root

My concern is that “technological superiority” never goes well. The Space Shuttle is the perfect example. It performed only 10% of the missions planned. It never met the design brief, i.e. it was never fully re-usable. It killed 14 people. It led to a gap of 500 to 1 in the 1980s between Russia and the US in space hours, but also the ISS ended up being supplied by Soyuz. The Americans spent a billion designing a space pen, the Russians took a pencil. You guys love your toys, but the reality is more like Star Wars, one angry farmboy… Read more »

Rudeboy
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Rudeboy

“The Americans spent a billion designing a space pen, the Russians took a pencil.”

A complete myth. The Fisher Space Pen cost peanuts to develop, and was made without any government funds. It was a private company developing it, wasn’t contracted or specified by the US government or NASA. Pencils are also a bad idea in space…they don’t use lead, they use graphite. And graphite in exposed electrical circuits, of which there were lots, causes electrical shorts and fires. Not the best idea in zero G….

Guess who bought loads of Fisher Space Pens and used them in Space…the Soviets….

Henry Root
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Henry Root

True, I was just citing an old space joke to make a point. The Space Shuttle was no myth though, the Russians ran 21 space station missions to the US’s 3. The ISS was solely dependent on the Russian transport at one point.

Meirion X
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Meirion X

Star Wars, total friction! X-Wing fighters could Never manoeuvre like you see them in movies in Zero G!

Mike
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Mike

The UK isn’t going to be around too much longer. Scotland’s freedom draws ever close. Well said pkcasimir. The arrogance will be knocked out of the militaristic, imperialist English then!

Mike
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Mike

So where is it going to go.From an insignificant part of Europe prior to the congress of Vienna to the second major contributer to NATO makes me think it will be a factor for a long time

Meirion X
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Meirion X

You got the CHEEK to use an English Name!!
You English hating hypocrite!

Harold
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Harold

Royal Navy could face cuts as Ministers told to axe projects Ministers have reportedly been told to trim at least five per cent off their budgets The Royal Navy, RAF and British Army could face cuts after Defence Minsters were among those ordered to make budget saving by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor. A letter jointly signed by Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid orders all cabinet ministers, understood to include those at the Ministry of Defence (MoD), to identify cuts of at least five per cent to their Whitehall department budgets – and to consider axing programmes that do… Read more »

Steve
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Steve

It could be that the MOD itself might need to make cuts rather than the armed forces, but either way i suspect i can see how it could play out. I suspect its too late to cut the carriers. Another nation is not going to pay for full price for one and it would be politically to hot a news story to sell one for a fraction of the massive costs paid. Which means that if the story is true, the cuts are coming from somewhere else. One option i could potentially see is cutting the t26 by 2 (save… Read more »

Paul.P
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Paul.P

We need to face facts. The shortfall in the defence budget capital program is substantial. There needs to be significant cuts in the big ticket items. I think T26 numbers will be cut to 6 with no replacement. I think the frigate destroyer fleet in the short term will dip to 6T45, 6 T26 and 5 T31 with the River 2s picking up the frigate presence and constabulary duties. We can’t man 19 escorts. One T45 and one T23 are laid up. The new FSS project for 3 ships might also be at risk of cutting to 2. Future rebuilding… Read more »

Geoffrey Hicking
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Geoffrey Hicking

Buy 20 F-35s and no more. Cut 3 T 45s and buy 5 T 26s. Cut all the T 23s after the 5 T 26s are built. No more Rivers- even that will cost money we don’t have when yet another shortfall is discovered.

It is utterly impossible to curb excessive sending at the MOD. I honestly don’t think we will have any escorts by 2050. Focus solely on minesweepers, the carriers and submarines, and hope our allies always have an escort for them.