The United Kingdom has, it appears, signalled a reaffirmation of its commitment to procure 138 F-35B aircraft, as per the original plan laid out in the early stages of the programme.

In a recent parliamentary exchange, James Cartlidge, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, provided a detailed response regarding the UK’s commitment to the F-35 programme.

On 5th February 2024, he stated:

“All Partner Nations place orders for F-35 through the Joint Program Office in low-rate initial production Lots. The average time between the multi-national orders being placed for each Lot and deliveries to customer nations is between two to four years.

For details of United Kingdom delivery timescales from Lot 3 to Lot 14, I refer the right hon. Member to the answer that Baroness Goldie gave to the Noble Lord, Lord Moonie on 4 November 2019 to Question HL520, which remains extant. The multi-national order for low-rate initial production Lots 15-17 was placed in early 2023, which set delivery timescales of a further thirteen UK F-35B aircraft out to 2025.

The UK remains committed to 138 aircraft through the life of the programme. However, no contracts have been placed by any nation beyond production Lot 17. Precise details of delivery timescales for subsequent production Lots will be taken at the appropriate time, as part of the wider multi-national orders. This ensures the most appropriate capability and the best value for money.”

This statement stands in stark contrast to the ambiguity that surrounded the UK’s procurement plans following the 2021 Defence Command paper. The paper did not reiterate the commitment to 138 F-35s, leading to speculation that the UK might be scaling back its involvement in the program. Instead, it mentioned an intention to “increase the fleet size beyond the 48 F-35Bs already ordered,” without specifying a target number.

Notably, in March 2021, a previous First Sea Lord reportedly estimated that the final fleet would total between 60 and 80 aircraft. What will the figure be next week?

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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. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Paul Bestwick
Paul Bestwick
14 days ago

Has someone finally managed to put the coffee pot on in the MoD ?

Christopher
Christopher
14 days ago
Reply to  Paul Bestwick

I do wonder if uncle Sam had a quiet word “ok you aren’t a European land power and there are plenty of others to pay that bill ….but there is no excuse for the navy and the promised ability to stand in for the USN with decent sized flat top.

Mark B
Mark B
14 days ago
Reply to  Christopher

I doubt it. The Government will have already worked out that concerns about war are heightening (If this forum is anything to go by it is turning into panic). Movement on ships and planes seems to be increasing although it will be a while before that produces results. Newer weapons are I’m sure in the pipeline. Calm heads will hopefully prevail. The Brits are normally quite good at moving from a peacetime force to a war footing normally just in the nick of time.

Iain
Iain
13 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Panic is a strong word. Acute concern would perhaps be a better expression.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah
13 days ago
Reply to  Iain

I think panic is an overstatement. Most people on here know something that escapes our political class, that the best and cheapest way to avoid war is a strong defence. And as bitter a pill forking out for strong defence, it is considerable cheaper than war.

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 days ago
Reply to  Iain

😄

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

when we’ve the industrial facility to do it.

Andrew D
Andrew D
13 days ago
Reply to  Christopher

Maybe or is it votes the PM wants of is own party members who are concerned about defence or be it very few .Has General public no interest in Defence matters, although understandable the the UK economy is and cost of living etc 🤔 🇬🇧

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

no votes in the armed forces debate

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 days ago
Reply to  Christopher

again

Frank
Frank
14 days ago
Reply to  Paul Bestwick

Just re-heating an old jug.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
14 days ago
Reply to  Paul Bestwick

It is only when the aroma permeates No 10 & Treasury that things start to happen. I do find it very hard to understand why the telegraphing of changing posture has been left so late…..exercises bla bla bla……Putin and his rag tag band of allies understand that few countries will commit…..UK does commit but has few resources…… Putin does understand CASH……loves the power of the stuff. UK spending more cash says more than anything else more clearly. But we haven’t made that clear statement…..just yet? The one thing that Putin does understand is that UK can take out his navy… Read more »

David Barry
David Barry
13 days ago

And the Iranians will have read the message and turned into lessons learnt. You don’t need a large standing naval or airforce to deter and even defeat air and naval forces. Simples. And the Iranians are not slow to learn, indeed, their country forms one of the first centres of learning in the world. Meanwhile, we pop off million quid missiles at £1/time drones (I exaggerate) and a T45 needs harbour time because the crew need R&R and the magazine went to sea half (only half?) empty. After 14 years of Con mismanagement I am not hopeful for the next… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
13 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

I agree but we don’t want to help them in their learning……

I wish the crew a relaxing break as they have done fine work protecting freedom of navigation and should be proud of themselves.

andy a
andy a
13 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

your confidence in labour is extremely hopeful, if my experience of labour goverments is anything to go by.

David Barry
David Barry
13 days ago
Reply to  andy a

No Denis Healey or John Dutton on the horizon, your point was?

Andy a
Andy a
13 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

That in the last 45 years governments on both sides flop one way and strive to out do each other to “keep us safe” there all the same. There all corrupt and incompetent

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
14 hours ago
Reply to  Andy a

There are wiser words said on here than anywhere near the MOD

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
14 hours ago
Reply to  andy a

The labour policy on defense is a very quiet one. Do they actually have one?

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
10 hours ago
Reply to  andy a

Indeed

Jon
Jon
13 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

The Iranians need no lessons from us in using proxies armed with lower level tech to devastating effect.

David Barry
David Barry
13 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Actually, they just needed lessons and look how quick they learned them.

Tin foil hat moment.
Imagine you had a fully air mobile Brigade of Marines and you went and did a search and destroy of Houthi territory, heavens let’s add a Brigade of PARA.

Both backed by carrier air power.

Hat off.

7.62 is even cheaper than a drone and the barstewards won’t be coming back again.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
14 hours ago
Reply to  David Barry

The 72 harriers in their ground attack configuration would have been ideal for the houthisissue.so would tornado. I think it’s totally wrong to enforce 10 hour round journeys for. Typhoon pilots when a carrier in the red sea with f 35b could reduce the flight time by over half.

David Barry
David Barry
11 hours ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Axed on the altar of politics. I think USMC still operate them. David Cameron and George Osborne should be strung up.

Jon
Jon
13 days ago

“UK spending more cash says more than anything else more clearly.”

This should be the opening sentence of every deterrence paper the MOD writes.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
14 hours ago
Reply to  Jon

The MOD can write? I never knew that.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
10 hours ago
Reply to  Paul Bestwick

Can. They afford one?

Jonathan
Jonathan
14 days ago

I would say that the government never rowed back on the 130+ buy it simply would not give a timescale….it never stated we are not buying 138…this is a very long programme with the product line not shutting down until the late 2030s..with the plan for the f35 to be in service for 50 years..the first 48 are going to long gone to the scrap yard by any future out of commission date.

Clueless Observer
Clueless Observer
14 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yup, we will still be buying batches for the next 10-15 years I hope…… there is nothing else we can use on the QE class so I could see us getting to over 100 airframes purchased, but a constant force level of 70-80. Anyone know the max airframe hours for an F-35B ? Was hoping that the current world situation would encourage a further purchase of Typhoon…… with the Tranche 1’s being scrapped early and the rest of the fleet being beasted, we will end up with a capability gap before Tempest comes online…… At this rate we risk going… Read more »

Paul
Paul
14 days ago

Funny that the Spanish think it’s worth upgrading their T1s with some T2 & T3 bits to keep ’em going, while we’re in a hurry to scrap ours. They’d do for QRA & the like (what I think the Spanish will use them for), saving airframe hours on the newer ones.

Chris
Chris
14 days ago

8,000 hours currently. The US will SLEP it though, they have done it with almost every fighter program since the F-4.

Exroyal.
Exroyal.
14 days ago

I would not worry about hours on our F35. The best serviceability rates are by a US squadron at just over 55%. Given we have a longer supply chain ours you would think would be worse. They can’t be used in the QRA role so Typhoon will do the lifting there.

Angus
Angus
13 days ago
Reply to  Exroyal.

Funny Norway and the Dutch are doing just that with theirs! As will others that take them in future so no reason the UK can’t once we have the numbers of course. We need 4 x full front line units at least to ensure we can both put to sea and cover some land actions. UK Air is a real mess currently and needs sorting so we have the numbers needed to actually make a difference. As has been said lets look to getting the sea and air services to a level they can really contribute to a safe future… Read more »

DJ
DJ
13 days ago
Reply to  Angus

Everything comes down to F35 block 4. Without block 4, the F35 world is on hold. Do you want a whole lot of aircraft that can’t do block 4? Since block 4 doesn’t yet exist, how certain is any F35 participant of what can be delivered? Everyone can see the potential, but potential rather than the now, is the killer (literally).

Chris
Chris
13 days ago
Reply to  DJ

It’s a funding funnel issue. Orders are slower than the program expected, which causes cash flow to be lower. The current production rate is only about 70% of what was envisioned. That causes the development timeline to slide to the right as the free cash flow to reinvest is lower.

Exroyal.
Exroyal.
13 days ago
Reply to  Angus

Sorry but you are wrong. Nobody is using the
F35B in the QRA role. The Norwegians and the Dutch bought the F35A. A very different aircraft. QRA needs to have the ability in practice to go supersonic. The F35B has the ability on paper but not in practice.

Expat
Expat
13 days ago
Reply to  Exroyal.

The issues with the F35b not being able to.go supersonic were over reported. The issue occurs at maximum altitude and despite it be report in testing back in 2011 it has never been replicated. No F35 has lost its stealth coating but there is an excepted risk it could happen hence guidance s limited use of afterburner. F35 pilots are fully cleared to go supersonic in combat situations. In practice tactically blasting around on full after burner is really bad tactically, it consumes loads of fuel and does nothing for stealth due to the huge IR signature it creates. So… Read more »

Exroyal.
Exroyal.
13 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Geographical I live not far from Coningsby. I have a neighbour who is serving there. I can assure you when the QRF takes of from there particularly to intercept airliners failing to respond they are supersonic within minutes until intercept. The F35 will never be used for that. It is also well documented that the US is even using F22 type coatings and others to try to solve the problems with that to this day. There is also the problem with the back end melting. The US Congress are not happy about the F35. In many aspects. Costs, production,technical issues,serviceability… Read more »

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
13 hours ago
Reply to  Exroyal.

Given the shambles of American politics, I’m surprised that Congress gives the American forces anything. The loss of nearly a billion dollars on the LCS project will hamper fut programes for decades

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
10 hours ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

How would our RN be if like the USN they would need Congress permission to retire a ship? Maybe we’d have still kept ocean.

John Miles
John Miles
13 days ago
Reply to  Angus

The F-35 is too bluff for the extended QRA duties around the British coast. The Typhoon with external tanks, a pair of ASRAAM’s and two Meteors conformally mounted is, conversely, in one of the principal roles it was designed for. Both aircraft need the Voyager to be on station, but the F-35 would be operating uncomfortably fast and, at the discretion of the Russian pilots, simply unable to keep up beyond a short sprint.

Jonathan
Jonathan
13 days ago

Personally I think we also need to replace the tranche 1 typhoons with a new tranche while the line is still open..this will give use around 30 new airframes..that will allow typhoons to keep flying into the 2050s if needed.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
13 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yep ! 36 would be ideal. That gives you 76 with AESA.

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

get the front line numbers up, then KEEP them there

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 days ago

maybe we could see the carries at sea with a decent 15+ f 35 embarked.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
13 hours ago
Reply to  andy reeves

Should see not could see ever see an empty American carrier?

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
13 hours ago

Britain didn’t push for a VSTOL version of tempest and as usual the french ,, German and Italian conglomerate got what they wanted. The U.K is a pushover and nobody, risky sunak or victor meldrew starmer will stand up and stop it

Frank
Frank
14 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Exactly.

Pete ( the original from years ago)
Pete ( the original from years ago)
13 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

But the whole ‘life of program’ in relation to 138 is a recent (last 15 years) spin.

In 2001 when F35 was selected it was 138 F35 to replace 300+ then front line operational Tornado GR, Harrier GR and SHAR.

Typhoon was to replace Tornado F3 and Jaguar.

The life of project narrative is a distraction from cuts.

Where I do agree with MOD is slow down till there is full UK weapons integration ….but it’s now 28 years since decision to go to market for the JSF was made. Unbelievable timescales.

JohnG
JohnG
13 days ago

Very good point Pete, cheers for this. Surprised others haven’t mentioned it, perhaps lack of awareness.

Jonathan
Jonathan
13 days ago

The problem is we have cut and cut and cut until we no longer even realise how inadequate our force levels are….just enough for standing tasks….is not adequate force levels….as you say benchmarks keep changing…in 2000 2.5% of GDP on defence was considered the lowest possible benchmark…by 2010-11 it had come down to 2.1%…with the fiction that 2% was somehow a reasonable amount….now we pretend that 2.5% will be extraordinary due to the start of a new Cold War and risk of world war 3..when infact the last time we had that risk. We considered 5-6% of GDP just about… Read more »

Jon
Jon
13 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yes. The Peace Dividend cut spending to 2.5% not from it.

DaveyB
DaveyB
13 days ago

A bit more background, as Typhoon’s birth and its subsequent roles was a bit convoluted. AST403 – Future offensive air system was initially looking at replacing both Harrier and Jaguar. But because of the VSTOL requirement. The MoD believed it couldn’t be done with one aircraft so the program was split and separated in to two programs. Harrier GR3 became the Harrier 2 GR5 through AST409. AST403 was rewritten for an agile fighter bomber with an emphasis on the air combat role. It went multinational with France and Germany, to become the Light Combat Aircraft. France wanted design lead and… Read more »

Pete ( the original from years ago)
Pete ( the original from years ago)
13 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

As someone on this site pnce said…The irony Davey is the Typhoon air superiority fighter has become a decent deep strike aircraft and the ‘JSF’ in UK service at moment is a good air superiority platform that can also drop PAVEWAY

DaveyB
DaveyB
13 days ago

Too true. With both Typhoon and F35 being dual role. We are in some respects spoilt. I did worry about F35s being used for QRA. As they can’t sustain supersonic flight for very long, compared to Typhoon. But Norway seems to be doing fine using theirs for QRA. I do feel that the RAF are missing a strategic strike asset. That can fly long distances and dump a load of cruise missiles on a target. Sadly I doubt the B21 will be cheap enough for the UK. Even if Oz chipped in as part of a AUKUS deal, I reckon… Read more »

Pete ( the original from years ago)
Pete ( the original from years ago)
13 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Indeed. Could P8 launch a decent load of cruise missiles 1000km out from targets.

John Miles
John Miles
13 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I find Norway’s use of the F-35 for QRA difficult to comprehend. Yes the role is officially recognised, but when has an F-35 ever been able to shadow any Russian fighter bomber?

DaveyB
DaveyB
12 days ago
Reply to  John Miles

Norway has the F35A, which can sustain supersonic speeds for longer than our B version. It also has less firm drag, so is slightly quicker.

For QRA you need an aircraft that has good acceleration and a long endurance. Basically so you can get to the unidentified object quickly. Then if it is the normal Russian aircraft, flying without transmitting on IFF. Your aircraft has the duration to escort it away from your controlled area. The F35 can easily do this task.

John Miles
John Miles
12 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I find this genuinely surprising. Yes, out of necessity. But Flankers etc can toy with any F-35 of any type effortlessly. It’s why the Raptor is what it is.

DaveyB
DaveyB
12 days ago
Reply to  John Miles

The F35 doesn’t need to knife fight with a Su-30/35. If it came to it and was within visual range and Flanker jumped on its tail. The pilot can fire Sidewinder/ASRAAM in an over the shoulder shot.

PS You’ll be surprised at what a F35 can do aerobatically!

Paul T
Paul T
12 days ago
Reply to  John Miles

Realistically Norway can only operate one type of Fighter – their F16’s would have to have been multi-role and that will be the case with their F35A’s.We are lucky that the RAF can at least seperate roles,but i would still love to see a Russian Bear with a Typhoon off of one Wing and an F35b off the other, if only for no other reason than making a good picture.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
10 hours ago
Reply to  Paul T

The US has nearly 200 F 15 in reserve at ZAMARG.perhaps get a quote for a squadron of them. I’ve no issues with the U.K.USING SECOND HAND EQUIPMENT. WE COULD PERHAPS GET A DEAL WITH THE YANKS AS GOOD AS THE ONE THEY GOT FOR OUR HARRIERS.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
11 hours ago

Not to compare it. With the longevity of the F 1

James Fennell
James Fennell
14 days ago

They have to say this to sustain workshare.

david anthony simpson
david anthony simpson
14 days ago

Political smoke and mirrors – nothing less. Healey should have asked when the operational front line (ie all operational squadrons and OCU) will be complete and how many sqns and ac that will consist of (total purchase numbers over the life of the type in service means little in that regard and merely play to the gallery).

Last edited 14 days ago by david anthony simpson
Andy reeves
Andy reeves
10 hours ago

I dread to think who prime minister starmer will give the defence job to🤔😂

Paul.P
Paul.P
14 days ago

A result of Schapps recent visit to Washington?

Christopher
Christopher
14 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Maybe so, see my reply above

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
14 days ago

I think “Appears to recommit” is like an Estate Agent saying “Full of potential” it doesn’t actual quantify anything, but makes a positive sound.

But it does nail one absolute fact, the U.K. will not be receiving any more Combat Aircraft anytime soon. Because we get the last of the 45 combat available F35B in 2025 and have nothing else on order.

Unlike nearly every other NATO country, maybe we know better ?

grizzler
grizzler
14 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

However, no contracts have been placed by any nation beyond production Lot 17.”
seems to imply no other NATO country has ordered any more either?

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
14 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

A very good point grizzler, the question is why? The F-35 Production Line is officially scheduled to close in 2035. Can you imagine the backlog of aircraft waiting for TR3/Block4 and weapons integration, let alone when we will reach FOC for ours? A bun fight springs to mind 🍩👍🇬🇧 “Poland, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Canada, Germany and Finland have bought F-35s scheduled for delivery between 2025 and the early 2030s. In 2022, Lockheed set a long-term objective to produce 156 F-35s a year. It delivered 141 aeroplanes in 2022 and will deliver 97 in 2023. But if, as it says,… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
13 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

They hope.

“The Czech Republic government signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) today making official its intent to procure 24 Lockheed Martin 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II aircraft. Through the U.S. government Foreign Military Sale, the Czech Air Force will receive its first aircraft in 2031, which will be in the latest advanced Block 4 configuration.”

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
14 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

Nope it doesn’t it’s a real bit of double speak. Many of the outstanding agreed “orders” are post Lot 17. As I understand it the process works like this. Country A decides it wants to purchase 24 F35 from the US, and it wants them in 6 yearly batches of 4 so they can budget for them. The US has to consider that and approve a Foreign Sale or say no chance, but we will sell you something else Take it or Leave it (Turkey). In the US everything is ordered on an annual basis (FY) and dependant on what… Read more »

DJ
DJ
13 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Block 4 is make or break for F35. I actually think F35 is yesterday’s news, except for F35B. It promised so much but failed to deliver on time, & time stands still for no-one. The opposition is catching up, except for F35B.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
13 days ago
Reply to  DJ

Completely agree and I do wonder if that is the reason for the U.K Govt Double Speak. We have 45 operations capable F35B ordered, built, delivered or due to be by 2025. So we have a lot of actual £££ skin in the game already, we are also the only tier 1 Partner and build @20% of every F35B here in UK. But it seems to me that HMG may be taking a leaf out of Yes Prime Minister. Government Policy is to have no Policy. In other words I’m not spending any more till I know Block 4 works… Read more »

Chris
Chris
13 days ago
Reply to  DJ

Who is catching up? Nobody else even has a true 5th gen fighter in production. Everyone thought it was a gimmick until Ukraine has proved the IADS situation makes 4th gen aircraft a suicide mission in a peer war.

Jim
Jim
12 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

The US Government places all the orders on behalf of the partners so we all get the same price. That’s why no further orders.

Richard Beedall
Richard Beedall
14 days ago

It looks like the government finally has awoken to the fact that the UK’s armed forces have been cut to far. Also the old fig leaf “we spend 2% of GDP on defence, almost no one else in Europe does” has gone. France has just upped its defence budget by 40%, and even Germany seems to have finally got its act together Some of the recent announcements indicate that Hunt must have agreed with Sunak a timescale for the increase to 2.5%, and some extra cash will be made available immediately for urgent operational requirements. [Sadly that probably includes paying… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
14 days ago

Feasible that HMG Treasury announces an unplanned budget increase in March? 🤔

Richard
Richard
14 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Even 2% is misleading. The nuclear deterrent budget was separate once and pension payments were not previously included so it is not even near 2% in old money.

DaveyB
DaveyB
13 days ago
Reply to  Richard

The actual defence spend minus those two is 1.45%.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
11 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

😱

Blessed
Blessed
14 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Give your head a wobble😂

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
14 days ago
Reply to  Blessed

Apologies, was unfamiliar w/the idiom. Had to consult Mr.Google re this expression. Understand. 👍

Jim
Jim
14 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

No chance, tax cuts will be the only agenda at the budget. Not real tax cuts mind, fake ones 😀

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
11 hours ago
Reply to  Jim

It the only card the Tories have left. And still won’t keep them out of the dole queues

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Hunt is likely to announce income tax cuts or inheritance tax cuts to curry favour with voters before our General Election. He really is not going to gift more cash for MoD – voters aren’t interested in that.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
11 hours ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Or stupid enough to fall for it.

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

doesn’t matter stuff won’t get produced faster(no industrial infrastructure) so it’ll be as you are.

Jonno
Jonno
13 days ago

The French have a huge underfunded defence requirement whereas UK has done its sums.
France has to replace 4 force de frappe SSNBs, I Nuclear Aircraft Carrier and Develop a Rafale replacement probably solo while it continues with its SSN and other programs.
Of course they could always buy Russian kit to offset against loosing their handbag factories in Russiatania!
Never underestimate the French.

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 days ago
Reply to  Jonno

or trust them.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
11 hours ago
Reply to  Jonno

And never trust the Frenchies it’s all about the and sod everyone else. I wish we were as selfish in our dealing with them, Germany and Italy

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 days ago

the less often risky sunak’s name is mentioned the better.

maurice10
maurice10
14 days ago

All partners need to honour their initial commitments if new airframes are going to be cost-effective. Thank goodness the US ordered the F35 or it could have had issues meeting international volume. Tempest would not have succeeded to this point without Italy and Japan but even then, more international orders are important to make the scale of production feasible. I just hope the UKs F35s don’t get staggered upgrades, which creates redundancies such as tranch1Typhoon. We need a bigger F35 fleet to meet ever-increasing commitments.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
11 hours ago
Reply to  maurice10

As the ONLY tier one partner left in the F 3t project I’m disappointed to see other nations getting their orders while we have to wait.

Marked
Marked
14 days ago

The 60-80 fleet is probably accurate for in service numbers at a given time over the life of the programme if 138 is the total buy. The early batches of aircraft will be retired whilst the later are still being delivered, there will be some attrition as well. Not a chance of all 138 bring in service at the same time.

Richard Beedall
Richard Beedall
14 days ago
Reply to  Marked

Spot on. We are seeing the same with the Typhoon where the Tranche 1 aircraft are being taken out of service, even though though the airframes have thousands of hours left. F-35 aircraft and engines delivered in the 2030’s will be a massive upgrade on those delivered in the 2010’s. The RAF/RN would probably love to keep the early lot aircraft in service for at least training duties, but currently there’s no budget for more than three frontline squadrons, the planned fourth squadron being dropped by 2022.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
14 days ago

But when in the 2030s and when will we see them fitted to our F-35Bs? Dec 13, 2023F-35 engine upgrade money could run out in months if budget not passed “The Pentagon budgeted $75 million for the Engine Core Upgrade, or ECU, program for fiscal 2023; its proposed budget for fiscal 2024 would increase that to more than $400 million. But since the new fiscal year began two and a half months ago, the Pentagon has operated under continuing resolutions that keep funding programs at 2023 levels. This has meant the ECU program has not yet received its expected budget increase… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
14 days ago

It’s interesting, the fact is, post 2030, USMC orders of the B will be complete. When that happens, the cost of the B model will absolutely sky rocket as the cost of the A drops away. The ‘B’ model is a bespoke platform, that means small top up orders will be ‘extremely’ expensive. The B model will probably end up being 50% more expensive. We have to buy sufficient airframes to equip 4 squadrons and do so before 2030! To me that’s 100 airframes. 4 x 12 aircraft squadrons. 1 X 8 aircraft OCU 10 in use active reserve airframes.… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
13 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Plenty of other countries in on the Bravo variant – it is a big export success.

Basically everyone with a carrier goes, at least in part, Bravo.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
14 days ago

Where does it say that we are going to order more? Until it does….

EnglishElectricLightning
EnglishElectricLightning
14 days ago

Pinch me! Is it April 1st? I’m sure we’d all like that to be true, provided the funds are available and doesn’t materially detract from other capabilities. Is this part of a genuine move towards increased defence spending, do we think?

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
11 hours ago

At the MOD it’s the 1st of April every day 😁

EnglishElectricLightning
EnglishElectricLightning
18 minutes ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

😃😃😃

simon alexander
simon alexander
14 days ago

appearance is a good word, this gentleman according to wiki has been minister of defense procurement since 2023. this statement costs this current govt nothing and where would it leave tempest if we got F35b very much late in the day?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago

How is that even remotely possible given that the bulk of funding allocated to Combat Air is going into Tempest?

klonkie
klonkie
14 days ago

It’s rather meaningless Mate. Without a bi- partisan commitments from Labour (likely to be the incoming UK government), I can’t see this flying (pardon the pun).

Devil is of courses in the detail. Let’s see the budget allocation for these 138 F35s and a separate ring fenced allocation for Tempest.

I think they’ll settle on circa 80 and get a move on with Tempest.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

I’d settle happily with that final option mate. As long as UAV Flying Wingman types supplement.

klonkie
klonkie
14 days ago

You have my vote D!

grizzler
grizzler
14 days ago

Are we actually doing anything with Loyal Wingman I know they started to look (MosquitoI think) but that went out of the window and I’m not sure qhere we are with that now?
I don’t think 80 will be enough either tbh not for full compliment of carrier squadrons mnimum we are puported to be having…wasn’t i worked out just shy of 100 needed to fulfil that compliment?

Louis
Louis
14 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

Mosquito was canned.

BAE have a few loyal wingman programmes, one of which will have its first flight next year.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
11 hours ago
Reply to  Louis

Taranis might have been a good idea for the future

Jim
Jim
14 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

Sea vixen is still on the go

Andrew D
Andrew D
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Yes and the old one put some new air to air missiles on to help Typhoons out 🤗 not far from joking Jim 👍

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
11 hours ago
Reply to  klonkie

And a CATOBAR FIT FOR THE U.K CARRIERS. In the hope we’ll actually get to play with them from the QE’S

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
10 hours ago

Oh is that the mega moneypitfor the aircraft that doesn’t come with a STOVL option? The aircraft that could leave our carriers without planes again?

DeeBee
DeeBee
14 days ago

Let’s hope so, the way the world is going we’ll need them, and then some!!

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
11 hours ago
Reply to  DeeBee

Perhaps we can get a discount on a bulk buy from Currys😁

J c
J c
14 days ago

More pre election lies. This Government is already spinning lies about cutting immigration and mending broken borders. Now its about strengthening our overstretched defence forces, whose numbers have become rather pitiful over the decades. The Conservative party had their chance to remain in power for decades but the Liberal left majority in the party have messed it up big time by failing to fulfill their previous election manifesto promises and by moving the party away from it’s traditional party values.

ChrisLondon
ChrisLondon
14 days ago
Reply to  J c

The public are rejecting the Tories as too right wing and you think they should be more right wing?

The Conservative party flushed their traditional values away when they decided to pretend the Leave vote was valid rather than confront the fact they were infiltrated by the Russian stodges of Leave.

grizzler
grizzler
14 days ago
Reply to  ChrisLondon

You might be …and that was 8 yeasrs ago ..you’d think you’d have gotten past the hurt by now and moved onto providing something more constructive

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
14 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

You might notice he was replying to a delusional post by someone else that was Trumpist in its grasp of actual facts, I always thought a right of reply was supported in a Democracy.

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

theres not a lot of destructive left, they’ve used it all.

terence patrick hewett
terence patrick hewett
14 days ago
Reply to  ChrisLondon

Is it nice on planet Zog?

GR
GR
14 days ago
Reply to  ChrisLondon

Are you for real? The Tories arent being rejected because they are too “right wing” they are being rejected because they are useless and incompetent. If they had actually delivered on their promises over Brexit and dealing with mass, illegal immigration, as well as a flat lining economy they would not be where they are.

JC
JC
14 days ago
Reply to  GR

Totally agree GR

Paul.P
Paul.P
13 days ago
Reply to  GR

A quote often attributed to Albert Einstein: things should be made as simple as possible but no simpler. I think this is where the right wing Tories have gone wrong. The ideology of simply cut taxes, privatise everything, leave the EU, let rip and tootle off to the local and everything will be fine doesn’t work. There’s a bit more to it.I think voters have come to the conclusion that the government needs to be active not passive.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
13 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Exactly. To me the UK Gov she be setting long term plans and strategic frameworks for all sorts of things, then calling in the private sector to help accomplish. I don’t know what you would call that: socialism, realism, whatever. All I know is the pure free market does not work and the UK’s crown jewels of our industry have been sold off to other state actors. e.g. Maggie Thatch’s “cure” killed the patient.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  GR

Exactly.

Nathan Paxton
Nathan Paxton
13 days ago
Reply to  GR

But we don’t have mass illegal migration. The number of irregular asylum seekers / illegal migrants is tiny – about 40k last year. We have mass legal migration – about 1,200k last year – by deliberate government policy, including failing to provide training opportunities and incentives for existing residents to fill vital jobs.

JC
JC
14 days ago
Reply to  ChrisLondon

You obviously mix in completely different circles to myself. Every person I’ve spoken too, neighbours, family and friends believe this Conservative party has either caved in to the liberal left within the party and/or failed to fulfil their election and Brexit pledges. It is this failure to fulfil the election promises that will drive many usual tory voters to vote against the Conservatives at the next election. Many will not vote because they think the Labour party will do better, rather they will be making a protest vote against the lies and broken promises made. To say that this Conservative… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
14 days ago
Reply to  JC

Seconded…..👍

andy a
andy a
13 days ago
Reply to  JC

exactly what I have seen. My working family and friends are sick of this pretend right wing party.

John Clark
John Clark
14 days ago
Reply to  ChrisLondon

Too right wing, that’s a good one, what about the Conservative party is right wing??

They are now a party of the left.

Very High tax
Very High spending
Big government

Please do point out what’s traditionally right wing about them?

andy a
andy a
13 days ago
Reply to  ChrisLondon

really none of the hundreds of working people I know are rejecting the Cons for being too right wing. They just want some one to acually stop the illegals swarming in

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
13 days ago
Reply to  andy a

Why was Maggie popular – because she was lovable and had great policies: no.

Because she had a good grip of the national steering wheel, after years of aimless ambling and a reasonable pressure on the accelerator.

Most of her policies were a bit wonky but she had the controls.

Peter S
Peter S
14 days ago

Doesn’t really say much. With further delays to software upgrades, why would UK commit now to purchase versions that can’t be fitted with the weapons planned for them? We also have problems with pilot training.
Lockheed Martin’s performance on the F35 has been appalling- new aircraft are being refused by the US and put into storage, awaiting software upgrades. The timescale for full block 4 has slipped further. And this is happening more than 21 years after LM won the JSF competition.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
14 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Indeed the block 4 ready aircraft were confidently about a year ago promised for Summer, which became late Summer, which became Winter and now slipped to around late Spring early Summer so slipped nearly a year in 18 months, not exactly promising and especially so for expectations of actual Block 4 integration availability. From comments above am I reading it right that the new engine core is required for new promised capabilities? These are not inter connected with those capabilities Block 4 are promising in and of itself surely? If so and not further capabilities, what aspects of the promised… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
13 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I think your assumptions about block 4 needing engine core upgrade are correct. The current effort is block 3 refresh, which is itself suffering delays. Block 4 software development seems to run to 2029. Confirms why UK is not ordering any more yet.
If only there were an alternative platform to operate from the carriers!

grizzler
grizzler
13 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Yep my understanding is that the engine upgrades are need to fully facilitate BLOCK V – however I didnt think the F35B was getting the same engine upgrade so I ‘m undsure how that actually dovetails in with the program. This is the issue – I’m still unsure when block 4 will start to be delievered and will that or wont it be alongside engine upgrades. and IF it is really feasible that we wait for that before any further procurment of the only new plane we are getting that can fly off of our new(ish) carriers. It seems to… Read more »

John Hartley
John Hartley
14 days ago

I would only order an extra 5 now, so we have 48 we can fight with (3 are early trials, the fourth is too early to be upgraded & the fifth fell off a carrier). So 5 new ones to replace those.
I would only make new large orders when the APG-85 radar replaces the APG-81, when the engine upgrade or new engine becomes available. Likewise the new EO system & cooling system. That lot will not be ready until 2028-32, so wait until then.

Kevin Watts
Kevin Watts
14 days ago

We should let the navy have 80 B variants and possibly another 80 A variants for the air force.
The A variant is far more suitable for what the sir force needs the F35 to do.
In the long term this would save money, and give the navy and air force the fighters they need ?

Keith Hitchman
Keith Hitchman
14 days ago

Still not enough we need at least 200 to stand any chance of beating Russia if they go for all Europe. We need more updated Typhoon too. Why in hell did this stupid government decide to scrap the Harrier’s and Tornado’s. We should have stored them like the Yanks do. We are in basically the same state as we were in 1939. Will this country never learn !!!!

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
14 days ago
Reply to  Keith Hitchman

A worse state arguably as the MoD/Industry at that time had been producing as many aircraft as it could for from some 3 years prior to the war, it was just playing down what it was doing as the pacifists were still powerful. The biggest problem back then was that thanks to our adherence to treaty obligations that the Germans had long abandoned, we were to a great extent designing and producing many wrong aircraft. The Fairey Battle was the best example it was being produced in large quantities (because it was available) even though by 38 it was known… Read more »

Chris
Chris
14 days ago
Reply to  Keith Hitchman

The Tornado would be more useful than the harrier. It’s long range strike was perfect for Middle East missions.

JC
JC
14 days ago
Reply to  Keith Hitchman

Spot on Keith

Andrew D
Andrew D
13 days ago
Reply to  Keith Hitchman

Very true Keith never learn.🙄 For the Harriers and Tornados when scrapping them the world was already starting to change and it made no difference .And even now to scrap Typhoons T1 it’s ridiculous ok no upgrade but still a good dog fighter QRA 👍

Frank
Frank
13 days ago
Reply to  Keith Hitchman

No Deserts in the UK 😅

Marked
Marked
13 days ago
Reply to  Keith Hitchman

In 1939 we were better off, frantically rearming, building ships and planes as fast as we could without being on a total war footing.

Keith Hitchman
Keith Hitchman
13 days ago
Reply to  Marked

The ships and aircraft were simple designs. They could be built very quickly. Today they are so technical itt takes a year or more to produce more than a few Typhoons and more years to build more ships

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 days ago
Reply to  Marked

We started rearming in 1935 – and were hard at it for over 4 years. Witout that effort we would not have had many modern fighters and would have lost the Battle of Britain.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 days ago
Reply to  Keith Hitchman

We have always disposed of equipment (sea, land or air) that has been declared Obsolete, by sale, gifting or scrapping. It costs a lot to store obsolete kit and takes a lot of space, of which we have very little.

Will
Will
14 days ago

A bit OT: Do Challenger 2’s conduct live firing in the Impact Area of Salisbury Plain, or predominantly in SPTA West (Warminster/Imber Ranges)? From where I live – near Gore Cross – I can hear Challengers manoeuvring through the Impact Area near Market Lavington as I type (00:34hrs); but, in all my time here (over 25 years), I’ve never heard them actually fire in the Impact Area itself bar manoeuvring through, but I have heard them firing to my west in the Imber ranges in the past. It’s a Q I’ve always wanted to find out but never got anywhere… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Will

Interesting question.
I’ve seen them firing in the western part of SPTA at Battlesbury Bowl, Warminster, but that was for Firepower days with the press, civvies invited.
No idea about Imber, thought that was more for LWC manoeuvres.
When I’ve seen tanks firing it is either in BATUS, Castemartin TA, or Lulworth, where gunnery practice takes place and where the RAC School is. None of which are within SPTA.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago

Just to add, if either Ian M or Graham see this they might know. Especially Graham.

Dern
Dern
13 days ago

There is, or was, a Tank Range I think West-North-West of Imber, but I have no idea when it was last used or if it’s still in use tbh.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
12 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Yeah, didn’t think there was any of that going on at SPTA.

Dern
Dern
13 days ago
Reply to  Will

They mostly fire live over at Castlemartin in Wales now, that’s got an excellent range facility for armour that backs onto the sea. I’ve never seen Challengers fire live on SPTA, and I’ve not heard from any of my friends who are attached to the armorued units of live firing exercises on SPTA either, but that could simply be an omission.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 days ago
Reply to  Will

I have never heard that Challys conduct live firing for their Main Armament 120mm anywhere in SPTA, firing into the Impact Area or anywhere else. Tanks use Lulworth Cove ranges in Dorset or Castlemartin in Pembroke, those being (AFAIK) the only two AFV ranges in the UK for both live firing gunnery exercises and armoured vehicle manoeuvres. I understand that the SPTA Impact Area is primarily where artillery rounds are fired into from considerable distance. ie think it is for indirect fire weapons not direct fire weapons. I doubt the templates would work for 120mm direct fire – I dread… Read more »

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
10 hours ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

There is a. Live fire range opposite Milford in Dumfries very rare for it to be used

Frank62
Frank62
14 days ago

No firm commitments here. Nothing saying we’d get an operational fleet of 138 or anything near it. Just that we could purchase up to 138 over the entire service of the F35. We had a 60 strong joint Harrier fleet back when we had a lot more frontline strke jets in the RAF & in more peaceful times. Today we have a much reduced RAF & war a real possibility, so at least 60 operational frontline F35s needed to both equip the carriers & add to RAF capabilities. Not that threat or need cut much with HMG. They seem to… Read more »

JC
JC
14 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

Quite right Frank. Typhoon numbers dropping like a stone with the Tranche 1 aircraft earmarked for early retirement. Factor in scheduled service maintenance and upgrades into the remaining aircraft leaves a pitiful number of available frontline RAF fighters. Staff training shortages and delays does nothing to alleviate the problems at a time when tensions are rising around the globe. There are severe problems everywhere you look around our armed forces. Every Strategic Defence Review seems to take another chunk out of our forces due to lack of funds even though the number of people in this country that need protection… Read more »

Jim
Jim
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

True but every aircraft we have is a multi role aircraft able to do air to air or air to ground instantly. That’s very different from the harrier or tornado force which both had separate bomber and fighter versions.

Marked
Marked
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim

And we are arguably worse off by having multi role aircraft.

What use are multi role typhoons when their numbers are so low the bulk would be tied up on UK air defence? A strong argument for retaining the tranche 1s in the pure air defence role.

What is supposed to support what is left of the army? Or carry the fight to our enemies attacking their airbases, logistics etc?

Frank
Frank
14 days ago

Believe it when it happens….. The Initial order for Typhoons was cut from 250 to 232 with a total final order for 160. Germany, Italy and Spain also cut their orders. Germany had 140 but has now added 38 T4’s whilst the UK will soon be down to 100.
Imagine having 250 Typhoons and 138 F35’s, what a deterrent that would be. 😧
The Issue is more about the Carriers having a 50 year service life, so I guess the F35’s will be drip fed to cover this as we have nothing else to fly off them.

Last edited 14 days ago by Frank
John Clark
John Clark
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank

The 250 order was never realistic Frank, it was always a ‘workshare’ number.

The threat was deminishing from 1987, by 1989 when the 250 was the official number, BAE were probably actually hopeful of 180.

The tragedy of Thypoon is it will never reach its full potential, it could be an absolutely outstanding machine, the technology is there, but the whole program has run so very slowly that it’s replacements is now gathering steam, both in Europe and the UK.

Last edited 13 days ago by John Clark
Frank
Frank
13 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Never realistic but looking at the numbers now and also factoring in the retirement of Tornado and Harrier, we are now looking at a fraction of previous numbers…….. the peace dividend might just come back and bite.

Jim
Jim
13 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Tranche 5 its pretty amazing not sure how much more you can do on an aircraft that’s not designed to be stealthy.

John Clark
John Clark
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim

I believe Tranche 5 is as yet, still a paper aeroplane Jim?

Certainly a theoretical Typhoon with Radar 2, serous EW capability, large display, conformal tanks, higher all up weight to take asymmetric loads , enhanced manoeuvrability in the transonic and subsonic range , a next generation distributed sensor suite etc, really would be quite something.

I would love to see a batch built for the RAF to replace the outgoing tranche 1 and to serve alongside Tempest.

Frank
Frank
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Tranche 5 ? as far as I know it’s at the T4 stage…. I’d like to have a few dozen T4’s though….. Amazing aircraft probably the best multi role aircraft available and it does have a degree of stealth designed in but nothing like say the Raptor or F35 obviously…. 13 hard points though, super cruise, Mach 2+, Incredible climb rate and agility plus there are certain upgrades in the pipeline such as increased engine power and Thrust Vectoring….. I doubt even the Americans would want to pick a fight with these…. It’ll be interesting to see how our 8… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Regarding the performance of Typhoon against adversaries in a training environment,i posted a link in the recent TYTAN thread that didn’t get cleared.Basically the Pakistan Air Force flew some of its J10c fighters recently to Qatar to train with Qatari Air Force Typhoons,and the feedback was ( albeit with caveats ) very interesting.

Frank
Frank
13 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Can you say a bit more please ? You got me all excited !!!!

Paul T
Paul T
12 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Google pak j10c vs qatar typhoon you will see 👍

Frank
Frank
12 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Thanks mate… very interesting.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Pie in the sky numbers mate. With Tempest having tens of billions earmarked in the 10 year plan, where is the money for all these F35s?
We either have Tempest, or a larger 100 plus force of F35s, which if T is binned I’d guess would finally include some As.
As it is, we’re still waiting for the firm order for the next Bs, but with LM suspected of deliberately delaying BIV for political US self interest no wonder we are not pressing on with it.

Frank
Frank
13 days ago

Tempest is years away, the Carriers have a planned 50 year life with just the one possible fixed wing option, Tempest is not STOVL, the early F35’s will be binned or will have to be upgraded at considerable expense. Typhoon numbers will drop, where will we be in 15 years time ?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank

My point was, mate, that billions are already earmarked for Tempest to become reality. When it comesis another issue.
So no more money now for more Typhoon, or more F35.

Jim
Jim
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank

As with the F18 we will probably be buying F35 to replace F35 on the carrier one day.

Frank
Frank
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Mate…. Please don’t say “The Carrier” lol….. It implies that we will only have the one by then !!!!😨

Angus
Angus
12 days ago
Reply to  Frank

one operational one in reserve was always the way forward for them. We can only ever muster one full CAG (?) and that is pushing it. The RN need expanding with more assets that have modern manning. A frigate can be manned with less than 100 and still do the job of a T23 helping the situation. But who really wants to join up these days?

Martin
Martin
14 days ago

smoke and mirrors, its does not confirm or deny. The way the MOD has become lately.

Ian
Ian
13 days ago

There seems to be a misapprehension in some quarters that a commitment to 138 aircraft over the life of the programme equates to buying 138 aircraft in short order and making them all available, rather than long-term batch procurement whereby your initial purchase is ready for scrap before the ‘life of the programme’ ends, and is obviously subject to the assumption that the march of technology doesn’t render the platform obsolescent in the mean-time.

Frank
Frank
13 days ago
Reply to  Ian

To be fair though, I don’t think anyone was expecting all 138 in short order but so far we have only actually ordered 48 and some of those are obsolete, having only ever embarked 8 in 7 years of Carrier Ops.

Chris
Chris
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank

None of them are ‘obsolete’

Frank
Frank
13 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Non Operational then….. Trainers and not the correct software for front line use. it’s the same thing really.

Cripes
Cripes
13 days ago

There is no chance whatsoever of getting 138 F-35Bs. It would need HMG to double the RAF’s Combat Air budget, which is never going to happen. Without that major uplift, there is no way we can squeeze in loads more F-35s, the very expensive Typhoon ECRS upgrade and the F-35 Block IV upgrades all in the next 10 years, before the budget is all needed to fund Tempest. The Combat Air equipment budget is around £1.8bn a year. About 30% of that, £500-£600m, is available for new aircraft procurement, the rest goes on equipment upgrades, maintenance, contracted-out services, etc. It… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
13 days ago
Reply to  Cripes

I agree about the A version. We need by the thirties as much capacity, performance and range as we can get and difficult to know how much uplift there is in the B as compared to the A and it will never mstch it that’s a certainty.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Cripes

Exactly. With the billions allocated to Tempest, there is no money.
I’d be pleased with the 70 odd 35s.

Frank
Frank
13 days ago

I’d be pleased with the 70 too, if we could keep that figure over the duration….. and if they were all for front line ops….. ATM we are still @ 25? so a heck of a long way to go before then….

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank

I don’t think you’ll ever see 70 for front line mate. People often post about Italy, France, Germany, Spain having more jets. Well yes, but they have no F35 apart from Italy, who don’t have many things we have.
And where are the Italian airstrikes against the Houthis? Are they actually able to? Or is the number all for show?

Dern
Dern
13 days ago

They’re able to, even if they didn’t have their F-35’s up and running yet (I believe they have 6 B’s in service), they still have their Harriers and 2 Carriers online. I think it’s more lack of will and no perceived need (and I don’t think the Italian Navy has a history of expeditionary strikes like that so it would be a major policy shift) than ability.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks. Do they still have Tornado? That’s a thing. The UK does, for right or wrong, get involved, where many, or most, other NATO nations do not. And on my wider point, numbers don’t always equate capability.

Dern
Dern
12 days ago

I think only the UK has fully withdrawn Tornado. Germany still uses them for Nuclear Sharing, and Italy still has a few IDS and ECR variants. Italy also has some A-11’s still in inventory.

And true, but there’s a difference between capability and the decision to use it.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Mid 30s overall I think mate?

Frank
Frank
13 days ago

I think some of those are still in the US but whatever the figure, in my opinion after 7 years of Carrier Ops, we are still a long way off having enough to fulfill the Carriers design brief for one, let alone both….. I know we have this debate quite often on here about numbers, It’s always a pleasure to exchange thoughts with you my friend….👌

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Mate. Numbers are waaaay to small. End of! In all areas. What bleary eyed admirals wanted in 2008 clashes with the reality of what HMG will spend.

Cripes
Cripes
12 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Frank, I think.we are currently at 34 F-35s. Ref frontline v total numbers, frontline is always 50% of the total. The test are split between squadron reserve war reserve, attrition reserve, OEU, OCU and wing commander. It has never been the plan or intention to equip and operate both carriers at the same time. There are not the crew, aircraft, Merlins or escorts to create a second carrier strike group, we barely have enough for one. One carrier will be operational, the other alongside with a skeleton crew only. Increase the defence budget to 4-5% of GDP and we could… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by Cripes
Frank
Frank
12 days ago
Reply to  Cripes

Cheers mate, I’ve been a keen follower of the Carrier programme for many many years now, it has been a long journey….. “are we there yet?”……… not yet but nearly I guess…. I’ve been watching POW on Youtube Web Cam….. She is finally clearing her deck and can’t be long now before she leaves for the Nato exorcise…… Fingers crossed !

Andrew D
Andrew D
13 days ago

Good Lord have HMG woke up 🤔 probably not ,or could be our American friend’s given our politicians a stronger coffee ? One thing for sure they need to get a bloody move on in Defence from.every aspect Equment and manpower they really did cut to the bone ,one word idiots 🙄

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah
13 days ago

If true good news. Now can we do something about the Typhoon fleet. Eg not retire the T1 airframes or take the opportunity to tack onto an existing order and get T4 birds cheaper?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

It’s soundbytes to sound good. There is Tempest in the room.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah
13 days ago

Tempest has not even flown, it is still being designed. It has a notional in service date that will undoubtably slide out considerably.
But they can always ask Vlad politely to postpone the war until we have our Super Doper gen 6 jet in service.
I am sure he will oblige.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

The point is many billions are already earmarked for Tempest over the next decade, regardless whether it has flown yet.
We can divert that allocation to fund more F35, and another Typhoon Tranche now?
What do you choose?!
HMG, as I’ve suggested many times here, will always prioritise their friends in industry over the military regards MoD budget.
Those billions my well vanish into Tempest them it’s cancelled years from now. With zilch benefit to the military.
We shall have to wait and see.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah
13 days ago

My point is we are facing an imminent threat we are ill prepared to face. The F35 is a good fighter but when it inability to sustain high Mach numbers makes it a poor aircraft to have in the air defence role.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

For the carriers, yes. Not UKAD, as F35 does not do that role.
On numbers if the threat is really that imminent it’s too late to worry. Will take years to build up the forces and I doubt Labour will be any more willing. I fear they’ll be worse.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago

Buy I don’t fly it so I don’t like to day what’s good and what isn’t as I’ve no experience to say.
It was used on the CSG21 deployment enough times I believe.

Chris
Chris
13 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

It doesn’t need to fly supersonic. The UK’s and Europe’s airspace is very small. Head on it is basically invisible to powerful ground based radar, a weak aircraft based radar doesn’t have a chance in the world of seeing it.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
13 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

High mach number is pointless. F35 can hit is stated top speed of M1.6 with full Internal fuel and weapons. And F15 or F16 cannot do that speed with external tanks and weapons fitted.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah
13 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

You had better tell the RAF they are wasting fuel on the Typhoon QRA birds when the intercept Russian tourists west of Shetland.
The afterburners are lit on takeoff and don’t get extinguished until they are in a position to intercept. Mach 2 plus all the way.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
12 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

They do not do M2 all the way. If the did, they would be out of fuel in less than 10mins. They do a short supersonic dash measured in seconds rather then minutes. The fuel burn is simply to high to then be able to stay on station for a good length of time.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
13 days ago

Priority for the UK now should be getting back onto a cold war economy by raising defence spending to 5% of GDP.

Then sort out recruitment, by getting rid of Captia, and binning the nonsensical ‘diversity’ quotas.

Last edited 13 days ago by Bringer of facts
David Barry
David Barry
13 days ago

I disagree. You meant Crapita, right?

The absolute bollards around LGBTQXYZ123 needs stomping on; you are Forces or not? You have one flag, one uniform and all XYZ123 branding needs binning along with the people promoting this bollards.

One flag, one uniform, one brand.

Frank
Frank
13 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

One Uniform for all ?….. lol, Can I wear a Blouse and Skirt please, I’ve always wanted to explore my feminine side….. 😂……. hang on, I got a great Idea…. maybe if i dress up and put some lippy on, I’ll get a job in the Admiralty…..

David Barry
David Barry
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank

You’ll get poked, all right.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
13 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

Not sure what you are disagreeing about

Last edited 13 days ago by Bringer of facts
David Barry
David Barry
13 days ago

Crapita not Capita; but you read it right.

andy a
andy a
13 days ago

never gunna happen 5%? not in this country

Frank
Frank
13 days ago
Reply to  andy a

It’s happened before, in fact go take a look at the % of GDP, GB used during WW2….. It’s simply Staggering and explains partly why we won….. NHS was not even a thing back then…..

Frank
Frank
13 days ago
Reply to  andy a

Just to add that in 1939 it was 9%, it rose to 40%…….

Andy a
Andy a
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank

I know what defence spending has been historically. We need to spend more but people think peace and prosperity is their right. They don’t understand people die to keep them safe

Frank
Frank
13 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

Knowing what it has been historically just actually means it could perceivably be again…. I just commented on your “Never going to happen 5%? never in this country”…….. Never say Never !

Andy a
Andy a
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Well I’d like to be proved wrong but too many snoflakes

Frank
Frank
13 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

Ain’t that the truth mate…..

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
13 days ago
Reply to  andy a

Never ?, Then don’t expect to engage and survive any conflict with near-peer / industrialised nations.

If the conflicts in the Ukraine and the Middle East are not waking up the politicians, nothing will

Andy a
Andy a
13 days ago

Hey I agree with more spending but anyone under 40ish doesn’t understand living with their way of life threatened. They think defence is someone else’s problem. Also the uk spends far more than most. The problem is nuclear is lumped in and millions are wasted too.

Last edited 13 days ago by Andy a
Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah
13 days ago

Absolutely agree!!

Pleiades
Pleiades
13 days ago

Just having cis white males on the the frontline is a great idea, definitely vote for that ☺️👌🏾

Andrew
Andrew
13 days ago

I suspect he misspoke. Obviously we all want more equipment but it seems very unlikely the money has suddenly been made available.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
13 days ago

Until the program gets near the end they can pull any number out. I’m also not full of confidence that the ministers constantly spitting out information on a large number of topics don’t make mistakes

John Williams
John Williams
13 days ago

UK appears to recommit to full order of 138 F-35Bs, well then order the full order, when war starts, you are not going to get any more of them.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
13 days ago

Like with many other areas, splashing the cash out to overseas suppliers does not help the UK economy. Far better to use defence spending to help grow British industry and the wider economy. Yes I know BAe get a percentage back from the F35 sales, but let’s face it, we need more spent within the UK, as other nations are doing with their own defence industries. Tempest and a new UK designed & built CH4 for examples as well as basic ammo.

Meirion X
Meirion X
13 days ago

Tempest Not developed yet, still in initial design stage. We won’t see it until late 2030’s.

JOHN MELLING
JOHN MELLING
13 days ago

Try reading the latest First Report – Ready for War? from the Defence Committee !

We really are in deep s***

Ray
Ray
13 days ago

As if in any doubt, perhaps this demonstrates where all the billions of British taxpayers money goes to. Because it doesn’t end there. There are many other areas where the money this government lifts from our pockets to be given to ultra rich arms manufacturers in the USA reside. It’s well known that when these poor companies want to increase there obscene profits, they whip up some scares, to which governments feel obligated to spend even more money to make even more weapons. We’ve had the “peoples army” to the appalling claim by one US senior officer claiming WWIII could… Read more »

Jim
Jim
12 days ago
Reply to  Ray

Yes, I knew it was Lockheed Martin that invaded Ukraine and not Russia.

Perhaps Boeing is responsible for China having the fastest naval build up in history and not the CCP.

Ray Winfield
Ray Winfield
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim

I would explain my points in more detail but I don’t think you would understand or probably more truthfully not want to. Try reading up about Dick Chaney and his part in ramping up fear in the West about the dangers of the East.

Ray
Ray
13 days ago

Perhaps the situation would be more palatable if we had a truly patriotic government in Britain, and I’m not referring to flag waving and boring speeches. Anyone with even a smattering of military hardware history will remember with pride the Air Shows of the mid 1900’s when Farnborough put on Airshows with potential ‘customers’ coming from Europe, the US, the USSR and China, all keen to get their hands on our aircraft and other quality equipment. Now it’s just the same story, “The US have told us what to buy, and even provided the fresh cheque (check) to sign. We… Read more »

Jim
Jim
12 days ago
Reply to  Ray

You know Farnborough is still the biggest air show in the world? Americas economy is 10 times our size and they make five combat aircraft and three commercial aircraft. How many products do you think we could sustain? We host major design and construction elements for the world’s largest maker of civilian aircraft. We host possibly the premier jet engine manufacturer on the planet And we are the only other country outside the USA to be lead designer for a 6th Gen aircraft. We have the second biggest aerospace sector in the world. Not sure how much else we could… Read more »

Raymond Leake
Raymond Leake
12 days ago

If I remember rightly Ireland doesn’t pay eny money to be in NATO so are they sponging of the rest of NATO countries including getting a lot more protection from the United kingdom while Ireland sit on their backsides and running the United kingdom down and taking British soldiers to court for something that happened fifty years ago protecting the people of northern Ireland from the I.r.a.why should we protect Ireland when all they do is run the UK down

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 days ago

just need hank the yank to turn them out faster.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
14 hours ago

SNP SAY NO MORE