The UK has confirmed that it will purchase a second tranche of F-35B jets in addition to the 48 already planned.

The UK currently has 21 of the jets with 48 orders being confirmed.

John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne Commons, asked via a written Parliamtary question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when his Department plans to decide on the number of Lightning II F-35 aircraft to order in addition to those aircraft already ordered.”

Jeremy Quin, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, replied:

“Following the outcome of the Integrated Review and confirmation that the UK Lightning Force will grow beyond 48 F-35B aircraft, we are undertaking a period of further analysis to evaluate the scale and optimum delivery profile of our second tranche of F-35Bs as well as associated infrastructure and support equipment. Once complete, this activity will inform procurement timelines.”

How many?

The First Sea Lord recently said during a webcast that the UK intends to purchase ‘around 60’ F-35B jets and then ‘maybe more up to around 80’ for four deployable squadrons.

A defence insider informed the UK Defence Journal of a live wbecast given by the First Sea Lord.

UK looking at ’60 and then maybe up to 80′ F-35B jets

“The First Sea Lord has just said 60 F-35, then maybe more up to around 80 for 4 deployable squadrons.”

We knew that the UK planned to increase the F-35B fleet due to the recently released Defence Command Paper titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’, which states that the UK intends to increase the fleet size beyond the 48 F-35 aircraft it has already ordered but we now know they’ll be F-35Bs.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
191 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
farouk
farouk
2 months ago

Brilliant and made my day.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago

Possible wider picture.

CAS aspired for 9 Fast jet Squadrons back in 2015. Maintained 8 by standing up 2 more Typhoon as the 3 GR4 stood down and 617 stood up.

So maybe with Typhoon Tranche 1 going, 2 Typhoon squadrons disband, and 2 more f35 stand up going forward to 2030 and beyond, in addition to 809 NAS standing up shortly.

Leaving 5 Typhoon, 4 f35. Pretty much the original plan.

captain p wash
captain p wash
2 months ago

Hello mate…. when you say “Original Plan”… which one are you referring to exactly ? the 2015 one was just another plan after decades of cuts that went before. If you created a graph from the past 70 years and continued the downwards trend, It would soon be down to Zero, I’m not just being all Gloomy here mate, I’m genuinely concerned at the sheer amount of cuts.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Cap, I know where you’re coming from. No arguments with you my friend.

This is still positive news despite the trolls, or maybe Russian bots trying to turn it into a disaster.

How many Sea Harrier were there? Was it 57? At least they will have replaced that capability.

I agree though that most UK MoD plans don’t survive 5 minutes before being altered, watered down, or cancelled.

250 Typhhon were never bought, nor were 12 T45, and I don’t think many believed 138 F35 would be bought over the life of the programme either.

Julian1
Julian1
2 months ago

There was plan to never drop below 200 combat aircraft. Together with drones we may just make that number. Of course what we don’t know is which spending period these additional aircraft arrive. I imagine the additional 12 beyond 48 will be delivered during this parliament. The next 20, who knows?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian1

Agree. 60 by 2030 then beyond more. 60 delivers enough for 2 squadrons air group for the operational QEC, and I assume leaves enough for OCU.OEU and spares, maintenance, reserves, and so on.

Given there were serious worries no more would be ordered at all beyond the 48 or that they would be A’s leaving 48 as too few for the carriers and two small fleets impacting the effectiveness of both I welcome this report.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian1

And a few years before all that…. we had a Plan to have a Fleet of more than Double the next two largest Navy’s but what’s a few Decades ehh ????? 😎 

expat
expat
2 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

I agree to sum extent, but don’t fancy an airframe from 70 years ago’s chances against a Typhoon or F35  😀 . I don’t mind cuts if it’s proven the resized force has an equal or better capability through technology and efficiency improvements. Problem is, where the evidence. On this article and the F35, I actually think we’re in a better place than we’ve been in a long time. Very few navies are currently fielding a 5th Gen Stealth fighter.

Graham
Graham
2 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Did we? Do you have any details or dates? I don’t remember reading that in any Defence Review.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham

Pre War mate….. a “Few Decades back”  😎  Seriously though, that was the goal at the time.

Francis Morelli
Francis Morelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Prior to the first World War, the UK actually had a law that the Royal Navy had to be maintained at at least the same level (number of ships, types of ships) as the next two largest foreign navies combined. That was actually aimed at deterring a combination of Tsarist Russia and France against the UK, and not (as turned out to be the case) against the Kaiser’s Germany; but, given that Germany damn’ near managed to starve the country in WW1 by cutting the marine supply lines, it turned out to be very very fortunate that this country had… Read more »

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago

Hi Daniele. My personal observation was 250 Typhoon seemed rather excessive. I seem to recall the original plan in the early 2000’s was for circa 7 ops sqns +an OCU? Be interested if someone can shed more light on the topic.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Yes I agree. At the time 250 were mentioned we had 200 plus Tornado GR1, 165 Tornado F3 being delivered, and the remnants of Lightning, Buccaneer, Phantoms, and 3 squadrons of Jaguars. I distinctly recall one article, maybe in RAF Yearbook, which stated the Eurofighter would replace the Phantom and last of the Jaguars, in other words an addition to the Tornado fleets. A vast number that never came to pass. I agree with Julian 1 above, I feel 200 should be a minimum, which we are now below having lost the Tornado. Hope the LANCA/Mosquito will be successful and… Read more »

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago

big ditto on your LACA /Mosquito comment – could see this being force multiplier.

Basra
Basra
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

The UK order was for 232 then suddenly there was a last minute government to government deal with Saudi taking 72 leaving the UK with 160 which was almost just exactly how many Tornado ADV we had. I don’t think the UK ever had any intention of buying 232. Was a very strange number to begin with and hand no bearing in the existing force structure.

George Parker
George Parker
2 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Those senior French Generals and others, who wrote to their government with poorly veiled threats. Were certainly on the right track. When a government is permitted to forget that it’s first duty is defence of the state and it’s way of life. It falls on the military to do something about it.
The BREXIT debacle proved that not even Her Majesty can protect the national interests from parliamentary mob rule. Perhaps it’s time for a change of stance with respect to the military being apolitical. Insisting on manning levels and budget requirements, or else!

James
James
2 months ago

Just an embarrassing retreat from the 138. This carriers should deploy no less than 30 jets to deter enemies . Also the RAF needs the F35A variant for strategic missions and overall 5th generation capabilities till they get Tempest . Even the Typhoon numbers are very low . We have the lowest number of 4th generation jets out of the 3 European major powers . This further highlights the decline of the UK. Portraying to the world it has come back to reingage the world when it reality it’s in a retreat. Begging US marine to fill the gaps on… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by James
captain p wash
captain p wash
2 months ago
Reply to  James

Yup, pretty much.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  James

Ah, the trigger words inserted “humiliation” “retreat” “begging”

If I explained why the USMC are aboard and the reasons for the slow buy rate until B4 I’d be wasting my time, wouldn’t I, as it’s not “The agenda”

Keep trying though.

Andy P
Andy P
2 months ago

Pretty much mate. Whether its through some jingoism or trolling it amounts to the same thing.

Nate M
Nate M
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

i mean he does have a point. at the moment 138 seams a bit outlandish considering the vixen and the mosquito and tempest programme are in full swing. but then again the British government’s promises are as reliable as a early chieftains engine!

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Nate M

No he doesn’t, he has not got the first clue what he’s waffling about.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago

I’d be interested to know the reason for the slow rate of UK F35B acquisition?. Is this to do with the engine underperformance? To me the the USMC joint deployment model is an excellent strategy.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Block 4 costs.

QuentinD63
QuentinD63
2 months ago

Hi Daniels, I asked this somewhere before, is Block 4 just a software upgrade and not hardware? If it’s the former why can’t they order more aircraft and update the software as it comes?

QuentinD63
QuentinD63
2 months ago
Reply to  QuentinD63

Sorry, Daniele…

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  QuentinD63

That’s OK Quentin.

I believe it entails both software and sensor improvements, and integration of weapons/hardware like SPEAR3 too.

Beyond that minimal answer and that the costs are expensive which is one reason why the UK is being cautious in buying too soon someone else here is better placed than me to explain in detail.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago

thanks Daniele , this makes good sense


Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
2 months ago
Reply to  QuentinD63

How Block IV is reached is dependent on how old the aircraft is…. 2023 production onwards will be Block IV New Production is Block IV ready – Software only Recent production may require minor hardware and software Less recent production will require extensive hardware and software (including a new central processor) Oldest production will need huge rebuilds… The UK’s oldest ‘combat capable’ jet, BK-03, would need a rebuild costing at least $30m to reach Block IV. There may be another 4 aircraft that are as expensive (hopefully they will be a little less expensive though). The UK is also upgrading… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

There is also the issue of older airframes having a lower flying hours life than was written into the requirement. I believe the more recent airframes have been modified to improvement matter.

So I would suggest that the older airframes, especially the 3(?) test and evaluation airframes we own will simply be retired. I suspect that it is likely to be cheaper to buy new airframes than up date old ones when consideration is given to the remaining flight hours on the airframes.

Cheers CR

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
2 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

Sorry to burst your bubble but Block 4 won’t be ready until 2027 at best.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
2 months ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Depends on what you mean by “ready.” Block 4 probably won’t be complete by 2027, based on GAO assessments, but it will be delivering updates, upgrades and new capabilities in the interim, through to the Block 4 completion date. It will presumably be a RAF/MOD decision as to whether to implement these incremental updates in the interim, or wait until Block 4 is complete. One critical date to get the most out of Block 4 will be the Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3), which is probably where Rudeboy1’s 2023 date comes from. According to GAO, “TR-3 is the suite of software… Read more »

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
2 months ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

I know when Block IV is complete, but its incremental… I’ve been quite clear here before that prior to 2027 the UK’s F-35 fleet is very much still a basic capability. Just Paveway IV, legacy Asraam and Amraam C-5, and from 2022 Amraam D (although whether it can exploit the ful capability of the D variant is a good question). It won’t be until 2027 that we get ‘full’ capability with Meteor, Asraam Block 6, Paveway Penetrator and Spear. Even then we’re missing a gun, heavier weight munitions than Paveway IV, gliding munitions, long range munitions and anti-shipping. We’ve got… Read more »

Graham
Graham
2 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

$30m to remanufacture how many older aircraft?

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham

At least 1 (BK-03), possibly 5.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

I hope it was five. $30m to upgrade one plane is silly money.

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  QuentinD63

20% of Block 4 is hardware, the rest is software(80%).

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

The slower you buy them the more of the later upgraded batches you get and the less you have to spend on upgrading the earlier aircraft you bought.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

thanks Dern for the insights

John
John
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

And if you wait long enough you can buy them real cheap when they’re being retired by the usaf.

AJ
AJ
2 months ago

Just a quick note on the side.
Having USMC F35bs on board is more a political deterrent than a numbers game. Should every thing go south… Whilst a sadly regrettable incident Involving UK Forces in error where some would say they should not be is to be regretted. An incident involving US Assets on board by mistake would not be a mathematical win by any ones arithmetic.

Think of it as comprehensive Insurance.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah
2 months ago

I certainly would like to know more about the F35 buy rate and I would be happier if we had more typhoons and we accelerated the development and implementation of the E CAPTOR MK2

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago
Reply to  James

We do not know the final number of F35s yet. I suspect we will not need the full order as Tempest will pick up the straight. We need about 80 to run both carriers. We are likely to get at least that. We do not need the F35A it is not much better then the F35B and it cannot be carrier deployed or deployed like the harrier to hides near the front line – it is less flexible. Range Can be extended by inFlight refuelling (See Vulcan Black Buck mission). We do not has as many 4 generation aircraft because… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Yes that’s a fair appraisal I must admit my relative negativity above is more a general feeling about defence assets, because I think the present plans with accumulating F35s gradually and how they fit in with Typhoon and Tempest is actually quite sensible even if it makes it look like the carriers are short of assets for some time. The F35 will be an expensive aircraft to maintain as it ages and update the earlier you buy them. Mind you can’t help feeling down the line it will all be manipulated to hide a real decline in numbers and/or capability.

Nic
Nic
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

I don’t think the plan is that the F35 will just be deployed from Carriers .
The RAF will want to deploy from airfields and leave the sea deployment to To FAA so more aircraft will be needed.

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  Nic

The F35 will go where needed, what else would anyone want it to do?

Each sqaudron is circa 50:50 manpower wise from the RAF/FAA, the numbers are labels.

Its a joint force, and much more of one than Harrier ever was.

Graham
Graham
2 months ago
Reply to  Nic

I still wonder why we have the RAF on carriers. In the Falklands conflict it seemed to be a necessity as the FAA probably did not have enough deployable Sea Harriers? But that was 40 years ago. The RAF has always been known to muscle in to areas to increase their footprint and profile; they took over FP of Camp Bastion from the army and poached some army posts in the SBAs in Cyprus. They also made a very determined effort to operate Apache back in the day, claiming it was too complicated for simple, non graduate army pilots, many… Read more »

John Stevens
John Stevens
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Yes, totally agree with you. We also have to remember how quickly technology is advancing.. So for example having the Loyal Wingman Drones. We could end up with the equivalent of two squadrons of unmanned Loyal Wingman Drones one day, flying alongside the manned fighter jets on operations. It’s very difficult to see how the numbers will be in ten or 15 years time, but I would of thought with over 100 Typhoons and say 72-80 F35’s and unmanned drones, plus the future Tempest coming online in the 2030’s to replace the Typhoon, the UK is going in the right… Read more »

Nic
Nic
2 months ago
Reply to  James

I would tend to agree ,why don’t they order a mix of jets, give the F35B to the FAA and equip RAF with the F35A

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  Nic

Because the FAA couldnt man a F35B force on its own for a decade plus and the RAF couldnt add an F34A force even if if pulled out of the B for a similar time.

The F35A doesnt add much given we have F35s already. It also needs boom AAR so that’s another cost and skill we dont have.

Not to mention F35A jeopardises Tempest.

All in all, a complete non starter.

Nic
Nic
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Thats if Tempest gets of the ground and isn’t shelved.

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  Nic

And if it does and isnt?

The services will be stretched to man and support the aircraft we have and any new F35Bs. More would just result in some very expensive storage problems as we’ve had with Typhoon in recent years.

Nic
Nic
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

It is a big problem throughout the three services . How to get people to join and keeping the existing military

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

The F35C is generally considered to be the best of the bunch. But adding the maintenance cost of to all intents is another aircraft type is simply not viable.

Last edited 2 months ago by David Steeper
KeithD
KeithD
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

I wonder, when it’s towards the end of the century and people look back, whether the B might end up the most successful variant of them all? 6th gen projects are already underway and could supersede the A within the next 20 years, and which won’t be compromised through having to be a variant in a family. The USN doesn’t come across as madly in love with the life costs of the C. The B is a great STOVL design, is unique and without competition, fulfils a niche need with UK, Japanese, Italian etc navies. I can see a scenario… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by KeithD
David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  KeithD

You’ve a good chance of being proved right.

Last edited 2 months ago by David Steeper
Peter S
Peter S
2 months ago
Reply to  KeithD

Absolutely. The F35 design started with the STOVL requirement and it was only after the successful fly off that the programme was expanded to other variants. It’s hard to see any country funding the development of another STOVL design ( just about the most difficult aeronautical challenge). For most navies with ambition for fixed wing carrier capability, F35b is the only affordable option. It could be in production for another 50 years.

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

No no no! Wili JSF will correct the idea that your “the other versions were tacked on after the flyoff”. The flyoff was by intent 3 variants to be desmojtrated from 2 flyable aircraft hence forcing the companies to ensure the core design could do it all: Hell, the entire name Joint Strike Fighter was because ASTOVL, CALF and Ive forgotten what the USN had, had been folded jnto one project because it was impossible to consider 3 seperate projects. A chap called Paul Bequilavca (sp?) got the US Govt to do all this, I met him years ago, hell… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

You’re right that a number of programmes were brought together in 1997. Although Boeing and LM were funded to produce 2 demonstrators each, one conventional one STOVL, the key test was the STOVL fly off. Boeing’s failure meant the LM went on to develop all 3 variants. F35b couldn’t meet specifications so a major weight shedding operation had to be undertaken. Though not strictly necessary, both other versions also had the weight shedding. F35b was the first redesigned variant to be produced, in 2008. In a sense therefore, the whole programme has been driven by the initial STOVL aim. One… Read more »

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  KeithD

I’d completely agree, the B will prove to be the longest lived of the F35 series.

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

F35C?

The one carrying round nugatorily large control services, heavy gear and heavy airframe?

Surely you jest?

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

i’d say the f35C has the longest range, which is fairly important….

QuentinD63
QuentinD63
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Hi David, if they get the F35C then these can be utilised across other allies carriers and not just land bases.

Andy
Andy
2 months ago
Reply to  Nic

Because double training, double spare parts, double everything it will cost far more than any financial saving and give little extra performance

QuentinD63
QuentinD63
2 months ago
Reply to  Nic

Hi Nic, I’d like to see the F35B get little a bit of a stretch for bigger payload Bay, bigger tank…F35B-XL…

Pete
Pete
2 months ago
Reply to  QuentinD63

Wonder if it would be possible to have a large drop tank that is itself a very simplistic …get itself home drone. Use on long strike missions. Disconnect a few hundred NM out and get itself back to the carrier.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Pete

They are looking at a refueling drone. That means the F35 doesn’t need to take off with the extra fuel already on board, so greater payload and it still gets the range it needs via in-flight refueling.

Cheers CR

Steve R
Steve R
2 months ago
Reply to  Nic

Because then you need two separate OCUs to train the pilots, two separate pools of spare aircraft, and only half the planes can operate from the carriers.

A split A/B buy would only work if we were getting 180-200+ F35s and could field at least 3-4 squadrons of each. For which there is just no money.

Money is limited so you go with the version that can operate from carriers and conventional runways. That’s the B.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  James

You paint the true colours of global Britain, the paint being the PR camouflage we will be getting in gallons over time telling us we have never had it better. Hope I’m wrong mind, but don’t expect to be.

Andy
Andy
2 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Who says we’ve never had it better? Think we all know brexit and covid will require country to come together and fight to get us back to good position
Nothing worth while is ever easy, ie fighting evil, brexit, going it alone……

Last edited 2 months ago by Andy
Steve R
Steve R
2 months ago
Reply to  James

We also have the MOST 5th generation jets out of the three European major powers.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 months ago
Reply to  James

I do hope that was tongue in cheek, or you have just displayed a total lack of defence understanding.

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
2 months ago
Reply to  James

Total poop not even worth using the S word .💩💯

Amazing how the more positive the news the more it upsets and triggers the wee soy boy crew from London .😉

tell everybody who else has got large Evander “ Real Deal “Holyfield aircraft carriers with 5th Gen aircraft flying from them? …………. absolutely @€%£ing nobody except Uncle Sam .

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇬🇧

expat
expat
2 months ago

Yep and why have the USMC on board, because we can 😀 , no one else does it cos it would be meaningless having one US jet on pocket carrier.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  expat

The largest vessel ever built for the RN is a pocket carier! You have to be joking.

Expat
Expat
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Graham Read my post again I’m referring to other US allies. We have the capability they don’t as their carriers are too small

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  James

James , your point is well made. The pace of F35 acquisition is also dismal, To few, and way to slow. Our Aussie neighbours have taken delivery of all 70 of theirs.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

I think the gradual increase of numbers incrementally due to Block 4 issues is actually a wise idea. The capability is being rebuilt, this is QEC first deployment. Why does it need FOC and maximum numbers now?

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago

Thanks for the explanation Daniele.

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Yes that’s great however the issue will be both the block IV upgrade costs and no matter how many are in use, the 18 airframes currently sat on the carrier are inherently more useful and deplorable. Although I do have great respect for the way our Aussie mates are cracking on wirh defence upgrades and modernisation…..however a few less body cams should be used when the SF lads are at work!!!

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Deplorable…..bloody hell, deployable!!!!

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

too true Airborne! I guess the other point to consider is that the F35A model is less complex than he B and a fair bit cheaper. Hence Ozzies requirement being less challenging.

John N
John N
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Mate, if you are going to call us Australians ‘Ozzies’ you want to get the spelling correct.

It’s ‘Aussies’ not ‘Ozzies’, the ‘ss’ are pronounced as ‘zz’.

Regardless of if a B model is more complex, or not, than A model, it has nothing to do with upgrading from Block 3F to Block 4.

Cheers,

Dern
Dern
2 months ago
Reply to  John N

Maybe he meant the people from the former DDR, they’re Ossies. 😛

John N
John N
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Mate, that is incorrect, on two counts. The RAAF has 72 F-35A on order, as at ‘today’ 39 aircraft have been delivered, another nine due by end of this year to make the total 48. Another 15 next year, 2022, and the last nine in 2023 to being the total to 72. http://www.adf-serials.com.au/indexbak.html (Go to ‘series three’ and look for ‘A-35‘ serial numbers). The RAAF also has another ‘phase’ of the AIR6000 project for another 28 aircraft (to replace the 24 Super Hornets), it is due for consideration around 2025. As to the question of ‘Block 4’, I often see… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  James

Oh dear oh dear, militarily inept and not that great at pronunciation. Most interesting….

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  James

Lets put it this way.

You can by 48 Sierra Mk1’s now. 1.6litre 4 Cyl engine, no cruise control, electronic management system etc…They are ok but they are short of optional extras but will do the job.

In around 10 years you can buy 40+ Jags. Same basic chassis under the shell, built by the same company but the build quality is better, all the optional extras you want now will come as standard and its a more modern and up to date build with lots of the electronics you want.

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

He is the new, or original, Harold…..

dan
dan
2 months ago
Reply to  James

The Brits made a mistake on the number of F-35s they ordered and the US Marines were happy to help out our top ally just like they help out us when we ask. With this new order of F-35s it looks like the Brits will be able to man their own CVs themselves in the future. Though not sure how many F-35s will make up their CV air group. Remember the British carriers are not a US CVN and if they add more jets that means they will have to get rid of something else to make room for them.… Read more »

expat
expat
2 months ago
Reply to  James

James, How many Harriers did we field on a typical deployment? I believe it was 4-5. We currently have 8 F35 on the QE on a typical deployment, is the F35 more capable than the Harrier. It has better sensors, more range, higher payload therefore clearly more capable, so 1 F35 is worth more than 1 Harrier. I believe the new carriers can also support higher sortie rates, so how have we slipped exactly? Also how many 5th Gen jets do those major powers have, correct me if I’m wrong, its zero? And why would we not want to cross… Read more »

Steve Salt
Steve Salt
2 months ago
Reply to  James

What a stupid and ill informed load of nonsense.

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago

So much for the Sunday Times who were saying they had a special source who told tgem only 48 would be ordered. Also tgat we would get rid of all our tanks. The media just make up stuff to fill copy.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

That never sounded likely did it I have doubts about the future of tanks but you can’t at this stage just decide that they are obsolete though I’m sure it has been discussed which might even be considered a positive if it’s an indicator that the MOD is not simply planning to fight on the basis of previous wars but are openly considering what’s required for fighting future ones in light of available evidence and informed projections.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Your forgetting the three services always brief against each other ahead of a spending review, leaking proposed cuts and publicising expensive purchases other branches are considering.

Pete
Pete
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Or it’s leaked out to make anything else come across as positive !

Jon
Jon
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Last week, my brother referred to HMS QE as a carrier without aircraft. Not to get a rise out of me, but because that’s what he thought was true. And when I corrected him, he conceded it had aircraft, but “not the ones it had originally been designed for”. I said, of course it does, where did you pick this nonsense up from? He said, the Sunday Times ran an article a while back. Ever since the 1980s, the Sunday Times has appeared to me to be one of the least reliable sources of information among the British press. Just… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Jon
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Putin would just love us to voluntarily give up our tanks. Still he muct be worried for his troops facing up to 148 CR3s in 2030!

maurice10
maurice10
2 months ago

Good news, the thorny issue of F35A’s still can’t be ruled out? If ‘A’s’ are good enough for Lakenheath, then what is the problem with the RAF using them? I doubt no more than 40 Tempest airframes will be procured and in combination with new and improved drones, a mixed fleet could be very useful.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Money.

Until Tempest and or UCAV arrive need to maximise the air group of the carriers.

If money was no object and more F35B were being procured in a shorter time frame giving the carriers a bigger complement sooner, then why not. Until then, for me an A purchase creates 2 small fleets.

Peter S
Peter S
2 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

If we only get 40 Tempest, the development cost per plane to 2024 will be over £50m. One of the stated aims of the programme is to deliver affordability. If it can’t be built and operated more cheaply then Typhoon or F35,the programme will have failed.
Somehow, we have to break the cycle of spiralling unit costs across all of our equipment. Otherwise, cuts in numbers will continue.

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

LANCA, Mosquito & Vixen on line 1.

Andy a
Andy a
2 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Because we buy so few unlike the cousins that the costs of training and parts an maintenance will make it vastly expensive for very little gain. No economies of scale. Just like why cancellation of 6 t45’s drove the cost up hugely

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

If As are in Lakenheath, why does the RAF need them as well?

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Who says we will only get 40 Tempests. If anything after having spent so much on Tempest I would say a larger order is likely. Also the F35A is not that much better then the B. It has slightly longer range, an internal gun and a 9G limit. However what it cannot do is land on an aircraft carrier, or in a clearing near the front lines, or a bombed runway. It would be less flexible. Not to mention that the A,B,C have diverged in uniformity. And introducing an additional variant could add to costs. I know the RAF want… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Hi Rob N, Your question regards the 40 Tempest is an interesting one. If the Tempest programme is successful then it is in fact a system of systems in that a single manned Tempest fighter could ‘control’ say 4 drones (no information on actual numbers that I have seen so this is an illustrative guess). So if we have say 4 Tempest squadrons of 10 aircraft then it looks like a serious drop in numbers (I am assuming a larger order to maintain these numbers as the deployable force). However, you would have to think in terms of the system… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

It would be impressive if we get autonomy (in both the manned and unmanned platforms) to the level where one manned platform can manage 3-4 unmanned platforms, while actively engaging an adversary and potentially requiring autonomous weapon release. It might be possible if comms links enable other land based personnel to take on some of the workload, but its a risky assumption that comms links will be robust enough at distance, in those circumstances, for that to be reliable. I look at the challenges F-35 software development continues to have, even on a manned platform, so I am a bit… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago

Hi Glass Half Full, Your points about the meaning of ‘autonomous’ in this context are good ones and I agree. For the point I was trying to make, which is that we need to take a broader view of what constitutes capability that goes beyond numbers of airframes, I took autonomy to mean a kind of instruct and forget capability that does not require a continuous command link. In part because I do not see autonomous vehicles being of much use in a peer on peer conflict unless they are capable of sustained operations with communication links jammed. If they… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Fair points CR. I absolutely agree that we need to focus on capabilities, not just raw numbers. I see autonomy, as with many things, as a continuum, much like stealth and low observability, that we will gradually expand the scope and capability of. Also as something that will depend on the scope and capabilities of the vehicle being controlled. For example a Tempest pilot might “manage” a swarm of many SPEAR 3 weapons that have limited scope and a narrow role, but might only “manage” one unmanned Tempest fighter as a wingman, because the scope and capabilities of the latter… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

No I do not think Tempest will replace Typhoon on a one for one basis. However I I think something near 100 may be more likely to justify the programme. You do not spend millions to create a six generation and only build 40. There is OCU, training, planes in maintenance and potential losses in combat to consider.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Hi Rob N,

I agree with the need for OCU, maintenance allowance, obviously. However, I was simply talking about the operational force strength not the procurement numbers as your opening comment got me thinking about how we consider capability with the development of autonomous vehicles. Nothing more than that.

Cheers CR

Pete
Pete
2 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Based on the benefits to UK industry report of a couple of weeks ago 40 airframes would cost somewhere between UKP350m and 450m a unit by the time you role up research and development costs (and excluding other platforms such as UAVs or weapons as part of future air combat program)

Peter S
Peter S
2 months ago
Reply to  Pete

It is very hard to get behind the published numbers to what the flyaway price of Tempest might be. One of the key drivers of the programme is affordability which ought to mean cheaper than Typhoon or F35. If it isn’t, then the programme will have failed. The only way to keep costs down is to use existing subsystems as much as possible like the Boeing/Saab T7A. Looking at the ongoing costs of F35 software development, its hard to see how this can be achieved, given the other ambition to build something more capable than existing aircraft.

captain p wash
captain p wash
2 months ago

“looking at 60 and maybe up to 80” …. Wow, another way to say nothing is set in concrete….. makes you wonder if Tempest will actually even get off the ground really.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Unless there is a serious change in Govt I think it will I just don’t see any other way of keeping Bae committed to this Country and a skill and Intellectual assets we require especially as it is in one of very few industries where we are towards the forefront of technology and production capabilities.

Martyn Parker
Martyn Parker
2 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

The golden share keeps BAEs committed to this country whether the company likes it or not, they are not in a position to decide to up sticks and off

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Parker

Didn’t the golden share go away a few years ago?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Hi Ron5, A quick look at the Wikipedia page for BAE System states the following; “BAE Systems inherited the UK government owned “golden” share that was established when British Aerospace was privatised. This unique share prevents amendments of certain parts of the company’s Articles of Association without the permission of the Secretary of State.[12] These Articles require that no foreign person or persons acting together may hold more than 15% of the company’s shares.[34]” The references were retrieved in 2003 and 2018 respectively, so might be out of date, but wikipedia is widely regarded as being the most up to… Read more »

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Thanks CR!

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

what’s the value of setting plans in concrete???

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Similar to setting Tongue firmly in Cheek….. 😉 

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
2 months ago

How about another dozen P8 Poseidons, we have a lot of sea to patrol.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 months ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

And what other project gets cut to pay for another 12?? Where do the crews come from? We can’t just magic this stuff out of thin air.

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

You could get the flight crews from C-130J….

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

Ha! That occurred to me too when I’d read the first post, though logically the SFF guys would move across to the Atlas fleet.

What programme to reduce/cut for a few more P8? Interesting one.

Dern
Dern
2 months ago

The Royal Yacht perhaps?
Reduce FSS from 3 to 2?
Put 1 Carrier in reserve?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Nope to any of those. Royal yacht won’t buy many P8s!

KeithD
KeithD
2 months ago

Could be good news could be bad, we don’t know enough about the RN vision for a 21st century carrier air group to judge. We know it will comprise manned and unmanned aircraft, we know the vision for Tempest is to work with strike drones so perhaps something is on the horizon for F35 down the road… it will be fascinating to see how it plays out.

At least this puts to bed any notion of the RAF playing up over F35AvB and indicates they are playing nicely.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  KeithD

I think I read somewhere that there are future plans for F35 to fly with drones, certainly it is mentioned by other posters on here. If the UK is developing that capability for the Tempest, then if there is any common sense I’d include LM to butter them up into allowing / supporting us putting our drone capability into our F35B fleet as it matures.

Cheers CR

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 months ago

Great. Let’s just hope it is more than another 12 aircraft. I think sticking to just the B variant makes a lot of sense in terms of stores, spares, upgrade costs, maintenance training, flight training and interoperability with allies. (US marines and Italian, Japanese and South Korean navies)
I’m hoping for at least another 36 aircraft. Hopefully 48.
Fingers crossed.

LongTime
LongTime
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

My moneys on 22 additional airframes

Steve R
Steve R
2 months ago
Reply to  LongTime

I’d say an additional 32 for a total of 80

4 squadrons (48)
OCU (12)
Spares (20)

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

Hi Steve, I’d add many be another 12 for replacement of life ex’ed early generation airframes. I also wonder if the project runs for as long as say the F15 / F16 programmes and that we get our drones hooked into our F35B’s whether or not we actual get quite close to the original number of airframes over the life of the programme. If our F35B’s can be developed to take some Tempest tech for example then it could develop into a gen 5.5 aircraft flying with 6 gen drones. Still a useful and, by the end of the programme,… Read more »

OOA
OOA
2 months ago

I have a hunch that the RAF are dropping the request for the A model so the bean counters don’t use it as a way to kill Tempest. I’ve heard it said that a similar argument is one of reasons the River OPVs are armed with little more than foul language and a spud gun.

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  OOA

What RAF request for the A?

There has literally never been any plan for the UK to purchase the A model.

It’s nothing more than odd rumour “good ideas club”, whipped up by the internet. But it has never been in a single official document as an aspiration let alone a plan.

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Not true. Several very senior RAF officers have referred to studies and aspirations for the F-35A.

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

So no official document other than “aspirations”.

There are hundreds of RAF senior officers, of course some have ideas about F-35As. They read the internet too!

But you find me a single official document suggesting this, or even a reference to F-35As in one.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 months ago
Reply to  OOA

And the Defence Review never mentioned any F35A option. So that plan has been dropped unless the MOD finds some lost cash down the back of the sofa which means we can afford more F35B’s. A fleet of F35A’s. Typhoon upgrades, and money for Tempest. I think not.

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  OOA

Hardly. Are you the kind of person who reads too much into what’s on the sides of busses?

Your evidence is a 2nd rate trade mag. An off hand comment from a one star that doesn’t actually say anything. Whet was the question? Was it perchance a a story written entirely from a polite and unsurprisingly neutralnand uncommitted reply to a boringly predictable “would the F-35A be suitable in the RAF?”

Any mention however in any of the 2004/2010/2015/2020 defence reviews since F35 was in full swing?

Any budgetary line in any of the last 20 years?

OOA
OOA
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

I see it pays to be careful with slightly tongue-in-cheek comments on here – people are very touchy. When it comes to the F35A, there was a good article on it on Navy Lookout recently citing another press article. Of course you can always question the press article itself but it actually strikes me as very sensible – and therefore very likely- for the RAF to have done a study somewhere along the line as to whether a split buy would make sense. It seems they concluded that it wouldn’t.

Anyway, off to look at some busses.

Andy P
Andy P
2 months ago
Reply to  OOA

Don’t know if you’ve seen a 30 mil firing, I know its de rigueur to run down the OPV’s on here but its not a popgun. Nobody seemed to mind when they were on Sandown’s etc.

Andy a
Andy a
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Why would we up arm rivers, they would last two seconds in stand up fight with peer, what shall we cancel to pay for it? Boxer? F35? Some thing that’s actually useful? What’s the need to upgun? Who are they fighting? Drug dealers? Terrorists? Have they outgunned a 30mm cannon, 2 gpmg 7.62 and 2 rotary cannons?i think not Even in peer war they won’t be on front lines For the last damn time they are they to free up frigates and ships for combat roles. To handle low intensity gigs that destroyers are a total waste for. People going… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy a

I fear your wasting your time….they’re at it again over on the other thread even though it has been done to death on here for months.

Dern
Dern
2 months ago

Just once I’d like to see a OPV mentioned on here without the words “popgun” “under armed” “practically defenceless” or any variation thereof in the comments.

Lusty
Lusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy a

They carry 4 GPMG. There, they have been ‘upgunned’.  😂 

(Couldn’t resist)

Last edited 2 months ago by Lusty
DJ
DJ
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy a

Terrorists like Hamas who have recently been firing hundreds of rockets into Israel? Houthi missile attacks on USN ships? Want to be sailing around the SCS in a 2,000t River B2 if things go hot?

Not all of the world is like the Caribbean & you don’t always get to decide where the front line is, especially if you are intending to be operating East of Suez.

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  OOA

I’ve seen 30mm rounds go through nearly metre thick walls. Short of a massive engine block, they’re going in and out the other side of any maritime target with painfull pieces of whatever is in the middle, indeed, they’ll take chunks of the engine block with them. The muzzle shock wave alone from one even at 10s of metres can damage your ears. You have a funny idea of what a spud gun is. Too many films perhaps where the hero hides behind a car and a gazillion machine gun bullets fail utterly to do what they do in reality… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

And my pet hate…bullets never ever ever spark like a sparkler when hitting metal/aluminum/tarmac/car doors and helicopters 😂

Ian M.
Ian M.
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

or the bright yellow, fuel filled explosions!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian M.

They always make me smile / cringe as well, but to be honest a real dusty explosion on a block buster movie wouldn’t look right, just as a space ship cruising past the camera would in reality make no noise at all (no atmosphere no sound), still wrong on the movie screen for some reason…

Cheers CR

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian M.

AAAAAAAgh yes, and grenades that manage to launch people 30 feet in the air lol

Lionel
Lionel
2 months ago

I think the RAF and RN are being quite canny with spreading the orders, despite someprotestations to the contrary. They passed some early F35Bs up to allow the USMC to initially take more. One of the issues the Americans are facing up to right now is the cost of upgrading to Block 4, to the extent which they may even retire some early F35As in the next few years. It makes more sense for UK to gradually receive better planes they then actually have the crews to fly and maintain, having grown the expertise over time, also avoiding some of… Read more »

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
2 months ago
Reply to  Lionel

Its not even reached full operating capability yet. Theres still work to be done on the software and further weapons integration. They are also planning to scrap the current logistics system and replace it because the current system is horribily un user freindly and requires each base they are operated from to have a mobile computer terminal the size of an APU to plug into the aircraft. The replacement system just uses a laptop.

Last edited 2 months ago by Watcherzero
Lionel
Lionel
2 months ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

That too! There are a lot of pluses about the F35 but all that is a tick in the box of operating a small fleet initially and gradually growing it.

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  Lionel

Not correct. There is no sign that the F-35 will not become cheaper to acquire and to operate. All signs are pointing downwards.

Lionel
Lionel
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

There are significant chances that the USAF and USMC will cut future lots, this may actually cause the unit cost to plateau, including for the UK. Also, sustainment costs are actually trending up, according to most reports. There is a big focus in the Pentagon and Congress to get this under control, and there area some suggestions on how to do so, but it is not altogether clear whether – or when – this will be achieved.

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  Lionel

Incorrect, both acquisition cost and sustainment costs are declining. That’s independent of any maybe, possible, theoritical, cuts you may dream up.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Ronin afraid that is not true. The initial unit price was nearly £130 million a jet. Now reduced to somewhere around 95-100 million. So unit price is reducing as initial low rate production is being replaced by full scale production.

Warren
Warren
2 months ago
Reply to  Lionel

I think they have been pretty savvy for once as the early models will become financially unsustainable within a few years. So passing on the early production models will most likely give the raf/rn close to the numbers they were likely to have been operating after the early models were retired due to the upgrade costs etc and saving billions in the process.

Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen
2 months ago

Others may disagree but I hope we still get some ‘A’ variants for the RAF. 

60 – 80 is fair enough for the carriers plus a few spares. As for the RAF, it makes no sense for the RAF to have the more limited ‘B’ variant. The ‘A’ variant is also cheaper if I recall correctly.

Andy a
Andy a
2 months ago

Yes but as discussed else where buying small amount of f35a would actually cost millions more as you need 2 lots of training techs schools parts pilots engineers…..
It was written off as an idea by most senior RAF officers as waste of cash

Cripes
Cripes
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy a

Quite a lot is being made of the supppsed costs and difficulties of running 2 fleets of F-35s. There is much commonality between the 3 x F-35 versions. They all use the same stealth technology, pretty much the same sensors, they will all need the Block 4 IT upgrade and will all use son of ALIS. We actually run two fleets of Typhoons, the F2 and FGR4, without difficulty. They share the same OEU and OCU. It hasn’t pushed up the price of Typhoon or the running costs. We have two fleets of Wildcat helos too, the AH1 and the… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 months ago

“Limited B variant”??? I must be missing something. Can the A variant fly from a carrier or any flat decked ship? Can the A variant launch from a very limited length airstrip? Eg battle damaged? If anything I would say except for combat radius (remedied by A2AR) the B variant represents a more adaptable design.

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Amen bro

DJ
DJ
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Other than range, the main limitation seems to be the size of the weapons bay, which can limit full stealth strike operations. eg The JSM will not fit internally on the F35B. I have heard rumours that Japan may have asked Konsberg about an internal F35B version. Money makes lots of things possible. If the B is likely to be around for 50 years & the number of users keeps going up, there is a market to be had.

PaulW
PaulW
2 months ago

I’m sure CAS really meant 9 “RAF” combat squadrons. So 9 for RAF and 4 for FAA is fine. RAF should focus on Typhoon with a split between AD, SEAD, CAS and strike. FAA are stuck with F35B, so concentrate that effort there. Seems time for a Typhoon top-up order is due, fitted with AESA radar and better range. Next F35B order should be with enhanced engines and fuel efficiency, hence greater range. So get industry working there. Pip pip.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  PaulW

Yes, he probably did, and said he had “a 10th in his pocket”
I think he was including the extra 2 Typhoon squadrons formed and 2 RAF F35 to get to his 9, and 2 FAA RNAS in addition.
With the cuts now will 7 Typhoon squadrons remain?
Given the timeline of cuts I’d say 9 RAF and 4 FAA now is wonderful though unlikely.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago

Agreed, I think the number you posted earlier in the thread seems likely – 9 or 10 seems to number

Cripes
Cripes
2 months ago

I think the 10 squadrons envisaged at that time, were simply:
– 4 squadrons of Typhoon FGR4 plus Falklands flight. At standard front line strength of 12 per squadron, plus reserves TWU and OCU, that would total 105 aircraft and we have 106;
– 6 squadrons of F-35s, two of which to be shared with the FAA, which adds up exactly to the original 138 figure.

It was envisaged that the 2 Typhoon F2 squadrons would be scrapped, sadly, to provide the pilots and ground crews for two of the later F-35 squadrons .

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 months ago
Reply to  PaulW

F35B has a larger internal fuel capacity than a Typhoon or a Tornado GR4. And double that of a Harrier GR7 even with large underwing tank’s.

John Mayall
John Mayall
2 months ago

OK lets talk numbers! 1xF35 = circa £100m, 5xUCAV = circa £100m. 1xF35+2xUCAV = circa £120m therefore an air group of 24xF35+48xUCAV = 72 offensive platforms from a QE class carrier (combat mass far exceeding the planned air group) costing £2.88B as opposed to £3.6b for 36 F35’s (half the offensive platforms) I’m old school, but that really makes sense to me!

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  John Mayall

You got a lot of assumptions in that math.

John Mayall
John Mayall
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Not really!

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  John Mayall

Where’s the UCAV cost?

Since at present, one doesnt exist.

You’re no doubt aware that running costs will dwarf procurment ones?

John Mayall
John Mayall
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

The idea for combat drones (in every domain) is to attain combat mass by the cheapest way possible, both in procurement & operating costs, make sense?

Billythefish
Billythefish
2 months ago

Experts please advise – how is 80 aircraft 4 deployable squadrons?

I though a squadron was 12 (though the RAF seem to get away with as few as 8 these days), therefore 80 aircraft would mean about 6 squadrons….?

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago
Reply to  Billythefish

A sqaudron is a unit of force. It has the airframes it needs to train and do its missions.

As much a limiting factor are the number of pilots.

With much training having moved to sims, squadrons do not need so many airframes to constantly acheive their ongoing flying training.

The Typhoon squadron assigned to SHADER from Cyprus has 6 aircraft doing the same as the Tornado Sqn there which had 8, due entirely to differences in reliability.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Billythefish

Adding to Rogbobs comment, for every unit in role there will be another training, in reserve, and so on. 80 F35 does not mean 80 sent out to war in 6 squadrons at the same time. You also have to factor in the aircraft assigned to the OCU and OEU, those aircraft in depth maintenance at Marham, those in store to spread flying hours around, and so on. As another example, in the army there used to be the rule of 5. One regiment in role doing the task, one getting ready to take that role after the 1st steps… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago

Probably applied to squadrons rather than regiments these days i.e. a deployable regiment is effectively smaller?

Cheers CR

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Both actually CR. Squadrons from Corps where but a single regiment exists to provide a capability for defence, like Air Defence, RE EOD, RS EW, 30 RS, 14RS, and so on have a squadron ready to deploy to support SF/JRRF/3 Div, whoever, with others of that regiment at lower readiness in the cycle. Rule of 5 in wider army still survived 2010 SDSR, there were 5 deployable brigades, not including 16AA, each with 5 sets of CS and CSS Regiments and battalions so in theory 1 brigade “set” could be deployed indefinitely in an enduring operation. These new BCT being… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago

Regiment as in gunner/sapper/tank regiment or as in infantry ‘capbadge?’ I don’t remember regiments operating to a rule of 5. I remember rule of 4 relating to ‘Organisation’, which said that a brigade should have 4 manouevre units, a unit should have 4 primary role sub-units (Coy/Sqn/Bty), which each should have 4 platoons/troops etc – not that this was ever resourced but it makes tactical sense. There were also Harmony guidelines for deploying brigades on enduring operations meaning that for a brigade deployed, there should be 5 more ‘waiting to deploy’ in its place in a stated order. This ensures… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I meant Rule of 5 as you outlined in your 3rd paragraph! So 5 if each regiment type making a set. You described things as I understand them, though explained faaar better than me.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago

Thanks Daniele, FRC/FORM/Harmony Guidelines was for Brigades, not Regiments. All ‘back in the day’. I have lost touch with how readiness is done today.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

My first paragraph was referring to individual regiments at corps, division level, not rule of 5. I believe individual squadrons of these are at higher readiness.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  Billythefish

I’ve always had an interest in how the RAF decide the overall allocation of aircraft to a sqn. That is to say how many spare aircraft are required to the operational component (which I think is 12), plus allocation for attrition over the types operational lifetime.

geoff
geoff
2 months ago

On a related topic, the proposed Aeralis modular jet concept looks like an exciting eventual replacement for the Hawk and possibly more. Many of you will remember when the UK’s Air defence assets were looking a little thin(so what’s new!) and the suggestion arose to arm Hawks with Sidewinders to act as point defence aircraft for RAF bases among other strategic sites. The suggestion was greeted generally with derision and comments about how the Russiands would be quaking in their boots with the prospect of being greeted by trainers. But, the RAF in those days had a much wider range… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62
2 months ago

Now that is progress!

Peter S
Peter S
2 months ago

Interesting piece on Defense News website today. USAF not including any additional F35s in their 2022 unfunded budget request. A lot of political criticism of the ongoing technical issues- engine supply, software delays, spare parts-leading to unacceptable levels of availability and continuing high operating costs. It looks like purchases may be deferred until block 4 integration is achieved.
This rather confirms the wisdom of the UKs slow order rate.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah
2 months ago

As long as it is not to the detriment of the Typhoon enhancement program especially the Mk2 e captor

George Parker
George Parker
2 months ago

Still not enough but better than 48 in total. The RAF needs at least 80 dedicated F35’s of it’s own. The only discussion should be which version?
F35A and C variants have longer range and heavier weapons load but the unique dispersal ability of the F35B is not to be underestimated. Something we have not had since the insane decision to prematurely scrap the Harriers.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago

We have to allocate our defense budget somewhere or lose it, Considering the Army cannot order a pen Knife without turning it into a shit show. latest one to replace old LR Defenders with new LR Defenders, unit cost £55k over a £25k 4×4 crew cabover pick up truck @ £25k a pop..