In an exclusive report by Lucy Fisher at The Times, it is claimed that the Ministry of Defence have discussed procuring 70 F-35 jets instead of 138 as a ‘minimum credible F-35 fleet’.

It should be noted that the UK is only committed to buy 48 so far.

The report states that Britain could buy only half its target of 138 F-35 jets, according to sources close to the government’s defence review and that “the wider British aspiration to buy 138 of the aircraft over the lifespan of the US-led programme is seen as unlikely to be fulfilled”.

You can read more here.

A recent report from the NAO warns that not enough funding has actually been made available for sufficient F-35 jets. The report titled ‘Carrier Strike – Preparing for deployment’, examines the MoD’s management of the programme since 2017 and the risks towards achieving Carrier Strike’s full capabilities.

According to the National Audit Office:

“The Department has not yet made funding available for enough Lightning II jets to sustain Carrier Strike operations over its life. From 2015, its intention has been to buy 138 Lightning II jets, which will sustain Carrier Strike operations to the 2060s. The Department initially ordered 48 jets but has not yet committed to buying any more. In response to wider financial pressures, it will also receive seven of the 48 jets in 2025, a year later than planned.

Since we reported in 2017, the approved cost of the Lightning II project has increased from £9.1 billion to £10.5 billion (15%), reflecting approvals for capability upgrades, integration of UK weapons and sustainment costs. There will be further cost approvals to upgrade the existing fleet with new software and weapons, and there is a continued risk of cost increases due to exchange rate fluctuations. The Department plans to reassess the number and type of Lightning II jets that it needs in the Integrated Review, but its ability to use Carrier Strike will be constrained if it has fewer jets than planned.”

It should be noted that numbers right now are currently where they’re expected to be and inline with the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

2 F-35B in LRIP run 3, 1 F-35B in LRIP run 4, 1 F-35B in LRIP run 7, 4 F-35B in LRIP run 8, 6 F-35B in LRIP run 9, 3 F-35B in LRIP run 10, 2 F-35B in LRIP run 11, 2 F-35B in LRIP run 12 6 F-35B in LRIP run 13, 8 F-35B in LRIP run 14 and 7 F-35B in LRIP run 15. This brings us to 42 in 2023.

There will undoubtedly be many rumours prior to the upcoming defence review and we can only advise that you take everything you read on this subject with a pinch of salt as, for the most part, you will be reading about options or worst case scenarios and not firm plans.
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andy

looks like the cuts are starting as there is also a rumour going around scrapping the challenger upgrade and warrior upgrade to use the funds towards cyber warfare,and maybe purchase leopard 2 as it would be more cost effective,but again this is only hear say..but as usual when the economy hits a rock,defence is the back up piggy bank..which is absolutely disgusting,but yet lets keep giving money away to countries that hate us..

Meirion X

Some Leopard 2’s use by the Turkish Army, have been death traps in Syria!

Steve Martin

Wasn’t this largely down to their tactics?

andy

i read a few articles when this came out some was down to tactics but largely rpg,s were just knocking them out,but there again what type of armour was fitted and paid for,i know our challengers have extra armour fitted in times of conflict,like our warriors,i remember going out on exercise in Germany and the warrior i was in clipped a German dustbin truck and the rear corner of the bolt on chobham was ripped off the warrior,needles to say there was hell on we had to quickly hide the side of the warrior and the bit of armour thrown… Read more »

Mark B

Why would the UK need tanks in vast numbers as they did before?

We provide the Aircraft Carriers etc. why can’t the Germans, Poles etc. provide the tanks and crews?

First you have to decide your role on the modern battlefield and then get the kit to support that role surely.

Nigel Collins

They just might!

4 Aug 2020

“Rheinmetall From Germany Launches a New Main Battle Tank MBT With a 130mm Cannon and a Deadly Jump”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t20Z_qxpYYc

Rob N

Yes the they offered the new gun and turret for the Challenger upgrade.

Daveyb

There is simply no other vehicle that can do the job of a MBT, i.e. taking and holding ground. Then soaking up fire and still being able to continue the mission. Apache for all its brilliance, is still a helicopter that burns through fuel that must transit to and from a resupply site, it can be taken out by a simple RPG. They’re great for ambushes and as mobile artillery, but are slow and vulnerable. Boxer is a lightly armoured 8×8 APC, that will need additional protection for RPGs and has to rely on dismounts to face up to MBTs,… Read more »

Damo

100% with you. Most of the weapons platforms we have are under gunned/weaponised (ships, boxer, warrior, p8 etc). How are we realistically going to knock tanks out if we are fighting in a contested air space? Scrap strike, buy more tanks and heavy lift capability (can we deploy strike quickly anyway?) buy more artillery, every citizen donates a kidney that we can sell to the Chinese to pay for it, allow all refugees/asylum seekers fast track entry if they join army/navy for 3 years. Sound like a plan? Save a few billion too by forcing the NHS to move to… Read more »

expat

There also talk of loaning out the Apaches, so we may not have them at our disposal or have enough trained personnel to fly and maintain if we could get them back. Aircraft of any type have to be fit to fly, a fault on ground vehicle that would be a minor inconvenience will ground aircraft!

Mark B

I am also of the opinion that the MBT is still the weapon of choice for many scenarios. I was really here looking at MBTs in Europe. What I was suggesting is that there perhaps should be a medium to long term plan for the Germans & Eastern Europeans to provide the bulk of the necessary MBTs in their own armed forces backed up by the British & French and obviously ultimately the Americans. Should such a plan materialise that might be the catalyst for the UK to revise our role and define what kit we will need over the… Read more »

Dern

Why are people convinced that Tanks are not expeditionary assets? They are and have always been.

Ask anyone who was in Afghan and supported by Dutch and Canadian Leopards and they’ll tell you how much that was appreciated and how much they regret us not deploying our tanks there.

So simply saying “we don’t want to fight on the Eastern Front” isn’t a good reason to get rid of tanks (also if we divest ourselves from fighting on NATO’s Eastern Flank then who can blame NATO for not helping us if the time ever comes).

Mark B

What I was driving at here was the the UK needs to think carefully about it’s role & responsibilities not only on the Russian front but also elsewhere. Until it does that politicians will not allocate any money for anything. On the Russian front NATO needs to station sufficient forces to deter any aggression. It is logical that the bulk of those forces should come from the NATO countries in central and eastern Europe. Nobody defends a home like the owner. Are the days of a substantial Army on the Rhine gone? Would we still want prepositioned kit over there… Read more »

Dern

NATO is about collective defence, there is something very “un-collective defence” about allies turning to countries and saying “you need to defend yourselves, we’ll uh, guard your flank.” Personally I don’t think we should buy Leopard, or Abrams, or anything else, stick with what was designed for British Army doctrine until something that is markedly better comes out, rather than a incremental upgrade from the 1970’s. We do need to be clear on what we are defending against however: the central point I was making was that Tanks do not mean “Eastern Front.” In fact if anything the 90’s and… Read more »

Mark B

I suspect that the growing view of EU countries is that they will provide the first line of defence for their own territory. We have to accept that we may well not be welcome. The days of the UK & US guarding Europe may well be in the past. I take your point on armour being relevant on operations outside Europe. A highly mobile adaptive MBTs might well be highly desirable. In order to kick start the economy there will be a great deal of money spent on capital projects at home. Clearly building our own kit is the only… Read more »

Rob N

When Challenger 1 was due for replacement Leopard was considered but rejected due to lower levels of protection. Challenger 2 has never been lost to hostile fire. The only loss was to a blue on blue when a a HESH round hit an open turret hatch.

Fedaykin

Very much tactics and poor operational decisions. They were sitting them broadside on top of hills using them for long range fire support with no infantry support. The Leopard 2A4 had pretty good frontal armour but very poor side armour, this was due to the Germans seeing mobility as a form of armour and the priority being to keep the weight of the tank down to enable that. The idea was for the tank to operate from prepared defensive positions then using their big gun and mobility to dictate engagements against the Soviet hoards. It is hardly surprising that late… Read more »

Meirion X

I agree, it was poor tactics!

Paul T

The Leopards Turkey has and have used in Syria are much earlier versions ,2A4 i believe ,whereas the current German Army Standard is 2A5 – 2A7,vastly different Armour Arrays and capability,bad Tactics notwithstanding.

Adrian

That’s because they left the Tanks completely without infantry support, and IS took advantage by getting up close with Anti-Tank weapons. One does not simply leave tanks without infantry support.

maurice10

There is no smoke without fire, so your rumours may hold some semblance of truth? Ditching the CH2 LEP may be true but buying Leopard 2 would not be wise considering we are not partners in the new German/French programme. We would be wiser to buy the latest M1’s and attempt to get involved with the M1 replacement. If F35’s are to be reduced that would effectively kill off the F35A for a few years at least. I’ll take the 70 airframes than face further cuts below that number. Defence cuts will not be privy to the UK, as I… Read more »

John Clark

I would say Maurice, that the plan to reduce Chally2 numbers down to 150 ‘ish’, killed the point of having heavy armour anyway. In both gulf wars we required 100 plus MBT’s to form the basis of a proper armoured division. With 150 ‘ish’ in a total fleet, we would struggle to deploy 40 to make a light armoured brigade. With numbers below critical mass ( rendering MBT ownership largely pointless) and the cost of the BAE Systems upgrade likely to go through the roof, as it always does….. The answer is to forget it and let them go, ‘if’… Read more »

maurice10

There is no magic pill for the current MBT status in the UK. The very fact we could not sustain tank manufacturing put pay to any home built replacement for CH2. Being an Island country was partly responsible for the MOD turning its back on British heavy armour, as the UK’s land forces were due to leave mainland Europe, thus weakening the case for a serious MBT strategy. One thing is clear, no practical alternative to the MBT has been found and the current strategy of most global powers, is to replace their fleets with brand new battle tanks. Without… Read more »

Fedaykin

Well RBSL upgrade now BAE Land Systems has been merged into a joint venture with Rheinmetal. The things is the BAE Land Systems proposal whilst minimal and uninspiring basically replacing and updating obsolescent electronics, adding some form APS and leaving everything else untouched made sense in the scope of what was asked for with the LEP programme. The Rheinmetal offering which now forms the core of the RBSL proposed upgrade makes far less sense for LEP as it changes out the entire turret for a new one to get a NATO standard gun on Challenger II. The problem with that… Read more »

John Clark

I absolutely agree with Fedaykin and Maurice, the M1 is the only real option for us.

I hope we remain at 225, it’s the bare number needed.

The US option is the only one that makes sense.
No point crying over spilt milk, we don’t have any domestic capability, it’s long gone.

We can be very proud of the Challenger 2, it was an excellent tank, last of the line of a proud British tank tradition, from invention to manufacture of some of the finest post war MBT’s, namely Chieftain and Challenger 2.

Ron5

@Fedaykin The ammo capacity of the RBSL proposal with the smoothbore 120mm gun in a new turret has been disclosed and it is equivalent to the existing Challenger so the whole basis of your complaint is false. Buying M1’s would be much more expensive than upgrading Challenger. It has been looked at and discarded for that reason. Don’t forget that a) more M1’s would have to be acquired to also replace training vehicles and b) the M1 is actually older in design than the Challenger c) the M1 gulps fuel at a rate that far exceeds the UK’s logistics capability… Read more »

Fedaykin

@Ron5 Still a bomb load smaller than its contemporaries.

“Buying M1’s would be much more expensive than upgrading Challenger”

You know that for a fact?

“M1 gulps fuel”

No it doesn’t, fuel consumption is much the same on the march, the APU fitted to the SEPV3 rectifies the high fuel consumption issue when stationary.

Meirion X

Thanks for that info Ron!

Basra

Someone has to pay for the extended holiday of 2020. Government finances are way worse than 08, 70 F35’s would be a dream at this stage much less 138.

Rob N

At the moment this is all speculation – the press latch onto hypothetical planning and report it as fact.

Nick Bowman

If only 48 aircraft are purchased, I think they should all be Royal Navy (FAA) aircraft used to equip the carriers and an OCU. Sharing this relatively small number with the RAF will not be efficient. If we do this, it will free the RAF to focus on air defence and transport roles. In time, as funds become available and threats mature, a Typhoon replacement can be purchased. This will be more efficient; each service will maintain one type of fast jet combat aircraft and be unfettered in deployment of same. Simplify everything!

spyintheskyuk

Taking away the RAF specialist strike capability would be concerning as the F-35 can do things that the Typhoon cant so safely and effectively carry out in and narrowing the capability of the RAF strike capability by not having its advanced sensors in a highly dangerous environment. Worse still this doesn’t bode at all well with any serious attempt to pursue Tempest making it sound like many feared just a way to try to get us relative equality in any European programme… or whatever way they try to sell it. If we seriously buy only half of what we were… Read more »

Blue Fuzz

If cuts to F35 numbers are true, I’m not convinced that is a threat to Tempest. In fact the opposite could be true – those Typhoons that would have been replaced by F35s would instead be replaced by Tempest.

Cam

I didn’t know we were replacing any typhoons with the f35!

Blue Fuzz

I suspect that under existing plans to procure 138 F35, the 2 sqns worth of Tranche 1 Typhoon would be replaced by F35. Tempest would in turn eventually replace the 5 frontline and 2 non-frontline sqns worth of tranche 2/3 Typhoon. If only 70 F35 are procured that could mean all 9 sqns worth of Typhoons being replaced by Tempest.

Derek

Take the quotes and simply add the letter ‘B’ and this might be another version of the split A/B buy conversation. 70 B type being the ‘credible amount’ for Carrier Strike leaving the rest of the buy for the A type?

r cummings

The fixation with carrier strike overlooks the stated plan for the F-35. It was to replace Joint Force Harrier, which at the time had two roles – the two RAF AV-8B squadrons were ground support for the army, the previous Sea Harrier squadrons were naval FSR (fighter/strike fighter/reconnaissance). The future F-35B force has the same two roles and, as much as HMG loves to double-count our assets, aircraft supporting the army in a conflict will not be available to surge on the carrier as well. It is very unlikely that the RN will get more than 48 aircraft, of which… Read more »

Sceptical Richard

The way this government has handled everything else to date, makes me really fear for Defence. Every aspect of it.

expat

I’m with you on this. Replica program ran from 1994-98 was suppose to replace Tornado, with experience gained we managed to get a seat at the F35 table as a Tier 1 partner. So we have ‘form’ as they say. The government could be saying it worked before so lets try it again. We know the French are serious, they were more than happy to walk away from the Eurofighter program and go it alone. We’ve also form in abandoning projects, TSR2 springs to mind.

Ron5

Not correct. The Replica program was to investigate & test manufacturing technology that would support stealth. There was zero intent to produce a flying aircraft.

Expat

But t that doesn’t mean Tempest will not be used to get a seat on another program. The best way to do that is to say you intend to create a competitor aircraft.

Robert Blay

It doesn’t simplify anything, Lightning has been operated as a joint force from the start, just like joint force harrier before it.

Supportive Bloke

Let’s look at it another way. The RAF are getting to eat what they cooked here. RAF “…..only need 70 35B for CBG bla bla bla rest can be F35A….” Treasury “Great then you only get 70 airframes” RAF “That went well then; didn’t see that coming” Exact rerun of cutting hill numbers of T45 to secure acceleration of T23 replacement…..that went well too…..not. This is where playing silly briefing games backfired as it gets officials thinking. That being said the 138 is a treaty commitment so won’t go down well the other side of the pond if we try… Read more »

Daveyb

SB, I agree the purchase of 138 F35s was part of the deal to be the tier 1 partner. If we renege on our order, whose to say the US won’t take back some of the manufacturing or repair work?

RobW

This review is already starting to look like another cost cutting exercise rather than a serious look at strategy and what we need to meet it.

If we get 70 F35Bs then great as that will give us the ability to field 3 squadrons on a QEC, plus the OCU. If we ever need to have both carriers operating at once I’m sure we could surge a few more to give say 30 on one and 25 on the other.

Blue Fuzz

Or 4 smaller sqns of 9 F35 each (rather than 3 of 12), plus the OCU. That way 2 frontline sqns could be aligned with each carrier (18 aircraft) – possibly supplemented by a similarly sized USMC F35 sqn. That way around 27 F35 would be on board for each QE class deployment).

Cam

Here we go again! A great opportunity wasted! We lack depth in numbers of almost everything we have now!

Herodotus

Yes, including money…unfortunately!

Cam

Well that’s not true! We do have money in the UK but it how it’s spent, or wasted!!

Herodotus

Cam…I think that we have borrowed more than than our GDP for the first time since the 1960s. I am old enough to remember those days…I think you are too. Bad enough going cap in hand to LBJ….utterly humiliating to the present scumbag!

Cam

Ok Herodotus, I suppose the borrowing will make things worse in lots of respects and defence being number one victim most likely!

Jason Holmes

You should see the NHS+Social security budget, its eye watering, the economy is mostly there supporting that now.

BB85

It will only get worse with an increasing ageing population need more and more social care support. When T May actually tried to be honest with the public before an election and say taxes will need to be raised to pay for this the media went berserk and completely destroyed her almost costing the election. Now we have a Tory government trying to out spend labour but unable to raise taxes. The irony is its millennials and generations Z who are going to suffer because we can’t afford it even if they scrapped the MOD altogether.

Jonny

I’m 18 and the future looks absolutely terrible, after university i might just hop to another country if they are doing any better.

Robert Blay

Join the fleet Air Arm or RAF, you will have the time of your life.

julian1

that’s not as easy as it sounds. Brexit denies you European opportunity, the US is really hard to get into and stay. Australia still accepts well qualified, solvent young people. By the way, inspite of UK being skint, really very few countries are better

Jonny

I realise that every country is struggling at the moment, it’s just that we are going to have a double whammy of covid 19 economic shock combined with what is increasingly looking like a hard brexit. And whether brexit will work out better for us in the long term is debatable, but the fact is there will definitely be a loss in the short term. It just feels like we keep shooting ourselves in the foot. Australia it is…

barry white

Bye How you getting there? There might not be any airlines left But i suppose you will blame that on brexit But think of this if you youngsters would abide by the social distancing rules perhaps this spread of the virus might subside Its your age group that is going to pay for this even though you might not have coused it That is no different than my age group having to pay for WW2 And i was not born then but still payed the price for it Your age group dont seem to be helping themselves just for a… Read more »

Jonny

I’ll go by hot air balloon. And you saying that “young people are the problem because SOME of them went to the beach” is like me saying “old people screwed the country up because SOME of them voted for brexit”

barry white

As Captain Mainwaring used to say to Private Pike
“You stupid boy”

Jonny

As someone probably once said to someone else “you clearly don’t have a response to that”

David Barry

I like you! (And, I’m an oldie but Remainer).

Cam

Not many western countrys are doing better than the uk in millitary capability, only USA is, but look at the mess they are in with the riots ect! Move at your own risk.

Robert Blay

And if you ever need it, you’ll be glad we do spend the kind of money on it.

expat

That’s the problem, its now impossible to have any serious debate about efficiency in the NHS. Its only going to get worse.

BB85

Shock and horror. Realistically though if the F35 is to remain in service until 2060 which it probably will. I think we will procure 60-72 by 2030 and then another 50 – 60 to replace them around 2040. The other recent news about the UK considering scrapping warrior and C2 is also not a big surprise. With Covid that expected budget increase is never going to happen. However rather than talking pure sh!te that tanks are yesterday’s technology the mod needs to be honest and say the UK should not be investing in heavy armour when we are so far… Read more »

TrevorH

Yes. If these strike brigades are meant to be realistic the money should have proper artillery. The heavy armour is increasingly redundant. Put big bore on the strike 8-wheelers.

As for Times articles…. let’s pause for thought about them. Do they really know what they are doing?
We have 15% of the F35 programme, based on 138 planes. So we need to keep numbers to retain our financial interest. It’s a 50 year programme. So the 70 seems too low.

Cam

I think we will keep the 138 number order, it’s over the life of program so that’s spread oven many years so a relatively small amount of money every year in the big picture is easily manageable.

Rod Flint

I totally agree. Any future conflicts will not be on the German plains, and CHR2 lacks the strategic, and even the operational, mobility to deploy anywhere else quickly. Maximum use of Boxer variants, supplemented by Ajax variants, is the viable way forward.
We were never going to buy 138 F35s in one go. Half now and half in 2040 is the logical way to keep them operational over the carriers life span. It is also very unlikely that we would deploy two carriers at the same time. By having two we also have one operate.

Robert Blay

Well said mate, a rare common sense approach on this site.

Robert Blay

But cyber security is vitaly important. look at the damage COVID-19 is doing to economy’s. if China or Russia was really hell bent on the destruction of the west, why bother with tank and soldiers, when a virus, or hacking our national infrastructure would be far more effective.

BB85

I agree cyber security is vitally important, but the home office, department for infrastructure, in fact pretty much every government department needs to allocate part of their budget towards this, not just the MOD.
Private enterprise, particularly utilities also need to invest heavily to protect their own infrastructure. A lot of these applications are almost too integrated for their own good and they need to regularly practice defending against cyber attacks. I bet amazon, google and FB are targeted every single day and its just water off a ducks back to them.

Robert Blay

Yes, but we are talking about a different level of state on state cyber threats.

expat

I think there’s a difference between cyber warfare and security. I do think other departments should pick up some of that cost. The prevention o hacking and stealing intellectual property should be funded by the DTI for instance. Clearly offensive capability needs to be partially funded by the military. But we need to turn the investment into a product or parts of it at least and sell it to our Allies.

Mark B

Seriously? The F35 still in service in 2060. No chance. It will be totally outclassed in 15-20 years. It is the first of a new breed however the evolution from this point on will be relentless.

Robert Blay

It won’t be outclassed in in 15-20 years time, Russia and China have nothing that can touch it now or in the near future, and F35 development will be relentless, the F35 in 10 years time will be a very different from the aircraft flying today.

Mark B

It makes you wonder if anyone will pay £100m for something which might be out of date in 10 years. You will have to pay for all the upgrades meanwhile unlike Microsoft office 365 the airframe will be wearing out.

Cheaper kit in numbers which will do the job – that is the future surely?

Robert Blay

unfortunately not, capability is everything, and that is the way we have gone, capability over numbers, and deployability. Some countries have huge armies, but are largely useless in the modern battlefield.

Andy

China is working on 2 stealth fighters (J-20 and FC-31) and 2 stealth bombers (H-20 and JH-XX) which should be able to touch the F-35 in the next few years, especially if you consider Chinas geographic and informational advantages in areas they are likely to meet.

China is also very strong in AI and Computer Vision. Most patents in this area have being going to China for many years, so I expect them to catch up with F-35 sensor fusion at some point.

Robert Blay

I’d take any claims from China with a very large pinch of salt. Especially when it comes to stealth, engine technology, and radar performance.

Cam

The F35 is very very upgradeable on lots of areas, it’ll still be very viable in 30 Odd years

julian1

Really? Look at the F15, F16 and even B52. Totally different under the bonnet and virtually unimaginable upgrades to the originals to keep them relevant today. Most upgrades are software driven nowadays so almost limitless

Nigel Collins

How many times have I mentioned on UKDJ about the never-ending cost increases of the F35 let alone the heated discussions that followed over the past two years +? Take the technology gains and transfer them to Tempest. The F35B will not be a fully capable aircraft until 2027 by which time we should have a version of loyal wingman to support the 70 F35’s on future carrier operations. The F35 will be ten years too late and counting, time to move on. Also, designing carriers of this size with ski ramps was a very big mistake, in my opinion,… Read more »

Meirion X

I wondered how much of the F-35 tech is protected IP?
It seems some of the development is like reinventing the wheel?

Nigel Collins

I think we can do a lot better by learning from the mistakes that have been made in designing the F35 which are numerous, to say the least!

Building in a carrier design from the start which the French and Germans are doing with their FACS program would also be the smart play.

Robert Blay

That isn’t fact though is it Nigel, only a option they might look at a carrier version. a french/German carrier is further away then the FACS.

Nigel Collins
Robert Blay

That article says nothing, a source close to the project says………. that could be a bloke down the pub. It’s not a hard fact or official requirement confirmed by the french or Germany govs

Lordtemplar

FCAS will be carrier capable, that was one of the first requirements for the French and a deal breaker since FCAS will replace Rafale. France is not interested in developing a second plane to replace Rafale M, nor des it have the funds for this. In fact not having a naval version was one the main reasons France dropped out of the Typhoon.

Meirion X

I agree with you here!

Nigel Collins

“that could be a bloke down the pub.”

One of your sources then with little factual information to back it up as per usual other than your opinion.

Dassault will serve as prime contractor for the NGF, while Airbus will lead the development of accompanying remote carrier vehicles and the broader system’s supporting combat cloud.[12] It will also be carrier-capable and will fly from the French Navy’s future aircraft carrier.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Combat_Air_System

Robert Blay

well if Wikipedia says so Nigel 😆 it will be YouTube next

Nigel Collins

Everyone seems to be aware of it apart from you it seems and still posting your idiotic kindergarten like replies as you have little else to offer in return. Pathetic. Dassault Confirms The Future Combat Air System Will Operate From Aircraft Carriers “FCAS/SCAF aboard aircraft carriers However, despite all the doubts around the final design brief and specifications of the NGF, Dassault confirmed to Naval News that the SCAF will be onboard the aircraft carrier that will replace the Charles de Gaulle circa 2035-2040. The changes in the aircraft configuration since last October show major improvement in handling and manoeuvrability… Read more »

Robert Blay

You haven’t a clue Nigel, you just read websites all day, and marketing next to a plastic mock up, and believe totally unrealistic time frames and costs. You think the french/Germans are going to develop a 6th gen fighter, and develop and build a new aircraft carrier for 2035/40, in the current financial climate? 😆 They can’t even afford a few more Rafales at the moment. Give me a break.

Lordtemplar

Hate to burst your bubble. But work on the franco – german SCAF is moving forward, and initial funding has been approved to demonstrator phase in mid 2020s. Even Spain is contributing some finance and will be involved with Indra. France has started work on the CDG replacment in 2018. Right now it’s called PANG (next gen carrier) and scheduled for a launch in 2036, to replace the CDG which should retire around 2040. We know that it will be bigger than the CDG and weigh in approx 70k tons to be able to fit the SCAF which will be… Read more »

Robert Blay

I think having a technology demonstrator flying before 2030 is hugely ambitious, let alone the mid 20’s. But we’ll see. I think it’s still a real possibility that the Tempest project and the French/German FCAS will merge in the future. It will be simply to costly to have two rival 6th gen fighter projects in Europe, especially when they will be built in relatively small number. Same with the new carrier. We know from experience with the QE class how long they take to develop and build, and survive all the economic/elections/military budget and political ups and downs over the… Read more »

Lordtemplar

I do not know if a demonstrator by mid 2020s is optimistic, i am not designing the plane. However Tempest also plans to have a demonstrator in a similar time frame. So maybe it’s not unrealistic. I do agree with you that it may be possible for Tempest and SCAF may merge, since there is only limited export sales potential for either platform. Ie Japan, Korea, Turkey and India all want to produce their own. But that will mean the UK will need to agree to a carrier version, since that is a dealbreaker for France. SCAF will replace all… Read more »

Nigel Collins

As I said, kindergarten like replies.

Robert Blay

Kindergarten knowledge, with zero experience.

Nigel Collins

And the cost continues to rise! Please note: Jane’s Gareth Jennings noted the exchange in Hansard, the official record of the proceedings of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The U.K. government has disclosed for what appears to be the first time that it is not necessarily committed to eventually upgrading all 48 of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighters that it plans to buy with the still-in-development and increasingly costly Block 4 package. Jets without the updates would be left with more limited capabilities. This also raises questions about how existing and future F-35 operators might… Read more »

Robert Blay

I don’t question the cost Nigel. We have just spent $540 million for project centurion upgrades for Typhoon, and I’m guessing that was only for the tranche 2/3 aircraft. Basically, any major weapon system upgrades are expensive, that is not exclusively to the F35.

lee1

What features are you thinking of?

John Clark

I wouldn’t be blaming too much on the Covid bill, the economy will snap back fairly quickly, as soon as the epidemic is over, probably much quicker than our competitors, due to the inherent flexibility of the UK’s service based economic makeup. The massive debt accrued will be kicked down the road and lived with for a few generations, just like our war debt to Uncle Sam was…. Cuts are inevitable, as at 2% GDP, we can’t afford the shining new top of the line expensive equipment and upgrades of old ‘and’ field an effective defence capability simultaneously. F35 numbers… Read more »

Meirion X

Covid debt created by The Bank of E.(QE), could just be written Off.

Yes I agree the economy will snap back quickly!

The GDP limit on defence spending, needs to be much more flexible, e.g. 2-3% of GDP.

lee1

It is not that simple. Otherwise we would just do that all the time! Writing off that debt has other serious economic repercussions.

Meirion X

The UK has written off a lot of third world debt as well over the last few years!

lee1

It is very different when you write off someone elses debt to you than if you write your own off…

Mark B

It is a useful strategy to use once or twice a century but can land countries in massive difficulties if use unwisely.

We just need to increase GDP and the defence budget will automatically go up. Trouble is GDP can go up or down

lee1

Don’t bet on it. The Government have seriously damaged a key part of our service industries flexibility with IR35 legislation despite being told that it would do so. around 30% of positions in some key high tech areas have already been moved overseas as a result which was causing major economic issues before covid hit… Remember that currently the economy is rebounding a bit, but the big economic hits have not come yet. When furlough ends we could see major problems. Especially as this Government is full of idiots who have never done a proper job and are mainly trying… Read more »

BB85

IR35 has been delayed by 12 months but companies are not moving tech work overseas just because contractors are finally having to pay their fair share of tax.

lee1

That is not the case. Contractors do pay their fair share of tax. I pay not far off the same tax share of tax as a permanent employee. The Lords report into IR35 showed this was the case. The Government have successfully spread lies and misinformation about this and have been very quiet on the 80% of court cases they have lost with regard to IR35. However contractors are not particularly opposed to paying more tax if it is done in a fair and sensible way. What we have seen however is that from April contractors will be thrown into… Read more »

Cam

But we were committed to buy 138 F35s! It’ll look really bad If we cut numbers! ESPECIALY when Japan’s just Increased Numbers!

Robert Blay

138 was always over the life of the project, not all in one go. Even a fleet of 70 is still very capable fleet of aircraft. And this just speculation, not fact.

Cam

Yeah Robert Blay, im sure we all realise it’s not 138 operating at on time, the ones we have now will be replaced by future version ect ect

TrevorH

Our “war debt” to the USA was free. All our equipment was free, just has Russia did not pay for all the trucks that Uncle Sam sent to Uncle Joe… And we send equipment like planes and tanks there.

What we borrowed was reconstruction, and some of that was free and the rest in preferential rates.

I understand at the defence budget is based on 2.2% GDP, pre Covid.

Paul T

TrevorH – Lend Lease from the USA to the UK wasn’t free,it was discounted yes but still entailed repayments.

Meirion X

What I read about Lend Lease, it was terminated in Sept.1945, equipment returned or destroyed before T. we did not have to pay for. Equipment returned after T. was discounted by 90%.

TrevorH

Equipment that was given away and not destroyed was supposed to be given back. Lots of stuff was consumable and could not be given back.

After the war America gave loans, Marshal Aid, to several countries. We got a big chunk of Marshal Aid, more than France or Germany.
Germany did pay reparations.

BTW, all loans were good rates and it was of no benefit to is to pay them back early. We paid of Canadian loans in 2006. We don’t think Canadians as enemies.

Cam

The UK gave away millions of Tons of WW2 equipment and gear and never asked for anyithing after the warM e used to air drop money and guns ect into France and the Huge expensive arctic convoys to Russia!

It just pisses me off how Britain didn’t want or get the Germans to pay us reparations but almost all other allies did!! They owe us many billions in today’s money… and in turn we paid back all who we owed to including USA!

lee1

You seem to forget that we took a hell of a lot of factory equipment and tech secrets out of Germany in the run up to the end of the war. We were part of the same pact as the other allies in relation to distributing assets from German industry etc. We along with the other main allies signed a treaty in 1990 to write off any other claims as part of the reunification of Germany.

TrevorH

correct. you beat me to it. France occupied the same until about 1956, likewise Holland occupied parts of Germany until about 1956.

We like other allies received equipment free from America. And the liberty ships were built by America that filled the equipment. And American servicemen gave their blood.

Robert Blay

Thats like saying Typhoon was no good until project centurion, and the previous 15 years wasn’t worth it. you just hate the F35 Colin, for whatever bizarre reason.

Ron5

Glad I’m not the only one that sees that.

Robert Blay

He seems to have dropped the Gripen sales pitch at least 😆

Lee1

Tempest is not going to happen. It is a marketing exercise not a real effort. We just can not afford it. I would be surprised if we have a decent number of drones too as I can see the numbers of those being pretty small. So we are going to have an air force that has old Typhoons, a handful of F35s (if they do not all get assigned to the Navy) and a few drones oh an no tanks. We are going to be feared the world over!!! (Sarcasm just in case it was not obvious). So much for… Read more »

Cam

Tempest can and will happen Lee1. I gaurintee it.

lee1

I don’t think it will. We do not have the money and I doubt there will be much export potential for it as it will be up against future aircraft from the US, Japan and Germany/France, Russia and China and even possibly India. This will ensure it will cost a ludicrous amount per unit. We can’t even afford the F35s we have already committed to or our current Tanks! I will be surprised if Tempest turns out to be anything more than a demo like Taranis. I would love to be proven wrong though.

Cam

Jesus, we have a multiple trillion economy and the third biggest defence company and second biggest airplane engine maker RR.. and far more..

We have the company’s And money to make tempest work and I’m glad to see team tempest has doubled in numbers in recent months and got other foreign partners onboard. We need a typhoon replacement anyway so it makes sense to partner and build it ourselves, or what would you suggest Lee1? Buying off yanks or French?

lee1

Second biggest Jet engine manufacturer that is in serious financial trouble. Third biggest defence company that has not designed and built its own production aircraft in decades. An economy that is faltering under a Government that is totally incompetent and more interested in looking after themselves than the country. We have a man in charge who was not elected yet is seemingly untouchable and hates all things “Establishment” despite being very much part of the “Establishment”. If the rumours are true and we can not afford our own tanks and are cutting F35 orders then it is unlikely we will… Read more »

Robert Blay

And despite your doom and gloom assessment, we still have the 2nd largest aerospace sector in the world

lee1

The countries with the largest industry were led by the United States with $408.4 Bn (49%) followed by France with $69 Bn (8.2%) then China with $61.2 Bn (7.3%), United Kingdom with $48.8 Bn (5.8%), Germany with $46.2 Bn (5.5%), Russia with $27.1 Bn (3.2%), Canada with $24 Bn (2.9%), Japan with $21 Bn (2.5%), Spain with $14 Bn (1.7%) and India with (1.3%): the top 10 countries represent $731 Bn or 87.2% of the whole industry.[2]

TrevorH

Hysteria rules

Nigel Collins

Agreed.

Link courtesy of DavyB

As he mentioned to a reply of mine in another thread, it is interesting to see what picture was used!

https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2020/08/21/rolls-royce-backs-hypersonic-power-specialist-reaction-engines-with-new-investment/

Lordtemplar

I do not share your pessimism. I do not have a crystal ball, but i am confident it will happen. I am sure some compromises will have to be made, but that is true on every project. I do think it will have limited export potential because of competition which will cut out many customer nations which could afford it and be trusted with such high tech equipment (Fra, Ger, Japan, S. Korea, Spa and US) The most important thing about Tempest is not profitability, it is a strategic national defence issue and to maintain a key national industry and… Read more »

Meirion X

If we had listened to people like you, in the early 1990’s, we would be stuffed already?
What would we be using to intercepting all those Russi’s aircraft now?

Ron5

Poor Nigel might be the only person that thinks Tempest will turn out to be cheaper than F-35B’s. Or is that just a smokescreen to explain his dislike for F-35.

Funny that he usually posts Putin friendly opinions like the F-35 will be soon out of date so don’t buy any. That’s absolute nonsense.

Nigel Collins

No Ron, I produce the evidence to back up my claims unlike you and your mate Plus one who never seem to be able to, ever. If I were Putin friendly, I’d opt for the F35. Come back to me on that one in 2027 when it has Block4 software installed (hopefully working correctly without endless bugs), capable of using Meteor plus other useful munitions and of course, the wheels don’t collapse on landing. Things have moved on from 15 December 2006 when the F35 first took to the skies like Loyal wingman and 6th gen fighters. Try keeping up… Read more »

Robert Blay

Jesus Nigel, believe what the people who actually fly and operate the F35 say about it , other then another internet article that backs up what you wantt to read. F22, Typhoon, Rafale, Gripen, are all late and overbudget, nothing new with F35.

Nigel Collins

Exactly Robert, nothing new. FY 2020 F35B unit cost=$166M, full of bugs, lack of usable weapons and unable to maintain supersonic speeds for carrier intercepts, a class one deficiency that cannot be corrected in the near future until they devise a new stealth coating that doesn’t crack at sustained high temperatures and so the list goes on. And that’s what happens when you design a carrier based on one type of aircraft, all your eggs in one basket. Note the actual all-inclusive price and the fact that we are looking to reduce the amount of F35’s we purchase by half.… Read more »

Robert Blay

Ah another website link, same old same old. They said all the same old stuff about F22 and Typhoon in the early day’s. White Elephants! Out of date! Useless!. And yet these aircraft are proving Sterling service today. The same for the F35, Its still very early days of it’s service career. Typhoon couldn’t carry the weapons it can carry today 10years ago, it wasn’t useless though was it. Of course it’s had development problems, but like any airforce that is now flying it says, it is and will provide a massive step change in capability. But you choose to… Read more »

Daveyb

I will defend Nigel on this fact, the F35 is the most expensive military aircraft in history and will be for the next 10 years at least. However, as more Countries are buying it, its overall unit cost is coming down. But that will not get a around the fact that the research and development costs are astronomical. Simply put, the fusion of avionics and the pilot’s situational awareness puts the aircraft in another league capability wise. But lets put that in perspective. This aircraft is a step change in capability, more so than the previous YF22/23 program. It has… Read more »

Robert Blay

Hi Davyb. That is an excellent example of the kind of capabilities the F35 will bring to the fight. Add in electronic attack, and the ability to act almost like a mini AWACS, to share it’s situational awareness to fellow allied aircraft, and you have a very efficient and deadly force multiplier. Even a small number of F35’s, can have a massive effect on the battle space.

Daveyb

Yes, I agree. The F35 is not only a step change in capability but also in mission flexibility. However, as with any new cutting edge technology it comes at risk and a very high financial cost. If anything it will be like the first years of Typhoon. The US saying the aircraft is rubbish and too expensive, why don’t you buy the cheaper F18 instead? Typhoon did have a lot of issues to begin with, especially with the serviceability of the radar. But look at it now, it is not only an awesome air dominance fighter, but is pretty good… Read more »

Robert Blay

It’s a shame so many fail to understand the capability, and are quick to right it off, even in these very early days of it’s deployment. As you rightly say, it takes time to get these weapon systems matured, and providing the promised capability. There hasn’t been a single new fighter that has entered service in the last 40 plus years that hasn’t had substantial cost overruns, or delays. Or had all the capability and weapons available from day 1. Cheers Davyb. Have a good weekend.

Nigel Collins

Is this still the case? I very much hope not as we could be retiring them as erly as 2026-2030. The Marines’ F-35B structural test airframe proved unable to complete the three lifetimes of testing. According to the 2018 report, Joint Program Office officials suspended tests on that airframe in 2017 after its second lifetime when they found the necessary patches and modifications were so extensive that the airframe was “no longer representative of the wing-carry-through structure” of the aircraft coming off the assembly line. Shockingly, there are no plans to procure a replacement airframe to test the F-35B to… Read more »

Robert Blay

Nice copy and paste Nigel. I have seen many of the same issues you enjoy to highlight written about the F35 said about the F14, F15, F16, F18 F22, Typhoon in the early days of service, The F15 was a particularly nightmare for reliability in its early years. Problems that are alway overcome with experience, and the maturing of systems and maintenance techniques. We will be seeing F35B’s flying over Norfolk for many a year.

Nigel Collins

No real answer to that one either then!

Robert Blay

The 2019 DOT-E F35 document gives you the answers you are look for.

Nigel Collins

Ah, I see, thank you. How may F35B’s did we purchase prior to lot 9? I wonder when the 3 year testing phase will begin? It was also interesting to see how the report stars off. “Static Structural and Durability Testing The program secured funding and contracted to procure another F-35B ground test article, which will have a redesigned wing-carry-through structure that is production representative of Lot 9 and later F-35B aircraft. Testing of this production-representative ground test article will allow the program to certify the life of F-35B design improvements. The production and delivery dates are still to be… Read more »

Robert Blay

UK jets are from lot 11.

Nigel Collins

Not according to this website. Another dodgy one perhaps? “It should be noted that numbers right now are currently where they’re expected to be and inline with the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review. 2 F-35B in LRIP run 3, 1 F-35B in LRIP run 4, 1 F-35B in LRIP run 7, 4 F-35B in LRIP run 8, 6 F-35B in LRIP run 9, 3 F-35B in LRIP run 10, 2 F-35B in LRIP run 11, 2 F-35B in LRIP run 12 6 F-35B in LRIP run 13, 8 F-35B in LRIP run 14 and 7 F-35B in LRIP run… Read more »

Robert Blay

Yes, my mistake, I didn’t see these at the top of the page. Still won’t make any difference though, fixes if needed will be added to early lot jet’s. We kept Sea Harrier FA2’s flying with many deficiencies and limitations right up to retirement, and each airframe was slightly bent! like I’ve said, it’s nothing new in the real world. The F35 is a marvelous piece of engineering, especially the F35B with it’s lift fan and swivel nozzle. Seeing how stable it is in the hover compared to the Harrier is quite a sight.

Nigel Collins

How will the F35B defend the carriers in a QRA scenario bearing in mind the new limitations that have recently been placed on both it and the C variant in terms of speed I wonder? “Defense News reports that one major deficiency that affects -B and -C versions is permanent and the Pentagon has no plans to correct. During supersonic flight at extremely high altitudes, the F-35’s skin warms to the point where the heat could damage the stealthy coating on the surface of the aircraft. Such flight also risks damage to the antennas on the rear of the aircraft.… Read more »

Nigel Collins

I assume high altitudes include 40,000ft? If a time limit has been imposed with no plans to correct, then clearly this is a real problem going forward? The deficiency, first reported by Defense News in 2019, means that at extremely high altitudes, the U.S. Navy’s and Marine Corps’ versions of the F-35 jet can only fly at supersonic speeds for short bursts of time before there is a risk of structural damage and loss of stealth capability. The problem may make it impossible for the Navy’s F-35C to conduct supersonic intercepts. “This issue was closed on December 17, 2019 with… Read more »

Nigel Collins

Are we any further along the line with secure carrier communications including other assets?

3 Reported communications and
software issues Page 11 onwards.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmdfence/326/326.pdf

Robert Blay

The answer is in the article you shared Nigel. please see below. What are you like 16 or something. you’ll have to do better then that. See you at the next F35 story, I’ll be looking out for you. 👀 I’m off back to my wife and child now, I’ll leave you alone with Google. bye for now It’s a not seperate issue and the issue was fixed and dealt with NINE years ago! Defense news say “WE FIRST reported this issue last year!! This is NOT to mean the issue is new! We have:Vice Adm. Mat Winter, who leads… Read more »

Nigel Collins

Nice copy and paste Robert, you forgot to include this part sadly! “It may be some future advanced materials that can withstand the pressure and the temperature,” Winter said. “Then we see that, and we go, ‘Hey, look, we’ve got this on the book,’ [and] we do a test check to see if that new material solves that problem. The Defense Department has also instituted time limits on the number of seconds the F-35B and F-35C can fly at speeds in excess of Mach 1.2 while at full afterburner.” For example, an F-35C can only fly at Mach 1.3 in… Read more »

Robert Blay

Is all that from 9 years ago too 😆. First we speak about concept then capability. We describe how the jet collects information, proccess it and presents just a small percentage of that to the pilot. It’s about information and fusion. Developing cutting edge tactics from a clean sheet and beginning air or ground engagements from unprecedented ranges. There is so much we can do with this amazing machine and the architecture around it, and we have barely scratched the surface. Gp Capt Jim Beck, Station Commander RAF Marham. November 2019. TTFM Nigel. I’m flying home from Denmark tonight, I… Read more »

Nigel Collins

Some good news for you at least Robert, albeit at an increased cost!

F-35 Canopy: New Glue, New Supplier May Boost Readiness
Newer A, B and C Variant aircraft are averaging greater than 60 percent mission capable rates, with some units consistently at or above 70 percent.

https://breakingdefense.com/2019/07/f-35-canopy-new-glue-new-supplier-may-boost-readiness/

Robert Blay

consider yourself educated then Nigel.

Robert Blay

It is expensive yes, never denied that, but cost is coming down. And a Tempest or a FCAS isn’t going to be cheap is it, far from it. Especially when they will only be built in small number. Look at the vast amount of money Typhoon cost the MOD.

Robert Blay

Another year old article.

Nigel Collins

Try this one instead. Enjoy the read! MARCH 11, 2020 F-35 Design Flaws Mounting, New Document Shows “A new document obtained by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) shows that the F-35 program office has made little progress in fixing the fighter jet’s hundreds of design flaws, and continues to discover more of them. The Joint Strike Fighter Program Office’s Deficiency Report Metrics document, dated February 28, 2020, shows the program is currently dealing with 883 unresolved design flaws—and has no plan for correcting over 160 of them. “More than half, 448 deficiencies, remain “open, in dispute.” This means pilots… Read more »

Robert Blay

Did you say the same about F22 in the early days? or Typhoon in the early years? both of which had many technical difficulties and massively over budget. You don’t seem to understand all new fast jets take many years to mature, you think it’s only the F35 that has problems and needs expensive software drops. I dread to think of the problems plaging new Russian aircraft. You have a child like dislike for the F35 Nigel which you need to get over, because whatever you say Nigel, it’s going to be in service with the RAF/RN, USAF, US Navy… Read more »

Nigel Collins

Ah, another website link lol. Try this one, it explains why the F35 Program is such a mess. “There soon turned out to be an essential flaw in the grand plan for a single plane that could do everything. Design specifications demanded by one branch of the military would adversely impact the F-35’s performance in another area. “It turns out when you combine the requirements of the three services, what you end up with is the F-35, which is an aircraft that is in many ways suboptimal for what each of the services really want,” said Todd Harrison, an aerospace… Read more »

Robert Blay

You do realise all new fast jet’s have long lists of design flaws and bugs? the only difference is, more F35 information is available to the public in this modern era of the Internet. again, F22 had just the same troubled start in life.

Nigel Collins

“more F35 information is available to the public in this modern era of the Internet.” Thankfully yes. the whole F35 program is a mess. Apart from the spiralling costs, what do you think is going to happen when they go ahead with full-rate production to reduce costs and then try to implement Block 4 hardware and software? There are already numerous versions of it, so it will turn into the biggest cluster f–K to date with endless patches to try to get it working correctly on all the aircraft. In short, a programmers nightmare. Just to give you an idea.… Read more »

Robert Blay

Good copy and pasting Nigel. Like I said, Get used to it, it’s going to be around for a very long time, like it or not. You haven’t answered a single one of my questions. Because you don’t know a dam thing do you. You are good with Google search, I’ll give you that. Why don’t you join the Air League, or the Royal Aeronautical Society and bag yourself a visit to Marham, and hear the facts from the horses mouth, then come back and tell us all about it. As you seem to have all the answers, how much… Read more »

Nigel Collins

I thought it was blindly obvious why I had’nt bothered to reply to your questions Robert, they have nothing to do with the manufacture or cost of the F35 other than show no lessons have been learned hence the most expensive aircraft program in history and counting.

As you always seem to quote The RAF and your mates from said force who you drink with down the pub, perhaps you could advise them that Tempest is’nt going to happen in your opinion!

Enjoy the 3D moddeling by the way!

https://www.raf.mod.uk/what-we-do/team-tempest/

Robert Blay

Yeah the RAF, they know a thing or two about the F35, why oh why would I ever listen to them 🤷‍♂️I’ll tell them about you, they could do with a good laugh. So again Nigel. How much is Tempest going to cost us mear tax payer’s? You think we should ditch F35 after the first 48 and go for Tempest, which I hope we do go for Tempest, but I’m also realistic. And it’s to replace Typhoon, not F35. So how are we going to afford a 6th gen fighter in the current covid hit financial climate? and a… Read more »

Robert Blay

And yet, all that still hasn’t put off countless countries buying it. Because they know a lot more about it then some dumb wannabe bloke on a defence website. Cheers Nigel 😆

Nigel Collins

I’ll let others decide on here Robert, getting personal only shows another persons ignorance and failure to respond in an educated manner.

The good news is, your not alone!

lee1

As far as I am aware this is an issue that was picked up and only seen a couple of times on pre-production aircraft. They have tried to replicate the issue but do not see that same problems. Then they developed a new coating that mitigates the issue if it does occur again. I think this was sensationalised into a more major problem that it actually was. Possibly this was by Russian media manipulation or simply by sites wanting to generate more clicks.

Nigel Collins

Not just my opinion Ron5

“RAF accused of wasting money on ‘outdated’ F-35 warplanes

Defence sources have expressed concerns regarding the procurement of F-35s with some planes unable to take off from new aircraft carriers”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/07/18/raf-accused-wasting-money-outdated-f-35-warplanes/

Nigel Collins

This was also interesting.
National Audit Office March 2020

Current estimated cost £10.4 billion (whole-life cost estimate for 48 aircraft to 2025-26).

https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Defence-capabilities-delivering-what-was-promised.pdf

Matt

Curious to know what everybody else thinks. With numbers that low, there is literally no room for attrition or accidents. Every aircraft in every sortie needs to make it home perfectly every time. No damage, no software failures, no hard landings etc. Is that even possible over so many decades in use? I suspect the 70 aircraft were exclusively planned as the B variant. The remaining number were likely being “considered” as the A type variant for the RAF. With Tempest being ‘thought up’ after the 138 number was originally thrown about, I think the plan is to go all-in… Read more »

BB85

I think a second large batch of F35B will be purchased in the 2040s to replace the current F35 currently in service. I don’t think the airframes are expected to last as long as aircraft like the F15 and F16

Rfn_Weston

If the Government tries cutting it’s way out of this one… We’re all f*cked.

The only way to recover properly is to grow our economy to such an extent that the % of debt becomes lower vs increasing GDP, making it more manageable over the years.

The Country needs heavy investment in large projects to get industry booming – naturally that will draw foreign investment and suddenly the recovery begins to gather more pace. Are very simplistic, yes I know but you get my drift.

RobW

Yet the announcements so far on infrastructure spending have been pathetically small. The PM tried to dress up £5bn of projects as if it was something fantastic. Well it was, just fantastically lacking in ambition.

Build roads and airport capacity where needed to boost growth, build hospitals, schools, houses, and invest heavily in sciences and education.

We need a Government with ambition but this lot seem to be on a path to austerity #2, despite their statements to the contrary.

Andrew Deacon

I said on this site 3 years ago we would only buy 80-90 , since they announced there would be just 4 squadrons and 1 ocu this was pretty obvious. Also this would easily allow us to maintain the number of squadrons mandated in the 2015 defence review. If I recall correctly the 2nd squadron should form in 2023 taking us up to 9 altogether with the 3rd and 4th forming in 2028 and 2033 (logically replacing the tranche 1 typhoons). Then tempest to follow to replace the t2 and t3 typhoons and most likely eventually early run f35’s.The typhoon… Read more »

Graham

LOL, knowing the lack of priority Defence gets from this and previous Governments, 4 squadrons each with one aircraft, fitted for but with any actual weapons. We could sell the remaining 44 aircraft to fund more quango’s…

Sean

I’m not going to waste any more time on this other than to point out it’s a Times journalist quoting an unamed “defence source”. That could mean anything from the janitor at the MoD to the journalist’s own imagination.

I’m not going to lose any sleep, read enough fake news recently.

Sean Crowley

To honest as an Australian the UK should have a minimum of 200 F-35’s ,our country is approaching Two Percent of our GDP on Defence for all the scary right reasons . If this is true it fly’s in the face current circumstances of world events . The UK is literally walking away from any form of credible conventional forces that are still necessary in this world if only as a safety switch to prevent greater weapons being waved around .

Sean

“If this true”… the 3 words which negate much media reporting these days.

TrevorH

It’s going to take years to build up these planes, for USA and other allies. Plus they are going to be upgraded reguĺarly.

dave12

The problem I always have had with these cuts on defence is that they are so deep the military has never recovered , our economy is estimated to recover in 3 years time but these cuts there is no coming back.
Short term thinking again that puts the UK at risk.

Andrew r

If they give all the f35s to the mavy why not go further and disband the RAF. I’m sure the FAA would be happy to do air defence and the army transport.

4thwatch

Obviously the other Piggy Bank that is due to be raided is the Foreign Aid budget which squanders 14bn each year.

lee1

That 14bn is to help counter China… it may be able to be spent more effectively but the amount is probably needed and possibly more on top.

4thwatch

Ed. You have a problem

Steve

The issue with this story is it wouldn’t give a short term saving, since the overall project is over decades. Defense review cuts are all about saving money in the short term, so the government can use the money to give tax breaks etc, to win the next election.

Ron5

Bingo

Nigel Collins

Reality bites, hence the reason for cutting the numbers.

“The Pentagon’s own budget documents list the FY 2020 procurement cost for those 48 aircraft as more than $101 million, nearly $12 million more than the figure rolled out for press reports. Using the Navy’s charts and the same math shows that the real costs for each F-35C is more than $123 million, while each F-35B costs in excess of $166 million. But even that figure doesn’t tell the whole story.”

https://www.pogo.org/analysis/2019/11/deceptive-pentagon-math-tries-to-obscure-100-million-price-tag-for-f-35/

Nigel Collins
Ron5

Poppycock from more of your wacky websites. The UK government has stated what they are paying for each F-35 that’s been purchased and it is not these make believe prices. Look it up.

Nigel Collins

I have Ron, many times in the past and the prices are correct unless you know more than the US Navy Procurement department?

Ron5

I said poppycock and I mean it. F-35B cost $115m accord in UK government and not these ridiculous numbers you are dredging up from wacky websites.

And that $115m is way cheaper than Typhoon whose current price is at least 50% higher.

Lordtemplar

Lol flyaway costs only represent a fraction of the costs of the plane, you need to consider lifetime costs which include sims, maintenace costs (currently at about $35k per hour, much more expensive than other aircraft), spare parts , upgrades (block 4 is not cheap, MoD recently said it may not upgrade current F35B because too expensive)
Even the GAO is still not confident of what all these extra costs will be, i think they know a lot more than either of us.

Nigel Collins

Not Ron 5, nobody does! The full report can be accessed from this link. F-35 SUSTAINMENT: DOD Needs to Address Key Uncertainties as It Re-Designs the Aircraft’s Logistics System GAO-20-665T: Published: Jul 22, 2020. Publicly Released: Jul 22, 2020. What GAO Found The Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is integral to supporting F-35 aircraft operations and maintenance. However, F-35 personnel at 5 locations GAO visited for its March 2020 report cited several challenges. For example, users at all 5 locations we visited stated that electronic records of F-35 parts in ALIS are frequently incorrect, corrupt, or missing, resulting in the… Read more »

Nigel Collins

Block 4, a bug fixers nightmare still to come. I love this part! Turkey to continue part production until 2022 PARIS — The cost of developing the F-35’s Block 4 upgrade has grown by $1.5 billion in the past year, and has now reached $12.1 billion despite Joint Program Office attempts to understate it, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its latest annual report on the program released Tuesday. The GAO also reported that Block 4 development will take two years longer than planned and that despite promises of improvement the delivery of Block 4 capabilities will not be… Read more »

Nigel Collins

Clearly you think you do!

Pacman27

I would be very disappointed if we did cut the F35 buy and think this would not be very well received by our cousins in the US who have given us a good % of work share. As for Challenger and Warrior I think this is inevitable, we are losing a capability we never seem to want to deploy due to cost, so not a big loss in my books, also this is a capability that can only really be used in certain circumstances and I believe other NATO countries, whose geography is more suited to the deployment of heavy… Read more »

farouk

Just before I left 3 years ago, I was having a chat with the Prov Sgt and he was bumping his gums over how the Guardroom had been issued with 3 very well made rainbow flags to loft above with pride. Got to love the British MOD haven’t had a clue for years

Harold

Interestingly, when I forecast this a few months ago, I was shouted down in a tirade of abuse and told I was an employee of Putin and called Iqbal. The UK has a debt of over £2 trillion and increasing. That is more than the UKs GDP. Increases in taxes and cutbacks are inevitable. Yesterday, starting in the Daily Telegraph and soon spreading there was coverage of the idea being muted to place the Challenger tanks into storage and dispose of the Warrior armoured vehicles. This will probably happen. Then I read that the 50 Apache helicopters are likely to… Read more »

Harold

Furthermore, the USA is also in decline. One only need witness what is happening internally there. I read that the Governor of California is a proponent of insdependence from the USA and that he is not alone. US citizens are seeing a different future than their current role of imperialist style policing of the globe. I never thought I would witness so many US flags being burned in the cities and police departments walking away and being defunded. So, don’t depend on the USA for a future role in the world which in any way echoes that of the past… Read more »

julian1

Harold, the “California Republic” has been pushing for independence for decades. It will never happen, it is not a serious movement. California is the state with biggest GDP and population and home to America’s (and the world’s) tech sector – it won’t be allowed to leave. In truth, America is like 3 or 4 different countries, it is very polarized and we are now seeing this play out. Let’s hope the next president is one who can unite the US and indeed the west. I have just returned to the UK after 4 years in the US and am so… Read more »

Herodotus

Lets hope that the next President is anyone but Trump! However, I remember saying that about George W…..God the present incumbent makes George W look like an international statesman, supremely articulate with the wisdom of Solomon!

Herodotus

Oh, and welcome home Julian! 🙂

Airborne

You replied to yourself….oh dear, how sad, never mind…..

Harold

* mooted not muted and other typos. No glasses worn!

Meirion X

H, Of cause You are a Troll of Putin! Just sprouting a load of nonsense as usual.

Just to get:the record straight,
Japan has a Debt to GNP raitio of 250%, right now!
And with more F-35s on order!

Airborne

Anyone with a tiny bit of military knowledge knew there was no way a full 138 would be ordered, so no slapping your own back there son. Anyway serious question, why do you get off so much when the news is negative in regard to military issues? Is it because you feel you have missed out, not quite a real man as never having served? Failed the entrance test? Failed the fitness test? Don’t worry, it’s ok, failing is all part of learning. Im sure you had a great life wishing……….

Fat Dave

The real truth is that Defence has hamstrung itself by continuing to waste time, effort, manning and money on obsolescent aircraft carriers. This is why there are persistent rumours about various forces facing cuts. The UK simply cannot afford these carriers and all the support it requires, including support ships. Nothing has been decided or finalised yet and we will see more leaks as discussions progress. Every time something is threatened, the owner of that capability will make sure it is leaked. Selling the carriers is the only option but we all know no one will have the guts to… Read more »

Patrick

Fat Dave, if carriers are so obsolete, why is very other world power building them?

Meirion X

@Troll FD

You have a bee in your bonnet about the QE carriers with F-35s, is that because it evens out the match compared to your Master’s 12000 tanks?

Airborne

Ah fat Dave again, famous on the STRN site for being anti carrier……but then again getting home from work and finding one of the carriers banging the wife would get anyone angry.

Harry Bulpit

Unfortunately a carrier is more then just a ship, and the treasury has failed to release this. That being said the mod pays thousands every year for people to dream up new ideas and scenarios. So until the new SDR is released thers no real point getting wound up over rumours.

Terence Patrick Hewett

They can spend £100 billion+ on a project like HS2: a project made redundant by the AV technology being developed by Tesla et al. Village idiots

Ron5

Why on earth would any UK politician announce a cut in the F-35 commitment???

All downside and no up:
1. No money saved because no money committed beyond the 48, let alone contracted
2. US pissed off because of UK reneging on commitment, and yes it is a commitment not an “aspiration” despite what Lucy writes
3. Government shown again to be weak on defence, already being exploited by Labour

Ron5

PS Bronk is an idiot, as a rule of thumb any article or comment that uses him as a reference should be ignored

Nigel Collins

Like yours then.

Nigel Collins

And clearly not as qualified as you when not designing the future Type 45.

A Research Fellow for Combat Airpower and Technology at RUSI. Particular expertise on the modern combat air environment, and especially the capabilities and interoperability of 4th, 4.5 and 5th generation fast jet types globally. Areas of expertise include airpower, disruptive technologies, Syria, Ukraine, nuclear weapons policy and disarmament efforts, insider attacks and Psyops in 20th Century warfare.

Editor of the RUSI Defence Systems online journal.
Part-time doctoral candidate in the Defence Studies Dept at Kings College London.

Ron5

Bronk wrote his own resume that you are quoting. In other words, a self professed expert. Read what he writes and you’ll soon discover how flimsy his “expertise” really is.

Nigel Collins

you sorry.

Lordtemplar

US is still slow to adopt F35, look at US Navy, hardly any F35C. Also F16, F18 and F15 have seen consquential upgrades recently and orders. US is also working on NGAD
And the UK should be pissed off at US for cancelling F136 engine. I am not sure the UK makes that much money on the F35 without those engines.

Ron5

For every F-35, 15% spent in the UK on UK manufactured components. Worth billions to the UK economy. F136 has zero to do with that.

Lordtemplar

15% was projected based on initial proposals, which at the time included a second engine the F136. Any recent sources to back your claim? What does the Uk produce for the F35A or C besides ejector seat? AFAIK it mostly has to do with lift fan, swivel nozel on the F35B. F35B represents a fraction of projected sales of all the variants. Avionics, software, engines, weapon systems are all US.

Meirion X

The rear fuselage of all versions of the F-35 is made in BAE’s main factory in the UK.

Meirion X

I forgot the dam name of the place!

Daveyb

It’s a crying shame the F136 engine didn’t win the competition to be fitted to the F35. As part of the deal, the engine does stand a second chance from Lot 6 onwards. It is now unlikely though, as the combined team of General Electric and Rolls Royce wound down the engine’s development in 2011. The F136 had a better growth margin than the Pratt and Witney F135 engine. The DoD believed the F135 had the least technological risk, as it was a pretty bog standard low bypass turbofan compared to the F136. The F136 was partly based on the… Read more »

JohnHartley

Remember, the first 4 UK F-35B, are too early lot, to ever go into combat. They are OK for training/trials, but never combat.
I do not see the need to say 70 & no more now. We do not know how the economy or world security will be in 5 to 15 years time. Tempest is at least 15, more likely 20 years away before it comes into operational service. Some F-35A for the RAF may be needed before then.

Lordtemplar

Of all the defense cuts this one may be a blessing in disguise. 1. Let’s face it the F35 has not lived up to all the promises, not even close, late and way over budget, many problems still to fix, limited aerial performance, F35 front facing stealth quickly becoming countered by new radars (low band, multistactic, quantum, IR, etc…) a lot of woulda coulda shoulda. Even the US Navy and Air Force are underwhelmed, why they are modernizing legacy aircraft while working on NGAD 2. I would assume all the 70 F35 would be the B version, so no new… Read more »

Ron5

You need to talk to some F-35 pilots and airforces.

Robert Blay

I don’t know why I bothered with this website, the utter uninformed guff repeated by those that know nothing about defense 🙈

Geoffrey Hicking

Please name a website that is better (so people like myself can stay better informed). Even though there’s probably no reason to stay well informed, as we cannot do anything about this stuff.

Robert Blay

I find ‘The Thin Pinstriped Line’ blogger to be about the best all rounder. He’s ex RN officer, and worked in the MOD. Writes very detailed and well balanced articles. 👍

Lordtemplar

Lol “i know a guy who knows a guy”. What utter nonesense The facts are – F35 has poor performance vs competition (speed, maneuvrability, weapons loadout and integration) – F35 is costly and many problems still to fix. Read GAO and DOT&E reports, they are published every year! – US Navy and Air Force have recently modernized the A10, F15, F16 and F18 to keep them relevant for decades to come because the F35 is not able to fulfill its role as intended – US Navy is delaying ordering the F35C while working on NGAD which it wants ASAP But… Read more »

Steve

Except it has a 15-20:1 kill record against Gen 4 fighters, and recently had 100% mission availability on deployment to UAE. Anyway please compare GAO reports on the F-18 and you will see every US fighter gets bagged.

Lordtemplar

u are reffering to that PR stunt announcement a while back then i have news for you. Those F35 kill ratios are pure fantasy. The F35 was not alone in those exercises, there were many other types of planes helping it (F22, F15, F18 Growlers, AWACS etc…). We cannot attribute all those kills to the F35 alone. (F35 doesn’t even carry that many weapons to kill that many targets lol) Secondly the adversary in those exercises were early 1980s versions of gen 4 aircraft (F16C). They are not representative of current gen 4 aircraft capabilities which have brand new avionics,… Read more »

Ron5

I think there is a bridge someplace that you need to get back underneath.

Lordtemplar

Insults since you have no valid counter arguments to make. Classic troll

dan

Guess the Brits will be having USMC F-35s on every cruise now….

dan

Defense on the cheap. Looks like the Brit’s are taking a page from Germany’s handbook. Ugh

Alex

The QE carriers are the largest warships built for the navy and can carry 3 x more aircraft than a single Invincible class. Yet if this is correct they’ll operate, what, the same as or less than 1 x Invincible class? Pointless. Should have added CATOBAR and never bothered with F35 if the Govt couldn’t commit. Are they expecting RAF and FAA to hot seat?

Meirion X

The Invincible class struggled to deploy a whole squadron of Harriers.
This kind of carrier’s usual deployment was
8 Harriers, it was designed for mainly ASW, and a few Harriers to intercept long range Soviet bombers over deep ocean in the Cold War.

geoff

Any decision on F 35B numbers has to be guided by one simple consideration-the RAF can do without them but the Navy cannot. So, what is the minimum number needed to ensure that the QE Class can operate to its full potential? Assuming the production line will remain active for many years to come and has the capacity to cut delivery times, then the decision does not need to be made now as long as the Queen Elizabeth can get what it needs by next year latest, to reach a reasonable operating capacity. I still think the UK missed a… Read more »

rec

It’s no surprise, It does highlight the weakness of designing a ship around one weapon system whether its a missile (seaslug and counties) or an aircraft (F35b and QE). CATOBAR would have been more flexible. The real big mistake was not making Typhoon carrier capable like the Rafale.. We are where we are A smaller F35B fleet only for the carriers make sense. The RAF could then have more Tyohoons, (keep BAE going until Tempest). And some F18 Growlers to support Typhoons in the strike role.

JohnHartley

A STOBAR version of Typhoon was offered to India a few years ago.

Steve

Its a bit of a mute point as the cost of Typhoon isn’t exactly insanely cheaper than the f35 (not sure if its cheaper at all). If we have a carrier, we need jets for it and we do not have enough tyhpoons to convert them.

I did see the indian’s were experimenting with a F/A 18 using short take off and arrestor landing. Fitting a trap to the QE can’t be that expensive, although i think the F35 would be a better option.

Meirion X

Yes the F-35B is the better option, of a thrust vectoring engine, I mean the swirl nozzle.

Without thrust vectoring, STOBAR will Not deliver a meaningful load.

Ron5

Ignoring the billions needed to develop it, Sea Typhoon would cost at least double the F-35B for a lower capability. That’s why the idea died, and died quickly.

Paul T

Steve – Have the Indians Trialed the F/A18 at all,im not aware of it ?

Daniele Mandelli

Wow, late to this thread as was out all day yesterday.

I have a different view to many.

I’d be delighted with 70 all B F35 myself!

With Typhoon and then hopefully Tempest later why do we need more?

70 should be enough to put extra F35 onto the QEC’s in emergency.

This was always going to happen. Like 250 Typhoon, then 232 Typhoon never happened either.

We are discussing assets here that don’t even exist yet, a number out of thin air.

I’d rather lose projected assets that have yet to be budgeted than existing, in use, usable assets.

Robert Blay

Well said mate

Paul.P

Some sanity. Completely agree.

Dern

Because cutting 160 Typhoons and 138 Lightnings will not result in 160 Typhoons, 70 Lightnings, and 70+ Tempest.
Instead you’ll get 140- Tempest and 70 Lightning if you’re lucky.

David

Leak 50% cut to F35 then an actual 20% cuts feels like a victory Leak cutting Type 26 to 3 hulls then a reduction to 6 hulls doesn’t seem so bad Leak scrapping MBTs then cut down to 130 is considered a compromise we can work with It may also be the army suggesting a cut to F35s, the RAF suggesting cuts to Type 26s and the navy suggesting scrapping tanks Isn’t this the way of things at every review? What is really needed is a long term plan from politicians of what they want the armed forces to do,… Read more »

Ron5

UK politicians?? Dream on.

Paul C

Is this really unexpected? My impression is that 70-80 jets has been on the cards for several years, usually quoted as ‘high single figures’. 138 was never going to be attainable and 70 is a not unreasonable total that the RN/RAF can work with. Had the order been capped at 48 it would have been a different story but 70 is OK.

Paul C

I meant ‘high double figures’!

Daniele Mandelli

Agree. Or the B’s capped at 48 and then 24 As, leaving 2 mini fleets and the RN’s carrier air group permanently handicapped.

70 All B’s is fine. I’d have taken 60.

Paul C

Yes, all the B variant. Anything else effectively throws carrier strike under a bus. There was perhaps some justification for the A variant with a total of 100+ but with 70 definitely not.

Robert Blay

I’m going to throw my 2 pence worths in. First off, this is only speculation, of which there is plenty before a defence review. But the number of 70 F35B’s wouldn’t be to bad an outcome. We only ever had 16 Sea Harrier FA2’s in service across 2 front line sqns, and another 9 on the OCU. Once those where retired, we only had 48 Harrier GR7/9’s across 3 front line units, and the OCU and OEU in the active fleet. And you would have to go back a good few years when we last had 70 or greater Tornado… Read more »

Damo

Some good sense there

Dern

But those Sea Harriers where in addition to the RAF Harrier Fleet, Typhoon, and Jaguar and Tornado.

The Lightnings will be in addition to… Typhoon.

Jonathan

I think it would be unlikely for any such statement to be made, the lifetime of the programme is many more decades, public finances work over year long cycles with no spending plans lasting for more than a few years. This government would be bonkers to make definitive statements about a program decades before decisions are needed, especially if those statements could have negative impacts on relationships with key friends and impact on industrial work share. Government may in back rooms think that there is a snowballs chance in hell that we will buy all 148 over the next 30… Read more »

r cummings

A couple of points above are not accurate. 1) The RAF plan from the outset has been to procure 6 squadrons of F-35s, not 4. They only announced 4 squadrons, because 5 and 6 will come from the Typhoon force (the two former Tornado squadrons given Typhoons last year. 138 aircraft is exactly the number needed to equip 6 sqns , an OEU and OEU. 2) The idea that we can go back later and buy another batch of Lightnings is a non-starter. There is no space in the fast jet budget for any subsequent buys of anything. We only… Read more »

Richard B

Clearly the defense review has begin in earnest given all the kite flying about potential cuts to Challenger 2 tanks, F-35’s, T23 frigates, the RM’s, FSS … Basically everyone with a vested interested in anything potentially in line for the chop is frantically leaking to the press. No one expects that UK defense spending is now going to increase in real terms, and a reduction is very likely – at least as far as is possible whilst still nominally meeting NATO 2% target via accounting smoke and mirrors (easily done given the effect of Covid-19 on the UK economy) But… Read more »

JohnHartley

Meanwhile, 32 Sqn has retired its 4 146. Boris moans he rarely gets the VIP Voyager. British Airways has removed its 32 business seat A318 it used for London City-New York flights. If anyone is at their desks in Whitehall, surely they can see that this ex BA A318 could be bought cheaply for 32 Sqn?

Dern

I thought the 146’s had recently been modified for CASEVAC, instead of being retired?

JohnHartley

I meant the VIP/Command Support function.