The F-35A was expected to cost $85 million, less than any fourth-generation fighter ‘in the 2019-2020 timeframe’ with the other two F-35 variants also reducing significantly in price.

“Our initial target is to get them down to the equivalent or very close to what we’re currently spending to sustain fourth-generation fighters” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein.

“We’re going to be buying these aircraft for a number of years, so it’s way too early to be talking about any curtailment of any procurement or any buy.”

Stephen Lovegrove, the MoD permanent secretary, had earlier expressed doubt over this earlier in the year:

“This is a new platform, and I am constantly being asked by parliamentarians in the U.K. as to what the total cost is going to be, and they are sometimes, understandably, a bit frustrated when I have to turn around and say at the moment: ‘Nobody is entirely sure’. But we must maintain an absolutely laser-like focus on keeping those costs down because historically this is the one area where we’ve been OK at buying stuff, but we’ve not been necessarily good at sustaining and operating it as cost effectively as we possibly can. We need to work very, very hard on that, and we are doing so.”

Jeff Babione, the previous Lockheed Martin programme manager for the F-35, told reporters that the cost of the F-35A will drop to about $85 million by 2019, something also reiterated in a recent statement regarding price-concerns raised by US president-elect Donald Trump. This is understood to be thanks to efficiencies and cost-cutting manufacturing technologies. The B and C variants are also steadily reducing in cost.

By contrast, the US Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter aircraft comes in at $98.3 million (2016 flyaway cost.

Jeff Babione said:

“We think that price with this capability will be unbeatable. You’ll be able to afford a fifth-generation airplane for what would be a fourth-generation price for anything else offered in the free world. The Lockheed/BAE/Northrop Grumman contractor team is hyper-focused on reducing the price of the airplane.

It is a fact this program is over budget from 2001’s baseline. It’s just true. We will never underrun that number. We will never save that money. It’s gone. What matters is since that time, what’s happened to the cost on the program? It’s gone down, not gone up. Judge the program today, not where it’s been, but where it is and where it’s going.”

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Geoffrey Roach
Guest
Geoffrey Roach

Good luck folks.

Chris
Guest
Chris

This is good. If it does happen then more money to enhance other capabilities.

Ben P
Guest
Ben P

It is what is happening. Why do you think we are only committed to buying 48 jets. Only 15 have been delivered, there is no point buying more at the moment. We buy them in batches, each time they get cheaper. We could save anywhere from 500m to several billion.

maurice10
Guest
maurice10

As long as the viability of keeping production lines open is economically rewarding, the UK would be wise to drip feed the fleet build up. Usually, costs do level or drop depending on volume with any mass produced item. The ongoing strides in material development and simplifying electronics; could have a profound impact on reducing cost over the lifetime of the plane. Is there a possibility the MOD might buy a squadron (or two) of F35a’s to augment land-based Typhoon operations? The cost reduction on this variant appears to be very attractive, and might make more sense to buy the… Read more »

William D Thomson
Guest
William D Thomson

The problem with such an approach is it leaves you in a position where you may have several variant modification levels of aircraft – they are all different. This creates an absolute bloody nightmare for the poor buggers that have to maintain them leads to increased cost and down time.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

With the current trend of the UK pound against the US Dollar increasing, it might be time to invest in the A variant soon?

Let’s hope Brexit doesn’t affect the decision!

Chris
Guest
Chris

Nigel – Can I ask some questions? Why would we buy the F-35A when we will have a fleet of F-35B? Why invest ‘soon’? The Pound has been strengthening against the Euro and $ for many months as the initial market panic over ‘Project Fear’, the B of E’s failure to raise interest rates and those ‘forecasts’ were proven to be utter tripe has abated. It is now about where it was in February 2016 and no one was mentioning it in every discussion then were they? And what on earth has Brexit to do with it? Or are you… Read more »

Ben P
Guest
Ben P

Buying the A variant is not even feasible until we have about 80-90 F35-Bs for the carriers.

Ben P
Guest
Ben P

Only after we have sufficient airframes to support the carriers should we even consider an A buy for the RAF.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Exactly.

Kirk Jiao
Guest
Kirk Jiao

The only logical purchase of the A variant for the UK would be if the F-35 numbers increased to replace the Typhoon. Once the UK gets to like 80-90 B’s there would be no point to a new variant.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Chris I did not read Nigel’s comment as a Brexit moan myself.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Danielle – I hope I wasn’t inferring it was a ‘moan’ but I am just bemused by why people feel the need to keep mentioning it.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

It was not intended to be at all Daniele thank you.

reaper
Guest
reaper

fuck buying the f35a we should look at installing arrestor gear on the carriers (is it even possible? )and purchasing c2 greyhounds for air to air refueling. then pave the way for hopping on the UCAV refueling project now demonstrators are up and running. we’ve sold ourselves short with the F35B

Ben P
Guest
Ben P

The carriers were always designed to operate the F35-“B”. To convert the carriers would cost billions and would delay their entry into service by at least 5 years. Buying the C2 greyhound is not affordable.

We have the F35-B, it is not changing. Get with the program or be quiet.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Ben – Its the preconditioning of seeing US style carriers for so many years (forgetting of course their physical appearance and operation shows many British ideas and developments). The power of Hollywood is quite frightening. People assume the American Way is the only way, lack the ability to think laterally, give new ideas a try and see alternatives to ‘received wisdom’. While the carriers are passively engineered for later CATOBAR at major refit if necessary I think we may have just developed something as influential as our stem catapults and angled decks were. Transferring technology to the aircraft rather than… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

reaper – Ignoring your assumption CATOBAR is the only way forward for a carrier you should know that the C-2 Greyhound isn’t a carrier borne tanker. It is a freight and personnel transport. Only one was ever trialled with a drogue system and it was forgotten. The US Navy use F-18 Hornets for ‘Buddy Up’ tankers like we used to do with Sea Vixens in the ’60s and later with Buccaneers. Yes they copied yet another of our ideas so we know how to do it. I would rather see the 4 early development F-35Bs we have in the USA… Read more »

Jack
Guest
Jack

We are getting 5th gen fighters flying off purpose built carriers. A capability which few others will be able to match.
A piece on F35b operating from USS Wasp.
https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/03/overpriced-us-wasp-mini-carriers-is-the-first-carrier-patrolling-with-f35b-stealth-fighters.html

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Excellent stuff.

Jassy Spik
Guest
Jassy Spik

There won’t be F35A’s in the UK inventory.. We want too be a quick reaction deployable force like when we had been with the Harriers, although smaller then, but in greater numbers. Cause you need some aircraft for training, and you need enough for replacement over regular maintanace schedules. For that all efforts are being brought to bear to 1 reduce the price of the F35B so that an accelerated buy can take place so as to reach the 138 F35B’s needed..

PierreLM
Guest
PierreLM

I have rarely known a program so debated as this one. It is no surprise that the UK is now in position 5/7 in military scale whilst our country has advanced.

Peder
Guest
Peder

Your fast declining wee UK can’t raise the cash. You’re down to 6 now and fast falling. Stop trying to pretend you’re something you’re not:

https://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-listing.asp

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

What nationality is this goober

Ben P
Guest
Ben P

I think it is TH. Guy is just a troll.

Julian
Guest
Julian

Actually I don’t think this one is TH. TH might well be a Brit and did at times try to argue a case that the U.K. should retreat from expeditionary operations and concentrate all military spending on home defence primarily predicated upon concerns regarding the state of U.K. public finances (the deficit and the national debt). I don’t agree with his conclusions but he did at least on occasion try to enter into reasoned arguments to support his case. This is probably an idiotic non-Brit with nothing to say apart from “wee U.K.” over and over again. A Russian troll?… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

To give TH his due ( I must be mad ) he / she has toned it down a lot over the months. The opinions he / she has on what the UK should be go down like a lead balloon to me, but as Julian says he has a stated reason, most of the time. And he is entitled to them.

A few times I have actually agreed with him, and am happy to acknowledge when I do.

This Peder individual just posts crap. Which can be debunked in return in short order.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I want TH back.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Levi – the numbnuts ‘peder’ is a Scot who, following some odd SNP rationale, thinks Scotland isn’t part of the UK. And if he thinks the UK military is ‘wee’ then the two patrol boats and kayak that Scotland would have post independence would be ‘mightily wee’ surely?

Ben P
Guest
Ben P

lol

Lewis
Guest
Lewis

You say ‘you’re’ but in another comment section you claimed you served in the British armed forces. You’re truly pathetic. Even TH isn’t as revolting as you.

dave12
Guest
dave12

The uk is the 5th richest nation some thing russia doesnt even come close to with its flat lined economy 12th GDP in world so no ponit pederski going there lol!

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

Am I correct in thinking the government hasn’t given the go ahead to order the full 138 yet? I suppose if thats the case then it makes sense for them to hold off for later, cheaper batches

Ben P
Guest
Ben P

We are still going to be ordering the F35 for the next 10+ years.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Hi Chris,
Perhaps you should be asking Lord Howe that question!

Maybe keep up to date with what the government is currently considering and what will be the final make up the final total of F35 variants? 138 in total I believe?

/http://www.janes.com/article/72277/uk-to-decide-on-future-f-35-variant-at-appropriate-time

As for the pound, i’m fully aware of the current trend as I mentioned previously. And a bad Brexit could clearly affect that current trend.

I hope that answers your question along with the attached link.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Also, I’ve only just joined this forum so I have no idea what comments have been made in the past in relation to Brexit. Thank you for the welcome.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

I hope this link will answer your first question Chris.

The benefits of including the A variant in the final makeup is pretty clear to me.
https://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/lightning-rod-f-35-fighter-family-capabilities-and-controversies-021922/

Apologies for posting three times in succession, but it’s past 3am here in the UK!

Chris
Guest
Chris

Nigel – Having a strong debate is what this Forum is about so while I didn’t realise you were new my questions were made in a polite but firm way. Anyway welcome to the madhouse … Now people can debate the mix of UK fighter aircraft needs in 20+ years time by all means (Typhoon will be with us until 2040) but the immediate assumption it is ‘What sort of F-35’ rather than ‘what sort of aircraft’ will close the discussion down and hence my challenge of ‘Why the F-35A?’ In Typhoon we have a world beating QRA, air combat… Read more »

Alan Reid
Guest
Alan Reid

Hi Chris, you may some good points ….. But I think it’s too early to move this debate onto 2040 and beyond; firstly because most of the people on this forum will be long gone by then (!), but more seriously, because our air-power is not properly resourced or configured today. Why the F-35A Lightning? That’s easy to answer. Because it’s a better aircraft than the STOVL B-variant. Carrier strike is a useful addition to our inventory, but evidence suggests that the majority of combat jet operations will still be conducted from airbases. In my view, we do not need… Read more »

tim sinnett
Guest

In regards to catobar on the carriers, whilst I am happy with what we have and it will be a force to be reckoned with, we are now limited to only flying the F35b from them. All this talk of Ucavs teaming up with them cannot happen. As far as I’m aware, no one is working on a stovl version of one and would surely make them twice as expensive. We will not have the option to fly many platforms from the QE’s in the way the us will be able to. It will be interesting to see if we… Read more »

BB85
Guest
BB85

The US has designed a tilt rotar UCAV’s that would work well for ground attack, asw and aew rolls.

Lee H
Guest
Lee H

Morning all I wouldn’t discount the F-35A just yet. It is far cheaper than the F-35B and has longer range and bigger bays. The RAF would be getting good value for money and a very good return in investment if it were to procure say upto 48 A model platforms to replace the Tornado in the deep strike role. This would allow 2 full Sqns of combat air and the required number of training and attrition. Remember the U.K. could create a European NATO training centre for the A, very much like RAF Cottesmore was for the Tornado fleet. The… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

Lee – Forgive me pointing out the F-35A cannot deliver anywhere near what the Tornado can now let alone what the Typhoon will from next year in that strike / ground support role. It is by any measure (in that role ) just simply inferior. So why? And again if we are going to fund 48 new airframes they should be Typhoons to replace Tranche 1 aircraft and increase that strike capability not reduce it. As for your thinking the UK could become some sort of Euro – F-35 training centre on the back of this well sorry but you… Read more »

Lee H
Guest
Lee H

Hi Chris It is not about the amount of ordinance carried but about how close you can get your weapon to the grand strategic/strategic centre of gravity. With the A you have a much better chance. Look at the arguments that are currently going on in Germany with their Air Force and Defence Department. Their Air Force want the A, but German government want Typhoon. Why? German Air Force know how air power works and how it can best effect the outcome. German government know that Typhoon is built in Germany and are willing to trade the risk of limiting… Read more »

Julian
Guest
Julian

We have time to watch and wait. Italy is planning a mixed F-35 A and B fleet, Japan might be heading the same way, Israel was once considering adding some B to the mix for austere basing and might yet go ahead with that, and maybe Spain for Juan Carlos as well. Soon there could be quite a few real life examples to see whether the A and B logistics are divergent enough to cause big fleet-within-fleet headaches or whether there is sufficient commonality to make it a manageable issue. (The USA doesn’t really count as an exemplar because it’s… Read more »

Kirk Jiao
Guest
Kirk Jiao

Israel is still considering a F-35B purchase. I reckon final numbers for them would be 75 F-35A’s and 25 B’s. Italy is getting 30 B’s. Turkey probably wants 24 B’s. Japan is at least getting 40 B’s. Korea maybe 20-30 B’s. Further options for B purchases maybe Singapore. UK produces the 30% of the F-35B in comparison so especially good for the UK. One of the reasons the UK gets such a good deal in comparison to Italy beyond the 48 extra orders and tier one partnership is the amount of tech contribution. One of my buddies in the UK… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

I see there is a second ‘Chris’ here now so I will try and remember to come in as ‘Chris H’.

Mike Saul
Guest
Mike Saul

The fall in procurement costs is most welcome, however I have about the cost of future software updates. Given the 20 million lines of software code that will be an expensive one ounce cost. Future F35 purchases, I think we should purchase the minimum number of F35B to sustain one carrier group, so around 50 and any further purchases should be of the A variant given its lower cost, greater range and weapon lift. I understand that a F35A will be able to carry 20000 lbs of weapons in its internal bays and external pylons. The RAF, as reported in… Read more »

Mike Saul
Guest
Mike Saul

It is claimed the F35 project will sustain 24000 jobs in the UK whilst in Italy the figure is 6000.

It looks to me that the UK has a cracking deal on the F35, not sure why people are complaining about Italy and Turkey getting their share of F35 work.

Kirk Jiao
Guest
Kirk Jiao

Assembly line is sexy, got those headlines. “UK produces 100 F-35’s for European Allies.” Even though assembly really is only 5% of the work.

UK gets a lot more tech transfer for their work as well.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Morning all.

Having read all comments I would say again I have no issue with the F35A for the RAF in the numbers Lee suggested.

The key is and always was that the F35B needs to be procured in sufficient numbers first to surge at least 1 QEC.

Lee, wow that is going back a bit. TTTE Cottesmore. Most younger commentators will only remember it for the Harrier. I’d actually forgotten it!

Lee H
Guest
Lee H

Afternoon I know, living the dream of my younger years. $85M per unit, even with exchange rate (now almost back to where it was pre-Brexit), the RAF are going to start looking seriously at it. Remember they sacrificed the Harrier to keep Tornado. Get F-35B to IOC, get the mixed wing up and proven (U.K. Sqn and USMC Sqn) up and running. You will start hearing things about operating together, sharing resources, accepting that having both carriers fully stocked with 36 U.K. FJ air is not realistically going to happen. 24 per carrier maybe but with USMC Sqn embedded to… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Thank you Chris, I’m pleased to be part of these debates! After taking time over the past year to look into the lack of investment in our armed forces given the current and future threats that we face, I was simply staggered as to why we keep purchasing of the shelf products rather than invest in building our own? Typhoon as you so rightly point out is an incredible asset to replace the outgoing Tornado, and the sale and replacement of the Tranch 1 aircraft would clearly make sense. It would make even more sense to have tested and replaced… Read more »

Lewis
Guest
Lewis

I seriously hope the price will be declining when a single fighter costs almost as much as a light frigate.

Harry Bulpit
Guest
Harry Bulpit

If this is the case by 2025 we really should seriously consider the A variant as a replacement for the tornado, as initially proposed. Ideally we would have 48 aircraft operationally of both types. This would mean the carriers would always have at least 24 aircraft assigned to them each at any time.

Lee H
Guest
Lee H

Watch and wait Harry, watch and wait…..
Change is coming

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Gents, I am firmly in the B camp and am even comfortable with the Gripen as a typhoon replacement eventually. But my preference is for Typhoon, F35B and a large volume of Taranis. F35 is a game changer in my opinion and if we could get 2-4 Taranis being managed to target by an F35 which is set up to defend itself (as opposed to carrying bombs) then I think this has the benefits of high end tech (f35) with an equally high end but much lower cost delivery mechanism (Taranis/Magma). This would mean that we could purchase 200-400 taranis… Read more »

Ian
Guest
Ian

Numbers are always up for debate but I’m with this strategy all the way.

Lee H
Guest
Lee H

You will never remove the pilot/human from the cockpit. The Law doesn’t work that way.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

agreed, that’s why these will be controlled by a pilot in a standoff position sitting in an F35B, doing all the theatre management, jamming, comms etc.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Pacman – I cannot verify this but apparently the Israelis have been stretching the legs of theirs (A version) with impressive distances covered.Im with you in that I have for a while thought that the Gripen can offer some affordable capability to our fighter force – surely it can do anything from QRA to bombing terrorists in the deserts of Syria and Iraq ( do you really need a £100 million aircraft to combat isis).But I admit it would take a huge leap of faith and imagination for the Gripen to even be mentioned let alone considered for the RAF.I… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I really don’t understand way we always get a rehash of the should have gone for cats and traps, the F35b is rubbish….ra ra ra. Actually trying to maintain cat and trap air wings is a mare, France constantly struggles and always has a problem keeping its pilots qualified, it’s the bane of any carrier force other than the USN. Going with the F35b removed this massive problem at a single move, by all accounts it’s very easy to qualify a pilot. This is what lets the RAF share the carriers as an asset and ensures purple sign up to… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Jonathan – I think you just took the back of net out …

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) It is truly disappointing the way so many here are wanting to export UK skilled jobs to the USA by killing Typhoon manufacture and buying the F-35A. An aircraft that has ONE advantage – it can offer early defence suppression and nothing more but we have that with the ‘B’ variant already. Indeed it is less capable than the Typhoon in all other areas. And as someone suggested most operations will be from land bases and so while the ‘B’ can be used for suppression it will be the Typhoon that delivers the seriously capable destructive power. So… Read more »

Alan Reid
Guest
Alan Reid

Hi Chris, What does the F-35 programme offer? It allows the UK the ability to join the United States on the first night of offensive operations against the integrated air-defence network of a peer adversary. Politically, that is hugely important to the UK, and gives it disproportionate influence in Washington. The greater payload and range of the F-35A will allow the RAF to co-operate more effectively with the USAF in their targeting plan, than if equipped solely with the more limited F-35B. To my mind, that is the criteria for the purchase of the F-35, and if a nation doesn’t… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Alan the true question is can we support three fleets of fast jets, when we only have an ambition to have 7-8 fast jet squadrons. I would say not, which means we can only realistically pick 2 out of 3 from typhoon, f35b and f35a. If at present typhoon is a must, we can only stick to either f35b or F35a. On paper in isolation one to one the A is the better aircraft. But if you take the wider needs of the U.K. And look a the whole picture, from a deployment piont of view the B is just… Read more »

Alan Reid
Guest
Alan Reid

Hi Jonathan, You do make some good points, but I think you’re actually making an argument for the QE class carrier. To me, you’re favouring the sole selection of the F-35B simply to justify a role for Lizzie & Taffy. But aircraft-carriers are only a means to an end, delivering air-power in the pursuit of UK interests. Despite the difficulties “on paper” you list in using overseas airbases, these haven’t been a factor in the successful deployment of UK air-power during the last 30 years. Not in Gulf War 1 & 2, not in Bosnia, or Kosovo, or Afghanistan –… Read more »

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

In fairness and what is often forgotten is the F35B is a regeneration of our carrier (harrier) capability.

The replacement for Tornado could be something entirely different.

There are 3 distinct fleets being discussed. Fleet Air Arm, Fighters and Bombers.

It is entirely reasonable to expect 3 different classes of aircraft for these 3 services, but probably best to standardise on 2 manned and 1 unmanned platform that can be sent into very high threat areas (and in my example under the control of an F35 that is providing all the directives, situational awareness and electronic jamming from a standoff position).

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Alan – I have never challenged why we bought the F-35 as I believe it to be the right choice as I have listed way above here. My question was not about the F-35 per se but why we would buy the F-35A as well as the ‘B’.

And given we would be in coalition with the Americans either they would use their superior ‘A’ numbers in the suppression phase (or withe USMC and UK ‘B’ aircraft) while the more capable and superior Typhoons (and others) would follow up with the heavy weaponry,

Lee H
Guest
Lee H

Morning
So you are advocating letting the US deploy first and the the U.K. and USMC (one a country, one an arm of a military) for up?
I don’t think that would wash.
We are talking about an additional 2 sqns here, that’s all.

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) lee – Please don’t misrepresent what was written. I clearly said we would be in coalition and in a coalition each member would have a part to play bringing what they do best. And so I said ‘UK F-35Bs’ rather than ‘FAA F-35Bs’ – A bit picky that ….? The USAF have invested heavily in the F-35A to replace various ageing aircraft in their fleet and add capability. The RAF has made a different investment in the Typhoon as it needs to replace one aircraft and does not have the budget of the USAF. Therefore it is clearly… Read more »

PierreLM
Guest
PierreLM

With all this constant chatter over one acquisition by the UK, it’s hardly a surprise that your country is steadily and assuredly sliding down the scale. You are now at 6/7 in the world military league table! What are you up to my British friends?

Kirk Jiao
Guest
Kirk Jiao

The only logical purchase of the A variant for the UK would be if the F-35 numbers increased to replace the Typhoon. Once the UK gets to like 80-90 B’s there would be no point to a new variant.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

I wonder if this month will bear fruit and see a technology demonstrator of the EJ2X0 as mentioned in the link below.

With combined thrust vectoring and the additional power, an adapted version of the Eurofighter for the QE class carriers might just be possible?

The inclusion of a Rudder/Speed Brake (RSB) Actuator System like the one found on the space shuttle plus, thrust vectoring could potentionally contribute to slowing the aircraft sufficenly for landing, and the additional power for takeoff?

Just throwing in a curve ball to the discussion!

Happy Easter.

http://idrw.org/did-india-just-dumped-united-states-and-signed-up-for-eurojet-ej200-for-amca-with-u-k/

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins
Lee H
Guest
Lee H

Morning all Happy easter and all that Whilst I hate doing armchair general numbers here goes for discussion: Royal Navy 3 x F-35B Sqns Royal Air Force (happy birthday) 1 x F-35B Sqn 2 x F-35A Sqns 5 x Typhoon Sqns (3 AD and 2 Strike) 2 x Reaper Sqn Therefore: 96 F-35B purchased 48 F-35A purchases AESA purchased for Typhoon SPEAR 3 to include anti ship Each service gets 3 Sqns of F-35. Enough B models to sustain 24 a/c per carrier and just enough to surge to 36 in times of all out war. RAF gets its 8… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Lee I would jump at that list. Considering the RAF has but 8 Fast Jet Squadrons, excluding reserve and trials units a jump to 11 total with 3 FAA squadrons included is surely too much to hope for. I know CAS has suggested we could get to 9, with 5 Typhoon and 4 F35 in time once extra F35 arrive and the 2 extra Typhoon units stand down. I see your 2 extra squadrons are the A varients you were discussing earlier. Would need an uplift finding the manpower for the 3 NAS as well. Easiest and most obvious surely… Read more »

Lee H
Guest
Lee H

Afternoon Manpower would be attracted by the toys on offer, an uplift in manpower is desperately overdue. T2 for the Reds should be a must now, reduce the support burden and allow easier transition for pilots and crews going through the Sqn. 100 Sqn I would like to take a bit of time to think in that one so will get back to you. Uplift in spending isn’t as great as you think over the purchasing lifecycle. U.K. would still be purchasing about 150 F-35 which is budgeted for but now slightly cheaper if A model is purchased. P-8 is… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Lee – Happy to discuss and Happy Easter Sir Without debating each item I would just focus on two issues I have with your suggestions. * Adding ‘Booms’ to 5 Voyagers: Basically ‘why?’. We currently have some 17 aircraft that do not use ‘Probe & Drogue’ refuelling. All are long range aircraft – AWACS, C-17 and Rivet Joint – so have reduced need for refuelling. I am advised that RJ requires USAF refuelling due to a short runway at Waddington. Maybe the answer is there on the tarmac? So why limit where 5 of our 14 (total) Voyagers… Read more »

Lee H
Guest
Lee H

Hi Chris
The above needs to be given the detailed answer it deserves so will respond tomorrow when I am at my computer and not on my phone.
Many thanks for the response and appreciate the passion in the Typhoon platform – an aircraft that I really do think is one of the best out there

Lee H
Guest
Lee H

Morning Hope the small Easter break was enjoyable. Why only 5 boom’s? Budgets, commercials and roles. 5 of the 9 (not including the 5 military available commercially used aircraft) gives the RAF flexibility in what it needs and gives any USAF aircraft operating in the UK the ability to fuel from RAF tanker aircraft. Gone are the days were we operate fully independently and that includes air operations over the UK and North Sea. Nordic and North European Nation states are choosing F-35 and do not have the ability to afford tankers. The RAF in the majority of cases provided… Read more »

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Evening all ,belated Happy Easter to you as well,ive been thinking about another issue that would need consideration.We all know RAF Marham is being upgraded to receive the first F35b,s later on this year.If we do indeed get the promised 138 Aircraft where exactly would they all go ? How many could be based at RAF Marham in the instance of both Carriers being in port ? Surely it would make sense to spread such expensive assets to at least two bases especially in the current political climate.We have lost a few suitable bases in the defence drawdown ,I would… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

IMO ideally those which have / had HAS complexes with associated Storage areas and hardened infrastructure, built in Cold War to operate remotely from the rest of the station if necessary, including CBRN conditions. So – Boscombe Down. ATEC between MoD / QinetiQ. HAS mostly disused I believe. Designated QRA dispersal airfield post 9 /11. HAS were built for F111 during Cold War. Sting would probably do his nut though! Wattisham. 2 x HAS Complex for Phantoms. Now 2 AAC Apache regiments. Talk of AAC vacating site so could this station be refurbished for fixed wing aircraft again. I believe… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I recall RAF St Mawgan also has a HAS complex? Maybe move the FAA there and use Marham solely for the RAF. Would need major update as now a civil airport.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Indeed Daniele RAF St Mawgan is now a civilian Airport,thanks for your information regards the other sites.In pure geography terms our air defences have always been orientated along the East Coast from the Shetlands down to the English Channel,ive always thought that there is a gaping hole in the Southwest area but if there is no obvious threat expected in that direction that would explain why,hopefully this will not change in the future.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

The East side and runway are Newquay airport, over the west side is still an MoD site conducting E&E amongst other things. RNAS Yeovilton, RNAS Culdrose and MoD Boscombe down were designated QRA forward deployed locations for any 9 /11 style threats coming from the South West where a definite threat had already been identified by intelligence. As for F35B, who knows? I recall there were questions over its noise levels compared to other jets? Marham until a few years ago had 4 squadrons of GR4 so could take more than the 617 and 809 Squadrons already announced. Maybe somewhere… Read more »

PierreLM
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PierreLM

So much discussion over one aircraft acquisition. No wonder the UK has slid down the scale and now is at 6/7 lower than my native France!

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Pierre – one can only admire the ability of France to dig its heels in and design,develope and manufacture Aircraft of its own ,sometimes at the detriment of the projects it has often left to go its own way (MRCA +Eurofighter) it gives new meaning to political willpower I’m sure,but as you can imagine the F35 is a massive commitment for many western nations not just the UK.This hopefully will prove to be a big game changer for Air combat operations,may I ask what direction France will take beyond Rafale ? ( I understand you have a UAV project or… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

But you ain’t in 5 eyes though are you?

So rankings very much depend on ones interpretation monsieur.

PierreLM
Guest
PierreLM

Yes, in collaboration with Germany, to build a Rafale and Typhoon replacement and Dassault nEUROn UCAV. The roadmap is to be agreed later 2018. There are also joint projects for land army forces as well.

Lee H
Guest
Lee H

Evening
You seem to have a lot of time on your hands at the moment with most of your country’s transport infrastructure on strike.
Many thanks for the post though. We look forward to your continued Franco-German defence projects, they have a track record of delivering resounding success, none really spring to mind though, got to dash train to catch!

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Pierre – a joint venture between France and Germany sounds interesting and exiting for a Typhoon/Rafale replacement but as history has proved once all the responsibilities and workshare problems have been sorted out and a design is ready for production I would imagine that most of our F35’s would already be in service – technology is moving very quick today but unfortunately joint military Aircraft projects do not !