British F-35Bs are currently only certified to carry relatively few weapon types, but that’s set to change with future upgrades.

According to Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, the following systems are currently operated and planned.

“Currently the UK F-35B Lightning is cleared to employ the Paveway IV Precision Guided Munition, the Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) and the Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missile (ASRAAM).

Future Capability uplifts will introduce the Spear Capability 3 Air to Surface weapon and the Meteor Air to Air Missile.”

However, as I reported previously, British F-35B jets were to be equipped with Meteor missiles by the ‘middle of this decade’, but this has slipped to 2027. The Ministry of Defence previously published its tenth annual summary of the defence equipment plan. According to a statement:

“Building on the 2020 summary, it sets out our plans for the next 10 years to deliver and support the equipment our armed forces need to do the jobs we ask of them.”

The document contains a great deal of technical information about the projects and the management/funding side of them and you can read that for yourself here but below I’ll try and present the most pertinent information relating to the project in question.

Meteor on F-35B – Equipment Background

The project is described as follows:

“Meteor is a beyond visual range air-to-air missile featuring active radar guidance and exceptional longrange performance. Developed by a 6- nation partnership, it is currently in service on Typhoon and will undergo modification to allow internal carriage on Lightning II.”

In Year Progress Update

“Meteor was assigned a place in the Followon Development Programme by the F-35 Joint Programme Office and contracts were awarded to Lockheed Martin in the early summer. However, entry into service is not anticipated to be until 2027 and there is a possibility that integration pressures in the programme may incur further delays because of challenges in the wider F-35 programme.”

You can read the report here.

What was the original plan?

British F-35B jets were to be equipped with Meteor missiles by the ‘middle of this decade’ originally. The information came to light in a response to a written question submitted in the House of Commons.

Mark Francois, Member of Parliament for Rayleigh and Wickford, asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his timetable is for the Meteor air-to-air missile to achieve initial operating capability on the F-35 aircraft.”

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

“Initial development work for Meteor integration has progressed well. The Lightning Delivery Team within Defence Equipment and Supply (DE&S), through F-35 Joint Program Office has signed a contract to integrate Meteor in the middle of the decade.”

Previously we reported that a team of BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and MBDA engineers are enhancing the capability of the UK’s fleet of F-35 Lightning aircraft by commencing work on the integration of next generation weapons.

“BAE Systems has received an initial funding award from Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the F-35 programme, to start integration efforts for MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and SPEAR precision surface attack missile. Under this initial package of work BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin will also complete further integration work with MBDA on ASRAAM and with Raytheon on Paveway IV, initially integrated in support of delivering Initial Operating Capability for the UK.”

Cliff Waldwyn, Head of Combat Air, Group Business Development of MBDA, said:

“This is a significant milestone for the UK Combat Air’s capability. This initial package of work officially commences the integration of Meteor and SPEAR and will enhance the operational capability of the UK’s Lightning Force in the future; it is also a positive step for the wider F-35 enterprise as it adds additional capability choice for international customers. MBDA’s integration team have worked well with our BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin colleagues and we plan to build on this excellent foundation into the future on this follow-on modernisation work.”

Meteor is a ‘Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile’ system developed by MBDA. The Meteor programme sees the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden working together to provide access to technology and expertise across those nations.

You can read more about the missile here.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Geneticengineer
Geneticengineer
7 days ago

Off topic, I was surprised Hunt (the son of an Admiral who has promulgated increasing the size of the RN) didn’t support Penny. I’m wondering what Penny’s thoughts are on defense, but she has been tight lipped

RobW
RobW
7 days ago

She has said she supports a new NATO target of 2.5% of GDP and would ensure we meet it.

John Clark
John Clark
7 days ago
Reply to  RobW

I’m hoping for Penny, she’s a potentially good PM with a personal interest in defence and a sharp brain.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
7 days ago
Reply to  RobW

I will wait and see when they get into office to see what they actually do.
You can’t do tax cuts, increase budgets and cut the deficit at the same time.

Expat
Expat
7 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

The theory is you reduce tax rates which allows growth which increases tax receipts. Another motivation to cut corporation tax is to get companies to report profit in the UK and not other counties. Example; You build in the UK but buy some parts from one of you’re factories in another country. In theory the parts from the other country could be sold to the UK plant for almost no profit because the corporation tax in that country is high so selling for no profit means there’s no corporation tax. When the final item is sold it makes more profit… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Yes corporate tax can be an issue the basic truth your never going to win against multi nationals with reducing corporation taxes to the bone, as there is aways a nation that will cut it further than you it’s the same with deregulation, The effective slave labour markets of the east ( work For pittance or die) will always be able to deregulate more than a western nation. So the way to encourage investment and business tax revenue is actually creating A better business environment, with good infrastructure ( travel, comms,tec, health, education) and direct access to markets without tariff.… Read more »

Expat
Expat
6 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Didn’t say I agreed with it just highlighted the theory and pointed to an example. And yes it’s not ghe only way to encourage businesses. There also plenty of places that had zero business tax that doesn’t have businesses flocking there. But push tax to high.and no matter how good your infrastructure etc is you’ll see recept of tax drop.

Expat
Expat
6 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

However more importantly news kust out Japan and UK could completely merge their 6th gen fighter programs.

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 days ago
Reply to  Expat

That would be very good news.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
6 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Well we will see what happens when they get into office. Any bets on if the new leader will last until an election? If a global agreement could be reached on corporation tax that would be a massive step forward. With global companies, global thinking is needed. Imagine if half of the global corporation tax take from the world was then spread throughout the world. Dreaming I know. To many folks can’t spend it wisely. Ireland has the advantage of being English speaking, being closest part of Europe to USA, being in the eu and being next to the U.K.… Read more »

Expat
Expat
6 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

The Tories will need to select some one super clean after Boris. Labour didn’t going massively in the by elections so there was more of a case of loosing votes through protest than Labour gains through great leadership and policy.

Problem is with a global tax we nay loose. We’re not as productive as our peers and as the railways are finding is hard to make important improvements. By the time we build hs2 Frances high speed railway will be 1/2 a century old. So with equal corporate tax would the next Elin Musk setup shop here. Probably not.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
7 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Exactly all claims of substantive tax cuts in the short term would only demonstrate the hypocrisy of a decade long insistence that lowering borrowings was the over whelming priority. Until we get through this existential threat on various fronts we can’t think of such luxuries beyond a few tweaks if we intend to spend on defence, other priorities and provide for what is going to be a hammer blow to the poor and struggling come winter and even those who had been moderately comfortable. I understand the need to boost the economy but this has been a long term failure… Read more »

Last edited 7 days ago by Spyinthesky
Jonathan
Jonathan
6 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Agree.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
7 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

You can but you have to be willing to be radical and medium/long term and not panic when a “crisis” hits.

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

I think the problem we tend to have is knowing the different between not acting at all and not panicking or two much panic resulting in no action…panic is fine as long as you act. Not panicking and not acting when the the train is heading strait for your head is the hight of madness. When faced with catastrophe panic and then do something about it…it’s how the human race survived.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
6 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I’m sorry Jonathan but I really don’t understand your reply.

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Basically panic is the great motivator….feel the panic and do. Anyone who does not panic in a crisis tends to not react in a timely way or completely miss understands the level of threat or risk and fucks up….So panic is not the problem it’s fine….I’ve spent half my professional life panicking it’s all about harnessing the panic into action.The other side of the no panic brigade are those who let panic overwhelm and prevent action…so trust the person who panics in a positive reactive way.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
7 days ago

I read somewhere that the F35b can carry 2 paveway4 in its weapon bay. What I wasn’t sure of is if that meant 2 in each bay or 2 in total? Hope someone can help

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
7 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Taking a significant time to incorporate medium-long range air and anti surface on F35B, which are critical to RN, naturally.
Wonder how quickly US will incorporate AIM260 on to it’s platforms, compared with Meteor say?

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
6 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

1 per bay.
Max UK loadout at present is 2 Asraam, 2 Amraam and 6 Paveway IV (2 internal and 2 under each wing).
We’re not buying the gun pod either…

Mark
Mark
4 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

No UK defence reported back in June 2020 that the UK has no plans to purchase it but the pilot will be given a small Puch of stones and a sling shot to use in a dog fight.

andy a
andy a
3 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

they said the same about typhoon originally but I think we bought it in the end??

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
7 days ago

Her thoughts – Penny for them? 😊

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

😆

Steve
Steve
6 days ago

Isn’t penny’s service highly unclear, as she claims to have a role that didn’t exist.

grizzler
grizzler
6 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I think she ‘claims’ a lot of things she certainly ‘supports’ a lot of anyway- she is All things to all men (or women) …Being a good PM looks like another dubious claim.

Steve
Steve
6 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

Last thing we need is another Boris, telling everyone what they want to hear but never actually doing anything. The options are not great between the candidates, so she has a low bar to beat.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
5 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

She’s not too clear on what a woman actually is either…

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
5 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Apparently she was seen recently sporting some Submariner’s Dolphin’s as well…a lot of people not impressed about that…

The Snowman
The Snowman
7 days ago

Given F35 already has AMRAAM, I’m not so worried about Meteor. But with the lack of options to strike surface targets from standoff ranges, when will SPEAR3 be available to the carrier group?

Hamish
Hamish
7 days ago
Reply to  The Snowman

My thinking is the same. I wasn’t aware we had AMRAAM cleared so that is better news than I thought. That said the glacial progress is bizarre.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
7 days ago
Reply to  Hamish

Well as a prime American weapon why would it not? From our point of view it’s good to see ASRAAM is qualified being a uk orientated weapon and one I believe now that no longer has US components that can prevent foreign sales?

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
6 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

At present it is legacy Asraam only.
Asraam Block VI (also known as CSP) will be integrated as part of the Block IV improvements by 2027. This is the new Asraam with zero US content.

Jonno
Jonno
5 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I dont like to say this but the US are good at gaming these things. Meaning delay delay others options until they catch up. Meteor and Spear as examples.

SteveP
SteveP
7 days ago
Reply to  The Snowman

Agreed though I’m not sure SPEAR 3 is the answer as it’s too short ranged. Proper stand off land attack and and anti-ship missiles are required on at least a portion of the F35 fleet (JSM?).

Steve R
Steve R
7 days ago
Reply to  SteveP

I thought SPEAR 3 had a 100-mile range.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
7 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

Yeah it will be around that. With storm shadow and it’s replacement filling the longer range needs.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
7 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

Must admit 100 miles is very much a min range these days for ‘ safe’ operation certainly will be at best by the end of the decade, the aircraft will need to fully exploit its stealth to survive in any seriously defended environment. One only has to see how Russian aircraft fear being over Ukrainian held territory despite its lack of the latest anti aircraft kit ( at least till Western kit arrives). They are firing off missiles often a lot longer ranged than 100 miles one would presume ( or from Belarusian territory) from reports and not being especially… Read more »

Steve R
Steve R
7 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Realistically you won’t fit a longer range weapon internally as any longer range would necessitate a larger missile.

The F35B has a combat radius of 520 miles on internal fuel, so could strike targets with SPEAR3 a little over 600 miles from the carriers.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
6 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

Yes rather presumed the laws of physics were unbendable here as things stand re internal storage and long range missiles. What Concerns me is talk of the Chinese hypersonic missile having a thousand mile or is it km range. Now we know hitting a carrier at anything like that range wont be remotely easy esp with a hypersonic missile and there is as we see with Russia a big and exaggerated propaganda element in play here. But still a little concerning esp as the decade and technology progresses. Out of interest as drones are deemed a prospective way of improving… Read more »

Last edited 6 days ago by Spyinthesky
Jonathan
Jonathan
6 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

To be honest 100miles is fine especially as an anti ship asset. The ships not ever going to see the F35 that kills it due to radar horizons. As the F35 would need to be higher than an attitude of 3600 is feet above see level for it to be above the radar horizon of a radar mounted 60 feet above see level at 100miles. So you f35 just needs fly under that an the ship can’t find him…..most people tend to forget about radar horizons the physics of actually being able to detect an enemy when they think about… Read more »

Louis
Louis
7 days ago
Reply to  SteveP

Spear 3 has a range of 100 miles, with 8 of them and two meteors fitting internally. It is also the only ASHM that can fit internally. JSM is the only other good option as it is the lightest weight so 4 can be carried externally, or 2 with external fuel tanks. All other ASHM can only be carried in the weapons pylons closest to the centre of the aircraft, which are also the only weapons pylons that can carry external fuel tanks. The issue with JSM is that it isn’t stealthy, stealthy missiles and fuel tanks can be carried… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
7 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Interesting whole mission take.

Sire
Sire
6 days ago
Reply to  Louis

SPEAR3 warhead is a tad too small for antiship, maybe only small vessels but its the only one that fits. F-35B’s smaller bomb can’t accommodate the 1000lb class missiles (eg. NSM) that can fit inside the F-35A/Cs

Mark
Mark
4 days ago
Reply to  Sire

2 F35Bs firing a full load of spear 3s at any large combat ship is going to get 50% target hit and 8 missles is going to make a mess of any ships systems plus the prospect of 2ndary explosions it will take the ship out action for some time requiring extensive repair. Also I don’t know why they don’t just put a larger warhead on meteor and hey presto a cheap near hypersonic ASM with 100 mile range. The kinetic energy alone would rip through the bridge and if it can hit a tennis ball at MK2 as advertised… Read more »

Jon
Jon
7 days ago
Reply to  The Snowman

AMRAAM is an American missile and we’ve not only had older AMRAAMs for some time, we purchased 200 upgraded AMRAAMs (120D) a couple of year’s back for half a billion quid. The longer is takes before Meteor is integrated, the more American missiles we buy and the fewer we sell in Britain. And not only us. Meteor currently is better than AMRAAM, and there’s a big market out there, especially on F-35. Raytheon, the AMRAAM manufacturer, also have a UK support contract, worth a few million, that continues for every year we don’t have Meteor. I suspect that’s why a… Read more »

grizzler
grizzler
7 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Apart from the yanks of course…

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
7 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

I cannot think there could be any connection, none, that doesn’t sound right at all, I’m sure the reason has to be something else, certain … Must be. Couldn’t possibly be fear of a commercial rival with a better offering. No. Not possible, not in this day and age … Must be something we have missed …

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
7 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Yeah it’s almost like the US is dragging things out so that they can sell arguably inferior products right up to the point they can sell something more comparable to the non US missile to restrict competition, except when they are kowtowing to Israel anyway.

David Steeper
David Steeper
7 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

🤔🤔

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
6 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

They’re in almost as bad a mess on F-35 as we are. The USAF has GBU-12 (their PWIV equivalent), 1,000lb JDAM and SDB1, Sidewinder 9X and Amraam. US Navy and USMC also have JSOW.

Truth is we could do with some 1,000lb JDAM or SDB1 as ‘cheap’ munitions. Spear and Paveway IV are pricey…(be nice if MBDA developed some cheap munitions for the RAF).

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
6 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Lessons from conflicts over the last 20 years have taught us accuracy and flexibility is key. That is why EPW4 is so good and it’s the RAF’S primary weapon. We haven’t used 2000lb or 1000lb for years. EPW4 will give you 80% of the bang of 1000lb weapon. Or dialled down to make a small bang. Advanced fuse and angle settings means we can target individual people or larger fixed targets and moving targets. The weapon can also be re-targeted in flight, and steered away to a safe area if collateral damage is a risk. Typhoon and F35B can drop… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
7 days ago
Reply to  The Snowman

Currently further weapon integration isn’t happening until the block 4 software is ready. Block 4 has been delayed repeatedly and is really the major issue with the program. Lockheed need to give it full effort. So much is dependant on block 4. The USA needs to apply more pressure to get it sorted. Last I heard there was rumblings block 4 might not be ready until after 2030 and may not be able to deliver what it is promised to do. I always take those stories with a pinch of salt. Hopefully tempest uses a different software program that’s easier… Read more »

grizzler
grizzler
7 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Surely Tempest will use our own software – we wont be beholding to good old uncle Sam again will we….surely not.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
7 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Not holding my breath on Tempest maturing.

BobA
BobA
3 minutes ago
Reply to  The Snowman
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
7 days ago

It will be interesting to know if in true beast mode that the F35B can carry more than just 4 Meteor and 2 AMRAAMs? Hopefully there are some stealthy twin rack pylons available under the wings or maybe they can squeeze 3 Meteors into each bay? Sorry for sounding greedy.
Is there any news on whether the 25mm canon pod will be adopted?

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
7 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

*Sorry I should have typed ASRAAM instead of AMRAAM.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
7 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

And any air-to-air laser developments? All that energy coming out of the backside of thebengine, surely some could be recycled back into generating power into laser?

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan
7 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63
Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
7 days ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Pew pew. It has to make that noise.

David Steeper
David Steeper
6 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Phasers and Fallopian tubes will be fitted as standard.😐😐

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
6 days ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Thanks DM, I remember the graphic from that article but not the article itself! Lol.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
7 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

With the internal bays and the 4 wing pylons load outs will expand if a need arises. Can always see 2 missiles on the pylons if needed.
What will be good to see is a loyal wingman carrying extra weapons. Having 2 F35b on a combat air patrol with internal weapons and 1-4 loyal wingman with perhaps its on internal weapons bay with at least 2 missiles in each starts to add up.
All that really depends if a loyal wingman can work as hoped.

grizzler
grizzler
7 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

What loyal wingman would that be- havent they just canned one?
Would that loyal wingman by as ‘stealthy’ as the F35B – would the F35B with external weapons be as stealthy as the wingman.

Whatr happens if the loyal wingman is a spy for the chinese and becomes a loyal wongman….

Cj
Cj
6 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Hi monkey spanker, I’m new to all this and was wondering why we don’t build loyal wingmen with Italy and Sweden to go with tempest?also why didn’t we do a mixture of taranis and magma when we knew drones were going to be the big thing, thanks for any answers.

Cj
Cj
6 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Also could we not buy American or Australian until our systems were online. Thanks

grizzler
grizzler
6 days ago
Reply to  Cj

if we did they never would be…just my take on it

Cj
Cj
6 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

ahh got it thanks 👍

Peregrine16
Peregrine16
7 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

When the F35B is operating from a QE carrier will the limit be how many weapons can be carried in beast mode or will it be the maximum take-off weight (and / or maximum landing weight if we don’t want to be dumping kit)?

David Steeper
David Steeper
6 days ago
Reply to  Peregrine16

The Queen Elizabeths were designed around the F35B. The flight deck and ski jump were tailored to be able to launch them at there max take off weight.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
6 days ago
Reply to  Peregrine16

They can takeoff and land at maximum weight. Last year aircraft did operate from the QE carrying 6 x 500lb Enhanced Paveways. 2 ASRAAM and 2 AMRAAM.

Peregrine16
Peregrine16
6 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Thanks. Do we know if we are using routinely the rolling landing? And could an F35 loaded like you said land back on the QE without dumping ordnance (either landing vertically or rolling)?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
6 days ago
Reply to  Peregrine16

I’m note sure if they are doing the rolling landing. Maybe that will come later. Yes they can land with a full load. Asymmetric loads are the problem which is why StormShadow isn’t being integrated, same reason it wasn’t used on the Harrier GR7/9. Plus Typhoon has that capability.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
6 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The Sidekick rack will not fit in the F-35B so no 3 missiles per bay I’m afraid. Meteor wouldn’t work on it either.

With the exception of 9X and Asraam on the outer pylon there have been no powered weapons integrated for external carriage on F-35 to date.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
6 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Love the name “Sidekick”, great name for a missile too, like “Sidewinder”. Well if we can’t stretch the plane and bomb bays then we gave to shrink the missiles! As has been mentioned Meteor wool get some fins clipped. Don’t know why they can’t try for some “stealthly pod” attachments for under the wings. I remember seeing such a pod that I think it was carrying up to 4 AMRAAMs under the belly of a Hornet F-18. I don’t think it was ever taken up.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
6 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

*wool?…crikey….will

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
7 days ago

I do hope this means that the HMG realise that being in the driving seat of a development program comes with some advantages – like getting your weapons integrated when you want / need not when LM can fit you in (to be fair to LM when their biggest customer by far says do xyz then xyz gets done).

So hopefully this means that Tempest will continue to be funded.

Cheers CR

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
7 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Just been reading today of various reports claiming that moves are afoot to combine Tempest with the Japanese Fx programme with hopes for an announcement around Christmas. That has been the outcome I have been hoping for as it’s surely the best solution for both parties increasingly so as so much overlap is already growing in those platforms. Fingers crossed as it’s the only way I can see how the programme can meet its potential and retain full funding and timescales with Japanese estimates their program will cost some 40 billion to fund. It seems the idea is their version… Read more »

Last edited 7 days ago by Spyinthesky
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
6 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I bet the US may not be liking the UK-Japan fighter alliance. I wonder if the Swedes and Italians will stay in the mix. Could the US even join but without wanting to take over?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Hi Quentin, I doubt very much if the US could join such a big program without wanting to dominate it if for no other reason that they would likely be by far the biggest customer / operator. There is also the question of attitudes in the US Congress… Certainly their defence contractors would want the lion’s share of the rewards. I think having the UK, Japan, Italy and Sweden working on this project would be enough. It is not a traditional line up of partners, but so far things have being moving forward if not at a lightening pace then… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

HI Spyinthesky, That is really interesting and hopeful news. My impression is that the UK have been very keen to build an alliance in all but name with the Japanese. With the smaller but still high tech collaboration on an improved Meteor AAM possibly being the ‘testbed’ for the growing relationship. I agree that having the Japanese as partners would give the program a huge boost. Fingers crossed. I think Quentin raises a good point about the Italians and Swedes and I hope that they stay on board with the program. With luck the UK is working hard to keep… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
7 days ago

It might be possible the new Rafael Ice Breaker missile 350kg, 300km range might be able to be put inside F-35 weapons bays.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
6 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

We should avoid any dealings with Israel in the military sphere whatsoever.
Their conduct in the Ukraine War should be instructive. Nobody in NATO should have anything to do with them.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
6 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Yes when you read how the odd former Israeli military, intelligence or political figures with Russian connections are coming out to give ‘advice’ and support for Russia on their tactics etc it seems to me to be deeply troubling to have close relations with them esp considering some of their own behaviour. Just shows you how many Israelis with Russian backgrounds at various levels still have strong ties with that Country and regime sadly. And then we have dodgy Israeli spyware companies happily selling their software to any suspect regimes and entities for cash to help them break into innocent… Read more »

grizzler
grizzler
6 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

and yet there are those that exthol the virtues of getting into bed with the Israeli’s…

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
5 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

I’m not entirely sure there are any benefits to such a relationship at all. We don’t sell much kit to them at all. Intelligence benefits are limited these days as well. Stick to basic trade with them, but no military kit…

AlexS
AlexS
6 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

The hypocrisy is staggering. Great Britain allied itself with murderous Staline or in Falklands with Pinochet regime. You ally itself with lesser evil for the moment.
Even helped Tito opposition being murdered. To not talk about all support to Arab regimes that wanted to destroy Israel.
Israel needs access to Syria to intercept Iranian forces and Heezbollah that only can be done witn Russian cooperation.

farouk
farouk
7 days ago

Meawhile as reported by the media:

Opera Snapshot_2022-07-14_155720_www.telegraph.co.uk.png
grizzler
grizzler
7 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Im an overweight asthmatic ….I want compensation for the fact I couldnt join the RAF back in the day…

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
7 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

And after all that ‘dissimilar air combat’, too!

Joe16
Joe16
7 days ago

I did hear somewhere that LM may have been holding off integration because we’d been a bit remiss in paying for it- not sure if that’s true.
Either way, it’s taking forever, during which time US weapons systems that aren’t as good (SDB II vs Spear 3 in particular) are achieving export contracts with F-35 operators because there aren’t alternatives ready to go. We should be chasing this harder. But, as CR says below, definitely a lesson for the UK wrt Tempest.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
7 days ago

However, as I reported previously, British F-35B jets were to be equipped with Meteor missiles by the ‘middle of this decade’, but this has slipped to 2027

Well there’s no hurry … Not like we have an all out war on our doorstep is it?

Who makes these decisions? What is the weather like on their planet?

Paul.P
Paul.P
7 days ago

Surely the planned F35 integration of JSM is the driver for the RN negotiating NSM as the interim AShM?

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

They’re distantly related but quite different. The ideal would be a surface mounted JSM that could also be fired from P-8 and F-35. But the integration of JSM to P-8 seems to have stalled some time ago.

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

If NSM is chosen we could be placing a lot of business with Kongsberg. I think their remote turrets are on the Boxer.
https://www.kongsberg.com/kda/what-we-do/defence-and-security/remote-weapon-systems/protector-mct

Expat
Expat
7 days ago

Bit off topic but US is finally considering training Ukrainian pilot of F16s. Could have had them qualified by now.

Sean
Sean
7 days ago
Reply to  Expat

About bleeding time if true, there’s plenty of F16s lying around they could equip the Ukrainian Air Force with.

Steve R
Steve R
7 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Typical Yanks, late for everything!

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
6 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

Yeah we all remember the 41-45 war 🇺🇸🫡

grizzler
grizzler
6 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

very good 😄

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
7 days ago
Reply to  Expat

They’ve got the pilots available for sure, but I gather the ground crew/infrastruture is a headache since they’re optimised for Russian a/c. Loads more surface to air considered more efficient for immediate effect, apparently.

andy a
andy a
3 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Thought Ukraine was finally getting 12 old russian platforms from one of the old soviet nations over there? saw it bouncing on face ache last week

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 days ago
Reply to  andy a

Yeh. Reply to Expat over US aircraft. So, pilots can assimilate to US, but it’s the infrastructure that’ll evidently take time, as always.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
7 days ago

As several people have made the same point about weapon carriage/pylons don’t forget that the prime benefit of the F35 is stealth and you won’t get that with a load of ordnance hanging off the airframe.
On the subject of Block 4 there have been official reports in recent weeks that it may not happen at all and the the US will go for replacement engines and a major software upgrade, but not on the B version.
Slippage in now inherent in everything we do these days so I don’t believe delivery dates anymore.

Bob.
Bob.
7 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

I’m not sure that stealth carriage is all that relevant given the integration of the F35 fleet.

One F35 in “Stealth” mode could search and designate targets for following, less stealthy aircraft outside of detection range.

Not as good as F35s armed with internally carried, stealthy missiles
admittedly, but better than the bombs carried at present.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
6 days ago
Reply to  Bob.

There aren’t any less stealthy aircraft on a carrier Bob so they all have to be part of the same attack. Mind you, as I have said many times before here there is not much chance in the next six or seven years in us attacking anybody. With a total “fleet” of 12 to 15 aircraft shared between the RAF and RN the whole shared aircraft idea was ridiculous right from the start.. I am also assuming that we have something to fire at the enemy, of course.

Bob.
Bob.
6 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

An F35 with anti-ship missiles hung under its wings will be less stealthy than a “clean” F35.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
6 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

No-one credible is saying Block IV won’t happen.
It has to as the EW, E/O and other weapons will not get integrated without it.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
6 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

You mean apart from the Pentagon, the USAF and the US Government Accountability Office. Yes, I see what you mean.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
6 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Hi Geoff, I’m not technically sure of this is possible but I’d imagine some “stealth” could potentially be applied electronically too, giving some form of “cloaking” over ordnance being carried and we know some missiles themselves are stealthy.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
6 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

*of…if

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
6 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Like yourself Quentin I’m not a true techie either. You may be right, electronic or streamlining? At sea they will be a handful to deal with anyway, assuming that the weapon fit all arrives.

John Hartley
John Hartley
7 days ago

For all the Billions the UK has spent on the QE Carriers + F-35B, it is a very limited array of weapons they can put on target. A precision, stand off, heavy weapon is missing. As is an anti ship missile. Still no long range drop tanks or gun pods.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
7 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

I still don’t like the RN not having ownership of some of these aircraft if(!) the international situation deteriorates further. This despite all the talk of genuine jointness with RAF. I can easily understand that the current arrangement is efficient for peactime operation for a number of reasons – similar to my to date support for RN FFBNW scenario to get hulls in the water. However, as crises multiply the pressure on the F35B’s RAF owner will mount, since there are unlikely to be ‘enough’ airframes for their requirements let alone RN’s. At that point, who owns and maintains –… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper
6 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Agree but the problem is the RN doesn’t have the budget for a seperate fleet of F35’s. It has lots of claims on its budget while the RAF only has aircraft plus.RAF Regt. It’s down to the price tag of the F35. It’s more complicated obviously but when you think scrapping all 5 Type 31’s and spending the cash on F35 would only give you 15 ! Not even enough for 1 airgroup.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
6 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

True on the current, David, but that tends to gravitate upwards under above scenario.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
6 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

It isn’t a battle between the RN and RAF for F35 airframes. The F35 Lightning force is a joint force, and will be deployed as requirements see fit, be it on a aircraft carrier or land based. The force is deployed by top brass in the MOD and the joint chiefs. It isn’t a case of the RAF want to do a certain deployment so the RN lose out, it doesn’t work like that anymore. People need to get used to the joint concept. The plan was always to have 4 frontline sqns, 2 RAF, and 2 RN, with the… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
6 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

OK, Robert, thanks for the infill. I certainly need to be proven incorrect when pressures mount.
Rgs

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
6 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

To be honest Gavin, not much information about how these joint force elements work is out in the public domain. I worked as part of Joint Force Harrier at RAF Cottesmore , but i served in the RN.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
6 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I’d say you’ve just added to your credentials, in fact. I served, but squeezed between just losing AR and the Invincibles arriving – a bit of a feat. But we had subs in relative abundance – wistful pondering ensues.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
5 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

I was 99-2013. Served on all 3 Invincible class. Started on Sea Harrier FA2’s at Yeovilton, then GR7/9 at RAF Cottesmore and a little at RAF Wittering. (Avionics Pinky) would loved to have worked on the F35, but I got married and had a child so decided to leave while I was young enough start a second career. 👍

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
5 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Aside, only just appreciated that UK & US carriers of WW2 were around Invincible size. Japan had the larger dimensioned on balance, though their often higher tonnage was frequently due to their being battleship conversions and the like of course.
We’ve become used to supercarriers as the modern baseline, though US are apparently debating downsized but numerous flattops for cost, speed of build and asset distribution.
Anyway, cheers.

andy a
andy a
3 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Your right, its hardly a new concept with joint helicopter command working together in Iraq and Afghan and the joint harrier force in Falklands.

andy a
andy a
3 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Why it worked in the Falklands with the joint harrier force, I believe the airforce and Navy pilots served together well.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 days ago
Reply to  andy a

No worries over the lower echelons working together, Andy. I’ll go with Robert’s assessment now as it’s got to work out!

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

👍

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
6 days ago

Early leaked photo from Farnborough showing BAE setting up a loyal wingman stand and in the background looks to be a carrier ramp launched drone as well.

FXo7ynmUsAUub6U[1].jpg
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
6 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

That looks neat. Hopefully the ukdj can do some articles from Farnborough. It’s too far away from down here in 🇦🇺 . Australia already has its Ghost Bat LW flying so there’s a bit of catch-up to be done.

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
6 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

I am certain Bae must have a workable Loyal Wingman by now. The MOD needs to buy a few and start using them to see how they work and gauge their effectiveness. Taranis is for a start….they must have still been working low key on it surely?

Or…we will be faffing around with constantly changing specs and requirements for ever with no one apparently willing to make any decisions.
AA

grizzler
grizzler
6 days ago

“Or…we will be faffing around with constantly changing specs and requirements for ever with no one apparently willing to make any decisions”.

That will make a refreshing change….oh hang on

Mark_Hoygoblin
Mark_Hoygoblin
6 days ago

Maybe the MOD can negotiate with Kongsberg for some extra Naval Strike Missile (aka the restarted Interim Antiship Missiles for the Navy) so that the F-35B can can carry externally a useful sophisticated modern stand-off weapon. The NSM is being slightly modified as the Joint Strike missile for the Cousins to carry internally on F-35A or C.

andy reeves
andy reeves
6 days ago

why weren’t the f35’s configured to be able to use all systems in NATO