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  • LordJim
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Jul 2005
    • 343

    Could a F-35B take off using a catapult? Could it be modified to do so? Would that increase its take off load?

    Why am I asking this? Well stroies are circulating that the PoW maybe designed as as CTOL carrier with the QE being retro fitted. If the UK split its buy into two with say 30 F-35B followed by a further 30 F-35C, would the "B" variant gain any benefit from using a catapult if able to?

    Comment

    • swerve
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Jun 2005
      • 13610

      These stories are pure press speculation, as far as I can see, with no evidence for them.
      Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
      Justinian

      Comment

      • Liger30
        Armed Forces supporter
        • Jul 2010
        • 901

        The F35B wouldn't be able to operate well from CdG. It could, but the lack of skyjump would make it far harder to take off safely with the heaviest loads.
        But even so... why the frenchies would let the Uk use the CdG without getting anything in exchange? So, demented an idea it remains.

        Make the F35B cat-launched is feasible, but useless and senseless. You would end up almost building an F35C, but with less range, less weapons, more mechanical complexity and sky-high cost. It has no sense at all.

        It would be possible, if rather unpractical, to fit CVFs with sky-jump and a single catapult plus arresting gear at once. But for the UK, there would be no advantage at all in buying a bit of F35B and some F35C.
        It would be far better to simply move to the F35C once and for all, and if not, stick to the F35B.

        But the F35C, for a fact, has longer range. No lift-fan to maintain. Larger weapon bays. And it will be built in higher numbers since the US navy is the client.
        Apparently, the higher number of planes built and the lack of lift fan should make the F35C version cheaper than the F35B.
        The cost, of course, would be in fitting carrier with catapults and re-organize training for a method (catapult and wires) that the RN was FORCED to abandon long ago.

        But sincerely, i keep hoping in a miracle, and a switch to the C version.
        It could be one of the very few (if any) good news coming out of the defence review.
        "It is upon the navy under the providence of God that the safety, honour and welfare of this realm do chiefly attend." - King Charles II

        Comment

        • haerdalis
          Rank 1 Registered User
          • Jul 2010
          • 183

          From this link I suppose UK CVF will have a ski-jump and no arrestor gear. That would mean no catapult launch for the F35B as of now.

          However the service life of the carrier is 50 years and that of the F35B only 20 years.

          If CVF gets converted into CATOBAR type as it approaches mid-life they'd probably buy new F35C's for catapult launch.
          Last edited by haerdalis; 8th July 2010, 14:26.

          Comment

          • nocutstoRAF
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • May 2010
            • 954

            Full speeches by Nick Harvey, Minister of State for Armed Forces and Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, First Sea Lord from RUSI Martime Conference which have been quoted in the press today

            http://www.rusi.org/analysis/comment...4C3469BA71A88/

            http://www.rusi.org/analysis/comment...4C3465CAB573C/

            As far as I can see their speeches are a ringing endorsement for aircraft carriers and the importance of naval power.

            With regard to the various stories about fitting PoW with a catapult and flying F-35Cs of them I think it is either a misunderstanding by the papers on what is being discussed or part of the on-going sniping at the carriers which seem an easy target in these financially constrained times for newspapers and former Army officers to take a pop at (alternatively it is all a cunning plan by the MoD to switch to CATOBAR while making it sound like they are doing it save money)
            If having a little knowledge is dangerous then I must be bloody deadly

            Comment

            • Liger30
              Armed Forces supporter
              • Jul 2010
              • 901

              Originally posted by nocutstoRAF View Post
              Full speeches by Nick Harvey, Minister of State for Armed Forces and Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, First Sea Lord from RUSI Martime Conference which have been quoted in the press today

              http://www.rusi.org/analysis/comment...4C3469BA71A88/

              http://www.rusi.org/analysis/comment...4C3465CAB573C/

              As far as I can see their speeches are a ringing endorsement for aircraft carriers and the importance of naval power.

              With regard to the various stories about fitting PoW with a catapult and flying F-35Cs of them I think it is either a misunderstanding by the papers on what is being discussed or part of the on-going sniping at the carriers which seem an easy target in these financially constrained times for newspapers and former Army officers to take a pop at (alternatively it is all a cunning plan by the MoD to switch to CATOBAR while making it sound like they are doing it save money)
              I would be surprised if someone was able to find valuable arguments against the aircraft carriers.
              I don't think that anyone is in the position to do that. Carriers have proven invaluable from 1918 onwards, and there's no way in hell that you can say that carriers are not strategically important. In fact, they are pretty much vital for UK's interests... and the QE, once active and equipped with planes, will be better deterrence than even Trident.
              What's unfortunate is that, with politicians' stupidity (and the stupidity of flocks of people and press as well, admittedly), we'll have to hope that they do NOT deter enough during their life. Otherwise, soon or later, we'll have another "let's sell the Invincible".
              At times i sadly consider that the future of the UK's marittime security is at such risk that the only way to save the RN is to have a second Falklands crisis.
              Too much peacetime illudes people and makes them akin to drop their shields.
              It happened before the I WW, before the II WW and before the Falklands as well.
              In fact, the only conflict that never exploded was the Cold War, the only one the UK was truly prepared to face.

              But anyway, i'm still not sure the carriers are safe. The fact they are strategically vital does not save them automatically from politicians and their wishes to cut, cut, cut on the military and on the RN maily. I hope they'll both come along.

              As to the CATOBAR solution... i actually think it is not so absurd to assume it may lead to some savings, despite the cost of catapults.
              Buying F35C on top of the US navy ones would further lower the unit cost of the plane, already destined to be more numerous in USA than the B version.
              And i keep thinking that, lacking all the doors, the lift fan, the transmission, the VTOL jets... the F35B will require not only a lot of spare parts more than the other versions, but lots more mainteinance as well. And that is life-cycle cost that makes up a lot of the final price of a weapon system.

              I may be wrong, of course... but i think there are some interesting points to evaluate about all that.
              "It is upon the navy under the providence of God that the safety, honour and welfare of this realm do chiefly attend." - King Charles II

              Comment

              • haerdalis
                Rank 1 Registered User
                • Jul 2010
                • 183

                Alternative tech like EMALS is far more reliable and possibly less expensive to maintain and operate than steam tech.

                Has this had any effect on the way the RN thinks apropos the CVF? Its ambiguous, cause there are many factors here:

                - Lifetime costs comparing F35B ops to F35C ops.
                - Does the CVF have enough power to operate an EMALS system because it wont have a nuclear powerplant(not considering a steam launch system cause its out of production).
                - Is the RN ready to let go of the Harrier-centric mindset .
                Last edited by haerdalis; 9th July 2010, 03:24.

                Comment

                • nocutstoRAF
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • May 2010
                  • 954

                  Originally posted by Liger30 View Post

                  But anyway, i'm still not sure the carriers are safe. The fact they are strategically vital does not save them automatically from politicians and their wishes to cut, cut, cut on the military and on the RN maily. I hope they'll both come along.

                  As to the CATOBAR solution... i actually think it is not so absurd to assume it may lead to some savings, despite the cost of catapults.
                  Given that the carriers are part paid for already, and the contracts in place are likely prohibitively expensive to cancel the RN will get the carriers. I think they will even get a 1 for 1 replacement of their frigates, what is at risk is the size and availability of the fighter wings on the carriers and this is where I see the RN have a real battle.

                  I personally like CATOBAR but not if it is implemented like the papers suggest only on the Prince of Wales, as then it is just plain stupid, both carriers should either be STOL or CATOBAR not a 50:50 split - I cannot see how they would save money operating two small forces of F-35B and F-35C rather than a medium sized force of F-35B. The only way I could see the plan making even a tiny bit of sense (and I would still think it was badly thought out and would cost more not less) would be if the RAF/FAA was to get a small purchase of F-35B, some of which will fly from QE and then the FAA also gets some Rafale-M to operate from PoW and we share the maintenance and training of with the French
                  If having a little knowledge is dangerous then I must be bloody deadly

                  Comment

                  • Liger30
                    Armed Forces supporter
                    • Jul 2010
                    • 901

                    Originally posted by haerdalis View Post
                    Alternative tech like EMALS is far more reliable and possibly less expensive to maintain and operate than steam tech.

                    Has this had any effect on the way the RN thinks apropos the CVF? Its ambiguous, cause there are many factors here:

                    - Lifetime costs comparing F35B ops to F35C ops.
                    - Does the CVF have enough power to operate an EMALS system because it wont have a nuclear powerplant(not considering a steam launch system cause its out of production).
                    - Is the RN ready to let go of the Harrier-centric mindset .
                    Actually, the QE is being built with space reservation for a steam catapult, but from the start, the adptability concept was more focused on EMALS.
                    EMALS, though, are still in development, and this is why the MOD is so careful about them and chosen to have the space to eventually fit a well proven steam plant if needed. And this was smart.

                    Actually, EMALS would work far better, and give a lot less problems, because they would fit awesomely in the All-Electric power plant of the QE.
                    A steam plant would be less than optimal, because having to nuclear reactor producing the steam, an additional system dedicated merely to produce steam for the catapults is needed (and that's why there's space reservation on the carriers)

                    As to CATOBAR option, that would be the best one to pursue in my opinion, i'm absolutely agreeing with NOCUTSTORAF: i'm certainly in favor of a decise, ultimate switch. Or STOVL, or CATOBAR. Also because there's no money to buy and sustain two different versions of the F35, with their own unique spare parts and schedules and work.
                    The money is scarce for a single version already.
                    It must be decided if the UK truly want to increase interoperability with US and France as they keep saying. If they want to do so, catapults are the way. The EMALS should soon be completed and tested, since they are destined to the new CVN21 already under construction, so the USA will soon enough be able to tell the UK if the new cats work or not.
                    I think the EMALS will be tested and validated well before it comes the time to eventually mount them onto the QE... As to switching from a version to another of the F35, i don't think it would be too much of a political problem: sure, with less F35B built, the US Marines would have to pay their own Bs a lot more, but the US navy in exchange would see the cost of F35C going down. They shouldn't bitch too much about it.
                    And Rolls Royce can still have all its work: it wouldn't be able to built lift fans for UK F35B, but the UK MOD could compensate by mandating the GE-RR F136 engine for its F35C.
                    So, all things considered, a balance could be most likely found.

                    The cost of fitting catapults is the problem. The Navy does not dare to advocate too loud for them because it fears the consequences of proposing spending more money for fitting them.
                    But if the F35C could prove itself considerably cheaper... I guess we'll have to wait up to 2015 to see either the sky-jump or the cats fitted, since they should be one of the latest components to make their way onto the ship. So, there's still time.
                    I think to remember that, to start with, a final decision on what F35 to buy was waited not before 2012, even if i've not a source at hand at the moment... so i guess it is not a dead argument.
                    "It is upon the navy under the providence of God that the safety, honour and welfare of this realm do chiefly attend." - King Charles II

                    Comment

                    • swerve
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Jun 2005
                      • 13610

                      Originally posted by haerdalis View Post
                      - Does the CVF have enough power to operate an EMALS system because it wont have a nuclear powerplant(not considering a steam launch system cause its out of production).
                      - Is the RN ready to let go of the Harrier-centric mindset .
                      1. The propulsion is electric, & IIRC has space & weight allocated for additional turbines. Power is not a problem.
                      2. Although no steam catapults are being built at present, resuming manufacture is easy, & that will be true as long as the current steam catapults are kept in use.
                      3. Wrong question. It's not just the RN, but also the RAF. One huge advantage of STOVL is that land-based pilots can qualify for carrier operations quickly & relatively easily, enabling a joint force. Both the UK & Italy are adopting this model, with air force F-35Bs available to reinforce the carrier air groups when needed.
                      Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
                      Justinian

                      Comment

                      • haerdalis
                        Rank 1 Registered User
                        • Jul 2010
                        • 183

                        Originally posted by swerve View Post
                        1. The propulsion is electric, & IIRC has space & weight allocated for additional turbines. Power is not a problem.
                        2. Although no steam catapults are being built at present, resuming manufacture is easy, & that will be true as long as the current steam catapults are kept in use.
                        3. Wrong question. It's not just the RN, but also the RAF. One huge advantage of STOVL is that land-based pilots can qualify for carrier operations quickly & relatively easily, enabling a joint force. Both the UK & Italy are adopting this model, with air force F-35Bs available to reinforce the carrier air groups when needed.
                        1. Ok. Good job by the designers.
                        2. Not necessarily steam launch. Land-based EMALS system has passed tests. link
                        3. I am not referring to the RAF. The problems of the RN are unique to it and can't be combined with the RAF. Only the RN has this option between F35B or C.

                        Note: I am aware that the RAF prefers the F35B. This is a different topic and very interesting indeed . Howver, I would prefer if this doesnot cloud this naval discussion.
                        Last edited by haerdalis; 9th July 2010, 09:33.

                        Comment

                        • swerve
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Jun 2005
                          • 13610

                          It is not a different topic. They can't be separated. There is no purely naval discussion, because the procurements are unified. Any discussion of alternative purchases for the RN has to take into account the effect on the RAF/RN joint purchase, joint training establishment, joint logistics, etc.

                          Note that the joint establishment already exists, for the Harrier.
                          Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
                          Justinian

                          Comment

                          • haerdalis
                            Rank 1 Registered User
                            • Jul 2010
                            • 183

                            Disagree. RAF doesnot have an F35C option. RN does.
                            Last edited by haerdalis; 9th July 2010, 09:41.

                            Comment

                            • Liger30
                              Armed Forces supporter
                              • Jul 2010
                              • 901

                              Actually, the RAF isn't such a great supporter of the F35 at all. And i'm not sure about their preference going to the F35B either, since they were said (when money wasn't so much of a problem) to be considering buying a bunch of F35C to use as a Tornado replacement in Deep-Strike role thanks to their range, stealth and weapon load. (in other words, they wanted them in exchange for the dead FOAS requirement)

                              This said, the RN is the greatest user for the F35 and it's the service which truly cares for it. Admirals would be all too happy to get the F35 for the navy and keep the RAF out of it entirely. This, of course, may not happen since the RAF will probably be greedy as always and will not allow the navy to get a true fixed-wing fleet air arm again. (also because the Fleet Air Arm has the greatest score of the post WWII-period, starting with the kills obtained in Korea)

                              I'm hoping that the RAF will not act with the F35s as it did lately with the Harriers, that have been missing from the Illustrious's deck for far too long, far too often.

                              As to the steam catapults, if they are to be fitted, they are going to be bought from the USA without a doubt. No chances of building them in the Uk, and it would not make economic sense.
                              EMALS would work better, though, and that's why i hope the tests on the new cat will be more than succesful... It may make more people think about it.
                              "It is upon the navy under the providence of God that the safety, honour and welfare of this realm do chiefly attend." - King Charles II

                              Comment

                              • Zebedee
                                Mostly Harmless
                                • Dec 2007
                                • 411

                                AEW Merlin to be unveiled at the Yeovilton Air Day...

                                http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/news...l/article.html

                                Zeb
                                "I wish Bernard was here"
                                "British Rocket Group has its own problems..."

                                Comment

                                • haerdalis
                                  Rank 1 Registered User
                                  • Jul 2010
                                  • 183

                                  Originally posted by Liger30 View Post
                                  Actually, the RAF isn't such a great supporter of the F35 at all. And i'm not sure about their preference going to the F35B either, since they were said (when money wasn't so much of a problem) to be considering buying a bunch of F35C to use as a Tornado replacement in Deep-Strike role thanks to their range, stealth and weapon load. (in other words, they wanted them in exchange for the dead FOAS requirement)

                                  I am not sure about this. What is the difference in cost between a F35A and F35C. I think its quite a bit.(15-25million$).

                                  If the RAF didn't want the STOVL F35B the obvious choice would be F35A. Far lower unit costs and hence can be purchased in more numbers.

                                  (If we go by your logic, all customers of the F35A would just pitch for the F35C and drop the F35A).

                                  The RN on the other hand cant use the F35A.

                                  Comment

                                  • Liger30
                                    Armed Forces supporter
                                    • Jul 2010
                                    • 901

                                    Originally posted by haerdalis View Post
                                    I am not sure about this. What is the difference in cost between a F35A and F35C. I think its quite a bit.(15-25million$).

                                    If the RAF didn't want the STOVL F35B the obvious choice would be F35A. Far lower unit costs and hence can be purchased in more numbers.

                                    (If we go by your logic, all customers of the F35A would just pitch for the F35C and drop the F35A).

                                    The RN on the other hand cant use the F35A.
                                    It is not "my" logic. It was RAF's desire, since their interest was awakened by the longer range offered by the F35C without need for air refuelling.
                                    The users interested in F35A have other needs and requirements and ideas that dictate choosing the F35A, evidently. Not last, the lower cost as you point out.

                                    Besides, i fear that the F35A has only the top-receptacle for boom-style US air refuelling, while we all know that NATO (and RAF first of all) use the US Navy house and drogue method.
                                    The new RAF tankers lack a boom arm entirely. Thus it would have to be fitted for F35A, since it may prove far easier and less costy to integrate the boom (already planned on the airbus tanker anyway) that putting a foldable receiver on the F35A.
                                    Italy buys the F35A, but you must consider that its 4 Boing 767 tankers HAVE a refuelling boom.

                                    For RAF, at that point, made double sense to stick with the F35C that has the foldable receiver from the start.
                                    "It is upon the navy under the providence of God that the safety, honour and welfare of this realm do chiefly attend." - King Charles II

                                    Comment

                                    • swerve
                                      Rank 5 Registered User
                                      • Jun 2005
                                      • 13610

                                      Originally posted by haerdalis View Post
                                      Disagree. RAF doesnot have an F35C option. RN does.
                                      Yes, but you're ignoring the institutional arrangements & politics. Any talk of saving money by fitting catapults on the carriers & switching to F-35C (or Rafale, or whatever) ignores the impact on the cost of operating an additional type.

                                      The UK does not have separate budgets for the army, navy & air force. We have a single defence budget. The F-35B is a single item in the budget, not divided between air force & navy. It doesn't come under a separate 'Joint items' heading, as the JSF does in the USA, because there is no such distinction.

                                      Operating F-35B, training pilots & ground crews, buying spares & weapons, etc. for it are also budgeted for as one lump, with no division between the RN & RAF.

                                      Therefore, any discussion of a separate type for the Royal Navy impacts immediately & directly upon the cost of aircraft for the RAF.

                                      You see? They can not be separated. To say that they can be is like arguing that a married man can discuss where he'll live without considering his family. Can he save money by buying a one bedroom flat? Maybe, but what about his wife & children? Where will they live?
                                      Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
                                      Justinian

                                      Comment

                                      • swerve
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • Jun 2005
                                        • 13610

                                        Originally posted by Liger30 View Post
                                        Besides, i fear that the F35A has only the top-receptacle for boom-style US air refuelling, ...
                                        The new RAF tankers lack a boom arm entirely. Thus it would have to be fitted for F35A, since it may prove far easier and less costy to integrate the boom (already planned on the airbus tanker anyway) that putting a foldable receiver on the F35A....
                                        I thought the F-35A already had provision for fitting the same probe as the F-35B & C.
                                        Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
                                        Justinian

                                        Comment

                                        • Liger30
                                          Armed Forces supporter
                                          • Jul 2010
                                          • 901

                                          Originally posted by swerve View Post
                                          I thought the F-35A already had provision for fitting the same probe as the F-35B & C.
                                          Not sure, actually. I've been unable to find evidence of such a possibility, actually. On the Internet it only says top receptacle.
                                          "It is upon the navy under the providence of God that the safety, honour and welfare of this realm do chiefly attend." - King Charles II

                                          Comment

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