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  • Liger30
    Armed Forces supporter
    • Jul 2010
    • 901

    Originally posted by swerve View Post
    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?
    In fact, at this point, with so little money available, it only makes sense to go either ALL F35B or ALL F35C, and there's no chance of getting a mixed buy.
    "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

    • Grim901
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • May 2009
      • 1143

      What are the differences between the A and C version? Couldnt the program have saved money by using the C variant for land operations as well? With all the extra customers for the C variant, the unit cost would have reduced significantly.

      We see carrier foghters operating from land all the time, so whats the problem?

      @Liger: Thats what he was saying.

      Comment

      • Liger30
        Armed Forces supporter
        • Jul 2010
        • 901

        Originally posted by Grim901 View Post
        What are the differences between the A and C version? Couldnt the program have saved money by using the C variant for land operations as well? With all the extra customers for the C variant, the unit cost would have reduced significantly.

        We see carrier foghters operating from land all the time, so whats the problem?

        @Liger: Thats what he was saying.
        The A is the lighter and simpler version. Its only "up" is to have a mounted cannon, something that C and B lack. They have to eventually used a pod-mounted gun at the middle station under the fuselage. It has a top receptacle for boom refuelling.

        C version has larger wings, foldable, and larger control surfaces. Larger fuel tanks and greater range unrefuelled. Foldable fuel receiver. Strenghtened fuselage to resist the catapult-launch stress. Reinforced undergear for the carrier landings.

        B version has smaller weapons bay. Smaller fuel tanks and the shortest range of all. In exchange, it has the Lift Fan for the VSTOVL operations. Foldable fuel receiver as well.

        The A was meant to be a lot simpler and a lot cheaper than the other two versions. In part, it is, but not as much as it had been hoped. It was meant to be a new F16, but the cost ended up far higher as we all know.

        Personally, i'd take the F35C for land based ops at any time over the A. But you need more money, that's clear.
        "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

        • pjhydro
          Rank 4 Registered User
          • Apr 2009
          • 886

          There is also a sovergienty issue. The UK has no capability anymore to train CATOBAR pilots and it would be expensive to create. We would be reliant on the US and France to train FAA pilots in those skills. VSTOL on the otherhand is the RNs area of experties, therefore purchasing F35B gives the UK sovereignty over its naval air capability.

          Comment

          • Liger30
            Armed Forces supporter
            • Jul 2010
            • 901

            Originally posted by pjhydro View Post
            There is also a sovergienty issue. The UK has no capability anymore to train CATOBAR pilots and it would be expensive to create. We would be reliant on the US and France to train FAA pilots in those skills. VSTOL on the otherhand is the RNs area of experties, therefore purchasing F35B gives the UK sovereignty over its naval air capability.
            Are we sure of it...? Or the need to save money will mean having the future F35 pilots trained in the US anyway? The USA plan a massive training facility in the US, and it is likely that many pilots of several F35-equipped nations will train in there.
            The future pilots of the UK may end up training there anyway.
            And then again, is it really so important to avoid training pilots in US or France, when there are suggestions to share tanker aircrafts and even aircraft carriers to a degree?
            If USA and France aren't recognized as trustable partners enough to train pilots in collaboration, it is like saying that they are possible future enemies. This is extremely unlikely. Even if there was a chance of it to be true, they wouldn't even say it, because it would require an increase in the defence budget. We all know how fond people is, lately, to say that "state-on-state war is no more".

            Besides, several european nations including Germany are already setting up an European Common Training unit for fighter pilots... We may one day see the UK join and have ALL its pilots trained inside a multinational program, like it or not.
            Thus i don't see that pilot training issue being a real problem. If anything, train them abroad may allow substantial savings... and the government may be tempted of it, regardless of B or C anyway.
            "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

            • nocutstoRAF
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • May 2010
              • 954

              Originally posted by Zebedee View Post
              AEW Merlin to be unveiled at the Yeovilton Air Day...

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

              Zeb
              Intersting story, and nice to hear that Wildcat is on time and on budget, shame there were no photos of the AEW Merlin.
              If having a little knowledge is dangerous then I must be bloody deadly

              Comment

              • swerve
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Jun 2005
                • 13612

                Originally posted by nocutstoRAF View Post
                Intersting story, and nice to hear that Wildcat is on time and on budget, shame there were no photos of the AEW Merlin.
                Italy already has it, though I think the RN wants a more capable (in terms of radar & systems) version -
                http://www.marina.difesa.it/aeromobili/eh101.asp
                Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
                Justinian

                Comment

                • pjhydro
                  Rank 4 Registered User
                  • Apr 2009
                  • 886

                  Originally posted by Liger30 View Post
                  Are we sure of it...? Or the need to save money will mean having the future F35 pilots trained in the US anyway? The USA plan a massive training facility in the US, and it is likely that many pilots of several F35-equipped nations will train in there.
                  The future pilots of the UK may end up training there anyway.
                  And then again, is it really so important to avoid training pilots in US or France, when there are suggestions to share tanker aircrafts and even aircraft carriers to a degree?
                  If USA and France aren't recognized as trustable partners enough to train pilots in collaboration, it is like saying that they are possible future enemies. This is extremely unlikely. Even if there was a chance of it to be true, they wouldn't even say it, because it would require an increase in the defence budget. We all know how fond people is, lately, to say that "state-on-state war is no more".

                  Besides, several european nations including Germany are already setting up an European Common Training unit for fighter pilots... We may one day see the UK join and have ALL its pilots trained inside a multinational program, like it or not.
                  Thus i don't see that pilot training issue being a real problem. If anything, train them abroad may allow substantial savings... and the government may be tempted of it, regardless of B or C anyway.
                  Oh i'm all for greater co-operation, right old pro-euro man me.

                  BUT there are still questions that need to be talked over in all this. I am not suggesting that the US/France will be enemies of the UK, that would be ridiculous, but they can disagree with UK foreign policy. If the UK insists on maintaining an independent Foreign Policy outside of the EU and the USA then maintaining sovereignty over key defence capabilities is crucial. If we became embroiled in a conflict that the people training a key skill to the pilots of one of our key conventional strike capabilities disagreed entriely with then we might see the tap turned off, or at least stalled.

                  Think Suez 1956, America was such a darling friend to us that time...

                  Comment

                  • nocutstoRAF
                    Rank 5 Registered User
                    • May 2010
                    • 954

                    Originally posted by swerve View Post
                    Italy already has it, though I think the RN wants a more capable (in terms of radar & systems) version -
                    http://www.marina.difesa.it/aeromobili/eh101.asp
                    Thanks for the photos - you are usually up to date on everything and I cannot find any information on this (in fact all I can find was the stories from last year about restructuring the helicopter forces, but nothing confirming it actually happened) - will the ex-Army Merlin's handed over to the RN be retro-fitted with folding tail and rotor blades or will they have to operate them as is?
                    If having a little knowledge is dangerous then I must be bloody deadly

                    Comment

                    • swerve
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Jun 2005
                      • 13612

                      Originally posted by pjhydro View Post
                      Oh i'm all for greater co-operation, right old pro-euro man me.

                      BUT there are still questions that need to be talked over in all this. I am not suggesting that the US/France will be enemies of the UK, that would be ridiculous, but they can disagree with UK foreign policy. If the UK insists on maintaining an independent Foreign Policy outside of the EU and the USA then maintaining sovereignty over key defence capabilities is crucial. If we became embroiled in a conflict that the people training a key skill to the pilots of one of our key conventional strike capabilities disagreed entriely with then we might see the tap turned off, or at least stalled.

                      Think Suez 1956, America was such a darling friend to us that time...
                      This is why I prefer co-operation with peers or near peers, rather than dependence on the USA. We can influence the decisions of peers, who are dependent on us as we are on them. They will be wary of cutting us off, as we could do the same to them.

                      The USA will do what it wants, & if we don't like it, it's our problem.
                      Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
                      Justinian

                      Comment

                      • haerdalis
                        Rank 1 Registered User
                        • Jul 2010
                        • 183

                        Regarding F35A vs F35C:

                        A larger wing has advantages and disadvantages. If there were no downside to a larger wing, the F-35A would have a wing as large, if not larger than the F-35C's. The main reason the F-35C has a larger wing is to meet its carrier approach speed requirements, if I'm not mistaken. If the US Navy didn't have all of those slow speed landing requirements, the F-35C would most likely have smaller wings. A larger wing creates more total drag, so don't automatically assume that larger wing = more range. Aircraft design is not a simple process... even for a subsonic, prop-driven aircraft. A stealthy, supersonic fighter is a very complex design problem. The wing area of the F-35A was no doubt well thought out. Give Lockheed Martin engineers a little more credit. They knew what they were doing.
                        Last edited by haerdalis; 10th July 2010, 06:53.

                        Comment

                        • Liger30
                          Armed Forces supporter
                          • Jul 2010
                          • 901

                          Originally posted by haerdalis View Post
                          Regarding F35A vs F35C:

                          A larger wing has advantages and disadvantages. If there were no downside to a larger wing, the F-35A would have a wing as large, if not larger than the F-35C's. The main reason the F-35C has a larger wing is to meet its carrier approach speed requirements, if I'm not mistaken. If the US Navy didn't have all of those slow speed landing requirements, the F-35C would most likely have smaller wings. A larger wing creates more total drag, so don't automatically assume that larger wing = more range. Aircraft design is not a simple process... even for a subsonic, prop-driven aircraft. A stealthy, supersonic fighter is a very complex design problem. The wing area of the F-35A was no doubt well thought out. Give Lockheed Martin engineers a little more credit. They knew what they were doing.
                          You are perfectly right about the reason why the F35C has larger wings. But i can ensure you that i'm also totally right in saying that the F35C has far longer reach than the other two versions. It is a fact, not an assumption.
                          Simply because the larger wings and slightly different fuselage allowed for much greater fuel tanks.
                          This very, very interesting graphic from Richard Beedall's Navy Matters summarizes the results of the F35 versions: effective performances against requirements:



                          You can notice that the F35C and A exceded the requirement for range, the F35C scoring 732 naval miles combat radius against a 600 nm requirement.
                          The F35A scored 605, and the F35B failed to meet the requirement of 450, scoring 442.

                          Other noticeable thing is that the F35C scored a slightly higher mission reliability result than the UK STOVL F35B.
                          It also scored an higher sortie-for-day value, but i dunno how this was calculated: if the evaluation was carried out around the numbers of an US Navy air wing, it is evident that the UK would not have enough planes to score the same result.
                          However, the logistical footprint of the F35C resulted only slightly higher than those of the F35B UK: again, if the analysis was carried out considering US Air Wing number for the C and UK air wing numbers for the B, we have a confirmation of my assumption that the F35B has a far larger unitary logistic footprint than the F35C.

                          Last noticeable thing, the failure of the F35B to meet all the STOVL requirements. This should have been fixed, at least partially, from 2004 to today. Save for the Bring-Back weight, and in fact the Royal Navy is planning short rolling landings for its F35B and NOT vertical landings: in order to do the vertical landing, the F35B would have to drop unsed bombs in the sea.
                          A No-No for a laser guided bomb costing half a million dollars.

                          As to the AEW, it is correct, the italian navy already uses a Merlin-based AEW platforms from the Garibaldi and Cavour STOVL carriers. The Royal Navy is hoping to get an AEW platform a bit more ambitious, though, and undoubtedly centered around the proven Cerberus mission suite from the current Sea King 7.
                          The announced Merlin AEW that will be shown by AgustaWestland may have the charachteristic radome from the current SK sticking out for the rear loading ramp, if they followed the initial artist impressions they had let out.
                          Short wings had even be suggested to increase range and endurance of the Merlin flight. Again, i link you to Richard Beedal's excellent Navy Matters site where an image of this proposed Merlin ASC is exposed: http://navy-matters.beedall.com/masc.htm
                          "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

                          • flanker30
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Sep 2009
                            • 517

                            Can someone explain to me why the RN needs such massive carriers? At 65,000 tonnes, they will be three times the size of the Invincibles and almost twice the size of the Charles de Gaulle. Yet they will only operate 40 aircraft, the same as the CdeG. And furthermore, the aircraft they are currently planned to operate - the F-35B - is a STOVL design: does it really need a 284 metre long flight deck? Seems to me the RN are obsessed with 'keeping up with the Joneses', in this case the US Navy. Such a pity: for the vast sums being spent on these great big white elephants, the Navy could have got half-a-dozen smaller but almost equally capable carriers.

                            Comment

                            • Liger30
                              Armed Forces supporter
                              • Jul 2010
                              • 901

                              Originally posted by swerve View Post
                              This is why I prefer co-operation with peers or near peers, rather than dependence on the USA. We can influence the decisions of peers, who are dependent on us as we are on them. They will be wary of cutting us off, as we could do the same to them.

                              The USA will do what it wants, & if we don't like it, it's our problem.
                              You know what, i totally agree with the anlysis. But you forget that the current assumption for the SDR seems to be that the UK is going "to act always as part of a coalition".
                              Which punches in the eye any concept of national sovereignty and independent acting. And also blindly refuses the possibility to face another Falklands-like scenario, which worries me a lot.

                              There's evidence of the limits of the SDR thinking already. Simply because it is far more money (cut) driven than it is policy-driven.
                              Training pilots in the US and France wouldn't be such a tragedy, in such a climate.
                              And it could always be a temporary measure: the F35 training is said to be destined to be mostly simulator-based: after a first period training in the US, the UK could always establish a simulator in a RAF base and rebuild a couple of training runways with arrestor wires and such, doing it with low priority, as the money is available.
                              In time, it may be possible to train pilots at home if it was recognized as a true, relevant need.

                              Which it is, in my eyes. But probably isn't as much in money-obsessed politicians.
                              "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

                              • Liger30
                                Armed Forces supporter
                                • Jul 2010
                                • 901

                                Originally posted by flanker30 View Post
                                Can someone explain to me why the RN needs such massive carriers? At 65,000 tonnes, they will be three times the size of the Invincibles and almost twice the size of the Charles de Gaulle. Yet they will only operate 40 aircraft, the same as the CdeG. And furthermore, the aircraft they are currently planned to operate - the F-35B - is a STOVL design: does it really need a 284 metre long flight deck? Seems to me the RN are obsessed with 'keeping up with the Joneses', in this case the US Navy. Such a pity: for the vast sums being spent on these great big white elephants, the Navy could have got half-a-dozen smaller but almost equally capable carriers.
                                You live in the "Invincible age".
                                But the small little VTOL carriers aren't as capable as people believes, they have limits. The two Queen Elizabeth carriers born from the experiences dating back all the way to the Falklands war, but also to later usage of Harrier carriers in Sierra Leone, Iraq, even Afghanistan operation.

                                And 40 planes isn't little. Nor is the maximum load for the QE, i believe. It is the optimal size of its air group, but the ship could carry more if needed, it's almost sure.
                                After all, if you read the planned capacity of the Invincible, you'd see 8 Harriers and 12 Sea Kings. The Illustrious can carry up to 22/25 instead, even if it becomes damn cramped.
                                Similarly, you could cramp up the QE as well.

                                And no. The RN wouldn't definitely get six small carriers in exchange for the QE. Knowing how the military is treated, they would ask for 3 and get 2. Maybe.
                                It makes perfect sense to have the QE class... but both must be built, otherwise it will lose sense and utility. With a single hull, not even nuclear propelled, the RN would be worst served than the french with their troubled CdG.
                                "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

                                  Originally posted by Liger30 View Post
                                  This very, very interesting graphic from Richard Beedall's Navy Matters summarizes the results of the F35 versions: effective performances against requirements:
                                  That graphic maynot give the complete picture. You need to have cost comparisons between the F35A and C, g-rating/sustained turn-rate differences due to the folding wing, strengthened fuselage, beefier landing gear etc on the F35C, etc ...

                                  Then maybe a clearer picture will emerge. i hope UK gets the best aircraft.
                                  Last edited by haerdalis; 10th July 2010, 10:12.

                                  Comment

                                  • Liger30
                                    Armed Forces supporter
                                    • Jul 2010
                                    • 901

                                    Originally posted by haerdalis View Post
                                    That graphic maynot give the complete picture. You need to have cost comparisons between the F35A and C, g-rating/sustained turn-rate differences due to the folding wing, strengthened fuselage, beefier landing gear etc on the F35C, etc ...

                                    Then maybe a clearer picture will emerge. i hope UK gets the best aircraft.
                                    Actually, Lockheed Martin was targeting equal performances for all 3 the versions, with 1.6 mach speed as indicative max speed (1.8 desired but still needs to be proved). If i'll be able to find g-rating for the 3 versions i'll post them, but as i said, LM only made public a single table of performances, valid for all 3 the versions of the plane.
                                    So, either they are cheating, or the differences in drag caused by the larger wings have been mitigated by the different fly-by-wire software controlling also-different shaped control surfaces. Only wikipedia reports 9g maneuvers for the A and 7.5g for B and C versions, but wikipedia isn't trustable a source most of the time, and the same table has some errors, for example about range, that make me pretty careful about taking them into account.

                                    As to the cost, it is not yet declared clearly. Only estimates are available, and not separated for versions. It is certainly wise to assume a slightly higher cost for the C over the A, though. I've no doubts about the B being the most expensive, however. I'd be very, very surprised if it wasn't.

                                    I truly dunno how you can cla
                                    "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

                                    • Liger30
                                      Armed Forces supporter
                                      • Jul 2010
                                      • 901

                                      Originally posted by haerdalis
                                      There are probably a whole lot of more parameters to compare with, for example RCS comparisons between F35A and C and so on. Best left to the technical guys in the RAF and RN.
                                      Well, then there's no F35A problem. The UK choice at the most goes from B to C. The A version never awakened any interest in the UK, since the RAF has a better performing plane to use for air defence and, once the weapons will be integrated, for strike role too.
                                      The need was, at the most, for a FOAS-like deep-strike, first-hour stealth weapon, for which the RAF expressed some interest in the form of F35C.

                                      Now, money problems dictate that the choice is between C and B for the carriers.
                                      "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

                                      • Bager1968
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • May 2005
                                        • 3635

                                        Smaller wing = faster roll-rate, greater G-rating, and better low altitude/rough air flight characteristics.

                                        Better for A-A work, and for low-level A-G work.
                                        Germany, Austria and Italy are standing together in the middle of the pub, when Serbia bumps into Austria, and spills Austria's pint.

                                        Comment

                                        • Frosty
                                          Rank 5 Registered User
                                          • Jan 2008
                                          • 334

                                          Originally posted by flanker30 View Post
                                          Can someone explain to me why the RN needs such massive carriers? At 65,000 tonnes, they will be three times the size of the Invincibles and almost twice the size of the Charles de Gaulle. Yet they will only operate 40 aircraft, the same as the CdeG. And furthermore, the aircraft they are currently planned to operate - the F-35B - is a STOVL design: does it really need a 284 metre long flight deck? Seems to me the RN are obsessed with 'keeping up with the Joneses', in this case the US Navy. Such a pity: for the vast sums being spent on these great big white elephants, the Navy could have got half-a-dozen smaller but almost equally capable carriers.
                                          No the RN would not get 6 Small carriers for the same price as 2 CVF because the major cost is not the steel and the size of the ship but all the machinery and mission systems so instead of buying 2 lots you would have to buy 6 lots. Yes F35B doesn't need a large carrier to operate from but with CVF the MoD showed some forward thinking for once and designed the carrier so it would also be able to operate the generation of aircraft after the F35 no matter what that is CVF can easily be converted to STOBAR or CATOBAR carrier. CVF could carry more than 40 aircraft but they wont because number of aircraft on board isn't what matters the important statistic is sortie rate. For CVF to reach it's maximum sortie rate, 40 aircraft would be needed after that you could put more aircraft on the carrier but it would not increase the sortie rate and if too many aircraft were embarked on the carrier it would be cramped and decrease the sortie rate and efficiency. CVF makes an awful sense obviously there is contention between going for CATOBAR or STOVL but CATOBAR would of cost a lot of money in terms of developing EMAL's early and retraining the RN crews for CATOBAR operations also CVF is expected to fly Harriers for the first few years not F35.

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