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Thread: Could the RAF have bought F-22?

  1. #1
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    Could the RAF have bought F-22?

    It is well known that in the 90's BAE pushed hard for the RAF to not get F-16s due to the fact that they saw it and F-22 as a threat to the Typhoon procurement. Now I pose the question, would the US have allowed for the F-22 to be purchased by the RAF?

    Considering the fact that they already share nuclear information with the UK it wouldn't exactly be a stretch considering that we had already demonstrated Replica and it's stealth tech in order to get the status we did on the JSF project
    @ashwellrice

  2. #2
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    No. For one thing, the F-22 isn't export-cleared - its systems haven't been secured against leakage (unlike the F-35's; notwithstanding the cyber-espionage embarrassment). For another, once the floodgates open, denying the same to Japan, Australia, Israel would have been perceived as a snub. Unless it was made available to them as well after which you have South Korea, Turkey and potentially others standing in line. Would have also hurt the F-35 program.

  3. #3
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    I think it would have been, but the fact is that the UK didn't want it for a whole host of reasons (not least being the death of UK fast jet manufacturing).

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vnomad View Post
    No. For one thing, the F-22 isn't export-cleared - its systems haven't been secured against leakage (unlike the F-35's; notwithstanding the cyber-espionage embarrassment). For another, once the floodgates open, denying the same to Japan, Australia, Israel would have been perceived as a snub. Unless it was made available to them as well after which you have South Korea, Turkey and potentially others standing in line. Would have also hurt the F-35 program.
    The US did tentatively offer the F-22 to Australia in the mid to late 90s but the RAAF turned it down given the expected, and realised, sustainment costs associated with operating the platform.

    Both the UK and Australia have exchange pilots that fly F-22 so there was a 5th gen learning curve already started in both countries before F-35 arrived.

  5. #5
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    It is well known that in the 90's BAE pushed hard for the RAF to not get F-16s due to the fact that they saw it and F-22 as a threat to the Typhoon procurement.
    Never ever heard that the RAF lobbied the RAF against acquiring the Viper in the nineties, and never ever read anything that sugested that the RAF ever considered the acquisition of whatever version of the F-16 for the Phoon missions.
    The US lobbied the Eurofighter partner nations with evolved variants of the Eagle and the Hornet and in places like Air International or Flight Global a favorite "what if" in the nineties was "if the RAF acquires Strike Eagles...", but it was just rumour.
    The RAF evaluated the F-14, the F-15 and the F-16 in the seventies and decided to acquire the... Tornado Fmk3. Another favorite "what if" in the British aviation press in the late sixties, early seventies that might be connected to "Vipers in the RAF" was the "Spitwulf", a few chaps in the industry and press made a bit of a lobby effort on a possible Anglo/German light fighter to complement the Tornado.

    Cheers
    Last edited by Sintra; 20th February 2018 at 16:08.

  6. #6
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    The US did tentatively offer the F-22 to Australia in the mid to late 90s but the RAAF turned it down given the expected, and realised, sustainment costs associated with operating the platform.
    And to the RAF, similar story. I suspect that had the RAF and RAAF decided to foot the bill when the the first "tentative offers" were made, in the nineties, we would have seen Raptors in Japanese and Israeli colours. Then in 1997 the Congress passed the Obey Amendment and it was the end of that particular story.

    Cheers
    Last edited by Sintra; 20th February 2018 at 15:57.

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    what could have been (or probably couldn't at all)


  8. #8
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    I can’t imagine the RAF would have seriously considered the F-22 even briefly. The prospect of a tiny fleet of F-22’s or 250 Typhoon to recap their fleet. Of course, even the RAF could have realized they weren’t getting 250, or even 230 Typhoon once the “peace dividend” kicked in.

    Thankfully the RAF was smart enough to avoid any temptation, as there is no way current defense climate would have allowed any “Raptor GR.1” to be upgraded and sustained. The only intriguing “what if” in such a fantasy scenario is how many pence on the dollar those F-22 would have been sold back to the US for.

  9. #9
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    Isn't having a squadron of F-22s based in the UK just as good as having them in the RAF?

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    Isn't having a squadron of F-22s based in the UK just as good as having them in the RAF?
    Better I'd suggest. Probably more than we'd have bought and actually updated (the pace of USAF upgrades may have been glacial but we in Team GB just wouldn't have at all) and with access to sufficient spares.

    I think that the reason we 'got away' with Tornado F3s was that our Transatlantic chums based enough Eagles in the UK.

    (NB: I'm not a fan of all things US, I am not happy with our failure to act as a critical friend on the War on Terror and we have made industrial disastrous procurement decisions to keep favour; but the only foes against whom Eagles or Raptors would be required would be foes which the US faced with us)
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  11. #11
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    Allegedly, Portillo offered the RAF a Wing of F16 to replace Jaguar as it was expected to be cheaper to run through life, and would come with the coalition compatible avionics installed. The RAF junked the idea pretty quickly, seeing it as a way of reducing the Typhoon buy - in much the same way they continually pushed back against a fleet of AT-6 style COIN turbo-props. Anything that threatened Typhoon numbers and, cynically, well paid post-Service career opportunities was brushed aside. The RAF were indeed interested by F14/F15 to replace Lightning/F4. IIRC, RAF attendees at Farnborough were prohibited from being seen sat in them or showing an interest - BAE were in "full court press" mode to push the ADV. In fairness, at the time, the F14 had dreadful reliability and a high loss rate due to the "wrong" engines, and the F15A, though dynamically a superb airframe, had a radar predicted to be worse than the Foxhunter. Never underestimate the power of the "Nav Mafia" either - going from F4 to F15 would have put a lot of them out of jobs....which, of course now, thanks to Typhoon, they are....Although he RAF would have been interested in the F-22, I doubt they would have taken them. In much the same way as the alleged offer of F-117, the running costs would be eye-watering for such a small fleet. Small fleets aren't "sexy" either; senior officers like to see rows of jets (which justify rows of people to fly and maintain them).....

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freehand View Post
    Isn't having a squadron of F-22s based in the UK just as good as having them in the RAF?
    There are no F-22 squadrons based in the UK.

    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    I think that the reason we 'got away' with Tornado F3s was that our Transatlantic chums based enough Eagles in the UK.
    There were no F-15s based in the UK during the cold war. Strike Eagles replaced F-111s in 1992. F-15Cs arrived in 1994.
    How can less be more? It's impossible. More is more.
    Yngwie Malmsteen

  13. #13
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    I recall reading that a sqdn of F-22's would be on a rotational basis thru RAF Lakenheath. Can't find that article now, but USAFE plans on basing some F-35As there. At some point, the F-15's, as good as they are, will become unnecessary.

  14. #14
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    No. For one thing, the F-22 isn't export-cleared - its systems haven't been secured against leakage
    Neither was the F-117, but it was also offered to the RAF. As was the B-1B.

    Never ever heard that the RAF lobbied the RAF against acquiring the Viper in the nineties, and never ever read anything that sugested that the RAF ever considered the acquisition of whatever version of the F-16 for the Phoon missions.
    I humbly suggest that perhaps you didn't read enough. The "F-16 for RAF" was a fairly stable rumour from the mid-80s onwards, until about 1995 or so. Bear in mind that there weren't really 'Phoon missions' in the RAF of the 1980s; other than close-support, everything was geared to two-seat long-range all-weather operations.

    There was a contingent that favoured replacing the miscellany of tactical single-seaters ( Harrier, Jaguar, Lightning ) with the F-16 and reducing costs in that area so as to enable focus on the core interdiction & interception missions. There was even a senior officer with the car registration plate "F16ONLY" or similar.

    The Typhoon wasn't a good fit for the RAF's role, and still isn't. Grudgingly I have to admit that the Phantom-sized F-35 is probably a better fit.
    Last edited by Cherry Ripe; 21st February 2018 at 09:04.

  15. #15
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    The F-117, especially it's avionics, were a hodge-podge of existing systems. Nothing terribly new.
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

  16. #16
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    I think the original question was more along the lines of whether the US would have offered the F22 to the RAF. The fact that the UK was in on the "Stealth Secret" supports the idea that there would have been no bar in principle to their operating the F22.

    As I said though, it would never have happened.

  17. #17
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    SpudmanWP: The F-117, especially it's avionics, were a hodge-podge of existing systems. Nothing terribly new.
    While true of many of the systems which came form the parts bin, a few systems and the coatings and mesh coverings were rather new, and rather special.

  18. #18
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    After Yugo, keeping the F-117 out of Russia's hands was a moot point.
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

  19. #19
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    eagle (appropriately)
    There were no F-15s based in the UK during the cold war. Strike Eagles replaced F-111s in 1992. F-15Cs arrived in 1994.
    I did not know that. I don't know why I didn't. It would appear to be something I should have; I could bluff and bluster and claim that Eagles were rotated through or would have been based here if tension heightened; but frankly I was just plane (sorry) wrong.
    Rule zero: don't be on fire

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    eagle (appropriately)

    I did not know that. I don't know why I didn't. It would appear to be something I should have; I could bluff and bluster and claim that Eagles were rotated through or would have been based here if tension heightened; but frankly I was just plane (sorry) wrong.
    They deployed there on exercises regularly. The four F-15 squadrons were: 3 in Germany, one in Netherlands.

    At least some of the 12th Air Force would have reinforced units in UK.
    Last edited by FBW; 23rd February 2018 at 01:03.

  21. #21
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    FBW
    They deployed there on exercises regularly. The four F-15 squadrons were: 3 in Germany, one in Netherlands.

    At least some of the 12th Air Force would have reinforced units in UK.
    Thanks for the info (and saving my blushes)
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBW View Post
    At least some of the 12th Air Force would have reinforced units in UK.
    Some as in F-111s? Or were there plans to send Holloman Eagles to the UK? Also, what about 9th AF F-15 squadrons?
    I can imagine F-15 units were to be sent to continental Europe. But by the time they would have arrived there, UK might have been the preferred location.

    @ Al.: no need to apologize. Surely the UK based aggressors attracted a lot of deployments from F-15 units and others. Like here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alec_blyth/6225479418
    How can less be more? It's impossible. More is more.
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  23. #23
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    There are no F-22 squadrons based in the UK.
    There are no F-22s permanently based in the UK. The Statue of Liberty Wing consists of 2 F-15E and 1 F-15C squadron AFAIK.

  24. #24
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    Well the UK could have bought them and then sold them for 150 million USD the year after as a cost cutting measure.

    Nic

  25. #25
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    So them Americans sold their british cousins Trident SLBM but wouldn`t sell them a tactical tool like the F-22........even more, BAE developed subsystems (An/alr-94)for the Raptor......

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikoyan View Post
    ........even more, BAE developed subsystems (An/alr-94)for the Raptor......
    Pretty common for defense companies. BAE Systems US is firewalled from U.K. They don’t share technology or products they develop. Anyway the AN/ALR-94 was developed by Sanders. Must have been bought by BAE.
    Last edited by FBW; 2nd March 2018 at 22:10.

  27. #27
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    So them Americans sold their british cousins Trident SLBM but wouldn`t sell them a tactical tool like the F-22........even more, BAE developed subsystems (An/alr-94)for the Raptor......
    Very few people come into contact with any part of the SSBN fleet. It is simpler to police technology transfer from any of the organisations involved. Fighter aircraft sit inside much larger (certainly in terms of personnel) organisations with greater opportunity for information to bleed out. (That's not a dig at the chaps in Light Blue; if it was I would not have made it an inferred insult I would have come right out with it!)
    Rule zero: don't be on fire

  28. #28
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    There probably isn't as much high-level technology in an SLBM and all the key players already have them.

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