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UK combat air future depends on SDSR

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posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 12:19 PM
The latest Strategic Defense and Security Review is scheduled to come out next month, and will determine the future of the UK air fleet. The UK currently operates Typhoon and Tornado GR4 aircraft, with the Tornado fleet to be retired later this decade. The previous SDSR resulted in the retirement of the Harrier from RAF/RN service.

The plan is to acquire the F-35B, for carrier and land based use. The SDSR will determine how many aircraft will be required, and how many they can afford. The UK currently has three F-35Bs assisting IOT&E, with a total of 14 to be accepted starting from next year. They're aiming for IOC around 2017.

One of the key areas of clarity anticipated with the publication next month of the UK government’s second Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) concerns the size and shape of its future combat aircraft fleet.

Today, the Royal Air Force operates two types in the defensive and offensive roles: the Eurofighter Typhoon and Panavia Tornado GR4. Its use of the latter is due to conclude later this decade, with its capabilities to be largely assumed by the Typhoon and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, which is being acquired in the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) B-model variant.

Released five years ago, the UK’s previous SDSR contained several controversial decisions, the most emotive of which led to the early retirement of the RAF and Royal Navy’s joint fleet of BAE Systems Harrier GR9/9A ground-attack aircraft.

posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 03:36 PM
a reply to: Zaphod58

I thought we were always going to use F-35s on our new carriers?

posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 03:38 PM
a reply to: Wide-Eyes

The plan has always been to put the F-35 on the Queen Elizabeths, but they changed from the B, with STOVL capability to the C, which would require a catapult and arresting gear added to the ships, then back to the B. If they went with the C models, it would require a several hundred million dollar change to the ships, if not more.

posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 03:48 PM
a reply to: Zaphod58

Surely the SVTOL planes cost more money anyway?

posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 03:53 PM
a reply to: Wide-Eyes

The C model is actually a decent amount more. In LRIP 8, which was finalized last November, it went $94.8M for an A model, $102M for a B model, and $115.7M for a C model, minus engine. The engines ran about $21M each in LRIP 8. So that would put it at $123M for a B, and $137M for a C model.

posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 11:05 PM
Just wondering where the Taranis fits into things?.Do you see them going the same way the Navy has gone with the X-47b?Just curious as things have been quiet after its Woomera test flights..

posted on Sep, 4 2015 @ 01:45 AM
a reply to: Blackfinger

Taranis is a technology demonstrator, not a production programme. Think of it as being to UCAV development what the BAe EAP was to the Typhoon. We currently plan to build a joint UCAV with France developed from Taranis and NeuroN.

I can't help but think France already has enough partners on NeuroN and they will simply leech any info that is useful and cut us loose, leaving us stranded and buying from the USA again, but maybe I'm just too cynical. I do however well remember AFVG and FEFA so maybe I'm not.

Given that the idea behind Demon-Corax-Raven-Taranis was to create a fully indigenous capability, I'm very disappointed.

posted on Sep, 4 2015 @ 01:58 AM
a reply to: waynos

The UK collaboration with the French in military programmes can be very tricky due to (as far as I can tell) the French expectations that they benefit from reducing the development risk and cost (by having the UK) but benefit more than their fair share with the economics and work-share.

It's not all bad. We did a successful collaboration with the French for an army knife and fork set.

To topic. The UK should have one air arm for fast jets. RAF can fly off carriers. The Fleet Air Arm should be relegated to helios, as current. That'll be the decision. The F35 buy will be low. The programme to bring a decent Taranis-like UAV into service will be reiterated.

posted on Sep, 4 2015 @ 02:59 AM
We should by some super hornets. There was a time when most of our jets were British made, those days are definitely over, time to swallow our pride and start buying a few more jets from other nations. We sold our harriers so let's buy some capable American jets. Not just the f35.

posted on Sep, 4 2015 @ 05:38 PM

originally posted by: woodwardjnr
We should by some super hornets. There was a time when most of our jets were British made, those days are definitely over, time to swallow our pride and start buying a few more jets from other nations. We sold our harriers so let's buy some capable American jets. Not just the f35.

We don't need super hornets? It's an expensive business you don't just go buying things. That's why they do the SDSR.

I'm thinking this SDSR might re open our maritime patrol aircraft which if so would be an overseas purchase.

Oh and we bought and operate US built Reaper, AWACS, c130, Ch47 and Rivet Joint.

But we do need to keep an indigenous capability, it's not about pride, lest we forget. Most nations are trying to get an indigenous capability, and we can build ships, carriers, subs, fighters and tanks and APCs and with Taranis, F35 and Replica have an indigenous stealth capability, oh and all our home made are pretty damn good pieces of kit which sell overseas, keep a lot of people in jobs and put us at the forefront of technology.

Nothing about pride.
edit on 4 9 2015 by Forensick because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 4 2015 @ 05:41 PM
a reply to: woodwardjnr

Depending on the mission Rhinos are godawful without a good bit of support. There's one weapons configuration where they have a 250 nm combat radius.


posted on Sep, 6 2015 @ 10:05 AM
Hi Guys,

Found a interesting PDF on the following site:

A little part of it:

Main Gate four approved 14 operational aircraft, of which four were ordered in November 2014. Further contracts are yet to be signed. See below for more detail on Main Gate Four.
The bulk buy is expected to be placed in 2017 in Main Gate Five

My thoughts: The SDR looks to be turning interesting in 2010 the government binned please and not the kit, this time I think we will see a reduction in old kit.

Best regards


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