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Japan And South Korea Eye F-35B For Their Helicopter Carriers

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posted on Dec, 26 2017 @ 07:26 PM
Both Japan and South Korea are looking at equipping their helicopter carriers with F-35B's. It makes alot sense IMHO. They both will eventually operate the F-35. The addition of them gives them a pretty potent maritime strike capability and allows for a bit of power projection. This is the natural consequence of both China's recent expansion and buildup as well as the ongoing NK issue. That being said, the F-35B has pretty significant down-wash and the the decks would need to be modified (perhaps) to handle the heat they generate as well. Its also unclear if they would add a ski ramp to any of the ships,
edit on 12/26/17 by FredT because: (no reason given)

edit on 12/26/17 by FredT because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 27 2017 @ 12:52 AM
I have a number of points on this article:

- The claim that the F-35A/C are compromised as a result of the JSF concept may very well be the case, but apart from being repeating often it generally hasn't actually been proven and certainly not by The War Zone or its predecessors. I understand it's somewhat hard, because the F-35A is the only aircraft in its class at the moment. Anyway, the F-35A has a similar configuration to the F-22 yet is 40% smaller, with larger weapons bays, more and more advanced sensors, heavier but more maintenance friendly RAM, single engine and no TVC, but with the same fuel capacity. The capabilities of the F-22A which were lost as a result were supercruise, supermaneuverability, and perhaps some F-22A specific growth potential (cheek arrays).

Even if the F-35 wasn't tri-service, I think the airframe itself would probably be relatively similar. Let's not forget that within the JSF concept, the F-35B was the closest to not meeting requirements which triggered the redesign (and delay) which actually significantly improved the F-35A and F-35C and is one of the reasons why the airframe commonality is low. If you really wanted to keep supercruise and maneuverability, then I think an aircraft like an FB-22 would emerge. Of course, unless mixed with another lower end aircraft, this would not be affordable and maneuverability probably isn't needed for most F-35 missions, in other words this would result in a compromised design...

I will be creating a thread on this with more evidence.

And yes, it would have been nice if the JSF program was 3 different aircraft that had common mission systems. Many other things should have been done differently too.

- Tyler states they might as well go with the F-35B since they already have the F-35A:

It would be a good move for either country to procure the F-35B, or used Harriers, for shipboard or dispersed operations. As I have discussed in great detailed over the years, the F-35 A and C models' design was impacted negatively on virtually all levels to accommodate the B model's STOVL requirement. With that in mind, by purchasing even small numbers of B models, operators of the A variant can achieve the benefits of the B model's unique capabilities to offset the performance sacrifices paid by their A model fleet.

This is a perfect example of sunk cost fallacy. If Japan, South Korea, and Australia are getting the F-35A, they shouldn't buy the F-35B "just-because". There should be a requirement for a STOVL aircraft. The alleged performance sacrifices made in the design of the F-35A do not mean they should get the F-35B, since the F-35B does somehow not make up for these compromises whatever they may be. This is really bizarre thinking. Also Tyler, as "(he) (has) discussed in great detail over the years" believes there are little to no benefits from the commonality or interoperability (despite the mission systems being identical across all 3 variants) so I don't understand why he thinks there is any benefit, he is contradicting himself.

This may seem like somewhat of an abstract concept but it is a key argument for the jet when it comes to its Pentagon service.


The Pentagon needed a CTOL aircraft, a STOVL aircraft, and a CV aircraft. So they made the JSF program.

- Australia is almost hell-bent on building a 5th generation force.

From 2005 onwards, fifth-generation fighter aircraft are characterised by very low-observability including internal weapons bays, vastly improved situational awareness through a network-centric combat environment. Examples include the F-35A.

Because fifth-generation aircraft operate in a network-centric combat environment, the entire Air Force must be optimised to provide the joint and networked effects necessary to prevail against the increasingly complex and lethal threats of warfare in the Information Age.

A fifth-generation Air Force is a fully-networked force that exploits the combatmultiplier effects of a readily available, integrated and shared battlespace picture to deliver lethal and non-lethal air power.

Therefore, there is less than zero chance that Australia would ever procure the Harrier. I am assuming this was left out because it would require Tyler Rogoway to say something positive about the F-35.

- Canberra Class had BAE Systems Australia as the prime contractor, with L3, Saab, and Navantia (who built Juan Carlos) as subcontractors. I'm not sure if licence-built is therefore the right word, when the hull itself was made in Spain. Of course, I'm pretty sure Canberra Class at this point has more time at sea than Juan Carlos. And unless there's something I don't know, the ski-jump was a vestigial remnant of the Juan Carlos design.

These were originally intended for relatively low intensity warfare and humanitarian assistance with helicopters only (albeit they were used exercise at Talisman Sabre, which is a high intensity exercise), so I would bet that embarking the F-35B on them would be the result of a concept of operations change and end up with many more changes other than merely jet-blast protection (not everything relates to problems with the F-35, after all...) and other changes required for the addition of fixed wing aircraft. Looks like they are heading in that direction, adding CIWS to them as a start, but Defence was also asked to look into the F-35B by the last PM, and rejected the proposal based on the costs of modifying the ships among other factors. I'll never say never though. Perhaps it is similar with South Korea and Japan (I'm sure Tyler would rather talk about F-35 compromises).
edit on 27/12/17 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 27 2017 @ 04:39 AM
With Australia it has always been about the numbers game..We have a big continent with not enough Defense Force to defend it..With the F35 being a force multiplier in operation.

posted on Dec, 27 2017 @ 06:06 AM
a reply to: C0bzz

I agree with you on the sunk cost / requirement argument. I don’t see it. I don’t see the need for a STOVL aircraft in US service either, but that’s a different topic for discussion.

Neither South Korea nor Japan ‘need’ aircrafts on their helicopter destroyers. South Korea doesn’t need aircraft carriers to begin with. They have much bigger fish to fry than playing Blue Water Navy aimed at deterring Japan and China. Facing North Korea, building a carrier based STOVL capability would be way down on any priority list. But I get it, politics. South Korea Strong, Japan su**, the war and so forth.

Anyway, the key argument against F-35Bs on helicopter destroyers is usability. Sure, it looks nice and flashy to ferry up to a dozen jets around, but the equivalent of one fighter squadron wont be much of a threat in a general war.
They would lack the support from the rest of the air wing to begin with. No onboard aerial refueling capability, no aew, no dedicated electronic attack, nothing but 9 out of 12 operational VTOL jets on a good day. VTOL means they are even more handicapped when it comes to weapons load and fuel capacity than the STOVL F-35Bs on Queen Elizabeth or CATOBAR on US Supercarriers.
They’d end up as little more than short legged CAP aircraft, incapable of penetrating the chinese IADS umbrella and inflicting significant harm over longer distances.

But sure, if we pair those Japense, South Koreans and Australian ships up with half a dozen Americas and the Chinese wait for us, those two dispersed carrier air wing equvialents might just work. And at least the Chinese wont sink them all at once. Nevermind we need four to six times the number of escort ships to protect all those dispersed mini carriers compared to proper US Strike Groups… dispersing against China wont happen, in fact we’d see the opposite. Noone will risk losing the big ships by exposing them more than necessary. We’d see massive Carrier Groups hiding behind layers on layers of BMD ships well outside the strike range of unrefueled VTOL F-35Bs…

As for using them in less intensive conflicts – neither Japan nor South Korea are in the habit of joining the usual angloamerican lets-bomb-someone-somewhere adventures. Everything not usable for ‘the big one’ is wasted money. Period.

posted on Dec, 27 2017 @ 09:22 AM
a reply to: Blackfinger

Agree, plus the biggest risks to the ADF is simple:

- The politically driven ship-building program. In addition given the "rule-of-thirds" there can only be max of 2 Collins Class on station at any given time. 2 submarines for a continent the size of Australia! And the replacement submarine is decades away and this will only improve things to 4 submarines. I think this is too little, too late, and at unacceptable risk. I think we need to figure out how to do things fast and increment quickly on this issue, rather than repeat another JSF or Collins.
- ASPI also suggests there are shortfalls in submarines (Navy), anti-submarine warfare (Navy & Air Force), patrol and mine-hunting (Navy), fuel supply vulnerability (Air Force), land-based air defense (Army), armoured fighting vehicles (Army), and specialized personnel (Army). Note that a STOVL aircraft does not appear in this list nor does F-35 "compromises".

It also appears the LCM-1E is not capable of carrying the Abrams tank to the Canberra Class LHD, so some modification or replacement should be found immediately.

I would also love to see an submarine launched variant of LRASM be integrated with our future submarines, the replacement to AMRAAM, and perhaps MQ-25A to refuel the F-35A (albeit they are not compatible with probe and drogue refueling unless modified). Modernization of the F-35A should commence immediately to keep them up to the latest block rolling off the production line. A robust Cyber capability as well, especially to help limit for example, foreign influence on elections. And lastly, maybe some form of ABM capability as long as it's not too destabilizing - this can be retrofitted to Hobart Class destroyer.

I think we need to work with our neighbors more, especially Indonesia. My vision of Australia is sort-of like a Pacific version of Sweden. Independent but with a powerful defense force capable of operating independently and yet friends (and with trade agreements) with both USA and China. Military cooperation with USA is advised, as long as it doesn't piss China off too much.

F-35B is non-existent on the list of priorities. I don't want an unbalanced force, I don't want a destabilizing force, I don't want a force that's "for-show", and I don't want to waste tax dollars. I don't want us to be like the UK, poodle to the US, and spending all our money in two big aircraft carriers with F-35's! I don't want to buy the F-35B because of alleged compromises in the F-35A makes it somehow worth to get the F-35B (???). I'm open to the F-35B however, provided there's a reason.

a reply to: mightmight

edit on 27/12/17 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 27 2017 @ 06:08 PM
Our future is in drones and an expanded radar,satellite force where early detection of all hazards and threats.
Poltically the government has been trying to crawl out of the 1960,s and the decisions they make are party/personality driven and not for the best for the country.
Our forces train hard and try work with what we have got,usually by bastardising it either mechanically or technically to achieve what we want.We have always worked between the best tech of the Brits,European and the USA.The Tiger is a good example,European airframe trying to work with a USA weapon system that took years to debug and make work.Sea Sprites is another good example..

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