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UK MoD scraps FOAS in favour of a SUAVE approach

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posted on Jun, 16 2005 @ 05:09 AM
It is a shame as FOAS had some lovely concepts, but this does seem to be the right direction to move into especially with the current budget constraint on the UK forces

The UK's high-profile Future Offensive Air System (FOAS) programme, a replacement for the Royal Air Force's (RAF's) Tornado GR.4 strike aircraft, has been scrapped after years of planning and concept evaluation to make way for a fundamentally different kind of project focused on a family of long-range, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that will probably embrace the combat, reconnaissance and surveillance roles.

The UK Ministry of Defence's (MoD's) Strategic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Experiment (SUAVE) will place the testing of UAV technologies - and probable procurement decisions stemming from it - at the centre of a wide-ranging plan to replace the capability currently vested in the Tornado. The Future Combat Air Capability (FCAC) programme, as the plan is known, will rely on 'legacy' programmes - platforms and weapons already in the inventory or on order - to fulfil the mandate originally laid down for FOAS. SUAVE, however, will add the final dimension to the 'force-mix' - placing a UAV and unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) capability at the centre of a gap that cannot be filled by manned combat aircraft and cruise missiles.

FOAS has drifted in the last five years, as it has struggled to establish a firm identity. "It was not well-enough defined and no one is prepared to take big-bang risks anymore," one analyst commented. "We don't need any more killing machines. There's a view that the needs of the army should be met first, with money invested in communications, body armour and technologies that cater to the soldier of the future. In the current climate [the UK military's commitment to Iraq and the war on terror], a big aircraft programme at this stage would simply have been shot down in flames."


If anyone is lucky/rich enough to have a Janes subscription could they email me the text from the whole article


posted on Jun, 16 2005 @ 07:26 AM
It is interesting what impression may be gained from a report by the wording that was chosen by the original scribe. By which I would question whether anything has actually been scrapped at all. I admit this is the first I have seen but it would appear to me that the programme has, more accurately been 'redefined'

Obviously I need to explain myself here, It appears that the decision has been taken to use 'legacy' (ie existing) assets with the addition of UCAV's, such as we have seen reported on other threads.

However one of the options for FOAS was for an F-35 or Typhoon based 'fighter leader' working in conjunction with UCAV's. Therefore it is the same thing.

Actually the article tells us very little as by its own definition (and I cannot see the sunbscriber version which may answer this) it doesn't actually discount the other option of C-17 or A-400 based cruise missile launchers, although in the light of other announcements it might be that the decision has been taken to use the Nimrod MR/A.4 in this role (in which case we will need more than 12 surely?)

Neither do we know whether a full production version of 'replica' has been ordered or not so the phrase "or on order" could cover this too.

For a precedent of the changing name of the project look no further back than the Typhoon which, in its UK definition stages, was evolved through AST 396, AST 403, and various other guises before the BAe P.120 became the baseline for todays Typhoon.

Therefore in conclusion I think this may be a sign of FOAS (as was) moving forward a little and the MoD deciding it now has something to be secretive about, or at least it might be.

[edit on 16-6-2005 by waynos]

posted on Jun, 16 2005 @ 07:44 AM
Hmm, remember last time the RAF decided there was no future for manned aircraft...?

But they may be right this time. Is the stealthy Nightjar UCAV part or all of the new capability? AFAIK Replica was only a demonstrator to allow BAE to get a slice of the US contract business and was not intended to result in a production aircraft.


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