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F-35 Replacement

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posted on Nov, 27 2005 @ 03:59 PM
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Greetings,

The current unrest with the F-35 program, there has been some confusion in what would happen if the F-35 program should go under. How would that effect the RAF and the Royal Navy, its future power projection.

The Question is:

What option should the RAF and Royal Navy go with, if the F-35 should go under.

Harrier GR.9
The Royal Air Force's Harrier GR.9/9A programme has two main features. The first is the Harrier Integrated Weapons Programme (IWP), devised to bring together a number of discrete weapon-system enhancement projects. The second is the Pegasus Mk.107 engine.

Basically its great in terms of ground of attack, the GR.9 will permit use of the new Marconi "Brimstone" anti-armor missile, an advanced derivative of the US Hellfire weapon; the "Advanced Short-Range AAM (ASRAAM)", a British successor to the traditional Sidewinder AAM with "off-boresight" targeting capability and comparable to the AIM-9X; and possibly the new "Storm Shadow" cruise missile.

But

The GR.9 will not have the long-range air-to-air radar needed to support AMRAAM. It will have a potent close-in air combat capability with ASRAAM, though GR.9 pilots will not have the helmet-mounted sight needed to make the best use of the missile. The retirement of the Shars with their AMRAAMs will leave a gap in fleet air defense, but this is expected to be plugged until the arrival of the JSF by the new Royal Navy "Type 45" air-defense escort destroyer, with the PAAMS surface-to-air missile system.

I can't say this is the most appealing version, lack of BVR missiles



Naval Typhoon
Well I dare say we have all seen those computer generated images of a naval typhoon version. Its an interesting idea, but I can't say that its the most attractive, if the F-35 does go the way of the dodo, can the UK government really afford the development costs for a Naval version of the typhoon?

This would be the best time to know if the F-35 is going down the toliet so that the new CV for the navy can be redesigned for a conventual aircraft.



Rafale
Rafale is a twin-jet combat aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of short- and long-range missions, including ground and sea attack, air defence and air superiority, reconnaissance, and high-accuracy strike or nuclear strike deterrence.

Could be the cheap option in terms of a ready made carrier capable fighter.



Yak - 141
The Yak-141 (formerly Yak-41) was intended originally to replace Yak-38 for air defence of Kiev class carriers/cruisers, with secondary attack capabilities. Designed for carrier-borne operations as an air interceptor, close air combat, maritime and ground attack aircraft, the Yak-141 has the same multi-mode radar as the MiG-29, although with a slightly smaller antenna housed in the nose radome. It features a triplex full authority digital fly-by-wire system.

Could be an interesting aircraft, but I doubt that this aircraft would ever meet RAF requirements, but it is an alterative to the Harrier.



SU - 33
How about the Naval version of the SU 27? Its currently operating off the Russian carrier, using a ski jump of all things, some thing which the current crop of our CVs currently use.

The aircraft is equipped to operate autonomously in combat over hostile territory, in escort of deep-penetration strike aircraft and in the suppression of enemy airfields. The aircraft provides general air defence in cooperation with ground and airborne control stations. A naval variant with folding wings, the Su-33, exists.

Upgraded with the Eurofighter radar or rip out the F-35 radar technology and fit it to the SU 33, you have got your self a fairly cheap aircraft with BVR radar and missiles! Fit a catapult and you could use the full rated weight of weapons etc on launch, out of this list I would have to say that this would be my prefered option.



F-18 Super Hornet
The US Navy F/A-18 E and F Super Hornet maritime strike attack aircraft, manufactured by Boeing, flew for the first time on 29 November 1995. The Super Hornet is about 25% larger than its predecessor, the F/A-18C/D but contains 42% fewer structural parts. The single-seat F/A-18/E and the two-seat F/A-18/F fly greater ranges with heavier payloads, have more powerful engines and provide greater survivability

Hmm, I can't say I would go with this option, the F-18 is getting old as it is, I just don't see this as the best option of the lot, not to mention the fact that we would most likely end up with the same crap with access restrictions in regard to software, do we really want that again?



Well thats my list folks,

Please no rants, this is a topic about how the RAF and RN would cope if the F-35 goes tits up, its a list of in my opinion would be a possible replacement for the FOAS scheme that the F-35 was meant to fullfill not to mention replace the current fleet of harriers with the RN.

What do you think?
- Phil




posted on Nov, 27 2005 @ 05:06 PM
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Hi Phil, this is a question I pondered too on another thread but you have thrown some interesting options into the mix. Here is what I think,

6th choice - Yak-141, reviving this aircraft has got to be a non starter, its nozzle design prevents it from using viffing (TVC), a fault inherited by the F-35, and without it the Yak is about as aerodynamic as a brick. To me it appears as limited as the Yak-38 that preceded it but goes faster.

5th choice- Su-33. This isn't an anti-russian rant as it might now look
The Su-33 is as big as the F-14 ansd as such is far too big for the RN carriers. Its not getting them up and down again thats the problem, its the amount of space any worthwhile amount of them would require. If any Russian option were to be considered I'd say the most likely would be the Navalised MiG 29 powered by trhe 3d TVC EJ-200 engine and with as near as dammit a Typhoon systems fit, this might prove expensive and time consuming though unless the baseline MiG airframes could be acquired REALLY cheaply.

4th choice - F/A-18E. Not that much smaller than the Sukhoi, thoroughly up to date systems wise but a bit tawdry performance and design wise. OK on a supercarrier but RN ships could not accomodate enough of them to make it worthwhile.
Not one of my favourite planes at all I'm afraid but still preferable and more likely than the two Russian options.

3rd Choice - Harrier GR.9 - Obviously in capability terms this is firmly in last place - oops sorry no, forgot the Yak 141. An excellent attacker does not make a good naval fighter, and this is the living proof. However other considerations such as size cost and availability come into play and these factors alone push it above the other three in my reckoning (likeliehood of adoption, not what I would choose myself). Perhaps even more likely than the GR.9, at a pinch, would be a further conversion to 'FGR.10' (or F/A.10), based on the AV-8B Plus with its allweather intercept radar, or even the already existing and perfectly good radars off the retired Shar 2's?

2nd Choice - the one my heart would like to see - 'Sea Typhoon F/A.3' Still moderately big it is however a lot smaller and lighter than the Sukhoi and Super Hornet, would obviously give the RN a world class swing role fighter but would need fairly hefty airframe and undercarriage upgrades for deck operation, leading not only to expense but also further delay

1st choice - Rafale M (or Sea Squall F/A.1?) I know its French but its a damn good aircraft, already exists in Naval form allowing the RN to get them fairly early and is quite close in performance to the Typhoon anyway - this is my most likely next gen RN fighter IF the F-35B dies.


[edit on 27-11-2005 by waynos]



posted on Nov, 27 2005 @ 05:20 PM
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Even if the F-35B goes bye bye that doesn't mean that the other two variants will. I mean the F-35A and the F-35C will probably still enter production even if the F-35B doesn't so as far as Britain's future carrier role I see the RN getting the F-35C and upgrading the Harrier and the RAF getting the F-35A variant.



posted on Nov, 28 2005 @ 04:42 AM
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Why are these russian planes listed here? we are NATO and not supposed to buy stuff from our enemies. The Sukhoi 27 family are actually bigger than the F-14 Tomcat. I admit the Harrier is an outstanding aircraft but it would not class it as a true jet fighter. I know VTOL planes are useful in rough weather at sea and confined spaces but dont they use a lot more fuel than ordinary jet fighters?

Arent the Harrier days numbered by the next decade?

This F-35 would be a great for the RAF/FAA but if it is not acceptable for some reason, we should well go for the Naval Eurofighter if Britain/Europe is independant. It would also be like the French Rafale only more advanced
The F/A-18 Superhornet could be a good choice but just look at the price of it. The F-14 Tomcats are about 38 million US dollars(around the same price of the JSF).

Becouse the US are replacing them now, they may be cheaper than they were and instead of them lying there at AMARC the US should DEFFO export them if they will not be used again in US service. I hate seeing F-14s going to waste, They are actually more advanced than this new Superhornet. Would be good if there was an F-15N Sea Eagle or a 'Seagle' but anyway shame it does not exist.

The F-35, Naval Typhoon, Rafale or maybe F-14s should be the cheapest choice, I would well avoid the Superhornet.

Its about time Britain is going 'Top Gun'.






[edit on 28-11-2005 by Browno]



posted on Nov, 28 2005 @ 05:59 AM
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Greetings,

Waynos, I can't fault your opinion on this list, the Rafale would be the cheap option, not to mention the fact that it is similar to the Typhoon in terms of capability. I honestly don't know how I feel about the Royal Navy using a French aircaft, I dare say the RN will gripe about it, but I can't say it appeals to me, but its the sensable option.

Browno, I apologise but the F-14 similar would never met the Royal Navy requirements, its price just doesn't give the RN the capability that that any of the other ones I list would. Its simply too old.

I added russian aircraft, as they are currently produce carrier capable aircraft. The term enemy shouldn't be used in their respect, the battle lines have been blurred in relation to enemies, and frankly I don't see the russians as the enemy in the tradational term. If their aircraft work, with no restrictions on software etc and meet RAF and RN requirements, why not use them?

As for the Mig 29 Carrier variant, I choose not to add it, as the Su-33 is the more capable in my opinion of the two, not to mention more recent. The SU-27 airframe, also has room for improvements, much the same way the Chinese have played with theirs etc.

The Plan

Reduce the CV from 2 carriers to a large one, with one of our current CVs staying on, Ark Royal? She has just undergone an upgrade I think. Buy some Rafale Ms for ground attack, short/meduim strike and close in defense then the SU-33 for long range strike and long range inception, both have ground attack support with in their design profiles, so could both support the current trend in military operations.

What do you think?
- Phil



posted on Nov, 28 2005 @ 06:14 AM
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Just a quick question,

Is there going to be a navalised Su-32? This would make one hell of an attack aircraft for the carrier fleet. It could also be adapted for ECM work.



- Phil



posted on Nov, 28 2005 @ 06:49 AM
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Well they will hardly buy any Russian fighters, let's face facts... it wouldn't be good for Englands/Americas relationship... The Harrier has many good advantages, to fly vertically is on of them... The EF would also be a good choise...



posted on Nov, 28 2005 @ 07:11 AM
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Originally posted by Figher Master FIN
Well they will hardly buy any Russian fighters, let's face facts... it wouldn't be good for Englands/Americas relationship... The Harrier has many good advantages, to fly vertically is on of them... The EF would also be a good choise...


To be honest, you have a valid point, but if we follow this theory, the US have just screwed the UK government, not to mention a good few european nations out of their next generation strike fighter, to spend their money on European or Russian products will greatly affect the US aircraft manufactors and could cause problems with any future sales of US equipment.

Buying a capable aircraft, russian or not and upgrading it, will get the americans asses in a jam, but at least the UK government would know that there would be deliveries rather than promises.

- Phil



posted on Nov, 28 2005 @ 07:14 AM
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Originally posted by gooseuk
Just a quick question,

Is there going to be a navalised Su-32? This would make one hell of an attack aircraft for the carrier fleet. It could also be adapted for ECM work.



- Phil

The Russian Navy do use the SU34 Fullback but it is landbased.



posted on Nov, 28 2005 @ 07:15 AM
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Originally posted by danwild6
Even if the F-35B goes bye bye that doesn't mean that the other two variants will. I mean the F-35A and the F-35C will probably still enter production even if the F-35B doesn't so as far as Britain's future carrier role I see the RN getting the F-35C and upgrading the Harrier and the RAF getting the F-35A variant.


The way I was thinking was that if the F-35B version dies Britains whole interest in the F-35 programme would go with it as this was 'our' version, the one we specifically joined the JSF programme to work on and we might be left feeling royally dumped on and not wishing to continue at all.

As for other versions though you are right and there is no reason at all why the F-35C shouldn't be adopted by the RN for carrier ops, however I don't think that the RAF would see the need to acquire the F-35A as it does not meet the battlefield STOVL requirement that the F-35B is aimed at (and which would go by the wayside if that version was scrapped) and all the RAF's other tactical ground attack needs are met by the Tornado and Typhoon. If anything , I reckon the death of the RAF's desired F-35B variant would make tranche 3 production of the Typhoon F.2 for the RAF much more likely than a buy of the F-35A.

The trouble here is that the Sea Harriers and Harriers were lumped together in a 'Joint Force' and the cost of operation of two different types has led to the Shar being dumped. Therefore I would imagine that any future buy would ALSO have to be a common buy which then demands Sea Typhoons and counts against all other options, or the Joint Force itself will have to be cancelled.

Phil, I think that if one of the current carriers was kept then the Harrier would also have to be as it is the only fighter that can take off from, or land, on one. Surely then the fitting of the already bought and paid for Sea Vixen radars to the RAF's Harriers would be the most cost effective short term option then allowing the 'Joint Force' to issue a proper requirement for a replacement.

Anybody got the MoD phone number?



posted on Nov, 28 2005 @ 09:18 AM
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Originally posted by waynos
The trouble here is that the Sea Harriers and Harriers were lumped together in a 'Joint Force' and the cost of operation of two different types has led to the Shar being dumped. Therefore I would imagine that any future buy would ALSO have to be a common buy which then demands Sea Typhoons and counts against all other options, or the Joint Force itself will have to be cancelled.

Phil, I think that if one of the current carriers was kept then the Harrier would also have to be as it is the only fighter that can take off from, or land, on one. Surely then the fitting of the already bought and paid for Sea Vixen radars to the RAF's Harriers would be the most cost effective short term option then allowing the 'Joint Force' to issue a proper requirement for a replacement.

Anybody got the MoD phone number?


I should have made that clear, at the minute the Rafale aircraft "could" take off from the current UK CV with some changes to the aircraft, but getting it down would be rather hard. The Ark Royal would have to have her flight deck and hanager deck reconfigured so that it could launch conventual aircraft. I know it would be a pain in the ass but if worse came to worse we could always keep the Harriers running from the little carrier for ground support missions and reintroduce some land based RN squadrons, like we did durning WW1 and WW2, buy some SU32/34s and we have a long range naval strike aircraft.

You point is the more sensable option, but damm! I do love those flankers. It would be great to see them in RAF and RN colours. They have so much potential, its just a sodding shame.

- Phil

[edit on 28-11-2005 by gooseuk]



posted on Nov, 28 2005 @ 12:22 PM
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Regarding to Reuters news, maybe only F-35A will be stopped or canceled. In fact only USMC need very soon new fighter, so the F-35B will go into production. USAF and U. S. Navy can strogly support J-UCAS and they should buy UCAVs.



posted on Nov, 28 2005 @ 12:53 PM
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Originally posted by matej
Regarding to Reuters news, maybe only F-35A will be stopped or canceled. In fact only USMC need very soon new fighter, so the F-35B will go into production. USAF and U. S. Navy can strogly support J-UCAS and they should buy UCAVs.


::nods:: I understand that, the problem is that the reason the F-35 is so "Cheap" in terms to its capabilities and stealth features, is becase the USAF would have been buying the A version in quite large numbers. This fact is hard to avoid, even if the A version is axed, the other versions simply wouldn't make up the numbers that the USAF version would have purchased. This could make the F-35 cost sky rocket and for some of the european countries, could in the end affect any purchases of this aircraft.

- Phil



posted on Nov, 28 2005 @ 01:45 PM
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Newsflash!

The CTOL F-35A will not be cancelled -
More in the following Thread:

F-35A CTOL Not to be Cancelled!



posted on Nov, 28 2005 @ 05:40 PM
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Thanks intelgurl, it was still fun pondering the situation


Being the heaviest and most complex version I wonder if they will now turn theior attention towards killing the 'B'? This is just my own paranoia kicking in, I don't want to set anybody off.



posted on Nov, 28 2005 @ 09:29 PM
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There is no reason RN and France would use F-35 to replace their combat aircraft I think.
For Typhoon, F-35 still has not displaied any high maneuverablity up to now as Raptor that show some surprising manueuverablity even in its experience time.
For Rafale, I was wondering F-35 has thus capability to break franch amour-propre.



posted on Dec, 2 2005 @ 05:09 PM
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About Britain buying French Aircraft: We actually did with the Gazelle and Puma choppers and in aircraft, The Sepecat Jaguar so why not buy the Rafale if it is the only choice?. I know the F-35 is good but the Naval Typhoon/Rafale would be a better move for the RAF/FAA if Britain/Europe wants to be independant from living of US stuff all the time.

I mentioned about revamping the Invincible carrier to carry conventional aircraft before in the Indian Navy thread. Russia has done it with thier Moskova carriers, just think that only used to carry Yak 38s and choppers, Now it carries Mig 29s and SU-27s!.

It is possible the Invincible class carriers could go through this by expanding the flight deck and hangar, adding burner plates, arrestor gear and a steam catapult(If they dont want the ramp).

The US Navy done this before back in the early 1950s with thier WW2 Essex class carriers. The Midway went through this loads of times up to its decomissioning in the late 1980s? early 1990s? Not sure.

[edit on 2-12-2005 by Browno]



posted on Dec, 2 2005 @ 05:23 PM
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Heresy! We did not 'buy French' with the Jaguar, go and wash your mouth out!!!


We took pity on Breguet and their fat useless Br.121 (I have pictures
) and BAC turned it into the Jaguar we know today by merging it with the BAC P.45, not only that but BAe did all the export marketing on its own as the French were more interested in selling the Mirage F.1. so it ended up being marginally more British than French, a bit like the Typhoon today (except thats not French at all, obviously).

I severely doubt that the Moskva has been converted to operate Flankers, can you show me anything to back this up as the Moskva only had a small deck towards the stern and was far too small for anything but Forgers. Likewise the current RN carriers. They are physically too small to operate conventional fighters. If you kept the ski jump and fitted a VERY powerful catapult you might, just, get away with launching the BAe Hawk, but you could forget getting them back down again, unless you fitted them with a MASSIVE undercarriage and several tons of airframe strengthening, oh, and crack proof ribs for the pilot
OR you could ditch them in the sea and fit Invincible and Ark Royal with cranes, honest, these ships are too damn small for ANY conventional jet, thats why ther RN had to give up Phantom's and Buccaneers and replace them with Sea Harriers, the only other option was to give up fixed wing jets altogether and fly helicopters off them.



posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 12:30 PM
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Look for the images of the USS Midway, The deckspace has been revamped that many times the whole deck is overgrown and hanging off into the sea!



posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 12:46 PM
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This is nothing new, HMS Eagle and Ark Royal recieved expanded flight decks when the angled deck was introduced and the WW2 HMS Victorious got a complete rebuild, complete with angled deck and steam catapults, with which to operate Sea Vixens and Buccaneers in the '60's.

However all these ships are hugely bigger than the Invincible class or the Moskva and if these ships were converted to fly conventional jets they would have to be made more than twice as big as they are now, probably three times bigger, these ships really are tiny by aircraft carrier standards. Thats why the RN ships were built as 'through deck cruisers' rather than carriers.

They are LESS than half the size of the old Ark Royal and Eagle (1955-78) and, when we bought the Phantom, even these ships were too small to handle the standard F-4J, The F-4K had an extra 6,000lb thrust, lots of airframe strengthening (all extra weight) a telescopic nose gear leg with which to jack the nose up into the air to get the right angle of incidence and a redesigned wing with a drooping leading edge to generate more lift. None of these alterations were there to improve performance, they were all necessary simply in order to fly the F-4 from our carriers.

Now transfer this across to the Invincible - it is simply not possible, which is the entire reason the new carriers are going to be so much bigger, they need to be. If the treasury could possibly get away with only buying new carriers the same size as the old ones they would do as it would save £££billions, but as well as they have served us for the last 25 years, their limitations are clear to see and their small size was a mistake.

Likewise the Moskva - this is roughly the same size as our current carriers and was built as a helicopter carrier, lending itself ideally to the VTOL Yak-38. Any thoughts on trying to use it for Flankers must come straight out of the head of a madman!

Unless of course the Russians built a new, 'proper' aircraft carrier and gave it the name Moskva?

[edit on 6-12-2005 by waynos]



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