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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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?