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UK considers fighter purchase

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posted on Feb, 19 2006 @ 01:40 PM
This article is outdated...
By the way, although the F2 / F3 stuff can be confusing, last I read the F2 standard will come with terrain following capacities (although the F3 will have a superior capacity). On the other hand, the LGB capacity is less clear, and an AASM purchase may be mandatory to get a strike capacity.

Anyway, the point is, if UK was to buy new aircraft, would they be stop-gap or would they replace an F-35 order ?

posted on Feb, 19 2006 @ 03:51 PM
If anything other than the F-35 were to be bought by the UK it would definitely be instead of the F-35, not a stopgap. There just isn't the money to throw away on 'interim' solutions.

posted on Feb, 19 2006 @ 10:02 PM
waynos, why would the UK buy anything else? i thought the f-35 was a good aircraft!! from reading on this site and other websites the majority of the people think the f-22 is an allround better fighter than the f-35.

but they are both pretty simlar arn't they?

[edit on 19-2-2006 by st3ve_o]

posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 02:15 AM

Waynos, why would the UK buy anything else?

Because the British thought that 200 odd airframes vs. the 3,000 (at time of signing) for U.S. Service /somehow/ gave them rights as equal partners in production profits.

Probably as a FACO (Final Assembly and Check Out = full access to all elements of the engineering database required, like a Prime System Integrator) 'regional salesman' basis of supplying most of NATO.

This just _ain't_ gonna happen as even the original F-16 Deal Of The Century buy had Danish Fokker and Belgian SABCA lines more or less sourcing a /few/ items while remaining utterly dependent on GDFW sourced 'main kits' of essential (high value) elements.

They didn't like it much then either but having ONE central line and subs-allocated profit base _does_ keep the overall cost of the aircraft down. Vastly more than 'offset' schemes in bartered trade do (I've heard 2 and even 3 to 1 /increases in base price/ for this practice).

It must also be said that several times Janes has reported 'undue pressure' by EADS on their Eurofighter tied BAe partners to secure U.S. VLO design experience for The Continent and EU.

U.S. program security constraints for restricted access technology _assumes_ that any corporation with multinational 'ties' to threat nations is automatically compromised beyond any ability to retain entrusted technology base data.

It's simple, it's brutal and it works.

I thought the f-35 was a good aircraft!! from reading on this site and other websites the majority of the people think the f-22 is an allround better fighter than the f-35.

Mutter, mutter, mutter, /curse/.

Too damn bad it took them all so long to wake up to that fact.

But they are both pretty simlar aren't they?

Look, what sold the JSF was three things:

1. The Naval Services Needed a VLO Power Projector.
Why, I'm not sure because they have THE BEST SEAD/EA and Standoff (CM) systems options available but there'ya go. This argument being put at further risk when you consider that the USMC was in fact agitating for 'another F4U' _specifically_ so that they would not have to be the Navy's Reserve Air Group. And yet their own micro carriers did not typically load more than 8-10 Harriers (and could not) while 'assault configured'. How Ironic that the F-35B and C don't have compatible carrier suitability models yet the original USMC requirement was almost 150% that of the USNs 'Day 1 only' (A-6 replacement) strike model.

2. Heavy Bombs Make For Good Propoganda.
And at the time everyone thought that-
a. The 2,000lb penetrator could kill any HDBT target. Which just ain't so Joe. It's pretty good at zapping civillian/infrastructure (which we then end up paying to rebuild) targets but it's worthless as a system to rapidly roll back the IADS so that 'other air operations may ensue'.
b. That everyone would continue to follow the centralized IADS control system of Cold War Russians. Which isn't even true for the Russians and /certainly/ isn't the case for post-1991 everyone else. Thus, even if the Sector/Intercept Ops Center _can_ be blown by the incoming JDAM, it's likely nothing but an (empty) secure storage facility for in-the-field distributed networking.
c. The JDAM was a 'semi precise' weapons system. Which is to say that while you could carry two of them, the variable miss distances involved would still require both bombs to be expended 'just to be sure' on one aimpoint. This in turn has a lot to do with the perception of the F-117 as a laydown (overflight) platform (whereas IAMs can be released as much as 12-15nm from the target) which could 'operate as it pleased' (deep within enemy layered S2A defenses). When in fact VLO's principal advantage might be considered not in and of it's own use but rather how much better it makes all jamming and hardkill work. If no /targeting/ (C-X and some Ku band) emitter can get a skin paint outside of say 20-25nm. Then all's you have to do is sanitize a corridor that wide, all the way to the target area. It _does not_ mean that you don't have to still do so, particularly if you are constrained to the use of SALH based weapons. Which returns us to JDAM, a 'semi precise' (10-15m) weapon whose achieved accuracies through OEF/OIF was actually closer to 2.65m which is good enough for full-precision labelling in almost all instances. This means that you can in fact hit more than one aimpoint in a target matrix. But also that EACH target you fly to has to have that same 'open corridor' effect to ensure the survival of the asset. Even though the JDAM itself is good for upwards of 12-15nm of standoff, the fact remains that you _do not_ want to 'peel off' in front of the enemy terminal defenses any more than you want to overfly them, that close in. Which in turn means that 'what you really really need' is a small bomb. With a cheap (non powered) standoff mechanism. That can let you hit multiple point targets (not bridge piers but TELs and tanks). From over 25nm away. Enter the GBU-39 SDB. Which has an average miss distance of 34-42 inches. Can dive through the roof of a HAS to obliterate an aircraft inside (probably the 'hardest' target you will ever need to hit). And which, from altitude, will fly out 30nm with 1.6m of overpenetration. And 50nm with an airburst/contact detonation. At which point, your entire justfication for 'what is' an attack aircraft as much as /how/ it works (with LO or otherwise) must be redefined.

3. The U.S. pays for it's defense buy-buy-buy selling it to others.
This is a manifestation of the principal: "You destroy your enemy's by ownng _their neighbors_." But it is also a highly dangerous system of controlling the escalatory weapons technology spiral by effectively 'giving away' the direction that it will take. In the case of LO, it is _not possible_ to control the proliferation of the baseline technologies as begged, stolen or bought by 1st tier nation groups (including PRC, India and the EU). While without it, the nations are buying YOUR stealth in an airframe which has, at best, late-80's aero and weapons system performance. i.e. A 'cheap' 104 million dollar JSF (the current Program Acquisition Unit Cost, which export sales are supposed to lay off) is not any better as a -fighter- than 60-80 million dollar, Generation-4 Euroflubber and Rafale. This reemphasizes the fact that LO is a predominantly offensive tool as well as the notion that standoff/multishot can exceed it's value as a penetrating asset.

Having slogged your way through the above 'preconditional modifiers' I will give you:

1. The F-22 will never land on a carrier.
2. The F-22 is probably the equal of the JSF as a small bomb carrier. Certainly it can handle a (broad by shallow weapons bay) more diverse weapons load than the F-117 like JSF which is a 'one deep well' system platform. Assuming the Lot-1/2 differences in weaponization are strictly related to software and Seek Eagle clearances (they were not in the various F-15 and 16 A vs. C and C heavyweight models), both jets are probably about equal in external carriage options (the F-22 has more thrust and wingarea but is not /by profile/ designed as an external carriage machine. No theater commander is going to want to spend half a day pyloning up his platform and then restealthing it)
3. The F-22 is, flatly, not a platform to put into the hands of /anyone/ outside the U.S. Even assuming production economies eventually reduced costs to between 74-79 milion per airframe (from the 183 they are now) around airframe 335. So that you cannot own your friends or box in your enemies, because you've created a technology which is so dangerously destabilizing AND expensive as to be more apt to cut you than him (in trying to beat the Russians with standoff and precision high intensity systems, we have become like them with HUGE amounts of fixed logistic pipe and combat support). The problem then being that the F-35, realistically priced between 154 and 210 million 'after budget cuts', is not any better.

So long as the high altitude option proves to be the way to go (No hunting weapons, no DEW), standoff rather than support missioning is actually the best way to 'synergize' stealth. Despite the fact that you are nominally admitting that VLO _as first conceived_ was, at best, an exaggeration. The reason being that LO which can penetrate the outer ward of an enemy nations border surveillance/defenses can then spread out and hostage multiple _sectors_ of battlespace, so that there is no real ability to use 'point defense' (and even an S-300 is a point defense weapon when it's lockon distance is hostaged to a single emitter source) weapons without having adjoining sector assets blast the offending launch point out of existence.

Equally, once the principal IADS threat is invalidated as much eliminated, as a tactical response, it is and always has been obvious that 'any jet will do' in staying outside the residual (AAA and VSHORADS) by simply combining floor altitude with linear distance to create /immense/ 'hypotenii' of effective slant range. An act for which precision counts for _as much as_ firepower (F-16's unable to hit 'kill box' targets in Kuwait with six Mk.82 bombs resort to Mk.84 to compensate for CDIP random factors and thus halve their combat persistence and fatigue lives in the same moment) so that if you don't have the precision, you might as well not have the numbers (of airframes or bombs). But conversely, once you buy-into that technology-as-targeting baseline, you need not have 'all the other multirole' systems (A2A radar, 1:1T/Wr, sophisticated internal jamming/standoff support, EM optimized aerodynamic config., a pilot.).

Which in turn means that you can afford as many as you want to expend a fixed munition stockpile in XX hours or days with (X8 SDB, X2 airframes X2 sorties per day = 32 bombs per mission).

The Baldwin/Douhet Dictum: "The Bomber will always get through." Was wrong. Because it failed to create a rational counterpoint between a limited X inventory count/sortie generation force model and per-raid fractional attrition model vs. a realistic target base of Yaimpoints servicing required before the enemy either lost his ability to defend against further air attack. Or the raid force dropped to a point where numbers of airframes generated no longer could exceed the statistical loss rate in gaining that threshold supremacy (indeed, past a certain point, massing modifiers have to be reapplied to see /when/ the LER will go even higher in favor of the defense).

Yet perhaps Douhet simply didn't have quite the right mindset for the available technology base of his day. For when the old saw's teeth are recut to say "The BOMBS will always get thru." Then you have an entirely new model of how multi-from-few (acknowledging plateau-airpower as an expensive system) strike warfare and certainly _Standoff + LO_ vs. overflight perceptual conventions of 'fighter' ops, are counterpointed through what has always been the key (kill mechanism) fulcrum of throwaway munition assets (must hit the target or the mission is a waste, don't have to live to tell about it.).

Sorry to steal your wind Waynos, this was important.


[edit on 20-2-2006 by ch1466]

posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 03:51 AM

Because the British thought that 200 odd airframes vs. the 3,000 (at time of signing) for U.S. Service /somehow/ gave them rights as equal partners in production profits.

No wrong. it was because the proposed US requirement for 3,000 airframes would bring an economy of scale that a British product alone could only dream of, these numbers were seen as making a stealth, supersonic STOVL attack aircraft (not fighter) affordable for the RAF and FAA, the likely UK total purchase of 100-150 aircraft could not hope to sustain such a programme independantly.

Final assembly of the F-35 was never sought by Britain, only the technological access to do what we wanted with the planes we bought. Equal rights to the technology base is what we expected, not equal profits.

We had already gifted our global lead in VTOL technology to America years earlier. You'd think we'd have learned after gifting the US so much down the years, we gave Boeing the idea and specs for the 727, only to see it thrash the DH 121 as a result (which is a lesson in trust, betrayal and chickening out in its own right), we gave the Vickers 583 technology to NASA who then assisted in crating the F-111 with it, basically we ask for everything we get and should know better, its not America's fault we're trusting puppies who keep coming back for more.

The F-35 is/was seen as essential by both UK services as it is the only new generationm type that offers the ability for dispersed operations (ie replace the RAF Harrier) and operations from the RN's carriers (replacement for the Sea Harrier). The Navy's position is the one that may br shifting towards a CTOL acquisition (if it isn't just bluff).

Whether the RAF's percieved need to continue with Harrier style operations is flawed or not is a different matter however and would only muddy the thread.

[edit on 20-2-2006 by waynos]

posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 04:10 AM
Whilst I am sure any aerospace manufacturer would be interested in what the other is doing regarding stealth (or VLO as ch puts it) I think it's plain to anyone with an open mind that Europe already has plenty of experience and expertise in this area.

But then again that attitude nicely illuminates a large part of the problem here; despite taking our money, expertise and talent to build the craft (F35) we get treated with suspicion and nothing like the 'partners' we were daft enough to believe we would be when drawn to this project originally.

This despite the V/Stol technology almost entirely deriving from Britain (which, like radar and jet engine tech) which we have fully shared.
Somehow I guess that is meant to be different though.

Still, way to build anti-US sentiment in your biggest ally guys.

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