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DoD Says It Could Build F-35 Without UK

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posted on Mar, 19 2006 @ 10:43 PM
Well, seems things are coming to a head on this matter revolving around the US, the UK, and current disputes over export controls and engine makers.

Article Link
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The Defense Department's chief weapons buyer said Thursday that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program could continue without its international partners, if current disputes over export controls and engine makers escalated to a point of no return.

Ken Krieg, the Pentagon's undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, said such a showdown was hardly imminent. "I don't think we're at that stage," Krieg said at a House Armed Services Committee panel hearing.

But when pressed, Krieg acknowledged that continuing the program without the U.K. was possible. Britain is the lead partner on the $256 billion program headed by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT).

This issue over source codes is about as ironic as the Soviets stealing pipeline control software during the Reagan years. Remember what happened? Mysteriously, some aspects of the Soviets pipelines went Boom.
Is this among the real reasons that the US will not part with the JSF source codes? I would imagine it is one. I also find it ironic that this whole situation indicates that the UK has no real leverage in this issue over the JSF source codes, cause if they did, the source code issue would have been resolved. Now the UK has been talking heavy about the Rafale. Maybe they think that will have some leverage? I doubt it, for even the British have admitted that the Rafale can not fulfill the mission requirements set by the Royal Navy. As it currently stands, only the JSF can.

Further, I would think that Norway and Turkey could be replaced with Poland and Japan. For those nations seeking to bail the JSF program, hear this, there are other nations looking to get into this program.

So as the article indicates: Push comes to shove...


posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 01:19 AM

The USAF general in charge of F-35 procurement has stated that the cutoff limit is 1,600 aircraft before you start to pay out more than you get in (see F-22 debacle). Lunchmeat is likely mortgaged up to the eyeballs with 'concurrent debt' on both programs.

And the Iraq war is making it seem like the TOTAL U.S. buy is going to be on the order of 305+170+1,100 airframes for U.S.

Even if we add a few more jets to make Lunchmeats bottom line turn black instead of red, the fact of the matter is that FMS exports will DIE based on the increases in price. No matter 'how many close ties, shared logistics and capability' the U.S. says it wants to maintain.

When you hear that the USAF is willing to give up early block purchases to 'allow' for other nation purchases; what you are really hearing is the desperate cry of a trapped /beast/ begging for someone, anyone, to buy into it's pyramid scheme lies.

And it won't work. Because the numbers are out there for price and schedule and threat. And a little bit of data on 'followons' (unmanned) would be all that is needed to tip the scales.

Indeed, IMO, the aircraft manufacturers are overstating the market by /at tleast/ an order of magnitude. Not 3-4,000 jets. But maybe 350-400.

After which, time will be on the side of the UCAV. As will oil supplies and new economic polarizing alliances.

Die slaughter dawgs. Die of your own hubris in thinking your career path means a damn. Die as a class of warrior no longer useful and in fact /dragging us down/. As a nation that constantly wars but never wins the dividends of victory. Let alone peace.


posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 03:35 AM
For once i agree with CH on this : the price of the end product will be the issue - and unless the usa GIVE them to poland , then poland cannot afford them. They were given the F-16`s they have - the country is in a terrible fiscal state.

The big `what if` - what if everyone pulls out except the usa? and each airframe ends up costing $100 million +? it might come a time when the entire project is scrapped on cost grounds.

look at crusader and comanche - they were building the rolling chassis/airframes in production and they were cancelled.

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 06:03 AM
Hmm, this is strange. Not the thread subject, I mean the fact that I am somewhere in the middle on this one;

I think seekerof is being unnecessarily triumphalistic in his original post, exemplified in the 'now all you other nations hear this' tone of it. However as to the question of whether the JSF can continue without Britain.

How did this even become a question? Of course it can! UK participation was never a decisive factor in whether the JSF would be produced or not. I never considered that a UK pull out would kill the programme and I don't think that was ever the British position. The stance of Britian was only ever that we require full and total control over our own aircraft or their no point in us having them at all, nothing about bringing down the entire programme.

Likewise Ch, in his now familiar curmudgeonly style, is right on the money when it comes down to the marginal break even the JSF is now facing (coupled with the huge deficit the F-22 will bring) and Lockheed really needs the F-35 to be the F-16 of the future in export terms.

However if several partner nations do pull out for the reasons stated why would the F-35 look attractive to anybody else?

Forgetting Poland (really seekerof, you should know better) lets, for an example, look at the Indian position on buying American jets and the doubts over future support and spares. If Britain felt compelled to withdraw from the JSF on the grounds of lack of sovereignty over its own aircraft can you really see India leaping to fill the void?

Not just India, but any country that is in a position to spend $100m each on new fighters is going to want full autonomy within its own air force. If this is a barrier to Britain, who actually stand to make money from the JSF if it hits profit , RAF order or not, then surely it will be percieved as a barrier to all? This may in fact give some real leverage, think F-20; "if its no good for Britain, who are America's closest ally and help to build the thing, then why should we buy it?".

Those nations who would happily allow uncle sam to call ALL the shots could never afford the F-35 in the first place except, maybe, Japan who are quite rich and the most pro American country on the planet.

Therefore, in answer to the original post, yes, the JSF can continue without Britian, but it would be much better for Lockheed if it didn't have to.

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 07:23 AM
of course it can continue without UK involvement, most of our input was in avionics and advanced manufacturing abilities. They have already been given this information, so why do they need us anymore????? It wouldnt been the first time they have been given information by the UK and the renegged on the deal.

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 09:13 AM
Just been told a most interesting rumour from someone very high in Rolls Royce.

Theres a internal fight going on at present between the pro JSF and Anti JSF inside Britain, The pros believe all will be well, and we should accept what ever uncle sam offers us, as they always look after us, the haggling may get our jsf cheaper and more work share.( thats there mind set)

The Anti JSF, See a glowing opportunity for big savings and a brand new euro project to combat the growing anti allies stance of the present whitehouse, They have recommended that the Rafale be purchased, a smaller number to be purchased before 2010 to train the RN crews and to adapt all UK weapons systems.

The total cost this was put at around £2.5~3bn (one can assume if the costs have been worked out, its more than just someones idea and this is now a very serious paper/project). this compared to the estimated £15bn total for the JSF, is the selling point to downing street.
BAe and RR would still maintain there workshare in the JSF, even tho the group claimed the JSF would be cancelled quietly a few years later, if the UK refused to buy the aircraft

Now along with this theres talk of using the money spare to start a new euro attack plane, based on a old bae design idea from the late 90's, my friends father had no idea what this design was, but it was a idea thats been passed around some years ago, and was shelved when we joined the JSF, hes guessing its some project namely the FOAS.
The anti JSF group now believe the times right to launch such a project, theres lots who would jump on a sub $70bn stealth attack aircraft, in the class of a tornado with greater range. namely Australia, Canada, turkey, European air forces, and many Arab countries further down the line.
The group claims a crash program could lead to production before 2015, total cost of around £18bn, and projected build of 600units.

He did state this is all whispers and gossip and maybe wildy optimistic in timescales and depth, and maybe nothing more that chatter for the listening American Intel services.

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 11:07 AM
The US built the F-22 alone, why can't it built the F-35 alone too?

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 11:08 AM
I highly doubt the UK will pull out, what they're asking isnt that outrageous, they're the only level 1 partner but are left out when it comes to technical details. Lockheed and the US government will give what they're asking for.

They've invested 2bn into the project already, simply abandonning it isn't an option.
What I think is possible, it that they will half the number of JSF's they initially wanted to buy, and buy some Rafale's too. The only problem with that is, they'll have two different types of aircraft to maintain...

A UK pullout would increase the cost per airframe, and could set an example for the Australians, Norway and Holland. Norway will be interesting, they will decide what they're going to do before April 1st. The Netherlands halved the number of aircraft to 45, and will (probably) buy the rest in batches. Turkey is considering buying the Eurofigher, and since they want in the European Union, that's probably the wisest thing for them to do.

The US Congress is tired of all the Pentagon budget overruns, last week the GAO called for the suspension of the RQ-4B full production, so even more overruns in the JSF program will not be tolerated anymore, I think.

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 12:14 PM
I have a few points to make in reply to this.

They've invested 2bn into the project already, simply abandonning it isn't an option.

The £2bn already spent has no bearing on whether the UK armed services end up flying the F-35.

BAE Systems are an industrial partner in the F-35 and would continue to be, it would cost the US even more money and result in even more delay to replace BAE industrially, as well as all the non-BAE UK sourced ancillary equipment (Martin Baker ejection seats for example) Talk of a UK pullout refers to the Air Force, not the industry, they aren't going anywhere. Therefore if the F-35 makes a profit so will BAE, in which case it will be £2bn well spent.

Of course IF a UK decision to look elsewhere influences potential customers against the F-35 that will hit these profits too but with BAE certain to have a major stake in any potential successor too (yes even Rafale if it came to securing a UK order) they have their bases covered.

What I think is possible, it that they will half the number of JSF's they initially wanted to buy, and buy some Rafale's too.

No they wont, they will only go for a mixed force if the Rafale is bought to fly off the carriers, if this choice is made the RAF element of the force will be made up of more Typhoons, the RAF will NEVER operate the Rafale alongside the Typhoon.

Of course this makes the mixed force notion a nonsense and so, in the old British tradition, all pretence at a joint RAF/ RN operation will be quietly forgotten, as I say, IF the Rafale is ordered.

If the F-35 IS bought for JCA as intended then it will be all of them. If any F-35's fly in UK service then no Rafale ever will, I'd put my house on that.

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 12:44 PM
grrr, why are we even concidering buying a french a frog eatting aircraft??

don't we still have pride?, i mean history between both nations and we would ACTUALLY be operating a FRENCH aircraft on the ROYAL NAVY!!!


[edit on 20-3-2006 by st3ve_o]

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 01:00 PM
We have pride, what we don't have is a serviceable carrier based fighter. Also, they'll soon be sailing 'our' ships so why not fly their planes? If our Govt had looked after our aircraft Industry as well as France's did we wouldn't need to anyway.

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 01:06 PM
why which ships are france buying, the type45's or the carriers??

edit:- its ok ive found out

[edit on 20-3-2006 by st3ve_o]

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 01:35 PM
waynos, i'm not an 'expert' when it comes to aircraft - ive only starting getting interested in military aircraft these past few months (so i'm still learning).

but your from the UK (actaully from maltby same as me
) so you should have an unbiased view about which way you want the UK to go!!

so if it was left to YOU which way would you rather see the UK going with this (ie. which is the better aircraft for us)?

1) f-35 (jsf)
2) Dassault Rafale
3) Navalised Eurofighter
4) Other (that you've heard mentioned)

[edit on 20-3-2006 by st3ve_o]

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 01:51 PM

Originally posted by waynos
No they wont, they will only go for a mixed force if the Rafale is bought to fly off the carriers, if this choice is made the RAF element of the force will be made up of more Typhoons, the RAF will NEVER operate the Rafale alongside the Typhoon.

Sorry for the confusion, I was only talking about the Royal Navy operating both the Rafale and JSF. The RAF would indeed be better off with the Eurofighter alone.

Originally posted by st3ve_o

grrr, why are we even concidering buying a french a frog eatting aircraft??

Because the Rafale is a carrier based aircraft, and since the French carriers are identical to the British carriers, it a much better choice than to (heavily) modify the Eurofighter. There is simply no time for that too;

Two (if I'm not mistaken) new British carriers are sceduled to enter service in 2012. Already with the JSF program there is a real chance the carriers will enter service well before it's JSF aircraft can be delivered, so the RN could end up with two multi-billion pound ships with no aircraft.
The Australians are having similar problems with its F-111 fighter bombers, they want to retire them, but due to delays in the JSF program they can't.

The only option left for the RN is to either abandon the JSF program and buy Rafales, or not, and continue partcipation in the JSF program.

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 02:09 PM
This just in!!

It turns out that America is questioning the British engineers and designers ideas they have attempted to impose on the project. Apparently the Britt’s want some radical design changes to the current JSF design that the USA is against.

I of course have gotten hold of a top secret pic of a model depicting the changes the Britt’s are pushing the Americans for:

[edit on 20-3-2006 by skippytjc]

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 02:13 PM
More like...

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 02:16 PM
Wooo, hoe did you know I was from Maltby, have I said it before or are you related to Derek Acorah?
Whereabouts in Maltby are you from, and have you moved away now?

I made quite a detailed post on this subject (just search F-35, UK, decision, etc) without coming to s definitive conclusion, and I really can't now. Its all ifs and buts.

If we REALLY need the STOVL option, which is far from clear, then only the F-35 will do. I think this is the position that Lockheed is praying for but it just may not be the case.

If we can manage without STOVL then, for a common force, we need to bite the bullet an build a 'Sea Typhoon'. The prospects for this would be enhanced if such a proposal could be incorporated into the Indian Navy search for a new fighter, this would bring an economy of scale to the venture for the Royal Navy and as a selling point, a degree of force commonality with the Indian Air Force who are about to recieve an onslaught from BAE Systems to try and get them to buy the standard model. an IAF Typhoon order coupled with a FAA/IN Sea Typhoon would be like winning the lottery for BAE systems but unfortunately is probably as likely as winning the lottery too.

The next most appropriate option, in my opinion, is a joint RAF/RN 'Griffon FA.1'. a navalised SAAB Gripen, which would be a better ship based plane than the Typhoon but would lack its radius of action. On the plus side it would be smaller, cheaper, and would fill the 'small agile tactical aircraft' requirement to a tee for both the RAF and RN and would avoid the RAF relying entirely on a single type, as it would if the Typhoon was selected. This would allow joint RAF/RN operations to continue as they do now with the Harrier and as they are planned to do with the F-35, in fact I think the Gripen is the only type on offer that would allow this if the F-35 was canned.

As a ' thinking outside of the box' option the HAL Tejas is in the same class as the Gripen, is already being developed in a Naval version, and might benefit from BAE input in its own right. This is completely unlikely but occurred to me as I type.

The Rafale option would only work in one way, if integrated RN/RAF ops are abandoned and the Navy goes back to owning and operating its own independant fixed wing force, otherwise it has no chance as putting the Rafale into RAF service after all the time expencse taken to develop the Typhoon is suicidal, and unnecessary.

Moving on to the F-35, the preferred option, it only has two benfits that are unequalled amongst itys immediate rivals, STOVL, and stealth. If both of these are considered essential then we have no choice but, briefly, the questions are 'do we need STOVL when we are unlikely ever to face a short range European confrontation such as the Harrier was designed for?' and 'do we need a stealthy platform when we intend to use it merely as the 'flight leader' for a force of stealthy UCAV's actually carrying out the attacks?' When these questions are considered then any of the above will do the job very well, as long as the UCAV's do actually appear. On the other hand we should consider various possibilities of deployment because few conflicts ever worked out as envisaged by military planners.

Therefore it is to be hoped that the issues over the F-35 (which WILL do the job we ask of it very well) can be resolved otherwise we face a difficult, and expensive, choice.

I hope I didn't waffle too much there but I quite got into that question and I reaise I still have't really answered it; hmmm.

If it was my choice and my money I'd go for the F-35 IF it was 'as advertised', if not I'd go the Gripen route.

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 02:23 PM
The other angle is the UCAV route.

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 02:29 PM
I still disagree Zion, I think the RN will get one single type, I think I said before, if any F-35's appear in UK military service then no Rafale ever will, or at least that was the sentiment.

I just don't think we can afford to operate different types, once a single combat type has been selected that will be it , until it is replaced.

posted on Mar, 20 2006 @ 02:50 PM

Originally posted by skippytjc
I of course have gotten hold of a top secret pic of a model depicting the changes the Britt’s are pushing the Americans for:

I still disagree Zion

Good, we have something to discuss then

The JSF has increasingy become more expensive and irrelevant. Does the RN really need 150 STOVL aircraft? They're only operating around 60 Sea Harriers atm (I believe the exact number is 58). The only reason the RN needs 150 JSF-B's is because the new carriers will be much larger, not because there is such a need for STOVL aircraft. STOVL aircraft are also more expensive to operate and are less fuel efficient (with the current oil prices, that is something to keep in mind).

It would be much better to replace the 50-odd Sea Harriers with JSF-B's and buy Rafales to equip the new carriers with enough aircraft, even though it's more expensive to maintain two very different types of aircraft.

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