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UK faces a 'bomber gap'

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posted on May, 3 2006 @ 02:02 PM
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You make a good point Mike about the money, but I was under the impression that the option of converting F.3's is not about an enlarged force (or at least as big as it would have been with Jaguars in service) but more about plugging the gaps in the GR.4 fleet as airframes expire in the coming years.




posted on May, 3 2006 @ 02:33 PM
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As you say converting F3s would mean we’d have a force that’s about the same as it is was with the GR3s but the GR3s were cut because we can’t afford them not because they couldn’t carry on, if we could afford to plug the gap then why not just keep the Jags?



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 02:44 PM
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A number of 11Sqd F-3s have already been modified for the SEAD role:


As the F-3s are replaced by Typhoons, they could be upgraded to launch Storm Shadow, ALARM etc.

Another option is to buy a load of Hawks configured for close support with Brimstone. www.milairpix.com...



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 03:18 PM
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If the RAF is in the market for some more F3's or GR 1's they might look to our Saudi friends who have a load of them flying, sorry parked up, with a minimum amount of fatigue life used and a lot of money has been put into these A/C over the years.

Maybe a deal could be done with the sale of the Typhoon to the RSAF at a bargin price with us taking the Tonka's back as a favour !!!!!!!!!!

Sv....Out!



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 04:07 PM
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But it costs money to keep the F3s in service. When the Typhoons begin to replace the F3s those aircraft are currently planned to leave service, funding plans take that into account. Keeping the F3s in service along with the Typhoons means you’re adding the cost of those aircraft onto the planned budget. As evidence by the cut of the Jags this is simply unaffordable. We need to massively draw down forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, add a lot of money to the budget or just accept it and get on with the future; any other option just adds strain to the budget. Converting a number existing Hawks for use in emergencies, though not routine deployment, could work but it still depends on what money is available.



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 04:10 PM
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As you say converting F3s would mean we’d have a force that’s about the same as it is was with the GR3s but the GR3s were cut because we can’t afford them not because they couldn’t carry on, if we could afford to plug the gap then why not just keep the Jags?


Thats precisely the question that is currently being asked. Its a bit late now though with only the 'flying can openers' still in service. As I understand it there would be a commonality benefit with Tornadoes that is not present with Jaguars. I imagine it would be very marginal however.



A number of 11Sqd F-3s have already been modified for the SEAD role


Yes, these are known as EF.3's and many in the RAF are loathe to lose this capability. Current plans go no further than retirement and storage for these aircraft. Like Mike pointed out, its money thats the problem.




f the RAF is in the market for some more F3's or GR 1's they might look to our Saudi friends who have a load of them flying, sorry parked up, with a minimum amount of fatigue life used and a lot of money has been put into these A/C over the years.


I like that suggestion! esp. if we can get them back for free
Its not so far fetched either because when the Saudi's bought Tornadoes under Al Yamamah there were ex-Saudi Lightnings parked all over the English countryside for years! How many Tornadoes are the Saudis' keeping in service with their current MLU programme?

[edit on 3-5-2006 by waynos]



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 08:54 PM
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Originally posted by Mike_A
The reports of the UK being offered the Rafale were denied a little while after they came out.

You are correct, Mike_A: The only news source I could find was in another forum, so excuse me for linking to it, but I had no other choice:
BAE says JSF better than Eurofighter for UK carriers dismisses Rafale rumor





seekerof



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 09:26 PM
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Originally posted by Zion Mainframe
The MoD does have a plan B, which accoring to official statements involves buying the Rafale. France's aircraft carriers are identical to the British ones so nothing about either the Rafale or Britains new carriers would have to be modified.

Personally, as I have posted a topic related to what I am going to say now, and no offense to our British members, but the loss of the UK to the JSF program would not be as big of a blow to the program as some here may think. This is not a 'bravado' statement, just simply stating the case. The JSF program (F-35B STOVL) benefits the British more than it would the U.S., especially considering what the British want the aircraft for. Furthermore, the more I read on this matter the more I realize that all this is simply politics, all revolving around source codes, the GE Rolls-Royce F136 and Pratt & Whitney F135 engines, and all participants in the JSF program want more of the work share and more access.

Nonetheless, going with the Rafale simply because of the carrier(s) deal is ludicrous, IMHO. Despite airframe issues, visibility issues, and other related costs and issues associated with the Typhoon M (CV), the UK may be better off waiting for the JSF, granted they do not pull out, or going with the Typhoon M(CV) or more Typhoons or maybe a small number of F/A-22 Raptors. The Rafale holds the slight advantage in air-to-ground, but the Typhoon is gaining on it in this area, and in a hurry. Further, the Typhoon is a better air-to-air aircraft than the Rafale, being that is what the Typhoon was designed for in the first place: air superiority, which, then, makes it a vital aircraft in performing fleet protection.

Considering the total monies invested in the JSF by the UK, IMHO, it would be foolish to withdraw, thus lending to my theory that this is all politics aimed at getting a better deal in the future other than a tech transfer. Btw, do those carriers come with catapult systems and arresting gear, cause if not, then there is the added costs for having them fitted in to launch those Rafale's, if they are bought. Again, last I read, the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) was still a 'consideration', a future prospect to be considered after being built and after the arrival of the JSF. Furthermore, the 2006 schematic shows no catapult system, though it does show arresting gear. This then begs the question of which version is the UK going to build, because the version that the French are going to build is apparent if they are utlizing the Rafale?

And as to the French and UK carriers being the same, last I read, there is a difference; a difference of use. The new UK carriers being planned, assuming somewhat here, were mainly designed around a STOVL/VSTOL aircraft, such as the Harrier and/or JSF, not the Rafale--which the French carrier versions would accomodate. And being that the Rafale is all French built, then there is the matter of compatibility and like issues, which require more monies, and upkeep issues, which also require more monies, etc., and lets not forget how the British love to tweak and play with their aircraft engines, thus there is the chance that the Rafale could be re-engined by the UK for better suitability, also costing more monies. So IMHO, a pullout by the UK will not result in the UK buying Rafale's. More like Boeing jumping in and offering a sweet deal on F-18Es, etc, but I am not seeing the UK withdrawing from the JSF program either.



Dassault has denied reports that Britain, angry at U.S. budget cuts and reluctance to share technology secrets, might be preparing to pull out of the project and instead buy into its Rafale fighter.

British-U.S. Dogfight Over Next-Generation Fighter Intensifies






seekerof

[edit on 3-5-2006 by Seekerof]



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 09:54 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
or maybe a small number of F/A-22 Raptors.


why not?

if the jsf does go pair shaped, we should be going for the best aircraft possible!!

whilst i like the look of the rafale, i just don't like the idea of a french aircraft being used by the royal navy (historical reasons), us brits have seemed to have lost our pride in the last few years when it comes to our military.








[edit on 3-5-2006 by st3ve_o]



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 10:46 PM
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Hi! Waynos:
I didn't see you mention bombers in your post but attacker.
I agree that UK should equip bomber like Vulcan but today there is no country in NATO has stratagem bomber except US, because only USAF is a global air force.
Back to attack, all superior militry fans in China has already made agreement that there will be no espcial attacker would be developed in future as most mission can be done in stead of by multiroll fighter aircraft.
I think UK shouldn't make so much worry about their capability of attacking ground as Typhoon has become such powerful multi-role fighter that capability of attacking surface even better than any other fighter aircraft which size or weight to be matched to.
This wonderful photo I originally took from Eurofighter authority website

[edit on 3-5-2006 by emile]

[edit on 4-5-2006 by emile]



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 07:34 AM
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Originally posted by Experimental
Perhaps we need to ask the boys at Bruntingthorpe nicely if we can borrow their Buccaneers. Or maybe its time to dust off the TSR2 plans again...

Joking aside, the RAFs capability continues to be further crippled by poor planning and budget cuts.


Why not? they were and probably still are, the best carrier based low/low/medium/low attack aircraft the UK has ever had.

Why not dust off the 'ultra-secret' black Canberas that are stil in use?



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 08:00 AM
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emile, the Vulcan was a strategic bomber, the topixc at hand here is the RAF's tactical bomber force. You will probably be surprised to hear that the loss of the Jaguar from RAF service is very keenly felt as it removes certain capabilities that the Typhoon is years away from gaining, in terms of weapons integration and accurate delivery, in which respect the Jaguar is believed to better the Tornado too (from an RAF gadgy, not the media). The Jaguar is also the RAF'S most easily deployable asset requiring far fewer support facilities and staff than the Tornado, how the Typhoon shapes up in this respect is not yet known.

I think the biggest .ache is that any solution requires money and mike hit the nail on the ., the most likely scenario is that the RAF will just have to tough it out until the promised systems come on stream. The danger here though is that the ever grasping treasury will turn round in 5 years time and say "the RAF is coping so well with this many aircraft that we will only replace them one for one" and the 'temporary' shortfall becomes permanent.



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 08:09 AM
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You know, the title of this thread should have said something like “tactical bomber gap” or “fighter-bomber gap.” When asked to think of a bomber, most people will conjure an image of a B-52, Bear or Vulcan (my fave) not a tornado.



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 08:13 AM
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Well the RAF itself has expressed concern over its 'bomber gap'. Thats where the title comes from. If its good enough for them, it is for me.



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 08:15 AM
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double post


[edit on 4-5-2006 by waynos]



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 11:57 AM
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I can see where you are coming from on this one Waynos but I am struggling to really see the 'need'.

I know there will be a 'gap' of sorts for a few years as old stuff is decommissioned and they await new kit coming in but surely, 'twas ever so?

It's also fair to say that some alternatives do exist to cover this 'gap' (like cruise missiles, mobile tactical missiles and - much as I agree that the idea of SLBM launches is an unwelcome and fraught concept - a strategic capability of sorts in conventionally armed SLBM's).

The point must be that new kit is coming (and some of it a major step up in capability from what has gone before).

I cannot help but wonder about these kind of stories.
Military careers (and not forgetting post-service careers too) and all that.
The UK forces have long found ways to publicly express views which IMO often end up as, at the root, a fierce complaint that their career structures might not be what they once were (something which is, again, a constant no matter what 'colour' of government we have here in the UK).

'Need' is often left out of the equation as people put stories about focusing on comparing numbers.
But so what?
We made 20 000+ Spitfires once and had a navy of several hundred ships.
It is hard to imagine that ever happening again, although if the need ever truly did arise, I'm sure we would rise to meet it.



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 12:21 PM
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There is a difference though between this and what has gone before. There was always a gap while new equipment replaced old as you say sminkey, but this was ususally a slight drop in availability that existed only in the period in which decommisionings and recommisionings overlapped.

example, Hawker Hunters replaced by Phantoms in the attack role in 1969-72 (temp measure),

Phantoms replaced by Jaguars between 1974-77 and switched to air defence replacing Lightnings.

What we are seeing now is the equivalent of the RAF withdrawing Half its Hunters in 1966 without replacement and flying the rest until they are falling to bits and then finally acquiring Tornadoes as their replacements in 1982.

That gap in timescale might seem extreme but with Jaguar withdrawal begun in 2003 and no Typhoons due in the attack role until 2009 at the earliest and no F-35's due to be available to UK forces until 2018 at the earliest the parallel stands I feel.

Whether we will ultimately be shown to need aircraft in service is a fair point though, but if the RAF can demonstrate it can do without then why would the Govt proceed with its purchase plans? Might they not just decide to replace those 'Hunters' that are falling to bits and forget about replacing those they retired years ago?

Despite my great personal angst over the fate of the TSR 2 it can be argued that history sahows we didn't suffer for not having it in service, but is that not more by luck than judgement?

The biggest worry however, which I hinted at with my Hunter analogy, is not merely the numbers of aircraft that are lost from the front line strength, but rather that those that remain have to face more intensively accrued flying hours in order to take up the slack and actually face wearing out before their time. That was also why I mentioned the low hour airframes that we have scrapped because they are incompatible with the current fleet.



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 01:51 PM
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Originally posted by waynos
if the RAF can demonstrate it can do without then why would the Govt proceed with its purchase plans?


- Because a temporary situation is quite different to making that a permanent one.

'The cover' (such as the missiles I mentioned earlier) is just that, not a replacement.


Despite my great personal angst over the fate of the TSR 2 it can be argued that history sahows we didn't suffer for not having it in service, but is that not more by luck than judgement?


- Well as you know I have a great appreciation of the TSR2 myself but I do feel much of the history of that great plane has become little more than a party political football (amongst those 'of a certain generation') in the UK.

Once again the whole 'need'/cost effectiveness debate got lost in amongst a host of politics.

I see the TSR2 as a 'Rolls Royce' solution to the question(s) posed during those days but in no way would I agree that a Jaguar/Harrier/Buccaneer equipped RAF was in any way a 2nd rate outcome......and an outcome that I don't think could have happened if we had had TSR2.


not merely the numbers of aircraft that are lost from the front line strength, but rather that those that remain have to face more intensively accrued flying hours in order to take up the slack and actually face wearing out before their time. That was also why I mentioned the low hour airframes that we have scrapped because they are incompatible with the current fleet.


- Yeah I know what you mean but I have little sympathy with the services on this.
I tend to agree with the view that they have a tendency to 'chance their arm' when it comes to upgrades, hoping that somehow someday the upgrade may just be extended to all or most of the (surprising amount of) aircraft held in storage.

Some of this is perfectly understandable but nevertheless it is a tendency with any empire builders and sadly given today's finances and timescales an upgrade program takes years and rarely goes back to pick up those not originally invoiced for.
Such are the endless battles when fighting over limited public resources.



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 04:26 PM
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Yeah I know what you mean but I have little sympathy with the services on this....



Could you elaborate the point you made in this paragraph for me sminkey? Sorry for being a bit dim but I don't quite follow your meaning.



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 05:40 PM
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Originally posted by waynos
Could you elaborate the point you made in this paragraph for me sminkey?


- I suppose it boils down to 'the original pitch'.

In pursuit of limited public funds the services minimise the numbers any given upgrade will be required for so as to lower the overall costs of that particular upgrade (hence the 'stock' of non-upgraded planes in storage).

Like I said, it's perfectly understandable but nevertheless it is to be ultimately complicit in the later subsequent waste (as those planes in storage are, inevitably, not upgraded, ever; nor are they ever likely to be seeing as it takes no time at all until you get to the situation where the upgrade program closed ages ago).

I'm quite sure at the back of people's minds as they make these arrangements they hope that funds will become available and those planes (or whatever) will eventually be brought up to the newest spec but this kind of thing is nothing new, they rarely do (the only exception I can think of to this being if there is a war on......and as the latest Hercules protection upgrade row shows even that doesn't guarantee anything).

I'm honestly having real trouble thinking of a single post 1980 UK military aircraft program to upgrade the spec that was done on every available example of (*whatever*).
They always upgrade significantly less than the original buy.

Do you see what I mean?



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