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Royal Navy in Serious Consideration To Cancel F-35

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posted on Dec, 3 2011 @ 11:43 PM
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reply to post by jensy
 


100% in agreement mate. The Navy could definately 'soak up' some or even all of the tranche 3 aircraft the RAF doesnt seem to be able to afford anymore. Thats if its possible to navalise some of the tranche 3 aircraft, dont see why not the CATOBAR differences dont seem to be that radical. We could maybe even navalise some of the earlier tranche 1 models that are slated for early retirement around the time the new Queen Elizabeth Class Carrier (now only one operational and one in storage planned) comes online. Current plans will leave us with a Typhoon force of 107 plus 40-50 F-35C nominally owned and run by the navy but flown from land bases as well as the single operational carrier. We're commited to at least 160 typhoons off the production lines as it is (or we'll incur massive financial penalties for backing out (really # deal we made). It was meant to be 232 but we got 'let off' 72 units as we(the Uk gov/BAE) set up the Saudi export of 72 fighters. So we could easily manage the number if RAF only want to opperate 107 and the RN want 50ish. Yeah...navalise some of the planned early retirements, freshen up the airframes back to low hours (we have the manufacturing facilities in place) and throw in the AESA radar planned for tranche 3.....Scrap F-35, negotiate out of tranche 3B (as all the other partner nations seem keen to do anyhow), and find a good use for the early retirement Tranche 1 models.
........Jobs a gudden as we say up North.




posted on Dec, 4 2011 @ 03:27 AM
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reply to post by neoleaver
 


There are two intertwined reasons why we wont end up with a navalised Eurofighter - costs and politics.

No politician is going to scrap the F-35 buy, itself a hotbed of uncertainty, to launch a navalisation program that has unknown issues and costs. It would be political suicide - if the F-35 buy were to be scrapped, we would be going for an off-the-shelf aircraft such as the Rafale or the F/A-18E, both of which are proven in capability and already developed.

On the subject of doing something with the Tranche 1 aircraft - the MoD have already said that our airframes cannot be modified to Tranche 2 standard on a cost effective basis, a comment which is in some doubt as the Eurofighter consortium have offered to upgrade Austrias Tranche 1 aircraft to Tranche 2 standard...

Regardless of that doubt however, the comment has been made - which indicates that the MoD heavily do not want to spend money on those airframes.



posted on Dec, 4 2011 @ 03:55 AM
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I think the MoD's current plans for our tranche 1 Typhoons includes them being repainted in desert camouflage and Omani and Abu Dhabi markings



posted on Dec, 4 2011 @ 04:34 AM
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reply to post by RichardPrice
 


I follow this only loosely.. but have been interested in SAABs position on the Sea Gripen, in that they want to partner with a carrier nation (and after consultations with the MoD we have a Sea Gripen design center in the UK!)

While I know 2+2 can equal 5.. I can not help feeling (following the Indian bids) that something is afoot behind the scenes.

The Indian bids for both Sea Gripen and a Navalised Typoon certainly opens doors to discussing alternatives to the F35 for the RN as both planes are touted to have performed their duties well in Libya and both are similar to the proposed naval variant.

But as always I guess only time will tell... however it is fun to speculate



posted on Dec, 4 2011 @ 06:17 AM
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I tend to think that the F-35 will continue. There simply isn't any realistic alternative on the books.

The whole point of the F-35 is that its intended to provide carrier strike for the RN and replacement strike capability for the RAF into the future (for use against serious opposition).

While the Navy would probably dump F-35 and take Rafale//F-18 if it meant saving the carrier capability its unlikely the RAF would, both are arguably a retrograde step from Typhoon. There is no chance the UK is going to launch a Sea Gripen or Typhoon navalisation programme.

As long as the RN/RAF both want F-35 its safe IMHO.




edit on 4-12-2011 by justwokeup because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 4 2011 @ 11:55 PM
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reply to post by justwokeup
 



As long as the RN/RAF both want F-35 its safe IMHO.


I wouldn't be too certain. Aircraft like the F-111 and F-22 show that governments can and will back out of planned purchases both before and after development is completed. The F-22 -should- have somewhere in the neighborhood of 400-600 airframes to meet operational demand; but it will be halted at 182 airframes with the extra slack to be picked up by the F-15E and F-16 fleets (pretty much running the aircraft until the afterburn functions as the 'disassemble' mode).

The F-111 was invested in heavily until it was demonstrated to be impossible to get the airframe to meet carrier requirements, and was only barely recovered as the F/B-111 as a medium strike bomber with the Air Force (the aircraft was originally to be built to house the Phoenix Missile System - a design goal of the F-14, which was commissioned out of the failure of the F-111 to meet the Fleet Defense requirements).

I am not nearly as familiar with European and/or British examples of similar instances - but there is a precedent established.

The reality is that the F-35 has little to offer than an updated F-5E wouldn't. Basically - you can take the avionics developed for the F-35 and drop them into an F-5E airframe and call it good; for a fraction of the cost of continuing development on the F-35 and working out the kinks. Retooling some of the F-5's airframe to accept parts already run with the expectation of meeting F-35 production quotas could also be done (Just call the revision the F-5G).

The airframe's "LO Features" are really not worth the problems they are causing. The real boone that will come from the F-35 is the avionics package - which is just the souped-up bastard child of the F-22 and F-18's avionics.

Of course... you could also just buy the Super Hornet.... but I understand why some countries would want to operate a smaller aircraft in a similar class to the F-16.



posted on Dec, 5 2011 @ 02:09 AM
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reply to post by Aim64C
 


Agreed, many nations have backed out of deals at the last minute, the problem with the F35 is I think too many countries have far too much invested in the project for it not to go through to it's (somewhat bitter) end.
I have read many countries are considering less aircraft than originally proposed, I believe Britian and the US Marines are two that have decided on less aircraft than they originally planned to purchase.
The F35 really to me is more of a stopgap measure, a kind of "almost an F22 but not quite" airframe that has had so many compromises and redesign, I don't think you could actually class it properly had you wanted to.
Many other countries are developing their own stealth fighters now that by the time the F35s do come into service I think it will be second rate aircraft behind what the rest of the world is producing.
IMO the Saab Gripen J39 is a far superior aircraft, even the F18F doesn't stack up too badly. The F35 to me is one of those aircraft that tries to be everything at once but never really succeeds at being one thing.
Realistically, the F35 will be an inbetween model, until something better comes along.



posted on Dec, 5 2011 @ 10:53 AM
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Originally posted by Aim64C
reply to post by justwokeup
 



As long as the RN/RAF both want F-35 its safe IMHO.


The reality is that the F-35 has little to offer than an updated F-5E wouldn't. Basically - you can take the avionics developed for the F-35 and drop them into an F-5E airframe and call it good; for a fraction of the cost of continuing development on the F-35 and working out the kinks. Retooling some of the F-5's airframe to accept parts already run with the expectation of meeting F-35 production quotas could also be done (Just call the revision the F-5G).


I highly doubt you could do that without *significant* reworking of the F-5 airframe - by integrating an avionics and systems package several generations newer than the F-5 was designed for, you will have weight issues, stress issues, power issues, bus issues and a tonne of other things - you will basically be touching on everything from the airframe to the engines just to get the package working on the aircraft.

This isn't like changing out a motherboard on a PC - aircraft avionics are highly specific to the airframe, hence why the term "integrated" is used. While the avionics themselves may be "off the shelf" in one form or another, you can't just plug them into the aircraft and off you go.

Its only on fairly newer airframe designs that you have anything approaching standardised power and databusses - the F/A-18 is awesome for that - while on older designs you have the situation where everything wants its own power and bus, so you have loads of convertors, cooling and cabling all over the place.

You would be looking at, essentially, a project larger than the UKs Nimrod MRA.4 aircraft - where basically BAE just took the bare husk of the Nimrod, stripped it right down to just the bare tube, and replaced *everything* else. Looks the same as a Nimrod, smells the same as a Nimrod, but its got little heritage in common with the MR.2s. And hence that budget was blown and the project eventually scrapped.

I doubt it would save any money at all.



posted on Dec, 5 2011 @ 12:51 PM
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reply to post by RichardPrice
 



I highly doubt you could do that without *significant* reworking of the F-5 airframe - by integrating an avionics and systems package several generations newer than the F-5 was designed for, you will have weight issues, stress issues, power issues, bus issues and a tonne of other things - you will basically be touching on everything from the airframe to the engines just to get the package working on the aircraft.


No offense, but your age is showing.

This has not been true of aircraft designed post-1985. The AN/APG-70 and AN/APG-71 radars are incredibly similar - the major differences being the radar antenna, seeing as the 71 was derived as an upgrade to the AWG-9 used in the F-14 Tomcat (the APG-71 seeing service on the Bravo and very few Delta models of the Tomcat). The 70 was developed for the F-15E.

The only reason the internal electronics differ is because the AN/APG-71 was tasked with using as many existing AWG-9 components as possible to reduce logistics costs and burdens.


This isn't like changing out a motherboard on a PC - aircraft avionics are highly specific to the airframe, hence why the term "integrated" is used. While the avionics themselves may be "off the shelf" in one form or another, you can't just plug them into the aircraft and off you go.


That method of design has been largely abandoned. Firmware and software is used to tailor the settings, and connections have mostly been standardized - especially in fighters designed for the export market (like the F-5E/F-20).


I doubt it would save any money at all.


Well.. It's hard to tell. How much longer is the F-35 going to sit in the over-budget, behind-schedule, pre-production blues? No one can really answer that, and many of the estimates have continually been shown to have been horribly optimistic (three years ago).

If you have people like myself on a restructuring of the F-20 (I will admit that when I mentioned the F-5E, I was picturing the F-20 - which is a substantial difference) - we'd have a weapon-ready prototype inside of a year. Tool up and pre-production inventory runs would take about another year - and your first squadrons would receive their aircraft a year later - a three year production cycle, and I'd shoot to have tool up and enough inventory run up to start assembly three months after getting the green light (and I'd be shooting for a flying, weapon-ready prototype at six months).

If you were to run the two programs in parallel (which is the politically popular thing to do...), I can almost guarantee you that the F-35 team would still be derka-during about by time production of the other team hit 100 airframes.

It may or may not save money directly - but replacing old F-16 airframes that are starting to really lay into the budget four years earlier than the F-35 can will probably make up for any discrepancies, not to mention the lower procurement costs.



posted on Dec, 7 2011 @ 05:31 AM
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Originally posted by Aim64C
reply to post by RichardPrice
 



I highly doubt you could do that without *significant* reworking of the F-5 airframe - by integrating an avionics and systems package several generations newer than the F-5 was designed for, you will have weight issues, stress issues, power issues, bus issues and a tonne of other things - you will basically be touching on everything from the airframe to the engines just to get the package working on the aircraft.


No offense, but your age is showing.

This has not been true of aircraft designed post-1985.


Heh, I'm only 32 and my "age is showing" - never had that one before


Also, you seem to miss the fact that I did note that the situation is different on "newer airframes", specifically mentioning the F/A-18 (one of the first aircraft to have an integrated service bus).

The F-5 however, is not a "newer airframe", and while the situation is better on the F-20, its nowhere near as good as the F-35 - so you are still looking at a costly integration program.



That method of design has been largely abandoned. Firmware and software is used to tailor the settings, and connections have mostly been standardized - especially in fighters designed for the export market (like the F-5E/F-20).


Firmware and software doesn't change cooling requirements, shielding requirements, vibration requirements and weight & balance issues of the systems - all of which play a hugely important part of any integration program.

I stand by my original point - its not a plug and play system, it never will be. The variables are far too many for each system - integration of any system is going to come with a cost and tradeoffs.



Well.. It's hard to tell. How much longer is the F-35 going to sit in the over-budget, behind-schedule, pre-production blues? No one can really answer that, and many of the estimates have continually been shown to have been horribly optimistic (three years ago).


Well, as the LRIP F-35As are already being delivered to the USAF, which is pretty much the only model your up-rated F-20 would replace, I would say that your plan wouldn't save any money at all.



If you have people like myself on a restructuring of the F-20 (I will admit that when I mentioned the F-5E, I was picturing the F-20 - which is a substantial difference) - we'd have a weapon-ready prototype inside of a year. Tool up and pre-production inventory runs would take about another year - and your first squadrons would receive their aircraft a year later - a three year production cycle, and I'd shoot to have tool up and enough inventory run up to start assembly three months after getting the green light (and I'd be shooting for a flying, weapon-ready prototype at six months).


Sorry, but to me all of that is just fantasy land.




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