Finally a number put on UK F-35 purchase as doubt grow over in service date

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posted on Jul, 18 2012 @ 07:16 PM
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..and big surprise, its a small number.

In this Telegraph article it is suggested that the UK will be buying 48 of the development troubled jets.

Telegraph Link

What the article is mainly focuesed on however is the issues which are still plaguing the aircraft's development.

I ask, how on earth are the RAF and RN both supposed to get any kind of capability, with such a small fleet of maintenance heavy airframes?

Jensy
edit on 18/7/12 by jensy because: Link fixing




posted on Jul, 18 2012 @ 07:20 PM
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reply to post by jensy
 


Your link doesn't work. As for the F-35, the B-2, and the F-22 both started life as maintenance intensive aircraft, that have shown improvement rapidly in some cases, and slowly in others. Given time, and work on the actual airframes the required maintenance levels will drop considerably.



posted on Jul, 18 2012 @ 08:07 PM
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Quote removed


Looks like you've pasted a phone number instead of a link.
edit on 20/7/12 by masqua because: as requested



posted on Jul, 18 2012 @ 08:47 PM
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Indeed, I hasten to add that it is not mine!

@ Zaphood, true, but all of those programmes had the luxury of being funded by a seemingly endless pot of money. The Lightning II is still ever vulnerable in these cash strapped days.

Boeing, which is nothing if not a savvy company, is starting to hover around hoping to pick up orders from both the US an foreign customers:

Aviation Week

(to prove after all these years I can still post a link).

Jensy



posted on Jul, 18 2012 @ 08:51 PM
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reply to post by jensy
 


Boeing will try, but the countries that are in the F-35 program have already put up so much money that they can't afford to pull out and go with Boeing on something else. And none of the Boeing projects meet their needs as well as the Lightning does. The Super Hornet is good for the mission it performs, but not good enough for those missions that are needed by the countries buying the Lightning.



posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 11:24 AM
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reply to post by jensy
 


The aircraft is a money eating turkey.

it was supposed to cost 60 million per piece...now it 300 million per piece...

small size..small wings..poor range..poor defenses in very thin skin...poor pay load..can't even land on a carrier...



F-16 can beat it any day.



posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 11:33 AM
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And everything else has gone through development issues. The F-35 is one of the most complex aircraft attempted. There is no excuse for what's going on with the project, but they're at least getting a handle on some of the issues that it's had, and they're slowly expanding the program.

The first National Guard pilots have begun transition, as well as other pilot types, instead of mostly instructors and test pilots.



posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 03:26 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 



The Super Hornet is good for the mission it performs, but not good enough for those missions that are needed by the countries buying the Lightning.


Wow. Where can I get some of that kool-ade?

The Penguin offers, what exactly, in terms of capability over the F-18E/F?

Parts availability? No.

Parts comonality? Only if you purchase large numbers of penguins. ... Which you could do just as easily with a fleet of F-18s (that already have a large fleet with a logistics chain and parts comonality with previous generation aircraft as well).

Low Observability? Kinda. Survivability is questionable with the high wing-loading and poor thrust-weight performance, however. The need of this advantage is also questionable.

Payload? lol

Maneuverability? roflcopter

Avionics? Debatable. The capabilities of the F-18E are very similar with planned upgrades taking the F-18 fleets beyond the F-35 in capability (many of the "hard" avionics are virtually identical spare for mountings) within the next decade. The capabilities of the F-18 vastly exceed current arsenals in this area, and the added capabilities of the F-35 are debatable as to their merit - particularly in such a shallow performer.

Serviceability? Hard to make this argument - though it does tie in with parts commonality and availability. The F-18 shares a lot of concepts across the generational gap between the Charlies and the Echoes. This is especially inviting for countries already operating F-18s as it means minimal crew retraining is necessary. The F-35 currently has no real maintenance record and it will largely be an unknown in terms of operational readiness (did Lockheed make the access panels out of magnesium again? I realize they failed chemistry, but I'm curious if they can learn from the school of hard knocks that put the F-22 into sub-50% readiness ratings).

A lot of promises have been made about this aircraft... and they designed their carrier model so incompetently that the thing can't land on a carrier (not and still keep the aft end intact).

It's a bunch of amateur mistakes that add up on this airframe that is, in itself, a challenging concept (a fighter with the strike, light bomber, and support capability in an light airframe). Honestly - it's trying to roll far too much into one for that size of an airframe. It was doomed to be an attempt at improving the F-105 from the beginning... an accomplishment that amounts to a Darwin Award.

It's sub-standard performance at enthusiast packaging to justify the prices.

At this point - it's not about what aircraft is "better" and would "beat the other." Pilots can't fly aircraft that don't exist. Crews can't service aircraft without parts. Aircraft have to RTB when they are out of munitions to perform the mission (or at bingo).

It's not always about what's best - but what's effective and affordable. A wing of 30 F-18s can be far more effective than a squadron of 10 F-35s, depending upon the mission. And the reality is that your air assets aren't necessarily going to be going head to head. So what if the F-35 can theoretically defeat an F-18 (or even realistically)? Chances are it will get taken out on the ground by a ballistic missile or that it will never be flown against the meat grinder of E-3 supported F-15Es that will be lurking to back up F-18s and 16s on CAS.

In that sense - are you really getting a game-changing bird? Or just a more expensive toy you beat against attrition?



posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 05:43 PM
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reply to post by Aim64C
 


Every version of the Hornet has range issues. From the A through the Growler. I haven't drank any kool-aid, I can't stand the F-35 program, and I think it needs to go away. The problem is that it's become just like the banks, it's "too big to fail".

The F-18A-D has a combat radius of 400nm on an air-to-air mission, and the E/F and the Growler has a radius of 390nm on an interdiction mission. Wow, that's such a wonderful aircraft for just about every mission. You have to take a tanker with you just to take off almost.

The F-35A has a radius of 584mn. That's over 150nm more than the Super Hornet and Growler.

The F-35 isn't going to be the game changer that they claimed it was going to be, but it's still better than the Super Hornet. I've talked to pilots for years that couldn't stand flying the Hornet because of their range issues. They said it seems like they just take off and they have to come down again.

I would love to see the F-35 program go away, and go away quickly, but with nothing better than the Super Hornet out there (too many people want stealth now for any older designs to be successful anymore), what other choice is there?



posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 07:49 PM
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reply to post by jensy
 


It's no surprise there's "problems" with F-35. Three variants assures even more bugs than normal. Even with a lot of the original fifth gen. bugs on the 22 already solved by production time of the F-35, it stands to reason there'd be some now.

Looking at the differences between the first 22s and the last version off the line, it makes good fiscal sense to delay the purchases of large numbers of the 35 as late as possible. The more that's fixed, the less problems later on. Good luck with it.



posted on Jul, 21 2012 @ 04:17 AM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
And everything else has gone through development issues. The F-35 is one of the most complex aircraft attempted. There is no excuse for what's going on with the project, but they're at least getting a handle on some of the issues that it's had, and they're slowly expanding the program.

The first National Guard pilots have begun transition, as well as other pilot types, instead of mostly instructors and test pilots.


it is and always will be a turkey.you can't defy the laws of physics.poor range.small wings.poor weight/thrust ratio.

the designers forgot a aircraft is a WEAPON DELIVERY VEHICLE.

I mean this thing can't even do that as it has very poor range and very poor payload.a very expensive joke.

it fails.

They designed it to esoteric and flyboy wish fulfillment fantasy requirements.



posted on Jul, 21 2012 @ 06:30 AM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 



The F-18A-D has a combat radius of 400nm on an air-to-air mission, and the E/F and the Growler has a radius of 390nm on an interdiction mission. Wow, that's such a wonderful aircraft for just about every mission. You have to take a tanker with you just to take off almost.


www.globalsecurity.org...

From which: www.globalsecurity.org...


Combat radius specification: 390nm

Interdiction with four 1,000 lb bombs, two Sidewinders,
and two 1,818 liter (480 U.S. gallon: 400 Imp gallon) external tanks,
navigation FLIR and targeting FLIR: Forward Looking Infra-Red
hi-lo-lo-hi


They could have just stuck a few lead parachutes on the back and gotten the same effect. Strip two of those bombs off and you'll get at least a 500nm interdiction radius out of the thing. At that point - you're bomb-for-bomb with the F-35 and guzzling a little bit more fuel (honestly, a blended munitions bay conversion for the Super Bug would be an interesting and potentially worthwhile concept to replace the two inboard hardpoints).

Unless you want to try to attach the external hardpoints on the F-35 and give it a comparable load. I just hope the pilot enjoys ballistic flight right off the deck. He's a little light in the ass on that aircraft to pull that off.

That said, I'm skeptical of the range claims of the F-35.

www.globalsecurity.org...

The claim is 600 nautical miles. With what? What type of combat mission? What's our loiter time for CAS?

I know the internal munitions bay and larger internal fuel store helps considerably - but a claim of nearly 100% improvement is a little suspicious to me - particularly when you consider how wild the practical ranges of aircraft fluctuate with their loadouts.

Further:

If I may, for simplicity:

en.wikipedia.org...


In early 2008, Boeing discussed the development of a Super Hornet Block III with the U.S. and Australian military, featuring additional stealth capabilities and extended range; a long-term successor is to be developed under the Next Generation Air Dominance program.[20] Development of an improved F414 engine with better resistance to foreign object damage, and a reduced fuel burn rate began in 2009. Work is also being done on possible performance improvements to increase thrust by 20%.[21][22]

Boeing is studying a centerline pod, which will have four internal stations for two AIM-120 AMRAAMs and two 500 lb Joint Direct Attack Munitions in a similar fashion to the Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle's Conformal Weapons Bays, but with less stealth.[23][24] Other improvements include a chin mounted IRST and all aspect missile and laser warning, in the same fashion as the F-35.[25] A next-generation cockpit is also under development which has a very large 19 in x 11 in touch-sensitive display.[26]

Boeing has offered India and other international customers the Super Hornet "International Roadmap", which includes conformal fuel tanks, enhanced engines, an enclosed weapons pod (EWP), a next-generation cockpit, a new missile warning system, and an internal infra-red search and track (IRST) system.[27][28][29] Three EWPs could be carried, one belly mounted and one under each wing, for a total combat load of up to 12 AMRAAMs and 2 Sidewinders.[30] By holding the weapons in the streamlined pods the aircraft can reach higher speeds and altitudes, which can increase the standoff ranges of the weapons.[31]



I would love to see the F-35 program go away, and go away quickly, but with nothing better than the Super Hornet out there (too many people want stealth now for any older designs to be successful anymore), what other choice is there?


Older designs are perfectly successful. The main advantage stealth carries in a world of digital radars and AESA with SAR capabilities is the reduced drag. Digital filtering of weak returns has made all but the most extreme low-observable efforts relatively moot. The AN/APG-80 is more than capable of picking out an aircraft like the F-22 and, certainly, the F-35 at ranges that make their relative costs difficult to justify.

That said - getting back behind the F-22 with its existing parts stores (unfortunately, you'd have to pay to tool back up for the F-22) and supporting an F-18/F-15E upgrade plan would be comparable in cost (and probably more effective).

Because, at this point - it's questionable whether or not Lockheed will actually be able to deliver the contract:


The current schedule has the delivery of basic combat capability aircraft in late 2015, followed by full capability block three software in late 2016.[78]


It's the EA software model. Sell your alpha with the promise of a beta.



posted on Jul, 21 2012 @ 06:48 AM
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Your links actually show LESS combat radius for the Hornets than I said it was. The Hornet is a decent aircraft, but as far as range goes, it HAS to live near a tanker. That means that you have to have access to tankers, which not every country does.

Boeing has ideas that they can alter older designs and make them semi-stealthy, that I'm not entirely sure will work. I'm well aware that older designs are still quite capable, and in many ways are better than new stealthy designs ( I STILL love the F-15 and think it's one of the best fighters ever). But people have seen how effective stealth can be when used properly, and that's the new "rage" in aircraft design. The F-35 was going to be produced in large numbers, which meant cheap, and now it's blown all out of proportion.



posted on Jul, 22 2012 @ 12:34 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 



Your links actually show LESS combat radius for the Hornets than I said it was. The Hornet is a decent aircraft, but as far as range goes, it HAS to live near a tanker. That means that you have to have access to tankers, which not every country does.


It varies greatly with the load. A standard CAP loadout running on internal fuel has a radius of 510 nautical miles compared to an interdiction range of 390 with two external fuel tanks and four 1,000 lb JDAMs.

The other reality is that a lot of these countries are the size of one of our states. An effective combat radius of 390 nautical miles pretty much means you can base out of Jefferson City, Missouri, and # up Wichita, Kansas without having to refuel - and that's with about the most fuel intensive loadout you can put on a super bug.


Boeing has ideas that they can alter older designs and make them semi-stealthy, that I'm not entirely sure will work.


Honestly, LO is not even much of an objective for the programs. It's simply a side-effect of the drag reducing benefits of placing weapons in munitions bays - particularly if you want to give your airframes supercruise. And more modern aircraft manufacturing materials almost inherently reduce radar returns (even if not specifically tailored to do so).

It's an extra bullet for marketing - but LO conducive designs require starting from the drawing board and threat-specific concerns. Anything else is not really going to give you much of an edge in avoiding detection. It may help spoof older guidance systems - but if you're buying LO specifically to assist countermeasures, you've got some interesting views on air warfare.


The F-35 was going to be produced in large numbers, which meant cheap, and now it's blown all out of proportion.


At this rate, it's going to cost more per airframe than the F-22.

I honestly don't see the reason any country should choose to go with it as opposed to an F-15SE or F-18E Block III (would make sense for countries flying F-18s to go with the Super-Duper Bug and countries operating the F-15 to go with the F-15SE). Hell - the two aircraft will be using quite a bit of the avionics from the F-35... which is really the main thing I hear pilots yip and yipe about who've piloted the F-35 prototypes.

Unlike pilots - I actually understand avionics and know that a dedicated team of technicians could practically yank the brains of an F-35 and plop them in a P-51 (not exactly because of power and cooling concerns - but you get the idea). In this day and age - the avionics are advancing far faster than the airframes. It will no longer be practical to apply 70s aircraft logic. Computers and solid state applications are increasing in scope almost exponentially. The computers in the F-35 are already obsolete, being largely designed from components available in the late 90s.

It's just not going to be practical to associate planes with their avionics as strictly as was in the past (when analog circuitry and a few digital processors formed the backbone of your capability and there wasn't any reason to change it for 25 years).



posted on Jul, 22 2012 @ 12:52 PM
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reply to post by Aim64C
 


A lot of countries won't go with the Block III, or the SE, just because no matter how much you change things, they're still a Hornet, and an Eagle. The SE, is supposed to have a noticeably smaller RCS (according to Boeing), but pretty much all they did was add weapons bays, and cant the tails. There is some RAM added to the design, and some other changes, but it is still an Eagle. You aren't going to get the LO that most countries want now with one. It just can't be done.

The Block III Hornet is basically going to end up being a Hornet with new engines, new radar upgrades, avionics upgrades, POSSIBLY have thrust vectoring (which I doubt, but even if it does it would be the same as the F-22, which it turns out has some WVR issues I hadn't heard about), and other incremental upgrades. They might end up putting RAM coatings on some parts to give it a smaller RCS, but again, you can't get the LO that the F-35 will get.

Even if the F-35 doesn't live up to the range that LM is giving out, it has the one thing that everyone wants now. The LO coating. Ever since Desert Storm, people started to realize that "this stealth s**t really works!" As the years have gone on, and they've flown more and more combat missions with them, they've realized more and more that it's a good thing to have, and that they want it too. But slapping ram, a few angles, and internal weapons bays does not an LO platform make.



posted on Jul, 22 2012 @ 02:23 PM
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We can talk about LO being the order of the day as much as we want, but we just subjugated Libya with not one single LO aircraft, and Israel launched a very successful deep strike into Syria with just F-15s and F-16s.

I wouldn't have a problem skipping LO for the next 20 years of purchasing right now, if it gets me more capability.



posted on Jul, 22 2012 @ 03:31 PM
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reply to post by RichardPrice
 


I wouldn't have a problem with it either, but sadly we aren't in the position to do so. I'd love to see a non-LO F-22 where you could load it down for bear and not have to worry about your stealth being screwed.



posted on Jul, 24 2012 @ 09:42 AM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 



The SE, is supposed to have a noticeably smaller RCS (according to Boeing), but pretty much all they did was add weapons bays, and cant the tails. There is some RAM added to the design, and some other changes, but it is still an Eagle. You aren't going to get the LO that most countries want now with one. It just can't be done.


Just putting the weapons inside can net a huge RCS reduction. Even in non-LO airframes, the mere act of having your munitions bay reflect radar waves as opposed to the weapons inside of it reduces the induced returns as well as the complex returns from the multiple surfaces of weapons.

Now - you're not going to be able to make it into the ATF realms; but you may marginally improve survivability by reducing the effectiveness of older radar systems and improving the effectiveness of countermeasures. You'd be looking at a minimal cost increase (if not a cost decrease due to the prevalence of composite airframes these days) for gains in structural integrity and marginal gains in survivability.


The Block III Hornet is basically going to end up being a Hornet with new engines, new radar upgrades, avionics upgrades, POSSIBLY have thrust vectoring (which I doubt, but even if it does it would be the same as the F-22, which it turns out has some WVR issues I hadn't heard about), and other incremental upgrades. They might end up putting RAM coatings on some parts to give it a smaller RCS, but again, you can't get the LO that the F-35 will get.


The F-35 is not really that effective of an LO design. Certainly not to the degree that warrants the cost. You can get an F-22 for the same price, these days (well, if they would authorize manufacture of the F-22 once more) - and have a much better all-aspect LO airframe with better strike fighter capabilities (the only issue being a shallow munitions bay - but you can still equip sizable penetrating JDAMs into it).

At the end of the day - I'm not going to be flying the F-35 into a hot AO. It's too short in the poot with too few teeth and a flawed 'invisibility cloak.' I'd much rather go with an F-18 using stand-off anti-radiation missiles, an F-15 on a terrain-following JDAM run - or an F-22 in a similar run appropriate for the RCS profile (putting a supersonic JDAM right up the rectum is certainly gratifying).

Still - the Block III would represent a large gain in range (reduced fuel for the thrust with reduced drag through CFTs and conformal bays) and will have the next point-release of the F-35s avionics. That, alone, makes it a very tempting buy for existing F-18 operators - who would be dividing their logistics commonality by purchasing the F-35 that represents a redundant role.


Even if the F-35 doesn't live up to the range that LM is giving out, it has the one thing that everyone wants now. The LO coating.


That hasn't been a large focus since the early 90s. It's why the ATF program was DOA. LO air superiority fighters and strike platforms lost considerable support following the breakup of the soviet union. While methods of reducing the effectiveness of detection methods has become an aspect of every modern aviation platform, it's also proven to create primadona airframes that are not compatible with environments wars usually occur in.

The largest reason for LO has been advances in composite structuring as well as the relative ease of using simple geometric principles to reduce RCS values. That said - countries pursuing their own LO airframes have often made considerable sacrifices for the sake of practicality and maintainability. The PAK-FA/T-50, for example, makes a number of sacrifices regarding IR emissions and radar returns off of its exhaust manifolds. It also incorporates canted vertical stabilizers along with horizontal stabilizers - a choice shared by Lockheed in their design of the F-22 but rejected by the design of the F-23.


Ever since Desert Storm, people started to realize that "this stealth s**t really works!"


When you use it right. Considerable planning goes into utilizing our former F-117 force and our B-2 force. It requires very thorough intel analysis that allows precise navigation planning to maintain the illusion of there not being an aircraft on a bombing run.

The ATF and other concepts to develop strike platforms to replace the F-15E / F/B-111 were a blend of survivability by performance and survivability by illusion. They were to be the practical implements of LO technology that allowed you to utilize it tactically as opposed to strategically.

And that's the part that many people don't understand. LO is, largely, a strategic asset. It's why the military has been largely opposed to the F-35 from the beginning. Not that politicians will ever start listening to the people who really know what's up.
edit on 24-7-2012 by Aim64C because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 27 2012 @ 03:54 PM
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reply to post by Aim64C
 


LO is over rated and missiles have more and more processing and more advanced detectors which reveal/lock on to the target.

we should buy more F-16's instead.


RAB

posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 04:24 AM
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This isn't over yet, in fact it looks like it's just getting odd..

"In remarks on 19 July in the United States, Hammond said the UK would order 48 F-35Bs to equip the UK's future carrier strike force. He added that a follow-on F-35 buy would be set out in a future Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), with the aim of replacing the Eurofighter Typhoon in UK service."

www.janes.com...

I cannot see the point in replacing the Typhoon with the F35C, unless the plan is to buy the F35C instead of the 3rd buy of the Typhoon.. But still I'm missing the point :-(






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