But where are the melting flight decks

349

The F35B is making progress on its trial programme and some of the more grandiose claims of its general crapness being slowly knocked off one by one.

I still think the F35B is the most sensible and pragmatic choice for the UK for a sustainale aircraft fleet with location flexibility, a lower overall cost across the joint force and we will rue the day we made the switch to CTOL but that ship has sailed and we are now running around like blue arse flies wondering how much it will all cost beyond the back of a fag packet claculations we did prior to SDSR.

F-35B test aircraft completes its first landing aboard USS Wasp

 

H/T Paul G

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Salvador

Sorry TD can’t agree, IMHO we are well rid if this abortion. I am not saying the C version is ideal either but it is way better than than then version.

I would still like to see the Harrier flown off a UK LPHD as well as a conventional carrier.

How about selling the QE class to the Indians along with a Sea Typhoon and use the proceeds to build to decent carriers?

Phil
Phil

Why would you want this thing over the C version? It has less range, less payload, less performance, is more complex and would have in practice, operated from exactly the same bases and carriers as the more powerful C version.

I’m glad this thing died for the RAF/FAA.

VSTOL really is a pretty pointless thing on a fixed wing aircraft.

Yes on paper there are a few justifications re basing and ships but in practise few of them are realised, especially since the end of the Cold War. And I wonder just how dispersed the Harrier fleet could have been AND have maintained a sortie rate higher than operating CTOL a/c from smaller, defended and hardened bases like the USAFE A10 fleet.

You seem to get not much more utility for a great cost in capability.

And if someone mentions the bloody Falklands!

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

I did post a link to this on the open thread but to be fair the video is better!

I agree with TD, the basing options of STOVL aircraft make up for any individual extra cost or less capability; D K Brown in Future British Surface Fleet was quite disparaging about the (Sea) Harrier but wanted to maximise its main strength by including landing decks/ski-jumps through out the fleet.

steve taylor
steve taylor

Solomon has some pic’s over at his site.

Wonderful stuff.

Phil
Phil

“I agree with TD, the basing options of STOVL aircraft make up for any individual extra cost or less capability”

When have they EVER been used in real life other than on a carrier? And they were going to operate from the same carrier anyway but with reduced performance. On paper the options seem attractive but they are never used in practise and do not justify the loss in capability. These things will be able to go EVERYWHERE the B model, in practise, ever would, with increased payload and performance and less complexity.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

@ Phil – Individually they are less capable and expensive but if take the holistic view including extra costs of CATOBAR carriers, crew, buddy refuelling, etc, they should end up being cheaper than the C.

I’m also more optimistic than you that they would have been used in basic forward bases.

Salvador

Let’s see the flight deck after several hours of F35b landings. Still not convinced this bloody thing does not destroy everything it lands on!

Paul R
Paul R

I think we made the right choice going with the C Version, no how much I hate the F35. Its hard for the MOD to stomach spending for an aircraft, let alone pay for a version which quite frankly isn’t doing so well.

While over its life time there will be improvements, currently it runs too hot, range is lower. I don’t expect it to melt the deck, they should know by now, they’ve done ground tests.

I wonder if they’ve sorted out the general engine problems.

Phil
Phil

“I’m also more optimistic than you that they would have been used in basic forward bases”

Harrier across the RAF and USMC, to my knowledge has been used from a forward operating base on operations precisely once, in San Carlos. But if we had been operating higher performance fixed wing aircraft there would have been no need for that base.

It’s a neat trick but other CTOL a/c can operate from austere airbases and strips of road without the loss of performance. In practise, the C will be able to go everywhere the B can.

I just don’t see the point in paying for sub optimal aircraft for the frankly faddish trick of VSTOL. It was a pretty pointless exercise even in the Cold War.

Mark
Mark

we simply cant tell if this a/c will have an adverse affect on the deck from this landing this would not have been the most demanding case to be tested. We also dont know what mods were done to the wasp for these test.

While vstol has some advantages in some unique cases they are in the round not relevant to the UK. Across the balance of capabilities fielded by the UK the C versions offers the best compromise. We see again from the nato lessons learned in libya that aar capabilty was sadly lacking in european inventories and most likely affected operations there more than has been publicized. This will only get worse also with the reduced buy likely in RAF/RN service it makes sense to get maximum range and payload capacity out of each a/c.

The B versions remains the most technically challenging and comprised version but is often quoted as being the cheapest all round option. While indeed the carrier conversion may add 600-800 to its price this would be instead compensated with the reduced price of the engine a 5m difference saves 500m from say 110 engines (you need more engines than planes over its life). Then we have training. I would add a note of caution here dont try and compare this a/c training requirement with previous ones. Why simulators will play a much greater role and indeed the care free nature of this a/c will be a step up as is the reason for no 2 seater trainer. Also the recover mode the uk wanted to use for the B version will have required more training than typical harrier ops the difference will be less than imagined.

S O
S O

“@ Phil – Individually they are less capable and expensive but if take the holistic view including extra costs of CATOBAR carriers, crew, buddy refuelling, etc, they should end up being cheaper than the C.”

How is that? C has more range, thus LESS need for (buddy-buddy) refuelling in the air.
C requires also less maintenance due to less tech, thus requiring LESS maintenance crew.

Jack
Jack

@ S O

The switch to the C meant that blue water operations on the Carriers become more risky as a catobar requires a better sea state to land than a VSTOL aircraft. A pitching deck is less of a problem when landing vertically rather than trying to catch a cable. Therefore, to mitigate against this risk you need an organic air to air refueling capability to ensure that your airborne assets that are boltering (missing the cables) in bad weather can get fuel and try again rather than ditching. With the B model the RN would not have required organic tankers as it’s not as high a risk.

The USN do what is called ‘buddy buddy tanking’ ie, they get an F18 with fueling pods airborne to refuel the other F18s. They will still use F18 to refuel F35s as the F35 will not have the buddy buddy tanking capability. Therefore, as we are now getting the C model, we now need a carrier based tanking capability in order to use it in the same sea states as we would have used the B model in.

paul g

@ jack, hear what your saying, but wasn’t there some clause in the air tanker contract stating that ALL air to air refueling will be done by the PTSA team.
I bet they would push that, not to do the refueling, but squeeze some pennies out of the MOD to change the terms of the contract.

Brian Black
Brian Black

The deck was never going to melt, but the high temperature on landing may, over time, cause metal fatigue. It’s a real problem encountered with the use of Osprey and something that needs to be managed, and is one of the cost unknowns associated with the F35B.
Buddy refueling didn’t matter before we ditched the B, and doesn’t matter to the US as they have that covered already. It’s not an insurmountable problem, but is one of the cost unknowns associated with the UK’s F35C.
No one knows which of these will be cheaper for the UK, and I expect that in 10 years time we still won’t.

SpazSinbad
SpazSinbad

Mark said: “…We also dont know what mods were done to the wasp for these test….” Amy Butler enquired to get this response: “…DellaVedova says that no special matting or coatings have been put down for the F-35B’s shipboard trials. The only items added to the deck are sensors that are used to collect test data, he says.”
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&newspaperUserId=27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7&plckPostId=Blog%3a27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3ad957b620-82bf-4b0c-aa36-c440b0703b94&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest

SpazSinbad
SpazSinbad

Mark also said: “…Why simulators will play a much greater role and indeed the care free nature of this a/c will be a step up as is the reason for no 2 seater trainer. Also the recover mode the uk wanted to use for the B version will have required more training… (not certain what last phrase was about).”

There are many quotes from real test pilots without – any Harrier experience – saying that making a vertical landing in the F-35B was easier than they thought. Of course they had extensive time in the simulator, as will all new F-35 pilots.

The SRVL would have been relatively simple also given the F-35B control via computer, as simple as the VL but will probably will never know about the SRVL unless the USMC are allowed to take it to a CVN for trials. Perhaps this will happen with USMC F-35Bs aboard a CVF instead? Maybe the two RN F-35Bs will be used one day for that purpose?

SpazSinbad
SpazSinbad

Add ‘Bedford Array installed on CVF’ to comment about ‘ease of SRVL on CVF’ immediately above.

SpazSinbad
SpazSinbad

I’m not able to verify this quote from a recent October 2011? issue of ‘Aviation Week’ magazine, that may be of interest?

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&newspaperUserId=27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7&plckPostId=Blog%3a27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3ad957b620-82bf-4b0c-aa36-c440b0703b94&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest

“Tasks also included evaluations of two areas of potential concern to F-35B shipboard operations: measurement of the impact of the hot exhaust on the landing pad and deck environment, and hot gas ingestion into the inlet. Vertical landings at Pax River have been conducted on two pads made from standard extruded AM-2 aluminum-tile mats measuring 120 ft. and 150 ft. square, respectively.

We’ve been recording the points on the pad where the nozzle is pointed and, after initial landings, removed the specific tile and tested it for strength. There was no loss of strength, Wilson says. Now we’re waiting for 10 vertical landings on one specific tile before we do the next strength test. As of late September, fewer than half of the required number of landings on the particular tile had occurred. Overall, results of the testing to-date give no cause for concern for AM-2 compatibility, Wilson says.

Additionally, ground personnel have gradually moved closer to the pad for each vertical landing, as part of systematic efforts to determine the safest proximity to the touchdown area. Wilson says that so far these tests indicate safe distances similar to those of current Harrier operations.”

SpazSinbad
SpazSinbad

Confirmation of last AvWeek quote above is from:
‘Vertical Validation’ by Guy Norris/Los Angeles
Aviation Week & Space Technology/October 3, 2011 top of page 31

SpazSinbad
SpazSinbad

Same article has mention of how easy it is for pilots to transition to the F-35B with details about hover abilities etc.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Hi Mark,

I agree with your overall argument, but let’s be clear: this ” indeed the carrier conversion may add 600-800 to its price” is per carrier
– assuming that both will be converted, as has been hinted, but the timing for the 2nd conversion still very much in the mist
– the reason why I believe the F35s will be purchased in two batches, far apart in timing

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

I hope the RAF/ FAA distinction will get us over this one: ” wasn’t there some clause in the air tanker contract stating that ALL air to air refueling will be done by the PTSA team.”

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

If the “B” is ditched…
“No one knows which of these will be cheaper for the UK, and I expect that in 10 years time we still won’t.”

Mark
Mark

Acc

Yeah ino but when you add the extra maintenance cost the for b goes up further. I would add the 800m may also include the engineering work require to fit the extra equipment it may not be just the purchase cost the cost for the second set maybe lower we don’t know yet.

Buddy buddy I wonder how often the French use it. Will uk carriers operate away from land base aar cover considering the range of a330 I think the risk would be manageable.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Mark, as said we agree on the broad point.

800 is probably the figure for the first one. Getting the 2nd set cheaper is possible, but it will be put in through a refit so the increased structural works will be a counterweight to that.
– funnily enough, when the Parlimentarians on the Defence Committee suggested that 800 might be the best guess, the MoD side went: oohh, don’t recognise that number

A330s aren’t supersonic so even if the range in theory might suffice, getting them there when needed is another matter.

Mark
Mark

You would pre position a tanker during take offs and landings to a race track close to the carrier. Even in current operations tanker a/c would deploy first. Fitting a aar pod to the f35 centre line or wet wing station is no more difficult than integrate a weapon. This is not exactly an urgent day 1 carrier operation capability requirement

mikezeroone

The french use buddy tanking an aweful lot, actually, on both Super Etendard and Rafale…

I just like how its a nice clear ships’ deck, nice sunny day when the ships not moving nor rolling…then the bigger challenge for the B’s sea trials begins. Its got a fair way to go yet.

I am not sure, B or C – C has the greater capability but B was what we chose after a good deal of *thinking* about it, the C decision was more rash and quick… The B’s lesser capabilities I think will actually limit the USMC.

As for tankers, I once suggested to gabs finding surplus E2 airframes, gutting them and useing them as tanker/COD (the C2 airframes are too precious to the USN)…would have commonality if we bought a couple of E3D’s for carrier AEW work.
But thats just musings, no idea on cost.

Mark
Mark

Mike

French use buddy buddy for as tankers for actual missions I’m getting at how often is it used for missed traps. Has it become less due to improvement in a/c and ship glide slope control systems ect. The thinking about the b had more to do with we need a harrier replacement only.

Gabriele
Gabriele

“The deck was never going to melt, but the high temperature on landing may, over time, cause metal fatigue.”

Not sure if it never was going to melt.
Even Jet Blast Deflectors with the F35C caused worry, as it was feared, prior to trials, that they would melt too. It is a very real issue.

Also, i must note that in the video it is pretty much evident that part of the LHD deck, where the landing happens, has been newly coated. We can’t know what kind of coating has been used. It might well be special coating designed for F35B stress.

“Buddy buddy I wonder how often the French use it.”

They made at least 280 Rafale buddy-buddy sorties from CdG during ops over Libya.
Some 1350 sorties from the carrier, say… 0.25 tanker sorties per general sortie.

“wasn’t there some clause in the air tanker contract stating that ALL air to air refueling will be done by the PTSA team.”

I’ve read that as well on here more than once. But reading into the NAO report over the FSTA (not read it all yet, but most of it) there’s no sign of that.

I’ve instead found an interesting bit: if the MOD charters civilian planes for an airbridge instead of using the FSTA tankers, it will have to pay 300 pounds for each chartered hour on the ground and 8000 pounds for each flying hour.

Just to give an idea, the MOD has chartered flights for 175 million pounds between 2006 and 2008 to sustain Afghan ops.

In the contract bit there are non-specified exception.
I hope that chartered flights used IN ADDITION to FSTA are not subject to penalties.

Otherwise, in case of ops abroad the MOD is going to be drained up by them.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Hi Mike,

What I can’t understand is that when the French have enough Rafale Ms to fill the CdG twice over, they still use Super Etendards. Are there versions that still don’t exist, like recce? I thought that is all pretty much “podded” these days.

Onto B & C; I have always had a suspicion that there was horse trading re: the second (R&R) engine and UK support for the USMC version. Actually limit USMC? I would not say so – what would they do with their “Americas” without the B. That (forget how many of them) is a sunk cost, and an investment that was very much predicated to the capabilities [to be] brought to it by the “B”.

Finally, I think someone was in the know that those E2s, even though “flyable”, had already too many carrier take-off and landing cycles behind them (premature airframe fatigue?).

Brian Black
Brian Black

It would seem unfortunate if we had to tie up a couple of the dozen sparkly new and super expensive embarked F35 to cover refueling.
But by 2020 the US might have converted the new Hawkeye airframe for Greyhounds and, as Mike said, a COD/tanker might be an option.

The USN will also have been operating X47b for a few years, and I believe that is meant to get a refueling ability. And surely it’s not beyond UK & French boffins to knock up a robot tanker, far simpler than a UAV strike fighter I assume.

DominicJ
DominicJ

ACC
The French still want a second Carrier

Mark
Mark

Gabby

How many buddy buddys for a missed trap were in those numbers.

Brian

X47 is due 2020 possibility later if it’s selected after the fly off in a few years time. But if the tech is there to land a Uav on a carrier deck the its there to land a manned a/c no requirement for buddy buddy for a missed trap

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Hi DJ,
– we want our 2nd/ 3rd carrier (but put the 1st one off by a considerable number of years)
– India wants 5 (Hermes is the only operational one, and in her mid-50’s)
– Russia wants about that number (but their one should already be birthed up for a lengthy refit?)
– America wants 12 (but might end up with 9?)

Yes, “want” is one thing

DominicJ
DominicJ

ACC
But the French actualy intend to get a second operational carrier.
Either that, or sell us the Rafales, but I’m pretty sure they want to build more rather than offload the current lot.

Whereas India having 5 is laughable.
Russia can have a carrier when it ceases to be laughably poor and has a warm water port the thing could live in.
The US could drop below 9 without much drama, even fighting a two front war,

DominicJ
DominicJ

Regarding missed trap refuels

If you cant land, can you take off?
I would assume both were equaly difficult?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Hi DJ,

Wrong “I would assume both were equally difficult?”

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Hi DJ,

“Whereas India having 5 is laughable”
– well, they are trying very hard (and paying big bucks to Russia/ Ukraine
– the last I read was 9 operational Harriers; the LCA(N) flew for the first time in July?

Mig 29K are training, but off land bases

Russia can have a carrier when it ceases to be laughably poor and has a warm water port the thing could live in
– where is the oil price headed
– they got Sevastapol to 2040 (part of the energy black mail?)
– there is another port in Abkhazia; look it up

Brian Black
Brian Black

Hi, Mark.

X47b should see ship launch and recovery in 2013 in the UCAS-Demonstration part of the Naval-UCAS programme; but I don’t think it will be a fly-off. The only other class competitor would have been a naval version of Phantom Ray, but I think that Boeing have shelved that idea in favour of steering the tech towards winning the USAF’s next bomber.

The X47b is obviously not the be-all and end-all of Navy UAV’s, but it will help the US develop the technology and the operational concepts further; and the point I was trying to make is that unmanned platforms can begin to do these kind of ancillary tasks in the quite near future, and even if using manned tankers a scarce F35 might not be the optimum aircraft for that task.

I agree with what you’re saying about the tech cutting out missed landings and negating the need for buddy refueling for that particular reason – F18 has already done manned but hands-off landings – but it will still be a useful capability to have.

Being able to routinely top off jets after take off, or to deal with contingencies would be worthwhile capability. We should also consider the limits on concurrent launch and recovery, and consider the ideas that we have for using our ships as combined CV/LPH; these will put extra demands on the deck area despite the small number of F35 likely to be routinely embarked.

We may quickly find that buddy refueling, or dedicated tankers, are essential to carry out the rate and scope of air operations that we desire.

Mark
Mark

Domj

On take off the the f14 the pilot flys the take off. Next generation along the hornet the pilot is hands off for takeoff. We’ve had a hornet do a demo in benign conditions simulating a Uav return to a carrier. Next along f35 what improvements here. The assumption that nothing has will improve in this area is IMO simple not accurate.What I’m getting at is If it was 1 in 20 landing need to visit the tanker with older a/c is it 1 in 100 now or more or will it be 1 in a 1000 tomorrow. Using a buddy buddy is often quoted as vital for cat an trap but with the advancement of technology there will be a point where it’s so unlikely it’s not done

DominicJ
DominicJ

ACC
Fair enough regarding landing/taking off.

A port in the Black Sea is bloody useless too. To go anywhere it will have to travel through Constantinople and either Suez or Gibralter. Thats concievably 6 nations (Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Morocco, Spain, UK) who could all sink it with ease.

Mark
Thats not reassuring.
If 1 in 1000 Sorties require a tanker, and you dont have one, we’d go through jets at an alarming rate.
Using Gabrieles CdG/Libya ops, 1350 flights, 280 tankers, so scratch them, but thats still statisticly one plane ditched in the Med for lack of fuel and inability to land.

Mark
Mark

Those were numbers I’m making up dom It what I’m asking what is the percentage of missed approaches to have to go to tanker. The French use buddy buddy instead of aar tankers due to a lack of such assets.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Hi DJ,

A bit of a problem, since the days of Peter the Great:
“A port in the Black Sea is bloody useless too. To go anywhere it will have to travel through Constantinople and either Suez or Gibralter. Thats concievably 6 nations (Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Morocco, Spain, UK) who could all sink it with ease.”
— put it with the Northern Fleet, and no power projection
–put it in the Baltic Fleet and no useful purpose, whatsoever
— put it in the Far East Fleet, and no useful purpose (even Vietnam does not care much about seeing a Russian flag)
— so for power projection, only the Black Sea will do… with all those problems you listed

Interestingly, Latakia has been a base since the 60’s; there is a rumour that another one in the Indian Ocean might be in the works (it used to be Socotra, but not since the Yemeni Union doing away with the two Yemens)

Paul R
Paul R

http://www.dodbuzz.com/2011/10/05/so-far-f-35b-performing-at-sea-as-advertised/

The above blog has posted a large picture of USS Wasp,
For some strange reason half the deck is grey and the other half black!

So they’re clearly working with new surfaces.

DominicJ
DominicJ

TD
A single landing does not sustainable capability prove.
It was never going to be impossible, but is it cheap? Is it sructuraly easy? Is it long lasting.

RW
RW

TD

ONCE and forever

Who are the MOD now recruiting? And what have they never had at sufficient competence, numbers or seniority – people who understand costs

As we move to a point of 2.7: 1 military to civilian in the MOD, but, finally with the possibility of firing those who deliver out of cost projects, costers will be taken more seriously.

This does not imply that there will be any more people in the MOD who understand costs, just more who have costing as their job description

The fact that in the past the MOD had routinely concluded that any event had a particular cost outcome should inform us that, based on all the evidence, the actual cost outcome would be something very different

TD You can’t have it both ways. Either the MOD are useless on costs or they’re not, but if you hold to your faith in their F35B costs it’s time you stopped criticising them on costing other things

Gabriele
Gabriele

“How many buddy buddys for a missed trap were in those numbers.”

The data that the French released is not this specific, but i’d assume that many buddy-buddy sorties might have been actually used to extend range of recce and strike sorties. There was a short period in which CdG experienced some rough sea during ops: that’s the period in which i eventually expect buddy-buddy to have served planes bolting.

But bolting isn’t that frequent. And i’d willing to bet that a good bit of Buddy-Buddy tanker sorties actually did not transfer fuel at all. Wouldn’t be a surprise.

“A single landing does not sustainable capability prove.
It was never going to be impossible, but is it cheap? Is it sructuraly easy? Is it long lasting.”

Good questions.
I’m also always waiting for explanations of how the F35B can possibly cost less to maintain when it adds to the standard engine a whole lot of other systems, from:

ports and air intakes
Wing VTOL thrusters
The VTOL nozzle
The transmission linking the F135 engine and the Cold Lift Fan
The cold lift fan itself

And other bits.

There is no way in hell that all this isn’t going to add hours of additional mainteinance and requiring a far larger range of spares.

“After a decade or more of extremely detailed study, I wonder what really promopted the switch”

FOAS being killed and a dedicate Tornado replacement being not possible.
The F35C became more and more requested ever since 2005, when FOAS died and F35B struggled with all sorts of issues popping up, included failure in the projected landing and take off distances against requirements, mission range and Bring Back weight.

“There are many quotes from real test pilots without – any Harrier experience – saying that making a vertical landing in the F-35B was easier than they thought. Of course they had extensive time in the simulator, as will all new F-35 pilots.”

On the simulators, there was on TV a non-trained journalist (or was it a visiting minister, i cannot remember) landing an F35C on a simulated CATOBAR CVF at the second try.
I would be very, very, very careful about this kind of declarations.

Especially when the US Marines are trying to show Congress lots of progress to ensure the B variant survives at the end of the famous two-years probation time imposed by Robby Gates.

Brian Black
Brian Black

Dom, ACC. Forget the Black Sea, instead of shutting down Plymouth or Portsmouth we should invite our Russian comrades in. Offer them a 20 year lease, they can pay in gas.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Not far off, if you think where the world is going.
– the Russians tried to buy Iceland at the height of their liquidity crisis (Roosevelt simply sent 4000 Marines).

Why did the Russians agree so readily with the Norwegians? On their own, they have no off-shore technology. The Seven Sisters have gone down in numbers, and also in stature, and because the oil & gas has been defined a strategic (state-owned) sector in Russia, they actually prefer state-on-state transactions… StatOil; the clue is in the name

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

@ TD – could this article explain the switch from B to C?:

http://www.defpro.com/daily/details/397/

The logic of STOVL is merger of FAA into RAF but role of RAF changes to something similar to US Marine aviation? C version means two separate large services/aircraft fleets?

SpazSinbad
SpazSinbad

Gabriele said: “…Not sure if it never was going to melt. Even Jet Blast Deflectors with the F35C caused worry, as it was feared, prior to trials, that they would melt too. It is a very real issue….”

‘Down to the Wire’ by Amy Butler
Aviation Week & Space Technology/October 3, 2011

“…The F-35 test team, including the U.S. Navy, conducted jet-blast deflector trials to assess the impact of catapult launches on the deflectors, which shield the ship and other aircmft from hot exhaust. Burbage says no changes to the deflectors are required to introduce the F-35C into the carrier-based fleet. The F-35C will begin testing on an aircraft carrier in the spring of 2013, he says….”

SpazSinbad
SpazSinbad

Gabriele mentions my statement: [“There are many quotes from real test pilots without – any Harrier experience – saying that making a vertical landing in the F-35B was easier than they thought. Of course they had extensive time in the simulator, as will all new F-35 pilots.”]
Then Gabriele says:
“On the simulators, there was on TV a non-trained journalist (or was it a visiting minister, i cannot remember) landing an F35C on a simulated CATOBAR CVF at the second try. I would be very, very, very careful about this kind of declarations.”

Please – give me a break – I’m not referring to anyone other than ‘real test pilots’ OK? For example onesuch quote from the ‘Vertical Validation’ article mentioned earlier:

“…Beesley’s flight in the second F-35B, BF-2, on Jan. 19 marked the first vertical landing achieved by a non-Harrier-trained pilot. In addition, at least one other pilot in the initial cadre did not have legacy Harrier experience. However Wilson says ab initio conversion training for hovering and vertical landing qualification took as little as half a day, compared to “at least” three times that for the Harrier….”

I can dig up a lot of other F-35 TEST PILOT quotes and why it is much, much easier to fly the F-35B compared to the Harrier family in ‘vertical landing mode’ or whatever if required.

IXION

TD.

One swallow doesn’t make a blow job.

I do not know what F35b team have done since RR’s tests in the early 80’s pointed towards problems (surmountable ones but still problems) with deck materials. But obviously they have got an at least partial solution.

Now we only have to fix the engine relaibility, qualify Stovl opperations/ stabiltiy with weapons, and loose about a ton in weight and were home and dry…

F35 B is not out of the woods yet.

SpazSinbad
SpazSinbad

From same ‘Vertical Validation’ article above here is a quote about how easy to fly the F-35B can be on a scale and a reason why this is so: [after more than 150 real vertical landings – not simulated]

“…Testing has also focused on the translational rate command (TRC) mode, which in the hover allows the pilot to make small positional corrections and which brings the aircraft to a standstill if the pilot releases the controls. “It is used to capture the current longitudinal groundspeed and is important for precise positioning in shipboard operations,” says Wilson.

On the Cooper-Harper rating scale used by test pilots to evaluate handling characteristics, pilots gave an average rating of 1.77 for descent and 2.28 for landing in baseline vertical-landing mode. For the TRC mode, pilots rated descent at 1.52 and landing at 2.04. The scale ranges from 1 to 9, with 1 representing excellent characteristics and a low workload task and 9 representing major deficiencies and intense pilot compensation required to maintain control….”

Bergendale
Bergendale

I am almost certain that the F35C will in turn be ditched by the government in favour for the F18E. The eventual unit cost will be simply too high for an aircraft that will offer only marginal stealth capability advancements when compared to the much cheaper F18E. The F18E being more capable than the F35C in so many other ways.

Phil
Phil

F35 is a lot more than stealth mate. If half the sensors on that thing work half has as well as they say it is light years ahead of anything in the air right now and in the immediate future. Have you seen the cockpits and the target acquisition capabilities? Everyone bangs on about the exciting stuff like engines, speed, payload, etc but the target acquisition and sensor package is game changing when coupled with the latest package of RAF A2G munitions.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

Information Dissemination’s defence of the F-35B; obviously from a US perspective but still interesting; check out the link to the WPR column:

http://www.informationdissemination.net/2011/10/f-35b.html

Gabriele
Gabriele

http://www.defpro.com/daily/details/397/

“With attention being increasingly focused on global contingences, air forces that are incapable of worldwide power projection missions – that is, everybody except the USAF – risk being reduced to a second rank role in ensuring defence of the national airspace against increasingly unlikely threats, while army, navy (including naval aviation when available) and amphibious assets become the nation’s strategic spearhead. This being clearly not acceptable, the only way out consists of either piggy-backing on US-led coalitions, whereby air bases abroad and air refuelling assets to get there will conveniently become available courtesy of Big Brother – or, ensuring a passage for the air force’s aircraft onboard the navy’s carriers, supplementing and then effectively “elbowing out” naval aviation planes.”

Like, spot on.

20 years of piggy-backing by deploying handful of planes in support of US operations (most of which, including Afghanistan, have seen carrierborne aviation having the lion’s share of the work) has allowed the RAF to say they are “deployable” and get into carrier business, progressively elbowing the FAA out of its own role.

Never read a clearer description of it.

“F35 is a lot more than stealth mate. If half the sensors on that thing work half has as well as they say it is light years ahead of anything in the air right now and in the immediate future. Have you seen the cockpits and the target acquisition capabilities? Everyone bangs on about the exciting stuff like engines, speed, payload, etc but the target acquisition and sensor package is game changing when coupled with the latest package of RAF A2G munitions.”

Indeed, the sensors of the F35 are the only thing that really makes me say that we need it.
Certainly not the stealth, which i think is not indispensable and, moreover, not as magic as they sell it.
Wasn’t for the sensors, i’d have no doubts in calling for Super Hornets instead of JSF.

“I can dig up a lot of other F-35 TEST PILOT quotes and why it is much, much easier to fly the F-35B compared to the Harrier family in ‘vertical landing mode’ or whatever if required.”

Well, i can bet right now that test pilots in 2013 will say that the F35C lands on carriers twice as easily as an F18.
You can bet that’s exactly what will be said. And it is likely to be true anyway, due to progress of avionics: much of what a pilot has to do in the Harrier and F18, will be done by computers in the F35.
Nothing strange here.

I’d also like to remind people that this year a modified F18 landed on an aircraft carrier successfully without the pilot doing a thing at all.

So, we are not going too far with this reasoning.
We only know that the F35B is still projected to cost up to 25% more in its life cycle, and that the Lift System rises engine cost from 15 to 32 million dollars, adding a whole new load of spares and parts to the list as well.

Dominicj
Dominicj

didnt the f35s sensor suite get gutted for budgetary reasons?

Mark
Mark

Domj

No.( extra text added to allow post)

the mintcake maker
the mintcake maker

Hi guys

Just read this in another forum and thought id post it in here. (TD you can move it to a more appropriate thread if you like as I don’t want to turn this into another CVF saga thread)

“Navy planners anticipate using EMALS on all future American carriers, and the Royal Navy has ordered a pair for HMS Prince of Wales, the British supercarrier anticipated to be in service by the early 2020s carrying F-35 strike fighters.”

This was taken from the second page of this article:
http://www.app.com/article/20110927/NJNEWS/309270121/Navy-s-new-electromagnetic-catapult-real-smooth-

Did I miss the memo about PoW getting cats “n” traps (even though I personally think it will happen this way round, rather than QE first) or do they know something we all don’t?

Jack
Jack

I’d just like to steer the debate regards organic tanking a tad bit… You can not, I say again, CAN NOT rely on land based tankers! Somebody up there mentioned the a330s range…doesnt make bugger all difference when your at bingo fuel and have fuel for one more approach and the tanker’s 3 hours flight time away! And no, you can’t pre position it, then the entire carrier strike capability is limited to operating with a land based diversion or at the whim of the Tanker’s programmer! Bonkers idea! Think about it, if you’re just going to rely on land based tankers or land divs then there’s no point in doing from a ship…then ALL the benefits of carrier strike go out the window! Trust me, to do CATOBAR carrier ops properly, and by that I mean getting the most out of what is arguably the most capable and flexible air power projection tool there is, then you need organic tanking! But don’t mention COD (carrier on-board delivery) just yet! We’ll wait until Christmas to tell everyone that we really need that as well…..

Jack
Jack

Answer to post above…QE is entering service in 2016 as LPH then PoW in 2020 as strike with cats n traps. QE then, depending on economic and global situation, gets cats n traps in refit/put in reserve/sold. Also, F35 will be a phased purchase over about 15years (all on f35 website) with 6 being available to operate from PoW in 2020 then more and more being purchased and introduced into service over the 15 odd year process.

Gabriele
Gabriele

“Also, F35 will be a phased purchase over about 15years (all on f35 website)”

Sadly, no.
Ever since PR10, the MOD plans to end orders of the F35 in 2023 instead of 2027.
There will be time to order, at most, 80 airplanes with the new schedule.

Which, anyway, wouldn’t be bad, as that is a 4-squadrons fleet.
Ideally, we’d need 5 frontline squadrons, due to Harmony Guidelines and subsequent deployability and availability issue. All manned fleets (unless guidelines change) should be based on 5 units.

And then someone will also have to find a way to tell RAF crews to sail and return with the ship.
It’ll embarrassing to have an aircraft carrier at sea for 6 – 9 months and planes embarked only for 4 months… Or two squadrons changing during the same cruise, with related problems in getting the crews off and on board, and getting them ready to operate and acclimated to the ship and ops.

But don’t tell this too loud, or they’ll say that you hate the RAF.

DominicJ
DominicJ

Mark
Maybe it was the F22, but I’m sure the 35 now has one radar, and it was supposed to have three

Mark
Mark

Jack

The a330 can do over 2hrs tanking transfering 62tn of fuel at over 1000nm from base. What exactly will it be attacking if its over 1000nm from land without land based tanker support? Other than a rerun of the falklands I cant see a operation that would take place beyond those limits
It may not be totally ideal but then nothing ever is at most what are talking anyway 2 buddy buddy pods per carrier.

The benefit of carrier strike is it allows you to position your shortest ranged assets as close to the target as possible. Most countries in politically sensitive areas find it difficult to accept strike a/c on there soil having a carrier stops that problem form developing.

gabby

“There will be time to order, at most, 80 airplanes with the new schedule.”

between 2015-2023 why would this be the case? we have total flexibility to order as many as we want in that time frame. The numbers will all depend on how quick the tornado ramps down how much the typhoon force will come down.

DomJ

It maybe the next generation jammer pod that growler and f35 I think some changes may taken place with it.

steve taylor
steve taylor

@ Jack re tanking

The choir hears you matey! :) ;)

Gabriele
Gabriele

“Maybe it was the F22, but I’m sure the 35 now has one radar, and it was supposed to have three”

Negative, it was the F22 which had to receive two additional AESA arrays on the flanks. It also had to have an IRST. Both were cancelled to save money.

The bit about F35 degraded performances that you think to remember might be tied – just guessing – to hearing about the fact that the F35 radar derives from the F22’s one, but has less Transmitting/Receiver units, and thus an inferior detection range.
But that was always going to be that way, it is not a cut that’s been imposed now or something.

“between 2015-2023 why would this be the case? we have total flexibility to order as many as we want in that time frame. The numbers will all depend on how quick the tornado ramps down how much the typhoon force will come down.”

Not really. Production slots in the F35 timeline aren’t allocated that freely. There are multinational Memorandum of Understandings (the last one was in 2009, waiting for an updated one…) deciding which slot goes to who.

Ordering more by 2023, besides, would require more money the Uk has not.

Again, placing orders now is not convenient as cost is bound to get lower later, not early in the production phase.

Again, the definitive Block 3 software will only be available in 2016 at the earliest, so the planes ordered before will have an interim software suite to be updated later. Inexorably, this has an operational and financial cost.
So arguably ordering more now would not be real smart either way.

Last, i’d say that – ideally – the progress of Typhoon and F35 will dictate the out of service dates of Tornado GR4, not the other way around.

Expect the 5 Tornado squadrons to be down to 3 by 2017 (or earlier) as the last 2 Typhoon squadrons stand up, for example.

By 2020, the UK according to current planes should have around 18 operational F35.
IOC for land ops should be reached, with 6 planes, in 2018.

At sea IOC, again with 6 planes (at readiness level 2, ready to embark in 2-5 days notice), is planned for 2020.

As late as 2010, in the last (so far) Major Projects Report, the Full Service Capability for F35 was “36 planes at -unspecified- readiness” for embarking on the strike carrier.

A target which should be retained, but that depending on the extension of the Readiness level, will mean n or N planes to be acquired.

Mark
Mark

Gabby

there is production slots avail over an above those currently allocated in case addition customers want a/c. Even assuming we take a single slot a month between 2018 and 2023 we could have an additional 60 a/c over and above what weve already agreed to there is no production issue.

Money is the only issue we have no idea what the budget will look like at that time its simply too far ahead.

Also when considering bolters and the requirement for buddy buddy tankers remember the F35C on internal fuel could conduct any mission currently undertaken by a super hornet and return to the carrier with over 150nm worth of fuel. That should equate to a significant number of circuits and goes at landing if they so choose.

Chris.B

Not that we really need to get into this again but I’m a sucker for punishment…..

— I’m always amused by the Afghanistan argument for bashing air forces. One of the most common reasons cited to dispose of the RAF and the USAF is that they relying on basing and over flight rights. Now tell me, without the permission of Pakistan (and assuming reasonably that Iran and China wouldn’t permit over flight), how would US carrier aircraft get to Afghanistan? And before anyone says “well, that’s one example…” you chose it. You’re using Afghanistan to argue that case, so you can answer the question to.

— British tanker aircraft operating in both the first and second gulf wars provided about 40% (it depends whose numbers you look at) of their fuel to whom? That’s right, the US Navy and Marine corps. The vast majority of the tanking was done by the US air force. Still, the point is that the myth of US navy aircraft roaring around without any support from land is just that, it’s a myth.

— I’m getting sick and tired of the harmony guidelines argument. Why? Because it has been proven that the RAF and Army have seen significant breaches of their guidelines to meet operational needs. If the RAF did indeed have to fly from Carriers, the chances are they would stick with the carrier for the whole tour, not jump off for the last two months. The only service that doesn’t show any real breach of its guidelines is the Navy, where the Submarine service is the only real component that has seen many breaches. The guidelines are just that, guides, not rules. This argument has been trashed thoroughly at least three or four times now, please stop using it.

— The F-35 radar is derived from the F-22, but it’s an upgrade, not a down grade. On the test bed aircraft, F-35’s radar has shown the ability to detect and jam that of the F-22. I’d say that’s an advancement.

— There is no question that the F-35 will be better than the F-18. The expense difference between the C version and the F-18 is grossly over rated. You will not, NOT, get the latest F-18 for the same price that the US Navy does. The price difference will be minimal but the F-35 will be a considerably better aircraft. It’s radar alone will provide a big leap over the F-18. Coupled with the advantages of low observability/stealth, the F-35 should prove superior in the missile engagements that have have characterised the last 30 years of aerial warfare.

I just wish people would stop harking over the F-18. If you want to chirp for something, look at the new F-15 Silent Eagle. It won’t be a match at range for the F-35 either, but it does have some niffty stats regarding range, speed, altitude etc, everything you’d expect of an F-15. Plus Boeing has put the target price at $100 million for export customers, including spares and support. Not that might be a deal worth looking at.

And also, can just accept the fact that Land and Sea based air power are complinmentary, and that we can easily sit down and conjour up fantasy scenarios where one or the other is excluded. I wouldn’t mind so much but it seems those of us who support both can at least accept that both have their strengths and weaknesses. Those who only see the Sea, seem to be oblivious to the downsides of your arguments.

SpazSinbad
SpazSinbad

2nd F-35B lands vertically on USS WASP
“loaded by LockheedMartinVideos on Oct 6, 2011
F-35B test aircraft BF-4 executes a vertical landing on the deck of USS WASP (LHD-1) the morning of Oct. 6, 2011. BF-4 follows BF-2, which landed on Oct. 3. BF-4 is the first short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) mission systems aircraft.”

SpazSinbad
SpazSinbad

Mentioned in earlier post about ‘how easy it is to land vertically the F-35B compared to the Harrier’.

Cooper-Harper Handling Qualities Rating Scale:

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-3300/fig66.jpg

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-3300/ch4.htm#27

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

The two aspects about EMALS that don’t get much mention are up to 25% more “throw weight” and gentler acceleration (the airframes will last much longer; not sure how much arresting techniques on landing have improved). From that provided link:

“Super Hornets tip the scale at around 24 tons, 20 percent more than the stocky F-4 Phantoms that flew over Vietnam from carrier decks. With its more powerful radar and power generators, the Advanced Hawkeye is 2,500 pounds heavier than its predecessors”
– some past carrier-air projects got canned simply because the realistic weight was pushing past the critical point

The news piece about ” having been ordered” is at odds with what has been said to the Parliament (not that anyone would doubt the ultimate outcome, except perhaps for the quantities)

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Great post from Chris B, I’ll have to jump in:

“I’m getting sick and tired of the harmony guidelines argument. ”
– five of everything should not be over-stretched. If we have and want to deploy/ rotate a brigade sized group with CS & CSS, there has been a learning experience of what is needed in what quantities (trained manning for it goes without saying). That’s it, there’s no further magic to it.

“The F-35 radar is derived from the F-22, but it’s an upgrade, not a down grade. On the test bed aircraft, F-35′s radar has shown the ability to detect and jam that of the F-22. I’d say that’s an advancement.”
– F22 is an air-superiority fighter, F35 is not. The 360 degree sensor fit was specifically to compensate for lesser manoeuvreing capabilities (and hence cheaper design/ build).That situational awareness makes the aircraft survivable (losing stealth by being forced to carry both strike and AA munitions, with the restricted internal bay, is another discussion; at least in UK’s case there won’t be enough airframes to afford tasking some of them as “escorts”).

“There is no question that the F-35 will be better than the F-18. The expense difference between the C version and the F-18 is grossly over rated. You will not, NOT, get the latest F-18 for the same price that the US Navy does”
– absolutely right. The only other airforce that flies them is RAAF and the costs of that deal are known. They have had the wisdom to think further than the stop-gap solution, and the plan to make half of the F-18 fleet into Growlers later is exactly for that kind of “escort” capability I mentioned (the pre-installed cabling only cost between a quarter and a third of a million $ a piece, so well worth it).

Gabriele
Gabriele

“The F-35 radar is derived from the F-22, but it’s an upgrade, not a down grade. On the test bed aircraft, F-35′s radar has shown the ability to detect and jam that of the F-22. I’d say that’s an advancement.”

Doesn’t change the fact that it has less detection range and less T/R modules. I do not say it does not work. Quite the opposite. But for all its improvements, it has this downside.

“The only service that doesn’t show any real breach of its guidelines is the Navy, where the Submarine service is the only real component that has seen many breaches.”

Here in Italy we say, rather inelegantly but effectively, “grazie al cazzo!”, literally translated as “thank the dick!”.
The Navy personnel is asked to deploy as many as 22 months out of 36 (separate service) and 60% maximum of a 36 months period deployed on operations (Unit Tour Intervals).
You even want that to be breached with people deploying even more than that?

By the way, the Navy has (even if marginally) been forced more than once to break the guidelines, and often meets the targets using frontline-gapping where possible.

“The guidelines are just that, guides, not rules.”

This SO NOT MAKES ANY REAL SENSE when every deployment is shaped by the need of respecting the guidelines as much as possible.
They are far more rules than guidelines, and any breach is a problem abundantly highlighted and normally tackled if possible.

“If the RAF did indeed have to fly from Carriers, the chances are they would stick with the carrier for the whole tour, not jump off for the last two months.”

On ops, perhaps, if it really couldn’t be done otherwise.
In peacetime cruises? I wouldn’t bet a penny on it.

DominicJ
DominicJ

ACC
Steam Catapults actualy work in the opposite then ideal way, providing massive force initialy, that slowly drops away, whereas we would want a gradualy increasing force.
To be honest, I’m not really sure why steam catapults werent replacing with electric motors, but, what do I know :)

Gabriele
Gabriele

“not sure how much arresting techniques on landing have improved”

The Advanced Arresting Gear, unlike EMALS, is planned to be refitted even to the Nimitz carriers, so we must assume it is a lot better than the current system. But the improvement is mainly in maintenance and costs of the arresting system itself: the arresting principle is still the same, so, unlike the launch thanks to EMALS, it is going to stay a pretty violent thing.

The AAG is almost certainly going to be fitted to the UK carrier as well. It’s not like there’s that many alternatives anyway, after all.

DominicJ
DominicJ

TD
That almost sounds like your coming round the JCA = Rafale

Brian Black
Brian Black

Mark, the UK F35C range won’t be limited to that of an aircraft that we don’t have, and isn’t likely to be sent out with full fuel loads on short range missions, that would be incredibly inefficient and costly. Whatever the range of the aircraft, there is still the probability that you will want more range and there is still the possibility of needing more fuel for contingencies.
———
Don’t worry, Chris B. No one is going to dispose of the RAF if you take your eyes off it. And a couple of buddy refueling kits on a ship isn’t going to make RAF tanking redundant.
———
TD, the aircraft has not yet been decided, but many people in the mil, MoD and gov have decided on the aircraft. And they’re like kids at Christmas; if they open up their gift and it doesn’t contain an F35 there’s gonna be tears.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix

McM – “Did I miss the memo about PoW getting cats “n” traps or do they know something we all don’t?”

Maybe not the memo’s, there haven’t been any, but there are more than enough clues being dropped that both carriers will get cats-n-traps that NO-ONE should be in any serious doubt that this is the intention.

they simply cannot admit that it is so, because the SDSR committed the MoD to ‘deciding’ the second carriers fate at a later date.

:)

@ admin – “Embarrassing to whom exactly and perhaps more importantly, why is this important in the context of defence capabilities?”

Why, to the MoD and the UK defence establishment obviously. Carriers are hugely expensive assets in themselves, that see there greatest utility when functioning in their primary role, i.e. as a launchpad to fast jets. Having fast jets on them only half the time they spend at see would seem pretty daft, no?

DominicJ
DominicJ

Jedi
The crew rotating out doesnt mean the crew isnt replaced either….

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix

fair enough then.

* i’m a bit johnny-come-lately to this thread, been away a few days with work.

Gabriele
Gabriele

@TD, always the same questions, to which i’d have to give always the same answers.

“Embarrassing to whom exactly and perhaps more importantly, why is this important in the context of defence capabilities?”

Well, you know. A carrier is meant to have airplanes and aircrews on board, especially if said crews are to be genuinely ready when they are needed.
Do you see any other aircraft carrier in the world sailing the seas without embarking planes often?

No, i’m guessing.
There are good reasons for it.

“We have fleets are armoured vehicles sitting in humidity controlled sheds not charging around BATUS or Salisbury Plain in their primary role, don’t see anyone wailing and gnashing their teeth about those”

Can we say the same about planes? Not really. An operational squadron is bound to fly training missions all the time.
I’d very much prefer said squadron to do it from the ship it is supposed to operate from.

Because if you can land on the carrier, you sure will be able to land on the land runway.

The opposite is, however, not true.

“On the issue of whether RAF personnel would stay on a carrier for the duration, why?”

You are genuinely telling me that you’d want the carrier at sea for 9 months, and planes on it for just four…?
The outrageously low number of RAF Harrier pilots carrier-capable was justified by Afghan involvement. But tomorrow, i don’t want pilots flying over Wales and from 3 km runways with an handful embarking every now and then and qualifying at most for day ops in calm sea.

I want pilots trained and fully qualified.

If the RAF wants to take over at sea responsibilities, it has to take over the implications of the job too.
If that means people being away from the home-base for a longer time, so be it.
Otherwise, the planes go to the FAA as they should, and the problem is solved.

And no, saying that “Joint” automatically means “sound” and “smart” approach will not make it true.

Phil
Phil

Cease questioning the omnipotence of the Royal Navy at once!

We have sufficient aircraft for the battle-plan.

Gabriele
Gabriele

“Just saying that aircraft and aircrew have to be at sea for the same duration as the ship is simply illogical”

It will never be exactly the same duration. There might well be days or even weeks while the planes and crews are ashore.
But once the ship sails for a deployment, even on peacetime, logic actually calls for planes to be and stay aboard.

If such need didn’t exist, we’d have no RAF, but merely mothballed planes and reservist pilots flying them on Sunday.
A carrier is an airbase. As planes fly training sorties daily from Lossie, they should and must fly from the carrier if they are to be carrierborne squadrons.

There is no escape.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

To lighten up things, can anyone tell me what carrier-assisted operations are? It is now part of the doctrine (supposedly) so I am not asking in the dictionary sense
– figures prominently in the answers defending the cost from (late) design changes

Dominicj
Dominicj

gabriele
if pow goes to bomb indonesia, it might take a month of sailing to get there.
The jets could tanker out in a day…

steve taylor
steve taylor

TD said “Just saying that aircraft and aircrew have to be at sea for the same duration as the ship is simply illogical.”

USN/USMC squadrons have a work up period before joining their carrier. Then the two work up together before deployment. Is this what you are saying?

Gabriele
Gabriele

“Aircraft and crew are too small in number and too precious to be nailing up their time like that, operational and training needs”

This is NON SENSE. Simply and utterly.

If there is operational need to deploy ashore for an operation it is EVIDENT that planes will go ashore.
But you have to tell me what the hell carrier-capable planes will be doing in peacetime on land.

WHAT? Have you got an answer?
Take off from Lossie, or Marham, which might end up being the base of the Joint Force Lightning now with the Typhoons in Lossie, fly two hours and then land, like Tornado does? For learning to do what?
Is this the big task at hand?

When embarked, do crews do not train in AAR, air attacks, bombing, and all that?
Might i suggest looking at even just the last few years of service of Sea Harrier FA2 to see just how often they were around, how hard they trained, and how prepared they were?

What are we talking about???

These planes must be carrier capable, and one of their most important requirements must be carrier capability, which means crews capable to take off and land and operate from the ship, day and night, in any weather condition.
To be ready, they must embark, and work from the ship.
And yes, they should show off as well. Believe it or not, military is also a lot about showing off.

“Harriers and JCA were and will be a joint force, not an RN force, perhaps people should try and grasp the nettle of that reality and get in 2011 not 1944”

Does not mean it is right or sensible at all.
Maybe you are trying to say that if the planes were FAA marked, and there was a need to deploy to an airbase on land for ops, they wouldn’t?

It is the most absurd statement ever issued in the history of man, and the “it is 2011, not 1944” is so childish that you wouldn’t even hear it inside sitcoms on television.

Chris.B

“The Navy personnel is asked to deploy as many as 22 months out of 36 (separate service) and 60% maximum of a 36 months period deployed on operations (Unit Tour Intervals”

Just because that is the maximum guideline, doesn’t mean they are routinely asked to do it. The fact that breaches outside of the Submarine service are few and far between suggests that the guidelines are hardly being pushed to their limit.

As I’ve said before, I’ve even seen discussions between serving Navy personnel (and linked to it) who were part of JFH in Afghanistan joking about leaving theatre and returning home while RAF crews were still out there.

You assume Gabby that because some piece of paper sets out a maximum limit, that everyone plays it to that limit at all times. The point I’ve been making (and had to make several times, because you wont let it rest) is that official figures demonstrate that the Navy is not being pushed to the limit of its guidelines. The other two services have been, and have seen significant breaches.

Personally this doesn’t concern me all that much. It is what it is, I’m sure all three services are more than capable of deciding how long they need to deploy people on various tasks. The only reason it comes up is because you keep trying to use it as an argument to support your position, despite the fact that it doesn’t tally up.

So then you go digging for this, “but, but, but… the planes need to be on the Carrier all day long!”

Question: How long does it take to qualify/re-qualify a carrier pilot?

I ask because it strikes me that it’s probably cheaper and less stressful on the aircraft to use a fixed land base for the purposes of training things like bombing runs on ground targets and air to air combat etc.

Then all you have to do is re-qualify the pilot for carrier landings when needed, and go through a period of work up to get everyone working together properly.

I’m pretty sure that the RAF and the Royal Navy will come up with a plan to make all this work in practice. It seems the only person who sees some terrible madness to it all is yourself.

Gabriele
Gabriele

“JFH spent more or less 5 years not being aboard a ship because the operational need was thus and this will be the same for whatever follows it.”

And there we go. Again.

You might have noticed that by 2020 Afghanistan, according to plan, will be over by 5 years.

Always the same empty arguments.

And then Chris B. comes, with his own ranting, again always the same, again self-proclaiming of having “proven” things, “bashed” other things…
And assuming that things will be right, that things will be worked out, that this, that that.

I don’t see that much optimism about other issues. You are plenty happy to say that this is wrong, that too, that should be done another way.

But you can’t accept that this one thing is the most wrong of all.

Fine. But if you want to make me accept your opinion on the matter, telling me that “it will work” and that “it is sensible” and that it is all about “operational needs”, well, that won’t work.
That is bull i expect politicians to throw to the press and journalists when they announce the hundredth bad news and try to talk about how good it is instead. Not actual evidence.

“I ask because it strikes me that it’s probably cheaper and less stressful on the aircraft to use a fixed land base for the purposes of training things like bombing runs on ground targets and air to air combat etc.”

This will be the rule.
But when the carrier sails, one of the -N- (3? 4?) squadrons is expected to embark, and refine its carrier skills. With, periodically, another one joining in too, hopefully, to make practice with more crowded decks and other issues stemming from it.
I want it to be done properly.

And this is before saying that i’m of the opinion that part time naval aviation will never work as well as it should.
Like it or not, it is operating from a ship that is complex. Not operating from the land base.

There is more rationale for a naval aviation preparing for naval work than there is real meaning in the “retention of air power culture” rhetoric we get always fed with regarding how indispensable it is to have an independent air force.

Mark
Mark

Let not go down the harmany guidelines route.

Current US carrier qualifications is as follows

Undergraduate CQ
is for Student Naval Aviators, currently completed in the T-45 Goshawk and consisting of 14 day landings (10 arrested; up to 4 can be “touch and goes”).

Initial CQ
is flown in a newly designated aviator’s first fleet aircraft (FA-18, EA-6B, or E-2C), consisting of 12 day (minimum 10 arrested) and 8 night landings (minimum 6 arrested).

Requalification CQ
is for experienced pilots that have not flown from the carrier within the previous six months, consisting of 6 day arrested landings and 4 night arrested landings.

I dont see the need for the same a/c to stay with the carrier the entire deployment. All that is needed is spares and maintenance equipment stored prior to deployment. It increases the flexibility off the asset does it not.
In fact is this not also the way the marines now use the amphib ships they fly out to join the ship so as not to lose physical fitness.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

RE “I dont see the need for the same a/c to stay with the carrier the entire deployment. All that is needed is spares and maintenance equipment stored prior to deployment. It increases the flexibility off the asset does it not.
In fact is this not also the way the marines now use the amphib ships they fly out to join the ship so as not to lose physical fitness.”

A “hurry up, deploy, and wait” scenario is part of the normal response planning of the USMC (let’s not forget, USN is always there – USMC might run some of the planes/ helos, BUT not the ships).

You can fly in most of your air assets, even the embarked force, but without
– spares
– ordnance reloads
– fuel,
you might be hard pressed to sustain a considerable force at sea for extended periods of time.

Mark
Mark

Acc

Yeah that’s whats I’m saying shore your ships prior to deployment. The assets come and go as required during the deployment has that not always been the uks way of doing things they’ve never really done the fixed air wing us navy/marine style.

Chris.B

@ Mark

cheers for the numbers. Seems a reasonably manageable work load.

@ Gabs,

Trouble is mate, you show up and make all these outraged claims like the armed forces are on the brink of falling apart at the seams in the next day unless something revolutionary occurs.

Then people sit down and go over your figures and claims in a little more detail, pick them apart, give you examples, relate your concerns to real world examples etc. So your arguments fall down. Then you disappear and leave the issue to rest for a month or two.

Then you come back again, armed with precisely the same arguments, and try it all over again as if the previous debate never happened.

It’s a waste of time. The old figures haven’t changed. The world hasn’t turned on its head and been reinvented since you last brought the issue up. So the same counter arguments that stood scrutiny two months ago stand up to scrutiny now.

““retention of air power culture” rhetoric we get always fed with regarding how indispensable it is to have an independent air force.”

And you wonder why people think your anti-RAF? Just read that quote again fella. Even if you’re genuinely not anti-RAF, read that quote again and tell me it doesn’t read like someone who has an agenda against the RAF.

I just don’t understand why people can’t see the value of the three forces as a combined unit, what they offer individually and as a team.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

From the Navy Matters website: “Readers with very long memories may recall that when it was announced that American made Phantom fighters would be ordered for the RAF in 1965, the Defence White Paper stated that the RAF Phantom squadron’s would be ‘swing-role’, operating from both land bases and Royal Navy aircraft carriers. However the RAF intended to avoid this by requiring the manufacturer – McDonnell Douglas – to remove some essential carrier compatibility features in order to supposedly reduce maintenance costs”. – Will the RAF actually do the CATOBAR training? Will they try and get the A version?

Mark
Mark

Gareth

The raf cant aar the A version. The force will operate in much the same way a JFH (that actually worked quite well if you look past the service politics) though it will most likely be bigger than JFH at 5 sqns eventually.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

@ Mark – I certainly hope you are right but it would have been a lot easier to do “Joint” with the STOVL B … Not that I’m banging a drum or anything ;p

RE: AAR. Would it be difficult/expensive to convert the A to our system?

paul g

I do remember watching the channel 5 programmes on various ships (bulwark,ocean etc) However on the programme mid way through the tour the harriers and the light blue joined the ship, did some refresher night/day sorties, blooded in the new boy and after a while fecked off. So i reckon TD is right (and it’s his train set!!)

Mark
Mark

Gareth

I dont personally think it will be any more difficult to be joint with the c version.

Yeah it would be expensive.

the mintcake maker
the mintcake maker

@ Gareth

It shouldn’t be too expensive to convert F-35a to use our AAR fuelling system as it is what’s planned for the Canadian F-35s as they don’t have a Boom equipped AAR aircraft.

I thought the reason the RAF wanted the F-35c was its range. However could a split F-35a/F-35c purchase work out cheaper or at least offer more aircraft for the same money? Especially since the F-35a has got an internal gun (better for CAS I would have thought, rather than a gun pod) and only does 50nm less than the F-35c.

PS
Just found these nice new pics of the QE class on BAE’s website
http://imagegallery.baesystems.investis.com/preview.aspx?itemid=4231
http://imagegallery.baesystems.investis.com/preview.aspx?itemid=4232

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Hi Mark,

You are quite an optimist; 5 squadrons?

The constraint is the high programme cost of Tiffie weighting down the RAF well into the future. It is a sunk cost, as we have discussed on various threads and should not steer decision making going forward (therefore we will have the 107-160 Typhoons),

It is a cost anyway: I tried to have a stab at relative whole-life costs on the open thread:
“1. Not build the 4th Vanguard successor (and then not operate it over 30 years)
2. and , instead,take a full extra Tiffie Sqrn (of 14) and operate it over 25 years
3. or, take the full (almost?) order of FRES SV Bloc 1 of 474 vehicles and operate it over 40 years”

Losing 1. and getting 3. are far more likely than a (marginal) 5th F35 squadron (in my books anyway).

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Here we go; we saved £15m on the Tiffie programme by losing the gun.

And now we are going to operate mixed versions (?) to get it back, as in “Especially since the F-35a has got an internal gun (better for CAS I would have thought, rather than a gun pod) and only does 50nm less than the F-35c.”

DominicJ
DominicJ

Not a chance will we get As and Cs, the RAF will be lucky if it even gets to be part of a Joint Force.
50 Jets tops, all C’s, no A’s (or all M’s no C’s if we get Frogphoons)

Mark
Thats very interesting thanks.
So in reality, the pilots could be carrier qualifed, spend 5 months off carrier, and then in a week, be back up to full status.
They could even get qualified on PoW (please wont they hurry and rename that, and who missed its called Prisoner of War in the first place!!!) in Portsmouth, and then fly out with tankers to QE which is waiting in a holding pattern near the Falklands.

Gabriele
Gabriele

“Then people sit down and go over your figures and claims in a little more detail, pick them apart, give you examples, relate your concerns to real world examples etc. So your arguments fall down. Then you disappear and leave the issue to rest for a month or two.”

I have better to do in my life that replying to eternity to the same empty replies i constantly get. As a matter of fact, i’ve not yet been given a single credible answer. That’s why my doubts continue to stand.

Mark
Mark

Acc

Do not know what the final numbers will end up ac wise. But I expect 5 sqn worth of personnel stood up. Why simply this typhoon look like it heads to 5 sqns the pm has said as much and tornado like wise is at 5 sqns. That’s considered the min for sustained ops and was the argument about why harrier was replaced after being pushed so hard in afghan. If you fall below the 10sqn you are below critic mass for sustained deployment especially when qra tasking comes into the mix.
Typhoon purchase cost will have cleared mod budget by 2015 as all a/c should be delivered by 2016. And tornado needs replaced.

TMM
Go and have a look at f35a and c and see were the to probe attachments are and what’s in the location on the probe on the a version. Youre then asking for a uk only mod on a handful of planes it simply not worth it.

JohnHartley
JohnHartley

I have spent many years saying the RN should copy the Russians, i.e ski ramp take off, but with arrester wire recovery. More flexible than pure VSTOL, but no expensive, complicated catapults.
An agile, modern fighter should be able to cope, whether it is F-35A,B or C, Seaphoon,Sea Gripen or Rafale. Even an F-18 low on fuel, could make an emergency landing.
Britain has paid for 2 F-35B, so why do we not use them from our carriers when the US Marines deploy theirs from late 2014/early 2015?
2 planes will not retake the Falklands, but they could provide experience of operating jets off carriers until the F-35C or whatever else turns up.

Gabriele
Gabriele

“Do not know what the final numbers will end up ac wise. But I expect 5 sqn worth of personnel stood up.”

It would be the best [minimum] solution, but if there are 5 squadrons of F35, and i fear it is really unlikely unfortunately, the fifth would be an OCU/OEU unit, and not a frontline squadron.

But if you prove right, hey! Happiness and smiles on my part.

“Britain has paid for 2 F-35B, so why do we not use them from our carriers when the US Marines deploy theirs from late 2014/early 2015?
2 planes will not retake the Falklands, but they could provide experience of operating jets off carriers until the F-35C or whatever else turns up.”

Well, i believe that they indeed will go on QE for some trials at some point…

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

I thought the first two have been converted to a “C” order and the third one was still in negotiation?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Sorry, orders/production slot allocations used interchangeably (not 100% the same thing, but you can’t have an early order without an allocation)

Chris.B

@ Gabby

“As a matter of fact, i’ve not yet been given a single credible answer”

— Keep telling yourself that, whatever helps you to sleep.

Gabriele
Gabriele

“I thought the first two have been converted to a “C” order and the third one was still in negotiation?”

Too late for the first two to change. Even the third F35 for the UK technically will be a B. But said B won’t get UK kit, and will end up taken by the US marines, which in exchange will make available a F35C for the UK. Delivery in 2013, i think. The two Bs should arrive perhaps next year, now i don’t remember the dates.

@Chris B.

It works both ways, you know. Just because you think you gave a good answer, does not mean it was.

In fact, it wasn’t.

Chris.B

Whatever you say Gabs. The answers are clearly there for everyone to read.

Mark
Mark
ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Interesting
“The hazard zone around the jet therefore has shrunk to about the same size as that of a Harrier, he said.
Similarly, the “outwash” on take-off is far less harsh than anticipated, Cordell said.”
– how much more thrust is there in use, the aircraft being bigger and heavier than the Harrier?

Brian Black
Brian Black

Would it be a u-turn too far, to switch back to the F35B?

Dunservin
Dunservin

@ACC

Not quite as simple as that as much of the F-35B’s vertical thrust is provided by a lift fan driven by the main turbine. See http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/F-35B_Joint_Strike_Fighter_%28thrust_vectoring_nozzle_and_lift_fan%29.PNG

Mark
Mark

ACC

Total trust delivered is split with the majority coming from the lift fan. This is to ensure than none of the hot gases from the aft nozzle are re-ingested into the engine intakes and stall the compressor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_LiftSystem

Brian

I think that now F35 will be the tornado replacement in UK service and the much reduced fighter fleet that the C variant is a better fit for UK requirements.

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