Looking Forward to an F35 Future – Part 1 (Introduction)

CVF, the Joint Combat Aircraft (F35) and the struggle between the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force have regularly featured on Think Defence since I started blogging three years ago.

My opinion has wavered somewhat between thinking the lot should be cancelled to understanding their value in an expeditionary capacity and having a road to Damascus conversion.

Praise be CVF

Hang on a minute

Back to the middle ground

I don’t think I will ever be a carrier air fanboy because I understand these capabilities have to be looked at across the three services in the context of a finite budget so I approach the whole issue with somewhat of a gritty realism and overarching opinion that it is not the best thing since sliced bread and for every increase in capability in one area another has to be reduced.

I don’t buy into the whole ‘maritime century’ or strategic raiding theme either because I have a long memory and see the whole thing as simply a rehash of the last trendy PowerPoint fuelled fantasy that would see coalition forces seeing the enemy before leaving home, deploying vast distances, applying a short sharp dash of precision violence, building a few schools and getting back at home for tea and medals before the enemy has had time to fill a sandbag.

One of TD’s contributors (Phil) coined a great phrase for it, ‘breaking windows with Guineas’

I still think CVF and JCA have to fit within a balanced force mix that means it should not unbalance the UK armed forces.

This is a look at the whole CVF and Joint Combat Aircraft subject area from a UK perspective, remembering that the UK is not the US Navy or US Marine Corps.

Like similar posts I am going to split it into parts.

Looking Forward to an F35 Future – Part 1 (Introduction)

Looking Forward to an F35 Future – Part 2 (Dredging Up the Past)

Looking Forward to an F35 Future – Part 3 (The Promise)

Looking Forward to an F35 Future – Part 4 (Down to Earth with a Bump)

Looking Forward to an F35 Future – Part 5 (By Sea By Land)

Looking Forward to an F35 Future – Part 6 (Summary)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Repulse
January 6, 2013 9:21 am

@TD, great looking forward to this series. One minor comment “I don’t buy into the whole ‘maritime century’ or strategic raiding theme”, I understand the point but is the ideological dreams of the late 90s and early 00s still the same thing as if you asked people to explain what is meant by those terms nowadays? Post Iraq and Afghanistan there a few who could still believe that the world is that simple and perfect. The game has changed completely both the expectations of a happy ever after outcome and the locations where conflicts will be fought.

For example, if Iraq was fought again would the allies stop and nation build or would we accept the would is not perfect and once Sadam was defeated hand it over to the least worse Republican guard general?

Plus i see strategic raiding will be more about destroying capability (national or terrorist)

Simon
January 6, 2013 9:37 am

Bring it on ;-)

WiseApe
January 6, 2013 12:35 pm

“Like similar posts I am going to split it into parts.” – You big tease.

Busy Bee
Busy Bee
January 6, 2013 3:28 pm

@TD – Thank you for writing on this important issue. While no one would disagree with your view “I still think CVF and JCA have to fit within a balanced force mix that means it should not unbalance the UK armed forces,” I would be grateful if you would expand on your reasoning behind your comment, “I don’t buy into the whole ‘maritime century’ or strategic raiding theme either.”
You would, I presume, accept that, post Iraq and Afghanistan, our politicians (on both sides of the Atlantic) have little appetite for deploying national land forces, on a large scale or enduring basis, into areas of conflict – recent events in Libya/Syria, and CDS’ move towards a Phase 0 focused British Army all appear to support such an assessment. Couple this with the fact that the current/future proliferation of AA/AD capabilities will mean that access for Land Forces will only be possible once such defences have been degraded by a combination of strike and cyber attacks, one is left accepting that having the ability to insert SF and conduct precision attacks from sea (TLAM and F35) is not only essential but is also likely to form the central component to almost all UK expediatory, joint force deployments.

BertramPantyshield
BertramPantyshield
January 6, 2013 8:08 pm

Well this should be interesting, I eagerly await 800 comments of the same three or four arguments.

I was also under the impression that Pitt the Elder was described as ‘breaking windows with guineas’. I don’t know how old Phil is, but if he’s experienced 250 or so years of war then we could save a fair amount by cutting his pension alone.

The other way to describe it was, I think, by Alanbrooke; stating Churchill’s infatuation with commando-raids were ‘stratagems of evasion’.