Defence for 2015 and Beyond – Part 2 Defence of the United Kingdom

A series of guest posts from AndyC

The task of defending the UK itself falls largely to the RAF and Royal Navy.  They need to have sufficient forces to defend our airspace and territorial waters.

That means keeping hostile aircraft, ships and submarines out of range of being able to launch stand-off weapons at the UK or threatening our vital shipping and air transport routes.  This planning scenario is not based on addressing any one particular threat but an analysis of the defence needs of the UK from threats approaching from any geographical direction.

The RAF’s principal role is to provide long-range air defence (at least 1,000 miles) using advanced air superiority fighters, equipped with the most effective air-to-air missiles (Meteor and ASRAAM), supported by AWACS and aerial tankers.  Four Typhoon Squadrons, one Squadron of E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft and a handful of A330 Voyager aerial tankers should be able to fulfil this role against likely credible threats.  Dispersed between RAF Lossiemouth, RAF Coningsby and RNAS Culdrose the Typhoon would be effective into the Norwegian Sea and the edges of Greenland to the north, Poland to the east, Gibraltar to the south and the Mid-Atlantic to the west.

RAF Typhoon Aircraft Carrying Meteor Missiles
RAF Typhoon Aircraft Carrying Meteor Missiles

The Typhoon is most suited to this role because of its greater combat range, top speed, agility and ability to carry at least ten air-to-air missiles.  Two Squadrons at Lossiemouth would share peacetime northern QRA; one Squadron at Coningsby would provide southern QRA and they would be joined by the majority of the Operational Conversion Unit in times of major conflict.

Additional air defence could also be provided by a mixture of Hawk T2s and CAMM-L surface-to-air missiles.

With the Hawk T2 carrying a pair of Meteor and ASRAAM missiles each this provides a capable secondary medium-range air defence (up to 400 miles).  In times of heightened tensions Hawk T2s could be deployed to forward bases in the Shetlands and Suffolk to provide support for the RAF’s principal air defence fighters.  Remaining older Hawk T1s, currently in service with both the RAF and RN, would be replaced by 2020, as their air frames become unserviceable, by new Hawk T2s.

Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer
Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer

Further support would be provided by the new CAMM-L which replaces the Rapier for short-range air defence (up to 20 miles) around valuable potential targets.

UK Air Defence – the yellow areas are covered by Hawks operating from the Shetlands and Suffolk, the white areas by Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth, RAF Coningsby and RNAS Culdrose and the blue by carrier based aircraft.


UK Air Defence
UK Air Defence

The Royal Navy’s role is to keep our territorial waters and shipping routes open and safe.  Two aircraft carrier groups with six escort destroyers/frigates, maritime/AEW helicopters plus six Squadrons of F-35Bs from the mixed RAF:FAA force; backed up by land based AWACS and aerial tankers would fulfil most of this requirement.  Positioned within reach of the RAF’s land based air defences to provide additional security one carrier group could cover the area from Greenland to Norway while the other group covers the Western Approaches.  All remaining destroyers, frigates and patrol ships, their helicopters and attack submarines would patrol the areas not covered by the carrier groups with the highest priority going to the approaches to Faslane.

Each QE carrier would operate one Naval Air Squadron of F-35Bs in the fleet air defence/anti-shipping role in both peacetime and in conflict situations.  These would be supplemented by two RAF Squadrons of F-35Bs allocated to each carrier in heightened situations which would specialise in operating against land targets with a secondary anti-shipping role.  They would be equipped with SPEAR missiles for CAS/SEAD operations and Joint Strike Missiles for land strike and anti-shipping roles.

An alternative might be to base the second carrier group (protecting the Western Approaches) around a smaller helicopter carrier such as HMS Ocean rather than a QE class aircraft carrier.  This would reduce the number of F-35B Squadrons required purely for carrier operations from six to three.

To be sure that there is always one QE aircraft carrier operational at all times requires the Royal Navy to cover all periods when the primary carrier is being refitted.  This is the major reason for having two QE carriers.  Going down to just one may be cheaper but would definitely provide less effective defence.

Even with two carriers there would still be a lot of the North Atlantic not being patrolled.

There is a clear requirement for a dedicated specialist long-range Maritime Patrol Aircraft to fill these gaps.  This could be met by equipping one Squadron with Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon or Kawasaki’s P-1 aircraft.  These would be equipped with multiple sonobuoys, torpedoes and Joint Strike Missiles enabling them to specialise in anti-submarine warfare but have secondary anti-shipping and ISTAR roles.

P1 with Maverick
P1 with Maverick
P8A Poseidon
P-8A Poseidon

In addition, the UK should evaluate the Triton UAV to see whether it can add to the capabilities and reach of whichever aircraft is selected in the MPA role.

Triton UAV
Triton UAV

There is also a requirement for an anti-shipping strike fighter to operate out of the range of the carriers.  This could be met by a small number of Typhoons (such as a Flight made up of aircraft from the Operational Conversion Unit) supported by aerial tankers.  These could be equipped with six Joint Strike Missiles.  Even with a full strike load the Typhoon is still capable of carrying a further six air-to-air missiles so this unit could also fulfil a secondary role of providing fighter escort for the MPA squadron.

To provide a minimum effective defence of the UK requires:

  • 5 Typhoon units – 4 air defence Squadrons plus 1 anti-shipping Flight
  • 1 E-3 Sentry AWACS Squadron
  • 1 A330 Voyager aerial tanker Squadron
  • remaining Hawk T1s to be replaced by Meteor capable Hawk T2s
  • Rapier surface-to-air missiles to be replaced by CAMM-L
  • 1 Maritime Patrol Squadron – possibly made up of a mixture of aircraft and UAVs
  • Joint Strike Missiles to equip the F-35B, Typhoon and Maritime Patrol Aircraft
  • 2 aircraft carriers – either two QE aircraft carriers or one QE and one helicopter carrier
  • 6 F-35B swing-role Squadrons or 3 if there’s only one QE carrier
  • 18 destroyers/frigates and 3 patrol ships
  • 3 Merlin HM/AEW Squadrons and
  • 2 Wildcat HMA Squadrons.


The rest of the series

Part 1 – Introduction

Part 2 – Defence of the United Kingdom

Part 3 – Other Sovereign Territories

Part 4 – NATO

Part 5 – A Southern or Middle Eastern Threat

Part 6 – An Eastern and Northern Threat

Part 7 – Global Intervention

Part 8 – British Army 2025

Part 9 – Royal Navy 2025

Part 10 – Royal Air Force 2025

Part 11 – Conclusion



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54 Responses

  1. As far as I know the Hawk T2 does not even have a radar so would be incapable of being fitted with Meteor.

    I can’t see what military power beyond invasion by the USA is going to require all the air power you outline in your defence strategy.

  2. The T2 doesn’t but the Hawk 200 variants certainly do along with the option for EO/FLIR. So not beyond the realms of possibility to fit one.

  3. How many ASW Merlins would we need? Our carriers are no good on the bottom of the sea riddled with holes.

    We are talking about 9 on each Carrier, plus 8 for the specialist ASW Frigates (The other 11 Escorts can ship Wildcat). That’s 26 ASW Merlin deployed at sea. A land based flight at Faslane? Plus an attrition reserve. Maybe 34 cabs all up?

    Trouble is we only have 30 HM2 in the budget right now, and for 3*AEW flights that’s maybe 15 Airframes?

    So in round numbers we could be around 20 HM2 short for your scenario.

  4. @ Chuck – Yes the Hawk 200 does but that would mean we had to procure an entire new aircraft fleet to defend the Shetlands against what?

    With 160 Typhoons able to shoot 10 meteors a piece plus 50 odd F35’s I think we have a fair bit of air to air capability.

    There are plenty of other things to be spending money on.

  5. On the map we could imagine the Western Squadron being pushed further South and West to intercpt and neutralise any threat beond the range of land based air. Remember the enemy gets a vote and if we can reach them from our land bases then potentially they can also reach parts of the UK with long range crusie missiles. Hence we may need to push the engagement envelope outwards: which a Carrier Group gives us the ability to do provided we have identified the threat axis correctly.

  6. There is a silent assumption here that Scotland stays in the UK. Probably a sensible assumption: but by no means a certainty.

    And Eire remains peaceful and no threat to NI. Safe assumption but probably still needs to be stated for the completeness of your ‘no threat to land borders’ assumption.

  7. @ Martin: Not necessarily, as it already has modern avionics bolting on a new nose and a bit of software fettling might be enough or just getting targeting data handed off via the present data-links seems feasible and just using it a missile truck. I’m not advocating for it btw, just saying it’s feasible.

    Personally If we were going to spend some money improving our fighters I’d like to see more Gucci spec’d Tiffies in place of the older Tranche 1’s; Thrust vectored EJ2x0’s, CFT, the new aero mods and full weapons integration. Apparently the newer model EJ’s can give up to 30% more thrust and 10% extra efficiency. End up with something with noticeably better range and payload, not to mention taking it’s already great kinetics to stunning levels, but we’re well into fantasy land now aren’t we. :(

  8. 18 Destroyers / Frigates????

    We don’t have that many operational at any one time.

    Is this realistic or fantasy fleets?

    Short of WW3 with Russia no one is getting through that lot.

  9. Not sure I like the idea of using the carriers as part of the UKADIZ (UK Air Defence Identification Zone) – Not because I don’t like the carriers, but because I suspect if we’re at that postion, the carriers will be desperately needed elsewhere- either, protecting incoming shipping or providing air support elsewhere…

    …I think I would prefer more dispersal options for RAF AD assets- For the Southwestern ‘arc’ Culdrose is a good option, Jersey would be another, Predannack would be best, negotiate with Eire for rights to deploy in south-west Ireland (Bantry, Cork or Kerry would be favourites)

    Equally the same with the Northern arc use Leuchars as a ‘hub’ with dispersal sites at Macrihanish and sullom voe.

  10. According to the research I can find the Hawk T1s in 100 and 208 Sqdns and the Red Arrows and 736 NAS are all due to be pensioned off in 2018-20. The question then is what they’re to be replaced by? The obvious answer is the Hawk T2. So if we’re going to be buying it anyway for a whole range of training roles why not put in a semi-decent radar and let them use Meteor and ASRAAM? Sure this will increase their cost but not by that much and certainly it would be a drop in the ocean compared to upgrading older Typhoons or buying newer ones but could put an extra 300 air-to-air missiles in the sky.

  11. The key to the ASW helicopter issue is that Wildcat needs to be as good at this as the Merlin and then they can both be used together. 24 Merlin ASW (leaving a further 6 for AEW) and 28 Wildcat ASW gives a total of 52 so around 39 would be active at any one time. Of these ten could go to each of the two carrier groups and the amphibious group leaving nine in total for the smaller patrol groups near Faslane and in the Norwegian Sea.

  12. I think the Hawk is better as a cheap ground attack/COIN aircraft, so a pair of Asraams for self defence/anti-helicopter, then Brimstone & Paveway for for precision attack. Also needs a targeting pod or an EO turret.
    Defence of the Realm should also cover the enemy within, whether its communists/Nazis/Irish/Muslim or other depending on the times. So perhaps we need to bring back the crime of Treason that Blair abolished for his own safety. Also more resources for our borders. Better computer links with our allies to spot criminals/terrorists.

  13. “I think the Hawk is better as a cheap ground attack/COIN aircraft, so a pair of Asraams for self defence/anti-helicopter, then Brimstone & Paveway for for precision attack. Also needs a targeting pod or an EO turret.”

    An interesting notion, what do (the broader) we think about this?

    As an aside, i read recently that all UK hawks are effectively combat capable, i.e. with very minimal enhancement they can take UK weapon systems…

  14. @Jedibeeftrix

    The Hawk 200 is pretty much what you describe.

    Hope the 128/T2 wins the US T-X competition.

  15. The hawk is too small for loading all that equipment onto it. By the time you’d added the hardware, pylons plus all the stores listed above, it would be well overweight. I don’t think there enough pylons on it to even fit all the stuff mentioned above.

  16. @AndyC

    Would also love to see the Wildcat equipment rounded out properly for the RN. Not sure it’ll achieve the same capability as the heavier Merlin’s kit.

    Perhaps a focus/specialisation on littoral ASW for the Wildcat with its more limited payload capacity?

  17. Not sure about the Hawk, but the similar Skyhawk that we used suffered from what Topman wrote about. The payload was only good for one or two passes before it had to RTB. Good for pinpoint surgical strikes, but if you had to do repeated CAS or interdiction, it’s going to run out fast.

    OTOH if all you are doing is COIN, loading all the pylons with gun pods might be a good idea. Those have enough ammo for repeated passes.

    As for air defence, strangely enough pilots say that it is quite good, lots of anecdotal stories that the small size actually makes it so hard to spot that in exercises, by the time most opfor spot it, they already made a “gun call” (i.e closed in and informed the umpires that they have shot the target with guns). That was one of our former Chief of Air Force’s personal experience. Which led to a bit of an oops modification. Twin 30mm nose guns which were a bit too powerful and broke stuff in the cockpit when fired. They had to reduce their expectations back to the old 20mms.

  18. Topman. The Flight International directory, 3rd edition, says the Hawk 200 could carry a gun, 2x 1000 lb bombs, 2 drop tanks for a combat radius of 453 miles. That was with the 6030 lbf Adour engine. With the more powerful 6500 lbf Adour, it should do better. Plus I would use 500 lb Paveway IV rather than 1000 lb dumb bombs. You could even combine an EO targeting sensor with a fuel tank as the USMC KC-130J do.

  19. Does the hawk 200 not already have a radar and are Sidewinder and AMRAAM capable?

  20. Just double checked the Hawk 200 entry. It would have also carried 2x Sidewinder in that configuration

  21. Er… JH, doesn’t the Hawk only have 3 pylons? So once you squeeze in 2 drop tanks….

    The 2 wing tip pylons are reserved for short ranged AAMs

    More likely to have a centerline drop tank, 2×500 Ib bombs per mid wing pylon and 2x wingtip AAMs.

  22. Yes I’m sure it does, but I’d still doubt it could carry a useful load. All well and good on paper, I can’t see all the extra kit being added on still a useful load/range. You’ve got things like extra role equipment, plyons, hardware. Then ECM/ or flare chaff pods etc all extra weight and few pylons to put them on. Then you’ve added ASRAAM onto them, it’s a lot of weight.
    Even if you could, where would you use them? The Hawks are in the training role for new pilots coming onto theFJ steam. How could you move them into the CAS role. When and who would get time to train in CAS? I assume they would be only UK based, all the support staff are civvies now.
    Or is this a new number of Sqns?

  23. A new build CAS/COIN Hawk would have the 6500 lbf Adour, perhaps a centreline 500 lb Paveway IV, then the inner pylons with a fuel tank(one side fitted with an EO targeting sensor in the nose) then the outer pylons with the triple Brimstone launcher & finally an Asraam on the wingtip rails. With a similar combat radius to a F-35B but at far less cost. The photo of a Hawk 200, I am looking at has an air refuelling probe.

  24. Why not retain the radar and even upgrade to a smaller, lighter more capable set to employ Brimstone and look at LWMM in some circumstances whilst offering a potent a potent AMRAAM equipped CAP for a fixed airbase.

  25. Aircraft have a thing called maximum zero fuel weight as its name suggests its the maximum amount of stuff it can carry which isn’t fuel. Sticking a bigger engine doesn’t change this but will marginally compensate for the heavier standard airframe. What’s the performance degradation for hotter climates? this will seriously effect what can be carried.

    Put a radar a targeting pod and a full das system on board and you’ll be very lucky if you have enough power or cooling systems onboard (AMRAAM ect require long range radar capability) let alone be able to carry much beyond 2 asraam or a couple of brimstone.

  26. I think APATS is describing a lightweight refresh of the existing 200 suite rather than a heavier addition to a trainer.

  27. If we take the cue from the Hawk version Malesia use in anti-shipping role, Brimstone and a targeting pod shoukd be doable? Where is the”cheap” if you go AMRAAM and a radar to suite (that is BVR, not exactly point defence)?

  28. @Topman – I think everyone is discussing using Hawk 200’s as a compliment to Typhoon, as was the assumption in many Cold War scenario’s, not a replacement . . . so no need to fret just yet! :-)

    Topman does make a good point about basic pilot and FJ pilot training needing to still be carried out even during a “war of necessity”.

    @All, with the current fashion for turning all Typhoon into FGR4 and selling/disposing of any of the earlier blocks that can’t, shouldn’t we be retaining these earlier block aircraft to work up to a dedicated Air Superiority type (retaining as much commonality as possible)? That way they *have* to be retained as home defence, instead of being deployed to any “overseas adventures”.

    Also, ASRAAM. While the original Tail Dog, that it was developed from was highly agile, had TVC, and was completely podded (twin tube launched, with IRST on the rail mounting for the launch tubes). ASRAAM is quite “lardy” iirc de to the RAF’s insistance that all they wanted it for was shooting down TU-16’s and TU-22’s !! So it isn’t going to fare well against the newer 4th Generation aircraft now being re-roled as Strike Aircraft (i.e. Rafale, SU-34, Shenju J-10 etc, HAL Tejas, F-16, F/A-18 – just a selection of aircraft that have been/could be exported widely to nations not tightly allied with us)

  29. And, almost forgot. We seem to be relying on CAP and point defence as the only 2 layers of the Onion-Skin defence.

    One of the original assumptions of the 1949 defence review, was for area defence SAM’s which led to the 75-mile radius Bloodhound system, (which was still highly regarded at it’s retirement), and the 150-mile radius Blue Envoy, which was cancelled in 1957 by my favourite politician, Duncan Sandys.

    Surely we need a similar system in place for area defence of important installations?

  30. @Mark – ” What’s the performance degradation for hotter climates? this will seriously effect what can be carried.”

    Expecting a lot of “global warming,” are we? I thought we were talking about defense of Great Britain.

  31. @ dd yeah iget that, so all technical points to one side. where is the threat? i dont see any mentiomed at all to understand why we need to modify dozens of hawks. with regards to early typhoons there is no money to run them whether they are used in the uk or overseas.

  32. With the upcoming OOS dates in 2015 of the Short Tucano, which doesn’t have wing hard points, the RAF might want to look at versions of the Super Tucano or the Beechcraft AT-6 for CAS (in permissive environments) or COIN. Additionally, with datalink systems, armed trainers could operate in a “coastal command” manner with other aircraft such as an MPA or ASW helicopters to pursue strikes against surface threats or even submarines. Based on weights, an AT-6 could carry 2 Mk.46 lightweight torpedoes or two laser-guided 500lb bombs with two drop tanks and two laser-guided 2.75 inch rocket pods or two to four Hellfire AGM-114 missiles or Brimstone missiles. Fifty caliber or 20mm gun pods are also an option (although the Super Tucano has two .50 Cal machineguns in the wings and two fewer hard points than the AT-6). Might be worth a look for an additional capability and could be used to introduce armament training to new pilots. The advantage of having an armed trainer option is that any military pilot will have experience on the type in emergencies.

  33. @DD: Money aside; as I understand it the older tranches can’t do the AESA radar, not enough power and cooling, so no fancy missiles. Along with other problems.

    Tiffies are about as cheap as they’re ever going to get, we’re better off all round stocking up as much as much budget permits on new build with the easy upgrade paths before the line closes, rather than trying to kludge something out of the old ones that might cost a fortune to achieve(by all accounts serious airframe work would be needed, which gets expensive fast) and leave us with yet another variant to maintain at extra cost.

    The only realistic futures uses for the oldest birds is training, parts and in my dreams the Red Arrows(never happen, but let me dream)

  34. Kent

    Well considering the discussion was of among other things putting paveway 4 and brimstone on hawk do you expect to be needing that in defending GB?


    “@DD: Money aside; as I understand it the older tranches can’t do the AESA radar, not enough power and cooling, so no fancy missiles. ”

    The airframe that BAE systems will be wheeling out at farnbourgh this week is a tranche 1 typhoon with an aesa radar.

  35. Will have to correct myself from 25 hrs back, about “where is the cheap in putting BVR missiles on a Hawk”

    Nipped over to the site and looks like S. Africa, possibly together with Brazil, are working on this:
    ” I know from chatting to a Hawk pilot at the show that the reason for intergrating A-Darter onto the Hawks (they don’t have the radar etc to get it’s full potential out of A-Darter), is by using Link ZA (our equivalent of the NATO/US Link 16) with the Gripen in a hunter killer type mode (Gripens stand back and finds the target, Hawks sneak in and fires A-Darter) – hence the A-Darter missiles, obviously the much bigger and longer range Impundulu would work in a similar way.”
    – also answers the question what good could such a small number of Gripens be
    – A-Darter co-operation with Brazil is a fact; R-Darter is stll rumous (I believe)

  36. Yes The Tranche 1 Typhoons can be fitted with both AESA and CFT but unlike the later tranches it would involve a very expensive reworking to do so and has been judged not cost effective. However the remaining 4-5 Typhoon squadrons are more than adequate to defend the UK’s airspace against any plausible threat.

    Defending our Territorial waters is for the most part covered by NATO, though policing the transit of the Trident boats would be made easier by the addition of a MP/ASW platform. Funding priorities will probably see any platform purchased aimed at MP and SAR rather than ASW as these would earn more political brownie points and cost substantially less.

    If we retain the existing river class patrol boats and purchase the three new helicopter capable platforms it would be a leap in out ability to police our fisheries etc but again budgetary pressures will either see them transferred to another government department or sold.

  37. Thanks for the interesting debate about the Hawk. The points I would make are:

    1. we’re probably going to have 100 or so of them anyway to replace the remaining Hawk T1s so why not make more use of them?;

    2. the Hawk 200 has a small AESA radar fitted as standard so we could easily have this without extra development costs;

    3. the superior engine and extra hard points on the newer Hawk mean it can carry 2 fuel tanks and 2 Meteors underwing plus 2 ASRAAM on wing tips all within its weight allowance;

    4. the small size and high manoeuvrability makes the Hawk a good dogfighter with relatively low RCS;

    5. in the roles I’m talking about the Hawk would provide the air defence outside the point defence provided by CAMM-L up to the main Typhoon CAPs;

    6. in a real shooting war with Russia one of NATO’s key defence advantages would be to receive large numbers of US aircraft to operate from the UK. We would need to keep our air space secure from hour one and I think we could need something beyond just the Typhoon and CAMM-L to do this. Another alternative might be to buy Aster 30 SAMs but I think that would be more expensive and less effective than simply using upgraded Hawks.

  38. I’m also not suggesting we buy any additional Hawk aircraft beyond what we need to replace the T1s in 100 Sqdn, 208 Sqdn, the Red Arrows and 736 NAS. That’s about 74 aircraft on top of the 28 already in service – a total of 102 altogether.

    The best internet estimates I can find for the cost of the sort of AESA radar BAe are using in their F-16 upgrades for South Korea and Turkey is about £1 million per radar (U$ 2,000 per cone). So the cost of equipping all of the advanced Hawks with an admittedly off the shelf radar would be £100 million.

    Even if that’s a bit optimistic that’s 102 aircraft with AESA radar as supplementary fighters for the cost of two Eurofighter Typhoons!

    But also as this is a like-for-like replacement of the Hawk T1 there shouldn’t be any significant increase in running costs.

  39. How does adding a radar affect aircraft stability issues? You are adding weight to the nose of the aircraft, not everything is plug and play. Or control runs. Does the cockpit have enough space to add a radar display? It would be ironic to have a radar.. and no way to display the results.

    Not impossible, but it’s not as simple as buy off the shelf and plug it in. Can the aircraft produce enough power to use the radar as well considering that it does not have provisions for one in the first place?

  40. @Mark – “Well considering the discussion was of among other things putting paveway 4 and brimstone on hawk do you expect to be needing that in defending GB?”

    Don’t know if this is about the Tucano replacement or the Hawk T.2. Either way, the ability to conduct precision strikes on targets is always important in defending your base (GB or FI or wherever). Brimstone would be ideal for hitting small boats landing saboteurs/spec ops types, and as for Paveway, well, who doesn’t need something just blown all to hell sometime?

    Seriously, I’m a big fan of just about anything that can put steel on target, especially for countries that don’t have thousands and thousands of aircraft. I also think burning very expensive jet airframe life hours in a permissive airspace environment (Afghanistan) when those jets can’t loiter for long is wasteful. When you can run 50 sorties in a Beechcraft AT-6 Texan II or a Super Tucano on the same fuel an F-16 two-ship uses to take off and stay over the battlefield for hours, it doesn’t make sense to not do that. If you need major help, the fast movers can be on call and there in a hurry. No need to use a £125 million fast jet to shoot a missile at a mud hut.

    As for arming trainers/light jets, the Hawk 128 (T.2) and the Hawk 200 can, again, take care of most missions in an environment like the Falklands, reserving the Typhoons for intercepts of “suspicious” aircraft or fast movers or for CAP missions if something “bad” does happen. With Putin sticking his oar in the waters of the South Atlantic, the chances of something “bad” happening have increased.

    @Observer – The Hawk T.2 could take a radar easily and has multiple MFDs in both cockpits which are electronically separate. If it has enough on-board computer and electrical power to run simulations, it has enough power to run the real thing.

  41. @ Observer

    The Hawk 200 series in service with several countries operates the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-66 radar which is the same model that equips older F-16s.

    BAe are replacing this very radar in the F-16s of South Korea and Turkey with an up to date AESA radar and so I’m making an assumption that if the old radar could fit both the Hawk and F-16 then so can the new one.

    On an admittedly more fanciful note other than actually carrying weapons the next most useful thing that I would like to see an advanced Hawk have is an ECM pod that would make it look like a Typhoon to other aircraft at BVR distances. That would be very useful for aggressor training. It would also be good at deterring enemy aircraft when approaching UK air space who wouldn’t know whether they faced a large number of Typhoons or just Hawks or a mixture of the two.

  42. Whereas the size and weight of the new AESA may be a shoo-in for the older Pulse Doppler, I’m not sure that Hawk has the power or cooling to run it.

    The downside to AESA is thermal inefficiency. The TRM’s are enabled by the same gallium arsenide/nitride base technology as your mobile phone which heats up and sucks power rapidly as well.

    Hawks still run the same ATS-323 generator which delivers 39kW (48kVA). More powerful generators aren’t small. The P-8A specified a doubling of the two 90kVA generators on the CFM International engines to 180kVA each which required nacelle modifications:

    Note the larger bumps on the port side of each nacelle to accommodate them.

  43. What is the OOS date for Hawk T1?
    I thought they were cycling airframes through storage so they would last quite a long time?
    I really struggle to see 100 more T2s being ordered, considering the current number of fast jets.
    Anyone got serious ideas how many planes would be needed for 100 squadron, RAF training and the RN and is it a given that the roles would be done by T2 (though obviously it does have the advantage of being home produced)

    PS The idea of the Red Arrows flying T1s is epic! (though I thought the T1s were already shagged out and approving the operating costs would be brave)
    One Typhoon on display is impressive – imagine the NOISE of 9 in formation afterburner!!

  44. OOS date for Hawk T1s is somewhere between 2018 and 2020 depending on which source you look at.

    Currently the UK operates about 129 with 28 in 208 Sqdn, 16 in 100 Sqdn, 16 assigned to the Red Arrows and 14 to 736 NAS and over 50 in storage/maintenance at any one time.

    So if we replaced the remaining active T1s on a one for one basis that implies an order of 74 on top of the 28 already in service with 4 Sqdn.

  45. The transition to T.2 is a good time to question whether like-for-like replacement is the best option, particularly when you’re paying £15-20m for the new Hawks. In particular I’m thinking of the RN Hawks – it makes sense to train for F-35 on T.2, but do we really need to do FRADU-type stuff with T.2? Or do 20% of FRADU with T.2’s seconded from the training squadrons, and outsource the rest to a company like Draken Intl. In three years Draken has gone from nowhere to the biggest owner of tactical jets in the world, and can generate >10,000h/year flying time using ex-NZ Skyhawks and Eastern European types that they pick up for less than $1m/airframe. The economics have to be in their favour.

    PS ChrisM – it’s really confusing when you use T1 to refer to both Mk1 Hawks and (presumably?) Tranche 1 Typhoons! I still vote for 9 Taranis painted red….

  46. @ El Sid

    It’s interesting that the FAA has gone the other way. The Hawks in 736 NAS used to be operated by Serco Defence and Aerospace but were brought back under direct control last year.

  47. I can easiliy see the Hawk T1s been kept as long as possible as they can still do the job. When they go both FRADU and 100 Squadron will probably have their duties passed to a civilian contractor. The current plans are for who ever gets the training contract to replace the Tucano with a higher performance platform (see PC-21) that will cover both the replacement of it nad cover quite a fair portion of the training that is currently carried out by the Hawk T1. I can see a small additional purchase of the Hawk T2, with eleven going to the Red Arrows and a dozen or so to RAF Valley to allow for numbers in the operational fleet to be maintained as airframes rotate through overhaul.

  48. The FAA have rebadged FRADU and NSFS as 736NAS because there aren’t enough exchange slots with the USN, MN and RAF to keep enough f/w pilots employed. It’s a specific (potentially short-term) measure to get over the H***ier gap before 17(R), 617 Sqn, 809NAS stand up and have a cadre of experienced Lts/Lt-Cdrs able to fill CO, SPLOT, QFI roles in the new force. Whether it survives in that form beyond IOC of Joint Force Dave is another thing entirely.

  49. @AndyC
    Aside from the issues NaB mentions – it’s a bit different. The current Hawks are bought and paid for, so the only consideration is how best to operate them (and it fits a bit of a trend of bringing purely operational stuff back in house). But when the Hawks expire, we’ll have to budget for the capital costs of their replacements. Regardless of whether the structure is private or public, if you start having to budget for capital costs the economics of a FRADU force that uses $1m planes will be much more attractive than one that uses $30m planes (assuming they can do the job OK).

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