UK F35B Joint Strike Fighter Orders

Not sure if this is correct but in what seems to be a scoop, the Economic Times (India) has a story about UK F35B orders, you know, those Unicorn like fabled orders that have been ‘coming shortly’ for ages.

Britain on Monday announced it had signed a contract with US manufacturer Lockheed Martin to buy the first of 14 F-35B combat jets.

The four Lightning II stealth combat aircraft will operate from both of the Royal Navy’s forthcoming new aircraft carriers and from Royal Air Force land bases, with another 10 due to be ordered over the next five years.

The first batch is expected to be delivered in 2016 and will take up station in 2018.

Not seen it elsewhere so the usual caveats apply.

Time will tell I guess

 

UPDATE

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/contract-signed-for-first-production-batch-of-f-35b-aircraft

 

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Jules
Jules
November 24, 2014 3:37 pm

@TD youre mixing up Indian Procurement with ours surely???
So we should have about a squadron when the first QE stands up, good.

Hohum
Hohum
November 24, 2014 3:43 pm

This isn’t really news, the UK announced back in October that it was going to order 4 more F-35Bs (in addition to the current 4), these are part of the LRIP VIII order for 43 that was awarded to Lockheed by the Pentagon on Friday.

October: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/first-batch-of-f-35b-operational-aircraft-to-be-ordered

Friday: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/21/us-lockheed-fighter-idUSKCN0J52DJ20141121

AndyC
November 24, 2014 3:45 pm

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/first-batch-of-f-35b-operational-aircraft-to-be-ordered

Follow the link above for the official press release.

It was reported by Nick first on the thread about the decision to order Captor E-scan radar for the Typhoon, about comment 50 or so.

Actually it’s pretty sad reading as it means that the UK will be the proud owners of a total of 8 F-35Bs by 2016. Then depending on how you read it (and the wording is open to interpretation) there’s another ten or so to come over the next five years which brings the total to only 18 by 2019.

But never mind that the important thing is that it’s a step up in capability and can operate from the Queen Elizabeth (sarcasm) no matter how many of them we have or when!

Hohum
Hohum
November 24, 2014 3:52 pm

AndyC,

No, it was reported way back in October when the government first announced it. I recall the discussion because that is when it became clear that without a life further extension of the Tornado OSD the UK will slip down to just 6 fast jet squadrons (down from 12 in 2010).

For anyone interested, here is the Department of Defense Contracts announcement from Friday, which is what has caused this story to suddenly reappear: http://www.defense.gov/Contracts/Contract.aspx?ContractID=5423

So to summarise, the UK government confirmed its intention to order 4 aircraft under LRIP VIII back in October, the US DoD awarded the contract for that order to Lockheed Martin on Friday.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 24, 2014 4:12 pm

All that has happened is that the divvy-up of slots has been made final (for this batch).

The next thing to watch is who will take the slots if (if in bold) Canada drops out? Is there any connection with the USMC suddenly turning around the order for retiring Harriers and Hornets (used to be the other way round). In LRIP turning A’s to B’s should be less of a trick than later?

MSR
MSR
November 24, 2014 4:15 pm

I wonder what the Whitehall tea leaves might say about the possibilities of a split buy post-2015 SDSR? One operational carrier doesn’t need more than 48 F35Bs, and there have long been rumblings about a purchase of A versions to replace Tornado instead of any more Bs. This new LRIP order also shows a 3% reduction in the A unit cost, verses a 1.7% cut in the price of a B, which remains the most expensive of the three (although, after you’ve factored in the likely attrition rate of the C version, in terms of lifetime costs it probably won’t be).

Hohum
Hohum
November 24, 2014 4:19 pm

MSR,

That is precisely the question currently being considered as part of the FCAS studies for a Typhoon replacement in the 2030s (though one hopes that at this stage F-35 is just a pencil mark given we are 20 years out). The real concern now is whether the UK ever gets to 48 Bs. The 48 number seems to have stopped being used in public lately and the currently announced OSDs for Tranche 1 Typhoons, Tornado GR4s, announced squadron stand-downs and the F-35 delivery schedule suggest very strong that the force structure will shrink to just six squadrons by 2020.

Hohum
Hohum
November 24, 2014 4:59 pm
Topman
Topman
November 24, 2014 5:32 pm

No surprise here on the slow built up of jets. At least it keeps some people’s feet on the ground. This will take a long time to get into any sort of serious numbers and deployed as well (and I don’t mean PR pieces). This a/c is still in it’s test phase, there’s still a huge amount of information to learn about how to use it properly and to it’s maximum.

Mark
Mark
November 24, 2014 5:45 pm

I wonder if we’re getting these orders in dribs and drabs because the Mod doesn’t want to announce in one go that the first 14 f35s and the bits to set up marham as the main base will cost £2.5b pounds (as leaked to the bbc at the start of this year ) and some divided 2.5/14 and gets 178m pounds a plane like they do with ever other aircraft program.

Perhaps reality is now starting to dawn the ideas of alpha strike formations floating round on our carriers will be a pipe dream for a long time. If we see commitments on the fastjet fleet like we currently do it will be Afghan and the harriers on carriers all,over again simply not enough to go round. Shortly after sdsr10 a document came out of the balanced budget that said the UK will purchase its f35s from 2016 -2023 for the 48 assigned for carriers that’s now pretty much reality.

If you want to see what’s coming down the road look at infastructure and trainings a/c, only 1 f35 base (3 fastjet bases total, will there be an f35 ocu where will it be based and how many a/c allocated ) and 24 Hawks to train fastjet pilots. You might might get a 3rd f35 sqn but it would come from that contingency budget were using to buy all those fantasy fleet goodie. It’s 107 typhoon and 48 f35 until the 2030s subject to further cuts.

Hohum
Hohum
November 24, 2014 5:52 pm

Mark,

The small orders are because this is an LRIP order, it’s how the US has structured the programme, the total LRIP VIII contract under which these 4 aircraft were ordered is just 43 aircraft.

Mark
Mark
November 24, 2014 6:01 pm

Hasn’t stopped the japanese, Koreans or Norwegians announcing there full buy and projected cost though.

Hohum
Hohum
November 24, 2014 6:08 pm

Yes, but their aircraft are still being ordered in the same way as the UK ones. If you had bothered to read any of the links in this thread you would have seen that LRIP VIII includes 4 Japanese aircraft and 2 Norwegian ones- also “dribs and drabs” as you call it.

AndyC
November 24, 2014 6:30 pm

Oh stop being so gloomy everyone.

There’s every prospect that thanks to ISIL we’ll get an eighth frontline squadron next April as the RAF grows to 5 Typhoon + 3 Tornado squadrons. That would be the first increase in the best part of 30 years!

And there are a couple of reasons why it might not go down again:

1. the rise of the flight simulator will save substantial operating costs. Even frontline squadrons plan to move to a 50:50 split between expensive flying and cheap simulators

2. it’s getting politically much harder to commit boots on the ground. Global intervention is therefore becoming about projecting air power. If, and it’s a big if, the combination of allied air power with local military/militias/Kurds turns the tide in Iraq without the commitment of US and European infantry this will only strengthen such a trend.

I can increasingly see the possibilities of keeping tranche 1 Typhoons for another eight or nine years enabling there to be 4 swing-role squadrons using tranche 2/3 Typhoons after 2017 and 2 air defence squadrons using tranche 1.

That leaves the current 3 Tornado squadrons. One could become the sixth Typhoon squadron in 2017, one could be replaced by 617 squadron in 2018 and the other could carry on to 2020 or later before also switching to F-35Bs.

One thing I haven’t been able to find out – does the cost of the first naval F-35B squadron come from the Royal Navy’s budget or the RAF’s budget or some Joint Command budget? If it’s the RN then we might even get to 9 fast jet squadrons when 809 NAS eventually stands up.

The Other Nick
The Other Nick
November 24, 2014 6:40 pm

Hasn’ t stopped the Israelis talking of cutting order for 2nd batch of 25, just agreed at end of October, between Chuck Hagel and Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, by half due to the cost of $150M each for F-35A with doubts over range, payload and maneuverability concerns.

Jed
Jed
November 24, 2014 7:15 pm

All mention of F35 should be in the “sacred cows” thread – ridiculous drain on budget, bin it, bin it now I say !!

The Other Chris
November 24, 2014 8:02 pm

Then what would you do?

Stewart Hitchen
Stewart Hitchen
November 24, 2014 8:11 pm

I think that the orders will be in small batches until later in production as the cost per unit drops, then only ten to twelve per year.

Rocket Banana
November 24, 2014 8:37 pm

On average we’ve only received about 12 Typhoon a year so 10-12 for F35 sounds like “rapid” to me :-)

LRIP8 is always going to be a small order.

I suppose 4 is quite a lot for us at this stage, which is why I was asking what the LRIP8 (Block2) are actually capable of in terms of weapons integration. AMRAAM = tick, JDAM = tick, Paveway2 = ?, Paveway4 = ???

Observer
Observer
November 24, 2014 9:02 pm

Jed, hush you. The cows are scared enough as it is. :)

Jed
Jed
November 24, 2014 9:44 pm

The Other Chris said “and then what would you do”

Buy V22’s to fly from the carriers for Airborne Warning and Control role, sail said carriers if “frak-off great big LPH” mode. Invest in Typhoon, including buying brand new Tranche 3 with AESA and conformal tanks, accelerate weapons integration on Typhoon and investigate additional electronic attack capabilities, perhaps the new U.S. Jammer that is to replace the ALQ-99.

Also invest in Taranis etc because if you want a low observable “first day of the war” attack platform with decent range then unmanned “Cylon” (not Satcom) is the way to go…..

The Other Chris
November 24, 2014 9:51 pm

Hadn’t realised we weren’t already investing in Taranis…

No point in V-22 vs Merlin Crowsnest, the unpressurised cabin provides insufficient altitude to improve the detection range of Searchwater on a rotorcraft.

Very expensive LPH’s, why not sell CVF and purchase the Russian Mistral’s?

Typhoon plans in the EW role are behind the PAVE PACE roadmap. Growler would be closer.

mr.fred
mr.fred
November 24, 2014 10:19 pm

Isn’t there a need for a cargo/utility ‘plane with a bit of range and capable of landing on a CVF? Something that can deliver/remove time critical cargo to/from the carrier while it is at sea, without needing to send a ship to and from the carrier group or sending the carrier group to helicopter range of a land base?
Something like the C2 used by the US navy, which was developed from the E2 AEW aircraft. Or the Fairey Gannet, another AEW aircraft developed into a light cargo plane?

Granted, both of those are conventional, catapult launched and arrested landing, carrier aircraft, but it should be possible to use advanced slats and flight control, coupled with powerful engines and possibly rockets, to get a long-ranged aircraft on to and off a CVF?

Peter Elliott
November 24, 2014 10:38 pm

There’s a need. Possibly even a requirement. But to meet it 100% would need a shedload of development cash to creat an SRVL utility jet, of which the we would only ever buy around 6 airframes for the COD role. Even developed into a multi role AAR, AEW and ASW super-gadget the UK buy would never exceed 20 cabs.

When you consider the capability offered by Chinook for COD and Merlin HM2 for AEW an ASW the question has to be asked why would you bother? Its a classic 80/20 siutation. If the SRVL utility jet existed we might buy it but it doesn’t. And there are lots more important things to spend our scarece pennies on right now. Sadly.

(In full-on fantasy mode I wonder about an AN-74 developed with thrust vectoring and VAAC software. But that’s another story.)

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 24, 2014 11:10 pm

@PE

Would be interesting to see what the “requirement” would be. So x 000kg or y passengers with max dimensions to be carried a miles @ b knots or some combination and obviously operate from the carrier :)

So Ballpark Chinook gives us 50 odd pax or 12000kg cargo 400NM @ 130 kts

Osprey would give us 25 odd pax or 9000kg cargo 870NM @ 250 kts

C2 gives the US 25 odd pax or 4700kg cargo 1300Nm @ 280 kts

I wonder how far Osprey would fly if you sacrificed some of its cargo lift for fuel. It would seem that an almost Greyhound level capability is technically easily achieved if the requirement justified the money.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 24, 2014 11:17 pm

@TD

I think the question and we will never know the answer is. How did the lack of such a capability affect everything from navigational routing to operational planning to what was required to be stored onboard?

The Other Nick
The Other Nick
November 24, 2014 11:21 pm

F -35A.
Reports that the Israeli cabinet have over ruled their defence minister and cut the second batch October order from 31 ($4.4 billion) to 13. Israelis criticised the limited capabilities of aircraft and lack of access to software.

First batch of 19 at a cost of $2.74 billion ( 2 in LRIP 8), last to be delivered by end of 2018, 1st of second batch to be delivered in 2019. A probability that lower buy will increase the cost per aircraft and that proposed offset buys of 810 F-35 wing sets in doubt.

Aviation Week

mr.fred
mr.fred
November 24, 2014 11:34 pm

There are a number of ways of meeting the 80% solution, perhaps?
RATO on an existing airframe?
The Twin Otter has a pretty short takeoff roll, perhaps enhanced by a carrier steaming into wind with a ski jump?
Tilt rotors?
Next generation helicopters?
Something that can be used for a number of roles would seem favourite, so I suppose that it might be helicopters.

Peter Elliott
November 24, 2014 11:41 pm

@APATS

I approach the question from the premise that a step change would be required over and above the legacy stystems to make it wothwhile developing anything.

For COD you need to carry as much as a Chinook, including the shape weight and bulk of a packeged F35B engine, and fly twice as far.

For AAR you need to be able to lift 10,000kg of fuel off the deck. Why? becuase a Fast Jet fully loaded with 5 Chobham pods could lift 5,000kg so you need to aim for a 2:1 benefit to make it worth carrying a dedicated AAR plane compared to a FJ with pods.

For AEW you need to get to 7,500m altitude with an aspiration to get to 10,000 or even 12,000m. It’s got to have a pressurised cabin to make it worth ditching Merlin in the AEW role.

For ASW its both got to get much further from the carrier than Merlin and to carry significantly more MAC sonorbuoys, to make up for having no dipping sonar. As well as the stores for multiple attacks on a target.

All that goes to say that its an ambitious requirement. And absolutely in the ‘nice to have’ category compared to the in service and OTS alternatives. But it doesn’t mean a worried navy wouldn’t be working on it, or a worried governement wouldn’t fund it. But how worried are we right now?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 24, 2014 11:48 pm

@PE

A V22 would be a step change for us as we have nothing and with tiny mods would offer C2 capability which has been good enough to keep larger far more manpower intensive US CBGs supplied for decades.
Your AEW requirement is achievable pretty easily. Your AAR probably not and your ASW is fantasy land.

Peter Elliott
November 25, 2014 12:01 am

@APATS

Always good to get a dose of cold water reality.

(a) I have hreard rumour that a packaged F35B engine would stick out of the back of a V-22 wich is not ideal. (b) The AEW has to be worth looking atafter Merlin gets old. (c) That would explain why the USN hasn’t bothered with a C2-AAR. It doesn’t lift enough to make the case doesn’t stack up compared to a F18 with pods.

Regarding the (d) the ASW issue its a bit complicated. The USN canned Viking but it still has P3/P8. We don’t. If we restore that tier of capability would that make Merlin ‘good enough’ from the carrier? With only 30 HM2 altogether? Or do we need more of ‘something’…?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 25, 2014 12:09 am

@PE

Reference ASW, MPA can be incredibly useful in supporting a TG at Sea their speed and endurance make them ideal assets to respond to an already detected contact or patrol a choke point or somewhere else a sub may have to transit or sanitise an area that a TG may have to pass through ahead of it reaching it.
Often however they operate on other tasking be it ASW or their other roles. The job of a TG is to ensure that the MEU(Mission essential Unit) can conduct its tasking and to do that you have to keep the submarines away, not chase them and sink them necessarily but keep them on the “outside” A combination of 2087 equipped FFs and HM2 are bloody good at this.

Peter Elliott
November 25, 2014 12:23 am

@TD

I like your thinking on stores. Lets hope we order a few solid stores ships some time soon. Those plus Chinook look like they tick the COD box to me.

@APATS

Let’s hope we order some ASW-MPA soon then.

@Both/All

I was actually making thepoint that a super-gadget SRVL Utility Jet would be nice to have but acutally we probably have things covered ‘good enough’ if we go on and order the things we are talking about doing: Crowsnest, MARS SSS and an land based MPA.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 25, 2014 12:37 am

@TD/PE

Good logistics capabilities and planning do help but there are always instances where the ability to get something or someone or some people onboard from 1000Nm offshore instead of 200NM is damn handy and that to have such a capability would not require developing any form of dedicated aircraft.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 25, 2014 6:08 am
wf
wf
November 25, 2014 6:48 am

: yup, the S3 was a great plane. However, I cannot see anything other than a borrowed Chinook in that role…

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 25, 2014 7:08 am

The moral of the story was that one needs to be careful of what one wishes for. After all the strenuous rqrmnts zetting upstream, the answer was steering us in the face (there are even engines for them, stored as new… Maybe not for the 35 that the USN would require, but…).

In practice and under the budget constraint, I agree on the Chinook solution. At a stretch , you can always borrow an AAR’able from the SF.

Martin
Editor
November 25, 2014 10:17 am

I can understand the USN needing a COB aircraft like C2 or V22 but on how many occasions is CVF likely to be far enough offshore that Chinook can’t reach an airfield. The USN spends much of its time in the pacific but for us in the Med-ME or western Atlantic is hardly seems necessary.

The Other Chris
November 25, 2014 10:27 am

Bell demonstrated F135 carriage in a CV-22 to the USN earlier this year.

The usual container is too big to be underslung (at least by an Osprey) and is also too big to fit inside the cabin. Instead the engine is fastened to a frame which is slid into a stripped cabin modified with fixing points.

The LiftSystem and other equipment would have to be carried in a second aircraft, if those are also needed.

Pressurising Osprey isn’t straight forward, the interface of the rotating wing and the fuselage resulted in cost increases which lead to the dropping of the pressurisation requirement.

You want pressurisation to allow a cargo aircraft to travel higher in order to increase speed, range and provide options in avoiding the more severe weather. Obvious benefits for AEW horizons (assuming your radar – e.g. Searchwater – can leverage the additional distance).

The aircraft would not normally be pressurised during troop transport missions into and out of a combat zone. Or at least the during the “at risk” portion of the mission due to risk of perforation.

The aircraft still carries an onboard oxygen generator for crew oxygen masks, as well as a beefed up cabin heating system, to allow operation at higher altitudes which have been used regularly but are not routine. Both have been criticised. I wouldn’t want to be the one asking crews to regularly use the equipment as standard practice.

In other V-22 news, Japan has ordered 17:

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/japan-will-purchase-17-v-22-osprey-tiltrotors-406415/

Shenanigans in Israel might mean their V-22 order might return:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/17/us-lockheed-martin-fighter-israel-idUSKCN0J10XH20141117

If not, or if it’s a reduced order, there will be a lot of egg on the faces of Important US People (IUSP) who have moved heaven and earth to obtain production slots for Israel at reduced prices. Might be some MV-22’s going cheap…

Lastly, it’s older news but relevant if you’re talking about the UK purchasing Ospreys, the 7th Special Operations Squadron at RAF Mildenhall have their CV-22B fleet up, running and are about to (or are currently?) shepherd UK “Spearhead” troops around regularly (which means we’ll get up close and personal experience):

http://www.mildenhall.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123425012

a
a
November 25, 2014 10:58 am

isn’t there a need for a cargo/utility ‘plane with a bit of range and capable of landing on a CVF? Something that can deliver/remove time critical cargo to/from the carrier while it is at sea, without needing to send a ship to and from the carrier group or sending the carrier group to helicopter range of a land base?

We already have one. It’s called the Hercules. No, really.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ar-poc38C84

“At 85,000 pounds, the KC-130F came to a complete stop within 267 feet, about twice the aircraft’s wing span! The Navy was delighted to discover that even with a maximum payload, the plane used only 745 feet for takeoff and 460 feet for landing roll…”

(that’s enough to fit on a QE deck)

The Other Chris
November 25, 2014 11:21 am

Operation Credible Sport:

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 25, 2014 1:14 pm

I thought too much money was spent on the rockets, night goggles could not be fitted into the budget, two of the planes collided, game over….

But: too much money was spent on the rockets, they burnt a wing off, game over just trying it out (no round trip to a desert in Iran required)

a
a
November 25, 2014 1:16 pm

Those too, Other Chris. A squadron of those and we wouldn’t have to worry about being short of support helicopters.
There is literally nothing you can’t do to or with a Herc. There’s a radar version, a drone carrier version, AWACS, maritime search, ground attack, EW, tanker…
The RNZAF apparently had one that they made from the back of one that had nosed in and the front of one that had knocked its tail off, which they welded together and called Frankenherc. The RAF was, I was told once, seriously looking into an air defence version with a big rotary launcher full of radar-guided AAM. The USAF Reserve flies Hercs into hurricanes and down to the South Pole. Lovely aircraft. We should just have them, nothing else. Single-type fleet.

Jeneral28
Jeneral28
November 25, 2014 1:58 pm

ASRAAM and Paveway and no gun pod…that’s a “very” nice fleet defence fighter.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
November 25, 2014 2:21 pm

Has it occurred to you that those two weapons are Brit-specific? Might there be a BVR AAM already in service with both UK and US forces that has already been integrated as part of the US programme? Can’t. Quite. Think. Of. The. Name.

Just a thought…..

The Other Chris
November 25, 2014 2:34 pm

Like some sort of medium ranged missile of advanced nature usable in the air-to-air realm?

As luck would have it news is just out with some information regarding a UK F-35B flying with ASRAAM and Paveway IV fits:

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/f-35b-makes-first-flight-with-uk-weapons-406449/

We can add those tick boxes to the commonly shared weapons integrated previously.

monkey
monkey
November 25, 2014 4:15 pm

@ToC
The rocketed assisted C130 ! How mad are they ! After about two minutes or so into the video you can get absolute confirmation this particular C130 doesn’t have ejector seats :-)

a
a
November 25, 2014 4:32 pm

monkey, when the project spec is “we want you to build a Herc that can land and take off in a football stadium” madness is sort of baked in from the start…

The Other Nick
The Other Nick
November 25, 2014 7:23 pm

@TOC
Last info I have seen was that Paveway IV required F-35 software block 3F to be operational with an in operating scheduled target date of some where between Aug 2018 and Feb 2019, 3 1/2 + years out with Brimstone following, may be block 4A in 2021or block 4B 2023.

as
as
November 25, 2014 7:59 pm

TOC & A

as
as
November 25, 2014 8:06 pm

Found a better full length version of the footage.

Martin
Editor
November 26, 2014 4:24 am

We can be reasonably sure the Joint work between Japan and the UK in meteor will likely include integration onto F35 as well.

@ TON – I don’t see 2021 as a judge issues for the UK for Brimstone integration in 2021. I seriously doubt we will have much of an F35 fleet before 2021.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 26, 2014 7:49 am

@TON, ahh, block 4 has also been subdivided
“Brimstone following, may be block 4A in 2021or block 4B 2023”

Any idea if JSM is in the former? There was a mighty row, with Norway threatening to cancel and Pentagon stepping in with a $20m sweetener that allowed LM to back down gracefully.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 26, 2014 8:04 am

On which note (ie mine, above if someone has already put a comment in-between) the last sentence of this, together with the confirmation of Mk41 tubes for T26, is quite interesting
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140409/DEFREG01/304090033/Norway-s-Naval-Strike-Missile-Aims-Pacific

By the time T26 comes to service, they might have Mk41 tubes only? See

“chase see NAVAL FORCES V/2013, Page 93).

MBDA and Lockheed Martin demonstrated the first launch of a Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) from Lockheed Martin’s Mk41 vertical launch system (VLS) using a variant of the Extensible Launching System (ExLS). This has been the first test by MBDA and Lockheed Martin since the May 2013 announcement of cooperation between the two companies to offer MBDA missile systems for use with the Mk41 and ExLS family of shipboard launchers. The recent trial has used MBDA’s soft vertical launch technology to eject the CAMM effector from its canister and position the missile for main motor ignition. The trial is the first in a series to demonstrate that CAMM can be installed using ExLS on-board surface combatants that use the MK41 VLS or the three-cell ExLS CAMM launcher. As said by George Barton, Vice President of Business Development of Ship & Aviation Systems for Lockheed Martin’s Mission System & Training business, the multi-missile Mk41 VLS has fundamentally changed the way world Navies think about sea-launched weapons by providing the flexibility to respond to numerous threats.

On 9 September 2013, MBDA received a £250M production contract from the UK Ministry of Defence for the delivery of the SEA CEOPTOR air defence weapon system comprising CAMM plus other system equipment. SEA CEPTOR will initially equip the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates from 2016 onwards replacing SEAWOLF and then be integrated into the Type 26 frigates as the primary air defence system. SEA CEPTOR ensures the Royal Navy will be deploying with the latest air defence missile system, protecting the launch vessel and nearby deployed forces under its defensive cover from a wide range of airborne threats.” from

http://www.dimdex.com/en/press/news/naval-customers-draw-attention-on-new-missile-technology.aspx

Step 3 (in commonality): a couple of land-launch batteries to keep Falklands safe at a lower cost?

Nick
Nick
November 26, 2014 8:29 am

@Thread

slightly jumping ahead here, but while discussing what the weapons load of UK F35B might be, isn’t it worth discussing just how Joint Force Lightening will work ?

For 617 sqd, initial RAF requirement is A2G only surely (and then in day 1 Stealth basis as we will have 100+ fully A2G T2/T3 Typhoon as the back bone of the RAF by 2020). First and foremost this doesn’t need Brimstone/SPEAR 3 (and wouldn’t it be cheaper to go for US based off the shelf anyway ?).

The NAS component, will (should) have a broader remit:

a) Fleet air defence
b) Anti-ship (submarine ?) strike – I know we haven’t bothered to much about this latterly, but we really ought to
c) Expedition force support (assuming there is NO RAF basing availability locally) – this is both A2A and A2G in practice. Whilst A2G might be more CASM than deep strike, but they would do both ?

Simplified, obviously, but isn’t this quite different from Joint Force Harrier ? Apart from common maintenance/ground basing, doesn’t it imply rather different training and operational regimes for NAS and RAF F35B’s at least in the 2020s ?

The Other Chris
November 26, 2014 9:22 am

UK Block

UK weapon integration is always interesting. Best summed up by the following quote:

A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.

The original roadmaps do indicate a blend of Blocks 3i and 3F for UK in-service. However the roadmaps have not been republished since the titanium source issue, blade rubbing fault and Block 2B software delays.

The UK is really only “behind” in ASRAAM integration. Paveway IV has already been drop tested back in 2012. Gun Pod is a similar story. The Trials announced this week are fit trials for Paveway IV and ASRAAM together in the internal bays.

We’ll receive ASRAAM, AMRAAM, Paveway IV and the Gun Pod for initial release to service. Meteor may or may not come later, depending on timing and events.

The UK has it’s own software team working on the project – part of the “operational sovereignty” compromise that was established. We’re not 100% reliant on the LM software team for integrations.

Always possible we’ll see an F-35B deployed to theatre before the full suite arrives, but remember that the aircraft has a superior ISTAR and EW suite already.

Brimstone on F-35

Remember that Brimstone will be an external pylon weapon only. This is due to the launcher method being a rail.

SPEAR capability 3 (e.g. SDB-II or MBDA SPEAR) has the requirement to be quad-packed into the internal bay. With this development ongoing the UK is unlikely to fund a rail launcher than lowers itself below the internal bay into the airstream.

CAMM in Mk 41

The latest letter from the SOD indicated a 24 cell Mk 41 and a total of 48 separate CAMM soft-launch cells to free the larger VLS for flexible launch packages. Cruise missiles and anti-submarine rockets were hinted at.

More details (see first comment onwards) in this thread:

https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2014/11/open-thread-2014-week-48/

The Limey
The Limey
November 26, 2014 10:17 am

@TOC –
If no Meteor on F35 what will it be on? Typhoon only? If so, that is an utterly disgraceful waste of money. If the Meteor is our BVR missile, then it is an absolute must for the F35.

The Other Chris
November 26, 2014 10:34 am

@The Limey

Another quote may help:

“Patience, young Grasshopper.”

Meteor is definitely coming to F-35. It’s a premier BVR missile with an extremely bright future given Japan’s partnership with the sensors and guidance subsystems moving forwards. Edit: A very good arrangement for both the UK and Japan who are amongst the best in class at the planned respective work-share.

AMRAAM has already been integrated (for the USMC, USAF and USN) so we can use our existing stocks almost as soon as our F-35B’s arrive while we do the Meteor work.

The Limey
The Limey
November 26, 2014 10:53 am

A misreading of your above post then! I took ‘Meteor may or may not come later, depending on timing and events.’ to mean not coming at all, rather than at same time. Glad to hear we’ve not (completely) wasted it all.

The Other Chris
November 26, 2014 12:00 pm

Ahh I see, yes, apologies. It was intended to scan as “May be available by release to service depending on timelines/events. If not, it’s definitely coming afterwards.”

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 26, 2014 12:55 pm

A good opening from Nick. Terminology, though, bothers me as each combination of weapon and platform (either f35 or the same with its moving airbase taken together) should map to a capability – how could we otherwise claim, in a credible way, to possess capability x, y or z?

Cas – for battlefield
Interdiction – theatre
Deep strike – anywhere where the effect might be important

I am not claiming this is the RAF dictionary (nomenclature), just my own understanding. But I do suspect that the terms have been deliberately blurred – in want of a certain capability.

Separately, I always thought that SPEAR 3 (capability) mapped to a weapon was the mdba thingy, RE
“”SPEAR capability 3 (e.g. SDB-II or MBDA SPEAR) “?

The Other Chris
November 26, 2014 1:02 pm

Mentioned before but another good place to reference the information:

“[Norway] had hoped it could repurpose many of the weapons it uses on the F-16, but the IRIS-T—Norway’s primary short-range air-to-air weapon—is not slated for integration onto the F-35, prompting Oslo to look at the AIM-9X Sidewinder. Officials are also considering the MBDA Meteor.”

Source: http://aviationweek.com/defense/norway-paves-way-f-35-acquisition

Would also be good news for MBDA in general, Norway and the UK given relationships and proximity for supply. Integrating ASRAAM would provide Norway with another option, not a stretch to suggest a common MBDA deal could be arranged for both missiles.

The Other Chris
November 26, 2014 1:06 pm

Re: SPEAR capability 3

Raytheon are pushing SDB-II for SPEAR capability 3.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/raytheon-takes-aim-at-uk-spear-deal-with-sdb-ii-401907/

To be integrated with F-35 anyway. SDB in service. Likely a larger warhead. Shorter range.

MBDA SPEAR is the other likely contender. Commonality with Brimstone II (SPEAR capability 2). Longer range. Brimstone heritage. Vertical launch plans.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 26, 2014 1:52 pm

I guess it comes down to the question: when can we let the good old Tornado go?

A short range speaks against declaring its Storm Shadow replaced by SDB II. Not that I have anything against the latter; the trend just seems to be to have as few types as possible.

Pte. James Frazer
Pte. James Frazer
November 26, 2014 2:02 pm

ToC

Interesting that Raytheon (US) are offering SDB II for SPEAR because I also thought that Raytheon (UK) had proposed Paveway IV with the wing glide kit for that a while ago. We’re already integrating PIV on F35 plus Raytheon (UK) are in spiral development of Paveway IV with laser seeker improvements, hardened GPS and different warheads with datalink to come. Not sure if the proposed wing kit is just PPT at the moment but given TD’s missive for ruthless commonality this would seem a ‘no brainer’ for an interim SPEAR solution (albeit no IIR) until MBDA’s missile is qualified.

The Other Chris
November 26, 2014 2:44 pm

Aye. It’s quite a blurred picture overall. Team Complex Weapons comprise MBDA and others. Nothing to stop them selecting a third party weapon as a base, even if the wind is blowing in the direction of MBDA’s Brimstone evolution.

SPEAR capability 1 is probably where you’re seeing the Paveway IV modifications. Guidance improvements, penetrator warhead and extended range likely to be supplied by MBDA’s Diamond Back kit:

http://www.mbda-systems.com/mediagallery/files/Diamond-Back_ds.pdf

SPEAR capability 2 is fulfilled by Brimstone II.

SPEAR capability 3 is for an SDB-a-like class weapon. i.e. 100kg, quad-packable into each internal bay of an F-35B but with a 100nm range, able to hit both land and sea targets.

Raytheon approaching Team Complex Weapons with SDB-II (as mentioned, larger warhead but unpowered reducing strike radius). MBDA are evolving Brimstone into their own SPEAR, likely a smaller warhead but powered to maintain a larger strike radius. VLS launch would be a bonus. A “mini-cruise-missile”.

@TD has a good series starting with Part 1:

https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2013/04/uk-complex-weapons-part-1-introduction/

The Limey
The Limey
November 26, 2014 2:58 pm

@TOC – Now we just need TD to finish the series!

Pte. James Frazer
Pte. James Frazer
November 26, 2014 3:04 pm

ToC

Is there a need for SDB-II in UK inventory?

Given the current Brimstone integration issues for internal mounting on an F35, and MBDA SPEAR 3 missile development and integration horizon, Paveway IV with a wing kit would seem to offer a pretty good and low risk ‘interim’ solution (albeit unpowered, no IIR) to the requirement. Not just F35 centric with cross-over to Typhoon. Granted lower carriage number of one in each F35 bay rather than SDB, but that’s the trade off I guess. This from Raytheon UK’s site includes a low yield warhead:

http://www.raytheon.co.uk/capabilities/proven/missile/

“Spiral development options for Paveway™ IV , primarily for satisfying the U.K., MOD requirements for Selective Precision Effects At Range (SPEAR), include the provision of a wing kit that will more than double the range of the weapon, alternative warhead variants for low yield and high penetration, high moving target engagement capability, a datalink for post release weapon communications, enhanced GPS anti-jam and improved target selectivity/autonomy.”

Jeremy M H
November 26, 2014 3:11 pm

I would have to think that looking at SDB-II is going to happen because its basically a weapon built for aircraft like the F-35 and F-22. It lets you leverage your all around sensing capabilities with a weapon that is going to be fairly small, highly accurate and doesn’t necessitate the use of off board sensors. It isn’t the perfect weapon for all scenarios but it should be a very good weapon for a very wide range of target sets from small boats to vehicles to some SEAD work. Its just something useful you can load up and pretty much drop on anything in fairly short notice. It will be fairly tightly integrated into the F-35’s capabilities so it is something one might as well have on hand.

The Other Chris
November 26, 2014 4:09 pm

My opinion only: The range aspect is the key capability for SPEAR 3.

100nm (SPEAR) vs 40nm (gliding SDB-ii and Paveway IV) against moving targets is a significant difference.

To illustrate:

comment image

The longer-term proposals to quad-pack into a Mk 41 are worth considering.

Rocket Banana
November 26, 2014 4:13 pm

I’m not very good at the “strike” stuff so wonder what 8 x SDB would actually allow an F35B to do?

They can’t be used to engage vehicles so they’re not really battlefield or CAS weapons and they don’t have enough punch to take out buildings, bunkers or ships.

What are they for?

I’d rather we concentrated on getting Brimstone to work as a drop-and-burn.

PS: Spear3 also excellent. Yes, much better than SDB.

monkey
monkey
November 26, 2014 4:24 pm

@Simon
The SDB II is meant to be small to limit collatteral damage , the perps neighbours, and has a multifunction warhead that can be updated in flight to be retasked/cancelled . It uses a millimeter-wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared, and semi-active laser targeting plus GPS and Inertial Navigation System which enables it to attack targets on land and sea.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/GBU-53/B

Pte. James Frazer
Pte. James Frazer
November 26, 2014 4:30 pm

ToC

Not suggesting replacement just emphasis on ‘interim’ until MBDA 100nm SPEAR 3 missile is developed and qualified under Team Complex Weapons framework. Unless we want to integrate SDB-II on Typhoon which I doubt.

The Limey
The Limey
November 26, 2014 4:54 pm

In our spirit of ruthless commonality, is there any chance that the targeting interface from the carrying plane is the same as Brimstone, or is this another case of two slightly different and incompatible armaments?

Edit: This is from looking at the link – the SDB-II appears to be similar to have similar seeker fit-out to dual-mode Brimstone, the key difference being wings vs powered.

Jeremy M H
November 26, 2014 5:11 pm

@Simon

SDBII absolutely has anti-vehicle capabilities as it has a three mode seeker and is explicitly tasked with being able to hit moving targets and be used as an anti-drive weapon. It has a Millimeter Wave Radar Seeker, an uncooled IR seeker and is capable of using a laser seeker. It would be able to hit just about any target. It could do close air support just fine and I get the impression you don’t actually have any idea at all what the weapon does or is about. You may be confusing it with SDBI I guess. Not really sure here.

@TOC

I think you are getting your units mixed up. As far as I know SPEAR 3 is a weapon with a range of 100KM (about 54nm) vs SDBII being around 74KM (40nm) against moving targets and probably a bit more against fixed targets. Obviously the later is significantly more dependent on launch conditions than the former but the range difference is not really that great. This really shouldn’t be surprising as with only around 200-300 pounds to work with you can’t carry that much fuel and still carry a warhead and turbine engine all that far. You can give up warhead weight for fuel and engine but that is just something limited in a different way as far as target sets.

I don’t necessarily see the two as competing weapons. They do different things. It is silly to think about having one or the other. SDB-II is something you can have today for a know cost as its already being built. SPEAR 3 is something that may exist in the future for an unknown cost that is likely to be higher than the SDBII (since it does all the same things but adds an engine which would add cost). SPEAR 3 was also supposed to be flying or close to it by this point 2 years ago, now it looks for a first flight in 2016-17 time frame. This may explain some of the looking about.

But really they do slightly different things. No reason not to have both.

The Other Chris
November 26, 2014 5:40 pm

The 100km requirement is achievable via air-launched gliding alone (c.f. SDB is closer to 60nm). The specification allows for gliding SDB-I/II.

Actual range of SPEAR has not been officially reported. Initial releases were “north” of the gliding figure (obviously). Tests in 2012 were reported in the press at 75nm (the 120km mark). Subsequent media reports give the 180km/100nm figure.

SPEAR is powered by a variant of the turbojet in the MALD. If a 50kg warhead is used (compared to 93kg in the SDB series, no details released), that provides a reasonable allowance for fuel and power-plant, yet still with a larger warhead than FASGW(H).

Rocket Banana
November 26, 2014 5:56 pm

JMH,

“I get the impression you don’t actually have any idea at all what the weapon does or is about”

No. What is it about then?

What targets can it defeat that can’t be defeated with Hellfire, Brimstone, or Paveway?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 26, 2014 6:19 pm

To take out integrated AAD you will need a lot of highly accurate munitions, but not necessarily a lot of yield as the targets are more likely to be dispersed/ mobile than hardened. Ideally you will fit these munitions to a stealth plane.

Now which of the weapons above am I talking about?

The Other Chris
November 26, 2014 6:37 pm

Anything that needs a larger warhead than Brimstone at a longer range than Paveway in possibly larger numbers.

Jeremy M H
November 26, 2014 7:08 pm

@TOC

Certainly I agree if they cut warhead weight back that much. That is why I would say they are really complimentary weapons instead of competing ones in a lot of respects. It really becomes a question of physics honestly. You have two weapons of the same basic form and size and sensor and you can then trade warhead weight for fuel and range. Given the engine I could certainly see if you are willing to cut the warhead back to that size pushing the range out that far. Both are useful to have. No real reason to have one and not the other.

@Simon

In addition to what ACC and TOC said the big advantage of loading up SDBII’s (or if and when it gets built SPEAR) is that you aren’t really restricted in what you can do. I can service a wide variety of targets with the weapons I have on hand. Brimstone has a pretty specialized warhead for going after vehicles. Paveway is a big boom. Hellfire doesn’t work on fast jets. Other weapons are fairly specialized.

I can drop it on a vehicle or a bunker or a squad of guys and it will likely get the job done. I can drop it using a laser spot, millimeter wave radar or if they jam that using the IR seeker. So I can use it in almost any conditions I might run into. Is it the perfect weapon to attack an armored column or an air defense site or and airfield or provide close support? No. But it can do all those jobs fairly well where as an ARM or Paveway is pretty limited if that is what you happen to be carrying.

Rocket Banana
November 26, 2014 8:07 pm

ACC and JMH,

Thanks.

Not wishing to belittle it (or SPEAR3), I guess therefore it is somewhat of a jack of all trades. I must admit to thinking that something like Brimstone was capable of engaging mobile SAMs instead of needing something with more wallop, although the standoff offered by these weapons is a rather nice to have.

Do we have any idea of cost differences between SDBII and SPEAR3? Given that SPEAR3 has a turbojet and the other doesn’t have to worry about any of this does that save much?

Lastly, how much similarity is there between SPEAR3 and FASGWH (Sea Venom)?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 26, 2014 8:16 pm

This was written over 5 years ago, but gives a hint why there were/ are Raptors near Syria

“The US Air Force technological strategy for dealing with this counter-strategy is the use of the F-22A Raptor, armed with the GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb, for lethal suppression of such radars. A pair of F-22As, armed with sixteen SDBs in total, can overwhelm the point defence SAM systems defending critical search radars.

The inferior “single aspect stealth” capability of the Joint Strike Fighter denies it the option of penetrating a modern IADS SAM belt. The depth of the IADS simply makes it geometrically impossible to find a path between search radars where the combination of distance and relative aspect would allow it to penetrate unseen. This is exacerbated by the increasing availability of modern digital VHF, UHF and L-band search radars, especially radars with 3D capability and the accuracy to guide long range area defence SAMs.

The limited 40 NMI standoff range and time of flight of the GBU-39/B SDB glidebomb denies the Joint Strike Fighter the use of the lethal suppression strategy flown by the F-22A. ”

Now, if you don’t have any Raptors then you will need some longer ranged stand-off weapons to deal with the search radars first and then neutralise the ” kill assets” with more numerous and shorter ranged weapons where you can achieve a maximum load out per plane.

Mickp
Mickp
November 26, 2014 11:31 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30209960

If only we had kept the Harriers, shall we lease some USMC ones?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 26, 2014 11:37 pm

@ MickP

So BBC are now only about 3 months behind the curve and still as clueless as ever.

Martin
Editor
November 27, 2014 11:56 am

@ ACC longer range weapon that SDB. JSOW or Stormshadow ?

I tend to think missiles are an area where we are doing pretty well. Systems like Storm Shadow, Brimstone, Paveway IV are better than there US counterparts and I think SPEAR 3 will be a big improvement on SDB.

Martin
Editor
November 27, 2014 11:57 am

i could also add Meteor, Aster, ASRAAM and CAMM to that list.

The Other Chris
November 27, 2014 1:45 pm

Sting Ray and Spearfish are also considered leaders.

As are a lot of electronics packages (QinetiQ, Selex, etc).

We seem to do the “payloads” bit very well, if the “platform” side of things apparently lack…

monkey
monkey
November 27, 2014 2:29 pm

The SDB II is a good system , a glide pack on a dumb bomb , with sufficient warhead to take out an MBT and a very clever automatous targeting system that can be re-tasked in flight over an encrypted link. However as it glides in albeit quite fast at the low hundreds of mph it would still be vulnerable to Point defence systems like Iron Dome and their spawn which are being either being enhanced or developed or bought by every body and his dog. A missile based system which can come in faster at a parallel to the ground trajectory has a better chance I would think than a Glide Bomb that needs to be launched at medium altitude at high subsonic speed to achieve its max range is much more likely to be detected and destroyed by one of these area defence systems. The missiles are more expensive though so it may be a trade off , the cost of launching a swamping attack from multiple vectors by multiple aircraft and the overall cost involved and risk verses a couple of smart missiles by a single aircraft flying Tonka style knap of the earth. Just an opinion but Brimstone II has the upper hand in this respect.

Rocket Banana
November 27, 2014 2:29 pm

So, F35 with two Storm Shadow, 8 x SPEAR3 and a couple of Meteor is starting to look as though it might stand a chance against an IADS.

Jeremy M H
November 27, 2014 2:30 pm

This is where one gets into a false sense of security I think. Run down your list and really take a critical look at things.

SPEAR 3 and SDB are different weapons. As was discussed above you are basically trading warhead for engine and fuel. They have the same basic form factor and they look very similar in the end. There is of course the small matter that at the moment SPEAR 3 doesn’t exist and has unknown cost associated with it. But as was said before they don’t really compete so much as they compliment.

Storm Shadow is effectively no different than JASSM honestly. They have similar ranges and warhead capabilities. Storm Shadow has no extended range version for air launch at this time.

Brimstone was designed to meet a mission requirement that the US meets with CBU-97/105. And CBU-97 was around for more than a decade before Brimstone entered service.

Paveway IV is great but the US uses laser JDAM for the same purpose. For a decade prior to Paveway IV the US had JDAM in service and laser guided weapons as well so the RAF didn’t have all weather precision GPS/INS strike capability for that whole decade while others did. Laser JDAM came on line at the time that Paveway IV did anyway.

Meteor is a great missile, but it isn’t in service yet. When it enters service it should provide a good capability increase. It may be worth it for the US to buy some.

ASTER is in someways an improvement, mostly due to its internal seeker, though as an overall suite of weapons I don’t see that ASTER 15/30 offers much over the latest version of SM-2, SM-3, SM-6 and ESSM that US ships are equipped with and as an overall weapons suite it is missing important capabilities.

CAAM looks like a good system but again you are comparing something that doesn’t yet exist to things that do. If you want to do that then you would have to acknowledge that ESSM is being upgraded and should in 2020 be built with an active seeker. CAAM kind of falls between RIM-116 and ESSM for the US and most international customers of ESSM so it likely won’t find a large audience internationally because it can’t really replace ESSM as its just not big enough to make the same kind of range ESSM does.

ASRAAM and AIM-9X frankly might as well be the same missile. They have the same seeker and pretty similar performance.

For the most part I would say the differences aren’t all that much and in many cases I would say the large gap between when one system went operational and its companion did may be a bigger issue. But its important not to fall into the trap you are falling into I think if you want to take an honest look at defense issues.

The UK develops some great missiles. There is no doubt about that. But believe that there is a huge qualitative advantage distorts the defense issue you really need to look at. The UK develops weapons that are on par with the rest of the world but it has a cost. It eats limited development dollars. If you convince yourself that this cost is incurred to develop superior weapons across the board you overvalue that investment. It may be a perfectly great investment to protect a national industrial base, or jobs or sovereign munitions independence. But if you take the view that the UK has developed essentially the best missile systems in the world then it gets hard to make a realistic analysis of defense development priorities as a whole.

With declining budgets if you have to make a choice between protecting the munitions industry or the aviation industry or the armored vehicle industry or the shipbuilding industry you need to have made an honest assessment of the value you are receiving from all those things. That is why inflated views can be dangerous.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 27, 2014 4:09 pm

@Simon/JMH

I largely agree with JMH, Spear 3 and SDB(2) are different systems though it would be unusual to field both. Aster has great capability and even greater potential, especially when linked to PAAMS and Sampson. I had heard rumours of Benbecula being upgraded to ABMD range and all UK Asters being upgraded to Block 1 NT in return. At the moment it does lack certain capabilities.

I do disagree with JMH on CAMM, like Spear 3/SDB they are different systems. ESSM is a MR missile system that requires FC channels and reaches out to almost 30NM. As a quad pack missile multiplier on an AD destroyer it is a superb bit of kit as the complex MF Phased array Radar is already there. As the single system on a Frigate I am less convinced.
You are not going to be killing the missile carrier at 30NM, even AM39 of Falklands vintage has a range of 38NM. So you are going to be engaging the missile and unless you are in a TG or have other assets and CEC you are not going to get a shot at a sea skimmer until 12NM<. This is where the system falls down on Frigates, FC channels, most only have 2 and that means that you can engage 2 targets and even then only if you can bring them both to bear. This is easier said than done (from experience) and the cry of "weapon arcs" will often be heard from the ops room :)
This is why a planned missile engagement against such an equipped asset would see multiple missiles programmed to conduct simultaneous attacks from multiple angles.

Now CAMM is a much smaller missile with a range of about 16NM but it is effectively a fire and forget missile and you do not get killed at 16NM. Taking its targeting data from something like 997 which gives 360 degree coverage multiple targets can be engaged. So a very different sort of capability.
Where I believe CAMM may well sell is that given its size and the non requirement for a MF Phased Array Radar or FC radars may well be on Corvette/Large OPV vessels or to nations with FFs who are interested in a fantastic PDMS/Local area system and do not want to buy expensive radars. NZ have chosen sea Ceptor for their Anzac upgrade.

Jeremy M H
November 27, 2014 6:01 pm

@APATS

Agree on sea ceptors appeal. I think it’s big obstacle is that ESSM seems to have an agreed upon way forward that includes an active seeker on line in 2020. I struggle to see a list of nations not using essm already that might build a ship that needed sea ceptor. Most already have ESSM so just using block II might make sense for them.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 27, 2014 6:21 pm

@JMH

ESSM may go to an active seeker but will it also go 2 way data link and be able to accept data from a variety of non complex, non FC dedicated radars? That would be the question. As i said though they are dissimilar systems, ESSM is generally employed by people who would like to use SM missiles but do not have the room or money to fit them.
In order to take advantage of the range the more sophisticated radars will still be required, see the Australian Anzac upgrades. What Sea Ceptor offers is a simple and easily fitted solution that does not require specialist radars. So ships that may currently use RIM 116 or Crotale could upgrade their capabilities significantly whilst frigates nations that do not need 30NM range could fit the smaller cheaper missile and not worry about complex radars.

TED
TED
November 27, 2014 6:33 pm

FFS USMC flying off of our decks!!! If the USMC jets are working why cant we have ours working by then?

WiseApe
November 27, 2014 7:02 pm

@Ted – Theirs won’t be working any better than ours. They will just have stumped up the cash for more of them.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 27, 2014 7:05 pm

@TD

You are of course talking about the “cueing system” normally a radar. What would be interesting to know is where the data link info is broadcast from. Does that have to be the launch point, in which case you have to have a link between the launch truck and the radar so that the truck can broadcast the data link info or can it be from the radar? Guessing the launch truck as that will be what the aerial is for you can see in the pictures.
I am also curious as to how the multi pack trials are going so far. Quad packing in Sylver launchers would be very handy for FREMM, should be possible even in Sylver A-43 which for a French FREMM only able to take 16 aster 15 would be very handy. aster 15 is a more complex manoeuvrable and slightly longer ranged missile but at 4 for 1 I personally would be very keen on swapping my 16 aster 15 load out for 8 aster 15 and 32 CAMM. Likewise the Italian FREMM with the A50 launcher could suddenly look at 8-10 Aster 30 and 24-32 CAMM.
If it quad packs into Mk41 then the current T26 “design” could be configured to carry no less than 144 Sea Ceptor and used as a close in GK for the carrier or other HVU :)

The Other Chris
November 27, 2014 7:20 pm

@APATS

Think successful testing of CAMM in the ExLS (the quad-pack insert for Mk 41) was carried out in September last year.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 27, 2014 7:53 pm

@TD

There may only be one missile loaded but it definitely looks like a quad pack system. Yes that is what i was getting at so the data link info comes from the firing truck so it has to receive data from the radar and transmit to the missile. So the truck has to be linked to the radar and it will transmit itself so still giving out an EW signature.

mickp
mickp
November 27, 2014 8:20 pm

Yet more cluelessness for the BBC ??!!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/the-reporters-30229988

Or symptomatic of the cluelessness of HMG and stuff done for all the wrong reasons – not that I’m anti carrier just if we have two they should be the cornerstone of any expeditionary capability and properly ‘filled and supported’

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 27, 2014 8:27 pm

@ mickp

Not so much clueless as very agenda driven.

The Other Chris
November 27, 2014 8:38 pm

Fits the concept of operation: Initial target details, mid-course guidance, then go active when in the designated vicinity.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 27, 2014 9:26 pm

@TD

The problem is that the seeker head is hidden before launch so you would have to have a system that could provide accurate enough data to allow a launch and acquisition.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 27, 2014 9:49 pm

@TD

If you can displace the radar from the launcher then it can obviously take data from a remote location. At the moment this may be fibre optic but the principle works, so all you have to be able to do is to send data of sufficient quality to the launcher truck. How you do that is why we have “geeks” :)

Mickp
Mickp
November 27, 2014 9:56 pm

@APATs Too many agendas though

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 27, 2014 10:00 pm

@ Mick P

There is a simple mission to deliver this capability to the UK armed forces. if the fact that embarking USMC squadrons helps us develop our flight deck operations and allows the carriers to deliver a usable capability earlier than they would otherwise whilst speeding up UK pops then the BBC can whine all it wants.

Mickp
Mickp
November 27, 2014 10:20 pm

@APATs, I totally agree with you on getting the capability generated using USMC if necessary. Only trouble would be if BBC and other media whining started to drive pre election knee jerk policy, which it has a nasty habit of doing. At the extremes that could result in accelerating F35 or someone losing their nerve over the carriers all together. I see it as we should be in this for the long game to generate the capability in the most effective way

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 27, 2014 10:56 pm

@ Mick P

I think you read far too much into a typical 2 month late almost accurate but not quite BBC pad piece.

as
as
November 27, 2014 11:10 pm

I thought that allowing the US to do cross decking was the policy all along. We use to do it in the old days with Harrier so why not now. The USMC pilots use to go home complaining about there ships not having ski jumps. It can be fun annoying the US Navy like that. We cross train with the helicopters already as well so it is nothing new.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 27, 2014 11:14 pm

@ as

It is nothing new but by the time you wait for the main stream media to catchup and become outraged you repeat the cycle. in the meantime those that actually care about delivering a capability get on with doing so.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
November 27, 2014 11:35 pm

As APATS suggests, highly agenda driven.

In case anyone isn’t familiar with him, here’s the (admittedly Wiki) bio for Mr Mark Urban.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Urban

On the plus side, he has actually served. On the downside, he’s pretty much exclusively land/pongo centric, particularly if you read his publications. Now, remind me again what the various sacred cows posts are generally suggesting are up for culling? Oh yes, cap-badges and particularly of the army infantry variety.

Funny old thing, a recently retired senior pongo who is on record as being against the carriers suddenly pops up out of the blue, just after an order for the first aircraft which was not as large as expected, with a suggestion that he posits might be embarrassing for the RN/HMG, but actually in the great scheme of things is relatively unimportant. An ex-pongo at the Beeb gets to run not one, but two on-line articles, relatively prominently displayed, primarily speculating that the Carrier Strike reconstitution may not just happen in a one-big bang, there it is fashion.

Could these facts be in any way related?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 28, 2014 12:11 am

Catching up, so may be this has already been said:

Jeremy, very agood that someone is checking all the mutual back slapping. Noting,

1. “Storm Shadow is effectively no different than JASSM honestly. They have similar ranges and warhead capabilities. Storm Shadow has no extended range version for air launch at this time”
That you are being generous here, as they are from two differen5 generations: JASSM being also muçh stealthier

ASRAAM and 9X being the same? Does the latter have the thrust vectoring?
– Europe was too slow delivering the short range missile; the BVR part was delivered by the US on time. So we had two short range missiles, v much alike. No bad thing . now we will have two BVR missiles, too. Looks like there is a generation difference here, too. As you say, will the US buy European?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 28, 2014 8:04 am

This text (from APATS) would point to JSM being a supreme ship-killer

“This is why a planned missile engagement against such an equipped asset would see multiple missiles programmed to conduct simultaneous attacks from multiple angles.”
As the above can be achieved from a single launch platform. At the same time it is of course also a general purpose cruise missile.

Once I got through the comments, it occurred to me that only TOC had pointed to the lock-on launch/ lock after launch differentiation. IDF have found that they need a mix, to counter saturation attacks while also having enough range in the defences.
– lock-on launch can be fired in quicker sequence/ greater numbers, whilst the active seeker heads don’t “see” very far due to their diminutive size and the power constraints

Martin
Editor
November 28, 2014 8:28 am

@ ACC and Jeremy

Worth noting that Storm-shadow was in operation in 2003 and JASSM did not make it until 2011.

I take your point Jeremy about SPEAR 3 and other weapon’s only in design or testing phase but I still think our current and likely future weapon fit is amongst the best in the world. If on,y we could afford to integrate the things on to our aircraft and ships :-)

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 28, 2014 8:41 am

Martin, agreed on both points (different generations).

Yes, ASRAAM is a top product and nicely evolving into a product family…helps with the unit price!

Still, in the A2A disguise the RAAF is giving it up. Why? The maintenance arrangement for the SuperHornets is on a basis of shadow USN squadrons. Surely helped with the sticker shock when that decision had to be navigated through, but also means that everything is sourced from that bigger pool.

Now, what will happen with the Asian (PAC included for Oz) F35s? There is talk/ rumours that Darwin would not be just a training centre, but for the smaller inventories could provide that kind of maintenance arrangements, too.
– what says our Singaporean correspondent, closer to the sources?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 28, 2014 8:47 am

For every rule there is an exception: Japan wants to ” build” their F35s (not the early ones), allegedly to have the capability to design their own nxt-gen stealth fighter
– there is a golden opportunity to make Meteor available for all F-35 users (UK has limited access to the software, from the later partners only Israel has achieved this and it has been more limited than what they thought).

Rocket Banana
November 28, 2014 9:50 am

ACC,

You say that JASSM is more stealthy than Storm Shadow…

I’m surprised comparison information like that is in the public domain?

wf
wf
November 28, 2014 10:09 am

@Simon: JASSM was specifically designed as stealthy, so chances are it is :-)

Mark
Mark
November 28, 2014 1:23 pm

Wf

So was storm shadow.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 28, 2014 1:50 pm

Different generations… Look at what happened to mobile phones over the same period of time (miniaturisation being important in both).

Jeremy M H
November 28, 2014 3:30 pm

Someone asked if AIM-9X has thrust vectoring and the answer is that yes it does.

I think where you see the difference is JASSM/Storm Shadow to JASSM-ER. The first two are effectively from the same time period (right around 2000 or so) and have similar weights and performance characteristics. JASSM-ER basically is able to keep the same of everything else, shrink the electronics, swap out the engine and stuff more fuel into the airframe. The range increase shows what happened pretty well over 10 years I think.

I am not qualified to comment on the stealth aspects of the two. Both were designed to be such as Mark said. It seems reasonable that LM has been doing stealth as long or longer than anyone and might know what they are doing a bit more than its competitor but beyond that I would assume both have a fairly similar RCS. JASSM seems to have less bits sticking out so it wouldn’t shock me. But no one who actually knows is going to comment on public record.

I could see the US looking to buy Meteor but I think the AIM-120D will do enough to get through to whatever comes next and I could see whatever comes next being different, (multi-mode seekers, hit to kill concepts like CUDA ect). My guess is that the all aspect missile isn’t dead, its just resting and at some point the US will build a missile that basically can do the air to air and ARM role at the very least. It just makes too much sense and as you see things like the dual sensors in Brimstone and the three sensors in SDB-II you know the miniaturization is coming along. Personally I would prioritize getting an IR sensor to pair with the radar sensor simply for air to air and then only mess with the ARM aspect if I could make it work easily but no one has asked me.

The best reason to buy Meteor would really be if something like Soviet Naval Aviation regiments started reforming in the near term and you wanted to conduct an outer air battle.

@APATS

Agree that ESSM Block II on smaller ships hinges on a two way data link. CAAM is interesting in where it sits on the scale as you say. It kind of fits in a niche between ESSM and RIM-116. Will be interesting to see how broadly it sells. Integrated properly in the army version it could be a sneakily potent system, particularly if you can cue it from off board sources like an AWACS or something similar.

Martin
Editor
November 29, 2014 12:47 am

@ Jeremy MH

It’s worth noting that Storm Shadow is due to go through its own ER upgrade with SPEAR 4. One thing I would like to see on the updated missile is a multi mode speaker capable of tracking EM signals like the new TLAM upgrade.

It would be a very potent weapon for SEAD and when combined with SPEAR 3 the RAF would have a very potent capability.

TAS
TAS
November 29, 2014 6:21 pm

TD, SEACEPTOR should be able to engage on a Link track if it can take a 997 cue.

With TLAM due to receive the Multi Effects Warhead, there is an emerging risk that STORMSHADOW will become partly obsolete. If not, fully. At present they are complementary as TLAM cannot bunker bust.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 29, 2014 7:17 pm

Turnaround times for reloads makes having both a must, too?

The Other Chris
November 29, 2014 8:15 pm

Would need TLAM to be air-launchable at least to fulfill the requirements that Storm Shadow and SPEAR capability 4 requires.

Peter Elliott
November 29, 2014 8:27 pm

Did TD ever finish his Complex Weapons series for the TLAM/SS/Spear4 size?

We could have a really good discussion about MdeCN and Perseus evenutally fit into the picture.

The Other Chris
November 29, 2014 8:34 pm

Think Perseus is SPEAR 5 territory. 4 centers around JASSM-ER and SLAM-ER style upgrades to existing Storm Shadow, along the lines of the MdCN SCALP Naval range extensions. Wouldn’t rule out seeker, guidance and re-tasking improvements either.

Hohum
Hohum
November 29, 2014 9:00 pm

For clarification, the trials announced as having been undertaken this week were only aircraft handling trials with ASRAAM and Paveway IV as external stores (in multiple configurations), those trials announced as being next are for separation tests for those same external configurations.

Last I saw ASRAAM was going to be an external store only. Paveway IV was meant to be both but I have not seen any indication of progress on internal carriage.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 29, 2014 11:01 pm

Yes, stealthier pylons together with the missile’s small x-section considered good enough

Martin
Editor
November 30, 2014 2:47 am

ASRAAM external storage seems like a good thing to me. means the aircraft does not have to waster precious internal storage to carry a self defense missile system.

SPEAR 5 is the precious type system. SPEAR 4 is the upgrade to SS/SCALP that we have signed up to with the French recently.

Extending the range through the same systems used on SCALP (n) is probably a no brainier. I think the least we should hope for is a multi mode speaker that and re tasking like the block IV TLAM. I would also love to see the same EM capabilities that Raytheon is testing on TLAM incorporated into SS giving it the ability to hunt radars.

Martin
Editor
November 30, 2014 2:48 am

persius not precious dam auto correct :-)

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 30, 2014 7:25 am

Martin, thx, had totally missed that anglo- french announcement.

A bit surprised,too, as size would go up. And one of the major benefits of SPEAR3 is size going down, for similar capability?