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shark bait
shark bait
December 15, 2014 10:37 am

I think the UK have a brilliant opportunity with the introduction of the F35, perhaps the best of any of the partners.
The typhoon, if delivered as promised, will pack one hell of a punch when new weapons are integrated as promised, and it will be a heavy hitter too, carrying vasty more tonnage then the F35.
The F35 brings stealth and information to the table. If the MOD spends the time and money on making sure the data is communicated effectively between the two platform’s it will be one hell of a partnership.

I can almost see a role where the F35 makes the first hit from sea, then hangs around as a mini AWACS to support the heavy hitting typhoon strikes, which in turn provides close air support to the F35. It could be a particularity potent partnership.

December 15, 2014 10:58 am

If you follow the logic of this argument then maybe we shouldn’t be operating single aircraft squadrons (except for the carriers where there’s no choice)?

Maybe each fast jet squadron could have three F-35s and twelve Typhoons or something like that.

The F-35s go in front using their stealth to stay hidden while detecting enemy aircraft/SAMs/radar installations/tank formations/ships whatever then use the datalink to let the Typhoons know where they are. Then the Typhoons use long-range stand-off weapons neutralising the target while staying out of harms way!

That’ll work as long as the F-35s don’t show up on IRST or different bandwidth radar!!! And as long as the enemy doesn’t work out a way of detecting the datalink.

shark bait
shark bait
December 15, 2014 11:47 am

@andy, that’s an interesting concept you put toward. I’d like to see that explored a little more. I supose it would have some tactical advantages, but logistically it would be terrible, and certainly not help the cost cutting. Perhaps they could bring back a ww2 style air wing, pix and mixing aircraft capabilities.

Both aircraft use link 16 ATM which is non stealthy, but the F35 had a new coms standard, I think it uses highly directional, short wavelengths to communicate and avoid detection (can’t remember where I read that) perhaps that should be fitted to the typhoon in the long run

December 15, 2014 11:56 am

F-35B can deliver an impressive “punch” too, ultimately up to six Paveway IV and it in theory it should be able to carry the same SPEAR load-out too. In short an F-35B will equal a Typhoon payload minus 2 Meteors for both weapons.

What I suspect will happen once the F-35 is in meaningful service is that the Typhoons will end up being Storm Shadow wagons for the first raids whilst the F-35s do pinpoint strikes and then once the AD network has been degraded they will take on the bomb truck role alongside the F-35Bs.

December 15, 2014 4:54 pm

I dont think I have ever seen so many bullshit bingo key words on one slide. The F35 remains a low cost-effictiveness proposition for the UK as long as it continues to soak up funds which could go to Typhoon refit. It’s LO effectiveness is questionable, its avionics are not unique, in that they could be fitted to Typhoons or other aircraft; we should skip it and invest in the unmmand strike platform for “first day of war stealthy SEAD / DEAD” type missions.

December 15, 2014 5:10 pm

Fusion engine? No wonder it costs so much.

December 15, 2014 5:44 pm

Phil – ref your last, you owe me a new keyboard…… :-)

December 15, 2014 7:04 pm

“Software upgradeability as key enabler”- Who would have thought ?
What we find in practice is that there is so many lines of code for so many different systems, that upgrading becomes a multi year nightmare. It was all much simpler in the days of the say, jaguar

December 15, 2014 7:20 pm

A fusion engine………Wow the F35 will be faster than we thought.


Who needs a carrier the thing will be able to get to mars and back.

December 15, 2014 7:27 pm

So you envisage the F35 being used much like the F117 in GW1 , me too . The F117 was a game changer its a shame they couldn’t go on forever. I believe they keep a couple still in flying condition to test new radar absorbent materials as the return signature on the Night Hawk is so well profiled it is a good baseline to match new tech against.

December 15, 2014 7:30 pm

You lot can scoff at fusion engines but I have it on the very best authority that they will be here in 5-10 years. And no doubt on budget.


December 15, 2014 8:18 pm


All f117s are kept in flyable condition in what the U.S. terms type 1000 storage (can be reactived within 120 days). If all your going to do is use the f35 like an f117 or use it as a scout to probe for things like typhoon, then you’ve got to ask why you are using an f35 instead of developing/using a proper LO bat wing uav for that mission theres one that even lands on a ship.

December 15, 2014 9:12 pm

Mark, does the one on a ship have
1. The bomb load of a Hornet
2. The LO of a Nighthawk, and
3. The acceleration of an F16 (top speed does not figure)?

December 16, 2014 4:59 am

@ Wise Ape – If LM promise it it must be true :-) Fusion 5 years away F35 IOC 50 years away :-)

I would rather see Typhhon operating hand in hand with a Taranis UCAV. Using SPEAR 4 / Storm Shadow to take out larger parts of the Air Defende Network that could then force open a door for F35 equipped with SPEAR 3 to go in and take out smaller more mobile threats.

I don’t think F35 LO will ever be good enough on its own to go in first but then I doubt even the F22’s ability to do this.

December 16, 2014 10:24 am

‘I can almost see a role where the F35 makes the first hit from sea, then hangs around as a mini AWACS to support the heavy hitting typhoon strikes, which in turn provides close air support to the F35’

Do we need to use the typhoon for that sort of scenario? could we not do the same with a converted transport aircraft launching cruise missiles, decoys and Meteor for the F35?

The Other Chris
December 16, 2014 1:21 pm


Akin to the B-1R concept?

December 16, 2014 2:53 pm


Good find, yeah something like that. Although I doubt we could afford something like the B-1R, so something that can fly high, decent’ish cruise speed and has good loiter time. I don’t think a business jet would have the carrying capacity? so we would have to use something else, Nimrod would have been a good airframe to start with (large bomb bay etc) so I was thinking a transport aircraft unless we can convert some A330 MRTT and use them?

Jeremy M H
December 16, 2014 3:49 pm

You might as well say your preference is to waylay the enemy with rainbows from your flying unicorn.

Taranis is probably a decade and billions of pounds from being an operational weapons system.

The faith in storm shadow, in the pretty limited numbers they can be delivered by the current UK force structure, against a first rate air defense system is probably over stated as well. Most figure that JASSM and Storm Shadow have better chances than TLAM but they still are fairly easy targets when fired at the heart of your air defense system.

Not to mention the UK lacks many of the force multipliers that would drastically increase the chances of storm shadow getting through. Standoff jammers, air launched decoys and air launched jammers. None of that exist for the UK now.

It’s fine to not want the F-35 but the constant tendency of many here to say just get Taranis is silly. It is a long way away from an operational system, particularly in a SEAD role.

December 16, 2014 4:06 pm

@ Jeremy MH

Don’t be bloody stupid Jeremy. Flying Unicorns firing multi spectral lasers is at least 10 years away and is still waiting on LM developing its fusion engine and its Low Observable Flying Pig Program.

Jeremy M H
December 16, 2014 4:37 pm

It was a somewhat flippant comment but people do need to guard against the better, cheaper toy tomorrow syndrome.

It almost never turns out cheaper and you never know when you may need a toy sooner rather than later.

December 17, 2014 9:42 am

@Jeremy M H
I remember when the Typhoon was proposed to take over the air superiority role from Tornado, super radar, helmet target locking ,using other aircrafts weapons system to complete mission kills in its airspace , sound familiar? F35 is the 5th gen we will have and getting the Typhoon to support it whilst it in air to air look after itself is all good. One day tranche 2& 3 will wear out but that is twenty years away and a stealth weapons truck would be nice but that is twenty plus years away.

December 18, 2014 7:04 pm

@DavidNiven – Wonder how many Storm Shadow, Brimstone, Spear, and Meteor a B-52 could carry given a 70,000 pound/31,500 kilogram payload? :D Approximately 21 Storm Shadow, 649 Brimstone, 315 Spear, and ? Meteors. (Don’t know how much Meteor weighs.)

Stewart Hitchen
Stewart Hitchen
December 18, 2014 10:15 pm

Planning the Con-Ops is somewhat running before crawling with the purchase of F35’s being just ten to twelve per year over the production run. We will have effective F35 fleet by late 2020’s
The use of Typhoon batch two and three’s with F35’s is going to cause over stretch with the hollowed out jet force.
The storage of the soon to be retired batch one Typhoons(low flight hours) rather than reduce to spares would provide an better plan. The use of eight typhoon flight at Mount Pleasant would keep user skills and provide rolling storage.(one for one replacement Tornado storage that we keep now). This would allow other Air Defence duties to be covered releasing batch two and three’s for Con-Ops with with our limited F35 jets.
The use of Taranis or son of , will be early 2030’s by then Typhoon’s out of service date will be fast approaching . Making them more likely to be used with the F35.

December 18, 2014 11:31 pm

A top rated USAF general stated a couple of days ago that in the long run the F35 would earn its keep by being the sensors and the coordinator for up to 20 unmanned attack drones (proper UCAVs, not of the Predator precursor vintage).