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“RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

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Finty
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“RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by Finty » Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:04 pm

Can’t read this as I’m not a subscriber. I’m assuming it’s about acquiring the F35A, something that has cropped up before.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.telegr ... lanes/amp/
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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by ColintheCaterpillar » Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:29 pm

Navy getting desperate pre Defence Review again?

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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by burleysway » Sun Jul 19, 2020 7:22 am

Finty wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:04 pm
Can’t read this as I’m not a subscriber. I’m assuming it’s about acquiring the F35A, something that has cropped up before.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.telegr ... lanes/amp/
Here’s the article, I won’t charge you 😉

A row has broken out over the F-35s as the Royal Air Force has been accused of wasting money on “outdated” warplanes that cannot take off from the new £3bn aircraft carriers.

Ahead of the highly anticipated Integrated Defence and Security review, sources have told The Sunday Telegraph they are concerned about the RAF’s priorities regarding the procurement of F-35s, at a time when the Ministry of Defence’s budget will be coming under scrutiny.

The row centres over two versions of the planes - the F-35A and F-35B - the former being unable to operate from the UK's two 65,000 tonne Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

There are concerns the RAF may present the ‘A’ as more cost effective to purchase as they look to save money ahead of the review, which sources have deemed “shortsighted”.

One defence industry source told this newspaper that it was therefore “nonsensical” to hear that the “RAF are ramping up their push for the F-35A”.

“Why do they think they need F-35As when they cannot operate them from an aircraft carrier?”

They dismissed as an “excuse” arguments that the ‘As’ were cheaper because the craft does not have the Rolls-Royce lift system which enables the Bs to take off vertically from a short runway, and added that “they only want the ‘A’ because they want their own toys to play with”.

“If you are going to buy F35s you buy them to operate on aircraft carriers. What is the point in buying an outdated aircraft that you can’t send anywhere around the world?”

A separate source claimed they had seen a briefing slide by the RAF that was recently shown to the Treasury which set out the need for F35As and alleged it contained figures that were “invented fact”.

Tobias Ellwood, Chairman of the Defence Select Committee, said he was concerned “that we are even having such conversations”.

“It could very well be that the purchase of F35As makes strategic sense, but only after you’ve established what you want to do with them,” he said.

“I’m afraid it’s a pattern of behaviour that we see within the MoD. Let’s establish what we need to do. Then you can work out the necessary platforms to implement that strategy.

"Let’s have that Integrated Review that allows us to ask these questions which then point to you what our air component of a wider air strategy should be.”

The row comes after a National Audit Office report last month warned the Royal Navy's £3 billion aircraft carriers could be "constrained" by a lack of support fleet.

It also said that the MoD had yet to commit the funding required for enough F-35 lightning II fighter jets to sustain the carriers over their expected 50-year operating life.

The Telegraph understands that there is concern that "without these crucial supporting elements they are not going to use carrier strike in the way they want to use it".

It is understood that the MOD has Treasury approval to complete the Tranche 1 fleet of 48 F-35B aircraft, which are expected to be delivered by 2025, of which the RAF and Royal Navy are in agreement on.

A spokesman for the MoD said: “Decisions on future F-35 numbers and aircraft variant will ensure the right capability for our Armed Forces along with value for money.

"The upcoming Integrated Review will allow the UK to determine the best variant for future F-35 purchases.”

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Finty
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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by Finty » Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:08 am

Nice one, thanks burleysway.

Hard to decide really but I’m erring on the side of the “anti-A” lot, although I wouldn’t really call it outdated.
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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by Contrail1958 » Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:30 am

The worry for me would be the line "lack of support fleet", and who saw that a possibility when these Carrier's
were decided on ?
Big White Elephants need huge Buns to operate effectively.
It's all one big mess.
Which or how many F-35's pales into insignificance in a bigger picture.

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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by Thunder » Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:16 pm

Purchase the 48 F-35B’s and allocate them to the the FAA, that would be more than enough for three deployable Sqns of 12 a/c each and a fourth training Sqn of 6 a/c, this Sqn could be a joint training unit with the RAF or even USMC.Any future F-35 purchase should be for the A and these allocated to the RAF. Operating a mix fleet doesn’t seem to be an issue for the US, Italy, Japan and South Korea.

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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by Supra » Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:18 pm

Personally I always thought a mixed fleet of F-35 was the only way for the UK to go since they (wrongly IMO!) decided to go without 'Cat & Trap' capabilities on the 'outdated' QE. Class aircraft carriers. Naturally the F-35A is cheaper simply because it doesn't lug a (99% of the time redundant) lift-motor, multiple door/hatch opening hydraulics & swivelling jet-pipe, allowing it to do its single party-trick!
Surely with all that weight/space saving the 'A' model can potentially carry more fuel & weapons further & faster than the 'B'? Also noted in the article above is the " Tranche 1 fleet of 48 F-35B aircraft, which are expected to be delivered by 2025". Does anybody believe the UK/ Royal Navy will ever utilise a full compliment of 'B' models on both QE carriers at any one time? One or the other ship will be in-dock, mothballed or sold way before such a situation occurs. (Perhaps even sooner if they take the 'moving target' into a conflict zone without the delayed 'Crowsnest' AEW) ;) Without credible Air & reduced Seaborne support these much vaunted Carriers are probably only safe in Territorial Waters? :unsure:
Don't even start thinking about VERTREP! Half a dozen V-22 Osprey shouldn't cost too much to integrate, fly & maintain as a concession to choosing the WRONG type of deck layout. :O
Okay, I forgot about the 'Super-Chinook'....a one-off (= exorbitant price) special design having 8 seats & space for 3 pallets with the rest of the cabin filled with slide-in/out fuel tanks to give it the range to reach the carrier from mainland locations. :lol: :clap: :thumbs: It would be funny if it wasn't so tragically true. :'(

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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by Thunder » Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:25 pm

Agree that the problems started when they decided to go without the Cat and Trap carrier layout, how on Earth was that allowed to happen?

“If you are going to buy F35s you buy them to operate on aircraft carriers. What is the point in buying an outdated aircraft that you can’t send anywhere around the world?”


Doesn’t seem to hinder the USAF who have deployed the F-35A successfully around the World.

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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by page_verify » Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:02 pm

If all of what is reported is true, then the RAF quite rightly deserves to get a me-me-me kicking because I cannot see where the RAF has explained why it believes it needs the A model, rather than more of the B model. The UK isn't the US, we cannot afford to operate two fleets of near identical aircraft, which will be too small to be of much use. (48 minus those on long term maintenance minus those on short term maintenance minus those broken minus those used for training minus those lost to accidents equals probably not more than 20 in the operational pool to support two carriers).

The RAF web site says that "Lightning is a multi-role machine capable of conducting missions including air-to-surface, electronic warfare, intelligence gathering and air-to-air simultaneously" yet it now needs to provide justification for buying a variant of F-35 which the Royal Navy cannot use, but would almost certainly be partially paying to maintain.

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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by lardyboy999 » Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:13 pm

Inter-Service sabre-rattling. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing is going to change unless someone takes the respective Chiefs of Staff and tells them and their staff to stop behaving like spoilt children. Or sacks them, no pension.

:grr: :grr: :grr:

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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by Philly1971 » Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:46 pm

“they only want the ‘A’ because they want their own toys to play with”. Isn’t this technically what the navy have with the F35B? What happens if the carriers are in use but the RAF also need them at a land base as well? Who gets priority? I assume it’s the Navy? Therefore I can understand why the RAF would want its own A,s to supplement the Typhoons, particularly if they end up in a part of the world where the adversary has aerial denial systems such as an S-400, and an F35A might prove to be a better SEAD platform? Also As others have mentioned, the A must have a longer range than the B? I am sure some countries would ensure their valuable assets are just moved away from a coast, thus forcing a carrier to come in close to ensure the jets are in range, making it a target for anti-ship weapons. The jets might be stealthy, but the carrier isn’t, and nor would the tanker Dragging them to their target. Therefore would the longer range of the A,s justify a land base anyway?

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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by Thunder » Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:14 pm

After my last post it came to mind that the quote might be in relation to the fact that the RAF don’t have the needs to provide AAR for the F-35A.

Short term maintenance and broken jets is absorbed into the individual Sqns allocation of airframes. When I was attached to various Sqns, out of the 12 allocated frames it was only 4/6 frames that conducted ops on a daily basis which were then swapped over periodically. Not all of the remaining 8/6 frames were broken or on maintenance. It was also routine to borrow frames from other units if need be, so 48 F-35B’s would be more than enough for the FAA considering the likelihood of both carriers being fully deployed at the same time is unlikely.

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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by Alf » Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:23 pm

Maybe the F-35C would be a better fit than the F-35A for the RAF.... a least they could do AAR...

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Thunder
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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by Thunder » Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:12 pm

..... and operate from US/French carriers on combined ‘ops’, like the ‘B’ can with the USMC and vice verse.

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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by ColintheCaterpillar » Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:34 pm

Thunder wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:25 pm
Agree that the problems started when they decided to go without the Cat and Trap carrier layout, how on Earth was that allowed to happen?

“If you are going to buy F35s you buy them to operate on aircraft carriers. What is the point in buying an outdated aircraft that you can’t send anywhere around the world?”


Doesn’t seem to hinder the USAF who have deployed the F-35A successfully around the World.
I think the problem started when those who were in middle ranking Officers in around (for example) 1982 were at the head of the services as Very Senior Officers in and around the turn of the century.

Too much misty eyed Harrier nostalgia influenced the decision making of the day. Did we need a STOVL aircraft again? Arguably not at all. We could have been operating Super Hornet for a almost a decade and now be introducing F-35A with the RAF and C with the FAA. Instead we get massively excited about “jointery”. Joint Force this, Joint Force that, and a vertical capability that’s only needed as we have no catapults.

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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by Reach1985 » Sun Jul 19, 2020 5:07 pm

It’s a pipe dream I know but I think the smart way to deliver our defence needs would be a USMC style force that can defend our territorial interests & rapidly deploy to any trouble spots around the world. The 3 services would be combined in to a UK ‘Defence Force’ in order to rid it of these ridiculous inter-service arguments & tantrums.

Ultimately we didn’t need one aircraft carrier let alone two. This was just jingoistic & a hangover from our imperialistic past. It was also a political ‘win’ because it created jobs however there is no strategic need for this capability. What we have now got is one carrier - without a credible strike force that is unable to defend itself in a hostile situation through lack of planning & investment. It’s a great big floating white elephant.

If it was necessary to go down the F-35 route - you could argue the later model F-18 would have amply filled the capability gap left by Tornado - before Tempest (or whatever 5-6th gen fighter we go for comes on line) then the only option that should have been considered is the A model. We are never going to be in a situation where we will not be able to base assets on friendly territory close to the action.

As some one else has said above all of this carrier & VSTOL nonsense is the Falklands War & the harrier projected through rose tinted spectacles. Silly toys.

We should all be very angry about this because it is our money that they have been wasting (& will continue to waste)on these ridiculous vanity projects.

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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by ColintheCaterpillar » Sun Jul 19, 2020 5:22 pm

Reach1985 wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 5:07 pm
It’s a pipe dream I know but I think the smart way to deliver our defence needs would be a USMC style force that can defend our territorial interests & rapidly deploy to any trouble spots around the world. The 3 services would be combined in to a UK ‘Defence Force’ in order to rid it of these ridiculous inter-service arguments & tantrums.
Not strictly true.

Depends on what we want to be. If we want to continue as an extension of “Team America”, then maybe. If we want to be able to deploy as required and protect our remaining sovereign interests, maybe not. The FI really was a different case, as many nations were sympathetic to Argentina’s claims on the Falklands; in any case, they’ll never attack again - unless they have some sort of economic revolution and boom first - and the Islands are now very well defended.

The merging the three forces thing doesn’t work. The Army are good at Army stuff. The Navy are good at boats (what boats they have left). The RAF are good at the flying bit, but rightly leave most naval helicoptering time the Navy and Army helicoptering to the AAC, because they do those particular bitS of aviation in their own way. Each service has its own way of doing things. An RAF officer might fail if they did Sandhurst, as the Army are looking for different characteristics to the RAF, and so on and so forth.

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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by david14 » Sun Jul 19, 2020 5:45 pm

I thought the original plan with F35 was to buy a mix of As and Bs.

Of course the As can't operate off our carriers, or anyone else's for that matter - that's why if you want a proper carrier version, you have to follow the USN who are buying Cs.

This all comes down to what strategically the Armed Forces are there for, and that's what the Strategic Defence Review is supposed to determine - then the decisions can be made about how best to achieve the desired objectives

But we are stuck with the carriers and the implications from a support and cost perspective - a set of political decision under the last labour government

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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by Finty » Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:38 pm

david14 wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 5:45 pm
I thought the original plan with F35 was to buy a mix of As and Bs.
I remember when the decision to acquire F35Bs was ditched in favour of the F35C in 2010. Of course, that was subsequently reversed...
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Re: “RAF accused of wasting money on 'outdated' F-35 warplanes“

Post by DaleRFU » Mon Jul 20, 2020 2:28 am

The U.K. Was always going to have the F-35 in my opinion since we became a tear 1 nation in its development back when it was the X-35 JSF and we had our own aircrew involved with both Boeing and Lockheed, and also with British industry playing such a huge role such as building the rear section of the aircraft they UK I don't believe could be seen to not want something that we're involved in building. Couple that together with the Navy choosing this stupid style of carrier with a "ski-jump" limits the aircraft you could operate from it. The F-35 is a great asset and more capable than what most people think even if it has had a list of issues long ear than your arm.

If these aircraft were bought to be used from the carrier then why not the C version? The F-35 is never going to be operated from a rough strip like the old harrier hides in Germany. So if they aren't operating from a carrier then they'll be operating from a normal air base and let's face it we have allies around the globe that would have a sufficient air base to use, we have Akrotiri for the Med, we have operated out of Qatar/UAE/Saudi in the Middle East, if we needed to defend the Falklands again the C version would have been better given it can carry more fuel and also has uses the same refuelling method as we do.

To me it just seems like the Navy isn't happy that they're stuck with two carriers than can't operate other aircraft such as the F/A-18 and that they don't actually have their own aircraft operating from their own base. We see it coming every couple of years, the navy always seems to ask why we need an Air Force when the army and navy could operate aircraft.
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