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BBC: "Joint Strike Fighter: Jet That's A 'Spy In The Sky'"

Re: BBC: "Joint Strike Fighter: Jet That's A 'Spy In The Sky

I note that the BBC has joined the Daily Telegraph in surreptitiously inserting the phrase 'Cold War legacy' whenever the replacement carriers or JSF are discussed. If all the carriers and fast jets that have proved instrumental in conflicts since the Soviet Union imploded were 'Cold War legacies', isn't it a good job we kept them?


War Hero
Re: BBC: "Joint Strike Fighter: Jet That's A 'Spy In The Sky

From somebody who knows very little about fast air. Why ar the RAF involved in JSF? It was my understanding they were to fly of the carriers. Why do the RAF need JSF when they have eurofighter?
Sensable answers only please as i really want to know the answer. lol


War Hero
Re: BBC: "Joint Strike Fighter: Jet That's A 'Spy In The Sky

At 70 Million a Plane!!!!! Dont think we will be having many, if any :cry:


War Hero
danny said:
From somebody who knows very little about fast air. Why ar the RAF involved in JSF? It was my understanding they were to fly of the carriers. Why do the RAF need JSF when they have eurofighter?
Sensable answers only please as i really want to know the answer. lol

The Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) specification (not to be confused with the US Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Programme which resulted in the F-35) originated from a combination of RAF and RN requirements to replace the Harrier GR9 for the RAF and Sea Harrier FA2 for the RN. With the demise of the FA2, JCA only has to replace RAF and RN GR9s. In line with current JFH requirements, RAF GR9s have a primary role of land based CAS/ISR with the requirement to augment 800 Sqn for carrier ops. Meanwhile, there remains a nascent RN requirement to restore a credible organic AD capability for the carriers. Thus JCA is not merely required to operate off the carriers.

Meanwhile, the F-35B is the ‘preferred’ solution for JCA although the UK has so far only committed to 2 B models for Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) with the types UK Test and Evaluation Sqn (TES) (this will probably carry the 17(R) Sqn number plate) scheduled to stand up in the US (most likely Edwards AFB I suspect) within the next 18 months. The more astute amongst you will note that 17(R) Sqn is currently the Typhoon TES at Coningsby. However, as OT&E on the Tiff is gradually reducing as the type matures, its activities will be absorbed by 41(R) Sqn, the Fast Jet and Weapons TES, also at Coningsby.

Technically, the UK is only committed to those 2 F-35Bs for OT&E. I suspect that under SDSR the full purchase of F-35 will be significantly reduced to the absolute minimum (50 ish?) required to maintain a single, small Joint Air Wing (20 ish ac embarked?) capable of land or CVF basing. It’ll therefore be interesting to see which variant the UK finally opts for.

There are pros and cons for both the STOVL F-35B and carrier optimised F-35C. However, my guess is that we’ll stick with the B for political and industrial reasons so as not to undermine the USMC. However, there is no guarantee that the UK will buy any F-35s at all; FA-18E/F or a decision to re-role CVF for rotary only assault carrier type ops could still be an option. Hopefully the last choice won’t come to pass especially as Liam Fox (if not the new CDS) appears keen on the carriers.


PS...I suspect they'll cost a tad more than £70M per jet Scouse! Double that would be nearer the bill.

PPS Edit...Having just read the article, I notice the Defence 'expert' suggests F-35 will likely be the last manned 'fighter'. Clearly, they're not aware of the USN FA-XX Programme which envisages an 'optionally manned' asset to replace the FA-18EF. The USAF are also engaged in similar studies to replace the F-22 and augment the bomber force.


War Hero
Re: BBC: "Joint Strike Fighter: Jet That's A 'Spy In The Sky

Thank you for your reply you clearly know what you are talking about but i am a bit more simple when it comes to these matters.
In words (you can use coloured pens if you wish lol) that i will understand why does the RAF need any of these as well as the euro fighter?


Re: BBC: "Joint Strike Fighter: Jet That's A 'Spy In The Sky

The Eurofighter is an air superiority aircraft.
The F-35 is, like the Harrier GR9, primarily used for Close Air Support.
Basically, they fulfill different roles.


War Hero
Re: BBC: "Joint Strike Fighter: Jet That's A 'Spy In The Sky

Swings and roundabouts really offering complimentary capabilities. SS is very broadly correct although a tad simplistic in his description of the roles of the 2 types (notably, the Typhoon was designed to fulfill CAS and air-ground roles from the outset).

In a way, it is easier to explain using current assets

As we stand right now, Typhoon, Tornado GR4 and Harrier GR9 all offer complimentary and partially overlapping capabilities. When we first deployed fast jets into Afghanistan, KAF was pretty austere with very poor aircraft operating surfaces (due to lack of maintenance and EOD from Soviet/Taliban eras). Both the Harrier and GR4 were effective CAS/ISR types with pros and cons over the other. Hence, whilst the GR4s could easily have operated from KAF, they would have required greater operating surface work (the type was also committed to TELIC). The Harrier was not at that time committed to ops, allowed an excellent CAS/ISR capability to be deployed from the minimum operating surface (using STO) and had a lower support footprint. Hence, the decision was taken to deploy the Harrier GR7.

Subsequently, KAF became far more founded (essentially it’s now a Main Operating Base) and deployment of the GR4 became more viable in order to either reduce Harrier engine usage and allow the Force to regenerate skills such as carrier ops etc which had been on the wane due to HERRICK (if you’re in the RAF) or stitch up the FAA and achieve world domination for the Crabs (if you’re in the RN).

The same is true of a Typhoon and F-35 force mix in that they potentially compliment each other well. The Typhoon is an excellent air-superiority platform with good air-ground capabilities. However, it’s low observability (LO) capability is limited which increases vulnerability to ground based threats such as modern, mobile ‘double digit’ SAMs (eg SA-20). Nevertheless, Typhoon is most at home at the high altitudes demanded of modern active AAM supersonic manoeuvring and this performance in itself infers a degree of survivability, especially in an air-air scenario or against said SAMs.

In contrast, F-35 will not be a stellar performance in terms of manoeuvrability and particularly altitude performance. Nevertheless, it’ll be an excellent air-ground strike asset more capable of operating inside active threat systems. Notice that I avoid the term ‘day one’ asset as I think that that is a Cold War ism in itself; SA-15 is a highly effective and mobile SAM which is survivable enough to last well beyond day one. Indeed, it is conceivable that relatively low tech ‘non-state actors’ such as Hezbollah could gain access to equivalents. Meanwhile, F-35 will still retain a decent air-air capability and exceptional ISR capacity. The importance of LO is often overstated but not gaining it would significantly degrade the ability of the UK to operate and its relevance is not merely restricted to ‘traditional’ war fighting. Assuming we get the F-35B, RAF crews could more easily reinforce RN Sqns on CVF whilst retaining STO for smaller, austere land bases.

So in sum. Tiff and F-35 offer overlapping but complimentary capabilities the sum of which far exceeds the individual parts.

Hope the above ramblings explain things.



War Hero
Re: BBC: "Joint Strike Fighter: Jet That's A 'Spy In The Sky

Ok that seems to clear it up a bit i just saw fighter and fighter and wondered why they needed both. :)
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