Discussion in 'The Fleet' started by rn147scc, Jan 30, 2008.

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  1. Todays news have stated that the new jsf project is running so late that it will not be able to supply our new aircrat carrier until 2017 also the aircraft what will have to be temporarily placed on the carriers is the very old GR9 harriers

    Now who thinks this is a crazy and just shows up the mod for what it is
  2. People could see this coming to bite the MoD in the arse 10 years ago. They bought into a 'paper aeroplane' instead of something that was available right here, right now.
  3. We probably won't have the carriers to put the JSF on anyway. So it's all a mute point realy.
  4. The disconnect between the aircraft and the ship has been known for some time. It's partly to do with the delivery rate that the MoD has signed up to rather than massive delays on the aircraft (so far!). Given that we appear to have a 50% shortfall in WAFU f/w pilots at the minute, the training pipeline is going to have to undergo a fairly extreme see-ing to over the next few years, if we are ever to see 801NAS stand up.

    The biggest risk is actually the rate at which we are burning GR7/GR9 airframe hours in the Stan. There are only 75 left on the MAR and only 60-odd are getting the upgrades. Carrying on at this rate is likely to knacker the force before F35 has been delivered in sufficient numbers to stand up operational squadrons.

    The other unknown is whether MoD decides to change horse and buy the F35C (proper carrier version). The decision was due to be made (depending on whether the STOVL version met its key performance parameters) by end 07, but appears to have slipped.

    ALL of this is actually due to underfunding, causing MoD to prevaricate (trying to balance the budget without asking for more money) which actually ends up increasing costs.
  5. Err, what else could we use?!!

    The only other options would involve fitting cat and traps which we're hardly going to fund for what would only be a lease of FA-18E or Rafale M until the F-35B became available.

    F-35 was always going to be delayed but so is CVF and this may be an ideal excuse for the Treasury to delay CVF further. However, remember that CVF can be used for roles other than carting fast air around and the RN and Joint community probably needs to base its arguments against further delay on this.

    Meanwhile, GR9 airframe hrs are an issue but can probably be managed by Typhoon and/or GR4 augmenting on ops. I would expect JFH to be given a welcome break from ops by years end.

    Meanwhile NaB is spot on in his assertion that MoD prevarication adds to an already untenable situation. I understand that the PR08 options were unpalatable to the good Secretary of State for half a job. We are therefore likely to face a further 'decision making holiday' until the results of a PR09 and probably PR10, 11 and 12 can be released.

  6. MM,
    The carriers are being fitted with cats anyway. Otherwise how would we launch the C variant??
  7. I assume that's a wah aljh?!!!!! :roll:

  8. Well the problem is that the F/A-18E was identified back at the beginning as the cheapest/least risk option, but people got a bit dazzled by the wonders of stealth and the paper spec of the F-35B.

    IMO, a lot of the problems with the CVF design can be laid at the permanently moving goalpost that is the aircraft it's to carry… F-35B? F-35C? to E-2 or not E-2?… oh decisions, decisions! So MOD being MOD backed both horses and the carrier has ended up as a push me-pull you that like all compromises delivers less for a lot more money.

    A set of clear goals from 10 years ago would have enormously simplified the design problems and allowed a lot of joint design input.

    36-48 F/A-18's, 4 E-2's plus 6 Helos with OTS cats and traps… after that it's just joining the dots.

    Moving on smartly… the prime mission of our fast movers is dropping bombs on illiterate sand people rather than fighting a hot war against enemies with joined up writing skills, and the much touted stealthy bomb load of the F-35B had to be chopped in half to get the thing to fly as advertised.
  9. Oil Slick,

    FA-18E/F in a nutshell: gucci avionics but poor performance. Typhoon already runs rings around it in almost every respect and there remain significant questions regarding its fatigue life.

    I think F-35 was the correct option. As to which variant, both have advantages over the other but it will work.

    As far as the op requirement goes, whilst I would agree that stealth is overemphasised, we cannot predict what we'll require our JCA to do with any degree of certainty. Therefore, it remains very useful to aspire to a small LO capability.

    Meanwhile the E-2 would be a very expensive option for what is frankly an overrated capability. Obviously the fact it's on an airframe capable of moderately decent transit speeds and orbit altitudes is good. However, in many respects even the E-2D is inferior to the SKASaC7 and in 8 times out of 10, a land based E-3D could do the job better.

    I personally think that we'd be better off funding MASC on a Merlin ASaC, and properly fund the EAGLE upgrade to the E-3D.

    In reality it's fairly academic as I suspect that the SKASaC7 will be forced to struggle on to 2020 at the earliest.

  10. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

  11. While we do seem to spend an awful lot of time slapping sand people, that is by no means the be-all and end-all. You could happily bin most of the armed forces capabilities / kit if you make the assumption we just do what we do now. Heavy armour? Any sort of OCA (even DCA?) capability? Pingers? SSN? MCMV? DD/FF? Arctic training for RM? Even MMs E3s aren't really being used for their original role. Bin the lot? Bit like binning shipborne AEW thirty years ago and look where that got us.

    Having had some insight into the design process from the early stages, the issue of cat n trap is not as prominent as you might think. Once she got big enough to accommodate the required deck park, whether she has cat n trap or not effectively boils down to whether you provide room for a steam plant and condensers - which isn't a design driver, although the training types will have a fit. Believe it or not, there is no such thing as an OTS cat or trap system which is why AIUI the design is currently using 1960s MacTaggart-Scott systems rather than what you can get from NAWC Lakehurst.

    The big issue with buying the Bug (standfast the STOVL vs CV argument) is that by the time we needed it in service, it would be a fifteen-year-old design with limited growth potential. Going for Dave (though my preference would be for Dave-C) gives you the wider capability, better industrial input (even if it is for BAES) and probably better supportability. Were we to get the C variant, you can also hang an awful lot more off it should you wish to, though obviously at the expense of day 1 survivability levels. The real concern I have is that much of the impetus behind the choice of a stealthy supercruise aircraft was actually on OCA/DCA basis and yet this seems to be the lowest priority on the aircraft at the minute. The ship & CAG are there to deliver offensive effect, but they'd better be capable of splashing a few inbounds as well when requred, else it could all get a bit embarrassing. While MoD is at it, they'd do well to start sorting out the FW aircrew side of things, which is a far bigger concern than when the aircraft actually arrive.

    The ship design itself isn't brilliant (apart from the aviation aspects which really are good) but that is a result of some pretty poor decision-making by previous Chief Engineers, the usual counter-productive interference by SSG and ultimately, the failure to update the original concept stage costs when the ship started to grow. IMO we ARE paying too much for the ships, but they won't get any cheaper now. However, to single them out as being the reason the EP budget is knackered is just plain wrong. £4bn over seven or eight years is actually pretty small beer compared to some programmes I could think of.

    Like the mix of your suggested CAG btw! It would even fit on the current design as well.
  12. NaB,

    Concur re Super Hornet growth potential.

    I'm pretty sanguine about which F-35 variant we go for. Many in the RN would be surprised at how many light blue prefer the C model. Although STOVL is useful, many don't feel it's not sufficiently useful to trade off such a wide margin of range and payload capability. Additionally, the C has a respectively short take off run in its own right. However, the official position remains STOVL.

    As ever, what's lacking is long term stability in procurement. We need to reduce the amount of aircraft types so that Merlin can be used to replace the RAF Pumas and RN junglies as well as the ASaC. A CVF with F-35(variant tbd), Merlin ASW, ASaC and jungly would in my humble opinion make eminent sense logistically and therefore from a cost viewpoint.

    Meanwhile amphib capability could be reinforced by RAF Merlin (pllleeeeaaassseee give us blade fold!) and Chinooks (okay, blade fold a little harder) and AAC AH-64 and whichever utility helo they get (not necessarily FLynx but it must share a common airframe with the RN small ship community imho).

    Any questions Browne? Right, now give your Scottish duties to some back bench muppet, crack on, and stop arsing around! Order forms on my desk by 1600 tomorrow.

  13. Works for me mate. As you say Dave C for the enhanced ability to hang stuff off it compared to B. Would prefer a F/W MASC airframe as it better matches the original idea behind the change from FOAEW to MASC, but if the radar is gash, then either get a better radar or live with ASaC.

    Were someone to come up with a replacement transmission for Merlin (all of them, not just the Mk3s) with some sort of growth potential and a folding mechanism, then jobs a good'un.

  14. Well I never said F/A-18 was the best option, it was the cheapest/least risk option. As to the 15 years argument, well, if we'd kept to the original Dave timetable they would have been entering service last year!

    Now Typhoon, well there in hangs a tale. If we hadn't been so short sighted and intransigent back at the start of the Eurofighter project we wouldn't be having this argument. As you no doubt know, one of the main reason the Froggies pulled was because they wanted the Eurofighter to be developed as a naval fighter too. Oh well, another blinder by MOD.

    As to the E-2, while it may not be the best option, it has definate advantages for cross decking and support. The Froggies already have the training and support structure in place and have offered a joint wing as a concept during some of the talks.

    The 'smart money' now would be to ditch the more expensive F-35B, buy the C model for both sides and use the cost savings to fit cats and traps to CVF from the get go.
  15. Indeed. And they have their own special version (C13-3F) for CdG. I've been to Lakehurst and stood under the field test cats they have there and they're pretty much bespoke items.

    The reason AIUI that we are using the BS6 design is that the US (for whatever reason) would not do the detailed technology transfer of design info. Ditto the choice of DA2 arresting gear. It may well be that this was a restriction placed on the transfer of info because HMG would not confirm an order, or would have given the info to the alliance (I honestly don't know). It may just be that for teh level of design info required at teh time, it was easier just to go to MacTags, rather than get involved in technology transfer nause.

    Bottom line is that logistically it makes far more sense to buy the US systems (stand fast EMALS and EARS and how quickly they are pushed out to the fleet), if only from the PoV of producing tech pubs, but for whatever reason, it isn't on the plot at the minute.

  16. One gets the sense that the entire CVF/JSF project has been a case of taking the least best option at every possible step.
  17. Wouldn't argue with you. About the only things they've got right are that it's big enough and the aviation arrangements are very good.

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