GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12708 posts, RR: 80 Posted (10 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 5038 times:
Today it was announced that the JSF version selected by the RAF/RN, will be as expected the V/STOL version. The USN version had thought to be gaining ground due to it's longer range and load carrying.
150 will be ordered, they will operate from the two new 50-60,000 ton carriers to be ordered next year, now we know they will be V/STOL carriers rather than the conventional catapult/arrester hook type.
Despite the attractions of the conventional carrier, the last UK vessel of this type retired in 1978, so it would be a 30 year gap in restarting these kind of operations.
Plus the UK's long term V/STOL experience is worth retaining, for all the Sea Harriers limitations, in the Falklands war in 1982, they had a 99% combat availability, 8000 miles from home, in often very bad weather-V/STOL is not dependent of the ship turning into the wind, as well as simpler deck operations and fewer crew/less maintenance required.
This means probably a Merlin Helicopter based AEW platform, yes an E-2C would be better, but a high cost.
For the RAF, V/STOL JSF will equip the rapid reaction RAF units now flying Harrier GR.7s, which today often deploy on RN carriers, they will continue, probably extend this into the JSF era.
(Each carrier will have a peacetime complement of 24 JSF's, up to double this number in war time), with the RN getting 60 of the JSF's, RAF aircraft supplementing the RN on operations is inevitable, they'll concentrate on supplementing the RN squadrons in strike missions, with the RN handling air defence, though that's not the CVF carriers primary role.
It will also be possible to make up for the V/STOL JSF's shorter legs by adopting the Storm Shadow stand off weapon on wing pylons, in theory this could undermine the aircraft's stealth, but the Storm Shadow has a long range as well as a stealthy airframe, it's far too big to fit internally into any JSF version.
LMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 1, posted (10 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4941 times:
Dang, I was hoping the RN would opt for a catapult and arresting gear equipped aircraft carrier. It would have been cool seeing a JSF in RN colors catching a three wire. I did notice in the article that it would be possible at latter date to convert them to a USN style carrier.
IMO the RN would have been better served by a USN style aircraft carrier. That way they could have bought the E2-C for coverage of the fleet. While the a Merlin based AEW platform would be good it could not even come close to matching the E2-C capabilities. Also the RN would have more choices of aircraft than just the JSF. If the F/A-18G comes to fruition the RN could have possibly bought some of those. Or god forbid the Rafale.
Steman From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 1275 posts, RR: 8 Reply 2, posted (10 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 4903 times:
Now that the UK has made its decision on which version to order,
I imagine that the other partners will follow soon.
In particula Italy, which is up to now, the only level 2 partner, the other Countries being at lower stages of participation.
The Italian MoD claimed that they need between 120 and 150 examples to replace the Air Force AMXs and Navy AV-8B+.
If it's certain that the Navy will get the STOVL variant it is still unclear if the Air Force will opt for the same or if they will buy the CTOL variant.
Much will depend on costs of buying about 30/40 STOVL and 110/120 CTOL, as well as possible license manufacturing in Italy (which is very likely considering that Alenia was granted license for 16 AV-8Bs).
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12708 posts, RR: 80 Reply 3, posted (10 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 4899 times:
Lets hope the Italians go for some STOVL JSFs', as it is not totally certain that this more expensive JSF variant will avoid cancellation, as only the USMC amongst the US services want it.
They are already being pressured to take fewer, despite the need to replace AV-8B's and Hornets.
IMHO it's about time the USMC went all STOVL, now there is an aircraft pretty much equal to conventional fighters available, it reflects their mission in supporting the Marines, rather than duplicating USN assets.
But you cannot rule a cancellation of this version out, even with UK investment and sales, remember the Skybolt missile in 1962?
LMP737, that's true, but the CVF programme even now is putting an increasing strain on the budget, no way could a CTOL carrier with multiple aircraft types, (mostly imported) be afforded.
The RN are just happy to be back in the big carrier business, even at a cost in escort numbers, but the submarine branch have influence and they will point to their Tomahawk Cruise Missiles as a supplement for CVF, especially at the longer range end of the requirement.
The UK entered to JSF programme to get a Harrier replacement, as combat aircraft, especially a STOVL type procured in small numbers, are so expensive now, it would have to be a joint US purchase, meaning the USMC.
(If Iraq had fired lots more SCUDS at the few huge Saudi bases packed with Allied aircraft in 1991, would the USAF still be so hostile to JSF-STOVL?)
Although as yet this announced purchase is the only one being contemplated, and officially no further versions are needed, I wouldn't rule out the RAF getting the USN version, for land use, as the USN use the same refueling system as the UK, it has the most range, and BAE Systems additionally make the outer wings for the CV variant, (no doubt as a USN-inspired come on for a UK purchase of JSF-CV).
An RAF JSF-CV would be a partial Tornado GR.4 replacement, along with developed twin seat Eurofighters and UCAV's.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12708 posts, RR: 80 Reply 5, posted (10 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4902 times:
Even the old Gannets would have sufficed against Argentina in 1982, or the Sea King AEW developed afterwards, which had been a design study not funded by the MoD in 1980.
If the RN still had a carrier with F-4K's, Buccaneers and Gannets, there would have been no Falklands War, but the Cold War made ASW the biggest priority, the UK could neither man nor afford a major ASW fleet and conventional carrier force-projection fleet at the same time, what with all the other Cold War imperatives, like a large tactical airforce, the nuclear deterrent and big armoured formations in West Germany.
But air defence is not the main function for CVF, though the JSF's will have a pretty formidable capability in that role.
AEW Merlin will probably have compound wings for better performance, a greater loiter time, plus a bigger, all-new radar, though the Sea Kings have just had a major upgrade in radar performance, data-links and ESM to see them to the end of the decade.
The Osprey was also considered for AEW, but the expense and uncertainty of that programme makes in a very outside choice now.
Future UAV's based on CVF could provide a long range surveillance element, and studies into that are underway, probably as part of the Watchkeeper programme.
But it's hard to see the RN having to take on a sophisticated major naval power in the foreseeable future, CVF is all about force projection, even with a full JSF/Merlin complement, still be room for WAH-64 Apaches, assault Merlins/Chinooks.
With the Cold War long over, CVF is possible, if it was still on the RN would be looking at a life-extension for the Invincibles or at best, just a more modern, slightly bigger new-build version. .
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12708 posts, RR: 80 Reply 7, posted (10 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 4864 times:
Yes R/R are responsible for the lift-fan and other aspects of that JSF versions STOVL system.
Other major UK contractors include BAE Systems, (rear fuselage and the CV versions outer wings), Smiths (avionics), Martin Baker (as usual-the ejection seat) and GKN.
This is off the top of my head, probably others but those are the major ones.
Flyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 8, posted (10 years 7 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4845 times:
Went to a seminar earlier today hosted by Lockheed Martin. The main speaker was the man who is responsible for the design of the lift fan, as well as the navy version of the aircraft. Really changed my opinion on it. I went from being "yet another useless government cost" to "that is an amazing aircraft which will really help us in the future."
Very suprised that the lift fan will be supplied with 30,000hp from the main engine.
From the UK Ministry of Defence site, some pics of the two competing designs of CVF.
Note they both show the conventional carrier option, which CVF will be a hybrid of, retaining the angled deck but on completion this deck will be fitted with a ski-jump for STOVL ops.
However, provision will be made for future installation of electro-magnetic catapults and arrestor wires, officially these 50 year lifespan vessels will operate what replaces F-35 30-35 years down the line.
More immediately it's probably a safeguard in case the US does scrap F-35B, (I've finally bothered to remember the JSF service designations!) for either budgetary or technical reasons.
If it's scrapped could we please have some surplus F-18C's in lieu of F-35C, this USC F-35 won't be in service for the first CVF's completion, and the RN would not likely be first in the queue for them either, the USN will want their first low-observable aircraft ASAP.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12708 posts, RR: 80 Reply 10, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4776 times:
Interesting computer generated pic in this weeks Flight International, showing a RN F-35B with wing tip stations for ASRAAM IR AAM's.
Apparently European users who are getting IRS-T AAM's want this similar weapon intergrated on the aircraft, and the US services are looking at putting AIM-9X's in that position.
Along with the ASRAAM's, RN F-35's will have 4 internal AMRAAM's.
LMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (10 years 7 months 15 hours ago) and read 4716 times:
The Thales design looks like a US carrier. All they need to do is get rid of that forward island. I noticed that there were E-2C's included in the drawings. Don't want to sound like a broken record but I still think the RN would have been better served with a conventional aircraft carrier. But that's just my HO.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12708 posts, RR: 80 Reply 12, posted (10 years 7 months 6 hours ago) and read 4736 times:
It is possible that CVF will be a hybrid, a ski-ramp for the F-35's, with a catapult and arrester wires for E-2C's, and for cross-decking with and USN/French Navy aircraft.
However it could be awkward to operate, and expensive.
But each contractor has displayed separate conventional and STOVL versions.
I think the Thales design has the two islands as one is for the usual bridge/sensors, the other for VL launchers for Aster-15 missiles and it's systems.