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STT757
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US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:37 am

The US Navy has signed a deal to purchase the UK's entire decommissioned fleet of Harriers, 74 aircraft plus spares. The additional aircraft will be used to begin replacing the Marine Corp's F-18Ds (two seaters) which have worn out. This deal will get the Marine Corps to 2025 which is when the F-35B will have replaced the entire Marine Corps Harrier fleet.

Quote:
The Harrier IIs, built between 1980 and 1995, “are still quite serviceable,” he said. “The aircraft are not that far apart. We’re taking advantage of all the money the Brits have spent on them. It’s like we’re buying a car with maybe 15,000 miles on it.”
http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/1...issioned-british-harriers-111311w/
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connies4ever
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:22 am

Quoting STT757 (Thread starter):
The US Navy has signed a deal to purchase the UK's entire decommissioned fleet of Harriers, 74 aircraft plus spares. The additional aircraft will be used to begin replacing the Marine Corp's F-18Ds (two seaters) which have worn out. This deal will get the Marine Corps to 2025 which is when the F-35B will have replaced the entire Marine Corps Harrier fleet.

The big assumption there is that the F-35B will actually go into service. But I did wonder where all those Harriers would go, they were in pretty decent shape fatigue-wise. I believe a private operator snapped up two -- perhaps that fellow down in South Africa who already has a pair of EE Lightnings.

How many AV-8B/Harriers are now in the USMC inventory ? Has to be something over 200, I'd say.
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328JET
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:32 pm

I am not sure if that deal is a good sign for the F35B-program...
 
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kanban
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:14 pm

Quoting 328JET (Reply 2):
I am not sure if that deal is a good sign for the F35B-program...


Could be an indication of a pending delay or cancellation that now, having bought the planes, can continue.
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:17 pm

Quoting 328JET (Reply 2):


I am not sure if that deal is a good sign for the F35B-program...
Quoting 328JET (Reply 2):


Could be an indication of a pending delay or cancellation that now, having bought the planes, can continue.

The article would disagree with you - it paints this as a stopgap measure until the F-35 comes online.

The thing that puzzles me is replacing the F/A-18D with the Harriers. Why not replace them with F/A-18Fs? While it'd be more expensive, it seems like you'd be keeping and expanding on the -D's capabilities. Also what does this mean for the USMC's WSO community?
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GDB
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:43 pm

Odd, these aircraft are seen as having been hard worked, at least that was one justification the UK govt made for scrapping them not long after many had been upgraded.
Also, there are many differences with these and the USMC fleet, beyond the extra AIM-9 launch rail on each wing.
The Marconi Zeus internal ECM system, in fact just about all of the avionics will be different.
The upgrade path these aircraft had was/is entirely different to the USMC.
 
Oykie
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:06 pm

Quoting 328JET (Reply 2):
I am not sure if that deal is a good sign for the F35B-program...



According to USMC aviation chief plan B for the F-35 is to try harder. According to him there is no other alternative for the US Marine Corps. Their multipurpose amphibious assault ships needs the F-35 as a key part. The Harrier will only serve as an interim solution. Killing the F-35B will have a serious impact on the Marine Corps.

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/th...ideo-f-35s-plan-b-is-try-hard.html
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Spacepope
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:52 pm

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 4):
The thing that puzzles me is replacing the F/A-18D with the Harriers. Why not replace them with F/A-18Fs? While it'd be more expensive, it seems like you'd be keeping and expanding on the -D's capabilities. Also what does this mean for the USMC's WSO community?

Well, the WSO was getting the axe with the F-35 anyway, so might as well do it now. I can sure understand the loss of the F-18D due to fatigue issues. They've been flown like crazy since 2001 (USMC had a policy of using the WSO as an airborne FO, these airframes have been in constant combat).

Bringing the UK birds online could be difficult, but we could see 2 different approaches: Buy them and convert to AV-8B standard

Or create the AV-8C by keeping them close to British standard. I'm sure the 25mm gun pods can still be installed.

What marks of Harrier are being purchased? All remaining GR5/7/9?
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Devilfish
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:59 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 5):
Odd, these aircraft are seen as having been hard worked, at least that was one justification the UK govt made for scrapping them not long after many had been upgraded.

Well, I think they needed to say that so those could be disposed of... to remove one more possible hindrance to the F-35C acquisition.

Quoting GDB (Reply 5):
Also, there are many differences with these and the USMC fleet, beyond the extra AIM-9 launch rail on each wing.
The Marconi Zeus internal ECM system, in fact just about all of the avionics will be different.
The upgrade path these aircraft had was/is entirely different to the USMC.

I guess the Marines will just have to deal with those to keep their F-35B aspirations alive.
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connies4ever
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:41 pm

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 7):
Bringing the UK birds online could be difficult, but we could see 2 different approaches: Buy them and convert to AV-8B standard

Or create the AV-8C by keeping them close to British standard. I'm sure the 25mm gun pods can still be installed.

What marks of Harrier are being purchased? All remaining GR5/7/9?

I think all the remaining Harriers were GR7/9 standard, plus a few two-seaters. But don't the GR7/9 & AV-8B have different wings ? Or is it just the number of hardpoints ? Then of course the electronics. Could be as big a job as the F-35B !
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:16 am

I wonder if this means VMFA(aw)-332 will come out of cadre status as a AV-8B unit? I also wonder if the D's with time left will be inter mixed with the other Hornet units, like VMFA-232 did with taking 2 D's with the C's on the last deployment. I think it's a great idea to give the USMC some room till the F-35B/C arrive or another frame shows up.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:35 am

Quoting kanban (Reply 3):
Could be an indication of a pending delay or cancellation that now, having bought the planes, can continue.

F-35B is about to leave the probationary period that was imposed by the DoD earlier this year. Lockheed Martin has overcome a number of technical issues to reach sea-based trials, which apparently is doing very well.

The USMC is also more content to introduce F-35B into service earlier; they for example, will declare IOC with the F-35B using the Block 2B software, not the Block 3 software the A and C's will be IOC.
 
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kanban
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:20 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 11):
The USMC is also more content to introduce F-35B into service earlier;

We still need to see if the joint committee reaches an agreement.. by the end of the month.. If they don't, the Marines will never see the B except as plastic display models.
 
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:58 pm

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 7):
Well, the WSO was getting the axe with the F-35 anyway, so might as well do it now. I can sure understand the loss of the F-18D due to fatigue issues. They've been flown like crazy since 2001 (USMC had a policy of using the WSO as an airborne FO, these airframes have been in constant combat).

I definitely understand the F/A-18Ds are worn out, I guess I always sort of assumed that they'd be replaced by F/A-18Fs rather than the F-35s.
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:59 pm

Quoting 328JET (Reply 2):
I am not sure if that deal is a good sign for the F35B-program...

Actually it is a good sign, if there were real doubts about the F-35 entering service with the Marines they would be looking at acquiring new Super Hornets. This acquasition is a stop gap to address the immediate need for F-18D replacements, there are 131 Marine F-18D's. This allows them to begin to retire the highest hour F-18D frames.
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:19 pm

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 4):
The thing that puzzles me is replacing the F/A-18D with the Harriers. Why not replace them with F/A-18Fs?

Thinking geopolitically, if the USMC gets Super Hornets, USMC units are more and more likely going to be used interchangeably with USN units, which is of course something they don't want. Getting the Harriers strengthens the USMC traditional littoral CAS mission, and its shorter legs compared to the SH makes it hard for joint commanders to task them otherwise.
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:55 pm

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 4):
The thing that puzzles me is replacing the F/A-18D with the Harriers. Why not replace them with F/A-18Fs?
Quoting Revelation (Reply 15):
Thinking geopolitically, if the USMC gets Super Hornets, USMC units are more and more likely going to be used interchangeably with USN units, which is of course something they don't want. Getting the Harriers strengthens the USMC traditional littoral CAS mission, and its shorter legs compared to the SH makes it hard for joint commanders to task them otherwise.

  
Yes the Marines fall under the jurisdiction of the Navy but the more a/c they can keep on their brown water boats the more control they have over them providing CAS support to the grunts on the ground, unlike the Navy and Air Force, Marine pilots are grunts who fly.
The Navy has had issue retaining pilots, one of the ways to correct is to transfer Marine squadrons as the Marines have no problems with recruiting, how long that would last is not being looked at, this is a short term solution and the Marines are fighting.
 
328JET
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:27 pm

Quoting STT757 (Reply 14):
This acquasition is a stop gap to address the immediate need for F-18D replacements

How can a Harrier really replace a Hornet...?

I think the aquisition is a stop-gap because the F35B will be delayed.
 
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:56 pm

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 4):
Why not replace them with F/A-18Fs? While it'd be more expensive, it seems like you'd be keeping and expanding on the -D's capabilities

There's your answer, cost. I'm also going to guess that the USMC views the F/A-18F as a threat to the F-35B.
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connies4ever
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:14 pm

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 18):
I'm also going to guess that the USMC views the F/A-18F as a threat to the F-35B

I'd expand that to say it might be a threat to the whole concept of a Marine Air Wing. If they mount up on F/A-18Fs, why not have them in the Navy ? They'd be using the same deck space.
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Spacepope
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:05 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 19):
I'd expand that to say it might be a threat to the whole concept of a Marine Air Wing. If they mount up on F/A-18Fs, why not have them in the Navy ? They'd be using the same deck space.

They seemed to work well off carriers in the pre-Harrier days, why wouldn't they now?
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garnetpalmetto
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:19 am

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 20):

They seemed to work well off carriers in the pre-Harrier days, why wouldn't they now?

Further, having the F/A-18C and F/A-18D hasn't threatened the independence of Marine aviation, even with the inclusion of a VMFA in some CVWs. Why would replacing the F/A-18Ds with F/A-18Fs suddenly endanger that?
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Spacepope
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Thu Nov 17, 2011 2:40 am

I say phooey to the F-18F. Give them their Crusaders back.
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:38 pm

Quoting 328JET (Reply 17):
How can a Harrier really replace a Hornet...?



The Marines operate the F-18A, F-18C and F-18D. The D models are for ground attack/close air support. The AV-8 Harriers have proved themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan in the same roles.
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328JET
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Thu Nov 17, 2011 3:14 pm

Quoting STT757 (Reply 23):
The AV-8 Harriers have proved themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan in the same roles.

But not in the same class...
 
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Thu Nov 17, 2011 5:01 pm

Quoting 328JET (Reply 24):
But not in the same class...

For what the Marines do they are more than adequte until the F-35B arrives.
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328JET
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Thu Nov 17, 2011 5:59 pm

Quoting STT757 (Reply 25):
For what the Marines do they are more than adequte until the F-35B arrives.

For me they are perfect for the marines, no doubt.

But i have the bad feeling that the 35B will be pushed a bit more then we expect.
 
LMP737
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:33 pm

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 21):
Further, having the F/A-18C and F/A-18D hasn't threatened the independence of Marine aviation, even with the inclusion of a VMFA in some CVWs. Why would replacing the F/A-18Ds with F/A-18Fs suddenly endanger that?


The USMC buying the Superhornet would not necessarily threaten marine aviation. It could possibly, in the USMC eye's, threaten the F-35B.
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Max Q
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:52 am

Pretty sad when the nation that created the Harrier has to sell them off for some extra cash..
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:52 pm

Quoting 328JET (Reply 29):

Some more delay...?

If you read the article it states the cracks were expected and a redesign was done to other aircraft to address the issue.

Quote:
The potential for cracks to develop in the actuator support beam was identified several years ago. A redesigned beam was installed on the fifth short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) test aircraft during final assembly, the programme said. That means the BF-5 test aircraft can continue to make vertical landings as part of the flight-test programme.
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ThePointblank
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:03 am

More information on the USMC Harrier purchase; they are for spare parts only. This move will save the USMC 1 billion dollars in the long run on spare parts.
http://defensenews.com/story.php?i=8286920&c=EUR&s=SEA
 
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:38 pm

Here's an opinion about selling the Harriers to Taiwan, in lieu of the recently denied F-16 sale the AV-8 would make an even better alternative;

The Harriers do not require runways, which are no doubt targets for China's long range missiles. And they have excellent capablility to counter attack Naval and amphibious assaults.

http://the-diplomat.com/flashpoints-.../19/harriers-in-the-taiwan-strait/
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GDB
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:44 pm

Makes sense for spares, it would cost a lot to make them operationally compatible with USMC birds.
 
andz
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:53 am

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 1):
I believe a private operator snapped up two -- perhaps that fellow down in South Africa who already has a pair of EE Lightnings.

To the best of my knowledge Thunder City has ceased operations. I am currently in Cape Town so I will see what I can find out.
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bennett123
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:19 am

iirc, they closed after a fatal Lightning crash.

He had partial undercarriage failure, followed by an ejector seat malfunction.

The pilot ran out of options.

RIP
 
connies4ever
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:16 am

Quoting andz (Reply 34):
To the best of my knowledge Thunder City has ceased operations. I am currently in Cape Town so I will see what I can find out.
Quoting bennett123 (Reply 35):
iirc, they closed after a fatal Lightning crash.

He had partial undercarriage failure, followed by an ejector seat malfunction.

The pilot ran out of options.

RIP

Hmmm...had not heard that. Bad luck for the pilot.

Apparently you could book a ride in one of the Lightnings or am I mistaken ?
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
Devilfish
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:22 pm

Quoting STT757 (Reply 32):
Here's an opinion about selling the Harriers to Taiwan, in lieu of the recently denied F-16 sale the AV-8 would make an even better alternative;

Methinks these offer better range and more bang for the buck.....  .

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...11s-offers-seven-buries-23-365321/
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bennett123
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:07 pm

Why bury them.

Surely they must have some scrap value.
 
Devilfish
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:34 pm

Quoting bennett123 (Reply 38):
Why bury them.

Ostensibly, to mitigate HazMat risks.

Quoting bennett123 (Reply 38):
Surely they must have some scrap value.

There are those who value them much more than that.....

Quote:
"The decision to dispose of the aircraft in this manner incurred the displeasure of the nation's aviation enthusiasts."


Surprising that so far, none of our A.net friends down under has piped in.....   
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redflyer
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:24 pm

Quoting Devilfish (Reply 39):
Surprising that so far, none of our A.net friends down under has piped in....

They probably had cardiac arrest...as I almost did after spitting up my coffee when I saw that photo.  Wow!
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andz
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:33 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 36):
Apparently you could book a ride in one of the Lightnings or am I mistaken ?

You are not mistaken, you could get a ride in a Lightning, Buccaneer or Hunter.

The website has a lot of inactive links.

http://www.thundercity.com

According to Wikipedia the planes were up for sale, offers closing yesterday.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunder_City
After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
 
parapente
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:44 pm

I think the aquisition is a stop-gap because the F35B will be delayed.

I think that is the answer really. For spares they are - as stated, a very good buy.The "B" is not nearly ready and many think will be late.So a very simple and sensible purchase really.

Personally I hope that the Ark Royal is saved as a floating museun aircraft carrier - and that we keep at least a couple as exhibits for the ship.

Oh and one for airshows! It's the cleverest thing we ever made including (half of) concorde!
 
wvsuperhornet
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:40 am

Quoting oykie (Reply 6):
According to USMC aviation chief plan B for the F-35 is to try harder. According to him there is no other alternative for the US Marine Corps. Their multipurpose amphibious assault ships needs the F-35 as a key part. The Harrier will only serve as an interim solution. Killing the F-35B will have a serious impact on the Marine Corps

Not trying to stir anything but with looming budget cuts why not just disabandon the marine corps air wing the US navy can provide the same air cover as they do, its like duplicating a service I am pretty sure the Naval avaiators care just as much about marines on the ground as the marine pilots. Absorb thos pilots into the navy and be done with it. The F-35 by the time it gets airborn it will be obsolete. What a waste of funs buying these things and they wonder why their new aircraft are on the chopping block I cant see any good coming out of buying these harriers, when the F-18 e/f is far superior.

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 20):
They seemed to work well off carriers in the pre-Harrier days, why wouldn't they now?

Being a severly outdated airframe would be one or many I could think of.
 
B17GUNNER24
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:59 pm

Bad news for the F-35 program but nice to know our harriers are getting a nice home
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spudh
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:00 pm

Quoting wvsuperhornet (Reply 43):
when the F-18 e/f is far superior.

???? Are you trying to get Pointblank going on this thread too!

Its always been highly questionable if the Superbug is even as good as the aircraft it replaced, let alone the aircraft slotted to replace it!

Either way the F-35B (if it gets built) is going to be unquestionably better than the Harrier in every way except WVR air combat. If it doesn't get built it will mean the end of Marine CAS so the rest of the Marine aviators will get absorbed into the Navy so you will be comparing the F18 to the F-35C. Guess which will win that comparison?
 
ThePointblank
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:08 am

Quoting spudh (Reply 45):

Either way the F-35B (if it gets built) is going to be unquestionably better than the Harrier in every way except WVR air combat. If it doesn't get built it will mean the end of Marine CAS so the rest of the Marine aviators will get absorbed into the Navy so you will be comparing the F18 to the F-35C. Guess which will win that comparison?

I would debate the WVR note, but the F-35B is a superior aircraft in every way compared to the Harrier.
 
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par13del
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:26 pm

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 20):
They seemed to work well off carriers in the pre-Harrier days, why wouldn't they now?

During WWII a large number of Marine Squadrons were land based rather than carrier based, during the cold war not much changed prior to the advent of the Harrier, they still had squadrons that were not carrier based. Marine Corp aviation has used carriers and been deployed on carriers but have not been tied to carriers, the Harrier allowed them to have teh a/c on the ships which carried the troops closer to the landing zone, less time to the combat zone more payload to break things.

Quoting wvsuperhornet (Reply 43):
its like duplicating a service I am pretty sure the Naval avaiators care just as much about marines on the ground as the marine pilots.

You are asking for it with that comment, history is not on your side  
 
spudh
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:57 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 46):
I would debate the WVR note, but the F-35B is a superior aircraft in every way compared to the Harrier.

I don't want to hijack the thread but from every report I've read on red flag excercises etc the Harrier has accounted for every aircraft it has come up against in close. It might only be able to do that on day 1, and by day 3 the opposing fighters have adjusted their tactics when dealing with the harrier to not get drawn in close into a vertical fight but it has an amazing record. The reasons are simple, its small, its pilots are really well trained and it has by miles the best T/W ratio out there. Any other fighter is going to be using A/B during a turning fight, especially vertical, limiting their time. Harrier is in military power so has more endurance than most in that aspect of ACM.

And then there's VIFFing, which BTW is a Marine Corps AV-8B invention, not RAF Harrier. Its probably a trick you only get one shot at, but what a trick. Again the opposing fighter pilot will only get caught by that trick once and in day 1 of combat, but in combat thats what its all about.

I'm pretty sure the F-35B can't VIFF and has no business getting mixed up in that close anyway with the arsenal of other ways it has to win a fight so thats why I said its the only area that the F-35B is not markedly superior to the Harrrier.

I'd back the Harrier to win the first WVR fight between them. The F-35 will probably have it killed 5 times on the way in but if he then tries to kill him with his knife in the phone booth he might find he's bitten off more than he can chew.

BTW the A-10 has shown a somewhat similar ability to embarass hot shot fighters if they try and tackle it in its enviroment down in the weeds. Must be a CAS thing  
 
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RE: US Navy To Buy 74 UK Harriers + Engine Spares

Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:49 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 46):
I would debate the WVR note, but the F-35B is a superior aircraft in every way compared to the Harrier.

One would hope so with a more than 40 year gap between the basic design of them both!

So the F-35B has had design and development problems? Considering what it has to do it's hardly surprising?
Not the only project where the original cost and timescales were way optimistic, in fact, that's the norm.

With an inevitable DoD budget crunch coming, I'd say that the F-35B is the only way the USMC can stay in the fast jet game.
As noted, the conventional fleet just duplicates the USN, with all the costs that brings.
For the 'specialised' CAS role that USMC Hornets apparently do, what's wrong in having Marine specialists in the rear seat of a USN F-18F? Operating from the same decks after all.

Plus there are the intra service politics, opponents of Marine aviation, whether they include F-35B or not in the viewpoint, can point to the very long V-22 development, the (cancelled now I think) new amphibious vehicle that drank $ but was to put it mildly, troubled. Then there are the separate fleets of UH-1 and AH-1 developments, years ago both the UH-60 and AH-64 could have been modded for shipborne ops, given how long and late the latest developments of the AH-1 and UH-1 have turned out, probably would have cheaper too.
Still leaving a soon to be unique fleet - if not already - within the US services, now the USAF and Army have or soon will phase out their versions of these legacy types, with again, all the costs that involves.

The others might say 'enough of the special treatment for the USA's smallest service', whether that is fair comment or not, it will have resonance.
Do weapons and other procurements take second place to maintaining the established order of things?

So the USMC might feel that 'something has to give', to justify fast jets at all, they'll have to cite the unique nature of the F-35B, the fast reaction from littoral amphibious ships, the rapidly of establishing strips for it ashore.
Given the choice between a F-35B only fast jet fleet eventually, or maybe no jets at all, the USMC are likely to push for F-35B retention even if it means 'sacrificing' the CTOL jets.

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