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F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Contains threads on Joint Service equipment of the past, present and future.

How do you feel about the F-35B for the RN and RAF? (2 votes per member)

GOOD choice for the Royal Navy
120
44%
BAD choice for the Royal Navy
11
4%
Uncertain (RN)
14
5%
GOOD choice for the Royal Air Force
50
18%
BAD choice for the Royal Air Force
37
14%
Uncertain (RAF)
40
15%
 
Total votes: 272

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 02 Nov 2019, 09:45

SW1 wrote:not confined to just the services the engineering capacity in industry is also struggling with a shortage of experienced engineers with resource exhausted in a number of areas which will only make the forces ability to hold onto these people worse.


Quite. The last RAF Typhoon having been delivered, I can see the volatility in the form of (small-ish) export orders keeping the line ticking playing havoc with the more senior/ experienced staff levels, i.e. the ones that can design the next step up
- Tempest could be a camouflaged "TOBA"... with wings added

SW1
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby SW1 » 02 Nov 2019, 09:51

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Tempest could be a camouflaged "TOBA"... with wings added


Filling the senior engineering positions on tempest is proving challenging.

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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby Tempest414 » 02 Nov 2019, 12:11

SW1 wrote:It is impossible to engineer a wing mounted solution that does not adversely affect the radar signature of the jet.


this as a statement is bollocks we now have stealth aircraft and stealth missiles these have both been designed and engineered. now if you said the cost is to great at this time that is a different thing

serge750
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby serge750 » 02 Nov 2019, 14:54

it would be good to have a few Ospreys for multirole missions including COD + SF missions + maybe crowsnest if they could be adapted, but probably no chance in the next 5 years! drop tanks would be good in the short term and a lot cheaper, would it be better to get the F35 bought and up and running then review the situation in the late 2020's ? maybe the next generation tilt rotors would be viable to replace the pumas and then later the commando merlins & a crowsnest replacement....

SW1
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby SW1 » 02 Nov 2019, 17:33

Tempest414 wrote:
SW1 wrote:It is impossible to engineer a wing mounted solution that does not adversely affect the radar signature of the jet.


this as a statement is bollocks we now have stealth aircraft and stealth missiles these have both been designed and engineered. now if you said the cost is to great at this time that is a different thing


Are you having a laugh?

Lord Jim
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby Lord Jim » 03 Nov 2019, 05:25

Everyone here agrees that the personnel issues need to be addressed as a matter of the highest priority, but we do still need to look at what kit we are going to need to bring our Armed Forces up to scratch in order to fight peer level conflicts. We need to bring new kit into service faster or we risk being left behind.

I do not have any issue with the QEs only having a single squadron embarked most of the time, but the F-35 Squadrons are smaller than the already small Typhoon units. So to embark say twelve aircraft you a drawing from a pol rather than tasking a single squadron. The issue I do have though is how are we gong to ensure we have sufficient carrier qualified pilots available so that we can increase the number of aircraft embarked on the carrier at short notice. For a pilot to maintain is carrier qualification he or she needs to carry out a certain number of real take offs and landings over a given period, the same a helicopter pilots. Yes it is easier with a STOVL platform than a CATOBAR platform, but it is still required. Ok if the balloon goes up we could throw the rule book out of the window, have pilots do X number of landings and take offs on the simulator and then send them out to the carrier, but that is far from ideal.

The only way I can see us maintaining a sufficient pool of carrier qualified pilots is to allocate the first two frontline F-35 squadrons to carrier duty first and foremost, with all pilots rotating through the force embarked when the carrier is at sea, and always have those F-35s on the carrier. All pilots coming out of the OCU should already have received their initial Carrier qualification as part of the conversion course.

Once the F-35 fleet grows, and I cannot see it growing much beyond three front line squadrons things may be a little easier, but the RAF is going to have to be persuaded that the F-35s are for carrier use as the priority, and everything else comes second.

serge750
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby serge750 » 03 Nov 2019, 11:01

Totally agree, after the initial 48 have arrived in 2023? I wonder if there will be a trickle buy of F35b ? say 2 or 3 every year maybe, a very slow increase in numbers/attrition replacements or even cheaper to buy later lots than to update the first ones then cannibalize the early ones?

I hope that in the 2030's & project tempest starts to yield tempting options for the RAF the lightning force may have a more maritime focus?

bobp
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby bobp » 03 Nov 2019, 16:50

UK to get 17 F35b in the next block buy....
https://www.janes.com/article/92311/uk- ... -block-buy

Slowly getting there

Lord Jim
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby Lord Jim » 04 Nov 2019, 04:13

So with luck we could see the second Squadron stood up in 2022/23, and final deliveries of the initial purchase by 2025 possibly.

sea_eagle
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby sea_eagle » 04 Nov 2019, 21:30

Lord Jim wrote:So with luck we could see the second Squadron stood up in 2022/23, and final deliveries of the initial purchase by 2025 possibly.

Yes
UK will start receiving Lot 12 aircraft in 2020 when three jets are scheduled to be delivered. Under Lot 13, six aircraft will be delivered in 2021 and eight aircraft will follow under Lot 14 in 2022.

The final 13 aircraft would then be delivered as 7 in Lot 15 in 2023 and 6 in Lot 16 in 2024 for a total of 48.
Assuming we proceed with orders for the remaining 90 then these are likely to be delivered at a rate of 8 aircraft per year from 2025 to 2035 (10 in the last year).
By which time the early examples (Lot 7-9) will be 20 years old.

Lord Jim
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby Lord Jim » 04 Nov 2019, 22:56

After forming the third Squadron we could see the remaining platforms going into storage and also replacing the earlier planes that by then will have been worked to death. If by some small chance the remaining aircraft are purchased as F-35As then the RAF would have to re equip one of its Typhoon wings, and even then would not replace them one for one, as it seems the Squadrons equipped with the F-35 will only have between 8-9 aircraft available to fly at any one time compared to 12 in those equipped with Typhoon. Ye the USAF seems to like having Squadrons of up to 24 aircraft in its tactical fighter wings. In other words the two squadrons of the F-35A wing forming at RAF Lakenheath could have more F-35s available than the entire available UK force!

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 05 Nov 2019, 08:57

Lord Jim wrote:the two squadrons of the F-35A wing forming at RAF Lakenheath could have more F-35s available than the entire available UK force!
... will still be running in second place compared to Norway :o

Ron5
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby Ron5 » 05 Nov 2019, 16:28

Getting back to the drop tank topic for a moment. I've found some material on the internet from a decade or so ago that talks about the tanks then under consideration: 480 gallons. Here it is:


shoot, can't get them loaded, board limit exceded. Ah well.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 05 Nov 2019, 18:57

Ron5 wrote:can't get them loaded, board limit exceded. Ah well.


What is this thing? have only run up against it once... but is it by contributor. or, what is the limit???

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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby R686 » 05 Nov 2019, 20:55

Ron5 wrote:Getting back to the drop tank topic for a moment. I've found some material on the internet from a decade or so ago that talks about the tanks then under consideration: 480 gallons.



I’m lead to believe they were dropped as there was no interest from member nations as F35 on internal fuel had greater range than current with external tanks, and the impression from what I read that F35A have the plumbing to the wing pylons incorporated just no tanks finished development as other priorities become evident at the time

serge750
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby serge750 » 05 Nov 2019, 23:13

Ironic that the drop tanks got dropped.... :roll: I get me coat ...

Bring Deeps
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby Bring Deeps » 06 Nov 2019, 08:30

Very good insider article on future procurement of F35s by the UK to be found on @UKDefJournal.

Summarises issues and suggests possible outcomes on many of the themes debated on this thread.

Timmymagic
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby Timmymagic » 06 Nov 2019, 10:56

R686 wrote:I’m lead to believe they were dropped as there was no interest from member nations as F35 on internal fuel had greater range than current with external tanks, and the impression from what I read that F35A have the plumbing to the wing pylons incorporated just no tanks finished development as other priorities become evident at the time


They got dropped the same time that lots of things got dropped. I suspect it was not the users decision, just a case of 'we're struggling to meet deadlines and the programme is in crisis, politically no-one will notice this and we have a ready excuse (internal fuel)'. Now that we're through that stage they've popped up again as an aspiration. I suspect for the users it never really went away. Besides...fuel tanks can be adapted and used as cargo pods, and everybody needs to take their luggage with them on deployments...

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 06 Nov 2019, 13:34

Timmymagic wrote: it was not the users decision, just a case of 'we're struggling to meet deadlines and the programme is in crisis

Yeah, each gram (attachment points, as useless extras) was the name of the game then... for the "B" more so than the other versions

R686
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby R686 » 06 Nov 2019, 16:24

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
Timmymagic wrote: it was not the users decision, just a case of 'we're struggling to meet deadlines and the programme is in crisis

Yeah, each gram (attachment points, as useless extras) was the name of the game then... for the "B" more so than the other versions



That’s right the B had a weight problem forgot about that one, I didn’t know it also affect A& C though.

And I remember something about a short term fix for internal cracks of the main structure frame or something did they come up with a final fix?

SW1
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby SW1 » 06 Nov 2019, 16:38

Whenever you have external fuel pods a percentage of what’s carried in them is offset against the drag associated with carrying them. When this was worked out it was found the smaller tanks offered marginal range extension and was binned as not worth it.

bobp
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby bobp » 06 Nov 2019, 17:08

R686 wrote:And I remember something about a short term fix for internal cracks of the main structure frame or something did they come up with a final fix?


The F35B had to be taken out of fatigue testing, because the airframe had so many cracks in it, it wasn't worth continuing. In other words it did not quite reach its design targets. I believe they have constructed or are in the process of, a second test article, with redesigned main bulkhead. What the situation is with the rest of the F35B fleet I don't know whether there has been modifications made as yet.

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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby Ron5 » 06 Nov 2019, 18:54

Ron5 wrote:Getting back to the drop tank topic for a moment. I've found some material on the internet from a decade or so ago that talks about the tanks then under consideration: 480 gallons. Here it is:


shoot, can't get them loaded, board limit exceded. Ah well.

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
Timmymagic wrote: it was not the users decision, just a case of 'we're struggling to meet deadlines and the programme is in crisis

Yeah, each gram (attachment points, as useless extras) was the name of the game then... for the "B" more so than the other versions


It was money, not weight.

Ron5
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby Ron5 » 06 Nov 2019, 18:57

SW1 wrote:Whenever you have external fuel pods a percentage of what’s carried in them is offset against the drag associated with carrying them. When this was worked out it was found the smaller tanks offered marginal range extension and was binned as not worth it.


Bollox. Cancelled to save money. One of the charts I couldn't attach, shows the range increases with the 480 gallon tanks. For the F-35B, flying a USMC attack profile, ROA increased by 100 miles with the same warload.


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