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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
126
44%
BAD choice for the Royal Navy
11
4%
Uncertain (RN)
14
5%
GOOD choice for the Royal Air Force
54
19%
BAD choice for the Royal Air Force
39
14%
Uncertain (RAF)
42
15%
 
Total votes: 286

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

Postby Repulse » 13 Apr 2020, 09:21

Given the impact of COVID-19 on the national finances and the Government being rightly focused on other things than defence, then I can’t see the number of F35Bs getting significantly higher than @50.

Given that in the 2000’s the Joint Harrier Force has around 52 a/c, could a similar 4 Squadron, each of 9 a/c, be the best formation?
”We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." - Lord Palmerston

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

Postby downsizer » 13 Apr 2020, 09:26

Repulse wrote:Given that in the 2000’s the Joint Harrier Force has around 52 a/c, could a similar 4 Squadron, each of 9 a/c, be the best formation?


No. We need more.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 13 Apr 2020, 10:27

Funnily enough I was for the 48 number even before this board was started, i.e. on TD
24 on a carrier in strike mode
12 on the other in LitM
a sqdrn (12?) on land for alpha strike/ DEAD/ SEAD

... which means that downsizer is right. What availability does one factor in? US aspirational 80%. Or 67%... or
(even after OCU tasks have been factored into sqdrns, after the initial push. So no reserve a/c, other than those in maintenance. That factor alone - away from base maintenance - is about as big as the debated difference (9, 10, 12) in sqdrn size)

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

Postby Repulse » 13 Apr 2020, 11:14

downsizer wrote:No. We need more.


I’m not going to argue that the UK should not have more Fighters, but are you saying that to maintain 4 x 9 a/c squadrons the RAF/FAA would need more than 52 a/c in the fleet?
”We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." - Lord Palmerston

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

Postby downsizer » 13 Apr 2020, 11:18

No, I'm saying we need to buy more full stop.

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

Postby Tempest414 » 13 Apr 2020, 12:54

for me the base line we need of F-35B is 80 jets with the split being a 30 jet naval strike wing and a 30 jet land strike wing a 10 jet OCU plus 3 jet TEU leaving 7 jets in the pool

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

Postby Lord Jim » 13 Apr 2020, 16:00

In the short to medium term I can see the UK only having three frontline F-35B squadrons (10 a/c each) and QCU with a similar number of airframes and a small attrition reserve made up of the remaining eight. This would allow there to be a surge to provide one carrier with a full airwing if needed, but like the Joint Harrier Force, unless it is predetermined that the Carrier always gets priority, there is going to be conflict between those wanting to deploy the F-35 force on land and those who want them embarked on the Carrier. Hopefully we will not end up where we were during operations in Afghanistan where the Carriers went without Harriers being regularly embarked, and then only to maintain the pilot carrier qualification in the main.

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

Postby jimthelad » 13 Apr 2020, 16:12

This time around the carriers would host the F35 in a Herrick style operation. Far more secure than a fixed desert airbase.

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

Postby Ron5 » 13 Apr 2020, 18:21

downsizer wrote:No, I'm saying we need to buy more full stop.


Attaboy! If I could give you 100 likes, I would :D

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

Postby Ron5 » 13 Apr 2020, 18:30

I don't remember it being confirmed anywhere but then again my memory ain't what it used to be, but according to RAdm Mike Utley via Richard Scott, the initial Queen Elizabeth deployment is planned to be with 16 F-35B's plus 4 Merlin ASW & 3 Merlin Crowsnest with additional Merlin Mk 4's embarked on the supporting fleet.

Personally, I think that's pretty darned good after such a long period of the RN being out of the business. It will be an impressive sight.

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

Postby Lord Jim » 13 Apr 2020, 22:05

Totally agree, and there might even be one or more MV-22s though that has still to be decided on.

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

Postby Scimitar54 » 14 Apr 2020, 00:12

Ron5

You can, like so :thumbup: x100

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

Postby dmereifield » 14 Apr 2020, 00:18

Ron5 wrote:I don't remember it being confirmed anywhere but then again my memory ain't what it used to be, but according to RAdm Mike Utley via Richard Scott, the initial Queen Elizabeth deployment is planned to be with 16 F-35B's plus 4 Merlin ASW & 3 Merlin Crowsnest with additional Merlin Mk 4's embarked on the supporting fleet.

Personally, I think that's pretty darned good after such a long period of the RN being out of the business. It will be an impressive sight.


But how many of the 16 F35B will belong to the UK?

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

Postby Caribbean » 14 Apr 2020, 00:34

Ron5 wrote:Personally, I think that's pretty darned good after such a long period of the RN being out of the business. It will be an impressive sight.

Indeed it would be, but if that deployment is going to be a FoN operation in the SCS, and in light of what has happened over the last few months, then I would like an extra USMC Squadron on board and an Oz/Kiwi amphibious group as escort. Not to beard the lion, but to make the statement that we haven't been cowed.
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby Ron5 » 14 Apr 2020, 00:47

dmereifield wrote:
Ron5 wrote:I don't remember it being confirmed anywhere but then again my memory ain't what it used to be, but according to RAdm Mike Utley via Richard Scott, the initial Queen Elizabeth deployment is planned to be with 16 F-35B's plus 4 Merlin ASW & 3 Merlin Crowsnest with additional Merlin Mk 4's embarked on the supporting fleet.

Personally, I think that's pretty darned good after such a long period of the RN being out of the business. It will be an impressive sight.


But how many of the 16 F35B will belong to the UK?


8 plus 8, all totally under UK operational command.

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

Postby Ron5 » 14 Apr 2020, 00:48

Caribbean wrote:
Ron5 wrote:Personally, I think that's pretty darned good after such a long period of the RN being out of the business. It will be an impressive sight.

Indeed it would be, but if that deployment is going to be a FoN operation in the SCS, and in light of what has happened over the last few months, then I would like an extra USMC Squadron on board and an Oz/Kiwi amphibious group as escort. Not to beard the lion, but to make the statement that we haven't been cowed.


For a first deployment? seems a trifle foolhardy.

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

Postby Ron5 » 14 Apr 2020, 00:50

Lord Jim wrote:Totally agree, and there might even be one or more MV-22s though that has still to be decided on.


I have not read that.

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

Postby R686 » 14 Apr 2020, 03:50

Ron5 wrote:
Caribbean wrote:
Ron5 wrote:Personally, I think that's pretty darned good after such a long period of the RN being out of the business. It will be an impressive sight.

Indeed it would be, but if that deployment is going to be a FoN operation in the SCS, and in light of what has happened over the last few months, then I would like an extra USMC Squadron on board and an Oz/Kiwi amphibious group as escort. Not to beard the lion, but to make the statement that we haven't been cowed.


For a first deployment? seems a trifle foolhardy.


Well I am still surprised that they will be coming our way for the first deployment, but if she does I hope they take the senic route via Sydney, not sure if the Kiwis can help out as far as I know both frigates are still getting the upgrade in Canada, but Nuship Aotearoa should be in commission by then

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

Postby dmereifield » 14 Apr 2020, 09:49

Ron5 wrote:
dmereifield wrote:
Ron5 wrote:I don't remember it being confirmed anywhere but then again my memory ain't what it used to be, but according to RAdm Mike Utley via Richard Scott, the initial Queen Elizabeth deployment is planned to be with 16 F-35B's plus 4 Merlin ASW & 3 Merlin Crowsnest with additional Merlin Mk 4's embarked on the supporting fleet.

Personally, I think that's pretty darned good after such a long period of the RN being out of the business. It will be an impressive sight.


But how many of the 16 F35B will belong to the UK?


8 plus 8, all totally under UK operational command.


A little underwhelming (8 UK F35Bs) from my point of view, though the overall UK package of assets that constitute the carrier group will be very impressive

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

Postby Tempest414 » 14 Apr 2020, 10:39

The UK carriers will almost always carry USMC jets and at this time the USMC are looking to dedicate one of it F-35B sqn's to the UK carriers as for the first deployment of 8 x 8 =16 5th gen jets in anyone's back yard is not to be taken lightly this will grow to 12 x 12 24 jets as a norm in the coming years

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

Postby Tempest414 » 14 Apr 2020, 10:56

However if the UK could get to a front line of 4 sqn's with 16 jets this could be a good out come as each carrier could operate 1 sqn giving them a base line fix wing airwing of 16 jets with RAF and USMC jets fill out as needed to 24 or 32 jets

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

Postby Timmymagic » 14 Apr 2020, 11:48

Tempest414 wrote:The UK carriers will almost always carry USMC jets


I don't think that will be the case. Particularly given the recent USMC restructure announced that may cut the overall number of F-35B available. Quite rightly I'd expect the USMC to only embark F-35B to QE Class when they're going to an area, or on an exercise that piques US interest. For them always to be embarked you'd expect the USMC to be having a larger than bare minimum basing in the UK.

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

Postby Tempest414 » 14 Apr 2020, 12:13

Timmymagic wrote:I don't think that will be the case. Particularly given the recent USMC restructure announced that may cut the overall number of F-35B available. Quite rightly I'd expect the USMC to only embark F-35B to QE Class when they're going to an area, or on an exercise that piques US interest. For them always to be embarked you'd expect the USMC to be having a larger than bare minimum basing in the UK.


I would agree that things change all the time and for me this is why I feel the UK needs 60 front line F-35B's with 30 dedicated to the naval strike force and 30 to a land strike force this allows the both the RN and RAF to get on with there main tasks and support the other where and when needed

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

Postby SW1 » 14 Apr 2020, 13:24

Barely 6 weeks ago the NAO published the review of the equipment budget for the next 10 years stating its was complete fantasy given the budget they had! Yet we’re adding more on top.

I hardly think what has transpired in the interim is going to improve the financial position.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 14 Apr 2020, 14:41

Timmymagic wrote: you'd expect the USMC to be having a larger than bare minimum basing in the UK.


Should there be USMC B's flying out of the UK to support a Marines bde in Norway, would you think they were to use RAF bases with Bs in them or USAFE basis, which only ever have A's?
- I know about carriers, but most of the time they are elsewhere than in (far) North of Virginia


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