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F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

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

GOOD choice for the Royal Navy
127
44%
BAD choice for the Royal Navy
12
4%
Uncertain (RN)
14
5%
GOOD choice for the Royal Air Force
54
19%
BAD choice for the Royal Air Force
39
13%
Uncertain (RAF)
43
15%
 
Total votes: 289

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

Postby mr.fred » 26 Oct 2019, 12:55

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
mr.fred wrote:Quite why you’d want to launch a medium range missile while pulling severe negative g is another question.

and a very valid one. Maybe you haven't expended all 4 pre-merge, but have already fired the two Asraams that you carry, in addition
... a good thing that internal Amraan carry will go from 4 to 6

“What-ifs” are problematic because those who posit them often don’t see the whole cost.
Are you willing to make the missile heavier so you can throw it harder, thus compromising range and agility? Beef up the throwing mechanism and reduce range and payload of the aircraft? Mount externally and compromise your low observable properties? All for the one in a million situation where you’ve already messed up a dozen times.

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

Postby Lord Jim » 26 Oct 2019, 17:39

ASRAMM has the capability for lock on after launch, this being one of the benefits of its greater range compared to most IIR missiles carried. It can be launched in the direction of the enemy and acquire it when it comes into range. When working with an IRST it gives a useful option at the beginning of an engagement.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 26 Oct 2019, 18:22

Lord Jim wrote: It can be launched in the direction of the enemy and acquire it when it comes into range.
It is better than that: the missile employs a mid-course inertial guidance package similar to that in the AMRAAM, but uses a mid-infrared 128 x 128 imaging Focal Plane Array seeker. This allows the missile to be fired at targets beyond visual range, or targets which are not in the Field Of View of the seeker at launch.

The use of those two guidance methods together means that ASRAAM has the unique capability to engage a target in the forward and aft hemispheres of the launch aircraft, ie. the launch does not need to be in the direction...

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

Postby SKB » 26 Oct 2019, 21:01


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

Postby PapaGolf » 26 Oct 2019, 22:28

mr.fred wrote:
Quite why you’d want to launch a medium range missile while pulling severe negative g is another question.


A USN Hornet used an AMRAAM WVR over Syria because Sidewinder was ineffective.

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

Postby bobp » 26 Oct 2019, 22:33

mr.fred wrote:Quite why you’d want to launch a medium range missile while pulling severe negative g is another question.


This was in my mind also, it seems like a very dangerous thing to launch whilst flying inverted, especially as the motor ignites after separation.

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

Postby mr.fred » 26 Oct 2019, 23:49

PapaGolf wrote:
mr.fred wrote:
Quite why you’d want to launch a medium range missile while pulling severe negative g is another question.


A USN Hornet used an AMRAAM WVR over Syria because Sidewinder was ineffective.

While pulling severe negative g?
What were the circumstances?
Would you be willing to compromise the performance of missile and or aircraft for it?

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 27 Oct 2019, 02:21

As this is on the carrier thread, thought that a snippet here might be useful, for a broader than carrier airwing discussion:
Ron5 wrote:Driving the studies are demands from multiple customers, especially Israel, to extend the reach of the F-35A beyond its advertised combat radius of 590 nm and ferry range of 1,200 nm using only fuel carried internally. This news also comes as the U.S. Air Force seeks funding from Congress to order eight Boeing F-15EX fighters, part of a long-term plan to acquire at least 144. The original F-15E boasts a ferry range of 2,085 nm with conformal fuel tanks and wing-mounted tanks.

Jun 13, 2019 Steve Trimble | Aviation Week & Space Technology


Well for Israel, it has become a burning issue. Netanyahu has done a lot of pallying up with Putin, but would all that transfer over to a "Gantz gvmnt"? The strike route to Iran has always been through Syria, which now potentially could be "switched off" through the wider Russian presence (Saudis might offer a more direct route, under the current circumstances. But this would lack the benefits of contour flying on approach).

Howabout for the RAF? Aside from carrier aviation the F35 procurement was presented as bringing RAF back to the alpha strike game. Conformals for Typhoons have not got much priority and perhaps in the upcoming fighter mix it will become even less so - primarily acting as quarterbacks to stealthier F-35s (finding the targets whereas the tiffies loaded to the hilt with long-ranged Meteors and lobbing them at designated targets from distance). But unhindered use of "air" requires also SEAD/ DEAD, very much an alpha strike priority. That's where the extra fuel would come in handy - but we only have Bs and will any of this apply? Or will it become a driver for the hotly debated mixed As and Bs fleet?

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

Postby PapaGolf » 27 Oct 2019, 10:44

mr.fred wrote:
PapaGolf wrote:
mr.fred wrote:
Quite why you’d want to launch a medium range missile while pulling severe negative g is another question.


A USN Hornet used an AMRAAM WVR over Syria because Sidewinder was ineffective.

While pulling severe negative g?
What were the circumstances?
Would you be willing to compromise the performance of missile and or aircraft for it?


The incident was well publicised. The only point I was making was that it’s sometime necessary to have a plan B. There might be a situation where a missile from the bay will need to be used WVR and in a dog fight situation.

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

Postby SW1 » 27 Oct 2019, 10:53

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Howabout for the RAF? Aside from carrier aviation the F35 procurement was presented as bringing RAF back to the alpha strike game. Conformals for Typhoons have not got much priority and perhaps in the upcoming fighter mix it will become even less so - primarily acting as quarterbacks to stealthier F-35s (finding the targets whereas the tiffies loaded to the hilt with long-ranged Meteors and lobbing them at designated targets from distance). But unhindered use of "air" requires also SEAD/ DEAD, very much an alpha strike priority. That's where the extra fuel would come in handy - but we only have Bs and will any of this apply? Or will it become a driver for the hotly debated mixed As and Bs fleet?


Alpha strike is really a US navy term. The RAF have been looking for a low observable aircraft capable of undertaking the interdictor strike role really since it first got the chance to fly the f117 when it was still a black program. The ability to use a 2000lb weapon in such a role or even a return to nuclear version is probably back in consideration for the first time since the Cold War.

For any tactical fighter f35 has long range for its size however no pilot has even complained about having too much fuel. F35 or any tactical fighter can be as stealthy as it likes but a a330 is not. That simply means the distance is can travel or the time it can persist from any tanker becomes a limiting factor in any peer/near peer conflict. This is bore out by the fact that any of the FCAS models doing the rounds are larger than f35. The RAF and indeed the UK will only likely acquire f35a if a production contract is not forthcoming for “Tempest”.

SEAD is no longer just the responsibility of a striking aircraft or a least it shouldn’t be. It’s the responsibility of all the services mainly due to types of weapons now available. Task force Normandy was perhaps the first modern example of that. Going fwd you take a small craft a mile of a coast with half a dozen spear 3 missile or a infiltrating army vehicles with similar are now capable of degrading missile or radar sites add to that long range mlrs artillery systems and pressure to solely rely on strike aircraft in this area is reduced.

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

Postby mr.fred » 27 Oct 2019, 12:25

PapaGolf wrote:The incident was well publicised. The only point I was making was that it’s sometime necessary to have a plan B. There might be a situation where a missile from the bay will need to be used WVR and in a dog fight situation.

There might be such a situation. I’m not saying that there couldn’t be.
What I’m trying to get at is: would you be willing to inhibit the performance of your missile or aircraft for an outlier situation? How outlier does the situation need to get before you can discount it?
If you need dogfight missiles more often, shouldn’t you bring more? That would bring other problems, of course, in terms of drag, stealth and safety.

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

Postby Ron5 » 27 Oct 2019, 16:10

ArmChairCivvy wrote:As this is on the carrier thread, thought that a snippet here might be useful, for a broader than carrier airwing discussion:
Ron5 wrote:Driving the studies are demands from multiple customers, especially Israel, to extend the reach of the F-35A beyond its advertised combat radius of 590 nm and ferry range of 1,200 nm using only fuel carried internally. This news also comes as the U.S. Air Force seeks funding from Congress to order eight Boeing F-15EX fighters, part of a long-term plan to acquire at least 144. The original F-15E boasts a ferry range of 2,085 nm with conformal fuel tanks and wing-mounted tanks.

Jun 13, 2019 Steve Trimble | Aviation Week & Space Technology


Well for Israel, it has become a burning issue. Netanyahu has done a lot of pallying up with Putin, but would all that transfer over to a "Gantz gvmnt"? The strike route to Iran has always been through Syria, which now potentially could be "switched off" through the wider Russian presence (Saudis might offer a more direct route, under the current circumstances. But this would lack the benefits of contour flying on approach).

Howabout for the RAF? Aside from carrier aviation the F35 procurement was presented as bringing RAF back to the alpha strike game. Conformals for Typhoons have not got much priority and perhaps in the upcoming fighter mix it will become even less so - primarily acting as quarterbacks to stealthier F-35s (finding the targets whereas the tiffies loaded to the hilt with long-ranged Meteors and lobbing them at designated targets from distance). But unhindered use of "air" requires also SEAD/ DEAD, very much an alpha strike priority. That's where the extra fuel would come in handy - but we only have Bs and will any of this apply? Or will it become a driver for the hotly debated mixed As and Bs fleet?


Not to ignore SW1's excellent post, but surely the RAF's huge investment in air to air refueling makes their need for drop tanks a lower priority than the Navy's?

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

Postby Lord Jim » 28 Oct 2019, 03:26

For the RAF the issue is how far they can go after topping up from a Voyager. They may want the F-35B to have the same range as the Tornado had with its large under wing tanks. For the FAA it is probably how far can they get form the Carrier as well as the duration of an CAP mission.

I can see ferry tanks being developed for the F-35, with combat types following as a result of operational experience with the plane. A request from the UK backed by the USMC might be a strong enough argument one its own to get work started to develop such items, and one you have drop tanks you can move towards a buddy system fairly rapidly as well. Will this happen soon, probably not unless the Israelis go it alone, but possibly within the next decade.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 28 Oct 2019, 06:01

SW1 wrote:Alpha strike is really a US navy term.
Yes, and the borrowing of it into UK usage was remarkable... but so were the monies being requested (for which just one rationale - carrier air - would not have "flown").
SW1 wrote: F35 or any tactical fighter can be as stealthy as it likes but a a330 is not.
Absolutely
SW1 wrote:FCAS models doing the rounds are larger than f35. The RAF and indeed the UK will only likely acquire f35a if a production contract is not forthcoming for “Tempest”.
Agreed. But as someone said upthread: It's good to have a plan B
- especially if it is other people paying for the development & testing
SW1 wrote: long range mlrs artillery systems and pressure to solely rely on strike aircraft in this area is reduced.
US Army is into that game and have set their "parameter" or rather goal at 500 km... beyond that air (cfr. ownership of cruise missiles, which are also 'air'. Russia - with INF now gone - is interestingly working on a cruise mutation of Iskander as it makes the missiles more difficult to counter than the ballistic ones)
Ron5 wrote:makes their need for drop tanks a lower priority than the Navy's?
Sure, but in the UK (with UK budgets) having same/ similar capabilities in different services soon runs out of road - not enough money... as we hear here, often

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

Postby Ron5 » 28 Oct 2019, 17:34

ArmChairCivvy wrote:especially if it is other people paying for the development & testing


Yes, letting one of Britain's greatest industries whither on the vine is such a good idea.

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Sure, but in the UK (with UK budgets) having same/ similar capabilities in different services soon runs out of road - not enough money... as we hear here, often


Huh? I wasn't actually suggesting the F-35B's only carry drop tanks when they're on a carrier. Just that the land use of tanks didn't have much of a case, while the RN has a strong one.

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

Postby Timmymagic » 29 Oct 2019, 23:50

ArmChairCivvy wrote:US Army is into that game and have set their "parameter" or rather goal at 500 km... beyond that air (cfr. ownership of cruise missiles, which are also 'air'. Russia - with INF now gone - is interestingly working on a cruise mutation of Iskander as it makes the missiles more difficult to counter than the ballistic ones)


LRPF range is now being looked at for 800km+ which is apparently a fairly straightforward thing. Add in MLRS launched SDB1 to cover the 70-140km gap (if its procured) then ATACM and LRPF pushing out from there and the US will be spoilt for choice.

Ron5 wrote:Huh? I wasn't actually suggesting the F-35B's only carry drop tanks when they're on a carrier. Just that the land use of tanks didn't have much of a case, while the RN has a strong one.


I think the main use initially for tanks would be for a little extra cover on long range ferry flights, even adding 100 miles extra range makes it a whole lot safer for diverts. For the RN the ability to self deploy out to a carrier or reduce reliance on Voyager could be useful. But its a little ironic that when you really want the extra range, on the first day of war when you're trying to stay out of enemy range whilst you degrade them, the tanks wouldn't be that useful for the UK. With the range of the ordnance that we've currently got or are planning to get at present the tanks won't be that much use as you'd need to be comparatively close in for weapons launch, carrying the tanks would lose the stealth advantage. If we'd integrated Storm Shadow or perhaps when FCASW arrives they might make more sense. Wouldn't harm to be able to keep a CAP aloft for an hour longer though.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 30 Oct 2019, 05:53

Timmymagic wrote:ATACM and LRPF pushing out from there
Next GMLRS will replace the former; is there a 'physical' missile for the LRPF (concept)?
Timmymagic wrote:need to be comparatively close in for weapons launch, carrying the tanks would lose the stealth advantage.

- are they not planned to be drop-able?

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

Postby Timmymagic » 30 Oct 2019, 08:54

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Next GMLRS will replace the former; is there a 'physical' missile for the LRPF (concept)?


Not yet but its under development, the gist is that the 500km was an artificial range limitation.

ArmChairCivvy wrote:- are they not planned to be drop-able?


Only in an emergency. External tanks are not a consumable anymore, and haven't been for a long time. If you did drop them you'd need to lose the pylon as well, and in an F-35 that still wouldn't make you stealthy as the attachment points would still be uncovered.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 30 Oct 2019, 10:53

Timmymagic wrote:attachment points would still be uncovered.

Agree, but once you fire a wingtip ASRAAM, the attachment points fro which were carried over from the previous generation missile and the same happens... though they would be smaller, sure

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

Postby Ron5 » 30 Oct 2019, 12:07

Timmymagic wrote:
ArmChairCivvy wrote:US Army is into that game and have set their "parameter" or rather goal at 500 km... beyond that air (cfr. ownership of cruise missiles, which are also 'air'. Russia - with INF now gone - is interestingly working on a cruise mutation of Iskander as it makes the missiles more difficult to counter than the ballistic ones)


LRPF range is now being looked at for 800km+ which is apparently a fairly straightforward thing. Add in MLRS launched SDB1 to cover the 70-140km gap (if its procured) then ATACM and LRPF pushing out from there and the US will be spoilt for choice.

Ron5 wrote:Huh? I wasn't actually suggesting the F-35B's only carry drop tanks when they're on a carrier. Just that the land use of tanks didn't have much of a case, while the RN has a strong one.


I think the main use initially for tanks would be for a little extra cover on long range ferry flights, even adding 100 miles extra range makes it a whole lot safer for diverts. For the RN the ability to self deploy out to a carrier or reduce reliance on Voyager could be useful. But its a little ironic that when you really want the extra range, on the first day of war when you're trying to stay out of enemy range whilst you degrade them, the tanks wouldn't be that useful for the UK. With the range of the ordnance that we've currently got or are planning to get at present the tanks won't be that much use as you'd need to be comparatively close in for weapons launch, carrying the tanks would lose the stealth advantage. If we'd integrated Storm Shadow or perhaps when FCASW arrives they might make more sense. Wouldn't harm to be able to keep a CAP aloft for an hour longer though.


You're severely underselling the advantages of drop tanks to the RN. Ask the Israeli's :D

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

Postby Lord Jim » 30 Oct 2019, 20:48

A fairly strong argument can be made for underwing tanks to be essential to the FAA/RN especially as we have no carrier based airborne refuelling capability planned. The idea suggest somewhere above for conformal tanks like that on the Buccaneer would be an interesting option but I think we should watch what the Israelis do very carefully with one hand on our cheque book.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 31 Oct 2019, 05:57

Lord Jim wrote: I think we should watch what the Israelis do very carefully with one hand on our cheque book.

Nahh, let's put our hand in their tiller (like all the other partner nations with Typhoon having been 'free riders')

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

Postby SKB » 31 Oct 2019, 10:27


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

Postby topman » 31 Oct 2019, 10:28

I think I'd be more concerned about getting what we've already got working to its capacity and fully supporting it rather than spending it on things that are nice to have.

Land or sea, it'll be using tankers anyway.

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

Postby shark bait » 31 Oct 2019, 10:34

Kinda difficult to fit a voyager onboard.

The case for tanks ought to be huge, the Range of an F35 is not enough to keep the carriers safe when striking a peer opponent.
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