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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
134
44%
BAD choice for the Royal Navy
13
4%
Uncertain (RN)
15
5%
GOOD choice for the Royal Air Force
59
19%
BAD choice for the Royal Air Force
41
13%
Uncertain (RAF)
44
14%
 
Total votes: 306

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

Postby bobp » 21 Sep 2021, 09:28

Ron5 wrote:Airfix needs to pull its bloody finger out and release a 1/350 QE carrier.


Would be nice to see a Wildcat Helicopter kit also.

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

Postby Scimitar54 » 21 Sep 2021, 10:31

Ron5 wrote:
[quote][Airfix needs to pull its bloody finger out and release a 1/350 QE carrier/quote]

Maybe making a Bob or two, in the process ? :mrgreen:

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

Postby Timmymagic » 21 Sep 2021, 14:19

Ron5 wrote:Airfix needs to pull its bloody finger out and release a 1/350 QE carrier.


I'm not into modelling, but its weird that they made a one-off 6 years ago, have been inundated with demands for years for a kit..but have yet to produce one.

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

Postby Ron5 » 21 Sep 2021, 14:45

Timmymagic wrote:
Ron5 wrote:Airfix needs to pull its bloody finger out and release a 1/350 QE carrier.


I'm not into modelling, but its weird that they made a one-off 6 years ago, have been inundated with demands for years for a kit..but have yet to produce one.


Wouldn't surprise me if a Chinese company beat them to it.

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

Postby SKB » 21 Sep 2021, 15:31


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

Postby Timmymagic » 04 Oct 2021, 11:26

No reason to doubt the Editor of Air International...but this does appear to indicate a change in the profile of deliveries..weirdly its only been reported that the UK has 14 actually contracted...he's got 16 down...unless a contract has been signed for a further 2. But that would require the FRP pricing to be agreed, which it hasn't yet...all in all a little odd. No reference to any press release or announcement either...


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

Postby Ron5 » 04 Oct 2021, 18:07

What's the re-base-lining that he mentions?

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

Postby Defiance » 05 Oct 2021, 08:14

Ron5 wrote:What's the re-base-lining that he mentions?


This Air International article came out at roughly the same time. It covers an agreement between US and JPO regarding new production targets in light of COVID. They're going to ramp up to 156 jets a year rather than the agreed 169

https://www.airinternational.com/articl ... ine-agreed

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

Postby Timmymagic » 05 Oct 2021, 16:51

Ron5 wrote:What's the re-base-lining that he mentions?


Production has fallen somewhat due to COVID. Whats not mentioned is Turkey's ejection from the programme must have caused some delays as well.

LM delivered 120 F-35 in 2020, 21 short of the production goal.
133-139 to be delivered in 2021, about 20 short again by the looks of it.
151-153 in 2022, goal was 169
LM were looking for 170+ in future years beyond that, but the agreement reached indicates 156 maximum. Other indications are that production will be stretched longer as a result. Looks like US will be procuring at a slower rate with foreign users maintaining their slots.

I think the tweet about UK numbers must be wrong, there hasn't been an announcement about a purchase of 2 additional aircraft. Wouldn't surprise me if we didn't get the full 6 this year (its getting rather late in the year..) with a number rolled into next and the year beyond though. The Dec 25 date that was previously mentioned is still in play, although its worth noting that that date was originally 2024...

I do wonder about the delays though, it will be interesting to see if aircraft that are delayed by even a few months end up requiring fewer upgrades.

Here's the release.

FORT WORTH, Texas, Sept. 27, 2021 – The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) and the Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) industry team have agreed on an F-35 production rebaseline that ensures predictability and stability in the production process while recovering the aircraft shortfall realized over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With this agreement, Lockheed Martin is scheduled to deliver 133-139 aircraft this year, 151-153 aircraft in 2022 and anticipates delivering 156 aircraft beginning in 2023 and for the foreseeable future.

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

Postby Ron5 » 06 Oct 2021, 13:57

Thanks to both of you :thumbup:

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

Postby jonas » 07 Oct 2021, 09:10

Of the six aircraft due this year, how many have been delivered up to the present date.

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

Postby Timmymagic » 07 Oct 2021, 12:18

jonas wrote:Of the six aircraft due this year, how many have been delivered up to the present date.


Zero.

But thats not unusual, the last few UK batches have tended to come at the end of the year. It now looks like there might be a delay on a number of them (according to the tweet above), which shouldn't come as a huge surprise as they would have spent most of their time in the factory whilst COVID was underway. If we take the tweet from the Air International editor at face value we're getting 3 this year with 3 postponed into next year's delivery. Next years delivery of 6 (in total) includes those 3, which means that 5 deliveries are postponed from next year into 2023....he's then got a further, mystery, 2 aircraft turning up in 2023.

The mystery 2 additional aircraft could be the 2 that were going to be delivered in 2023 as part of FRP Delivery 1 (see the list on pg. 214). However, it needs to be stated that these have not been contracted yet as they are dependent on the agreement of Full Rate Pricing across the programme which has been delayed repeatedly (and has been very quiet recently...which might be a good thing).

Whilst it appears the 48 will still be delivered by December 2025 the profile of those deliveries must have an effect on the ramp up of UK F-35 activities, and the stand up of 809 Sqn to a fully operational squadron. It could put that back by 6-12 months...

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

Postby jonas » 07 Oct 2021, 14:25

Timmymagic wrote:
jonas wrote:Of the six aircraft due this year, how many have been delivered up to the present date.


Zero.

But thats not unusual, the last few UK batches have tended to come at the end of the year. It now looks like there might be a delay on a number of them (according to the tweet above), which shouldn't come as a huge surprise as they would have spent most of their time in the factory whilst COVID was underway. If we take the tweet from the Air International editor at face value we're getting 3 this year with 3 postponed into next year's delivery. Next years delivery of 6 (in total) includes those 3, which means that 5 deliveries are postponed from next year into 2023....he's then got a further, mystery, 2 aircraft turning up in 2023.

The mystery 2 additional aircraft could be the 2 that were going to be delivered in 2023 as part of FRP Delivery 1 (see the list on pg. 214). However, it needs to be stated that these have not been contracted yet as they are dependent on the agreement of Full Rate Pricing across the programme which has been delayed repeatedly (and has been very quiet recently...which might be a good thing).

Whilst it appears the 48 will still be delivered by December 2025 the profile of those deliveries must have an affect on the ramp up of UK F-35 activities, and the stand up of 809 Sqn to a fully operational squadron. It could put that back by 6-12 months...


Thanks for that,much appreciated.

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

Postby Timmymagic » 12 Oct 2021, 11:47


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

Postby Lord Jim » 12 Oct 2021, 23:07

Seems a lot of hours for the number of airframes we have, I hope we are not knackering them out too quickly?

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

Postby Scimitar54 » 13 Oct 2021, 00:56

For the current 21 x aircraft, this represents an average of 476 Flight Hours each ? I am assuming that this also includes the 3 x Test Aircraft and also the aircraft that were originally used for training “State-side”, let alone with the increased number of pilots that are now required to be trained by 207 Sqdn. :idea:
I concede however, that some Flight Hours could have been saved if available aircraft had made the transatlantic crossing on HMS Queen Elizabeth on the home bound voyages from WESTLANT’18 and WESTLANT’19, :mrgreen:

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

Postby Defiance » 13 Oct 2021, 08:22

You can see why the RAF (and many other nations) are so keen on synthetic training

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

Postby Timmymagic » 13 Oct 2021, 12:16

Lord Jim wrote:Seems a lot of hours for the number of airframes we have, I hope we are not knackering them out too quickly?


Given the 3 test aircraft and BK-03 (the first UK 'combat capable' aircraft delivered in 2013) have been in service for close to an average of 9 years each I'd expect them each to have racked up over 1,000 hours per a/c. Wouldn't be surprised if those 4 aircraft accounted for half the 10,000 hr's total themselves.

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

Postby Timmymagic » 13 Oct 2021, 12:25

Quick update...the next 3 x F-35B to be delivered to the UK have flown already:

BK-22 - ZM156 - First flight 29/06/21
BK-23 - ZM157 - First flight 03/08/21
BK-24 - ZM158 - First flight 02/09/21

If the delay to delivery of the next 3 F-35B, mentioned by Air International that were due this year, has really put them in to next year, then I suspect we'll be seeing a couple of Voyager make the trip over to the US to trail these over to the UK very shortly...

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

Postby Timmymagic » 16 Oct 2021, 11:51

To be honest I think this tally's with what sensible people have been expecting from the Israeli's. External tanks, no mention of CFT's (for obvious reasons), networking system changes to integrate with their own systems. Suspect they might try and integrate Python 5 on the external rail at most, for the near future I can't imagine we'll see any more Israeli weapons (that are admitted to...see below).

For anyone still thinking the Israeli's are going to add loads of stuff...remember that it all costs money that the Israeli's don't have and that they only have 1 test aircraft....and if they were going to add any new capability ahead of the others....it would be a nuclear weapon.


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

Postby Ron5 » 22 Oct 2021, 16:30


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

Postby Repulse » 22 Oct 2021, 17:11



And also the government being the government, by not giving clarity. The example of slashing the £50mn SRVL trails shows that the ownership vs accountability question needs to be answered PDQ.
”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 whitelancer » 22 Oct 2021, 22:01

That explains why we haven't seen much of SRVL, though they seem happy enough to perform RVL on normal runways. Just as Joint Force Harrier was a mistake, sharing F35b between the RN and RAF (with the RAF having control of the aircraft) is a cop out and can only lead to problems. The F35b should be transferred to the FAA in its entirety. If the RAF wants to operate F35b or indeed F35a they should make the case to the Government for a separate force.
One problem I have with the article is the numbers. I quote

"The calculation regarding F-35B numbers for Carrier Strike is relatively simple and depends on 3 basic factors:

- Mass: How many UK F-35B are required to routinely embark for operational deployments?

- Duration: How long are they routinely deployed for?

- Periodicity: How long between routine operational deployments?

Ask five different people and you’ll get a dozen different answers! However, the generally accepted wisdom is that a routine operational deployment of 4-6 months every 12-18 months with 24 F-35B’s embarked (surging to 36 if required) is probably about right.

Sustainment of this mass, duration and periodicity will require a total buy of 70-80 F-35Bs. However, this number is only sufficient if the whole force is attributed to Carrier Strike."

I fundamentally disagree with the authors calculation, in particular I disagree on the basic factors he uses to make the calculation which are all based on peacetime deployments. Whatever utility a warship has in peacetime its fundamental purpose is WAR, its sort of in its name. Any calculation of its armament must be based on warfighting not on peacetime requirements.
The factors we need to consider are:

Maximum number of Carriers we can deploy? 2

Maximum number of F35b that can be realistically be deployed on each Carrier ? 40-50

The number required to simultaneously perform other tasks, Training, trials etc.? 12 or more

Sustainment fleet numbers?

War reserve to replace loses?

In my opinion a minimum of 120 would be needed and realistically more.

Not going to happen of course.

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

Postby Scimitar54 » 23 Oct 2021, 03:15

138 ? :mrgreen:

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

Postby Lord Jim » 23 Oct 2021, 03:57

It does seem that our Politicians and senior Military and Civil Servant believe we will always be able to choose when and where we fight, and what level of conflict we will be involved in. Though it is accepted that our main threats appear to be Russia and China, we are in no way equipped or have the personnel to fight a high intensity war in defence of out close allies or one or more of our overseas territories or even the UK itself. IF they did think about those scenarios we would be spending the 4% of GDP we spent in the early to mid 1980s on defence.


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