F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

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

Post by Ron5 »

Ron5 wrote: 05 Feb 2024, 14:28
Gtal wrote: 05 Feb 2024, 02:32 If the F35 is such a good deal financially then why has either the MOD or LM or *somebody* managed to answer, on several occasions in person, the Defence Committees ask to be given just a rough ballpark guesstimate of the likely costs to the UK taxpayer, wether up until this point or through life or even just the buy itself + upgrade to block 4?
Why would they literally outright refuse to offer any figures save the fata morgana projected out of LM's marketing brochure...


By the way, some nerdy journos have pointed out that funds allocated by congress as one-offs specifically for the procurement of F35s covering several years already add up to a low 8 figure overshoot to what LMs still claims today as the unit costs..
In all the recent international fighter competitions, the F-35 has had the lowest initial costs and the lowest lifetime costs. Currently 18 countries have purchased F-35 with another 4 close.
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

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Lets hope that we get 27 more to get 74.

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

Post by albedo »

topman wrote: 06 Feb 2024, 21:03 We'd need at least one other base and hundreds of people for this fleet alone to hit 138.
Just out of sheer curiosity, if there were to be enough 'extra' F35's to justify it, which previous but currently non-active airfield is still close enough to being operational to be worth reactivating? Any of them? Maybe none of them?

(Though I guess that if Trump does win a second term then the future of Mildenhall is in the balance again and could (?) be an obvious candidate.) Is Honington still viable - also close enough to be a neighbour to Marham?
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Post by sol »

From all news I could find Spain is not going for F-35, but will stick with EFs until NGF arrive. Not sure what they are going to do with their Harriers, as realistically F-35B is the only option for replacement. Unless of course Spain decide to retire fixed wing aircraft from the Navy and go with some other solution (UAVs maybe).

Portugal currently does not have any plans to replace their F-16, altho there is some interest into acquiring F-35. I guess this 28 F-35 listed comes as assumption that Portugal, if decide, will replace all 28 F-16 plane for plane.

Romania is looking to buy 32 in first phase, with possible 16 additional planes later.

Czech already signed an agreement for 24 planes.

For UK is still just 48. While there were statements that there will be order for second batch of 26 plus a replacement for lost one, I will believe it when I see it. 74 would probably mean 3 squadrons, which should be enough altho 4 would probably be more optimal. But that would mean at least 80 - 90 planes.

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

Post by sol »

albedo wrote: 07 Feb 2024, 19:30 Just out of sheer curiosity, if there were to be enough 'extra' F35's to justify it, which previous but currently non-active airfield is still close enough to being operational to be worth reactivating? Any of them? Maybe none of them?

(Though I guess that if Trump does win a second term then the future of Mildenhall is in the balance again and could (?) be an obvious candidate.) Is Honington still viable - also close enough to be a neighbour to Marham?
If more F-35Bs would be ordered in numbers that require additional airfield, maybe RNAS Yeovilton could be used, especially if there is another naval air squadron beside 809. But I think that RAF would prefer some other airfield instead considering that all squadrons would still be manned by both services.

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

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albedo wrote: 07 Feb 2024, 19:30
topman wrote: 06 Feb 2024, 21:03 We'd need at least one other base and hundreds of people for this fleet alone to hit 138.
Just out of sheer curiosity, if there were to be enough 'extra' F35's to justify it, which previous but currently non-active airfield is still close enough to being operational to be worth reactivating? Any of them? Maybe none of them?

(Though I guess that if Trump does win a second term then the future of Mildenhall is in the balance again and could (?) be an obvious candidate.) Is Honington still viable - also close enough to be a neighbour to Marham?
Oddly, Mildenhall was taken off the chopping block by Trump and the relocation of the 100th Air Refuelling Wing to Germany scrapped. Which I suspect was probably more due to his dislike of Angela Merkel than any deeper commitment to Western defence.

No idea if that would apply now.

Leuchars comes to mind, though the Army might need relocating, with Leeming and Waddington hardly stuffed to the gills.

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

Post by topman »

albedo wrote: 07 Feb 2024, 19:30
topman wrote: 06 Feb 2024, 21:03 We'd need at least one other base and hundreds of people for this fleet alone to hit 138.
Just out of sheer curiosity, if there were to be enough 'extra' F35's to justify it, which previous but currently non-active airfield is still close enough to being operational to be worth reactivating? Any of them? Maybe none of them?

(Though I guess that if Trump does win a second term then the future of Mildenhall is in the balance again and could (?) be an obvious candidate.) Is Honington still viable - also close enough to be a neighbour to Marham?
If marham was so full where else? Leeming probably, it was an option for another typhoon base.

Army has leuchars, but probably not impossible. Honington, i doubt it. There were a load of slam blocks on the pan last time I was there.
I doubt you'd want it anywhere that's got much there already, too much work needed that's too disruptive. The quieter the better.

I think that's all quite a way away if ever.
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Post by SW1 »

Whatever it would be a very sizeable infrastructure cost would be needed to bring the airfield up to standard.

Given the world Cyprus wouldn’t be a bad location. Worth remembering though the latest Czech order is north of $5.5 billion for the 24 plus support they are buying.

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

Post by downsizer »

Firstly Marham is not that crowded so more could go there.

Enough space at Wittering as well.

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

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topman wrote: 07 Feb 2024, 21:31
albedo wrote: 07 Feb 2024, 19:30
topman wrote: 06 Feb 2024, 21:03 We'd need at least one other base and hundreds of people for this fleet alone to hit 138.
Just out of sheer curiosity, if there were to be enough 'extra' F35's to justify it, which previous but currently non-active airfield is still close enough to being operational to be worth reactivating? Any of them? Maybe none of them?

(Though I guess that if Trump does win a second term then the future of Mildenhall is in the balance again and could (?) be an obvious candidate.) Is Honington still viable - also close enough to be a neighbour to Marham?
If marham was so full where else? Leeming probably, it was an option for another typhoon base.

Army has leuchars, but probably not impossible. Honington, i doubt it. There were a load of slam blocks on the pan last time I was there.
I doubt you'd want it anywhere that's got much there already, too much work needed that's too disruptive. The quieter the better.

I think that's all quite a way away if ever.
You'd have to assume they'd pick a base with HAS, which really only leaves Leeming, which has other uses at present but is quite modern as fighter bases go....

Sensible Choices (Owned by MoD, HAS in place)
Leeming - Clear favourite for a whole host of reasons..
Wattisham - Army, still in use for aviation
Honington - Do we want another base 25km from Marham?
Leuchars - Very popular posting..
Woodbridge - MoD, large site

Serious/Terrifying Investment (Need reactivating, but has lots of HAS)
Upper Heyford - Massive HAS, not in East Anglia...a proper air base like only the USAF could afford...
Bentwaters - lots of HAS, no hangars

Left Field...(No HAS, but in good locations for lots of reasons)
Cottesmore - Still MoD owned, no HAS but modern munitions storage and facilities
Wittering - Near to above, lovely officers mess mind...modern munitions storage and faciltiies
Finningley - No HAS, massive runway, was one of the happiest stations around, not in use at present, but had lots of investment. RAF Heavies could do with a decent diversion from Waddington and Brize...
Brawdy - No HAS, nice location in an area starved of Forces presence, would be useful as a P-8 satellite as well...
St Mawgan - Have to share with airport, useful for P-8 satellite, lovely part of the world...

Too Far Gone...regrettably
Alconbury - Biggest HAS around, but runway gone.
Coltishall - Renowned as one of the happiest RAF stations in Jag days. A solar farm...
Lyneham - Real pity, happy station, important diversion for Brize, solar farm along the runway...
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Post by downsizer »

Timmymagic wrote: 08 Feb 2024, 10:14

You'd have to assume they'd pick a base with HAS, which really only leaves Leeming, which has other uses at present but is quite modern as fighter bases go....

Sensible Choices (Owned by MoD, HAS in place)
Leeming - Clear favourite for a whole host of reasons..
Wattisham - Army, still in use for aviation
Honington - Do we want another base 25km from Marham?
Leuchars - Very popular posting..
Woodbridge - MoD, large site

Serious/Terrifying Investment (Need reactivating, but has lots of HAS)
Upper Heyford - Massive HAS, not in East Anglia...a proper air base like only the USAF could afford...
Bentwaters - lots of HAS, no hangars

Left Field...(No HAS, but in good locations for lots of reasons)
Cottesmore - Still MoD owned, no HAS but modern munitions storage and facilities
Wittering - Near to above, lovely officers mess mind...modern munitions storage and faciltiies
Finningley - No HAS, massive runway, was one of the happiest stations around, not in use at present, but had lots of investment. RAF Heavies could do with a decent diversion from Waddington and Brize...
Brawdy - No HAS, nice location in an area starved of Forces presence, would be useful as a P-8 satellite as well...
St Mawgan - Have to share with airport, useful for P-8 satellite, lovely part of the world...

Too Far Gone...regrettably
Alconbury - Biggest HAS around, but runway gone.
Coltishall - Renowned as one of the happiest RAF stations in Jag days. A solar farm...
Lyneham - Real pity, happy station, important diversion for Brize, solar farm along the runway...
Firstly there is no reason they need to be in a HAS. The US doesn't put them in a HAS and whilst there is arguably some protection offered the UK CONOPS for F35 isn't based around HASs like it used to be.

Secondly there is no modern muntions storage left at cottesmore, it was never maintained once the RAF left.

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

Post by Timmymagic »

downsizer wrote: 08 Feb 2024, 12:23
Firstly there is no reason they need to be in a HAS. The US doesn't put them in a HAS and whilst there is arguably some protection offered the UK CONOPS for F35 isn't based around HASs like it used to be.

Secondly there is no modern muntions storage left at cottesmore, it was never maintained once the RAF left.
I'd argue in an age of cheap OWA and infiltration style attacks with drones like we've seen in Ukraine we absolutely do need HAS.

The US doesn't put them in HAS..... because....it has none in bases in the Continental USA. It will be using the HAS at Lakenheath. The're also looking at hardened infrastructure at Guam, including HAS, because they believe it makes sense.

We also have no credible airfield anti air defences any more, or a large stock of 'Dummy' aircraft to place on dispersals....just because the RAF doesn't do it doesn't mean it isn't a very good idea....its the same organisation that paid nothing more than lip service to PGM's until it came unstuck in GW1 and over Kosovo.

Regarding Cottesmore's bomb dump, its a lot easier to refurbish exisitng facilties than build anew.

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

Post by downsizer »

Timmymagic wrote: 08 Feb 2024, 13:36

Regarding Cottesmore's bomb dump, its a lot easier to refurbish exisitng facilties than build anew.
I'm curious, how much explosive storage experience do you have? Or of commisioning/renovating explosive storage facilities?

Have you been to cottesmore recently?

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

Post by new guy »

What is HAS?

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

Post by sol »

new guy wrote: 08 Feb 2024, 18:37 What is HAS?
Hardened aircraft shelter.
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Post by new guy »

sol wrote: 08 Feb 2024, 19:07
new guy wrote: 08 Feb 2024, 18:37 What is HAS?
Hardened aircraft shelter.
Thought so, wasn't completely sure.

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

Post by Ron5 »

But, but, surely they'd be at sea most of the time?

Hard to keep a straight face typing that, an RAF aircraft mostly at sea :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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

Post by Caribbean »

I think the phrase you are looking for is "all at sea"
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

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Potential for quite the can of worms to open up
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Post by Ron5 »

SW1 wrote: 12 Feb 2024, 16:40

Potential for quite the can of worms to open up
Ship them to the UK then the UK can send them to Israel. Well after nicking a few for Marham :D
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