RUSI: Combat Air Choices for the UK Government

Contains threads on equipment developed by the UK defence and aerospace industry, but not in service with the British Armed Forces.
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jedibeeftrix
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Re: RUSI: Combat Air Choices for the UK Government

Post by jedibeeftrix »

cue the weekly re-run of the split-buy argument:


n.b. this quote from the report was... unsurprising:

""A fleet of only 48 F-35Bs would be able to generate a very limited sustainable frontline strength due to the demands of maintenance and readiness cycles and maintaining some airframes in the US for training purposes. This represents a problematic bottleneck..."

SW1
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Re: RUSI: Combat Air Choices for the UK Government

Post by SW1 »

I think the paper is quite a poor effort. It reads as though it’s starting with the assumption that we must buy f35a and then constructs an piece around that principle.

It’s talks about peer conflict which for the UK is primarily about Russia. But it ignores in such a scenario what the primary mission of combat air would be in such a conflict or indeed it’s primary peacetime task namely air defence and integrity of UK and NATO air space. At the end of the cold war the RAF had 7 tornado adv sqns assigned to that task and 12 tornado gr Sqn assigned to the offensive role not to mention a handful of jaguar, harrier and buccaneers to bout. With a fast jet fleet of not more than 9 sqn it would need to choose what to do.

It also makes the assumption the f35a is the only option for sead. Yet nations procuring f35a namely the US and Australia disagree in so much that they’re both investing in gulfstream converted ew aircraft and growlers, and so is we are to believed germany.

It also then seems and perhaps I picked it up wrong that while we could use stormshadow for standoff attack he states this is a poor option as there is need for overhead recon as people may more in or things may move. Stormshadow is usual for things like buried bunkers and hardened targets that don’t move and while you may call off a mission in Libya over civilians being about I doubt if your penetrating Russian airspace to what would effectively be starting world war 3 the considerations maybe slightly different.

Finally the big selling point he pushes is that if we went to ucav we can save loads because it doesn’t need to fly a lot and neither does f35 because we can use simulators for most things. I think misses a very big problem in that while designing a new aircraft you engage with not only customer support but the operators to see where there getting high spare usage on the there current a/c and then try to design it out, you never know for sure which bits are gonna be used most until you actually start flying it a lot. If your not going to do that until you reach a major conflict your in trouble. It also has a knock on effort to the engineers, you will end with very little institutional knowledge or experience of replacing /repairing certain things if the only need to do it when things are flying a lot and only when in conflict. You’ll either need to reach back to the oem much more or have them send people to a conflict to help you out neither is beneficial.

Defiance
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Re: RUSI: Combat Air Choices for the UK Government

Post by Defiance »

The problem with RUSI and the combat air sector is that it's always Justin Bronk. It's not that much of a think tank if one guy makes up 80%+ of the outputs as it becomes less of a 'think tank' and more of a personal hobby horse.

Then you come across gems like this;
Explicitly designating Tempest as an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) programme
could help avoid this deadlock to a degree. A Tempest UCAV would allow the generation of
new design intellectual property (IP) for industry, and be inherently cheaper to develop,
procure and sustain for a given level of combat power
SMH.

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Jensy
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Re: RUSI: Combat Air Choices for the UK Government

Post by Jensy »

Defiance wrote:The problem with RUSI and the combat air sector is that it's always Justin Bronk. It's not that much of a think tank if one guy makes up 80%+ of the outputs as it becomes less of a 'think tank' and more of a personal hobby horse.

Then you come across gems like this;
Explicitly designating Tempest as an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) programme
could help avoid this deadlock to a degree. A Tempest UCAV would allow the generation of
new design intellectual property (IP) for industry, and be inherently cheaper to develop,
procure and sustain for a given level of combat power
SMH.
Curiously, in the section on Reaper/Protector he refers to them as being "one of the most manpower-intensive aircraft to operate" yet he later talks about how Tempest would have reduced manpower support requirements were it to be reduced to a pure UCAV programme.

Even considering a UCAV Tempest as a highly 'intelligent' aircraft, capable of operating largely autonomously, I just don't see how the support costs will be markedly less than an manned/optionally-manned aircraft of the same combat capability. Every example (including Bronk's own) just seems to suggest the opposite.

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