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
138
44%
BAD choice for the Royal Navy
13
4%
Uncertain (RN)
15
5%
GOOD choice for the Royal Air Force
60
19%
BAD choice for the Royal Air Force
42
13%
Uncertain (RAF)
45
14%
 
Total votes: 313

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

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Jensy wrote:Personally I've been more concerned about ensuring we buy the latest batch for the best price, with less focus on speed
- me too, and even over and above the price, get planes that work (sky high maintenance prices... reasons can be many :think: )

Lately, statements from the highest sources about two carriers being operational at the same time... and then this comes out 'hot on the heels'
"809 Naval Air Squadron was supposed to stand up in 2023, may now be 2026"

Someone, years ago, must have consulted Mystic Meg when the FOC was set to... 2026!
And (across the RAF & the FAA), as Timmymagic says
Timmymagic wrote:everyone also needs to be aware of is that even when Meteor is integrated to F-35 in general, there may be a significant part of the UK's F-35B fleet that won't be able to carry it until they receive the full hardware upgrades to enable them to be 'Block IV'd'. Hopefully these upgrades will run in parallel with the software effort so we reach a position in c2027 where all of the UK's fleet
are actually 'battle worthy' in a peer conflict
... Great Power Competition and all that
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Timmymagic wrote:given that answer, unless an F-35 is sat at Marham sans engine...there are no spare engines on HMS Queen Elizabeth....
And the benchmark load for Heavy RAS was... an F-35 engine!
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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

Post by KiwiMuzz »

Scimitar54 wrote:138 ? :mrgreen:
Well, they're getting "up to" 138 :P

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

Post by Timmymagic »

Repulse wrote:The example of slashing the £50mn SRVL trails shows that the ownership vs accountability question needs to be answered PDQ.
Seem to remember that that was due to Prince of Wales being unable to sail to the US East Coast due to a flood causing a huge amount of electrical systems damage. Unless he's suggesting that Combat Air opened some valves onboard....

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

Post by Timmymagic »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:"809 Naval Air Squadron was supposed to stand up in 2023, may now be 2026"
See also the re-profiling of UK deliveries due to covid and Turkeys removal, and failure to agree FRP pricing for the final 13 aircraft to be delivered in 2023, 24 and 25.

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

Post by Repulse »

Timmymagic, nothing like a bit of inter service politics exaggerated by the media to cloud the waters.

Although not keen to add bureaucracy, should the option of having a Joint Expeditionary Air Command being considered like the JHC?
”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

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

Post by topman »

I think the author forgot the single most important factor in deciding how many are purchased, money.

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

Post by Timmymagic »

Repulse wrote:Timmymagic, nothing like a bit of inter service politics exaggerated by the media to cloud the waters.

Although not keen to add bureaucracy, should the option of having a Joint Expeditionary Air Command being considered like the JHC?
Indeed. The Prince of Wales being unable to sail seems to have been forgotten about...

Personally if the F-35B force remains under 75 aircraft I believe it needs to be transferred lock, stock and barrel into the RN's control. The RAF needs to focus on Typhoon upgrades and Tempest.

SW1
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Post by SW1 »

Timmymagic wrote:
Repulse wrote:Timmymagic, nothing like a bit of inter service politics exaggerated by the media to cloud the waters.

Although not keen to add bureaucracy, should the option of having a Joint Expeditionary Air Command being considered like the JHC?
Indeed. The Prince of Wales being unable to sail seems to have been forgotten about...

Personally if the F-35B force remains under 75 aircraft I believe it needs to be transferred lock, stock and barrel into the RN's control. The RAF needs to focus on Typhoon upgrades and Tempest.
Be interesting to see the RN setting up fast jet training and engineering support all on its lonesome. Or is it just the shinny bits at the end…….

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

Post by Repulse »

Timmymagic wrote: Personally if the F-35B force remains under 75 aircraft I believe it needs to be transferred lock, stock and barrel into the RN's :P control. The RAF needs to focus on Typhoon upgrades and Tempest.
Would agree, but what the RAF probably needs is a couple of squadrons of medium bombers - bring back the Vulcan :P
”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)

Post by Repulse »

The payload of a F35B is reported to be 15,000lb, the Protector is reported as 4,800lb. The Avenger UAV is reported as 10,000lb.

Given the commonality of ground stations between the Protector and Avenger, perhaps a purchase of a squadron of 12 Avenger units (at a reported $15mn per unit cost - though the operational cost will be much higher) would be an option. Drop the F35b order by say six a/c to pay for it, but on the basis that F35b is now solely a maritime strike / carrier air defence platform. Could still be operated on a "Purple" basis, but that could solve the "grey" on requirements versus resources.
”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

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

Post by Ron5 »

whitelancer wrote: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.
Attaboy :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

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

Post by Ron5 »

SW1 wrote:
Timmymagic wrote:
Repulse wrote:Timmymagic, nothing like a bit of inter service politics exaggerated by the media to cloud the waters.

Although not keen to add bureaucracy, should the option of having a Joint Expeditionary Air Command being considered like the JHC?
Indeed. The Prince of Wales being unable to sail seems to have been forgotten about...

Personally if the F-35B force remains under 75 aircraft I believe it needs to be transferred lock, stock and barrel into the RN's control. The RAF needs to focus on Typhoon upgrades and Tempest.
Be interesting to see the RN setting up fast jet training and engineering support all on its lonesome. Or is it just the shinny bits at the end…….
No reason not to share what can be shared. And yes, the shiny bits at the end are what the capability is all about. And that should be 100% Navy owned. RAF pilots very welcome just as Royal Navy pilots are welcomed now. However the Navy should say where and when the F-35 are to be used.

I wonder if the new CDS has an opinion ;)

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

Post by Timmymagic »

SW1 wrote:Be interesting to see the RN setting up fast jet training and engineering support all on its lonesome. Or is it just the shinny bits at the end…….
They could just contract it out like the RAF did...

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

Post by Lord Jim »

If we need to use both carriers because the fan is truly coated, then we will undoubtedly trawl both the reserve and the aircraft of the OCU etc. This was done in the Falklands war to form an ad-hoc operational Sea Harrier squadron to increase numbers and cover loses. To look at the operational tempo that the carriers may have to maintain in a future was as a benchmark to the total number of F-35 airframes we need we need to go back to the sortie rate calculations done during the capability assessment phase of the carrier programme. To achieve this each carrier needs to maintain at least thirty aircraft as well as a greatly number of spares including spare engines. Our current procurement programme for the F-35 bears no resemblance whatsoever to these numbers or wartime usage. In fact it will not be until 2026 that we will have the capability to operate a carrier at a wartime tempo without having allied aircraft deployed on the ship, and for us to do this unilaterally will ned us to scrape the barrels to get the numbers on the ship that are required. So without allied help our carriers are more like fantastic PR tools that effective combat vessels.

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

Post by KiwiMuzz »

Lord Jim wrote:If we need to use both carriers because the fan is truly coated, then we will undoubtedly trawl both the reserve and the aircraft of the OCU etc. This was done in the Falklands war to form an ad-hoc operational Sea Harrier squadron to increase numbers and cover loses. To look at the operational tempo that the carriers may have to maintain in a future was as a benchmark to the total number of F-35 airframes we need we need to go back to the sortie rate calculations done during the capability assessment phase of the carrier programme. To achieve this each carrier needs to maintain at least thirty aircraft as well as a greatly number of spares including spare engines. Our current procurement programme for the F-35 bears no resemblance whatsoever to these numbers or wartime usage. In fact it will not be until 2026 that we will have the capability to operate a carrier at a wartime tempo without having allied aircraft deployed on the ship, and for us to do this unilaterally will ned us to scrape the barrels to get the numbers on the ship that are required. So without allied help our carriers are more like fantastic PR tools that effective combat vessels.
It is painfully slow. However (putting on my optimist hat) if you look at it in terms of the life span of the ships (fifty years IIRC), then taking one fifth of that to get up and running - effectively from scratch - still gives forty-odd years' worth of capability. Hopefully not too late, of course :-)

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

Post by Scimitar54 »

We should not have had to start from Scratch ! We should still have had Sea Harrier FA2 (FAA) in service and operating from QEC until sufficient F35B could be embarked . Keeping the FA2 for longer still as a fallback until F35B numbers had sufficiently increased. Another example of strategic ineptitude on a grand scale !

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

Post by KiwiMuzz »

Scimitar54 wrote:We should not have had to start from Scratch ! We should still have had Sea Harrier FA2 (FAA) in service and operating from QEC until sufficient F35B could be embarked . Keeping the FA2 for longer still as a fallback until F35B numbers had sufficiently increased. Another example of strategic ineptitude on a grand scale !
This is exactly why the expression "capability holiday" makes me want to puke.

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

Post by Jensy »

Repulse wrote:
Timmymagic wrote: Personally if the F-35B force remains under 75 aircraft I believe it needs to be transferred lock, stock and barrel into the RN's :P control. The RAF needs to focus on Typhoon upgrades and Tempest.
Would agree, but what the RAF probably needs is a couple of squadrons of medium bombers - bring back the Vulcan :P
If only there was a Western medium bomber with five units in production.

Not to get 'too' into inter-service rivalry..... but the Ajax budget would almost cover a dozen Raiders ... :think:

It is a great shame that Typhoon reaching maturity is only happening as the Tiffy production line at Warton faces closure. Raises concerns about what capability will be left if/when Tempest is ready.

Also suspect that not pursuing a carrier variant of Tempest will come back to haunt us in the coming decades.
Scimitar54 wrote:We should not have had to start from Scratch ! We should still have had Sea Harrier FA2 (FAA) in service and operating from QEC until sufficient F35B could be embarked . Keeping the FA2 for longer still as a fallback until F35B numbers had sufficiently increased. Another example of strategic ineptitude on a grand scale !
Inclined to agree but imagine they would have fallen victim to: Iraq/Afghan/small fleet maintenance/Cameron in 2010. Funny to think that the AV-8B was in production till 2003.

Althogh building the carriers for STOVL was and remains the right decision, we would have had a lot more options to fill them had we gone for 'cats n' traps' (no not Sea Typhoon, not ever).

Good to see you back ACC!

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

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Thx!

This, btw, is what I meant with my comment on the Typhoon thread:
Jensy wrote:It is a great shame that Typhoon reaching maturity is only happening as the Tiffy production line at Warton faces closure. Raises concerns about what capability will be left if/when Tempest is ready.
I.e. we better make use of the Tempest subsystems as soon as feasible, to have a viable fighter force until Tempest arrives
- as for the carriers, the new F-35 engine might help that design last... again with subsystems renewal, about as long as the carriers. The cumulative buy might reach respectable numbers in the end !
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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

Post by serge750 »

Scimitar54 wrote:We should not have had to start from Scratch ! We should still have had Sea Harrier FA2 (FAA) in service and operating from QEC until sufficient F35B could be embarked . Keeping the FA2 for longer still as a fallback until F35B numbers had sufficiently increased. Another example of strategic ineptitude on a grand scale !
That would of been so interesting to see :think: wonder if the RAF would of sent a few of their GR versions as well or would of waited for the F35...

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

Post by Ron5 »

Jensy wrote:If only there was a Western medium bomber with five units in production.
Huh? color me dumb but what aircraft are you talking about?

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

Post by downsizer »

B-21 I think.....

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

Post by Dahedd »

Jensy wrote:
Would agree, but what the RAF probably needs is a couple of squadrons of medium bombers - bring back the Vulcan :P


If only there was a Western medium bomber with five units in production.

[/quote]


Totally OT but how's about a Bomber version of the P8 Poseidon. Think a P8 with all the ASW/ASuW gear ripped out & replaced with EW/ECM gear. It has the bomb bay, it has the wing pylons.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... 134202?amp

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

Post by Scimitar54 »

Should be a few Concordes ripe for conversion ! :mrgreen:

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