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

Post by Jensy »

Timmymagic wrote:Given the c2 year lead time that means no deliveries in 2026. However, it might be the fact that the current re-profiling to the UK's deliveries over the next couple of years feeds into the years beyond to a degree, wouldn't be surprised to see some of 2025's deliveries slip into 2026. Given that an order for F-35B is expected soon for South Korea, and there is a likely order for Spain in the works I don't think there will be slots open on spec.
With the ongoing A model engine fracas I'd be fairly relaxed about delaying until it's certain that there isn't an enhanced power plant option for the B. However the RAF fast jet fleet is not exactly overflowing with aircraft post-IR.
Timmymagic wrote:
Jensy wrote:- 138 Lightnings "still there"; "as a defined number"; "not dismissing that number".
First time its been heard for a while...wonder how much longer MoD can keep up the pretence...
Cynically I'd wager till when (if) Tempest numbers start being discussed. Replacing Typhoon would appear to be the only way UK Lightning numbers are going to get to three figures, much less 138.
ArmChairCivvy wrote: The Spanish number seems like the Italian one.. ever shrinking. But keeping the balance (between the navy and the AF)
We seem destined to be the only, sole B user. Will be interesting to see how the small split fleets work out.

I wonder what would irk France more, Spanish F-35As or more Typhoons..? Poor Luftwaffe, everyone else is getting what they supposedly wanted....

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

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Jensy wrote: With the ongoing A model engine fracas I'd be fairly relaxed about delaying until it's certain that there isn't an enhanced power plant option for the B.
Exactly.
Jensy wrote: Poor Luftwaffe, everyone else is getting what they supposedly wanted....
Been out of the [Mach :D ] loop for a third of a year... are they still on with their SuperHornets, that come with the B-1 ground-hugging radar?
- you know, penetrating 'air'... what was it that the Americans had in their designation for the nxt-gen ;)
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)

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

Post by Timmymagic »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:The Spanish number seems like the Italian one.. ever shrinking. But keeping the balance (between the navy and the AF)
This is the first time I've seen a number for the Spanish...and its about 3 times larger than I ever expected...

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

Post by Timmymagic »

Jensy wrote:With the ongoing A model engine fracas I'd be fairly relaxed about delaying until it's certain that there isn't an enhanced power plant option for the B. However the RAF fast jet fleet is not exactly overflowing with aircraft post-IR.
The only possibility of an enhanced engine for the B is the F-135, the enhanced options they've been discussing recently appear to be the Growth Option 1 and 2 that have been around since 2017. GO1 gets 6-10% more thrust and 5-7% less fuel burn by the 'drop in' replacement of a few components, GO2 is more complex but is essentially GO1 with more power management (electrical) and thermal management. By all accounts GO1 is ready to go...I suspect GO1 or GO2 would be good enough for the UK's F-35B.
Jensy wrote:Cynically I'd wager till when (if) Tempest numbers start being discussed. Replacing Typhoon would appear to be the only way UK Lightning numbers are going to get to three figures, much less 138.
There just isn't the headroom in the Combat Air budget, even stretching the F-35B to 60+ is going to be tough before 2030 (fingers crossed for 70ish..) along with weapons integration and Typhoon radar enhancements. If there was spare cash it would really need to go on Typhoon T2 radars and large area displays etc. Typhoon will need a bit of an MLU...after 2030 its all about keeping what we have current and Tempest.
Jensy wrote:We seem destined to be the only, sole B user. Will be interesting to see how the small split fleets work out.

I wonder what would irk France more, Spanish F-35As or more Typhoons..? Poor Luftwaffe, everyone else is getting what they supposedly wanted....
I don't think Spain will go for the A, or for that matter 25 F-35B (think it will be less). As for France, they seemed fairly relaxed about the proposed 20 Typhoon, it actually benefits them if the facilities in Spain are kept current, they need Airbus Defence to be solvent as well, plus Indra getting experiened in sensors is needed for FCAS.

Don't feel too sorry for the Germans...the've still got the 28 new Typhoon under Project Quadriga ordered....thats more new fighters in the order books than we do...
ArmChairCivvy wrote:Been out of the [Mach ] loop for a third of a year... are they still on with their SuperHornets, that come with the B-1 ground-hugging radar?
It's gone very quiet, not unusual with German procurement which tends to take an age...problem is they don't have too long...


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

Post by Lord Jim »

80 would be great news, but the RAF will still have to play second fiddle to the FAA with regards to usage. If current availabity targets for the Carriers are maintained, where only one Carrier at a time is available then the RAF may have some for land deployments, but if this changes to having two available then the Navy will want all 80 reserved for Carrier deployment. Regardless the numbering of the F-35 squadrons need to concentrate on FAA Squadron Numbers from now on, as a small way of showing where the priority for using the F-35s lies.

serge750
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Post by serge750 »

I sort of hope that when project tempest delivers a shiny new offspring that all the F35 would lose some of their new glitz and be prioritized for the carriers

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

Post by Lord Jim »

I am sure that as long as the RAF gets enough aircraft to replace the Typhoon one for one, they would be happy to have the F-35s tasked purely with carrier work. Maybe we could see the largest FAA since the 1970s.

Scimitar54
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Post by Scimitar54 »

60’s. :mrgreen:

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

Post by topman »

I wonder if anyone had heard of pjhq. Perhaps not.

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

Post by SW1 »

Lord Jim wrote:I am sure that as long as the RAF gets enough aircraft to replace the Typhoon one for one, they would be happy to have the F-35s tasked purely with carrier work. Maybe we could see the largest FAA since the 1970s.
If you replace typhoon one for one with tempest you aren’t getting anymore f35. There is no money for both. How many f35 and the people too run them can Marham take before it’s full? Cause there isn’t going to be a 2nd f35 operating base without hundreds of millions being spent on infrastructure somewhere else. How much to upgrade the f35 to what will be the latest standard or are we going to left them fall behind the upgrade cycles? Or is the more f35 simply junking the old to get new if not more money they don’t have.

And even if you do there is barely enough Merlin for a single air wing let alone 2 so it’s rather mute and there’s definely no money for more of them.

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

Post by Defiance »

Spanish MOD rejects possibility of acquiring F-35

https://www.defensenews.com/global/euro ... -the-f-35/

*French shotgun cocks in the darkness*

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

Post by topman »

SW1 wrote:
Lord Jim wrote:I am sure that as long as the RAF gets enough aircraft to replace the Typhoon one for one, they would be happy to have the F-35s tasked purely with carrier work. Maybe we could see the largest FAA since the 1970s.
If you replace typhoon one for one with tempest you aren’t getting anymore f35. There is no money for both. How many f35 and the people too run them can Marham take before it’s full? Cause there isn’t going to be a 2nd f35 operating base without hundreds of millions being spent on infrastructure somewhere else. How much to upgrade the f35 to what will be the latest standard or are we going to left them fall behind the upgrade cycles? Or is the more f35 simply junking the old to get new if not more money they don’t have.

And even if you do there is barely enough Merlin for a single air wing let alone 2 so it’s rather mute and there’s definely no money for more of them.
I would say marham had probably 60 aircraft as its max. That includes ones in cmu in bits and all the ones on the has sites.
I don't think they would be putting f35 in the old ww2 hangars, unless they start building more second line maintenance facilities at marham. But I've not seen any rumours of real planning for a second f35 base anywhere.

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

Post by Repulse »

Would say any replacement of the Typhoon on a 1-2-1 basis for a F35b or Tempest is a pipe dream, and probably not relevant. I personally see the future state as squadrons of 12 aircraft, consisting of 4 manned F35b/Tempest plus another 8 unmanned Mosquito/Loyal Wingman type drones, effectively operating in 1+2 formations.

Estimating say 9 RAF Tempest, 6 FAA Carrier F35b and 6 RAF Land F35b front line squadrons, would give approx. 36 Tempest and 48 F35b frontline manned a/c plus 84 drones.

Rough guess then, when including OCU, reserve / maintenance and training a/c a fleet of - 54 Tempest, 72 F35b and say 100 drones.
”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

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

Post by Lord Jim »

Aren't Loyal Wingmen supposed to be disposable? They are supposed to increase numbers not replace manned platforms, or at least that is what I thought they were for. I also think there would be dedicated squadrons of Wingmen rather then hybrid manned/unmanned units.

As for the F-35, I think a lot depends on the plans for operating the carriers, and whether we intend to operate both at the same time or only ever one at a time. If it is just one then the total buy for the F-35 will probably be enough to ensure it is possible to maintain an air wing containing at least twenty four F-35s at all time plus training.

With regards to the number of Tempest/FCAS being purchased, the current Typhoon fleet, ignoring the Tranche one aircraft is probably the minimum the RAF needs to meet its roles and even then it is stretched. Adding Wingmen would reduce this and increase our striking power which is why they are being developed.

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

Post by Repulse »

Lord Jim wrote: Aren't Loyal Wingmen supposed to be disposable?
Optionally disposable I understand.

The RAF has around 100 Tranche 2 and 3 Typhoons currently with the Tranche 1s going soon, I would say overall the (Typhoon + F35B) fleet has been around 160 for a while, my fag packet total (manned + drone) fleet of around 230 would be a step up overall.
”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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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

topman wrote:rumours of real planning for a second f35 base anywhere.
the other two will have to 'steam away' more often?
Repulse wrote:including OCU, reserve / maintenance and training a/c a fleet of - 54 Tempest
... and how many are the current (two) other partners going to buy, esp. as one of them is only buying systems for their nxt-gen (or maybe 'Gripen forever)?
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)

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

Post by Jdam »

Defiance wrote:Spanish MOD rejects possibility of acquiring F-35

https://www.defensenews.com/global/euro ... -the-f-35/

*French shotgun cocks in the darkness*
How many years left do their Harriers have? and does Spain still actively embark them on the Juan Carlo? I am not up to date with the Spanish Navy.

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

Post by Scimitar54 »

ArmChairCivvy Wrote
the other two will have to 'steam away' more often?
. :thumbup: :thumbup:

The Air Groups on the other two can become larger to help in this regard as well. :mrgreen:

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

Post by Defiance »

Jdam wrote: How many years left do their Harriers have? and does Spain still actively embark them on the Juan Carlo? I am not up to date with the Spanish Navy.
Last I heard the Spanish Navy chief said they'd be out of life in the 2025-27 period. They might try snag the best examples the USMC hand over but there can't be many of those.

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

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Defiance wrote:they'd be out of life in the 2025-27 period. They might try snag the best examples the USMC hand over but there can't be many of those.
Italy never gets mentioned in this context?
"The United States, Spain and Italy coordinated efforts to develop the AV-8B Harrier II Plus, which first flew Sept. 22, 1992. Prime contractors were McDonnell Douglas Aerospace and British Aerospace. The AV-8B Harrier II Plus, with a more powerful engine and advanced radar and avionics, can operate efficiently in darkness and in adverse weather conditions."
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)

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

Post by Defiance »

Chiefly because they operate so many fewer (Janes puts them at 14) if they've flown them with any sort of regularity, it's unlikely they'll have any worthwhile life left in them.

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

Post by Ron5 »

Once Spain becomes integral to FCAS and can't easily be extracted, I'll bet we see a Spanish order for F-35B's.

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2HeadsBetter
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Post by 2HeadsBetter »

Any advance on 80?


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

Post by bobp »

2HeadsBetter wrote:Any advance on 80?
80 would be a good number, as long as the early examples can be upgraded to the latest standard.

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