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back to article Blighty's jumpjets under threat in MoD budget wrangle?

The UK Ministry of Defence has declined to confirm that the nation's fleet of Harrier jumpjets will stay in service until their replacements arrive, fuelling speculation that the Harrier force will be the latest victim of ongoing defence budget problems. The Sunday Times reported again at the weekend that the head of the RAF, …

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Paris Hilton

Nuclear Carriers

I am a uk tax payer so I would like a say in this nonsense.

Sure new carriers sound like a good idea so don't f*ck about and make then nuclear. You can then have a steam catapult that we know works. The current new carriers will have to wait for some new tech upgrade electric catapult that is untested before being able to launch larger non SVTOL craft.

Modern reactors are good for 20 years or something like that between refueling. I don't by the crap about Diesel being cheaper to maintain. We have nuclear subs so what is the big deal adding two carriers to the list.

With a nuclear carrier and a working steam catapult you can now do away with the SVTOL craft and stump up for the cheaper aircraft that carry more fuel and teddy bears.

Did I miss something.

Paris because she probably has more of a clue.

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IT Angle

Buggins Turn

Which happens first, the commit to build the new carriers or Jock Stirrup standing down as CDS?

I get the feeling that MoD is always a a more wary beast and more openly at odds with itself when the top crab is in the top-of-top jobs. Isn't 1SL Jonathon Band in line as the next Chief of Defence Staff on the Buggins Turn principle? Then it will all sort itself out.

This story has zero IT content & I - for one - am happy with that.

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Black Helicopters

As a tax payer

of what has now become a bankrupt, morally and financially, third world country I want to know just what the hell we need any of it for?

We only ever use it to give the mighty americans some semblance of respectability, they want to do it let them pay.

We have enough problems of our own, we don't need to go looking for those we can no longer afford.

We could start with decent pensions and care of the elderly who have already made their contributions, and then move on to health care and education that actually delivers the goods and not just talks about it. Public transport could be next on the list and perhaps an economy that allows us to earn real money in the world, manufacturing, research and .......????

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Coat

Common sense for the forces...

Nuclear carriers, arresters and steam catapults, decent Brit jumpjets and not these fat, slow, might work someday american rip-offs and someone in RAF keel hauled for their potentially lethal inter-force bickering. Bearing in mind the RAF would be the easiest of the three forces to dissolve as the other two already have airborn elements they should tread carefully when it commes to talk of gutting the other forces so they can feel more important.

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Anonymous Coward

I fail to understand

Since the beginning of WW2, it's been obvious that air superiority over land and sea is pretty much the clincher in most actions. But, on it's own, it's not much use for anything other than last-ditch defenses. When combined with sea or land forces, air power is devastatingly effective, but only when used in support of other forces.

It's actually pretty clear that we don't need an air force for anything other than defending our island against other air forces. In all other arenas of combat, the army and the navy are the ones who need support from, and hence control of, all the air power in the region.

In an ideal world, the RAF would be given a remit of ground based total air superiority over the UK (heck, they don't even need bombers, unless someone really wants to deal with the planning issues in Milton Keynes or Slough properly...) and then hand over everything else to the army and navy, for them to provide the air power that they need to do their jobs most effectively.

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Silver badge
Happy

Might be the best thing!

The FAA are mainly tasked in the current world with support for ground forces involved in UN/NATO "policing" actions. The Falklands and Bosnia showed the FAA have fallen far behind the RAF Harrier pilots when it came to ground-attack operations, so maybe a spell under RAF control would do them good. In the meantime, passing on the cost of the F-35B would free up money to make the carriers nucleur and give them a steam catapault and maybe some extra defensive toys. Then the RAF can have the hassle of providing F-35Cs or navalised Typhoons (a navalised Tranche 1 would fulfill the naval interceptor role very well, and get the RAF some Tranche 3 models to replace them) to serve on them, both of which would seem better options than the F-35B. And with RAF-trained pilots they'd actually be able to give some assistance to our troops.

/That should put Lewis in a spin!

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Thumb Up

@Suspicious Git

That looks like an election manifesto to me!

Time we had one.

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Stop

Outsourcing

I love the idea that so many people say "buy American, buy American" right after slagging them off for not doing the tech transfer deal at the last minute on the F-35. Its simply not feasible to just buy American since the stuff doesn't always suit our needs.

For example the American ships require so much manpower to run and sailwhich we simply do not have available in our forces, thats not just budget cuts but the professional soldier (OK...sailor!) per head count is much higher in US too.

Secondly the most important thing....do they even want to sell one (or the plans to one) don't forget they use them not only in force but in diplomatic terms too (ham fisted I agree but....). So would they want another country parading around in one of theirs?

I don't really think anyone is backing away from the carrier problem and its often presented as an open and shut case in terms of the F-35 which it isn't, both version STOVL and convential carrier is being evaluated but we have a wait and see.

And does anybody really believe they would be allowed to dissolve some active and precious air assets when there is no alternative....would they even want to themselves? They may be a little silly at the MoD but they aren't totally stupid.

This story to me seems like pure speculation and I hope it is.

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@Common sense for the forces...

I'll grant you the fat... Harrier empty weight: 5,700 kg, Lightning IIb empty weight: 14,588 .

But slow? Harrier max speed: 1,065 km/h, Lightning II max speed: 1,931 km/h. If the Lightning II's max speed is nearly double that of the Harrier, and that is slow... then what does that make the Harrier? Catatonic?

Some other differences:

Max take off weight (Short Take Off): Harrier: 14,061 kg STO, Lightning II: 27,200 kg.

Combat Radius: Harrier: 556 km Lightning IIb: 830 km

Hard points: Harrier: 8 with max 3,650 kg of payload, Lightning II: 6 with a capacity of 6,800 kg

I would think the craft with higher speed, longer range, and more payload would be the more common sense choice for a jumpjet. The only other production craft was the Yak-38, which seems to perform even more poorly than the Harrier when compared to the Lighting IIb.

Now, of course, if the rest of the common sense becomes reality (namely nuclear carrier with steam catapults), then there are many more choices for craft, nearly all of which (even the Lightning IIc) would be preferable to any jumpjet.

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Anonymous Coward

great though the harrier is..

i would like to see a modern version of the buccaneer with improved avionics

and if i remember correctly the RAF didn't want the orginal either

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Anonymous Coward

Death by 1000 cuts?

I'm sure the navy might gets its carriers eventually. They might well be smaller, less capable ships though..... Pity really as nuclear powered + proper aircraft = a useful thing to have in war and peace. This is the one thing I like about the Americans - the military there seem more likely to get what the generals want whereas in the UK, the military seems to always end up with what the politicians want. It wouldn't be so bad if politicians in question weren't lacking in any trace of common sense whatsoever.

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What a Larf . . . !!

Of the first 4 comments on this article the only one that makes any sense is 'Suspicious Git'.

I whole-heartedly agree with spending ANY money we as a nation (don't make me larf) have left in the coffers, on ALL of the services highlighted.

BUT . . . . . Anyone who truly has their eyes wide open to the world about them knows that just isn't gonna happen any time soon or ever . . . Period!!

I hasten to add that it would never happen through the 'good times' either.

This has fuck all to do with Boom or Bust and more to do with 'Screw you Jack/Jane, I'm alright and I don't give a flying fuck about you!!'

I could bang my gums (and keyboard) forever but fortunately for all of you . . . I won't but I will leave you with this last sentiment . . .

"A citizen must always be ready to defend him/her self . . . Against their Government. Ask the question of Why? Because if we don't then there's only the question of . . .

Where, who, how and no answer to WHY!! Let's face it, we've done the where, who and how throughout history but have never had a proper answer to the WHY!!

Think about it.

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Pirate

Interesting stuff

In the US the only conventional force that has any sort of respectability is the Navy. The USAF and the Army are generally thought to be little better than their National Guard equivalents. In fact most people here think they're the same, a bunch of redneck, trigger-happy part timers.

That's actually very harsh, they are significantly better trained than their part-time equivalents, but there you go.

In the eyes of the public the real quality is all Navy. The best soldiers are John Wayne and Clint Eastwood (Marines), the best Pilots are Tom 'Maverick' Cruise and Val 'Iceman' Kilmer.'

But then most of the US perception on pretty much anything is based on the last movie they really liked, so these things shouldn't surprise anyone and might in fact explain why trigger-happy rednecks get to kill Canadian and British troops so often. They just want to be like their heroes in the movies, and fire their guns that look almost as real as the ones in Platoon.

Sounds to me like the Navy has a PR job to do in the UK, and what better way to do it than finance a few Hollywood blockbusters starring themselves. If you're going to tell me that the average Briton is too clever to fall for that, I call bullshit immediately. I'm British, I just happen to live in the US, so I know only too well that your average Kev and Trace from Essex is no more mentally endowed than their redneck equivalents in the US.

Pirates because in the good old days we'd just commission a few to prey on the US Navy and steal ourselves all the kit we wanted.

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Pirate

Eggs in a basket

Two well aimed Exocet Missiles (circa £250k each on the blackmarket) when these carriers are in service and this whole debate becomes academic.

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Bronze badge
Black Helicopters

RAF Master Plans Pt 2

Part 1 was talking the MOD into scrapping the Sea Harriers and amalgamating the remaining (useless, radar and long range missile free) Harriers under RAF control.

Part 3 will be taking control of the Army and Navy's "whirly birds" on the basis that they are the "Air" force.

Part 4 will be running down all these added goodies and concentrating on good old fighter jets for the boys, and fcuk the Army and Navy.

Part 5 will be organising the surrender to Monaco when they declare war and invade us using Land and Sea forces, laughing at the High Tech jets that dont work properly all the way to London.

Black Whirly bird, cos I've given the plan away!!!

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@Interesting stuff

Actually, perhaps I'm not sufficiently brainwashed by media.. but the names that come to mind for best soldier and best pilot are Audie Murphy (Army) and Chuck Yeager (Air Force).

Additionally, to say that Marines are Navy is kind of short sighted. Both in the reality of the command structure, as well as with respect to your bodily well being.

In the first respect, while the USN and USMC both report to the same civilian (Secretary of the Navy an appointed political position), from there on down the entire command structure is separate - there is no admiral who has permanent command of any Marine soldier.

As for bodily well being, most Marines do not very much appreciate being considered Navy, and when drunk (ie when on at least 15 minutes leave), many continue being violent but get stupid. Luckily it would extremely unlikely to meet one who was drunk and in USMC blues - if one did, and somehow mistook the uniform for the blue of a US Air Force uniform... well it would probably not turn out well.

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Silver badge
Pirate

hmmm

As I and others have pointed out... theres a lot of work going to be done building down here in England that may make it unpopular to stop the project.

The only thing the scots will be doing is welding the bits together when they arrive in Scotland(lets hope they get them the right way round)

As for the exocet arguement presented earlier..... only 1 carrier will be at sea at a time (not enough planes/crew to get both out) so you'll only need 1 missile..... heck come to think of it one nice 1 megatonne nuke let off within 5 miles at just below the surface will trash the ships nicely.

which gives me an idea

Why not expand the Trident fleet to 12 boats, they'll give us a nice 'force projection' thingy over most of the planet.

Pirates... because every one loves subs

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Anonymous Coward

@eggs in a basket

This is where the Daring class destroyers and decent carrier borne air defence comes in. If you get passed the F32b (or whatever), you then have to contend with one of the most high tech air defence vessels in the world.

The Darings were a waste of money - we needed a multirole destroyer - but it does answer fleet defence, so long as we have a fleet to defend.

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Bronze badge

@ Eggs in a basket

As a keen "Harpoon" player, I do not think 2 Exocets would do it; playing against the less capable Invincible and launching a 5 Exocet barrage got me nowhere. None of them got closer than 20 miles before being shot down; putting 5 torps into her slowed her down a bit.

Something the size of a Nimitz class will soak up 40-50 Harpoon missiles (much bigger warhead), before giving up the ghost.

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Anonymous Coward

Nuclear and steam catapults.

Actually, go the whole hog, why not make a carrier big enough for a conventional take off?

Ferrocement perhaps? It's not like the steel armours the ship from anything that'd be used against it.

Eurofighter needs a ~800M runway, a vast concrete barge would do it nicely. Carriers don't have to be sophisticated, the peripheral ships could do the ATC work making the whole thing a much more challenging target and allowing a totally clear flight deck. Multiple runway barges could be produced comparatively cheaply allowing for greater survivability of the mobile airport.

The loss of a runway barge or the ATC ship could be handled comfortably by such a set up.

Nimitz class carriers are 350M as it is, this is a plausible concept.

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Anonymous Coward

@Ian Emery

HMS Sheffield was destroyed (in combat terms) and sank in 6 days after

a single Exocet hit. Not as big, but still a large destroyer.

I remember everyone seemed surprised that steel can burn.

There's a pic here:-

http://www.thenewscentre.co.uk/falklands/graphics/seff.jpg

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Flame

The buggeration factor

I heard what you said but do you understand what you think I meant? The government is, as usual, duplicitous. Do they imagine that anyone with only half an eye cannot see what they are up to? They would leave us defenceless, other than as a part of a European defence force, and this would emasculate us to the point that two world wars did not. We would have no mathod of using our own forces in our own defence without the say-so of Paris and Berlin. Something that is entirely forseeable and imminent. How about a military coup? Sorry to raise your hopes but we do not have any Colonels with that much gumption left in our forces, so that is a non starter. We shall just have to knuckle under with what the Browns, and their allies, of this country and what they wish to impose upon us.

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J

@JonB

perhaps we should reopen Churchill's WWII Habbakuk project? That would be big enough for non-assisted take off / landing, with the advantage of being totally unsinkable

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J

revenge for the TSR-2

you realise this is all revenge for the way the Navy (in the form of Lord Mountbatten) engineered the cancellation of the TSR-2, to release funding for the ADO2 carrier. Of course that also got cancelled. Supposedly due to the 1960's spending crisis, more probably because our then labour government were in the pockets of the Russians

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Go

Steam catapults???

Er .. guys (#Nuclear carriers etc).. it's really difficult to have a steam catapult on a ship that doesn't have boilers. The prime propulsion for these ships (as with T45 and US Navy's Zumwalt class) is Gas turbines, with electric motors. Bit cheaper than nuclear. Not a wiff of steam in sight. Either have to install a special set of boilers or develop electric catapults. It's not that the technology doesn't exist (it's used to launch UAVs); its just that it isn't scaled up to launching a full blown aircraft .. yet.

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