Can't we bolt hooks onto our F-35Bs for better performance?
Or will that void their warranty?
So there it is: done. As this is written, defence minister Phillip Hammond is on his feet in the House of Commons, trying to justify the fact that he and his boss, David Cameron, have decided that the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier (maybe carriers) will not now have any catapults or arrester gear in order to save money. This …
Or will that void their warranty?
No point without the catapults.
The hooks are for stopping, so in theory you could. Only problem is they don't work on the F-35C anyway, so pointless.
The F-35B will land at about 70knots and brake, using shipboard rolling vertical landing (SRVL) . You don't need the WW1 tech to land/crash.
@ Anonymous Coward: 10th May 2012 18:15 GMT
Age of technology is completely beside the point - an utterly pointless strawman.* The real question is whether or not it is *appropriate* technology. Catapults & arrestor hooks reduce the cost, increase the useful payload, and increase the reliability of carrier aircraft. Who cares if catapults are over 100 years old? They *work.*
*If we followed your strawman, for instance, the use of knives would be suspect, as clearly a technology many thousands of years old is too old to be ore modern relevance.
I agree with the points about the f-18 etc, but shut up about the Eurofighter for god sake.
I want to switch off when you start moaning about that.
but in reality it is shit compared to the F18. Lewis might go on a bit but this really was a very very stupid decision.
Why shut up about it? It and the Tornado are costing a fortune and their purchase and operation have eaten a huge hole in our defence budget.
The thing that I find to be so depressing is that there appears to have been no change at the MOD despite everything we've been told.
We're still going to be paying vastly over the odds for our defence equipment, mostly in the form of dane geld to BAE, who, no doubt, threatened to withdraw even more of their manufacturing from the UK to the USA. Not that they won't do it anyway, just at times more convenient to them...
"Why shut up about it? It and the Tornado are costing a fortune and their purchase and operation have eaten a huge hole in our defence budget."
The cheap Harriers cost £41K per hour and the Tornado £51K (this includes financing and purchase cost and everything). Not much in it given both platforms advantages.
The F-35b has more combat radius than the F-18 and F-4 Phantom. Its about the same as a F-14 Tomcat - a long range interceptor.
So its not exactly shit,
Assuming they ever get it to work properly.
Hmm, so the tornado is 25% more expensive than a harrier? Seems like a bloody huge amount to me.
It's shit (and very expensive per unit delivered/) compared to the F-22, but not the F-18. Apples an oranges anyways. At the time the thought was the US govt wouldn't release the F-22 to us. I thought at the time that was nonsense and I'm even more sure now.
And yes the choice really is between the B and C if you're fighting a war in the next 30 years, as opposed to the last 30 years.
"Hmm, so the tornado is 25% more expensive than a harrier? Seems like a bloody huge amount to me."
Not when you consider that the Tornado can deliver twice the bomb load at twice the range.
Ah yes, the $250K per hour F-22. Bargain, if they can persuade the pilots to fly in again.
Mind you the B2 is about $500k per hour.
F-18, F35 B, C or Z, whatever... Both the UK gov and the article's author seem to be missing a very basic point. Who the hell is Britain going to war with in the foreseeable future that will require the use of an aircraft carrier anyway?? Britain is physically dead centre of NATO with the US on the Atlantic side, and all her European allies to the East and South. China, N Korea and Iran are half way around the world. Russia is reachable by land-based aircraft from all of Europe that's closer to it than the UK, and an aircraft carrier couldn't operate in the Arctic anyway.
So what's the aircraft carrier for?? War with a minor African country? Another Falklands?? The real reason is delusions of grandeur from an admittedly glorious past, and the need to feed the military-industrial beast
Which one of BAE's execs is Camerons pal then ?
I think the UK needs to cut its cloth. Buy a cheap carrier secondhand carrier if that is what the army/navy/raf want. Anything above the surface of the water is going to get destroyed in the first days of any real battle (unless we are fighting someone like Azerbijan) so why bother spending loads of money on it and then filling it with expensive jets that will also be wiped out fairly quickly in any real battle.
Dont forget we are all in this together (unless you happen to work for the arms industry of course).
Probably the same one that was pals with Gordon and Blair
"Which one of BAE's execs is Camerons pal then ?"
The CEO had permanent unrestricted access to the PM as BAE is (at least still in part) UK Govt owned.
A relationship about as healthy as that between BAe and the MoD.
Who needs pals with nice juicy non-exec posts available for rent ?
I hated the F-35 until I found out UK workshare is 15%.
On a $1.5Trillion (to the US alone) project that is a hell of a lot of money. You can keep your bollox F-18 arguments, the UK needs its $225billion export orders over the next 50 years
"On a $1.5Trillion (to the US alone) project that is a hell of a lot of money. You can keep your bollox F-18 arguments, the UK needs its $225billion export orders over the next 50 years"
You seem like a clever chap. Want to work for me? I'll pay you £1 million pa. But you have to pay me £1.5 million pa in costs.
Well you aren't too bright. Missed the point the US tax payer will be paying British industry.
"I think the UK needs to cut its cloth. Buy a cheap carrier secondhand carrier if that is what the army/navy/raf want."
Great idea, let's do what we do in IT and outsource all our defense needs to India! Ahem, maybe not.
...in which Cabinet minster's skull is the Coalition brain cell residing today?
I mean, how on earth can this possibly be seen as a good, strategic, and economical decision? For a government dead keen on such noble concepts as 'austerity' and 'cost cutting', they don't have enjoy throwing money with those BAe nobwands.
> in which Cabinet minster's skull is the Coalition brain cell residing today?
Bzzzt. Assumes facts not in evidence.
 And brain cells.
Like all this austerity govs decisions it is driven by the need to get the money, preferably tied-in with long unbreakable contracts, into the pockets of their friends or future employers before the shit has festered away (or a future election.....after the gerrymandering (sorry, boundary changes))
Just look at the Great and Good bashing each others heads to line-up their future jobs with the like of crapita etc....
Talking sense as usual...
This is just so bl**dy depressing; I've been avoiding the news and beeb website all day as a result.
UK Gov't wastes 10s of millions of our money now and later too, whilst UK forces are crippled by inter-service squabbling and inferior equipment. It'd make you laugh if it wasn't a tragedy.
Aye. Did notice that the presenter (Evan Davies? Not sure which) almost had an embolism at the stark frankness in Lewis' voice. Must have been having thoughts about getting sued to hell and back when Lewis casually dropped the bombshell about the number of lobbyists usually involved in the simplest "confidential" government meetings. Confidential as in, if you think you can get an FOI against what happens in those meetings, I have a (naval) bridge to sell you...
Nice interview Lewis ;-)
> Nice interview Lewis ;-)
I'll go snaffle it from iplayer...
Starts circa 2hrs 45mins in.
It was quite a shock to hear someone from the BBC defending this government.
That was priceless! The interviewer was crapping it when Lewis went on about BAe and you could hear his relief when Lewis also mentioned that the RAF might have been involved - he latched onto that so quickly Lewis barely had time to finish his sentence. The interview finished very quickly after that.....
Anything more you would like to add Lewis? I am not sure they will invite you back on to Today for a while anyway so you might as well dish the dirt.
Wake up and smell the coffee. Watch or listen to any BBC news programme at the moment, you'll hear they appear to be trying to continuously lick the government's arse.
I've been shocked time and time again by the regurgitation of government stats, half-truths and outright lies recently, to the extent that I've stopped watching even the BBC news. If it's not depressing it's constantly trotting out the government line on just about everything.
What I can't decide, as I don't monitor my opinions on this matter or keep a diary, is if the BBC is constantly sycophantic to any government regardless of party colours. Any comments?
Don't believe everything Lewis writes, Tim. most of it is total bollocks.
BAE Systems & Sky (refer yesterday's rant).
Who's going to play the Tom Watson part & get those BAE skeletons out of the cupboards?
"Who's going to play the Tom Watson part & get those BAE skeletons out of the cupboards"
I doubt any MP will.
Remember the Serious Fraud Office investigation into alleged BAE bribery of Saudi officials to get rich defence contracts that was shut down by Tony Blair because the Saudis asked him to?
The bottom line is that UK PLC is run with Third World levels of corruption.
Our 'democratic' institutions exist to be profitable for a small number of finance, defence, energy and infrastructure PLCs, supported by unhygienic numbers of flea-like lobbyists, and other ticks and leeches.
And if the public doesn't like it, it can go fuck itself.
It's more like a W-turn at this point, no?
> more like a W-turn
I understand the cost constraints but in engineering the phrase "do it right first time" is pretty much a mantra. The whole saga of these carriers is a case in point of getting it wrong time after time after time. These carriers are expected to last 50 years we should spend the money to do the job properly first time and not come up with crippled solutions that we have to endlessly tinker with to correct. A Cats and traps solution is the gold standard and should have been the aim from the start, better to skimp on cheap aircraft now and get the bit that is hard to upgrade right and buy better aircraft later. Whilst the criticisms of Lewis on BAE bashing have traction the underlying argument that we should be building F-18 capable carriers is sound. I despair at this country, we cannot do anything properly unless it's a crisis and our attitude to technology and engineering beggars belief.
The MOD is not alone our energy industry and transport infrastructure are also hamstrung by short term ill concieved thinking. We just can't help ourselves.
edit: reposted too many typos, it was embarrassing.
They're hamstrung by no-term-at-all non-thinking.
Too Many Fingers In The Pie.
Corruption by any way of thinking
"A Cats and traps solution is the gold standard "
Or is it a very old and expensive solution to a problem. I'd hazard a pretty certain guess that not one additional country will build an conventional carrier using the F-35C in the next 50 years. there are about ten countries looking at building small carriers and it will be F-35B all the way. Its a no brainer.
O.K. Ill take your bet.
You must work in civil service procurement.
Wanna buy a bridge too ?
"it will be F-35B all the way. Its a no brainer"
It takes more than one advanced aircraft to comprise an effective weapons system; without cats'n'traps you don't have an AWACS solution so your carrier is vulnerable to air attack and hence a bit useless. Or maybe we'll only use the carrier in range of land-based AWACS operated by the RAF?
"there are about ten countries looking at building small carriers"
Are these countries existing customers of BAe Systems by any chance?
"without cats'n'traps you don't have an AWACS solution "
No true, aside from the MANY helicopter AWACS options there is also the V-22 Osprey and AW609 that will give solution that can be better that the E2 -which is not the best AWACs, simply the only fixed wing option. And the E2 Hawkeye CAN fly from the carriers without a catapult if you are that desperate. However, spending $80million on a AWACS aircraft is not an option for the UK so a Merlin based system was all we were going to get regardless of the catapult question.
The F-35B is by no means the only STOL aircraft out there.
"Are these countries existing customers of BAe Systems by any chance?"
We can hope eh? After all we are not all BAE conspiracy theorists.
It'll be UAVs doing all the AWACS soon anyway.?
Unlike when he gave his Cast Iron guarantee of a European referendum, live, straight to the faces of the British people on TV before the election, then, when they'd fallen for it and he was safe and sound in no 10, decided not to. And won't U turn either, since that's not as important as what kind of planes to use of an aircraft carrier.
You forgot the cast iron guarantee on freedoms and reversal of the police nanny state. These are the cast iron guarantees I really care about, everything else is secondary - including the 5-minute ships (roughly their survival time during a properly executed Sunburn attack).
As far as the catapults, that is expected. Once upon a time I worked on a project which was was offered to the navy on their ships. We were quite hopeful that our gear will sell - it was good for its time and keenly priced. Well, we were told that it was not to be.
A few years later our BD director met one of the navy bods in charge of the procurement. He told him the price which "the usual suspect" has asked for putting our gear they OEM-ed from us. It was apparently 1100% marked-up. No I am not f*** kidding, 1100 frigging percent. Are you surprised that 125£ worth of kit will cost several billion to the taxpayer? F*** no - standard markup in action.
I beieve that there are some errors in the original article that may be causing some confusion. Looking at the link provided in the article regarding the $200m (GBP 125m) for the EMALS equipment, it appears that that specific contract was only for "long lead" time items and was not for the purchase of all components for both the EMALS and Advanced Arrestor Gear (AAG) systems.
More recent articles have indicated that a US Assistant Secretary of the Navy indicated that the total costs for the EMALS and AAG equipment would be GBP 458m as purchased from the US asa a Foreign Military Sales item (if I am understanding correctly).
In addition to the costs of the equipment though, there are also costs associated with shipping and installing those items. Many of these other more recent articles have indicated that 'based on input from defense experts' a value for installation of the equipment would likely be on the order of about GBP 400m. However, in addition to the costs of just the EMALS and AAG equipment and their installation, there is also likely alot of other stuff that will also be required to be installed, including insulation of adjacent spaces, structural mods to the flight deck to accommodate the two 300ft long cuts into its structure (along with any impacts that these cots and structural mods will have on the spaces immediately beneath the flight deck), plus a range of other things including potential modifications to the air conditioning, ventialation and cooling water systems to deal with all the waste heat developed by the EMALS and AAG, outfit and furnishing for the extra crew that these systems will likely require, plus expenses related to any test, trials, and certification that these systems will require to ensure that they meet all requirements for use with manned aircraft, etc.
In the end then, it really seems that the GBP 125m may be a misleading number, as it appears to only be for "long lead" items, and that even if you look at later numbers (like the GBP 458m provided by a US Asst Sec of the Navy) you still have to consider all the other stuff required to get the components on the ship, integrated into its systems, and ready for use, which I suspect are probably quite expensive.
The French were offered one of the carriers and came to a figure of 1-1.5 billion euros quite independent of the UK. They rejected it as pointless.
What people seem to be unaware that the ski jump is almost as effective as a catapult. the Indian carrier uses non STOL Mig-29's with a ski jump and get a very decent 24.5tonnes MTOW.
The F-35C or F-35B could launch from the UK carriers at a weight of 26.5 tonnes without using the lift fan, just using the deck and ski jump.
Putting a catapult on the UK carriers is a complete waste of money.