back to article Blighty will have a whopping 24 F-35B jets by 2023 – MoD minister

The UK is “on target” for its new F-35B fighters to reach initial operating capability by 2018 – and will own a whopping 24 of the state-of-the-art jets by the year 2023, junior defence minister Philip Dunne told a briefing at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) this morning. Dunne was speaking to a morning briefing at …

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My math might by a little off but it seems that by 2023 there will be 1,000 people working directly or indirectly on each plane. No wonder they are expensive.

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Whereas they could have bought shitloads of f18s thay would be cheaper, have more spares and actually work. The carrieres were a waste of time and should have been nuclear. Pity that BAE couldnt do that so the pork barrel went with a shite design. Oh and the the fact BAE have a vested interest in F35s also meant that conveniently the carriers couldnt be converted cheaply to EMAL

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Given some of the testing going on, you'd need a thousand people to operate the thing: One to sit in the cockpit and 999 to pick the thing up and carry it to the target.

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@James 51

Sorry, costs are relative.

I guess you're just jealous that you don't have any F-22s albeit they are not for ship use.

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Anonymous Coward

carry it to the target.

FedEx with its guaranteed overnight delivery is looking pretty good about now.

"It's a bomb. No signature required, just leave it on the doorstep."

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Re: @James 51

>I guess you're just jealous that you don't have any F-22s albeit they are not for ship use.

Even as a Yank wake me when they have the drone version that doesn't have to limit its G forces due to having to carry a meat sack.

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Re: @James 51

wake me when they have the drone version that doesn't have to limit its G forces due to having to carry a meat sack.

Until recently, the G limits were nothing to do with the meat sack; the airframe was only rated to 4.5G.

That's a training aeroplane - the 1974 PA28 I started in does that, with Cessna 172s only slightly lower at 4.4G.

They are now beyond that - but we can only wonder at how an allegedly fast jet can end up so late into trials with such pathetic handling...

Vic.

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@DAnny 14: +1 for the F18s, the fact they should have been nuclear powered, and fitted with catapults so we didn't need the shithouse version of the F35 if we eventually went that way. One of those carriers full of F18s would be good enough. I'd even go as far as to say we could have bought French carrier fighters or Russian ones but there's no US pork in those deals.

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WTF?

Re: IMG Re: @James 51

".....I guess you're just jealous that you don't have any F-22s....." LOL! The one time RAF Typhoons were allowed to mock dogfight Raptors at China Lake, they not only trounced the F-22s* but also got radar locks on them at ranges the USAF said the stealth F-22s should have been "invisible". This upset the Yanks so much they banned further fights and scrapped the planned Typhoon vs F-22 long-range radar tests!

There the story might have ended, but the USAF then went to war games in Alaska and it was the turn of the German Typhoons to give the Raptors a kicking. Whilst the USAF made some excuses about the Typhoon pilots having helmet-mounted sights, what is all the more worrying (for USAF pilots) is that the Eurofighter Typhoon is claimed to be able to get a lock with the PIRATE long-range IRST system, making the F-22's radar stealth largely irrellevant. Whilst the US has been heavily committed to radar stealth development, the Russians have been developing long-range IR detectors for many years** and their developments are thought to be at least competitive (if not ahead) of PIRATE. The later Typhoon was designed with IR stealth in mind, making it less vulnerable to the new Russian jets, but the F-22 was not....

And, seeing as the Eurofighter Typhoon is a lot cheaper than the Raptor, and there's already a nasalised version which was proposed for India, maybe your USAF (and your taxpayers) are the real jealous ones?

*Embarrassingly for the USAF, their "super jet" has a history of being beaten by fighters the USAF claim the F-22 should own - there's a two-seat "Growler" (USMC EW version of the F/A-18) flying around with an F-22 "kill" painted on its nose after one such mock dogfight, much to the delight of the Marines.

**The Soviets started looking at IRST for tracking cruise missiles flying below the levels that look-down radar could detect them. Their development got added impetus after the CIA allegedly got access to the latest Russian radar designs from Adolf Tolkachev in the '80s, leaving the Ruskis seriously worried that their latest fighters would be "blind" against US stealth designs specifically tailored to beat their radar. Their use of advanced IR detectors brings into question the whole value proposition of radar stealth and whether it is giving US pilots a false sense of security.

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Pirate

Re: Danny 14

"....and should have been nuclear...." Yeah, but the design contract started under Labour, and they have far too many CND luvvies in their ranks to allow a nuke design.

"....Pity that BAE (sic) couldn't do that....." BAe Systems not only bought the Vickers subsidiary that made the nuke Vanguard class Trident subs, they have managed all the work on their Rolls-Royce PWR2 reactors, and are involved in the PWR3 design for the next-gen class that will replace the Vanguards. So I'd say the new carriers not being nuke-powered has nothing to do with BAe's capabilities.

/Yeeaaarrrggggghh, obviously.

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Actually as I understand it BAE is building or assembling components for all F-35s in the world, not just the UKs.

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Black Helicopters

Re ASDF Re: @James 51

Sorry, but I like having a man in the loop.

With drones, you don't always have that in that there is going to be a delay. Drone's flying recon or as a missile platform... ok. Drones trying to fly combat? The pilot has to be close and of course the drone has to be able to see the target.

Sure the drone can withstand more Gs... however... it too has some weakness...

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Boffin

Re: IMG @James 51

https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/cleaning-up-red-flag-alaska-f-22-vs-typhoon-debate-2/

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@Matt Bryant -- Re: IMG @James 51

Their use of advanced IR detectors brings into question the whole value proposition of radar stealth and whether it is giving US pilots a false sense of security.

It's not about the pilots having a false sense of security but about the politicians and the DoD procurement folks. I'm sure the pilots know they're sitting ducks.

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WHERE THE FUCK IS LEWIS PAGE!?

something, something, Lewis Page.

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Re: @James 51

> I guess you're just jealous that you don't have any F-22s albeit they are not for ship use.

That's OK, the ships aren't ready for aeroplane use either.

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Re: @James 51

"Until recently, the G limits were nothing to do with the meat sack; the airframe was only rated to 4.5G."

Yes, when manouvering in a 172 I was warned not to be overenthusiastic or I might pull the wings off....

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A supersonic Harrier...

Just think, if we'd continued with the P1154 Mach 2 Hawker Harrier that was scrapped in 1964 despite work being in progress on the prototype's wings and fuselage and six engines constructed, we could have had an equally capable VSTOL aircraft half a century ago. Don't you just love politicians...

http://www.harrier.org.uk/history/history_p1154.htm

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Re: IMG @James 51

LOL, and even that report fails to mention the original report's basic maths error:

"The AMRAAM, despite its critics’ smears about its accuracy, has a kill probability of 0.59, 1 representing certainty of kill, so two AMRAAMs are enough to guarantee the shootdown of any enemy (0.59×2 = 1.18)"

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Anonymous Coward

Good deal that it'll still take a really long time

Less chance that the war mongers in GB and Nato will be able to pester, goad and provoke Russia into any kind of armed response.

But I feel for Citizens who's tax money is being wasted.

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FAIL

Re: Annonymous Comrade Re: Good deal that it'll still take a really long time

".....war mongers in GB and Nato....." COUGH * Crimea * COUGH * Ukraine * COUGH

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Space to spare

> It is important to note that the Queen Elizabeth is capable of carrying up to 36 F-35s in her hangars

I have several boxes of paperbacks I'd like to store somewhere secure. If the MOD/Navy want, I could store them in a corner of all that unused hangar space. I could probably probably afford to pay around £10 a month...

Otherwise, without a steady income it might look like the whole exercise with these carriers and their aircraft has been a complete fucking waste of money.

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Re: Space to spare

Piffle. They just SAY that it's a procurement balls up, make it LOOK like they're matching the 2030 figures with the space in the carriers, but REALLY the other 2/3 of the hangar space is filled with our top secret totally invisible stealth jets, like the one Wonder Woman flies.

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Re: Space to spare

if they've 36 on board how many helicopters can they fit in at the same time?

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Re: Space to spare

"REALLY the other 2/3 of the hangar space is filled with our top secret totally invisible stealth jets, like the one Wonder Woman flies."

They're bringing back the Swordfish, it will look good in the black and white war films that's all we will be making by 2023.

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Re: Space to spare

No swordfish. BAE didnt spec the carriers for them. That will be another 500mil.

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Re: Space to spare

"like the one Wonder Woman flies."

Theresa or Andrea?

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Re: Space to spare

"a complete fucking waste of money."

Gordon Brown subsidising "Greece without the sun" ...

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Re: Space to spare

That hanger space won't be unused, it'll just be needed to carry all the spare parts those 12 jets will need...

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Re: Space to spare

"No swordfish. BAE didnt spec the carriers for them. That will be another 500mil."

OK, you got me. How about bringing back Catalinas? No carrier mods needed.

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Re: Space to spare

>Otherwise, without a steady income it might look like the whole exercise with these carriers and their aircraft has been a complete fucking waste of money.

Defense (doublespeak there) for the most part these days is nothing but a jobs program for white collar aholes that don't mind making their living inventing new ways to kill brown people.

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Re: Space to spare

Otherwise, without a steady income it might look like the whole exercise with these carriers and their aircraft has been a complete fucking waste of money.

Best thing that can happen with military equipment. If you start to really need it, something went seriously wrong, IMHO.

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Re: Space to spare

"I have several boxes of paperbacks I'd like to store somewhere secure. If the MOD/Navy want, I could store them in a corner of all that unused hangar space."

This is about the only sensible use of the things.

Carriers need a "carrier group" escort. The UK doesn't have enough ships to make up ONE carrier support group, let alone two.

Without a carrier support group, these are HMS Sitting Duck and HMS White Elephant.

Even with them, given the huge amount of bunker fuel onboard and the existence of anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBM), the names are probably appropriate.

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Re: Space to spare

"how many helicopters"

Hopefully they don't intend to keep using Sea Kings as AWACS craft. A converted V22 would (at face value) seem to be more sensible.

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Re: Space to spare

"it might look like the whole exercise with these carriers and their aircraft has been a complete fucking waste of money."

All part of Gordon Browns scorced earth exit policy & to be honest the capability is stunted without cat & trap on a carrier.

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Re: Space to spare

Tigerfish dammit, Tigerfish.

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Re: Space to spare

Apparently, spares won't be needed as we have to ship the things back to America to be repaired, or so I've heard. If that's true, what bright spark in the MOD thought that was a good idea?

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Anonymous Coward

No wonder they are expensive crap that will be outdated by the time they are finally delivered. By 2030 we will all be dead anyway, the ai controlled attack drones will have wiped us out by then.

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No wonder they are expensive crap that will be outdated by the time they are finally delivered.

That's what military procurement is all about. By the time the kit is delivered, the original purpose is lost in the mists of time, and then people stand around scratching their heads wondering how to fight the next war with kit designed to fight the last one. That's why the RAF are having to sellotape bombs to the Typhoon, but there's a million and one examples all round the world.

When you look at the Chilcot report's findings, and reflect that nobody (with an army, at any rate) wants to invade the UK, I can't help thinking that not having any standing military force might be a really good thing. Build some sub-launched nuclear armed cruise missiles, and then you don't need a vastly more expensive ballistic deterrent, have the cruise-armed subs on rotating patrol, so you don't need a home defence force other than a few dockyard and weapons storage guards. No need for the Army, RAF or most of the Navy.

Would mean that RIAT would be a fairly quiet affair, but if that stopped idiot politicians making the world a worse place I could live with that.

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'No need for the Army, RAF or most of the Navy.'

Give it a couple of years, and the killer bees, grown huge and souped up on sugar from all the unpicked fruit, will be a tricky target for a nuclear tipped cruise...

Ideal targets for an agile air superiority fighter like the typhoon.

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Re: sub-launched nuclear armed cruise missiles

Would be useless as a deterrant. Cruise are way too easy to defend against, they'd carry no viable threat.

When Russia are investing in next gen ballistic missiles that have countermeasures just to ensure the threat of the weapons is continued, downgrading to Cruise would be like scrapping the Naval surface fleet in favour of some slightly pissed off rubber ducks. Or scrapping a Harrier/Carrier Fleet on the promise of some non existant planes twenty years down the line which would never happen, obvs.

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Re: sub-launched nuclear armed cruise missiles

"Build some sub-launched nuclear armed cruise missiles"

Except that the existing cruise missiles aren't designed to carry nuclear warheads, and the warheads that we have built for Trident which are designed to get tossed into low orbit and fall back from orbit like a thunderbolt from hell aren't going to fit on a cruise missile.

So we would need to:-

1) Design and build new cruise missiles.

2) Design and build new nuclear warheads for the cruise missiles.

This is somehow going to be a quick and cheap option...?

Also:-

3) We would have to accept that everybody is going to freak out anytime that anybody fires cruise missiles near them because nobody knows who's firing and suddenly and cruise missile might be nuclear armed, massively increasing the probability of somebody panicking and starting a nuclear war as an accident.

4) Accept that cruise missiles are only marginally faster and more difficult to shoot down than a V1 missile in WW2. They aren't going to get through any air defence network, and everybody is going to know that which is going to massively reduce the deterence effect.

5) Accept that pretty much all British vessels aren't going to be able to dock anywhere ever, because we won't want to say that they aren't carrying nuclear weapons even if they aren't as by exception it would show which ships had nuclear weapons deployed onboard.

6) Accept that due to the above nuclear weapons are only going to be deployed when there is a crisis...

7) Leading to news stories such as "amongst deteriorating relations with %country% nuclear weapons were equipped on %warship%. This is of course going to either cause relations to go further downhill or encourage somebody to nuke our ports first to prevent our weapons being sent to sea. :/

I'd like to note that The Guardian produces good material on many subjects, but when it comes to military matters the standard of their reporting falls far below the standard you'd expect in either the Daily Mail or The Sun.

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Re: sub-launched nuclear armed cruise missiles

Not to mention that firing ICBMs with conventional warheads will still make the red telephones ring very quickly. Try convincing russia and china that they arent nukes.....

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Re: sub-launched nuclear armed cruise missiles

Couldn't we just ask Israel for a quick look at the nuclear-tipped cruise missiles they almost certainly (don't) have?

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Re: sub-launched nuclear armed cruise missiles

"4) Accept that cruise missiles are only marginally faster and more difficult to shoot down than a V1 missile in WW2."

Not true; V1's were ~100 kts slower than current subsonic cruise missiles and couldn't employ indirect routing and very low altitude terrain-following (the V1 was only a 'cruise' missile in the sense that it 'cruised' under continuous power; it was essentially just an unguided missile that could hold a heading and used a timer to bring it down on to its target)

But in any case, new supersonic and hypersonic (and in some examples, stealthy) cruise missiles are currently being developed/tested.

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Been saying that too, save a lot of money. Put the army on infrastructure duties, fixing our roads, building railways, bridges, communities. Downsize the UK, we are NOT an empire any more!

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Re: sub-launched nuclear armed cruise missiles

So we would need to:-

1) Design and build new cruise missiles.

2) Design and build new nuclear warheads for the cruise missiles.

This is somehow going to be a quick and cheap option...?

It would be a whole lot cheaper than buying and maintaining a replacement for Trident. Given the overkill principles that necessarily underlie ballistic defences, the same thing can be applied to a cruise system - that you don't have to hit any precise target, you simply have to have the ability to make a material fraction of the aggressor country's territory unliveable. That's rather hard to defend against.

Detente and deterrence are powerful and (so far) effective concepts, but they don't have to rely on high cost state, state of the art ballistic systems and MRVs.

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Put the army on infrastructure duties,

Why use disciplined, well trained squaddies?

Despite the fact that half of eastern europe managed to relocate and find a job here, there's 1.7 million largely native Brit f***ers claiming that they're unemployed, can't find a job and need to be supported by the sate. Idle b@stards.

I'd happily pay them the dole, so long as THEY are fixing roads,railways, bridges etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Downsize the UK, we are NOT an empire any more!

The downside with that plan is you might end up being part of someone's else empire.

It's always good to have some teeth to bare...

(Autocorrect likes "someone's else", so I'll go along)

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Re: sub-launched nuclear armed cruise missiles

"1) Design and build new cruise missiles.

2) Design and build new nuclear warheads for the cruise missiles."

No comment on the sanity of nuclear cruise missiles, but...

The Royal Navy bought Tomahawk missiles in 1995, and all Navy subs are Tomahawk capable. And the Tomahawk could carry a nuclear warhead, though the US retired all nuclear Tomahawks in 2013 or earlier.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomahawk_(missile)

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