back to article Yes, British F-35 engines must be sent to Turkey for overhaul

Britain’s F-35B fighter jets currently cost around $123m each – and British officials are quite content that the only engine overhaul facility for the stealth aircraft’s engines is located in Turkey. The House of Commons’ Defence Committee questioned British ministers, civil servants and senior officers on the F-35 purchase …

  1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Turkey is a NATO country.

    But probably not for much longer.

    "Single point of failure"? Words, just words...

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Turkey is a NATO country.

      It's not a single point of failure, it's just the only place in Europe the engines can be serviced. You could always ship them to the US, but the postage is probably more.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        IT Angle

        Re: Turkey is a NATO country.

        "it's just the only place in Europe the engines can be serviced"

        I'm sure Turkey isn't the only place in Europe that has the technical capability to service the engines, especially as the front part of the VTOL system for the F-35B that the UK is buying was developed in the UK. In fact, Rolls-Royce developed an alternative engine for the F-35, but in the end the contract went to a US company.

        This is purely a political move, in exactly the same way as putting the avionics refurbishment centre in North Wales was a political decision. The US needed other countries to buy the F-35 to increase the total number built, which would hopefully reduce the price down from "godawful" to merely "eye-watering", so as an inducement they farmed out lucrative repair contracts to various countries. The UK gets avionics, The Netherlands gets landing gear, Australia gets life-support etc.

        This way the UK government gets happy defence contractors (always handy for the MoD worker looking for a comfy retirement gig), and safeguards a bunch of jobs somewhere that they'd like some more votes (lucky Sealand) and the RAF gets some planes. OK, maybe not the planes they wanted, but that's not really the politicians concern.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: Turkey is a NATO country.

          Having done some research it looks like Turkey is just the first place in Europe to build an engine overhaul facility, Norway and the Netherlands are due to have one each on line by ~2020 as well. There's an anticipated need for 3 overhaul lines in the Europe region and countries bid to host one, on the grounds that it's about a $1B investment for the country involved. So it's entirely possible we'll be shipping the engines across the North Sea rather than to Southern Europe.

          I don't think there's anything to stop the UK doing all its overhaul work itself, except for the substantial investment involved.

          1. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: Turkey is a NATO country.

            I don't think there's anything to stop the UK doing all its overhaul work itself, except for the substantial investment involved.

            ...or that it might be a breech of the terms of the purchase contract.

            Sure, the UK might have the technical ability to perform overhauls, but they might be missing the legal - contractual, patent licensing and copyright licenses - to do so. Not to mention possible software keys to also do so. For example, replacing a component on the engine might be detected by the engine firmware or aircraft flight/control systems, and might refuse to function until the appropriate license key is entered to show that it is an approved repair - a key only supplied to approved repairers like the Turkish.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Turkey is a NATO country.

              That's not the way that works. Installed component removed, one drawn from spares reinstalled, then fly until all the gripes are signed off. Hopefully without injuring or killing someone along the way. Our local California Air National Guard unit [F-16's], and squadrons of Navy planes of all sorts to the south do it all the time. A bit of entertainment in my daily routine.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Happy

          Re: Turkey is a NATO country.

          "OK, maybe not the planes they wanted, but that's not really the politicians concern."

          For some reason, I read your comment in the voice of Rt Hon Jim Hacker MP.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Turkey is a NATO country.

          "The UK gets avionics, The Netherlands gets landing gear, Australia gets life-support etc."

          It does rather sound like these aircraft are going to spend a significant amount of their service life being shuttled around the world for various service, repair and upgrades. I wonder how many hours of airframe life span will be "wasted"?

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Turkey is a NATO country.

        I have to wonder, "why Turkey"... and if the reasons are POLITICAL, from the previous administration.

        AND, will the NEW administration "fix that" for ya? Hopefully, yes.

      3. mosw

        Re: Turkey is a NATO country.

        "You could always ship them to the US, but the postage is probably more."

        What, no Amazon prime membership?

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Turkey is a NATO country. But probably not for much longer.

      Texit?

  2. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Turkey shoot

    Erdogan must be overjoyed that he can carry on being an arsehole to his people, knowing that he's got several European NATO members over a barrel.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Turkey shoot

      the problem is he's being an arsehole to people that are Turkish but he doesn't consider them to be his people.

      If you haven't seen the footage of his 'bodyguards' beating the shit out of peaceful protesters including women in Washington DC it's a sight to behold and a reflection of the 'beat the fuckers up' approach he seems to take to everyone he sees as a dissenter.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7S2f-FwAf0

      Calling Merkel a Nazi didn't exactly help his public relations persona....

      He's another one of the 'rise of the demagogue' we seem to be seeing more and more these days.

    2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Turkey shoot

      Erdogan has Europe over a barrel on numerous fronts, the F-35 engines being one of the least important.

      1) What Europe, you want to sanction me for becoming a tinpot islamist strongman? Hmmm, all of a sudden our refugee facilities are full and hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees are streaming into the Balkans

      2) What NATO? You want to cut down military procurement and cooperation with us? Well, it looks like there is a sudden increase in Russian ships being allowed through the Bosporus, and top-secret weapons data is finding is way to Moscow.

      Etc., etc.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Nice plane

      Pity someone was careless and got the steps embedded in the fuselage.

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Nice plane

        Yup, plane stupid if you ask me...

        1. macjules Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Nice plane

          I think having a director called 'Steve Over' is just asking for it. Imagine if he had been christened Roger ...

          1. AceRimmer1980
            Coat

            Re: Nice plane

            What's our vector, Victor?

    2. Scroticus Canis
      Unhappy

      Re: Castle Air Museum.

      So this is one of the ones already serviced in Turkey? And all we got back were the bloody tyres?

      (excellent link Symon)

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      "But probably not for much longer."

      Ho ho ho.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Castle Air Museum.

      looks pretty stealthy to me!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Castle Air Museum.

      Interesting shot,so well cloaked not even a shadow.

      Can I get that system for my motorcycle :-)

    6. Antonx2

      Re: Castle Air Museum.

      Oddly enough, the "shadow" of the plane in the photo is actually brighter than the rest of the area, so does this stealth feature cause a bright spot to appear in the sky as the plane flies overhead?

  4. wolfetone Silver badge

    "The problem here is the different parts of the aircraft become supersonic at different times..."

    Can someone explain this to me? As I think he's talking shite.

    1. 1Rafayal

      well, its possible that the back of the plane is flying faster than the front of the plane, or vice versa

      depends how elastic the air frame I suppose.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Localised airflow. For example, air flowing over the top of the wing flows faster than air flowing underneath, which generates lift.

      2. frank ly

        I have a feeling that it's to do with the details of shockwave build-up on different parts of the aircraft at different speeds and he's using that as the definition of 'going supersonic'. I think he's consulted experts and then simplified what they told him.

    2. SkippyBing Silver badge

      'Can someone explain this to me? As I think he's talking shite.'

      It's the airflow he's really talking about. As air is accelerated over various parts of the airframe, the upper surface of the wings, probably the canopy, the localised airflow reaches Mach 1 before the aircraft as a whole does. Hence the Transonic region which is something like M0.8 to M1.X*, why above M1.0, well the air is also slowed over some regions of the airframe so is still going subsonic when the aircraft isn't.

      Early supersonic aircraft had more problems in the transonic region than the either side of it, although these days with area ruling it's less of a problem. With the F-35 I'd imagine the flight control system masks any issues from the pilot.

      *Where I can't remember what X is typically.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "With the F-35 I'd imagine the flight control system masks any issues from the pilot."

        Except the reports seem to be saying the handling turns to s**t around this range.

        Which for what is a 4th (or 5th) Generation supersonic vehicle does not sound good.

        Let me guess the RAF advice will be "don't get into situations where you fly at prolonged periods at transonic speeds "

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: "With the F-35 I'd imagine the flight control system masks any issues from the pilot."

          'Except the reports seem to be saying the handling turns to s**t around this range.'

          I haven't read the report although I recall it being a bit of an issue a few years back, however when the say the handling is degraded in the transonic region that may be from an engineers point of view, where it is but that doesn't prevent it being masked from the pilot. In the F-35 you move the controls and the aircraft figures out how to do what you've asked, there's no fighting with the stick to make the aircraft behave if you don't move it the flight control software will do its utmost to keep you pointing in the same direction.

          Incidentally avoiding prolonged flight in the transonic region isn't a bad idea as drag reaches a peak before you become fully supersonic at around M1.2.

        2. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: "With the F-35 I'd imagine the flight control system masks any issues from the pilot."

          > Let me guess the RAF advice will be "don't get into situations where you fly at prolonged periods at transonic speeds "

          Not sure that flying at trans sonic speeds has been a thing ever. Super sonic burns too much fuel and dogfights tend to happen below the trans sonic threshold.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge

      The speed of sound is dependant upon air pressure, so it changes by altitude. Most of the time the tip of the stabiliser is higher in the sky than the belly of the aircraft.

      (I'm not even clutching at straws. I'm just being silly.)

      1. Dr_Cynic

        The speed of sound in air is NOT dependent on pressure, only on temperature and composition of the air.

        1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

          "The speed of sound in air is NOT dependent on pressure, only on temperature and composition of the air."

          I refer you to wikipedia. it's dependent upon √ (dp/dρ). Although for an ideal gas, which expands isentropically, it only depends upon temperature, and for everyday use air doesn't depart enough from ideal to really worry about pressure.

        2. boltar Silver badge

          "The speed of sound in air is NOT dependent on pressure, only on temperature and composition of the air."

          Not entirely true. If the air pressure and hence density is so low that gas molecules have little chance of hitting each other and hence passing on sound waves then the speed of sound is close to or at zero.

          1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

            "

            Not entirely true. If the air pressure and hence density is so low that gas molecules have little chance of hitting each other and hence passing on sound waves then the speed of sound is close to or at zero.

            "

            No, that does not affect the speed of sound at all, it affects how much the sound is *attenuated* over a given distance. At infinite attenuation (e.g. a vacuum) there is no sound at all and therefore its speed is meaningless.

          2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            @boltar "Not entirely true. If the air pressure and hence density is so low that gas molecules have little chance of hitting each other and hence passing on sound waves then the speed of sound is close to or at zero."

            To put flesh on what Cynic_999 says, the speed of sound in the interstellar medium is around 1000m/s (at 100K), about three times faster than the speed of sound through air at ground level on earth. And it gets faster the hotter the medium gets.

            1. Robert Sneddon

              Speed of sound

              The speed of sound in a gas varies with temperature, hardly with pressure (there is a slight variation since gases are not Ideal). It also varies depending on the gas -- the speed of sound is a lot higher in hydrogen at room temperature than air (1270m/s vs. 330m/s). The interstellar medium is mostly hydrogen, I believe so even if it's a lot cooler than Earth's biosphere then the speed of sound will still be a lot higher higher than in air at STP.

              The guns with the highest muzzle velocity use hot hydrogen behind the projectiles since the speed of sound is the limiting factor determining the final muzzle velocity (i.e. the speed of the pressure pulse behind the projectile).

            2. Schultz

              Careful when comparing space to earth

              "the speed of sound in the interstellar medium is around 1000m/s (at 100K)"

              The speed of sound of typical air at normal temperature (some 25C, or 300K) on Earth is some 300m/s. The speed of sound in the interstellar medium will be much higher despite the low temperature because the medium consists mostly of hydrogen gas and the speed definitely changes with the molecular mass. If you want to verify that last bit, inhale some helium and try to give your best Dearth Vader impression.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Not entirely true. If the air pressure and hence density is so low that gas molecules have little chance of hitting each other and hence passing on sound waves then the speed of sound is close to or at zero."

            If the wings fall off no one can hear you scream, then again; who needs wings in outer space?

            For those with an hour to spare, this is an interesting lecture by Dr. Holger Babinsky, Cambridge University Engineering Department: "Common misconceptions on lift"

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWdNEGr53Gw

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Errrr....

          pressure is a factor of temperature and composition (I'm not sure if you mean density here or the relative individual components of the air at different altitudes).

          If you've ever tried to make a cup of tea on a high mountain you'll know what I mean.

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Errrr....

            "pressure is a factor of temperature and composition"

            Not only. The number of molecules of a fluid in a given space - ie density - matters. Why do you think the pressure under water rises so much quicker than in the atmosphere? The temperature is similar and water molecules are lighter than N2 or O2 molecules which make up most of the atmosphere.

          2. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: Errrr....

            If you've ever tried to make a cup of tea on a high mountain while traveling at exactly mach 1 you'll know what I mean.

            FTFY

      2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        "

        The speed of sound is dependant upon air pressure, so it changes by altitude. Most of the time the tip of the stabiliser is higher in the sky than the belly of the aircraft.

        "

        The speed of sound is not in fact affected by air pressure - but it is affected significantly by temperature.

        The parts of the aircraft that are facing the airflow (nosecone, leading edges of wings & tail) have a huge increase in pressure - but as said this is not the thing that directly affects the speed of sound. What does affect it is the fact that when you compress air that much in a fraction of a second it heats up. A lot. Then there's frictional heating as the air passes over the skin of the aircraft, which at supersonic speeds in not inconsiderable.

        The higher the temperature, the faster the speed of sound.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. collinsl

        Yes and no - the plane is travelling at the same speed, but the relative speed of the air hitting it may be different.

        For example take the SR-71 Blackbird. It has adjustable cones on the front of it's engines, which are used to deflect the air at supersonic speeds away from the engine intakes so the air that does come in is moving subsonically and doesn't destroy the engines.

        This is also true of Concorde, which uses flaps in the engine intakes instead.

      2. Atomic Duetto

        Perhaps on the African swallow, however this is a European swallow

    5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Can someone explain this to me? As I think he's talking shite.

      He is not. Basic aerodynamics - the airflow above the wing is faster than the airflow under the wing. There are a few other places where you get similar picture - air intake, etc.

      The control problem is related - most modern fighter aircraft rotate a whole "fin" in the tail or a whole canard (not a flap on its end) for control purposes. That immediately creates or alters a subsonic on one side, supersonic on the other side airflow situation. The fact that the aircraft is inherently unstable as all stealth fighters adds insult to injury and you are in a position where you start praying to the mother of the programmer who wrote the flight control software. Or swearing at her.

      1. Steve the Cynic

        "most modern fighter aircraft rotate a whole "fin" in the tail or a whole canard (not a flap on its end) for control purposes"

        Mostly because it prevents extra shock waves at the elevator hinge, but also as a means of reducing control forces at supersonic speeds.

        The Unreliable Source has a readable description, although I refuse to guarantee its accuracy.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stabilator

      2. Adam 52 Silver badge

        "flowing over the top of the wing flows faster than air flowing underneath, which generates lift."

        I do wish people would stop saying this. Aeroplanes, especially fighter jets, can fly upside down.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge
          Pint

          I asked the question because it genuinely sounded daft to me. But I'm glad it's caused debate etc and I now know he wasn't talking shite.

          Here, share this pint, all of you.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          """flowing over the top of the wing flows faster than air flowing underneath, which generates lift."

          I do wish people would stop saying this. Aeroplanes, especially fighter jets, can fly upside down."

          And when they do fly upside down, that's still the case. They fly so that the wing's leading edge is higher to achieve that.

          1. Adam 52 Silver badge

            "They fly so that the wing's leading edge is higher to achieve that."

            Has a marginal effect on lift. The newtonian reaction of a big wing hitting a huge great mass of air at high speed is much more significant.

          2. SkippyBing Silver badge

            """flowing over the top of the wing flows faster than air flowing underneath, which generates lift."

            I do wish people would stop saying this. Aeroplanes, especially fighter jets, can fly upside down."

            That is literally what happens, what doesn't happen is the production of a big enough pressure differential to lift the airframe. What actually happens* is that the air over the top flows faster than the air underneath and gets to the rear of the wing first, this then causes a downward flow of air at the trailing edge the mass of which is the same or greater than that of the aircraft causing an equal and opposite reaction and hence lift. Flip upside down and the same thing happens just with a equal** or lesser level of efficiency due to the shape of the wing.

            *According to NASA, most pilot's licence exams still require the wrong answer.

            **Assuming a symmetrical aerofoil.

            1. Adam 52 Silver badge

              "According to NASA, "

              Not according to this NASA:

              https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/airplane/bernnew.html

              1. SkippyBing Silver badge

                'Not according to this NASA:

                https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/airplane/bernnew.html'

                Fifth paragraph of the link where they talk about a 'a net turning of the gas flow' that's the bit I'm talking about.

                Which they then expand on here

                https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/airplane/right2.html

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Flying upside down

          While this is true, are you aware that an aircraft flying upside down, for anything more then a few seconds, has to fly at an angle of attack to ensure that air flowing over the skyward (up) facing part of the wing causes the air flowing over the ground (down) facing part of the wing achieves the same effect as a 'normal' wing shape?

          Here's a good example......

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WpWH5jHfZA

          Notice the nose is pointing more skyward then the tail.

        4. Holtsmark

          If you turn the aircraft upside down, the air flowing over the upper (formerly lower) surface of the wing will still flow faster. This can be acheived by most airfoils (including a flat plate) by adjusting the angle of attack properly (point the nose of the aircraft somewhat upwards). If memory serves me right, approximately 2/3 of the lift is generated by suction over the upper surface (air flowing faster than ambient airflow) and 1/3 by overpressure (air moving slower than ambient airflow) over the lower surface. This again varies with the airfoil in use.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            If you turn the aircraft upside down, the pilot invariable falls out.

            GI Joe toys weren't very realistic.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Supersonic

      It's not shite, although you'd have to know a bit about aerodynamics to know what was meant here. 'Supersonic', in this context, refers to the speed of the airflow around different parts of the aircraft and not the overall speed of the aircraft, either over the ground or through the air.

      When air has to pass around an object within it, that air has to change the rate at which it flows and the degree to which it changes depends upon the shape of the object and its relation to other parts of the object if that object has a complex shape. An aircraft has a very complex shape and this means that the airflow around different parts of the aircraft will be at different speeds; in the transonic region, where you're close to the speed of sound, this can mean that some on areas of the aircraft the airflow will be supersonic whilst on other areas it will remain subsonic.

    7. smudge Silver badge
      Boffin

      "The problem here is the different parts of the aircraft become supersonic at different times..."

      It utilises the same engineering principles as the Douglas DC-3, which was memorably described as "a collection of parts flying in loose formation".

    8. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      FAIL

      I think he's talking shite.

      It seems odd to me that he would be admitting to an issue which didn't exist, which pilots have themselves described.

      It sounds reasonable to me and I bet I'm not the only person to have found themselves face-planting the ground when running so fast their legs can't keep up.

      I am more intrigued with what happens when we have an F-35 with a damaged wing and a damaged engine. How we solve that one when engines need repairing in Turkey, the wing needs repairing elsewhere. Do we turn to FedEx in time of war?

      Seems we've put everything else in America's egg basket. It is utterly ludicrous to put the defence of Britain in foreign hands. Oddly it seems the Take Back Control brigade are the ones most in favour of that.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        It is utterly ludicrous to put the defence of Britain in foreign hands.

        It is not the defence of Britain.

        It is the rightful and appropriate function for Airstrip 1 defending Oceania.

        If you have any other questions, make sure you do not ask them too loud - Big Brother is watching.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          It is not the defence of Britain.

          This is true. It's all about making sure that the shareholders of the aircraft manufacturers continue to get their proper dividends. And that nice, cushy jobs still exist in the arms industry for ex-ministers and military types.

      2. Baldrickk Silver badge

        F-35 with a damaged wing and a damaged engine.

        I would expect that we have skilled enough mechanics to extract the engine from the airframe and send it separately for overhaul.

        1. 's water music Silver badge

          Re: F-35 with a damaged wing and a damaged engine.

          I would expect that we have skilled enough mechanics to extract the engine from the airframe and send it separately for overhaul.

          If they have those skillz then sure it isn't beyond them to carefully replace it into the original packaging, claim it was like that when it arrived and try for a refund

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "Oddly it seems the Take Back Control brigade are the ones most in favour of that."

        Funny how that works, is it not?

        This is another example of how "The Special Relationship"* works

        *(C Rabid Xenophobia Publications T/A The Daily Heil)

    9. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
      Coat

      "The problem here is the different parts of the aircraft become supersonic at different times..."

      Can someone explain this to me? As I think he's talking shite.

      He's saying the F-35 is an helicopter

      1. AdrianMontagu

        Blind leading the blind !

    10. Sanguma

      "The problem here is the different parts of the aircraft become supersonic at different times..."

      When I read this I thought, what parts, and where. There was an interceptor the Convair Delta Dagger where this was a major problem. Google for "Area Ruling Supersonic Flight" for some info on this. I think one Geoffrey De Havilland met a nasty occurrence of this when it made the DH 108 he was flying, break up in mid-flight. It certainly made flying the Hawker Typhoon a dicey experience at altitude, according to the histories.

      If Lockheed know what they are doing, it need cause no more damage than localized heating: if they don't know what they are doing - and at times that is the impression they give - it's "goodnight nurse" for the pilot.

      1. Citizen99
        Linux

        Off-topic, but it reminds me of an anecdote from an ex-RAF colleague at work.

        AVRO Shackleton approaching east coast of US. Two Delta Daggers appear behind to shepherd them in.

        Pilot to Captain "Would you like me to lose them Sir ?"

        "Go ahead".

        Pilot throttles Shackleton back to just above stalling speed.

        The debrief after landing was not the most harmonious ever.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Starting to make sense now

    Brexit and this F-35 fiasco is starting to make sense to me now; once the UK is out of Europe it can become a state of the U.S.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Starting to make sense now

      Become?

      1. mics39
        Meh

        Re: Starting to make sense now

        State? Never in a million years. Just a Puerto Rico in eastern Atlantic.

        Throw us some paper towels over here!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Starting to make sense now

      There's a long history of the US military aircraft manufacturers managing to "pull off" deals in Europe which were either astonishing strokes of luck, or good old fashioned corruption and bribery...

      The Starfighter to Germany, a roll for which it was totally unsuited, and actually lethal in several cases immediately comes to mind, but there have been many others, which resulted in the UK going from a world leading military plane manufacturer to a consumer of US planes in only a few decades. Hell, the US bought all the Harriers the UK scrapped for spares, because their Marines still appreciated their abilities! This left the UK with nothing to launch off the catapult lacking carriers, and ripe for F-35 sales!

      I'm amazed the US hasn't bought Rolls Royce and then scrapped it just to stop the UK having cutting edge engine knowledge.

      1. Lyndon Hills 1

        The Starfighter to Germany, a role for which it was totally unsuited

        and to quote smudge's post

        memorably described as "a collection of parts flying in loose formation".

        very loose in the case of the Starfighter.

        Must listen to Captain Lockheed again

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: The Starfighter to Germany, a role for which it was totally unsuited

          Best ever use for a Starfighter.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Thumb Up

          "Must listen to Captain Lockheed again"

          I have not heard of this item before.

          Intriguing.

          The Register. Come for the IT, stay for the album recs.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "The Starfighter to Germany, "

        Made by the predecessor to LM, mfg of the F35

        In fact LM (and it's predecessors) has something of a record where (whoever won the contract) they ended up building the aircraft that flew (starting with the F104 and the SR71).

        Funny how that's worked, is it not?

        1. Kurt Meyer

          Re: "The Starfighter to Germany, "

          @ John Smith 19

          "In fact LM (and it's predecessors) has something of a record where (whoever won the contract) they ended up building the aircraft that flew (starting with the F104 and the SR71)."

          John, I'm not sure I follow your reasoning, the F-104 and the SR-71 were each designed and built by Lockheed.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Starting to make sense now

      "....once the UK is out of Europe it can become a state of the U.S"

      Aware you are jesting, but as an academic exercise, it's interesting. The UK (or England if the 4 nations obtained statehood separately) would instantly become the largest, wealthiest state in the union. Massive downsides to the UK though, especially Amendment 2. One serious benefit for the entire world : the republican party would cease to exist as a viable force. Admitting the UK would be like having a second, larger, more powerful, even more liberal California (with shitter weather), returning a huge amount of ultra-liberal representatives and electoral college votes. The existing California annoys Republicans enough already, so I understand.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: Starting to make sense now

        'The UK (or England if the 4 nations obtained statehood separately) would instantly become the largest, wealthiest state in the union.'

        Although oddly I believe the poorest in terms of GDP/capita or possibly comparative purchasing power.

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

          Re: Starting to make sense now

          The "UK poorer than Alabama" thing is a myth:

          http://time.com/3198225/britain-poorest-state/

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: Starting to make sense now

            'The "UK poorer than Alabama" thing is a myth:'

            Thanks for that, good to know.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Starting to make sense now

        Don't be silly...they'll never let us be a State.

        Instead we'll get renamed Puerto Britainia.

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: Starting to make sense now

          Instead we'll get renamed Puerto Britainia.
          That's what I was thinking, an unincorporated territory rather than a state.

    4. Pete4000uk

      Re: Starting to make sense now

      Your catching on! Its all worked out you know

    5. Sanguma

      Re: Starting to make sense now

      It's a bloody territory in close association, rather like a glorified version of Puerto Rico on the other side of the Atlantic.

    6. Hey Nonny Nonny Mouse

      Re: Starting to make sense now

      We've long been known as the 51st state.

  6. SkippyBing Silver badge

    DoD Contracting

    The Joint Programme Office are negotiating the price for everyone so it's not just the UK. I believe the idea is if you ask for 3000 of something you get a better rate than if you only order 140, so everyone's clubbed together.

    Plus if the MoD's usual performance when it comes to buying stuff is anything to go by, we can't be any worse off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DoD Contracting

      Plus if the MoD's usual performance when it comes to buying stuff is anything to go by, we can't be any worse off.

      Other than that we're ending up buying a crap US redesign of the shitty-in-the-first place Yak 141, a concept so poor that the Russians were happy to sell the IP to Boeing. UK content is trivial, so we're busy importing something that doesn't work, that we can't afford, and will be overhauled by an untrustworthy nation veering towards third world autocracy, one that's playing the US and Russia off against each other.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: DoD Contracting

        'UK content is trivial'

        It's about 20% which I'd argue isn't trivial.

        The rest of your comment is only correct on a scale of 1 to the Daily Mail.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: DoD Contracting

          It's about 20% which I'd argue isn't trivial.

          15% of manufactured content according to Lockheed Martin across all global sales, which isn't quite trivial, I'd agree. But when they include GE Aviation as part of the UK value content, I start to smell a rat. Given that the factories actually making the aircraft and the engines are in the US, Italy and Japan, I really can't see that the UK contribution would be anything like that, unless the F35 programme is something like 50% international content. This is a US aircraft for the US military. Do you believe for one moment that they are handing half the value to foreign companies, and making themselves dependent upon those companies and countries? I suspect that the international content is being wildly over-claimed to every prospective purchaser, and includes low margin, low tech offset deals to boot.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: DoD Contracting

            'Do you believe for one moment that they are handing half the value to foreign companies, and making themselves dependent upon those companies and countries?'

            Production offsets are fairly typical in military contracts. In this case I believe there are very few parts that aren't made in the US (rear fuselage sections are I think 100% UK built and Rolls-Royce do all the lift fans) but that other production centres also exist. So for instance an F-35 made in Japan may have more non-US parts than a US assembled one, ditto for the Italian production line. So the US isn't dependent on the other countries, but there's enough overseas work to keep them happy.

      2. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: DoD Contracting

        UK content is trivial, so we're busy importing something that doesn't work, that we can't afford, and will be overhauled by an untrustworthy nation veering towards third world autocracy, one that's playing the US and Russia off against each other.

        Pretty much. The biggest problem with the F35 is pork barrel politics. Because of the UK's workshare on the jet we are going to make more money through buying thouse 138 aircraft through making parts for all 3k+ F35's that we'd save by not buying it. Militarily it's an abomination.

        http://aviationweek.com/shownews/rolls-royce-snags-work-uk-f-35-engines

        That said, it seems that Rolls Royce can do the engine maintenance as well as the other countries listed, so we are probably pretty well off compared to many other countries maintenance wise.

      3. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: DoD Contracting

        "crap US redesign of the shitty-in-the-first place Yak 141"

        If it is a redesign of the Yak-41 then they've made an awful lot of changes. The wings and fuselage being an obvious one. And the number of engines. And the lift fan. And the avionics.

        Not that the -41 was a bad aircraft, they just didn't have the money.

      4. 's water music Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: DoD Contracting

        we're busy importing something that doesn't work, that we can't afford, and will be overhauled by an untrustworthy nation veering towards third world autocracy

        Wait, what? Are saying it would be better for the engine overhaul to be in Blighty or Turkey?

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: DoD Contracting

      Yes, because the US Department of Defense itself has a positively stellar record when it comes to getting value for money in procurement… aka as Augustine's Laws

      If you want competitive prices then you need multiple suppliers. Also multiple purchasers help establish the market price.

      As for servicing: in a country in a customs union you're planning to leave?

      Might as well admit: these are US planes that the UK is planning to lease.

  7. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

    Special Relationship

    Once again I find myself questioning what is so special about the UK's relationship with the US.

    The spin applied tries to gloss over it, but to me it seems that the words "special" and "abusive" seem to be inter-changeable in this context. You know, just like how Tina and Ike Turner had a "special" relationship.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just goes to show that with neoliberal governments the job of defence is to make a packet for shareholders not to actually defend us. Utterly mad decision to put anything in the hands of Turkey that is rapidly moving towards a fundamentalist Islamic state. Shall we get the Taliban to service our tanks while we're at it ?

  9. alain williams Silver badge

    Total cost ...

    Multiply $123m unit cost by 138 quantity and I get $17 billion (£13 billion). How many hospitals is that ?

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Total cost ...

      Quite a few, but they have a different use. Can you imagine telling ISIS "If you don't start behaving we're going to build and staff several hospitals in your country" Obviously that would have a very different result that threatening to send some F35s.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Total cost ...

        Quite a few, but they have a different use. Can you imagine telling ISIS "If you don't start behaving we're going to build and staff several hospitals in your country" Obviously that would have a very different result that threatening to send some F35s.

        No, the result will be the same: they'll die laughing, and you'll go bankrupt.

        If, on the other hand, you send some A-10 Warthogs, Su-25s, or even AC-130s, you might get their undivided attention for the remaining few seconds of their lives. F-35 is simply the wrong plane for the job: too expensive to operate, and with all the wrong capabilities.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Total cost ...

        > Can you imagine telling ISIS "If you don't start behaving we're going to build and staff several hospitals in your country"

        If you made that a promise if they do behave, you could pretty much guarantee the local populations would ensure they actually did.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Total cost ...

          If you made that a promise if they do behave, you could pretty much guarantee the local populations would ensure they actually did.

          That was pretty much the idea behind the Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan.

          We all know how well that is working out. Sometimes, the only thing the locals want is for you to get the hell out, and take your toys with you.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: the only thing the locals want is for you to get the hell out, ...

            Locals are rarely always all in agreement. And it doesn't necessarily even matter if 95% of the locals do somehow want to agree with you (and/or your hospital/ school/ water supply/ etc), ... especially if the other 5% are armed, aggressive, ruthless, and disagree.

          2. Adam 52 Silver badge

            Re: Total cost ...

            "Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan.

            We all know how well that is working out. "

            It's worked out quite well. They've left behind working infrastructure now manned by local stuff.

            Sure they haven't miraculously created world peace but life is a lot better for them having been there and they may well have helped prop up the Afghan government and prevented Afghanistan turning into Somalia.

      3. Daedalus Silver badge

        Re: Total cost ...

        You don't need stealthy F-35's to take out ISIS. AC-130 gunships are the weapons of choice for adversaries without significant anti-air capability. And that's the problem: gearing up for a war we're not likely to ever fight, or if we do then a few dozen stealth aircraft aren't going to last long anyway.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Total cost ...

        True. But the death toll would be about the same.

      5. Sanguma

        Re: Total cost ... Quite a few, but they have a different use.

        Well, if you threatened to send over the admin staff and assorted bureaucrats, I imagine ISIS would commit suicide in quite large numbers. Kinda like The Life of Brian's Suicide Attack

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRJlo2WRDbw

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Total cost ...

      Haven't you heard? The EU is going to pay for the UK's hospitals from now on.

  10. GrumpyOldBloke

    If we could get the F35 canopy managed by North Korea, the undercarriage by China, the exhaust cowls by Iran and the control surfaces by Russia then we could have world peace! Maybe that's the key that we have been missing all these years. Take something completely useless but indispensable and give everyone a part share in the outcome.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Brilliant idea. We can call it the Mundo-fighter, and make it mandatory that it's the only aircraft that anyone can use.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Could we get the Chineese

      to build lots of little islands - save us a fortune in carriers.

  11. H in The Hague

    Making life easier - for an adversary

    I seem to remember that a year or two ago that nice Mr. Farage and that leading foreign affairs specialist Boris Johnson warned us about how terrible the Turks were, about to overrun the UK, and how we should vote to Take Back Control. I would be most interested to hear their take on this development. Taking back control - who from?

    More seriously, I know v little about warfare, but I gather that taking out key logistics elements such as refineries, bridges, etc. is a relatively easy way to incapacitate an adversary. Having all the engines serviced at a single hub, on the periphery of NATO territory, makes that even easier (for our adversary, not for us). No need for an aerial bombardment of the hub, just need to persuade one employee to bring a bomb, conventional or chemical, to work. Anyone qualified to comment on that?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Making life easier - for an adversary

      A little history: in the Falklands War the Argentine airforce flew French planes armed with French missiles. However, they had neither nor the licence nor the know-how to repair stuff or make new ones and the French government refused to supply them. So, yes, battlefield capability depends upon logistics.

      In practice, some kind of resource pooling for modern weapons is essential because of their complexity and price. This one of the reasons behind the proposed "European Defence Force" and even the aircraft carriers being shared by the UK and France and some NATO initiatives. Turkey makes sense for some stuff if the job is bombing somewhere in the Middle East. But, as the recent spat between Germany and Turkey over the AWACS stationed there has shown, you can very quickly lose access: Germany has since moved the AWACS planes to Jordan because the Turkish repeatedly denied MPs access to the base. Obviously, something like this would never happen to the UK…

      But more fundamentally, does the UK really need the F35s that it can neither afford nor maintain?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Making life easier - for an adversary

        But more fundamentally, does the UK really need the F35s that it can neither afford nor maintain?

        Clearly not. By the time we get the F35s in any number (under our control) it will have been the fat end of a decade that the UK has had no carrier launched aircraft. Which begs the question of what is the purpose and function of the UK military, when they have got by for years without these assets, but insist on having to choose between toys because they won't buy simple, cheaper versions where they might then have a full set.

        One or two carriers are of no use for coastal defence of the British Isles, and (judging by the evidence) of little use in international civil emergencies. In a real war against a serious opponent they'd be very vulnerable other than as part of an armed to the teeth NATO battlegroup ('cos the RN don't have sufficient escort ships if doing anything else at the same time). There's a use case for raining death on primitives in far off lands, but I don't think that 'Stan, Iraq, Libya or Syria show any positive outcomes for locals or western security from this type of action, so perhaps we can rule out "force projection".

        The only real use I can see is for sometimes convincing other people that we are serious and could cause trouble if we wanted to. In this respect it is worth recalling that the Argentinians decided to invade the Falklands because they believed from MoD cost cutting that the UK could not and would not mount an action to retake the islands. But that seems unusual - western power (mainly the US 5th and 6th Fleets) hasn't been deterring Iran very much, nor has the 7th Fleet deterred Chinese expansion in the South China Sea, which is largely a fair accompli, likewise Fat Boy Kim is VERY undeterred by the US military.

        On balance, carriers are not much of a deterrent the world over, and that's presumably our main use case for the F35. Humour aside, can anybody think of a valid military use for the F35 and carriers, that justifies the complexity, delay and expense?

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Making life easier - for an adversary

        So, yes, battlefield capability depends upon logistics.

        "Amateurs talk tactics, experts talk strategy. But professionals talk logistics"..

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Making life easier - for an adversary

        Well no, if you're willing to write off the £6bn already committed on the carriers.

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: Making life easier - for an adversary

          Well no, if you're willing to write off the £6bn already committed on the carriers.

          I would like to introduce you to the sunk cost fallacy.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Making life easier - for an adversary

            >> Well no, if you're willing to write off the £6bn already committed on the carriers.

            > I would like to introduce you to the sunk cost fallacy.

            As a reader of the Economist I'd like to introduce you to some concepts that Sunk Cost Fallacy doesn't adequately address.

            1. That 'reputational damage' is an inconsequential cost. This is not true in the real world where subsequent decisions are viewed in light of previous actions. i.e. Why should I believe anything this person says when they can change their mind in an instant after I've committed real world resources. By far the best current example of this I can think of is Herr Drumpf, would you commit resources, at your risk, to anything that man promised even if you had an air tight contract?

            2. That decisions where Sunk Cost is a consideration are taken in a vacuum. You can choose to write off the £6bn for the carriers if you wish. However the 'below the line' intangible costs on things like Navy morale, world perception of Britain (I accept this is highly subjective....but many people still see the Royal Navy as one of the few Blue Water navies in existence) are not easily measured.

            3. That whenever it comes to any economic theory I'm always reminded of the old joke.

            How many economists does it take to plug in a light bulb?

            None.

            Being economists they'll just assume it's still light.

        2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: Making life easier - for an adversary

          "Well no, if you're willing to write off the £6bn already committed on the carriers."

          Might be economically the best route, in the long term.

          Why did the words "Nokia" and "Microsoft" just pop up in my head?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Making life easier - for an adversary

      "No need for an aerial bombardment of the hub, just need to persuade one employee to bring a bomb, conventional or chemical, to work. Anyone qualified to comment on that?"

      As an employee who could be persuaded to carry a bomb into my workplace I believe I am qualified to comment on that.

      The Joke icon is hiding behind the mask ->

    3. YARR

      ...Mr. Farage and ... Boris Johnson warned us about how terrible the Turks were, about to overrun the UK, and how we should vote to Take Back Control. I would be most interested to hear their take on this development. Taking back control - who from?

      This was in relation to leaving the EU so that we can take back control of our borders. If Turkey's application to join the EU was approved, then 80 million Turkish citizens would have the right to live and work in the EU (including the UK). I don't believe that these two issues are connected.

      The dividing of F35 maintenance duties between NATO members is a means to cement political relations for the life of the F35. Any member considering leaving NATO during that time period could face difficulties maintaining their F35 fleet. These maintenance contracts would obviously be reviewed if the political circumstances changed. NATO would not be hampered by them for very long.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy Resolution

    MoD buys a couple of extra engines over and above the current spares plan and when they need to be overhauled you chuck a batch into the back of a C17 and fly them to the US rather than Turkey for the overhaul. You bring the recently overhauled ones back. You're only sending the engine, not the F35 itself. There's not much difference in Turkey/US once you've loaded up the transport and put it into the air.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Easy Resolution

      when they need to be overhauled you chuck a batch into the back of a C17 and fly them to the US rather than Turkey for the overhaul

      I suspect they'd size the overhaul facility for their needs, rather than build it and train the people to duplicate work for other countries. Which means that any UK or other NATO overhauls would need to be done locally, or fitted in to any space capacity that might be available.

  13. Joe Montana

    Turkey

    So the only place that can service the engines of these planes is bordering on the region where these planes are most likely to be fighting...

    So what happens if IS take over or destroy the only service location?

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Turkey

      It's the only engine overhaul centre in Europe, if it gets over run you can use the one in the US.

      And according to this article

      https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/italy-turkey-will-lead-f-35-maintenance-in-europe-407030/

      Norway and the Netherlands should have the same capability by around 2020. If they both get over run we've got other problems to worry about.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Turkey

      -->So the only place that can service the engines of these planes is bordering on the region where these planes are most likely to be fighting...

      -->So what happens if IS take over or destroy the only service location?

      Why the fuck would IS need to overrun the facility in Turkey?

      Surely they'd just call Erdogan and say something like "hey, fundamentalist brother, these shitty 'merkan planes are bombing your theocratic friends, please stop them, thanks'

  14. TeeCee Gold badge
    FAIL

    Well that's just great.

    Outsourcing defence contracts to a country already halfway toward becoming yet another third-world theocratic shithole.

    What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Well that's just great.

      "Outsourcing defence contracts to a country already halfway toward becoming yet another third-world theocratic shithole."

      The US?

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Well that's just great.

        'The US?"

        We can be pretty sure it's time limited in the US at least.

      2. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Well that's just great.

        The US?

        No, they are being bought from that country that is halfway toward becoming yet another third-world theocratic shithole. The maintenance is being outsourced to a different country that is halfway toward becoming yet another third-world theocratic shithole.

      3. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: Well that's just great.

        The US?

        Duh! (s)he said halfway

  15. Commswonk Silver badge
    Devil

    Is Joke, Yes?

    ...other than Labour MP Ruth Smeeth having a pop at DDC – the Ministry of Defence’s Directorate of Defence Communication, its spin doctor battalion...

    Please promise me that you made that bit up; if you didn't then it means that there are so many PR personnel that they need their own effing Directorate.

    No wonder the MoD has no money to spend on, er... defence.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    your health

    Service the plane you dont want and everyone goes mad.

    We are lucky to have Turkey in Nato as they would participate in fighting any war we bumble into.

    Most of the rest of nato is made up of countries with a proven ability to shuffle around at the back with their hands in their pockets.

    All bollox at the end of the day as you will most likely die from a shortage

    of nhs resources due to all the money throw at rubbish like this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: your health

      We are lucky to have Turkey in Nato as they would participate in fighting any war we bumble into.

      No they wouldn't. The only war that NATO's Article 5 could genuinely apply to would be a Russian assault on an EU country. In other circumstances, we've seen various EU+NATO countries make sure that they didn't really join in with various attempts to invoke "collective defence". If a war broke out in Poland, do you think for a moment that Turkey would start to fight the Russians? Not a chance.

      Turkey is in NATO merely for what it can lever out of the EU and the US, not because it needs NATO to defend it against anybody who actually has territorial ambitions, nor has Erdogan got any intention of forming a new front against Russia in the event of a war.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: your health

        Um, Poland is both a member of NATO and the EU.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: your health

      > We are lucky to have Turkey in Nato as they would participate in fighting any war we bumble into.

      That would be same Turkey which has repeatedly tried to drag the rest of NATO into a war against Assad.

      Turkey is a textbook case of "keep your friends close but your enemies closer still", "better to have them pissing out of the tent than pissing in".

  18. Aodhhan Bronze badge

    Lets see

    UK has the sole avionics contract... I don't see 12 nations griping about this.

    Of course, there could be multiple locations to overhaul the engines, which means the cost of paying for extra engine mechanics, location, building new facilities, etc. will be added to the cost of overhauling the engine.

    Wow, I thought politicians in the USA were moronic when it comes to contracting maintenance of military equipment.

    1. Mike Richards

      Re: Lets see

      'UK has the sole avionics contract... I don't see 12 nations griping about this.'

      They don't need to worry about us denying access to the facility because all of our fighter jets will be up on bricks whilst their engines are on a lowloader somewhere near the Bosphorus.

  19. batfink Bronze badge

    The problem here is the different parts of the aircraft become supersonic at different times

    Faaark!!

  20. MJI Silver badge

    EJ2000 too small Trent too big

    So we are a bit stuffed.

  21. Mike Richards

    Jumbo is a very good elephant

    And looks especially fetching in white.

  22. Adair

    The Clown Show continues, and now with added Brexit...

    the entertainment value has gone through the roof. There simply is not enough popcorn to see out this festival of idiocy and incompetence. It doesn't matter though, the audience will die laughing; running out of popcorn is the least of their worries.

  23. Ryan Kendall

    Import Duty

    And how nice for the Americans were not adding a 200% import tax on the planes.

    1. mt_head

      Re: Import Duty

      >> And how nice for the Americans were not adding a 200% import tax on the planes.

      Who would pay it, and to whom?

  24. mt_head

    The F-35 Joint Programme Office is a US Department of Defense body that does not answer to the UK.

    Except in questions of orthography, it would seem.

  25. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Will there be duties to be payed after Brexit?

  26. Steve 114

    'Use-Case'?

    Can anyone with RAF experience (or similar afloat) explain in what conceivable strategic situation these aircraft would be effective, in comparison with half the amount of money spent on missiles / drones / Warthogs / cruise etc etc. Just: what for?

    1. Robert Sneddon

      Re: 'Use-Case'?

      The F-35 is not really meant to blow up grass huts and bomb "benighted natives", its job (and I really hope it never has to do it) is to go up against a modern 21st century air defence system and survive. The A-10 Warthog is a single-seater expendable airframe designed to use up US National Guard pilots in West Germany facing ZSU-34 cannon and SAM-7 man-portable missiles in 1980 or thereabouts as the Red Army stages its road race to the Atlantic ports. The Warthog has to get in close and personal to bayonet its adversaries with its BFG, meaning it comes within the range of THEIR AA weapons, even crude ones such as heavy machine guns and light rapid-fire cannon. The Warthog pilot is trying to fly the plane at low level, dodge close-range incoming AA fire and keep the BFG on target properly at the same time which keeps them rather busy as you can probably guess.

      The F-35's mission facing an air defence system worthy of the name is to get well forward into the AD radar envelope without being detected (that stealth thing), detect threats (the massive sensor and comms suite it's fitted with) and provide information to guide missiles such as Brimstone fired from fifty km behind it by ammo mules like F/A-18s and Typhoons into their assorted targets (to begin with the air defence systems and launchers that are stopping the mules from getting forward without getting blown out of the sky). It's a sniper weapon so it's not fitted with a bayonet mount unlike the Warthog's stupid BFG.

      Using F-35s to incinerate grass huts is purely to pass the time until it has a real job to do.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'Use-Case'?

        Reply Icon

        Re: 'Use-Case'?

        It's a sniper weapon so it's not fitted with a bayonet mount unlike the Warthog's stupid BFG.

        You may think the Warthogs BFG is stupid, I can tell you from personal experience the Tali run like fuck when they hear that purr. Saved my arse at least once for certain and likely two other occasions.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Stop

        @ Robert Sneddon

        The A-10 Warthog has an excellent reputation among all people who have either flown it, or been saved by people who flew it.

        The adjectives generally used to describe it are "awesome", "deadly" and "badass".

        Excuse me if I am not impressed by the F-35's mission ; it has yet to prove that it can indeed fulfill that mission. The Warthog has fulfilled its mission, which was to get in close and rain hell upon the enemy while surviving multiple hits. This page details the fact that in Desert Storm a group of 136 Warthogs flew 8077 sorties and only suffered the loss of 6 aircraft.

        It seems to me that, even in range of AA weapons, heavy machine guns and light rapid fire cannon, that plane did a damn good job.

        1. Robert Sneddon

          Warthogs

          During Desert Storm F-16s and other strike fighter aircraft flew a lot more missions deep into an Iraq air defence network which had been degraded by sanctions and pinpoint strikes, and they only lost 6 aircraft too facing greater threats.

          Putting a plane within range of the other guy's heavy machine guns and light cannon in today's wars is stupid, basically. The Warthog may be "badass" but it's slow (all-out max about 700km/hr, a Boeing 737's cruise speed is about 900km/hr), it's difficult to fly low and shoot straight at the same time, the fleet is ageing out rapidly -- the last new A-10 airframe came off the production line in 1984 -- and generally it's only suitable for attacking forces that can't shoot back. Even then it's a logistical nightmare, having to be based well forward close to enemy forces to make it available quickly if needed for CAS and it requires a lot of custom kit like the ammo loader system for the GAU/8 gun to keep it operational.

          As for "surviving multiple hits", any significant damage to an aircraft is a mission kill, it has to break off and attempt to return to base before bad shit happens. Yes I know, "titanium bathtub" and all that but it should never get hit by light cannon fire at all. The day of the bayonet charge, the horse cavalry and the battleship is over and it's time for the Warthog to go too.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Warthogs

            > Warthogs

            > During Desert Storm F-16s and other strike fighter aircraft flew a lot more missions deep into an Iraq air defence network which had been degraded by sanctions and pinpoint strikes, and they only lost 6 aircraft too facing greater threats.

            > Putting a plane within range of the other guy's heavy machine guns and light cannon in today's wars is stupid, basically. The Warthog may be "badass" but it's slow (all-out max about 700km/hr, a Boeing 737's cruise speed is about 900km/hr), it's difficult to fly low and shoot straight at the same time, the fleet is ageing out rapidly -- the last new A-10 airframe came off the production line in 1984 -- and generally it's only suitable for attacking forces that can't shoot back. Even then it's a logistical nightmare, having to be based well forward close to enemy forces to make it available quickly if needed for CAS and it requires a lot of custom kit like the ammo loader system for the GAU/8 gun to keep it operational.

            > As for "surviving multiple hits", any significant damage to an aircraft is a mission kill, it has to break off and attempt to return to base before bad shit happens. Yes I know, "titanium bathtub" and all that but it should never get hit by light cannon fire at all. The day of the bayonet charge, the horse cavalry and the battleship is over and it's time for the Warthog to go too.

            Wow!

            I'm not even sure where to start.

            Try flying a 737 at 900km.hr at 200 feet and see how far you can get. The reason the Warthog is slow is it was designed that way, it wasn't a case of they couldn't make it go faster it was a conscious decision during the design process.

            Any plane doing CAS has to factor in a number of issues, however subjectively the most important for CAS missions is the loiter time of the aircraft.

            An A10 holds 10,700 lbs of fuel and up to a further 12,240 lbs in three external drop tanks for a total of almost 23,000 lbs

            An F16 holds 7,160 lbs of fuel and up to a further 4,550 lbs in three external drop tanks for a total of almost 12,000 lbs.

            At low altitude (below 4000 ft) the A10s two engines provide more thrust for less fuel usage then the F16s single engine. Also the F16 doesn't have the BFG which is a very fast response weapon that a loitering A10 can have time on target sometimes in under a minute from a call.

            Your point about hits aborting a mission seems that you may not have in depth understanding of how much effort goes into pre flight briefings these days, a threat assessment is taken for every leg of an inbound and exfil route to account for every threat that may be present, including something as simple as a single technical with a heavy duty machine gun on the back. Now while no intel is 100% reliable I can assure you that it's pretty damn good these days and the after flight briefing will address any locations where a threat 'popped up' unexpectedly.

            Finally the survivability of the aircraft after a hit is paramount so that 'none important' bathtub is critical to saving more then one pilots life.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Campbell_(pilot)

            They're both excellent aircraft, but for a CAS mission where you're not quite sure exactly where the target is I'd prefer an A10 covering my back then an F16.

          2. Dave 15

            Re: Warthogs

            Just dust off the Harriers from the desert... at least they are decent planes

      3. rtb61

        Stealth no so Stealthy

        Problem is weather radar can light up stealth aircraft at truly massive distance because, moving an aircraft at high speeds through moisture laden atmosphere causes major alteration in the density of water vapour and the engine doing it's compression thing does it as well. You can see the contrail, so can weather radar, even when you can not see the contrail, high detail not so much weather radar can still see it.

        Now that weather radar is not super accurate but it is certainly way accurate enough, to get more typical radar, say mounted to the tip of an anti-aircraft missile, to track and destroy the target and you know this.

        The F35 flying pig is crap at low level flying, two reasons, really poor manoeuvrability and it doesn't take to bullets well, not even little ones, not well at all. It is a horrible get rich quick scheme for the US war industrial complex, hmm, didn't a particular prime ministers father have off shore tax haven bank accounts that the scummy prime minister did not declare when they came into his possession.

        The real reason for the F35 purchase can likely be found in the British Virgin Islands tax haven, where the UK taxpayer is no longer a 'cough' virgin, having been right royally screwed over by US war industrial complex, if you are British, just pretend it feels good.

      4. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: 'Use-Case'?

        The F-35's mission facing an air defence system worthy of the name is to get well forward into the AD radar envelope without being detected (that stealth thing), detect threats (the massive sensor and comms suite it's fitted with) and provide information to guide missiles such as Brimstone fired from fifty km behind it by ammo mules like F/A-18s and Typhoons into their assorted targets (to begin with the air defence systems and launchers that are stopping the mules from getting forward without getting blown out of the sky). It's a sniper weapon so it's not fitted with a bayonet mount unlike the Warthog's stupid BFG.
        Errrm, no.

        The F-35 is meant to replace F/A-18s, Warthogs, F-16s, Harriers, and all the assorted similar aircraft. It is meant to do the ground strikes, close-air-support and so on of all those other aircraft.

        It is stealthy from the forward aspect only. It is the bombtruck. That is the only case where frontal-only aspect stealth makes any sense. It approaches enemy forces head-on, the only place its stealth works, and unloads its weapon loads into enemy positions/oncoming aircraft before they can detect and launch their own missiles/other defenses at it. And it better hope it eliminates all, or enough, of the opposing forces air defence sites or enemy aircraft, because once the F-35 turns away - or passes beyond those points thus exposing its non-stealth aspects to the remaining defences, then those remaining enemy aircraft who carry 6-12 AA missiles (as opposed to the maximum 4 of the F-35 if it wants to maintain stealth) will be able to unload their far-superior loadout capability at the un-stealthy aspects of the F-35.

        The F-22 is the F-15, Typhoon equivalent/replacement. The air-superiority fighter, the all-aspect stealth aircraft. The one intended to go toe-to-toe with the latest generation of enemy air superiority fighters. The one meant to penetrate the enemy air defences to go after targets inside the AD zone.

        The F-35 is meant to nibble away at the fringes, take out outer shell AD, then once that is eliminated, go after the next inner shell, and so-on.

      5. Dave 15

        Re: 'Use-Case'?

        Yeah yeah, but unfortunately the Soviets fighter is better, a third of the price, can hit as hard and stay in the air while the F35 tries to go home with no petrol left... and presents an arse like many American s the size of Texas

  27. Charles Smith

    Not a problem

    The servicing of these planes engines is not a problem. Just one anti-ship missile will remove one of the White Elephants, leaving the RN reluctant to put the other one in harms way. So we won't actually need airworthy F-35Bs.

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Not a problem

      Not all the purchases of the F-35B are intended for carrier-only deployment. The airforce is getting F-35Bs as well.

      They can operate normally from land airstrips (CTOL). They'll just become 'lesser' F-35As in this role (less payload, less range than the A).

  28. DougS Silver badge

    Stealth and RF

    Seems to me an easy way around the "if you aren't radio silent the enemy can triangulate your position without radar" problem is to communicate with a satellite. Use beam steering to send messages UP.

    Unless something is above you (maybe a network of enemy weather balloons?) they won't be able to receive your transmission and you remain stealthy. It won't work with enemies who have their own satellite network, but foes at that level have much better radars able to see the small radar cross section the F35 presents anyway.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Stealth and RF

      Depends on the capabilities of the adversary.

      For instance, in Chechnya the Russian military managed to kill several commanders with missiles that were adapted to home in on the emmissions from satellite telephones. A bit of a pot shot, but in a conflict you'll have at least a vague idea where your targets might be, and wasting a couple of relatively cheap missiles to put one very expensive (also in terms of maintenance and logistics) plane out of play may well be worth it.

  29. rtb61

    Why Serviced In Turkey

    The answer as to why the F35 Flying Pig engines can only be serviced in Turkey, the answer should be obvious. The US corporations controlling the purchase, apparently not only for the US government but also the British government, can get cheaper servicing, much cheaper, which of course they will charge for at full tote, done in the US at maximum labour cost, so more profit, the do not call the F35 the flying pig for no reason, the snout right in the war industrial complex generating maximum profits for them because apparently the reality is Russia and China are not threat at all and they can produce and sell shite, that needs to be replaced once they are finished selling it and it no longer needs to be in any way effective or reliable as long as it meets it's one and only goal, profit.

    What has the UK done to itself, you are becoming an embarrassment, a joke government and offshoot of Americorps, a pathetic subsidiary.

  30. A_Melbourne

    Soviet S-200 damaged F-35 over Lebanon

    "Israel Is Hiding That Its State-Of-Art F-35 Warplane Was Hit By Syrian S-200 Missile – Reports"

    https://southfront.org/israel-hiding-state-art-f-35-warplane-hit-syrian-s-200-missile-reports/

    The Israelis are hiding the plane:

    "2 storks hit F-35, sending stealth jet to garage"

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/storks-hit-f-35-sending-stealth-jet-to-garage/

  31. Muscleguy Silver badge
    Happy

    Hoots Mon!

    The SNP man there asking penetrating questions on behalf of everyone. Note the SNP does not nominate peers and will expel any member who accepts a peerage so ermine is never in the back of an SNP MP's mind. They do not play the Establishment game. So they get to ask awkward questions and not care about the personal consequences.

    The question is, what will you for such people when we have become Independent? rely on Plaid Cymru?

  32. AdrianMontagu

    Are we insane ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What do you mean we?

      Am I insane ?

      IFTFY

  33. sobranie1000

    Turkeys to Turkey, how very apt!!!!!

  34. Dave 15

    Crud at every level

    A crud plane :

    - a radar signature the size of Texas when it runs out of fuel after 5 minutes and tries to return

    - a range measured in feet rather than miles

    - a tendency to fall out of the sky at the first sign of lightening (amusing coincidence with the name)

    And finally - we aren't allowed to fix the heap of crap AND it is made with American parts. Scrap the whole damned purchase and design and build our own! Reinstate the TSR2 - it was better after all.

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