back to article US sanctions on Turkey for Russia purchases could ground Brit F-35s

Uncle Sam has raised the possibility of sanctions against Turkey for buying Russian anti-aircraft missile systems – putting the UK's supply of overhauled F-35 fighter jet engines at risk. US government official Aaron Wess Mitchell threatened action if the Middle Eastern/ European nation completed its purchase of Russian S-400 …

  1. SkippyBing Silver badge

    Other Overhaul Centres

    Other overhaul centres are either available or planned. So in the worst case engines could get sent across the Atlantic to be worked on, which is borderline absurd, both the Netherlands and Norway are I believe planning on stumping up the money to have an engine overhaul centre (~$1 Billion last time I read up on it).

    https://www.regjeringen.no/en/aktuelt/AIM-Norway-to-maintain-F-35-engines/id2345652/

    Plus there's also Israel which is pretty much going to be able to overhaul the whole aircraft itself.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Other Overhaul Centres

      The key word is 'overhaul'. Remember the deal with Turkey was done before Trump. I suspect that to Trump, overhauling an engine (made in the US) outside of the US is an affront and a needless loss of US jobs.

      The question is whether Poodle Mk2 (T.May) can take advantage of her claimed 'special' relationship with Trump and establish an overhaul facility in the UK...

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Other Overhaul Centres

        The question is whether Poodle Mk2 (T.May) can take advantage of her claimed 'special' relationship with Trump and establish an overhaul facility in the UK...

        Poodle Mk2 is just much to unattractive for that to happen.

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Other Overhaul Centres

      I'd be more likely to trust Norway not to cock up than Turkey, primarily because Turkey is volatile (Erdogan is a ticking timebomb as much as he is convenient right now), whereas Norway is not.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Other Overhaul Centres

        "I'd be more likely to trust Norway not to cock up than Turkey"

        Stating the obvious?

  2. ElectricFox
    Pirate

    leave increasing numbers of vital British-owned fighters grounded.

    Lemons have not been invaluable to British defence since the days of scurvey!

    1. Agamemnon
      Coat

      Re: leave increasing numbers of vital British-owned fighters grounded.

      Lemons? I thought you chaps were "Limeys"?

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: leave increasing numbers of vital British-owned fighters grounded.

        Lemons? I thought you chaps were "Limeys"?

        Chacun a son fruit de citrus..

        (Limes are smaller and much, much easier to grow in this country. Important when you want to supply your fleet with them and are at war with your nearest provider - France..)

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        IT Angle

        Lemons? I thought you chaps were "Limeys"?

        I think the term "Hangar Queen" sums up this aircrafts performance so far.

        Have they fixed the SW bug that shuts off the air supply to the pilots yet?

  3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Uncle Sam has raised the possibility of sanctions against Turkey for buying Russian anti-aircraft missile systems – putting the UK's supply of overhauled F-35 fighter jet engines at risk.

    The S400 as a threat against stealth aircraft is a Strawman. It is a long range AA system, it is not specifically designed to wipe out Stealth aircraft.

    The real Russian stealth killer is Buk from 2M series onwards. It is quite visible how it is operates for real in battle conditions on amateur footage from Damascus last cruise missile attack. It goes up to 4-5 km altitude either by guidance from earth or to pre-programmed coordinates punched in manually on the launcher console (no radar in that mode so no HARMs will help). It then looks DOWN from a direction where F35 has a radar signature comparable to any other fighter inclusive of prehistorics like Mig 23, F104 or Mirage. It comes down on it from above and there is one less F35.

    By the way - if you search youtube for generic videos they all show "normal" mode of operation which is guidance from Earth by radar so you do not see that. You need to search for specific footage from the shed and empty office block destruction exercise.

    In any case, it is not the real reason. After the post-coup spat with USA and the spat over the Kurds Turkey moved all of its currency and gold reserves which were on storage in USA to Switzerland (a fraction upon specific USA insistence went to UK, but that is probably temporary). It has also been twisting the arms of all of its private banks to do so and it has been quite vocal around the region for everyone to follow their lead. They also supported Qatar against the other gulf states and USA in the recent Gulf spat and they did not provide the necessary level of assistance to the empty shed and office block demolition exercise. They expected this to come without punishment? Dream on.

    As far as S series AA systems other NATO countries have S300 and this has not been a big deal, just the opposite. Everyone is cheering when the Slovakian or the Greek bring their toys to an exercise so they can test against them. Rumour is - at least one of them is negotiating upgrades and S400 too. No punishments. They however do not move out their currency and gold reserves and behave the way a good client state should behave.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They expected this to come without punishment? Dream on.

      Turkey have shot down Russian aircraft with impunity, and then Putin comes grovelling to Erdogan offering state of the art SAM systems. The Americans are as bad - who ever thought it a good idea to sell the US' most advanced aircraft to a weakly aligned country with GDP of $11,000 per capita, led by a despotic ruler elected on an Islamist ticket? And then, the fools give that country a key role in the programme. That is world class stupidity, and all Erdogan has to do is make noises about cancelling F35 and buying Su-57, and the US will pipe down. Lets not forget that Turkish bombing of Kurds (both at home and In Syria) has gone unpunished.

      Both US and Russia know that Erdogan is playing them off, and that he is unreliable and untrustworthy, and to a large extent all of this (including the latest spat over F35) is purely pantomime. If the call came from NATO for Turkey to block the Bosphorous, nobody in their right mind believes that Turkey would stand up to Russia. They saw what happened in Crimea - but in any event, the Russian Black Sea Fleet is not militarily significant - a handful of ancient design Kilo class subs, a motley collection of missile frigates and a ramshackle assortment of other types. Turkey remains in NATO simply because the rest of NATO doesn't have the balls to kick them out.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Turkey have shot down Russian aircraft with impunity

        Impunity my a**e. The sanctions after that cost them north of 6Bn. That is why Erdogan had to switch to grovel mode.

        Do we like it or not the reality is very simple - Turkey is the primary manufacturing site and transit site for most of Central Asia, Middle East and the southern part of ex-USSR. Anything and everything from textile to F16s. If I go into a DIY shop in let's say Bulgaria, 90% of the cheap and mid-tier power tools are not made in China. They are made in Turkey. Same for the rest of the region and especially ex-USSR Central Asia.

        So all Putin had to do to get Erdogan into grovel state was to deny turkish truckers transit permits and tourist traffic for 3 months. That was enough to get him where he wanted him.

        And all Erdogan has to do is make noises about cancelling F35 and buying Su-57

        Turkey is building F16s and full set of armament for them, the F35s Turks really need themselves are for the Spanish made amphibious assault pocket aircraft carriers and they are model B - same as UK fleet arm. There is presently no replacement for that in the Russian shopping catalogue. If he does not get F35s he has to surrender the aircraft carrier role on these and refresh the bid for the new assault helicopter which the Russian nearly won and arm that with navalized KA-52s instead of F35s (something Russians should be able to deliver).

        Both US and Russia know that Erdogan is playing them off, and that he is unreliable and untrustworthy,. Of course he is.

        If the call came from NATO for Turkey to block the Bosphorous, nobody in their right mind believes that Turkey would stand up to Russia. Despite a number of calls to do so, Turkey never violated the Bosphorus treaty. Statement of the fact - both of these. Not like we did not ask them quite a few times (both to let an aircraft carrier in and to prevent USSR getting out).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          If I go into a DIY shop in let's say Bulgaria, 90% of the cheap and mid-tire power tools are not made in China. They are made in Turkey. Same for the rest of the region and especially ex-USSR Central Asia. So all Putin had to do to get Erdogan into grovel state was to deny turkish truckers transit permits and tourist traffic for 3 months.

          You're not often wrong, but today is that day!

          Turkey's main export partners don't feature Russia (or any Russian-influenced country) in the top 15 export markets. Not to mention that Turkey has a land border with Bulgaria, so doesn't need Russian influenced transit permits for any EU country, or more widely at least its top 19 non-Russian trade partners. And given that Erdogan's repeatedly shown that he doesn't give a shit about domestic population through contrived terror attacks, or through political repression, you really are not going to convince me that he would give a toss about Russia restricting relatively minor trade arrangements that would probably be more detrimental to the exportee nations.

          Russia itself is destination for a mere 1.2% of Turkish exports. with Belarus, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia perhaps bring that up to a total of around 5%. And Russia's largest import from Turkey? Citrus fruit. If a few lemon farmers have a hard time, you really think Erdogan's going to give a tinker's cuss? And what does Turkey buy from Russia? Largely fuel, followed by metals. Those are both liquid commodity markets, so other than some short term inconvenience, the Russians have no hold on Turkey for those.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            You are forgetting Qazaqstan (formerly Kazakhstan), you know that non-Russian influenced country that buys lots from Turkey (the good stuff) and China (the cheap stuff).

            1. JaitcH
              Happy

              The C in China doesn't equate with . . .

              poor quality, Chinese military gear is good quality - where it counts.

              And 'Cheap' refers to the differential between inflated US military contractor prices, approved by both military and political personnel who upon retirement take up lucrative positions with the very same contractors and those in other countries.

              The US has a long line of failed projects, notwithstanding rigged horse-and-cart 'demonstrations'.

              Mikhail Kalashnikov’s AK-47 is an excellent example of the fallacy of 'cheap'. There are somewhere between 75 and 100 million AK-47s worldwide - an obvious success story. About 50 standing armies use the AK-47 — including those of China, Egypt, Cuba, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, VietNam, Iran and Iraq.

              In most places, an AK47 can be bought for $50 – $100, in governmental quantities. China is the world’s largest producer of them. No American gun can be wrapped in 'burlap' (sack cloth), buried in the soil and later recovered in serviceable condition.

              As someone who spent considerable hours cleaning Fabrique Nationale Fusil Automatique Leger (Light Automatic Rifle), or FN FAL in the military, the qualities of the AK47 would be appreciated.

              No, the C does not stand for Cheap Cost.

          2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            You're not often wrong, but today is that day!

            I gave Bulgaria as an example as it has been 40 years since I have been "on the ground" to Caucasus and beyond. So I cannot tell you how a shop there really looks, I can only guess based on knowing who trades with whom and how much. My bet is that it looks the same as Bulgaria due to costs, trade volumes and other similar factors. You go into a shop and 90% of all industrial goods are Turkish.

            Even if you buy a Renault or Ford van in these countries it will be assembled guess where - in Turkey.

            Turkish trade with Kazahstan alone in 2015 was 1.5Bn per year in 2015. Add the other republics and the South of Russia itself you get ~3Bn. Russian tourism to Turkey prior to the incident was ~3Bn per year. Total 6Bn.

        2. james_smith

          Turkey's military is far larger, better equipped and trained than Russia's. People seem to think Russia is some military powerhouse, but it's not really.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            People seem to think Russia is some military powerhouse

            Any country with nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them is a military powerhouse.

            That's a card that pretty well trumps anything else you can put on the table.

          2. JaitcH
            Unhappy

            Russia is ahead in one aspect of flying . . .

            and that is they don't require people to 'walk the runway' picking up the minutiae and debris before their jets depart.

            Anyone who has observed US aircraft departures will know there is a lengthy clean-up of runways as their engines are more susceptible to damage than those of the Russians.

      2. Byham

        "who ever thought it a good idea to sell the US' most advanced aircraft to a weakly aligned country with GDP of $11,000 per capita, led by a despotic ruler elected on an Islamist ticket?" I would venture to suggest that would be the previous US Administration and probably deliberately rather than out of stupidity.

        1. JaitcH
          WTF?

          Who Ever Thought It A Good Idea To Buy . . .

          something you can't even service?

          Only the dumb British Government.

          It wasn't so long ago when military electronics wouldn't be purchased without 'second sources' to ensure continuity of supply of spare parts.

          I work for a company that supplies military equipment to the 'non-aligned' market place and one key element of the majority of contracts is that most of the components can be sourced from in-country suppliers.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: Who Ever Thought It A Good Idea To Buy . . .

            there are many US cheap rifles that can be mucked up and fired, there are youtube channels devoted to spading mud over rifles then actually using them. The AK isnt all that, sure they can work but the ammo is iffy and moat have been rechambered. they arent particularly accurate nor reliable under continual use.

            M16s are fragile when needed and dont even mention that POS the UK use. French MAS only needs to smell mud or rain and it jamz if it isnt oiled to buggery. German kit is ok but a bit fragile. As usual, use something belgian if you want to reliably murder people from a distance. Sources? Best drinking buddy was an armourer in belle vue manchester. he never shuts up about the stuff when films are on.

          2. Kabukiwookie

            Re: Who Ever Thought It A Good Idea To Buy . . .

            Very good observation.

            How would the battle of Britain have gone if Spitfire engines needed to be shipped across to Ireland if they needed to be overhauled.

            This just demonstrates that the F35 is a dead duck. Very expensive fireworks once they fly over territory that's covered by S400 air defence.

      3. phuzz Silver badge

        "who ever thought it a good idea to sell the US' most advanced aircraft to a weakly aligned country with GDP of $11,000 per capita, led by a despotic ruler elected on an Islamist ticket?"

        Did you read the bit in the article about Turkey being in a really handy position to bottle up most of the Russian Navy? It's basically a bribe to keep them as potentially the enemy of our enemy.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Did you read the bit in the article about Turkey being in a really handy position to bottle up most of the Russian Navy?

          Bottling the Russian navy has always been a Red Herring even in the days when it had multiple Slava class cruisers (they are now spread thin - one per fleet), double digit numbers of missile boats and landing craft. It was definitely not the reason in 1952 when Turkey joined NATO as that was exactly the time when Stalin paid back Admiral Kusnetsov the "debt" of disobeying Stalin's orders on 22nd of June 1941. The payback was scrapping the entire fleet refurbishment program as well as any fleet offensive capability.

          Turkey joined NATO In the early days as a forward base to bottle Hankala and the nuclear armed bomber fleet based there to keep it away from all UK and USA assets in the middle East. Remember - it was 1952 - when USA and UK had the perception that they actually own the place.

          A secondary goal was to have someone bail out Greece if the Bulgarians go into "Maritsa river will run thick with blood" mode and decide that they want back their Mediterranean territories - the ones where Britain organised the ethnic cleansing after WW1. Ditto if Warsaw pact decides that it is a worthy goal to assist in.

          Hankala is now a ruin, the Southern branch of the USSR Strategic bomber command is now non-existent and Bulgaria is a NATO member. So the actual real reasons for Turkey to be brought into NATO no longer exist. As far as the Black Sea fleet Red Herring, that is an even lesser reason now than in 1952.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Syria chemical weapons facility raid, for which the US President gave ample warning, was designed to trigger Syria anti-missile defense to see what they've got and gauge the Russian input.

            Worked a treat.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Syria chemical weapons facility raid, for which the US President gave ample warning, was designed to trigger Syria anti-missile defense to see what they've got and gauge the Russian input.

              Except they'd already done that a year ago with the attack on Shayrat airbase. But you are correct that there was certainly another motive, since if the Syrians were making or storing chemical weapons, a high energy attack is very likely to release any agents stored there. From which I conclude that the targets were more likely comms or intelligence facilities.

              1. Danny 14 Silver badge

                and they performed pretty shit vs a subsonic target on a static course. tomahawks are hardly stealthy, fast or laden with ecm.

              2. werdsmith Silver badge

                @ledswinger

                Except they'd already done that a year ago with the attack on Shayrat airbase.

                Yeah, nothing much would change in a year.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Did you read the bit in the article about Turkey being in a really handy position to bottle up most of the Russian Navy? It's basically a bribe to keep them as potentially the enemy of our enemy.

          And strategically invalid. Given the length of the transit from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean (say 600km between the Black Sea and Naxo) and multiple narrow pinch points as well as relatively shallow water in much of the northern Aegean, in war time it would be a fairly limited challenge to keep the Black Sea fleet bottled up with NATO assets outside and offshore of Turkey. And the Black Sea fleet isn't that large - ignoring the antiques and small craft, there's what, six submarines and a similar number of frigates. If the Russians were expecting military action, and wanted the Black Sea fleet in the Med, they certainly wouldn't wait for fighting to break out before moving their assets.

          So the idea of Turkey holding back the Russkie naval hordes is nonsense. Turkey's strategic value for NATO or Russia is solely the extent to which either side is denied airspace or granted access to airbases. And on that matter, would you trust Erdogan? I wouldn't - I'd expect a "dog ate my homework" excuse for not complying with Article 5, and then a steadfast pretence of neutrality which neither Turkey, Russia or NATO do much to honour.

          1. Kabukiwookie

            And on that matter, would you trust Erdogan? I wouldn't

            Seeing the string of 'Arab Spring' overthrown governments with the CIA's fingerprints all over them, and the coup attempt in Turkey, you can be fairly certain that Erdogan has connected the dots and is assuming that the US was behind that coup as well.

            This definitely explains the 180 degrees from open hostility to Russia, by shooting down a jet that may or may not have violated Turkey's airspace, to purchasing the latest anti air missiles from the very same they were previously openly hostile to.

      4. eldakka Silver badge

        @Ledswinger

        > and that he is unreliable and untrustworthy,

        I think we can absolutely trust Erdogan to reliably do whatever is in the best interests of Erdogan.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Facepalm

      "The real Russian stealth killer is Buk from 2M series onwards. It is quite visible how it is operates for real in battle conditions on amateur footage from Damascus last cruise missile attack"

      considering how every missile/bomb reached its target in the last attack on Syrian chemical weapons storage and manufacturing, I'd say it's not very effective.

      Maybe this entire thing is JUST politics. Russia trying to make it look like they're an actual threat. U.S.'ians having to save face and be consistent in foreign policies, so we have to threaten sanctions against Turkey, who probably got a 'sweet deal' from Putin, just to rub our noses in it. And, Putin laughing all the way.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Indeed it is politics and on a global scale with high stakes. If we go back to Reagan and his "star wars", that effectively broke up both physically and economically the USSR. I'm thinking the

        Russians are returning the favor by increasing the threat level and verbal BS.

  4. ratfox Silver badge
    Happy

    through the simple method of batting its eyelashes at Russia while pointedly glancing back at the US

    That's a beautiful image.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Pure Bugs Bunny.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "That's a beautiful image."

      Not is you think Erdogan doing it...

  5. jonathan keith

    Madness

    I know that it's been said before, but it's frankly insane to buy any weapons system and not have the ability to fully service it domestically.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Madness

      What does that say about the mental state of our generals and the MoD?

      1. EnviableOne Bronze badge

        Re: Madness

        tearing their hair out cos they were told they had to buy the F35, and now its taking up so much of their budgets, they cant afford to do their actual jobs

  6. MJI Silver badge

    We should have invested in F136n programme

    As above then would have been non issue.

    Could we restart it?

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: We should have invested in F136n programme

      I believe there are some* still boxed up in their environmental protection units that might be available. Although how easy it would be to get them working and integrated with the aircraft now I don't know. Sheer madness to cancel it when the DoD could point to the savings made by having two engine suppliers for the F-16.

      *Less than 10?

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: We should have invested in F136n programme

      where did <space>engie go?

      or was it <space>egine?

  7. }{amis}{ Silver badge
    Joke

    Who Cares

    The F35 is never going to fly any way so why would we need to refit the engines? its record so far make's the Brize Norton Static display team look good!

  8. Bob Wheeler
    Alert

    When you rattle your sabre ...

    ... be careful not to cut yourself.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Garbage in, garbage out

    "The situation is a sticky one. Turkey is a vital NATO ally: it has the ability to bottle up Russia's southern naval fleet in the event of WWIII breaking out by closing the Bosphorus, the strait between Europe and the Middle East."

    Yes... as if a few boats stuck in some pond somewhere will stop the nukes traversing the skys. If it WWW3 GTNW you don't need the ships.

    The Navy's just one of the ways to suck the cash out of workers pockets, keep em poor enough so they don't get too asre-ey and kick the rich fuckers out.

    1. thames

      Re: Garbage in, garbage out

      The main value of Turkey to NATO these days is its position in the Middle East. American bases in Turkey are ideally situated to strike east into Iran or south into Iraq or Syria and Lebanon, and generally complement the US bases in Bahrain and Qatar.

      The US bases in Turkey saw extensive use in the first and second Iraq wars, and in the war against ISIS in Iraq. Their key role in providing bases for aerial refuelling means that even aircraft based elsewhere depend upon them.

      So long as the Middle East has oil, Turkey will be important to NATO.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Garbage in, garbage out

        American bases in Turkey are ideally situated to strike east into Iran or south into Iraq or Syria and Lebanon,

        If Turkey allows their use for the purpose. That is a very big IF.

        It has been disallowed for Syria and Iraq for several years now.

        1. sprograms

          Re: Garbage in, garbage out

          I'll never forget the day Turkey forbade the US 4th Infantry Division from transiting Turkey to enter Iraq.

          1. The Specialist

            Re: Garbage in, garbage out

            No, you shouldn't. After all, once US does what it does best, it is up to the locals to pick up the pieces. Name one conflict US get involved within the last 50 years and the country on the receiving end fared better after the US withdrawal.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't know what's long with this world anymore!

    Engines... UK is more than capable of handling gas turbines. Barber and Whittle come to mind, as does Rolls Royce plc. When the Israelis buy American kit they modify the hell out of it locally. Not sure that's with the express consent of Uncle Sam, but it's reality. Why can't the UK make its own reality?

    And what's the problem with an ally (*) buying a potential adversary's kit? Back in the day that was called opportunity! I get one, you get one, we reverse engineer, we compare notes, we upgrade our kit, we train our guys on it, and so on. S-400s definitely not the sharpest tool in the box, but it's a tool nonetheless - buy one and get one free, check it out, and so forth. You can bet your ass the Turks would turn over a Patriot battery to the Russkies for some ho's, a few dollars, and a suitcase of blow ... It's how the game is played. At least, how it was played before amateur hour.

    (*) I get the geopolitical importance of Turkeys location, and whatnot. But thinking these guys can really be trustworthy Western allies given European history prior to WWI is ... Optimistic.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: I don't know what's long with this world anymore!

      thats why you send them the 'export model'. Afterall turkey are getting f35b's. The russians will fall over laughing when they take a look at those.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "nd what's the problem with an ally (*) buying a potential adversary's kit?"

    I don't think Putin is selling some of his top of the line AA missiles to Turkey and letting NATO give them a close look. I guess the batteries would be filled with a lot of Russian "trainers". And you may not want they can conduct exhaustive tests against your latest planes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "nd what's the problem with an ally (*) buying a potential adversary's kit?"

      I don't think Putin is selling some of his top of the line AA missiles to Turkey and letting NATO give them a close look.

      Most certainly not. You can be sure that the export versions won't be as capable as the Russian home forces versions (not to mention having some hidden capability to render the export version unusable or materially ineffective if so required).

      But the S400 technology is mostly two to three decades old, particularly for export versions and the S500 (reportedly in testing) is where the real interest of NATO would be. Since the Ruskies have already sold the S400 to Saudi Arabia and China, selling to Turkey is neither here nor there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: some hidden capability to render the export version unusable

        Of course, presumably those nations buying such kit are aware of this, and make some efforts to work out how to disable the disablerizer if necessary.

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: "nd what's the problem with an ally (*) buying a potential adversary's kit?"

        Most certainly not. You can be sure that the export versions won't be as capable as the Russian home forces versions (not to mention having some hidden capability to render the export version unusable or materially ineffective if so required).

        Russians have always loved that game and it was spoiled even in the days of the Warsaw pact. As a result there was a jolly good grey market where several Warsaw pact countries sold replacement fire control for them. I know people who have written some of these.

        I suspect Russian export "crippling" is nowhere near as aggressive as in those days. They have to compete properly now so they cannot do some of the stupidities they did in the days of Brezhnev.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: "nd what's the problem with an ally (*) buying a potential adversary's kit?"

          I suspect Russian export "crippling" is nowhere near as aggressive as in those days.

          Actually for the S400 they are obliged to cripple it. They are definitely not allowed to sell some of the missiles for this system.

          Under the standard conditions for missile technology control and non-proliferation which the Russians follow S400 is not export legal. The maximum range for a Surface to Surface missile under that is 300km and S400 exceeds that.

          Every Russian AA missile system has "Ground override/Surface-Surface" mode which is actually effective enough to be used as an anti-ship missile. It is not just an AA missile.

          Here is an example where a Russian corvette resorted to using AA missiles in ground-ground mode against adversary missile boats (they have declassified the logs from this incident now, so if you dig the Russian sources they are fairly clear on that).

          So if we assume S400 to be same as every other Russian surface-air system, well it is not exportable under the MTCA.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "nd what's the problem with an ally (*) buying a potential adversary's kit?"

            Actually for the S400 they are obliged to cripple it. They are definitely not allowed to sell some of the missiles for this system.

            As you say, some missiles may be prohibited, however the S400 system is already being exported, I must assume with shorter range missiles (maybe followed in the post by a guide on "how to hack your S400 missile for better range"). I would imagine that THAADS is in a similar position, of claimed MTCA compliance.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: "nd what's the problem with an ally (*) buying a potential adversary's kit?"

              someone glue gunned the range dial. Job done!

        2. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: "nd what's the problem with an ally (*) buying a potential adversary's kit?"

          Most certainly not. You can be sure that the export versions won't be as capable as the Russian home forces versions (not to mention having some hidden capability to render the export version unusable or materially ineffective if so required).

          So we get second rate Americal weapons like the F-35, while theire top aircraft do not get exported. Maybe the EU should put sanctions on countries that didn't buy the Eurofighter.

    2. thames

      Re: "nd what's the problem with an ally (*) buying a potential adversary's kit?"

      The S-400 system is not a specific missile and radar combination. It is an air defence system with a family of missiles and radars. What the Russians export is not necessarily the most advanced versions of what they used themselves.

      As for why the Turks are buying them, they put out an RFP for an air defence system. Part of the requirement for any major Turkish defence contract these days is a degree of technology transfer to Turkish defence firms. The Turks are trying to build up their own defence industry. This by the way is why they are making parts of the F-35 as well as doing the engine overhauls. Turkey makes a major section of the fuselage, landing gear components, parts of the engine, electronics, sensors, and a whole range of other items. They are sole source suppliers of a number of pieces, so every F-35 built today is partly Turkish.

      As for missiles, the Americans submitted a bid for the Patriot missile system, while the Russians submitted a bid for the S-400. However, the American bid did not include technology transfer, while the Russian bid did. Hence, the Russians won the contract. Toys were quickly ejected from the Americans pram - they wanted the contract, but not on terms the Turks were willing to grant it on. The only thing that will satisfy the Americans on this one is for the Turks to buy Patriot missiles on terms the Americans dictate.

      As for stealth fighters in general, the Turks are designing their own, with British and other foreign help. The UK has its own sovereign stealth aircraft technology which is as good as anything the US has, which is why the UK was invited to be the only Tier One foreign supplier for the F-35 (which caused the UK's own stealth fighter project to be cancelled). BAE is supply extensive unspecified technology, and Rolls-Royce are supplying the engine technology licenses. The UK involvement has support from the highest political levels in the UK government. The Turkish fighter is scheduled to replace their F-16s and will supposedly first fly in 2023. The Turkish fighter will do the air-to-air fighting while their F-35 fleet will act as bombers/air support.

  12. Jemma Silver badge

    There really...

    Isn't much to say really is there?

    To paraphrase an old Fiat tagline..

    "Designed by Americans, Bought by Morons"

    Or a pilot quoting Sir pTerry..

    "We, who are about to die, don't want to.."

    Some questions (to be kicked into the long grass)

    Why on earth did we buy this "flying" heap?

    It's got all the reliability of an NSU RO80, the safety record of a Corvair and is about as popular with pilots as a clapped out Austin Ambassador..

    Who on earth thought it'd be a fantastic idea to outsource servicing to a country that's been on the fence so long it'd need surgery to get off, is Muslim (and has a long history of hating the west, the UK in particular (not without reason)), and probably has build and quality control somewhere south of Hyundai circa 1988..?

    There's no point worrying about missiles channelling that death from above beastie from Avatar - because before the jets get off the runway they'll be spitting out turbine blades like a porcupine with hayfever.

    I'd ask what could go wrong with this scenario - but I think its extraneous by this point. Since it's fundamentally impossible this could end well whatever happens.

    Its like watching Frank Spenser in a public information film about Weapons Procurement. You want to run, you know its only going to get worse, but - like a good multiple pile up - you just can't look away..

    We'd probably get better service out of fitting Sopwith Dolphins with EMP generators. One zap and that's the Russian air force gone (along with every modern vehicle, electronic device, pacemaker and smartphone within 5 miles).

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: There really...

      'the safety record of a Corvair '

      Really, could you point to any fatal accidents suffered by the F-35? It's probably the safest modern military aircraft in terms of fatalities per flying hour, both the F-22 and Typhoon having had fatal accidents before reaching the number of flying hours the F-35 has.

      In fact apart from the engine fire on the ground that caused a pause in flying operations I'm not aware of any serious incidents on the F-35 fleet either.

      'It's got all the reliability of an NSU RO80'

      Again, any evidence for this? It doesn't appear to be any less reliable than any other modern military aircraft.

      'as popular with pilots as a clapped out Austin Ambassador'

      Again, evidence, I can find plenty of pilots saying they love it, or that it's a different way to operate, but weirdly none where they complain about the window popping out when you jack it up and the steering wheel being square.

      1. Jemma Silver badge

        Re: There really...

        There have been multiple issues that have caused grounding of the aircraft. Most of which could kill a pilot.

        Which, in point of fact, makes it *more* dangerous than the Corvair with swing axles since under test the Corvair was actually safer than some of its contemporaries - which to be frank wasn't exactly rocket science - live axle + cart springs + Sonoramic Commando = wrapped around a tree with extreme rapidity.

        Funny about it being popular, most of the publicity I've heard is of the plainchant winge variety - usually off the record or anonymous. Although I seem to remember the F100 being popular with pilots (that would be the ones it didn't kill with its personal "sabre dance" trick).

        For the record "as reliable" as any other modern military aircraft isn't exactly the glowing epithet you think it is. Most of the recent crop have been flying turds of epic proportion - the 22/35, the Typhoon had its share of problems (not least being named after an aircraft that dumped its tail fairly regularly. That Chinese stealth had a few brain farts, mentioned here if I remember.

        And I thought we were supposed to have retired the Panavia Tornado? Or did someone not get the message. That is not a bad aircraft now, but it had its early problems (electronics being shaken to bits and long repair for short flight/operational time).

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: There really...

          'There have been multiple issues that have caused grounding of the aircraft. Most of which could kill a pilot.'

          But to date it notably hasn't, because the issues were recognised as such before an accident happened, which makes it safer than any previous fighter to have flown as much as it has. By this stage the F-22 has suffered at least one pilot induced oscillation event that left it spread over the runway.

          'Funny about it being popular, most of the publicity I've heard is of the plainchant winge variety - usually off the record or anonymous. '

          It really depends what sources you read, this is from one 5 sec Google search:

          https://www.defensenews.com/air/2016/03/01/norwegian-f-35-pilot-counters-controversial-dogfighting-report/

          Certainly the pilot who gave a brief I saw was enthusiastic about it, even if anecdote doesn't make data. But then neither do anonymous briefs.

          'For the record "as reliable" as any other modern military aircraft isn't exactly the glowing epithet you think it is.'

          You have no idea how glowing I think that is, but as the alternative would be another modern fast jet I don't see how it's a stick you can beat the F-35 with as anything else would be no better.

          'And I thought we were supposed to have retired the Panavia Tornado? '

          That will be news to the people that were using them to fire missiles at Syria last week, not that I mentioned the Tornado.

      2. Alister Silver badge

        Re: There really...

        @Skippy Bing

        'the safety record of a Corvair '

        I suspect we are talking the Chevrolet Corvair which was identified by Ralph Nader as highly unsafe.

        'It's got all the reliability of an NSU RO80'

        Again, not an aircraft, and the rotary engine was renowned for the seals at the tips of the rotor failing.

        'as popular with pilots as a clapped out Austin Ambassador'

        ...none where they complain about the window popping out when you jack it up and the steering wheel being square.

        I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

      3. Andytug

        Re: There really...

        Just a small point, the square (quartic) steering wheel and the pop-out rear screen belonged to the Austin Allegro, or All-Aggro as it was quickly christened........

        The Ambassador was even duller, though.

        1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: There really...

          "ust a small point, the square (quartic) steering wheel and the pop-out rear screen belonged to the Austin Allegro"

          And only then in Vanden Plas trim

        2. Dave 15

          Re: There really...

          But if you will jack up old cars by the jacking point expect all sorts of bad behaviour... remember my dads Renault rising nicely after the jack had penetrated the jacking point, bottom of sill, top of sill and was lifting it up by the door... then slowly sinking again as the bottom of the door gave way and then collapsed.

          All european cars in the 70s suffered rust and collapsing bodywork, its just the Brits seem to think it was only British cars with the problem. A neighbour had saved money buying a Lada but found that disintegrated even faster - before it was 2 years old both front wings had fallen by the wayside as he drove along

      4. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: There really...

        The Space Shuttle suffered relatively few fatalities in its years of operation because it required a lot of engineering effort to ensure it wouldn't kill people before it left the ground. As originally sold it was supposed to be something like an airliner -- you'd launch it for a mission, land it and have it back in the air for its next mission in a short period of time. In practice it was so fragile and inherently unreliable that it effectively required rebuilding every time it was used.

        The STS was an iffy launch platform but a major profit center for the contractors involved with it. Bit like the F-35 in fact -- the F-35 is very capable, especially on paper/Powerpoint, but it seems to consume inordinate amounts of money and time for the number of hours flown.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: There really...

          The Shuttle had an appalling safety record in terms of fatalities per flight, it's something like 0.1 death per flight* or if you assume each mission lasted a week 1 death every 1620 hours.

          I can't think of any aircraft with as bad a flight safety record, stand fast some exotic experimental types that flew a handful of times, killed someone, and never flew again, or those suicide rocket things the Japanese used in 1945.

          *14 deaths in 135 missions.

          1. Alister Silver badge

            Re: There really...

            I can't think of any aircraft with as bad a flight safety record

            Lockheed Starfighter?

            1. SkippyBing Silver badge

              Re: There really...

              'Lockheed Starfighter?'

              I've found figures of 30.63 accidents per 100,000 flying hours for USAF F-104s or 1 every 3264 flying hours, so it's close. The German Luftwaffe and Navy may have got closer though...

        2. Dave 15

          Re: There really...

          There is a really cracking Australian documentary on the F35.

          Points out that the Australian government was railroaded into buying it without the usual checks.

          Then compares it to the latest Russian plane, concludes it has a smaller radar footprint from the front making it harder to shoot down, but the Russians can put 3 up for the same price as 1 f35, having done this the f35s feable fuel load and voracious appetite means it will turn for home revealing a rear radar foot print the size of an Americans arse, at which point one of the remaining Russian planes happily shoots it down before ambling off to find another (still having plenty of fuel). Conclusion, the Russians will lose planes but they will still shoot down every F35 and have planes left in hand at the end.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: There really...

            'Then compares it to the latest Russian plane, concludes it has a smaller radar footprint from the front making it harder to shoot down'

            I'd be highly dubious of any documentary claiming it knows the Radar Cross Section (RCS) of an aircraft, that's normally very hard to find out and it's not something you can work out just by looking at it as the materials involved in the construction play a part. Certainly the claim that the F-35 has an enormous RCS when viewed from the rear sounds dubious as it was designed with 360° stealth in mind, down to the fillets on the exhaust trailing edge. If the Russian aircraft was a Flanker variant its RCS from the front is fairly large due to the fan blades of the engines being visible, if its the PAK-FA then so far they've built 10 and the programme is about 20 years behind schedule, so they can't play the numbers game.

            Or in other words be sceptical of comparisons that accept Russian manufacturer's data as fact but that everything possible is wrong with Western aircraft. The documentary wasn't by Carlo Kopp was it?

      5. Dave 15

        Re: There really...

        Now now, it was the Allegro that had the square steering wheel, and frankly why not? Drove one once and the wheel was quite comfy for a long drive. Both cars had the interesting suspension that BL liked (from the mini and 1100/1300 range), a great loss to motoring as it (I have tried) is most effective on speedbumps... very amusing doing 70mph over the speedbumps in a 1300 overtaking all the boy racers in their soupd up modern whatevers.

        The f35 I assume is quite safe because it doesn't venture out in the sort of shite weather the Harrier worked right throug in the south Atlantic (with no loss) because there seems to be a little problem with flying within a few hundred miles of a thundersorm.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: There really...

          'because there seems to be a little problem with flying within a few hundred miles of a thundersorm.'

          There was a limitation on flying near thunderstorms as the fuel tank inerting system wasn't cleared for use and quite sensibly they didn't want it to get hit before that had been tested. This has been cleared now so that's no more of a problem than it is for most other aircraft, although it was struck by lightening prior to the clearance and absolutely nothing happened. It's almost as if an aircraft part way through its trials process wasn't fully cleared...

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&t=3100&v=8G6knYbFoAk

  13. Pete 2 Silver badge

    and vice-versa

    > Testing F-35s against a Russian-made air defence system

    I am sure that if the merkins asked nicely, the Turks could also furnish them with data on how their fighters (would) fare against the same system.

    Though if they are concerned that the results wouldn't be as good as they want the RoW to believe, I can see why they would be worried.

  14. Milton Silver badge

    "one less F35"

    One of Voland's appendages remarked—

    It comes down on it from above and there is one less F35

    There's also the traditional method for bringing down eyewateringly expensive, complicated flying computers, tried and tested since Vietnam, taught in all the best Russian and Chinese fighter academies:

    1. Send up large numbers of cheap, plentiful, manoeuverable 3rd and 4th gen ships, the kind with quite decent range and loiter time.

    2. Wait until the very few (also eyewateringly expensive) missiles that F-35 can carry while stealthed have been used up (some may even hit your cheap old planes, but the entire history of AAM warfare suggests most will not).

    3. Using various highly effective methods for detecting the approximate whereabouts of "stealth" aircraft (LF radar, multispectrum IR, directional acoustics etc) ...

    4. Accelerate towards them (they have poor acceleration and top speed).

    5. Deploy Mk#1 Eyeball for close-range interception and engagement (stealth is useless against Eyeball).

    6. Get behind them (where they have no visibility).

    7. Get very close indeed (they can't turn very well).

    8. Tweak the fire control radar, just for a giggle so you can watch the poor doomed thing fling chaff and flares in every direction like a drunken wedding guest.

    9. If the pilot is trying to shake you off, he's probably also filling the cokcpit with puke, because the (you guessed it, eyewateringly expensive) integrated-surround-VR helmet doesn't work very well and causes horrid motion sickness.

    10. Once the thing fills the cockpit window and you've stopped laughing, fire a one second burst of 30mm.

    11. Yes, once upon a time with robust planes like F-15 you'd have needed a three- or four-second burst, but F-35 can't dodge, and has just one single very vulnerable engine, so now you need only a solitary splinter of thirty-mil to take out a blade and it's Farewell, Lockheed.

    12. Go home and land. While your old, simple plane is being turned around in maybe three hours, write the after action report: it's easy for your squadron, cos you can usually copy the boilerplate straight from the "Why Wargames Bear No Resemblance To Combat" textbook. (It's on the shelf next to a translation of the "Lockheed Guide To Congressional Pork".)

    13. You may have time to read an email from your chum in the infantry, expressing his relief and delight that no "Devil's Cross" A-10 Thunderbolts have appeared in the sky providing close air support for the enemy, instead sending some F-35s as light relief. He promises to send you a large parcel of F-35 souvenirs, obtained using a Soviet antique called a ZSU-23-4.

    </sarcasm>

    Short of ammo? Not enough for a one-second burst? Don't worry! Put even a single round through its wing (or, in fact, any part of its skin) and it'll be out of action for even longer than its normally ridiculously long turnaround time, as a crew of Beautician Grade-III Specialists with delicate badger-hair brushes, microscopes and Humbrol Anti-Radar Enamel will have to spend two full days trying to get it back to stealth mode. (Other technical specialists will be deploying the Mk#7-BlockIV Broom (loaded with warshots, no messing) on the taxi- and runways, as a tiny pebble chipping off the fuselage will also de-stealth the plane, sending it back to the aforementioned Beauticians for another lengthy spa session).

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: "one less F35"

      'Send up large numbers of cheap, plentiful, manoeuvrable 3rd and 4th gen ships, the kind with quite decent range and loiter time.'

      I'm not sure what you think they were using in Vietnam but they didn't have decent range and loiter time, much like the Spitfire in the BoB they had the advantage of being over home territory.

      'Using various highly effective methods for detecting the approximate whereabouts of "stealth" aircraft (LF radar, multispectrum IR, directional acoustics etc) ...'

      You can have a cheap fighter or you can have LF radar, multi-spectrum IR and directional acoustics, you can't have both. And if you claim they're not on the fighter they're ground based you've just added a weak link as Tomahawks take out all your comms centres so no one can tell your cheap fighters where to go.

      For the rest of your points maybe read up on the Red Flag exercise where the F-35 got a 15-1 Kill ratio against aircraft acting as cheap, manoeuvrable fighters.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "one less F35"

        "'Send up large numbers of cheap, plentiful, manoeuvrable 3rd and 4th gen ships, the kind with quite decent range and loiter time.'" ....I'm not sure what you think they were using in Vietnam but they didn't have decent range and loiter time,

        Whatever they were doing it worked - the US lost over 1,700 aircraft in combat, including around 600 F4s over 300 F105s, and countless A4s, and around 100 F8s. Vietnam was a turkey shoot for the anti-US forces. Given the strength and supposed technological advantage of the US, Vietnam wasn't a high point.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: "one less F35"

          'Whatever they were doing it worked'

          I didn't say it didn't, but if you want to repeat the performance it's best to know why it worked.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: "one less F35"

      Send up large numbers of cheap, plentiful, manoeuverable 3rd and 4th gen ships, the kind with quite decent range and loiter time.

      No need for that. An equal or smaller number will do. Just mount a modern ECM pod on one of the hardpoints and switch it to max. If you are flying a latest upgrade of any of the Russian aircraft or a Rafale you do not need to do that. It is built in. If nobody can use a radar anyway, then all of your points become valid straight away as everyone is "Stealthy" to start off with.

      I see one of the other posters has mentioned the Red Flag American weapons advertisement event. Does he realize that both of the recent Red Flags where there were real DIFFERENT aircraft like the Indian Su-33s and French Rafale, these were not allowed to use their radar AND ECM. It is easy to achieve 15:1 when you no means of shooting Americans at long range while the Americans can pick you from 30 miles out. In a similar event vs the UK for engagement in vis range the ratio was the exact opposite - 9:1 for the Indians.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: "one less F35"

        'Just mount a modern ECM pod on one of the hardpoints and switch it to max.'

        Home on Jam, you won't even have to bother targeting the ECM pods before launch.

        'In a similar event vs the UK for engagement in vis range the ratio was the exact opposite - 9:1 for the Indians.'

        According to the Indians.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: "one less F35"

          Home on Jam,

          Really? With let's say 50+ air based and god knows how many ground based sources of ECM active within a few hundred square miles. All of them alternating between spread spectrum and whacking each other on "suspect radar frequencies" with intervals of silence thrown in?

          According to the Indians.

          Confirmed by the RAF actually with the rather lame excuse of: "They brought in their best pilots while we made sure that as many of possible of our rank and file benefit from the experience" (apologies if I am not quoting correctly). By the way, AFAIK similar exercises a few years back against the Turks flying F16s ended up with similar results.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: "one less F35"

            'Really? With let's say 50+ air based and god knows how many ground based sources of ECM active within a few hundred square miles.'

            You only have to target the ones closest to you, which really isn't that hard. It is after all a technology that's been around since the invention of the radar. You're effectively describing a tactic which is the equivalent of trying to play hide and seek while wearing a luminous orange suit and shouting 'you'll never find me you ****' thorough a megaphone.

            'Confirmed by the RAF'

            Fair enough, but I've also talked to RAF pilots who've described DACT against the Indians and wiping the floor with them due to underestimating the Typhoon's performance, so unless you know the rules of engagement it's hard to know what the take away is from any training evolution. For instance most exercises force combatants together whereas in the real thing you may well be trying to avoid that happening.

  15. Richard Boyce

    Flip-top lid

    I cringe every time I see a picture of that flip-top lid. It just seems designed to break.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Flip-top lid

      I've seen worse:

      https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:F-8_Crusader_of_VMF-334_on_the_ground.jpeg

      Note that jack between the wing and the fuselage is only on the port side...

      As I understand it, when the flap is open there's a f*** off big fan under it sucking all the air down so there's actually very little force on it due to the relative air flow.

  16. Andy 97

    Why did Lockheed Martin, McDonnel Douglas and Boeing go to all that trouble of destroying our aircraft manufacturing industry if they can't even sell us what we ordered?

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Oh they didn't, we achieved that all on our own by letting the government dictate what the aircraft industry would build, e.g. you must build an airliner to BOAC's exact requirements for operating out of Nairobi, build the VC-10 and then get complaints from BOAC that it's not as flexible as the 707 so they only order a token number of an aircraft no one else wants.

      Of course it's worth noting BAE build the rear fuselage of all the F-35s, Rolls-Royce make all the lift fans, Martin-Baker provide the ejector seats, a UK company I can't remember the name of make the oxygen system etc. etc. up to about 15% of the aircraft's value. Which is a greater proportion of the programme than the UK's buy (~7% depending on how many are sold).

  17. Justice
    Mushroom

    Are we the Baddies?

    Is this the same Turkey that's fencing Oil stolen from the Middle East by 'ISIS'

    I'm losing track here...

  18. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    > "Testing F-35s against a Russian-made air defence system"

    Wouldn't that be quite a handy thing to be able to do?

  19. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    I'm just wondering when Bombardier/Embraer will get the collective balls together to put their toes in the pool........

  20. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Sabre-rattling

    Reminds me of a tale my father heard while at the MoD.

    Time: 1974

    Place: Cyprus

    MoD get a phone call from concerned Air Attache in Cyprus - large numbers of Turkish naval units seem to be heading towards the island. Reply from London, don't worry, they're just sabre-rattling.

    A little bit later, there's a second call - they're getting very close. Should we mobilise the RAF units? "Don't worry, it's just sabre rattling, trust me"

    A little bit later still "It looks like they're about to invade", "Look, I tell you, it's sabre-rattling. They'll back off". "With all due respect sir, if they're sabre rattling then it's a bloody big sabre".

    The rest is history

  21. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    In hindsight

    ...even setting aside the whole fundamental F35/Carrier fiasco (not an easy thing to do), surely the idea that you have a key part of one of your main strategic weapons systems locked into supply from somewhere likely to overrun at an early stage in the proceedings is equivalent to Britain deciding to buy spares for all its tanks from Belgium in 1938. Even Chamberlain wasn't that dim.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In hindsight

      Surely irrelevant when the US and their Quisling mates in Westminster have successfully destroyed the indigenous aircraft making capabilities of the UK?

      We're dependent on the US for spares for our heavy lift transport, our heavy lift helo, for our AEW, for our Sigint, for attack drones, for half the weapons systems, and soon will be for maritime reconnaissance and even training aircraft. Adding the strike aircraft to that list is surely not really important, regardless of who the Yanks chose to maintain the aircraft we've paid for.

      Given the lack of control we have over equipment, and the half baked capabilities we're left with after decades of deliberate failure by the MoD, we might as well disband our ill equipped military, beef up the coastguard to do SAR, fisheries protection, and contraband and trafficking interception, and save the fat end of £50bn a year. That would also stop the clowns of Westminster picking fights in far off lands.

      1. Deckard_C

        Re: In hindsight

        UK Military defense budget is more like £35bn the "defense" budget also includes other things, the difference mostly made up of foreign economic aid.

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: In hindsight

        And US depend on UK for

        Large amounts of F35 parts

        Ejection Seats

        Can't be bothered to search for more but there are lots

      3. Dave 15

        Re: In hindsight

        Its dead BUT it would be possible to start it again. We can make engines, we know how to make electronics and wings, we have one part built tsr2 that survived by luck despite the Labour governments attempts to ensure complete and utter destruction and a cockpit. If we can rebuild collosus from somewhat less information we can rebuild the tsr2. Once done we can do the 10 minutes work to stop the undercarriage wobbling and we suddenly have a fighter better than the eurofighter and I suspect from its shape about as stealthy as the F35.

        We could then go back to making Harriers as that is combat proven and works well, just make sure the missiles are fast enough and goodbye anything it doesn't like

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: In hindsight

          'Once done we can do the 10 minutes work to stop the undercarriage wobbling and we suddenly have a fighter better than the eurofighter and I suspect from its shape about as stealthy as the F35.'

          I doubt that as the TSR2 was a Strike and Reconnaisance aircraft, that being what the S and R in the name stand for. A fighter it was not with the smallish wing leading to a high wing loading which while ideal for a smooth ride at low level don't make for great turning performance. Nor were its sensors optimised for air-to-air. Or working at the point it was cancelled. Yes on paper the TSR2 was amazing, but there was lots of work to do to get all the cutting edge systems working, and a potentially intractable vibration problem caused by the cockpit being at the end of a long narrow nose.

          If they'd made an aircraft as stealthy as the F-35 in the 1960s, it would be the first thing they'd mention in any book on it as ATC would never have known where it was.

          'We could then go back to making Harriers as that is combat proven and works well'

          By that logic get Supermarine on the phone and start churning out Spitfires.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some good news at last...

    The maintenance costs savings of AOG'd aircaft will help counter the non-existent savings of leaving the EU.

    What's not to like?

    ;)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Childcatcher

    Largesse

    Largesse is a battle with consequences all of it's own. My largesse has to beat their largesse, without you giving it to them on a plate.

    Military superiority comes from either of a few areas

    1] Uniqueness [functional &/or operational superiority] - Outright Superiority, bigger, better.

    2] Superiority in numbers - Out number with more forces

    3] Allies & distribution - More friends in more places.

    Selling it or giving it away only works sometimes. Where [#3] fails you need [#1 or #2], and you have already betrayed yourself [#1] in attempting [#3.]. So that leaves you with [#2] outnumber with redundant forces. The weapons already developed could if required eliminate [#2] so states are left with little wars, spats and quarrels. What make one go all in, when one cannot afford to lose, but cannot win?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Voland

    Wow. So you have a day job as well as writing on this forum? :-)

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: @Voland

      Wow. So you have a day job as well as writing on this forum

      One has to entertain himself sometimes while stuff compiles or integration tests are being run.

      Or distract himself while his brain is trying to figure out "why the f*** this piece of Gak which someone pretends to be network hardware refuses to initialize". There is stuff which human brain handles best in a background thread and you do not always have the time to "sleep on it". Sometimes, a good flame war is almost as good as "sleeping on it" in terms of figuring out things.

      Different people do things differently you know.

  25. Long John Brass Silver badge
    Pirate

    Could I interest the UK in...

    A bunch of Cessna's with a hand-held rocket launchers in the passengers seats?

    You could probably launch em off your shiny new aircraft carriers too :)

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Could I interest the UK in...

      Not a good idea to launch a rocket/bazooka or the like from inside the airplane.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Could I interest the UK in...

      No thanks

      We still have BoBMF

      With proper piston engined fighters with Merlin power

      1. EnviableOne Bronze badge

        Re: Could I interest the UK in...

        not to mention the RN Historic Flight

      2. Dave 15

        Re: Could I interest the UK in...

        Seem to recollect that HMS Victory is the best armed ship in the Royal Navy (having guns at least which the others don't, and not needing missiles which are apparently too expensive to be put on the others), thus your idea isn't totally stupid.

        Perhaps if we can find an old mozzie or two then the wood wont show up so well to the radar and they were pretty quick

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: Could I interest the UK in...

          'Seem to recollect that HMS Victory is the best armed ship in the Royal Navy (having guns at least which the others don't,'

          Victory has fibreglass replicas to avoid the weight damaging the hull which is sagging after a few decades in dry dock. You'll also find the others do have guns, that can cause a significant amount more damage than a 19th Century cannon. The thing on the front of a T26 or T45 is a Mk8 4.5" gun with a variety of ammunition types.

          You'll also find that although the wood of a Mosquito won't show up on radar* all the bits of metal inside it, like the engines, will show up perfectly well.

          *Depending on the frequency of the radar

    3. EnviableOne Bronze badge

      Re: Could I interest the UK in...

      sorry we still have the fairey swordfishes that took out the bismark ...

      Oh and a collection of seaFury's and SeaPhantoms to play with ...

      and a bunch of wildcats, merlins and some Seakings lying around ....

      Oh and theirs them hawks we got sitting around for target practice...

  26. Dave 15

    One day...

    The idiot that decided to build 2 huge aircraft carriers instead of multiple small ones which would have been more flexible and harder to sink (larger numbers, more targets in order to have them all gone) should be hung

    The idiot that signed up to have the largest aircraft carriers the Royal Navy has ever had to have less capability to fly fast jets than HMS Hermes (which before the skijump could fly fast jets) should be hung

    The idiot that made them non-nuclear should be hung

    The idiot that signed up to have a foreign and frankly incapable jet (it runs out of fuel, cant vector in flight, cant fly near a thunderstorm and is 3 times the price of the Russian and not as proven or capable as the Harrier) should be hung

    The idiot that signed to have the jets serviced by Italy and Turkey rather than the UK who has paid a fortune to own the heaps of rubbish should be hung.

    In fact a lot of hanging should go on. I bet they all get knighthoods instead

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you hang everyone who gets things wrong you wont have anyone left who's learnt how to get it right next time.

      The fact is, the high level decisions for our military are made in the overall interests of NATO. That will yield an answer to many of your criticisms.

      If we really need to service jets ourselves, we would.

      If we really need small carriers we could build them more quickly than big ones.

      1. Dave 15

        mmmm

        Yes but no but...

        We could only service the jets if we knew how and had the parts.

        We could only build the small carriers if we had the Harriers to fly off them, a steel industry, a coal industry, a power industry and some time (all the Harriers are in bits in America, the F35 is useless, the EU required us to stop the steel industry, the coal industry was destroyed because some miners wanted a payrise, the power industry is all foreign owned and reliant on gas from Russia so hardly robust. And our forces are so small and badly equiped that any invading force arriving at the channel tunnel would have the entire country in about 2 hours.

        As for the rest I guess we need to suck up to the USA and pay for its over expensive and massive military (for heavens sake, even with a global empire to support we didnt need a navy that comprised over half the worlds war ships).

      2. Dave 15

        but they dont

        The civil service, particularly the mod make the same mistakes time and time again, never learning, never improving and never getting it right.

    2. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: One day...

      '2 huge aircraft carriers instead of multiple small ones which would have been more flexible and harder to sink '

      Multiple small carriers would be less effective, you'd need more manpower per aircraft sortie because you don't get the benefits of scale. This means you either can't do everything you require or you sail them around in a convoy at which point it's no harder to sink two than it is one.

      'less capability to fly fast jets than HMS Hermes '

      Hermes was very marginal at operating fast jets, I have a graph that tells you how much height you'll lose off the end of the deck in a Buccaneer before you're going fast enough to climb away. It would not be allowed today.

      'The idiot that signed up to have a foreign and frankly incapable jet'

      It's ~15-20% British, which isn't far off Tornado. If you can find a jet that doesn't run out of fuel you're really on to something, vectoring in flight is over-rated and certainly wasn't used in the Falklands, it can now fly near Thunderstorms since the fuel tank inerting system was signed off as fit for purpose, there's no directly comparable Russian aircraft they'd let us buy so no idea where you're getting the comparative cost from, obviously an aircraft that hasn't been in combat yet won't be as proven as one that has, but then by that logic we'd still be flying Sopwith Camels, and it carries twice as much, twice as far, twice as fast as the Harrier.

      'The idiot that made them non-nuclear should be hung'

      So you'd want the UK to develop a suitable reactor, submarine ones not being that good an idea as the French have found out. Not to mention the additional training burden for the extra nuclear qualified personnel, extra infrastructure to bring a nuclear powered ship into Portsmouth, etc. etc. Not to mention the additional up front costs which could have made the project untenable.

      'The idiot that signed to have the jets serviced by Italy and Turkey rather than the UK'

      The UK could service the jets, and indeed will service the avionics, but decided that spending $1 Billion on an engine overhaul centre when they'd be three others in Europe wasn't the best use of money.

      But you know, keep it up, I'm sure you'll get something right.

  27. Lost it

    "A bunch of Cessna's with a hand-held rocket launchers in the passengers seats?

    You could probably launch em off your shiny new aircraft carriers too :)"

    And watch the aircraft carrier steam off in front of you?

    1. Dave 15

      Maybe, but not for long, the carriers are oil burners and will run out pretty quickly (nuclear would have been a sensible option especially with the size and the fact we already know how to do nuclear from our submarines), that is assuming they dont share engines from our latest set of ships and over heat at the first sign of tepid water

  28. Potemkine! Silver badge

    What's the point...

    ... of having no catapult on a heavy aircraft carrier? Her career will probably be longer than the one of the F-35, so if that plane has no V-STOL replacement, what will become the carrier?

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