Reply to post: Re: Making life easier - for an adversary

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

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?

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