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Sunmack

Sounds like great operational experience being gained in a low threat environment. Probably some useful ASW experience as well if the Russian subs are attempting to get in close.

Now let’s make the capability properly world class in a high threat environment by integrating a stand off, heavyweight AShM and Storm Shadow on some of the F35 fleet instead of spending a few hundred million on a new ‘National Flagship’ whose costs have now been confirmed as coming out of the defence budget.

To keep costs down you don’t even need the stand off missiles on every F35. For example, if we put a heavyweight AShM onto 12 F35’s that should mean the carrier can always deploy with at least 4 aircraft with that capability. At 2 AShM’s per aircraft that’s enough to deal with most surface threats with Spear 3 equipped aircraft dealing with warships that are not equipped with an area defence SAM system.

Tim Hirst

This may or may not be a good idea, but if it were to happen any mods would likely be applied to all the fleet.
Most of the cost is in integration testing both of the physical weapon/aircraft combination and most importantly the software. If this work was done the savings of only applying it to part of the fleet would likely be much less than the cost of maintaining multiple versions of the software.

Sunmack

Is the integration testing not already planned or carried out for the LRASM (by the US) or for the JSM (by Norway)?

Last edited 1 month ago by Sunmack
Tim Hirst

Not sure about what’s in the US pipeline for the 35B. Adding new weapons to the U.K. system brings cost of it own. Given the state of the MoD budget any new expenditures in one area likely need balancing cuts in other areas.

DaveyB

The Block IV upgrade will include the JSM integration which is being paid for by Japan and Australia. However, the integration does not explicitly state if this is for the whole family or just the A version. Now that Japan are converting their Izumo class helicopter destroyers to carriers, which will be operating F35Bs. I fully expect the B version to also be included. The weapon software integration isn’t Nation specific, as its available on all F35s.

The weapon separation and carriage trials will still need to be done on the F35B if its previously been cleared on the F35A. The F35B cannot carry the JSM in the internal weapons bays, as they are too shallow, so it will have to be carried on a underwing pylon. As the airflow around the wing is different between each of the F35 variants due to the varying wingspans. Each type will need to do separate carriage trials.

Sunmack

Thanks for such a detailed and informed reply

Duker

Very informative, however only the F35C has a bigger wingspan , while A and B are the same.

DaveyB

Don’t know why, but always thought the B had a shorter wingspan than the A fir some reason. But happily stand corrected, as they both have a wingspan of 35ft. Cheers

Supportive Bloke

I agree.

The last thing the UK defence budget needs is loads more kits that is UK modified and therefore the orphaned child of the program and therefore UK has all the costs to maintain and to modify.

And it would be a nightmare if only 25% of the fleet could carry it. If say you have 12 F35B on a routine QEC patrol and the wrong ones went faulty or needed deep maintenance then you would be a bit stuffed.

But one thing I do agree on is that a long range AShM for the F35B would be sensible – the only issue is finding one that fits in the bomb bay of the B model which is not massive and talks to the on board software.

Sunmack

If the AShM has a long enough range to be launched from outside the SAM envelope of the target would it matter if it was externally mounted? If the target can see you but not engage you then does stealth matter?

D Linden

Can missiles ( esp cruise type ) not be made stealthy ? The gun pod is supposed to be.

DaveyB

Agree, against a ship the F35 will detect it a long time before its detected even with underwing weapons?being carried. Against an airborne AEW aircraft it gets trickier.

Glass Half Full

While desirable, we don’t need a weapons bay AShM if we separate the aircraft providing the target solution from that carrying the missile. That’s the basis of the combined 5th gen and 4th gen operating concept. So the clean F-35B provides the surface target and if it exists also takes out any opposing AEW asset. The F-35B with wing loaded AShM flies and launches below the surface vessels radar horizon.

Tomartyr

Seems like it would make more sense for the shooter role to be filled by Vixen.
I imagine an F-35b with nothing but a few AAMs for last-ditch self-defence acting as spotter for distant loitering drones that would ideally do all the shooting and bombing

Last edited 1 month ago by Tomartyr
Glass Half Full

I agree Vixen would seem to be perhaps the preferred option for the future. I was just outlining the concept using current platforms.

Meirion X

Storm Shadow is due out of service by end of this decade. So would Not be worth the expense of all the integration testing to be done before able to be used combat missions, for just a few years of service.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
DaveyB

It would make a proper mess of a ship with the programmable BROACH warhead though.

Meirion X

Yes, I argee. SS would have needed a block 4 upgrade to operate from a F-35B.

DaSaint

What’s notable about this article is it doesn’t say if they were RAF or USMC F-35Bs or both. My guess is that each strike team would be comprised of both, but let’s await further info.

UPDATE: Aircraft from both 617 Squadron and the “Wake Island Avengers” of U.S. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 were also part of the strike missions.

Last edited 1 month ago by DaSaint
X

The last paragraph is QE’s role in a nutshell. Filling the niche between the US CBG’s and the US ARG’s. A swing asset. Good stuff.

Dick Van Dyke

X, spot on.

X

I am not happy with the direction the USMC seems to be heading. Considering the range of aircraft the US would have available in theatre the F35b is too much for what is needed for basic CAS. Where as the RN pushed SHAR to do all sorts so we have had a gain going from a very old base model supermini to a top of the range modern family saloon. F35b is a big cab even on the decks of the USN’s LHx. I think some across the Pond wanted more USS America’s and I think is that gap that QE’s will fill. I can see F35b’s being moved to a QE class freeing up LHx’s hangar and deck space for MV22 and 53 Kilo’s. While also SHAR could never compete with FA18, F14, etc the F35b is in that class. So the RN can also undertake #MeToo sorties in the next big bunfight. US cabs though don’t make up for us lacking our own.

Pmichael

USMC F-35B will only operate temporarily from their landing shps and will move to forward bases in a case of conflict.

X

We shall see. I think austere working though it has been done will prove to be not practicable. And the reason why we have things from flying ships is manoeuvre. Your assertion assumes there is somewhere on land to operate from……

Meirion X

It is due to the role of the USMC air wings, which is to support their ground forces, so only equipping their F-35B’s with the required warpons for CAS.
The RN will need to equipped their F-35B’s for their own role.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
X

The Harrier provided the USMC with a simple fixed wing CAS platform. As I said it is was a supermini. The F35b is a fully fledged gen 4 or five fighter. Too much really for want the USMC want and a bargain for us.

Chris

Sounds like they have their hands full. Also demonstrates the extreme operational complexity beyond “a boat for airplanes” many people picture. I’m surprised so many Russian subs are in the Med. Hopefully the T23 can hold them at a distance.

Jamie

Hi Chris, Was wondering what you mean by holding them at a distance? Is this just pinging them at hope they fall back or something else?

Thanks

Peter

The Russians are probably experimenting with radar and sensor settings that will nullify the “stealth” part of an F-35. Let’s hope that they haven’t already succeeded.. Without the stealth, it is an extremely expensive but fairly dismal aircraft.

Cory

As if you would have any idea lol Let me guess, you previously were one of the armchair “experts” talking about carriers with no aircraft and the RN not possibly being able to assemble a fleet to protect the carriers. How about you simply admit you have absolutely no clue at all what their capabilities actually are and leave it at that.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cory
X

That’s a bit harsh. Of course the Russian are investigating those things; it would be stupid and not very Russian if they weren’t.

There is a lot of evidence to suggest that F117’s were being tracked in GW1. Nothing is truly invisible.

I don’t think he stated anything just hoped that the Russians weren’t too far ahead. You can bet they rubbed their hands every time the Kheil HaAvir sent their F35a’s north.

And we are struggling to assemble enough of our assets to protect the carriers and do other works. The USN have factored into their programme having a Burke available for QE escort duties for a while now.

Never known a site for petty point scoring like this one.

Yank

The avionics and networking are as important as the stealth. The F-35 sees and fires at 4 and 4.5 gen fighters before they know it’s there. As for defeating it, I’ll place my bets on the West in the technology arms race.

Last edited 1 month ago by Yank
X

Yes. Exactly. Radar didn’t stop aircraft taking off did it? It is all part of a big game.

DaveyB

It will be very hard for any non F35 operating country to get a real RCS reading of a F35. Specifically because they are always flown with the Luneburg lenses fitted. These partially act as radar reflectors but also amplify the reflected signal. Therefore the radar receiver will not get a true representation of the aircraft’s radar signature. Even the Israelis keep them fitted operating near the Syrian border.

Yank

Great to see the UK back in the carrier game. As a former USN vet, I know first hand how stretched our carriers can be, so much obliged for the QE spelling our boys in the Med. We unfortunately will need more of that in the future I’m afraid.

Last edited 1 month ago by Yank
X

Your carriers are stretched, your submarines, your escorts……..Well done Europe for dropping the ball.

Dick Van Dyke

Europe never really had the Ball though, GB had all the power and let it decline so bad it’s a bit of a joke now.

Meirion X

Yes, we let our defence spending fall to less then 2% of GDP, like the Europeans do, with the exception of Greece!

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
X

I think France and Germany and Italy were once mighty powers. The American army in the 1930’s was smaller than that of Portugal. The USN though large wasn’t as large as the Royal Navy and the Japanese and French had equal fleets. Only after WW2 did Europe walk away from ‘military power’. So yes we had the ball and dropped it. But let us not forger for all this talk of Europe not paying enough for defence we hear from the US the US likes Europe to be weak.

Dave

Do we know if they are dumping munitions to do vertical landings returning from their combat missions or are they performing SRVL?