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If she is leaving in late August, what are the chances that she will show up at the Bournemouth show? It would be fantastic PR.


Interesting, thank you.

Iqbal Ahmed

I think the UK is buying F-35 without optional extras. We should cut our order in numbers and purchase the equipment to enhance performance.

Apparently Britain has failed to purchase a key system that would allow the fighter to communicate with other aircraft while also being able to strike.

“A lot of the value of the F-35 is its potential capability to share situational awareness with older platforms,” Justin Bronk, a defense analyst at the Royal United Services Institute think tank, told The Times.

But the British planes will have to switch to an unsecured wavelength called Link 16, which Bronk said was “quite easy for adversaries to detect.”

Also embarrassingly, the carriers broadband connection is just eight megabits, four times less powerful than the average British household. This could damage the planes’ ability to share information with the carrier.


True, but this stuff can be very easily bolted on as a UOR.

You’re just pissed because your paymasters in Russia can’t even build a new carrier, face it 😉


Not even true to start with. The F-35’s will be able to stealthily exchange tactical information with each other using MADL.

Iqbal Ahmed

I know, we only have the old Admiral Kuznetsov. And even that embarrassingly breaks down every 500km or so. Kinda like your destroyers in warm water. It’s almost like we’re a paper tiger some people in the UK want to hold up as an existential threat….

And the value of the Rouble has depreciated by 50% over the past 2 years ever since the sanctions started biting. I guess I kind of feel like a Brexiter who saw the £ drop 20% overnight after the referendum.

What’s a Putinbot to do? I hear the MOD is hiring….I hear they call it PR in the West. Hi, I’m Boris from Vladivostok…Rofl


Phwoarr! Nerve twitched eh 😉

Iqbal Ahmed

Thought I’d play along.

Jonathan Potts

Is this the real Iqbal Ahmed?! That was quite witty.


All the F-35 squadrons will be under RAF control so no, it’s not a “truly joint effort”.

The Harriers, before they were phased out, operated under the same arrangement. During the last years of the Invincibles, it was rare to see a Harrier on their decks as the RAF refused to release them for sea going duties.

This is after the RAF unilaterally scrapped the Sea Harriers, the last sea going fighter.

Scrapping the Sea Harriers was fiercely resisted by the Navy. But the Navy was ignored. Both Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, chief of the defence staff, and the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh, resigned in protest.

And the first pilot to land an F-35 on Queen Elizabeth will be RAF. A low class insult to the Navy..


There will never be enough F35B to serve on the carriers the RAF has already laid claim to the first batch of 38 and already selected there operational postings.
The whole carriers project was a treasury a stich up and a brown job protection scheme.

The navy wanted cats and traps and the f18 the raf wanted f35a and the treasury said we can save money by having the F35B and the RAF and Navy can share forgetting that had different requirements.
So we get the largest and most exspensive helicopter carriers ever built which .might have 12 F35B if the RAF release them but a carrier without awacs/in-flight refuelling to support them giving them a puny range of 300km with a 1500kg payload meaning they have no power projection.
Plus they actually don’t work according to USMC who have been thoroughly disappointed by the red.

Thanks Gordon Brown


That is a very negative appraisal. I doubt it is all true.


The discussion for the carriers design and the hand of Gordon Brown’s Treasury are available to the public.
The navy wanted cats and traps and RAF wanted the F35A .
The Treasury overruled both services leading to the present mess.
For the F35B to meet operational acceptance the USMC changed the requirements 4 times and it only just passed.
A 2017 report to the Quarter Master General at the Pentagon said the f35b was unfit for operational service and was a danger to pilots and should not been accepted..
It is all there in black and white Rick .

The Treasury has form in saving money in defence projects.
Type 45 12 for 6 billion treasury orders savings reduced to ten then 8 then someone realises the dockyards will have no work so the last 2 have build times extended navy gets 6 for 6 billion.
Type 26 the original requirements was 13 at 1.5 a year costing 8 billion now 8 at 1 every 2 years costing 8 billion.

This is down to treasury short sighted spending.


How can the decision makers be that stupid, this is unbelievable.


Its unbelievble because the carrier piece is presented so far out of context as to be unrecognisable. The RN didnt ‘want’ F-35C when the price of CATOBAR was going to be dropping 2 decks to just the one and alternating deployments with the Marine Nationale and the Charles de Gaulle group.

The first step in the CVF project was the FCBA (Future Carrier Borne Aircraft) type downselect. If memory serves that was back in 2002ish and was first for F-35 and then, explicitly, for STOVL. STOVL was chosen because we could not afford a Fleet Air Arm at Aeronavale levels of manning without a huge increase in the equipment and operations budgets – if we wanted to preserve all the other programs we had running at the same time.

Have a look at what maintaining the Aeronavale/CATOBAR has cost the Marine Nationale!. Their 2nd gen SSN isnt in service yet, they’ve been forced to drag on the F70’s and somewhat modest LaFayettes past their sell by dates and their UNREP capacity is modest at best. They unbalanced their fleet to get a part time CVN CATOBAR deck.

Not a model for the RN to follow at a time it was also having to find cash for the replacement of T23 and SSBN and continue the build of Astute and T45.

So STOVL was selected:
(a) in order to continue to allow the RAF to foot the bill for basing the fast jet squadrons that Culdrose and Yeovilton would have to be stood up to be ready.
(b) to obviate the need for a full CATOBAR deck qualification training cycle to be developed
(c) to enable the ‘Golf Bag’ Tailored Air Group concept.

This was forgotten about by the time the 2010 Defence paper came around, but, when the costs for CATOBAR were sketched out the original STOVL downselect reasons were quickly remembered. Far from, then, CATOBAR being desired STOVL was actually chosen twice!.

Where does the combat radius of 300km you are claiming come from?. The official number is 450nm. That is more than an F-18C and illustrated out would be a launch from Heathrow, full LO transit to Hamburg, 8 precison SPEAR3 shots, and a return to base….with a couple of BVR air-air shots if needed. That is far superior to anything we’ve had in 40yrs.

tom dolan

The F35A is a purely land based aircraft. The F35C is the version with a tailhook. Given the multiple missions the RN is using their new carriers for I don’t see that they could realistically gone with arrested landing aircraft. There is simply not enough deck and hanger space


Could it be feasible to consider a kind of time-sharing scheme for the 2 carriers with the French Rafale M ?

The RN will operate the platform and La Royale provide the aircrafts.

It could make sense when the CdG is not in service or if we would have to deploy more aircrafts to face a serious threat jointly.

Indian navy might soon buy Rafale M to equip its Stobar carrier.

The idea is not for the UK to buy French aircrafts but to take advantage of both existing sound assets (our 2 big carriers and our valuable aircrafts – Providing that Rafale 4 can share data with F35)


I’m glad to hear “things are working well”. I’ve watched 3 episodes of Britain’s Biggest Warship and I think the Navy is delighted with their new super carrier. Andy, calling the QE the “largest and most expensive Helicopter Carrier ever built” is a gross exaggeration and mis-representation of the facts. I would retract that.


Rick they will never have more than 12 F35B embarked as there is not cat in hells chance of the RAF releasing more. Plus there is a huge question mark over the treasury releasing the funds to buy the 138 F35B required it is looking like we will get 70 at most meaning allowing for training and maintainance there will be a available pool of 27 to share between the two services.
We have a 65000 ton carrier which can carry 48 jets but only enough jets for 12 .
So we have built the largest and most exspensive helicopter carriers in the world with a sideline as a pig in a poke aircraft carrier.
And that if they are fit to fly the USMC F35B have spent more time grounded than operational .

Gordon Brown has a lot to answer for and the boy George made it worse.

tom dolan

The US Marines currently have deployed Western Pacific two LPH operating the F35B with all aircraft preforming well. I hate to bust your bubble Negative Nancy but the F35B has been even better and more trouble free on deployment then American planners hoped. Thank God for the Skunk Works at Lockheed


Whilst i agree Joint Force Harrier was and going forwards ‘Joint Force Lightning’ will be RAF dominated i don’t think what you’ve said is entirely accurate or fair.

Part of the reason Sea Harrier was scrapped was because it didn’t operate well in hot climates (designed for the North Atlantic but increasingly deployed to the Middle East) and it would have been expensive to upgrade them with new, more powerful engines. Worth the cost? Maybe. However by 2002 it was too late to work around the financial and technological reality. The really short sighted decision was both the RAF and RN pursuing very different Harrier upgrade paths in the late 80s/early 90s.

During the last years of the Invincible’s the RAF Harriers were worked hard in Afghanistan. Between 2006-2010 there were annual deployments of a handful (usually 4 i think) on Illustrious or Ark Royal to keep residual carrier skills alive, but the need to keep 8+ air-frames operating on Operation Herrick 365 days a year, with a finite forward fleet and amount of pilots/money limited what else the fleet could do.


Always delightful to hear the RAF point of view.

The Sea Harriers, for all their faults and what aircraft doesn’t have them, was a credible fleet air defence fighter armed with a decent radar and AMRAAM and Sidewinder missiles. After they were scrapped, the Navy had zero air cover, zero. Basically back to 1941 when Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk because of no air defence.


Trying to square the circle vis a vis FAA and RAF requirements is and has been hard to achieve. It’s always been my contention that there should where possible be maximum cooperation especially with Defence getting such a miserable share of resources. One example from which there is much to learn are the many attempts to reinforce Malta with Hurricanes and Spitfires. This should be ‘the how not to do it’ exemplar for any staff class.
A situation that could easily be repeated in a future conflict.
In a worst case scenario, can the F35A take off from a ski jump? Probably doubtful in the extreme.

Cal Lawrence

What baffles me is why they didn’t take the radars off the Sea Harriers and mount them on Harrier GR9s. Call it a “Harrier FGR11” and keep it in service until the F-35B is operation in enough numbers to replace them. Or even “Sea Harrier FGR11”, because the RAF didn’t want Harriers anymore so why not hand them over to the RN instead of scrapping them?

The USMC did exactly that with taking radars from retired F/A-18As and mounting them on the AV-8B, and the Sea Harriers’ Blue Vixen was a better radar than the AN/APG-65.

But nope, apparently having no capability at all until the next gen aircraft arrive was apparently a good idea.

tom dolan

If you want to purchase cheap Sea Harriers with the more powerful engines to flesh out your deck loads on your new CGs the USMC is still operating them whill the fully transition their squadrons to the F35B. They are also flying the F18 Hornet until the get their F35Cs


Isn’t the next Lightning squadron going to be an FAA unit (809 Squadron if I’m not mistaken)? While the force will be RAF dominated, with both the OCU and OEU squadrons being RAF, the RN will eventually have at least 2 of its own squadrons that it has overall authority over.

Also, purely a guess on my part, but unlike back when the Sea Harrier was scrapped, the navy seem to be in the ascendant politically currently. 2 new carriers that have already caused a lot of controversy, the MoD must be under pressure to prove their worth. The navy is also offering a lot of opportunities to exploit politically, exporting the T26 to Australia and Canada, revitalising domestic shipbuilding.


Th RN squadron will be under RAF control. It’s just PR.

William Baynes

Yes ! Bring her to Bournemouth for the big air show in August!


On the way to the scrap yard a £3 billion white elephant.


Grey surely.


“Thar be the white whale… bring me my Harrrpoon Ishmael!”
“Captain… we uh…. we don’t have any Harpoons anymore… they’ve passed their OSD…”


Very good .

The Admirals who run the navy have a awful lot to answer for.


Excellent positivity being displayed.


The range of the F35 could be extended by in flight refuelling. Why not by back 12 GR7 and convert them into tankers, 8 used for the carrier and 4 for training.


I also wondered if the F-35b could carry heavier loads if rockets are attached to it’s side of fuselage, to boast thrust at take-off and jettisoned once the plane is in the air? If so, it would enable F-35b to deploy Storm Shadow missile from QE class carrier.

tom dolan

The USS Nimitz was built in the early ’70s at the then outrageous cost of $1Billion. It has been an instrument of national policy for nearly 50 years. While the cost today for the Ford seems extreme , future American Presidents currently in grade school will use this ship to carry out American and Allied policy long after most of us are dead and gone


Only if they can get the Ford’s EMALS and AAG’s to work reliably. Let’s face it, General Atomics have been trying to get them to work for about 10 or 12 years now without success. They seem to be getting worse as the years go by.