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UK Carrier Plane U-Turn

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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18008171

    Personally I think the Government has made totally the wrong choice in this, they should never have opted for the F35-B in the first place, the 2010 SDSR, while it gutted the RN Strike Capability for the foreseeable future, they made a good call in changing to the F35-C. To now reverse this is sheer lunacy. The C variant, while it will cost a large amount to convert the new Carriers to Cats and Traps, it will ultimately prove a lot more capable and cheaper in the long run. We now basically have a very expensive Stealth Harrier with no advantages and most of the disadvantages!
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    When it boils down to it, whether it's the C variant or the B variant the F-35 is still a brilliant plane capable of taking on any other fighter jet currently flying.

    The Harrier we used to have is vastly inferior to the F-35.
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    I thought we were just going to have homemade Typhoons
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    Vertical landing is pretty awesome, it feels more hi-tech than what essentially boils down to a hook and a big bit of rope/rubber band

    (generally speaking I don't see why we need new planes or military equipment at all, but then maybe my world view is far too optimistic.)
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    It's utter lunacy that they've done this given that we've already ditched the Harriers, and so we are rapidly losing our STOVL expertise and will now have to try and regenerate it in a few years time. It really shouldn't be a political decision, and it's probably the case that the proposal was made by the MoD and signed off by the government. It is worth bearing in mind that, as they're non-nuke, it would be very difficult to generate the quantities of steam required to drive a steam cat and there isn't a working electrical cat yet. I personally think they should have gone nuke in the first place, but that's an entirely different question..
    I can't help but feel inter-Service rivalry played too much of a part in the SDSR. The Harriers should never have been ditched (see Libya), but most of all the MoD needs to learn (and has done for decades) that it needs to set a specification that will meet their needs, without penny pinching at the outset, agree a price, then stick to it. BAe Systems shareholders must rub their hands with glee every time a modification to a program is announced.
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    Stupid politicians will never learn....
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    (Original post by Snagprophet)
    I thought we were just going to have homemade Typhoons
    Eurofighter Typhoon is hardly "home made"; it's built by a coalition of contractors, of which BAE Systems is not the prime contractor. In the same sense, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is by its very description, a massive defence industry collaboration, which BAE Systems is again part of.
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    (Original post by Mad Vlad)
    Eurofighter Typhoon is hardly "home made"; it's built by a coalition of contractors, of which BAE Systems is not the prime contractor. In the same sense, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is by its very description, a massive defence industry collaboration, which BAE Systems is again part of.
    Oh okay then.
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    They should scrap the F-35 full stop. It's overpriced, delayed and I can easily see it being another F-22 style flop that just doesn't work.

    Should focus on the UAV fleet instead. Develop the Taranis and the Mantis projects and use them instead for the attack capacity from the Aircraft Carriers. Cheaper, less risk to pilots, smaller so the carriers can carry more and they'll pave the way for the future which lies in unmanned aerial vehicles.
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    (Original post by Cannotbelieveit)
    When it boils down to it, whether it's the C variant or the B variant the F-35 is still a brilliant plane capable of taking on any other fighter jet currently flying.

    The Harrier we used to have is vastly inferior to the F-35.
    Agreed that the F35 will be one of the world-leaders when it comes into service. However when looking at the advantages and disadvantages of the -B and -C variants, our Government has made a massive mistake in choosing the C!
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    Going back to F-35 B means that the UK will have an aircraft carrier operational by the end of the decade.

    The Reviews which are flawed, that is where I am pointing the finger
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    I don't understand how are military can be so wasteful :confused: £35 million on a few plans for a pipeline idea; and the idea that cancelling a project will cost more than having it built. We could have an fleet of Imperial star destroyers and a couple of Deathstars if it wasn't for all the waste, I waste time and money regularly but the MoD take the ****ing piss.
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    (Original post by S1L3NTPR3Y)
    I don't understand how are military can be so wasteful :confused: £35 million on a few plans for a pipeline idea; and the idea that cancelling a project will cost more than having it built. We could have an fleet of Imperial star destroyers and a couple of Deathstars if it wasn't for all the waste, I waste time and money regularly but the MoD take the ****ing piss.
    To be fair, it's often not the fault of the military - they have input into it, but the MoD (which is largely civilian civil servants) actually negotiate the contracts. And guess what? All the decent defence contract lawyers work for BAe, who will pay a lot more than the MoD will! BAe's contract writers run rings round the MoD. The MoD then compound the problem by changing specs mid project and incur the additional costs of that, and then you get issues with the Treasury which sees the MoD needing to reduce it's spending for that year, which sees capital spending bumped to the next year - but that itself incurs more costs. There was an example a year or two back where the MoD bumped £400 million of spending on the carriers. That not only delayed the construction of the carriers, but the cost rose to £2 billion.
    EDIT: Another example of daft spending decisions is kit purchased under Urgent Operational Requirements. The Army has a whole bunch of kit they got via UORs from Afghanistan, but once it's no longer covered by the UOR they have no funding to maintain the equipment and there's no room in the normal budget for it, so they basically just ditch the stuff. A lot of money goes that way. Oh, and another little issue is the cost of ordnance in Libya - would normally be covered by a Treasury fund, but this time round the Treasury said they'd only cover 20% of the cost. Multi million cost there, which has to come out of a budget that's already way, way over. If you looked into military spending hard you wouldn't think a government department could possibly work like that, but it does! It's a massive bugbear of a lot of military personnel, as they're the ones who have to deal with the equipment that's not up to scratch or simply never appears as a result..
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    To be fair, it's often not the fault of the military - they have input into it, but the MoD (which is largely civilian civil servants) actually negotiate the contracts. And guess what? All the decent defence contract lawyers work for BAe, who will pay a lot more than the MoD will! BAe's contract writers run rings round the MoD. The MoD then compound the problem by changing specs mid project and incur the additional costs of that, and then you get issues with the Treasury which sees the MoD needing to reduce it's spending for that year, which sees capital spending bumped to the next year - but that itself incurs more costs. There was an example a year or two back where the MoD bumped £400 million of spending on the carriers. That not only delayed the construction of the carriers, but the cost rose to £2 billion.
    EDIT: Another example of daft spending decisions is kit purchased under Urgent Operational Requirements. The Army has a whole bunch of kit they got via UORs from Afghanistan, but once it's no longer covered by the UOR they have no funding to maintain the equipment and there's no room in the normal budget for it, so they basically just ditch the stuff. A lot of money goes that way. Oh, and another little issue is the cost of ordnance in Libya - would normally be covered by a Treasury fund, but this time round the Treasury said they'd only cover 20% of the cost. Multi million cost there, which has to come out of a budget that's already way, way over. If you looked into military spending hard you wouldn't think a government department could possibly work like that, but it does! It's a massive bugbear of a lot of military personnel, as they're the ones who have to deal with the equipment that's not up to scratch or simply never appears as a result..
    I agree 100% with that, when I said military I was inferring the civil servents and bureaucratic who let down the armed forces.
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    (Original post by Zeffy)
    They should scrap the F-35 full stop. It's overpriced, delayed and I can easily see it being another F-22 style flop that just doesn't work.

    Should focus on the UAV fleet instead. Develop the Taranis and the Mantis projects and use them instead for the attack capacity from the Aircraft Carriers. Cheaper, less risk to pilots, smaller so the carriers can carry more and they'll pave the way for the future which lies in unmanned aerial vehicles.
    F22 does work - recent oxygen supply issues aside - it's just too expensive to be procured in numbers. The US aren't allowing any other nation to buy it, so it won't be a commercial success.
    The -35 was designed from the outset to be for as many countries as reasonably possible, scheduled as it is to replace F16s and F/A18s.

    UAVs are fine, but they're not there yet.

    (Original post by Morgsie)
    Going back to F-35 B means that the UK will have an aircraft carrier operational by the end of the decade.

    The Reviews which are flawed, that is where I am pointing the finger
    End of the decade? Ha. The F35A has barely made IOC with the USAF, let alone any other variant. We'll be fortunate if we get any Bs delivered by 2017. After that it'll take a good couple of years to build up squadron strength, deal with conversion, get enough pilots through on them and get an operational squadron established. Then we've got the boats...
    2020 if we're lucky. By which point we'll already be well out of date of the last SDSR which was awful in the first place.


    FWIW, I still don't really think we'll end up getting them. The US will cancel the programme, we'll not get any money back but will be offered - and will get - some F/A 18E/Fs in return and then decide to go back to a cats and traps carrier, with BAE laughing all the way to the bank.
    As long as noone mentions marinised Typhoons, we'll be ok.
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    F22 does work - recent oxygen supply issues aside - it's just too expensive to be procured in numbers. The US aren't allowing any other nation to buy it, so it won't be a commercial success.
    The -35 was designed from the outset to be for as many countries as reasonably possible, scheduled as it is to replace F16s and F/A18s.

    UAVs are fine, but they're not there yet.
    .
    The oxygen is a big issue since it makes the aircraft so dangerous that many pilots are refusing to fly them. Plus it's cost is way too high and there are aircraft just as capable as the F-22. It's an expensive failure.

    F-35 is already overbudget and delayed and I really can't see it been a success. The Navy would be better off cutting their losses and either focussing on a UAV fleet of military versions of the Taranis or the Mantis variant been produced by BAE & Dassault. UAVs haven't reached their peak yet but they're still a better option than waiting for a delayed, expensive aircraft like the F-35.

    Failing that, I remember reading not so long ago that Saab were planning to make a Navalised version of the Gripen which would be a good option or, even purchase Rafale's from France.

    Both orders could easily be ready by the time the carrier's are operational.
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    (Original post by Zeffy)
    The oxygen is a big issue since it makes the aircraft so dangerous that many pilots are refusing to fly them. Plus it's cost is way too high and there are aircraft just as capable as the F-22. It's an expensive failure.

    F-35 is already overbudget and delayed and I really can't see it been a success. The Navy would be better off cutting their losses and either focussing on a UAV fleet of military versions of the Taranis or the Mantis variant been produced by BAE & Dassault. UAVs haven't reached their peak yet but they're still a better option than waiting for a delayed, expensive aircraft like the F-35.

    Failing that, I remember reading not so long ago that Saab were planning to make a Navalised version of the Gripen which would be a good option or, even purchase Rafale's from France.

    Both orders could easily be ready by the time the carrier's are operational.
    Please give an example of a recent military procurement which has come in on time and on budget, and without problems! They're pretty much par for the course. If the decision was made to switch aircraft the smart move would be to go with Super Hornets, not least because we're already sending WAFUs to train on them. It doesn't solve the problem of how you get the things off the deck in the first place though.
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    (Original post by Zeffy)
    The oxygen is a big issue since it makes the aircraft so dangerous that many pilots are refusing to fly them. Plus it's cost is way too high and there are aircraft just as capable as the F-22. It's an expensive failure.

    F-35 is already overbudget and delayed and I really can't see it been a success. The Navy would be better off cutting their losses and either focussing on a UAV fleet of military versions of the Taranis or the Mantis variant been produced by BAE & Dassault. UAVs haven't reached their peak yet but they're still a better option than waiting for a delayed, expensive aircraft like the F-35.

    Failing that, I remember reading not so long ago that Saab were planning to make a Navalised version of the Gripen which would be a good option or, even purchase Rafale's from France.

    Both orders could easily be ready by the time the carrier's are operational.
    The oxygen supply was a similar issue in the SuperHornet, but now sorted it's a great aircraft. Problem with the F22 is that people almost want it to fail.
    Frankly, no, there aren't aircraft 'just as capable'. Maybe they are now, but that's because the F22 is underperforming - issues associated with being new. Once it's operating as designed then nothing's going to get close for a long time.
    It's too early for us to go UAV, especially alone. The technology isn't there yet and we're not in a position to lead the way. It would be another way for BAE to have money poured into them for little or no output.
    The Gripen is the better political option of the two, being as it is partly BAE made. But again, it's an unproven concept. At least the F35B is flying. Doubt Rafales would ever happen. Too much pride within the MoD and it would require us either completely refitting the weapons suite or buying an entirely different set of weapons.
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    It is a shame that we are not pursuing CATOBAR but we have to be within our means. But the U-turn is simply escalating the costs of the carrier far higher than it should be, when all this could have been foreseen and avoided - why else was the previous administration set on getting F-35B in the first place?

    In the end sure, Britain deserves the best and Britain should have the best. But only when we are likely to be at war with either the French, Germans or Russians. There is an economy to fix first - warfare is only a possibility in the distant future.
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    The problem with going for the F35C is that given the small number the MoD was looking to purchase and given the high training demands that cat and trap operations require the FI of such a small fleet would be eaten up in a very short time compared to the F35B. A 'more capable' aircraft is all well and good but its capabilities are somewhat reduced if it is sat awaiting a re-spar in a hanger.

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