U.K. may drop the STOVL F-35 for carrier variant

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare' started by youngindian, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. youngindian

    youngindian Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Messages:
    1,360
    Likes Received:
    71
    August 6, 2009 (by Eric L. Palmer) - The U.K. may dump the F-35 Short-Take-off and Landing (STOVL) Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) also known as the F-35B.The British newspaper, The Telegraph, has reported that an announcement will be made by the Ministry of Defence this autumn.

    What will the MoD suggest as a replacement aircraft for its proposed two new aircraft carriers? The F-35C. This is the U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 that uses catapults to launch it off the ship and arresting wires for landing.

    Claimed advantages of the F-35C include a lower cost per airframe, longer range and larger payload. It is also seen as an advantage to have another catapult capable set of aircraft carriers so as to better interact with the U.S. Navy and the French. Of course no variant of the F-35 has enough flight testing complete to lay claim to any significant advantage one way or another.

    This will have a massive impact on the maker of the F136 Rolls-Royce / General-Electric alternate engine for the F-35. RR and GE have claimed that their engine would give more power to the STOVL F-35B. This would also have an effect on jobs in the U.K. as well as the U.S.

    Without the need by the U.K. for the STOVL F-35 combined with the U.S. 2010 Defense budget that when approved may kill U.S. funding of the F136, the alternate engine is sure to die. This was a veto hot button issue of President Obama.

    Rolls Royce also makes lift components for the STOVL variant of the Pratt and Whitney F135 jet engine. PW is the prime power-plant for the F-35 program.

    If the U.K. military does get out of the STOVL combat jet business, this will mean costs for the F-35B for the United States Marine Corps will rise sharply.

    There is no word how this will effect Italy—one of the nine F-35 partner nations that has considered a STOVL variant of the F-35. Israel had also considered a STOVL F-35 as part of their evaluation of the program. Some years ago, the then head of the United States Air Force, General Jumper, considered changing a quantity in the hundreds of their F-35 orders to the STOVL variant based on lessons learned from the initial invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Another giant question. What happens if the F-35C doesn't deliver on the promise due to any number of problems that can strike down a complex defence program? This brings two existing carrier fighters into play. The French Rafale and the U.S. F-18E/F Super Hornet.

    http://www.f-16.net/news_article3712.html
     
  2.  
  3. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,199
    Likes Received:
    760
    I think at this point in time there has been far too much vested in the F-35B variant to go back. While the VTOL feature offers a (highly romanticized) distinct set of advantages, it also comes at a price, particularly in weight of the extra hardware, the resulting decreased functionality and astronomical maintenance costs. Frankly, with the Royal Navy's acquisition of the QE class carriers there was no need for the F-35B. They could just as well have adopted the French PA2 designs by acquiring the catapult system and then opted for F-35C. This variant has larger fuel reservoirs and increased wingspan offering more carrying capacity and a greater range. With increased operationality and the lower maintenance costs, this fleet would have eventually recovered the costs of the catapult system.
     
  4. Shiny Capstar

    Shiny Capstar Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nothing has changed on the MoD's position regards JCA. The article comes from someone hearing a radio report by the defence minister this morning in which he said the F-35B is still the preferred option but the F35C is being considered. So no change on the MoD's position. Just poor journalism.

    There is a reason we want the B version, a reason I quite frankly haven't got time to explain (its easy enough to find for yourself). Going for the C version would go against this whole rational. In short, Carrier aviation is only a part of what we want the JCA's to do. Choosing the C model cuts off too many options and cuts too many capabilities.
     
  5. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,199
    Likes Received:
    760
    Given the current threat perceptions and the absolute air dominant position of Western forces (for at least the medium term) the need for a fixed wing VTOL asset (primarily designed for CASBI) isn't critical by any means. A healthy fleet of rotary winged assets and a barrage of cheaper turbo prop strike aircraft akin to the supertucano would be a much wiser choice given the current financial situation.

    If anything, I would like to see a JV between BAE and the US firms to come up with a series of extremely affordable and easily servicible state of the art turbo prop strike aircraft which can take off from forward rugged bases, stay airborne for a long time and deliver a wide array of lethal strike munitions.

    This also holds true for the US Marines btw. The emphasis on big ticket heavy items that have relatively little use in the current theater of war is at best an expensive overkill. They might as well rely upon the aforementioned assets and in the interim purchase a sizable number of F-18E/F superhornets to replace their decrepit vintage F-18s serving on US Navy carriers.

    The only unique marginal advantage presented by the F-35s is first strike missions, that too when limited to internally loaded munitions only. For this, the F-35C should be more than enough.
     
  6. luckyy

    luckyy Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    568
    Likes Received:
    3
    f-35 has been repeatedly said to be a stealth bomber and not an fighter aircraft....

    USAF already selected Rapter over F-35 and now US navy also droped it..
     
  7. EagleOne

    EagleOne Regular Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    85
    Dutch parliment voted for drop F-35 buy
    why F_35 lossing its patners
     

Share This Page