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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News

    Isos
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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News - Page 8 Empty Re: Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News

    Post  Isos Sat Sep 25, 2021 2:02 am

    What a shitty ship. lol1 . Chinese are so affraid lol1 . Even their light corvette which they have 70 of them are better than this thing.

    They are also buying the type 26 frigate.

    And before they even started them, they knew both class suck thus they are creating the type 32.

    Most funny is that they will get one of each and their shitty beautiful economy will collapse.

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    GarryB
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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News - Page 8 Empty Re: Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News

    Post  GarryB Sat Sep 25, 2021 1:52 pm

    Yeah, our Meko class frigate was fitted for but not with lots of stuff... but then we are not trying to take on the Chinese navy in Chinese waters... for policing fisheries areas and anti smuggling stuff and locating the odd lost yacht poor weapons load outs are fine...
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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News - Page 8 Empty Britain reaffirms Asia 'tilt' as new warship makes Singapore stop

    Post  Finty Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:42 pm

    https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/britain-reaffirms-asia-tilt-new-warship-makes-singapore-stop-2021-10-11/

    Britain reaffirms Asia 'tilt' as new warship makes Singapore stop

    SINGAPORE, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Britain's new aircraft carrier the HMS Queen Elizabeth made a stop in Singapore on Monday, part of a move to reassert itself globally and boost its military presence in Asia amid rising competition among major powers.

    The Queen Elizabeth led a British carrier strike group in exercises with Singapore's military at the weekend, including naval manoeuvres and simulated combat training with F-35B stealth fighters and F-16 jets.

    Britain plans to permanently deploy two warships in Asian waters, where the United States and Western allies are trying to contain China's militarisation and island-building in seas vital to the movement of trillions of dollars of global trade.

    "Our recent integrated review highlighted the importance of the Indo Pacific and the UK's intent to tilt here and have an increased footprint, and much more persistent presence," strike group commander, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, told Reuters aboard the new 65,000-tonne vessel.


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    "What better way to just show that off in the first instance, with Queen Elizabeth deploying here for her first operational deployment."

    A member of navy personnel stands on the flight deck of Britain’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier at Changi Naval Base in Singapore October 11, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su
    A view of the British Royal Navy's HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan September 6, 2021. Kiyoshi Ota/Pool via REUTERS
    A row of Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II aircraft is seen onboard Britain’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier at Changi Naval Base in Singapore October 11, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su


    1/5
    A view of the British Royal Navy's HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan September 6, 2021. Kiyoshi Ota/Pool via REUTERS



    Singapore is one of more than 40 countries the strike group will interact with through visits or exercises during its global deployment, according to a British government statement.

    Britain, like China, now has two aircraft carriers, compared to the United States' 11. The $4 billion Queen Elizabeth is the largest warship built by the British military and is roughly the length of three soccer fields at 274 metres (900 feet).

    The Queen Elizabeth travelled to Japan last month to mark the start of the permanent military presence, which came as the United States, Britain and Australia agreed a trilateral regional defence pact, AUKUS.


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    In recent years, China has controversially deployed coastguard ships all over the South China Sea and built manmade islands with missile systems, to assert vast territorial claims that an international arbitral ruling has declared invalid.

    China earlier this month made the largest ever incursion with its air force into the Taiwan's air defence zone.

    And a piece from last month regarding Japan https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/britain-shows-off-queen-elizabeth-aircraft-carrier-anxious-japan-2021-09-06/

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    Isos
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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News - Page 8 Empty Re: Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News

    Post  Isos Fri Oct 15, 2021 1:03 am

    Their carrier is just a 10 billion $ target.

    And in their case ther3 is no "tilt", they just follow orders of US navy and deploy where they tell them to deploy.

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    Post  GarryB Fri Oct 15, 2021 10:01 am

    You could only call it a tilt if most British Navy ships were in British waters defending British interests and also in other places around the world also defending British interests.

    The fact that this tilt to Asia consists of most of their working fleet makes it seem more of a stagger or even a partial collapse.

    It is interesting that the UK and US have both invaded islands that don't belong to them and forced the local populations to leave against their will so they can build large military bases on these islands and that is OK in international law, but islands that China build themselves do not legally belong to China is laughable and pretty pathetic...

    Talking about Chinese militarisation and aggression in the region while mentioning the only new military alliance was created between the US, UK and Australia... but somehow it is China that is the aggressor.

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    d_taddei2
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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News - Page 8 Empty Re: Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News

    Post  d_taddei2 Wed Nov 03, 2021 3:28 pm

    If you ever wanted to know how much a Merlin MK2 cost to run per hour now you know. Lol. It's expensive. Although I think they got the cost per unit totally wrong. £2.4m I think it's more like £24m. Each. Considering back in 2009 they were apparently $21m. And it's costing £805m to upgrade 30 that's £26.8m each if it only cost £2.4m a unit then u wouldn't spend more than ten times that upgrading. Also the airforce also did a life extension upgrade almost 10yrs ago for £454 for 25 units that's £18m each why extend the life if they cost £2.4m new hence I think the figure was typed wrong. Also to add Portugal bought 12 units back in 2004 costing €37m each (€446 for 12 units).

    The Merlin Mk2 is a specialist when it comes to hunting submarines but can also conduct search and rescue.
    But how much does it cost the British taxpayer each time a Merlin takes to the skies?

    The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has responded to a Freedom of Information request, stating: "The cost per hour to run a Merlin Mk2 loaded to full capacity is £15,871 (VAT included).

    "This is based upon a standard configuration of the aircraft."

    The helicopter is capable of round-the-clock maritime patrol in its surveillance role.

    Merlin Mk2s hold a crew of five, with a lift capacity of 3.8 tonnes, a maximum speed of 160 knots and a maximum altitude of 15,000ft.

    They cost £2.4m each, according to the Royal Navy.

    Armed with Sting-Ray torpedoes, Mk11 Depth Charges and the M3m .50 Calibre Machine Gun, the aircraft also operates advanced radar and sonar equipment to help spot submarine threats.

    These upgrades came alongside a redesigned cockpit and computer system – the 30 Mk2s were upgraded as part of the £805m Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme.


    https://www.forces.net/news/how-much-does-merlin-helicopter-cost-run

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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News - Page 8 Empty Re: Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News

    Post  GarryB Thu Nov 04, 2021 4:08 am

    I suspect your suspicions are correct and the real number is 24 million pounds.

    Honestly 16K pounds is actually a bargain for a flying hours... the figure for the F-35 they are using is something like 90K pounds per flight hour...

    Bloody expensive having a modern navy these days, I am really surprised they went for two carriers and no cruisers.

    When you cut orders for air defence escort destroyers from 12 to 6, then you know having two carriers is not the ideal situation operationally... to be useful a carrier needs a strong escort... but not more planes you probably can't afford to fly very often.

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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News - Page 8 Empty Re: Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News

    Post  d_taddei2 Thu Nov 04, 2021 3:56 pm

    GarryB wrote:I suspect your suspicions are correct and the real number is 24 million pounds.

    Honestly 16K pounds is actually a bargain for a flying hours... the figure for the F-35 they are using is something like 90K pounds per flight hour...

    Bloody expensive having a modern navy these days, I am really surprised they went for two carriers and no cruisers.

    When you cut orders for air defence escort destroyers from 12 to 6, then you know having two carriers is not the ideal situation operationally... to be useful a carrier needs a strong escort... but not more planes you probably can't afford to fly very often.

    Bear in mind 16k per hour for a Heli Vs Ur comparison for a stealth jet at 90k per hour. Not the same thing 😂.

    There was rumours that the second aircraft carrier was going to be rented a USA, as UK didn't have enough ships to protect it.
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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News - Page 8 Empty Re: Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News

    Post  GarryB Fri Nov 05, 2021 4:14 am

    Well I wonder if they might try to sell it to Australia or lease it to them... they are talking about a shift to Asia, so basing it in Australia would be useful and their new AUKUS signing and building SSNs for Australia sounds like their focus is shifting to the South Pacific and their old colonies...

    I rather suspect their commitment to spend hundreds of billions on Trident is probably related to being allowed to use SSN technology from the US to design and make SSNs for Australia too... maybe a new destroyer type design that they can interest Australia to buy so maybe make 24 ships with 12 each for protecting each carrier....

    The Aussies have had carriers in the past...


    Bear in mind 16k per hour for a Heli Vs Ur comparison for a stealth jet at 90k per hour. Not the same thing

    Of course it is not the same thing... the helicopters will be way more expensive because the F-35s wont be flying. Twisted Evil

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    Finty
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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News - Page 8 Empty Re: Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News

    Post  Finty Wed Nov 17, 2021 4:49 pm

    F-35B lost in the med, fortunately the pilot has survived
    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/news.sky.com/story/amp/pilot-ejects-as-british-f35-jet-from-flagship-air-carrier-crashes-into-the-mediterranean-12470933
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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News - Page 8 Empty Re: Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News

    Post  JohninMK Wed Nov 17, 2021 5:46 pm

    Finty wrote:F-35B lost in the med, fortunately the pilot has survived
    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/news.sky.com/story/amp/pilot-ejects-as-british-f35-jet-from-flagship-air-carrier-crashes-into-the-mediterranean-12470933

    Rumour is that it was an electrical fault.

    Now the RN or USN has to guard it till its salvaged, they won't want nosy parkers after it Very Happy Laughing

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    Isos
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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News - Page 8 Empty Re: Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News

    Post  Isos Wed Nov 17, 2021 6:52 pm

    Can someone copy/past twitts from when mig-29K crashed into the mediteranean from pro US fanvoys. That would be funny Very Happy .
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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News - Page 8 Empty Re: Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News

    Post  Hole Wed Nov 17, 2021 7:38 pm

    After breathing the "air" from the air supply system of the F-35 the salt water in the lungs of the pilot felt like a warm summer breeze. Very Happy

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    Post  PapaDragon Wed Nov 17, 2021 10:31 pm

    Finty wrote:F-35B lost in the med, fortunately the pilot has survived
    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/news.sky.com/story/amp/pilot-ejects-as-british-f35-jet-from-flagship-air-carrier-crashes-into-the-mediterranean-12470933

    Good for the pilot, he will need to keep warm for awhile but British penchant for hot tea will serve him well here

    Lockheed Martin won't complain about extra order as well

    UK MoD budget department however will need something stronger than tea, that contraption ain't cheap

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    Post  GarryB Thu Nov 18, 2021 4:17 am

    130 million dollars... at least the pilot made it OK...
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    Post  Isos Thu Nov 18, 2021 9:55 am

    Did they recover the plane ?

    Would be funny to see it parked on one the russian syrian express ship getting a free visit of Crimea Very Happy .
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    Post  Finty Thu Nov 18, 2021 7:36 pm

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10214377/Navy-rushes-recover-100m-F-35B-jet-sea-bed-pilot-ditched.html

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10217307/UK-calls-help-search-salvage-RAF-F35-stealth-jet-race-against-Russia.html
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    Post  GarryB Fri Nov 19, 2021 4:56 am

    Funny... with each article it is getting cheaper... it went from a 130 million pound aircraft to a 100 million pound aircraft...

    And it must have amazing technology on board to allow it to fly supersonically though enemy airspace undetected because the Israeli F-35s don't seem to be able to do that in Syria.
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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News - Page 8 Empty American jets depart HMS Queen Elizabeth

    Post  Finty Thu Nov 25, 2021 8:24 pm

    American jets depart HMS Queen Elizabeth

    HMS Queen Elizabeth, the aircraft carrier leading the Carrier Strike Group 21 deployment, has said farewell to the 10 American jets stationed on board as the vessel returns home to the UK.
    After six months and sailing over 40,000 nautical miles to the Pacific and back, the Carrier Strike Group and its large number of people, ships (and a submarine) and aircraft are now in the Mediterranean Sea heading back to Britain.

    Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander UK Carrier Strike Group, tweeted:

    The 10 American jets were flying alongside the 8 (and then 7) British jets for the duration of the deployment which left British shores earlier this month.

    Ships and aircraft from the group have operated and exercised with over 40 countries.


    Earlier in the deployment Russian jets were being intercepted almost every day and now that the Strike Group is back in the Mediterranean Sea it’s happening again.

    In fact, it was reported that F-35 jets from HMS Queen Elizabeth intercepted Russian jets in the eastern Mediterranean more than 30 times as part of the Carrier Strike Group. Now that the vessels have returned to the region after sailing to the Pacific and back it appears Russian interest has been renewed
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    Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm: News - Page 8 Empty How CSG21 deployment proved UK’s reborn carrier strike credentials

    Post  Finty Thu Nov 25, 2021 8:26 pm

    https://www.flightglobal.com/flight-international/how-csg21-deployment-proved-uks-reborn-carrier-strike-credentials/146568.article

    After more than a decade without fixed-wing maritime aviation on the front line, the Royal Navy (RN) and Royal Air Force (RAF) are close to completing the first operational outing for the UK’s new “fifth-generation” carrier strike capability.

    Led by the 65,000t aircraft carrier and fleet flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth, the six-and-a-half month CSG21 deployment to the Indo-Pacific region has taken a multinational force halfway round the world, by way of the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Suez and the Indian Ocean.

    F-35B HMS Queen Elizabeth launch

    Source: Crown Copyright

    Deployment involves a combined 18 aircraft from 617 Sqn and VMFA-211 unit

    It has also provided an important test for the two squadrons of Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II combat aircraft embarked, including live combat missions against Daesh, intercepting Russian jets over the eastern Mediterranean, and major multi-carrier exercises in the Pacific, Philippine Sea, and Bay of Bengal.

    “Carrier strike gives the UK a brand new capability for which the Royal Navy unashamedly has the lead on,” says Rear Admiral Martin Connell, director force generation in Navy Command Headquarters. “While from the outside that might appear to be relatively straightforward, it is a significant change for us.

    “It marks the end of a challenging decade, at the beginning of which we retired the old Invincible-class carriers and the [BAE Systems] Harriers that served us so well. At the same time, we were doubling down on a new carrier capability, and we as the navy had to learn and understand what that meant. That forced us to look really closely at what it was we would want to develop from a sovereign UK perspective.”

    REGENERATING POWERS
    Rebuilding and regenerating carrier capability has demanded that the RN and RAF put old enmities to one side. It has also hinged on the assistance provided by key allies, acknowledges Connell.

    “The French have been a part of that, yes, but particularly the US Navy and the US Marine Corps [USMC]. The extent to which our partners across the Atlantic have helped us on this journey has been incredible,” he says.

    Reflecting the strength of this relationship, Queen Elizabeth’s air group for CSG21 has included 10 F-35Bs from the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VMFA-211) alongside eight jets from the RAF’s 617 Sqn.

    While the initial move to bring a USMC squadron on board stemmed primarily from the slow ramp-up of the UK’s own Lightning Force, it has at the same time given the RN and the RAF a golden opportunity to demonstrate what levels of interoperability and interchangeability can be achieved with their US partners.

    “VMFA-211 has not just embarked as an element of tokenism,” Connell emphasises. “It’s a front line, combat-ready US Marine Corps F-35 squadron fully integrated with the strike group. And we’ve been testing the bounds of that day in, day out. Their energy and focus, and the fact that they’re a couple of years ahead of us with the aircraft, has undoubtedly helped us.”

    VMFA-211 F-35B HMS Queen Elizabeth

    Source: US Marine Corps

    The US Marine Corps’ VMFA-211 shared operational experience with UK counterparts while embarked on HMS Queen Elizabeth

    While interoperability – typically sharing a common tactical picture with allies and partners – is standard practice for the RN, interchangeability goes a step further.

    “Having one nation’s aircraft, munitions and people being carried on another nation’s warship reflects the level of trust that exists between the US and the UK,” Connell says. “It’s not easy, and in the last few years we’ve worked really hard on this.”

    Embedding VMFA-211 in Queen Elizabeth’s air wing demanded detailed understanding of operating procedures, the provision of special access compartments on board, and clearances for embarked munitions and specialised equipment – such as the Raytheon Joint Precision Approach and Landing System. A USMC colonel is integrated into the strike group staff as US senior national representative.

    “In going down that route we’ve realised that you are no longer bound by your own force structure,” Connell says. “We now know that, with very little effort, a Marine Corps F-35 squadron can embark in either of our carriers at relatively short notice.”

    Commander UK Carrier Strike Group Commodore Steve Moorhouse and his staff have led the CSG21 deployment from Queen Elizabeth. Speaking in early November as the strike group was heading for a short logistics stop in Duqm, Oman, he told FlightGlobal that high-tempo operations in the Eastern Mediterranean had tested the mettle of the air wing early on in the deployment.

    “Back in late June, we were supporting, with F-35, ships from the task group that had pushed up into the Black Sea and were working with RAF [Eurofighter] Typhoons already based in Romania. So that was already a complex air and maritime space where we haven’t previously put fifth-gen jets.

    “Concurrently, other elements of the air wing were flying east into Iraq to support Operation Shader. That was a busy time, and as the carrier moved further east, it was increasingly apparent we were attracting the attention of the Russian forces that are based in Syria.

    UK F-35Bs Middle East

    Source: Crown Copyright

    Carrier-based fighters supported counter-Daesh operations in June

    “So we were also having to maintain a ready alert on the deck to counter daily probing from the Russian air force coming out to the carrier. Over 30 live intercepts of armed Russian fighter and bomber aircraft were conducted in just over two weeks.

    “Responding to quick alert like that is something the Royal Navy hasn’t done with aircraft carriers for a generation. So that’s meant understanding the readiness state that you have to maintain so you can get the jets off at sufficient time to ensure you can intercept an incoming aircraft at appropriate range.”

    This intensive period of flying operations served to build confidence and accelerate proficiency ahead of the transit through Suez, and subsequent eastward passage into the Indo-Pacific.

    By late July, as units from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy were shadowing CSG21 through the South China Sea, the force was demonstrating its ‘blue water’ credentials. Units and air wings undertook both day and night flying; a number of anti-submarine/anti-surface warfare activities were completed; and flight operations were conducted from Queen Elizabeth concurrent with replenishment at sea operations.

    Crown Copyright

    65,000t HMS Queen Elizabeth demonstrated ability to launch F-35Bs while undergoing replenishment at sea

    “We were flying fixed-wing almost continuously through the 24-hour period, which is something the US doesn’t do – they surge for 15-hour, maybe 18-hour periods, whereas we were able to keep flying over 24 hours, fixed and rotary-wing,” says Moorhouse. “It really allowed us to show the unique flexibility and agility of Queen Elizabeth-class aviation.

    “For example, flying fixed-wing while replenishing is really quite straightforward for us once you’ve got everyone trained and good to go. And we don’t need much wind [over the deck] to launch the jets, even at full weights in hot conditions.

    “We are clearly different to an American CVN [nuclear-powered carrier],” he adds. “We don’t have catapults and arrestor gear, we’re not in the same scale in terms of air wing size, and the F-35B does not have the same legs.

    “But [Queen Elizabeth] offers something completely different in its agility to get aircraft up and off. A CVN is incredibly impressive, but it is operated very differently and simply does not have the same flexibility.”

    Another first, completed in August during exercises in the Pacific, saw Queen Elizabeth demonstrate F-35 cross-deck interoperability with the amphibious carrier USS America. “We had VMFA-211 F-35s launch, fly several hundred miles, land on America, take on fuel, and load weapons,” says Moorhouse. “Having launched to drop weapons on a range, they recovered to America for another suck of gas before returning to Queen Elizabeth.

    USS America HMS Queen Elizabeth

    Source: Crown Copyright

    US Marine Corps F-35Bs flew cross-deck missions from USS America onto HMS Queen Elizabeth

    “We do that routinely with helicopters, but to do that with a jet is a real first,” he says. “And it really excited the [US] because they could start to see for themselves how they would use F-35B in that region as part of their wider campaign plans for distributed maritime operations.”

    WIDER COMMUNITY
    CSG21 has also given the UK an opportunity to engage with the wider F-35 community, says Moorhouse. “Early on we exercised with both Italian and Israeli F-35s. Then during our time in the Pacific, we supported the Japanese in operationalising their F-35A capability, and also introducing their B variant.

    “We also undertook exercises with F-35Cs from the USS Carl Vinson air wing. It was a really good work-out for the team, proving that both UK and US F-35Bs could tank off the back of [Boeing] F/A-18s.

    “Carl Vinson was really keen to work with us because we are so much further down the line of integrating and employing F-35, and all of its data and digital systems. It’s still early days for them, so it was another feather in our cap that they wanted to come to us to learn from our experience.”

    US Navy

    The CSG21 deployment underscored close operational links between the UK, US Navy and US Marine Corps

    Given the range at which the CSG21 was deploying, F-35B sustainment was identified as a critical challenge. “We were nervous at the outset about the [Lockheed] global support solution and how it would work,” admits Moorhouse. “We were really setting a high demand by going as far as we did.

    “When we got into the [Pacific], you had the biggest laydown of F-35s to date between us, Carl Vinson, and the air wing on America. And then you put Covid over the top of that. So the challenge for Lockheed Martin was considerable.”

    However, the evidence of the last six months has banished that initial nervousness. “The model has worked,” says Moorhouse. “We’re just now working through that balance of how much you need on board – in terms of low-level components and spares – and then how often do you top up those critical key parts. So that’s the drumbeat at which you need to send your auxiliary into a fleet logistics hub to maintain readiness.

    “With the numbers that we have, and if you can tailor your flying rates sensibly, you can broadly speaking have 75% of the aircraft available in any one day, and the rest going through routine maintenance. So that mass gives you the flexibility, and then it’s just ensuring you have that regular pattern of stores delivery.”

    EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS
    Notwithstanding the challenges and constraints imposed by Covid-19, and the loss of a UK F-35B during operations in the Mediterranean on 17 November, CSG21 has largely hit or exceeded its marks.

    Away from the carrier itself, there have been some other notable aviation milestones, including the first operational firing of a Thales Martlet lightweight anti-surface guided weapon from a Leonardo Helicopters Wildcat HMA2.

    Wildcat T45

    Source: Crown Copyright

    The Royal Navy’s Wildcat HMA2 helicopter used Thales Martlet missiles for first time during deployment

    That said, there is still work to be done. In particular, the Leonardo AW101 Merlin-based Crowsnest airborne surveillance and control capability, delivered to the strike group at a baseline level, is not fully mature.

    Connell acknowledges that CSG21 is just a first step. “Right now, we are only at initial operating capability. We set an ambitious headmark for this first deployment, and we’ve achieved an enormous amount already. But there is much more still to come.”

    Looking ahead, a key part of capability development is understanding how and where unmanned air systems (UAS) can be integrated into the air wing.

    Concept development work for what the RN is calling the Future Maritime Aviation Force (FMAF) has identified a number of roles and missions where uncrewed aviation could augment or potentially replace crewed aircraft, notably airborne early warning (AEW), persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), threat simulation and training, and maritime intra-theatre lift.

    Connell cautions against mischaracterising the FMAF vision. “The Future Maritime Aviation Force is not about stopping everything we’re doing today and operating drones,” he says. “But looking to the future, we want to have a greater degree of persistence, additional mass, and increased flexibility.

    “Technologies are at different levels of maturity here. We’re trying to draw out the best of crewed, remotely piloted and autonomous systems, and look at how we can blend these together. Of course, there’s a judgement in terms of when you commit – we don’t want to invest too early in the wrong capability.

    “We’ve also got to be in lock-step with the Future Combat Air System,” Connell adds. “We’ve got to make sure that elements of that can operate in and around the maritime.”

    Various capability-based FMAF elements have been scoped. For example, Proteus has conceived a rotary-wing UAS that can operate from the smaller decks of frigates and destroyers; Vixen is looking at fixed-wing UAS solutions that could provide AEW/ISR, and potentially augment strike; and Vampire is exploring lightweight, fixed-wing carrier-borne UAS systems.

    An early FMAF demonstration, involving the operation of Qinetiq Jet Banshee 80+ target drones from Queen Elizabeth’s sister carrier HMS Prince of Wales, was completed earlier this year. This experiment was set up to demonstrate how a target system organic to the carrier could be employed to provide realistic air threat presentations to support ship self-defence training.

    Qinetiq Jet Banshee

    Source: Crown Copyright

    Jet Banshee target has been used to test aircraft carrier defences

    Another line of development is exploring the introduction of a heavy-lift UAS as an intra-theatre shuttle for stores and equipment. “Maritime intra-theatre lift is not a new requirement, and the Merlin HC4 is today doing a sterling job moving people, kit and stores around the carrier strike group,” says Connell. “But it’s quite an expensive way of moving things around. So there are some stores that could, with the technology that exists today, be moved around a task group relatively easily [by a UAS]. And there is undoubtedly overlap with the Royal Marines commando force.

    “We need industry’s help with all this,” he adds. “I’m hopeful that Prince of Wales will do further experimentation in 2022, both around the UK and off the US eastern seaboard.”
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    Post  kvs Thu Nov 25, 2021 10:40 pm

    As expected, the issues appear to be in the process of being rectified.

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    Post  GarryB Fri Nov 26, 2021 5:22 am

    “VMFA-211 has not just embarked as an element of tokenism,” Connell emphasises. “It’s a front line, combat-ready US Marine Corps F-35 squadron fully integrated with the strike group.

    Hahaha.... having 10 American F-35s wasn't a token thing... it was probably necessary to make sure they had enough aircraft in flyable condition at any one time to keep at least some airborne... with 7 British fighters left they might struggle with that considering the amount of maintenance needed per flight hours for the aircraft and the fact that they lack enough destroyers to escort the vessel in their own navy...

    They have essentially gone from being a self contained naval force that can act on its own well beyond its own waters for extended periods of time like an invasion of islands in the South Atlantic, to a force that cannot form a complete fighter wing for one carrier yet let alone operate with enough ships to defend said carrier.
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    Post  owais.usmani Mon Nov 29, 2021 7:23 pm

    Finty wrote:F-35B lost in the med, fortunately the pilot has survived
    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/news.sky.com/story/amp/pilot-ejects-as-british-f35-jet-from-flagship-air-carrier-crashes-into-the-mediterranean-12470933

    https://theaviationist.com/2021/11/24/f-35b-crash-cover-possible-cause/amp/

    According to the UK media outlet The Sun, the recent crash of a British F-35B during take off from HMS Queen Elizabeth was caused by a rain cover not removed before take off.

    If confirmed, the crash of the F-35B would have been caused by a catastrophic chain of failures (by more than one person) in following the standard taxi and take off procedures, that will certainly include multiple visual checks of the actual removal of the air intake covers and safety pins (which are in red color and have the usual “Remove Before Flight” sign to attract the attention and prevent this kind of incidents).
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    Post  Hole Mon Nov 29, 2021 7:55 pm

    Sounds like an excuse. The plane is fantastic, the dumb pilot and crewmen are to blame! Rolling Eyes
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    Post  Finty Mon Nov 29, 2021 11:42 pm

    GarryB wrote:
    “VMFA-211 has not just embarked as an element of tokenism,” Connell emphasises. “It’s a front line, combat-ready US Marine Corps F-35 squadron fully integrated with the strike group.

    Hahaha.... having 10 American F-35s wasn't a token thing... it was probably necessary to make sure they had enough aircraft in flyable condition at any one time to keep at least some airborne... with 7 British fighters left they might struggle with that considering the amount of maintenance needed per flight hours for the aircraft and the fact that they lack enough destroyers to escort the vessel in their own navy...

    They have essentially gone from being a self contained naval force that can act on its own well beyond its own waters for extended periods of time like an invasion of islands in the South Atlantic, to a force that cannot form a complete fighter wing for one carrier yet let alone operate with enough ships to defend said carrier.

    It does seem rather unfortunate that we can't field enough aircraft but give us time, we're due to have 48 of the things! Whether this is actually enough is another question, the defence review mentions more aircraft being acquired but no specific number was given.

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