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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News

    Mir
    Mir


    Posts : 2049
    Points : 2053
    Join date : 2021-06-10

    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty The gutter press expresses OUTRAGE

    Post  Mir Fri Jul 30, 2021 4:38 pm

    Finty wrote:The RCs only entered service in 2014 so hopefully they’ve got a few more years left! Compare that to sentinel, based off a younger airframe; procurement began in the late 90s, entered service 2008 and withdrawn in May this year!

    A very "young" retirement for the Sentinel but I guess they got better info from the US JSTAR system so probably making it a bit redundant.
    Finty
    Finty


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    Location : Great Britain

    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty P-8 THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR THE UK?

    Post  Finty Sat Jul 31, 2021 12:21 am

    Throwback to July 2017...


    https://www.keymilitary.com/article/p-8-right-choice-uk

    P-8 THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR THE UK?

    While some see acquisition of the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft as a win for the RAF, others argue that it’s too costly and the nine on order too few. Justin Bronk and Jon Lake argue the respective cases.

    THE DEBATE


    A P-8A assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 ‘Skinny Dragons’ flies near Mount Baker, Washington during a training exercise in May. VP-4 is stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, and became the first Poseidon squadron on the US west coast following its transition from the P-3C. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Juan S Sua
    YES

    THE DECISION TO take an almost decade-long gap in the UK’s maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) capability remains one of the most controversial aspects of the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

    The retirement of the Nimrod MR2 and the cancellation of its deeply troubled Nimrod MRA4 replacement left a nation that’s dependent on assured access to sea lines of communications (SLOCs) for trade – and with a purely submarinebased nuclear deterrent – without a fixedwing maritime patrol and aerial antisubmarine warfare (ASW) capability for the first time since World War One.

    In 2016 it was announced that the Royal Air Force will receive nine Boeing P-8A Poseidon MPAs, with deliveries beginning in 2019, as part of a $3.2bn Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal with the United States.

    Unlike many previous purchases of US-made weapons systems, the P-8 sale is for an ‘off the shelf’ US Navystandard aircraft, mission system and even weapons suite with no significant modifications for British service.

    The question must be, therefore, does the purchase of an expensive, stock standard American solution represent good value for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the RAF compared to other MPA options? The most obvious potential alternatives were a turboprop MPA solution from Saab, Airbus or Lockheed Martin, or to partner with Kawasaki to develop an anglicised version of its new P-1 MPA.

    The Russian Navy’s submarine force is still under strength and suffers from readiness and reliability problems compared to its heyday under the Soviet Union during the Cold War. But it operates some of the quietest and most lethal attack submarines in the world, from the latest-generation diesel-electric Project 636.3 Kilo class submarines to the famous Akula and latest Yasen-class nuclear attack boats.

    These formidable subs regularly operate in and around British waters, attempting to track the Royal Navy’s Vanguardclass nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), which provide the UK’s nuclear deterrent, as well as gathering intelligence and tracking the movements of major surface warships.

    When the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers enter active service, Russian submarines will represent one of the most serious threats to their survivability in the event of a conflict.

    On a more basic level, Britain is heavily dependent on trade by sea for almost every sector of its economy and is, therefore, vulnerable to any threat against SLOCs as part of a future geopolitical clash with a submarine-operating power. Against this threat backdrop the Royal Navy is chronically short of major surface ships and the personnel to operate them, and continual delays to the Type 26 frigate programme have left its dozen Type 23 frigates as its only significant ASW (anti-submarine warfare) surface capability until at least the mid-2020s.

    Astute-class and older Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered attack submarines are excellent ASW platforms if they can be guided to the rough vicinity of an unknown submarine, but are too few in number and heavily in demand for other duties to fulfil the UK’s ASW needs on a long-term basis.

    In short, then, a modern MPA to conduct ASW – along with secondary maritime surveillance and search and rescue (SAR) assistance roles – is a strategic, nondiscretionary requirement for the UK.

    Furthermore, with the rise in tension with Russia since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Britain has had to request help from the US and France to track repeated suspected incursions by Russian submarines in British waters, lending added political urgency to the need to close the RAF’s capability gap.

    The UK’s geographical position calls for an MPA that can offer high transit speeds to cover the relatively large distances of the Greenland-Iceland-UK (GIUK) gap – through which Russian submarines must pass to enter the Atlantic – while also having sufficient endurance to remain on station for many hours conducting ASW sweeps before it needs to hand over to another MPA or a surface/subsurface combatant.

    These two factors heavily favour a relatively large, turbofan-powered (rather than turboprop) solution to provide both the requisite transit speed and sufficient internal fuel capacity for prolonged time on station.

    Turbofans are also less likely than turboprops to alert submarines to an MPA’s presence, due to acoustical differences.

    Among the options after the termination of the MRA4 programme, therefore, the P-8 and the P-1 were the only aircraft deemed suitable for consideration by the RAF since they were the only medium/large turbofan offerings.

    The P-8 is a heavily modified derivative of Boeing’s 737-800ERX medium-haul airliner with modern commercial CFM56-7B highbypass turbofan engines. As such, it offers decent range for an MPA, a high subsonic cruising speed and greatest fuel efficiency at relatively high altitudes – and can offer around four hours on station at low level for the ASW mission at 1,200nm from its base.

    In a UK context, operating from RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, the P-8 would theoretically have four hours on station at low level over the main Russian submarine base at Murmansk or off the coast of Greenland.

    However, since most of any transit flight will be conducted at high altitudes where greater fuel efficiency is possible, the short transit distances flown in RAF service over the North Sea, Irish Sea or GIUK gap are not likely to translate into greatly increased time on station at low level without air-to-air refuelling.

    The larger, four-engine Nimrod MR2 had been optimised for low-level endurance and could offer at least two hours longer on station than the P-8.

    Kawasaki’s P-1 is likewise optimised for increased endurance at low level, despite a nominal range similar to a P-8. The Japanese airframe was designed from the start as a dedicated MPA and, therefore, makes use of four small, quiet turbofan engines for redundancy. It also has lower wing loading and greater agility than the P-8 and carries a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD).

    Its Japan Self-Defense Forces-specific avionics and mission system software would, however, have required significant adaptation and development for RAF service and interoperability with the Royal Navy. It’s also likely that the Military Aviation Authority (MAA) would have taken significantly longer to certify its innovative fly-by-light system than the more conventional P-8 for UK service.

    The P-8 was designed around the widearea maritime surface surveillance role at least as much as the more traditional ASW mission set.

    But the large number of friendly nations operating in close proximity in the GIUK gap, Irish Sea and North Sea, along with the presence of military and civilian assets with surveillance capabilities near UK waters, means that the wide-area maritime surveillance role (using on-board radar and other sensors) is of marginally less strategic importance for the RAF than for MPA operators in, for example, the Pacific.

    The US Navy, the primary user and customer for the aircraft, has to keep watch over vast areas of ocean in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres. So the P-8 was designed from the outset to work as part of a system with the MQ-4C Triton high-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to provide huge wide-area maritime surveillance and search capabilities.

    With its unrivalled nuclear attack submarine fleet, and with towed arrays and MH-60 rotary-wing ASW capabilities on most of its hundreds of major surface combatants, the US Navy has far more options than the UK for mitigating the risk from hostile submarines.

    This explains why the P-8 is somewhat of a design compromise from a pure ASW point of view, being designed around a typically medium/high-altitude flight profile in terms of wing and engine characteristics – and without a traditional MAD.

    The idea behind that omission is that advances in signal processing and analysis aboard the P-8 compared to previous generations of MPAs will enable the crew to find and track submerged threats using sonobuoys alone.

    The RAF has meanwhile maintained a ‘Seedcorn’ contingent of former Nimrod crews, posted to P-8 units in the US Navy to avoid losing the precious institutional understanding of how to conduct fixed-wing ASW.


    A measure of how successful the RAF/P-8 combination has already proved is the fact that a UK-only crew won the prestigious annual Anti-Submarine Warfare Fleet Challenge in 2014, and are considered some of the US Navy’s most proficient ASW operators.

    This was another factor working in favour of the P-8 being selected over the P-1: the RAF already had a small core of trained and current crews with extensive experience on the P-8 from which to rebuild a full-scale UK fleet.


    At the time of its cancellation, the RAF had begun acceptance testing of the first production Nimrod MRA4 aircraft and a first training course for instructors was under way. The type would have off ered superior sensors and longer range than the P-8.
    BAE Systems
    The advantages for the UK of using an unmodified US Navy-priority mission system are hard to overstate, especially given that the RAF will rely on the P-8’s capabilities for a critical national defence requirement – fixed-wing ASW.

    The British military has a tendency to procure ambitious and highly capable platforms, and then neglect to invest in capability sustainment and upgrades throughout their service lives.

    But with the P-8, the fact that the mission system, as well as the airframe, is entirely US-standard means the UK can benefit from a steady stream of software and capability upgrades funded by, and for, the US Navy throughout the platform’s lifecycle.

    With previous platforms bought from the US – such as the RAF’s E-3D Sentry AWACS fleet, for which the UK has made its own extensive modifications to the mission system – obsolescence has often crept in due to the MOD’s budgetary constraints and tendency to look to modernisation plans as a source of ‘efficiency savings’ that do not harm immediate frontline readiness.


    An artist’s impression of a US Air Force Joint STARS replacement based on the P-8 airframe. A variant of the Poseidon could ultimately replace the RAF’s Sentinel R1, retirement of which now looks inevitable.
    Boeing
    Furthermore, the US Navy’s standard mission system will ensure seamless data sharing in real time with US assets, facilitating faster and more efficient cross-referencing of detected acoustic signatures – a major advantage in ASW operations which often rely on signature identification to confirm contact IDs.

    In the highly classified world of underwater cat and mouse which still goes on between NATO, Russia and, to a growing extent, China and other nations, the ability to seamlessly share, cross-reference and compare acoustic signatures – and other data – on hostile submarines between the RAF and the US Navy is a major advantage offered by the P-8 over any potential alternatives.

    It will also enable the RAF to plug into the US Navy’s full-spectrum ASW approach which relies on real-time data sharing between fixed-wing, rotary, surface and even subsurface assets to maintain high-quality tracks on the quietest modern submarines.

    Given that the Royal Navy’s own surface and undersea vessels have to maintain interoperability with their US Navy equivalents on a near-constant basis as part of operations in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, the Gulf and elsewhere, it’s unlikely the P-8’s US Navy-spec mission system will give much trouble when integrating with Royal Navy systems in service.

    The P-8 will also give the RAF extremely impressive wide-area surveillance capabilities in the maritime and littoral environments, and a capability to conduct anti-shipping strikes against vessels lacking modern air defences.

    The AN/APS-149 Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS) currently installed on US Navy production aircraft is a potent active electronically scanned array (AESA) which will be replaced by the even more capable Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) – a multifunction radar currently undergoing flight testing on US Navy P-8s.


    Unlike the standard US Navy Poseidon ordered by the UK, India’s P-8I features a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD), as well as a 360° radar capability.
    Boeing
    The AAS array will enable the RAF to greatly improve situational awareness of airborne and maritime assets in the vicinity of P-8s against surface and low-flying airborne threats such as anti-ship missiles.

    It also offers future high-end jamming and electronic warfare capabilities which are being actively developed for the US Navy – again offering the opportunity for the UK to benefit from US-funded advanced research and development.

    The US Air Force is reportedly considering a P-8 derivative to replace its Joint STARS synthetic aperture radar overland surveillance aircraft. Eventually a variant of the P-8 could also replace the UK’s highly successful but bespoke Sentinel R1 fleet, which is proving problematic to sustain despite its undoubted operational value.

    In conclusion, the UK is buying a ‘gold-plated’ MPA solution in the P-8, which comes with capabilities beyond what the UK’s own ASWfocused national MPA mission would require.

    This is an inevitable result of buying an unmodified US-standard MPA designed to provide unprecedented wide-area maritime surveillance capabilities in integrated operations with the MQ-4C UAV in the vast expanses of the Asia-Pacific theatre.

    The UK is unlikely to need or be able to afford the MQ-4C itself but might well find a use for the UAV-partnering capabilities of the P-8 with its Protector UAV fleet in future.

    However, the true value in the P-8 for the RAF is that it will allow the UK to gain the benefits of ongoing and regular softwarebased capability upgrades undertaken by the US Navy throughout its service life.

    While it’s not as specialised for lowaltitude ASW operations as the Japanese P-1 or the cancelled Nimrod MRA4, the P-8 is available now, and is backed up by the might of the US Navy.

    As such, it has a formidable mission system, modern sonobuoys and suite of extant and evolving anti-submarine (and antisurface) weaponry that will fulfil Britain’s ASW requirements admirably alongside Astute-class submarines and Type 23/26 frigates throughout its service life.

    What’s more, the continuing success of the ‘Seedcorn’ programme means that when the UK receives its P-8s from 2019- 20 it will be able to rapidly regenerate an operationally credible core of active crews – a vital advantage in the complex and demanding world of frontline ASW operations against a first-rate submarine power.

    Justin Bronk is a Research Fellow in Combat Airpower and Technology at RUSI (the Royal United Services Institute).

    Saab Swordfish


    An artist’s impression of the Saab Swordfish armed with the company’s RBS 15F heavyweight anti-ship missiles. The Swordfish can also carry up to six lightweight torpedoes for the ASW role.
    Saab
    One of the most credible alternatives to the P-8A was not available when the UK decision was made.

    At the Singapore Airshow in February, Saab announced it would now be off ering its Swordfish mission package on two new platforms, the Bombardier DHC-8 Q400 and the Bombardier Global 6000.

    The Global 6000-based Swordfish is a compelling competitor to the P-8, carrying a similar payload, with longer endurance at similar distances from base, optimised for low-level ASW operations and with MAD off ered as standard equipment.

    Because the aircraft shares considerable commonality with the GlobalEye airborne early warning platform being built for the United Arab Emirates, it promises to be available in a short timescale.

    And using the Global 6000 bizjet as its basis means it will likely be off ered at about two-thirds of the upfront acquisition cost, while delivering lifecycle costs Saab claim are about 50% of the P-8’s.


    Two examples of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Kawasaki P-1 attended the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire in July 2015. The aircraft flew from Atsugi, Japan, via the United States – including a stop at NAS Oceana, Virginia – before making a non-stop flight across the Atlantic to the UK.
    Jamie Hunter

    VP-16 ‘War Eagles’ P-8A 168853/LF-853 operates from RAF Lossiemouth as callsign ‘Talon 16’ during Exercise Joint Warrior 17/1 that took place earlier this year. Lossiemouth will begin to receive RAF Poseidons from around 2019.
    John Reid
    NO

    THE CASE FOR the UK’s procurement of the P-8 is superficially compelling. It’s widely assumed to be the world’s most capable maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), maritime patrol and ASW aircraft – as well as the most expensive.

    But the Poseidon’s capabilities justify the high price tag, according to its supporters, who claim it represents the most cost-effective means of delivering those capabilities. It’s certainly an obvious choice for any air force aiming to achieve ever closer integration and ‘harmonisation’ with US operations.

    And some of the world’s air forces obviously agree: as well as the nine aircraft ordered by the UK and 122 destined for the US Navy, Boeing has had orders from Australia, India and Norway, while New Zealand and Saudi Arabia may be on the verge of inking deals.

    There are, however, a number of other compelling alternatives to the P-8. All are significantly cheaper and some might even offer superior capability as well as greater cost-effectiveness.

    Given the superiority of US technology in so many military capability areas, it would be easy to assume that if you want the best, and need a ‘high end’ solution, then you need to buy US equipment.

    But that assumption may be mistaken in the maritime patrol and ASW sector. The US Navy’s P-3 Orions never enjoyed an unchallenged superiority over rival platforms – during the Cold War many ASW experts viewed the Nimrod as being a significantly more capable and effective sub-hunter than the US aircraft.

    Meanwhile some non-US P-3 variants and upgrades are sometimes claimed to be ‘better than the original’, including Australia’s AP-3Cs, Canada’s CP-140 Auroras and Japan’s Orions, while the Airbus Military Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) fitted to Brazil’s upgraded Orions has won many plaudits.

    Britain embarked on its Nimrod MRA4 programme because it felt the aircraft would offer capabilities superior to those of rivals (including the P-Cool. Without the decision to reuse major sections from the Nimrod MR2 (an aircraft whose airworthiness had been catastrophically compromised by a fatal accident over Afghanistan), the MRA4 could almost certainly have overcome what were relatively minor development difficulties.

    It would have offered superior sensors and longer range as well as greater weapons and sonobuoy carrying capability compared to the P-8. “If I was doing ASW, alone and unafraid, then I would take an MRA4,” one senior officer told me, before adding: “For anything else, or for any kind of co-ordinated ASW ops, I’m taking a P-8!”


    The view from the flight deck of a US Navy P-8A during a mission over Cebu in the Philippines in June. RAF crews are already flying the Poseidon under the ‘Seedcorn’ programme and are assigned to VP-30 ‘Pro’s Nest’ at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida.
    US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Micah Blechner
    All nine MRA4s were largely complete by the time the programme was cancelled and the RAF had begun acceptance testing of the first production aircraft, having launched its first instructor training course.

    But there was still a long way to go – the type had been grounded due to significant flying control and aerodynamic issues in certain flight regimes, one very senior officer telling me that Nimrod airworthiness was “hanging by a thread”.

    With the Nimrod name rendered politically toxic in the wake of the accident in Afghanistan, cancellation was probably inevitable, though the decision was heavily criticised by the Public Accounts Committee and a number of ex-defence chiefs.

    When the MRA4 was cancelled, the decision was taken to accept a capability gap until the 2015 SDSR. A replacement would eventually be required, and it was always apparent that the P-8 was the favoured choice of the Air Staff and the government.

    There seems to have been only a cursory examination of alternatives, and many in industry responsible for offering aircraft in response to the UK requirement felt their offerings were never seriously or properly looked at.

    A senior industry source told me at the time: “The RAF had already made up its mind that the answer was the P-8, and it was clear to me that the assessment of alternatives (including our offering) was no more than a cynical exercise in being seen to conduct some kind of evaluation process.”

    Another industry insider involved in bidding one of P-8’s competitors noted: “It seemed to me there was a single direction they were determined to go in.”

    The lure of an ASW and maritime patrol force ‘harmonised’ with that of the US Navy was powerful for many RAF senior officers. It meant they would use a common aircraft type and form, to some extent, a single operational entity, the UK also avoiding a costly and perhaps technically difficult ‘bespoke’ solution.

    But this approach could mean the RAF’s Poseidons will share the same weaknesses as the US Navy’s aircraft.


    Aviation Ordnancemen move a Mk54 torpedo from a P-8A assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1 at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. The Mk54 is generally viewed as an inferior weapon to the EuroTorp MU90 or the BAE Systems Stingray.
    US Navy/ Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate
    The RAF will adopt the same medium level Concept of Operations (CONOPS), using Boeing’s new High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) wing kit to enable the Raytheon Mk54 torpedo to be released from high altitudes (up to 30,000ft).

    The system is still largely unproven, and some long-serving ASW aircrew are dubious about the practicality of conducting anti-submarine operations from such lofty heights. The wing kit will add significant extra cost to every torpedo.

    P-8 proponents believe that dropping torpedoes from high altitude is a good thing, allowing the aircraft to remain at heights where ‘sensor performance is maximised’ and enhancing communications ranges with large-area buoy fields. But while radar can ‘see’ further from height, some other sensors may be more effective when used at lower altitudes.

    A number of highly experienced ASW operators expressed the view that theirs is a low-level game. “You lose the tactical advantage by being high,” said one. “At low level you’re better placed to locate and track the target and to drop the weapon – completing the cycle more rapidly and more efficiently. It gives you more flexibility to be able to react to the submarine’s manoeuvres.”

    Like the US Navy’s aircraft, RAF P-8As will lack a MAD, which many ASW experts believe is still a viable and useful ‘confirmatory’ sensor. Interestingly, India specified a MAD for its P-8Is – along with a 360° radar capability and an aft-mounted, aft-looking Telephonics AN/ APS-143C(V)3 Multi-Mode Radar augmenting the nose-mounted Raytheon AN/APY-10.

    The P-8A will also drop its sonobuoys from height, using an Exelis pneumatic launch system. This will limit the P-8A to using A-size buoys, fitted with a protective sonobuoy launch case (SLC), and not ‘G-size’ active buoys and ‘F-size’ passive buoys, which are one-half and one-third respectively the size of the standard NATO ‘A-size’ buoy.

    Crucially, ASW sonobuoys must be placed in the ocean with great accuracy and in a predetermined pattern calculated to give the submarine quarry no opportunity to escape detection.


    A Naval Aircrewman assigned to VP-16 unloads a sonobuoy from the rack on board a P-8A during a search mission to locate Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in April 2014. The Poseidon drops its sonobuoys from high altitude, rather than using the more accurate low-altitude launch.
    US Navy/Chief Mass Communication Specialist Keith DeVinney
    Accurate placement is usually achieved via low-altitude launch, to minimise errors arising from wind drift while also reducing the risk of environmental damage to these sophisticated systems as they descend through precipitation, icing layers etc.

    ASW insiders suggest that buoys need to be dropped within 100m of their planned position for optimum results, and highlevel launch doesn’t provide such precision. A US Naval Air Development Study found that “sonobuoys launched at high altitude (eg, 10,000 to 30,000ft) have large placement errors (1,500 to 7,500yds)”.

    Low-altitude launch also gets buoys into the water, and providing useful information, in a fraction of the time. When dropped from high level it’s simply impossible to place them with the same degree of accuracy or speed.

    A highly experienced former Nimrod acoustics operator told me: “When dropping buoys from high level there are serious limitations – not least in maintaining security of pattern, which is absolutely fundamental.

    “You only need to lose contact of the target from one single-source sonobuoy and your quarry has escaped. It could be game over and time to go home, as you may not re-establish contact within your remaining endurance.”


    A Royal Navy Merlin HM2 with 829 Naval Air Squadron launches a Stingray training torpedo off the Cornish coast. This lightweight ASW torpedo has been described as “the world’s leading lightweight anti-submarine torpedo”.
    Crown Copyright
    Theoretically, there’s nothing to stop the P-8 from descending to low level to drop its buoys and weapons, but this is not how the aircraft is intended to be used when it attains its planned full capability standard.

    Because the UK has been determined to acquire the standard US Navy P-8A configuration, with no British ‘customisation’, it will be unable to use existing stores, which are already ‘in stock’. Nor will the RAF be able to acquire other new ASW weapons that have not first been integrated by the US Navy.


    An MQ-4C Triton prepares to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, after completing a flight lasting approximately 11 hours from Northrop Grumman’s California facility in September 2014. The unmanned aircraft system was judged too immature for the UK’s MPA requirement.
    US Navy/Kelly Schindler
    So the RAF P-8s will use the US Mk54 torpedo rather than the superior EuroTorp MU90 – or the BAE Systems Stingray, described as “the world’s leading lightweight anti-submarine torpedo”.

    And the P-8A will be unable to use British sonobuoys, which the MOD already has ‘in stock’. The sonobuoy is a British invention, and the nation has considerable expertise in the field, with UK-based Ultra Electronics widely considered the world leader in sonobuoy manufacture.

    Instead, the MOD will have to spend vast sums on acquiring new buoys and weapons for the P-8A and will have to bear the cost of maintaining two parallel inventories of sonobuoys and torpedoes for the jet and for the Royal Navy’s ASW helicopters.

    Other contenders

    The importance of its ASW mission meant the UK did not consider cheaper, ‘lowend’ maritime ISR aircraft to replace the Nimrod, but there was still a relatively wide field of potential candidates.


    A P-8A from VP-5 ‘Mad Foxes’ provides an interesting comparison with the Kawasaki P-1. The aircraft met at NAF Atsugi, Japan in November 2014 when VP-5 was forward deployed to the US Seventh Fleet area of responsibility.
    US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Douglas G Wojciechowski
    Five other maritime patrol and ASW aircraft were reportedly evaluated alongside the Poseidon, though no proper competition was held and no formal bids were invited.

    There have been a number of attempts to offer the RAF an ASW aircraft based on the C-130J Hercules. In 2011, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group proposed an MPA variant of the type, using the RAF’s ten short-fuselage C-130Js and equipment taken from the Nimrod MRA4.

    More recently, Lockheed Martin proposed its own SC-130J Sea Hercules, using existing RAF airframes fitted with a mission system derived from that Lockheed has integrated on Royal Navy Merlin HM2 helicopters.

    The SC-130J featured an AESA radar beneath the fuselage, sonobuoy dispensers, electronic support measures (ESM) equipment and provision for a MAD – along with extended main landing gear sponsons, housing fuel tanks and weapons bays, and underwing weapons pylons. Lockheed claimed the SC-130J would exceed the P-3 in all respects.

    The Airbus C295 MPA (in service with Chilean Navy, Portuguese Air Force and the Royal Air Force of Oman) was said to be the only off-the-shelf maritime patrol aircraft available in the near term that met the RAF’s key requirements.

    It features Airbus Military’s FITS, which is used on a number of high-end ASW aircraft including Brazil’s modernised P-3s.

    The surprise contender was the Kawasaki P-1 – designed from the outset as a maritime patrol and ASW aircraft and optimised to meet Japan Maritime Self- Defense Forces requirements, which are very similar to the UK’s needs.

    The P-1 has longer range than the P-8, a similar sonobuoy load, more weapons hardpoints and an impressive array of weapons clearances – and it carries more operators and features a tailmounted MAD. It’s also optimised for low-level ASW operations, even down to its large flight-deck windows.


    Another platform acquired from the US, the E-3D Sentry AEW1 has suff ered its fair share of problems because of budgetary constraints within the MOD.
    Crown Copyright
    L-3 Mission Integration offered a Bombardier DHC-8-based solution known as the Q400 MMA, which featured extendedrange fuel tanks carrying an additional 10,000lb (4,536kg) of fuel, increasing its endurance to up to ten hours.

    It also has a ventral canoe fairing which will house a Selex ES 7500ES search radar, a weapons bay and an electro-optical camera system.

    The Q400 MMA is fitted with an L-3 mission management system (already used by some P-3s) as well as Ultra’s Airborne Acoustic System. L-3 claims the aircraft will deliver 80% of the Poseidon’s capability at about a third of the purchase price and a third of the direct operating costs.

    Saab offered a weaponised ASW-capable derivative of its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) configuration, based on the twinturboprop Saab 2000 and known as the Swordfish. The Swedish company believed it was well placed to meet the urgency of the UK requirement, undertaking to deliver an operational ASW capability by 2018 – in time to support the new Queen Elizabeth-class carrier.

    Faster than the C295, the Saab 2000 option was seen in some quarters as a mini-P-3 that, designed to operate at low altitude, offered more precise sonobuoy placement than the P-8.

    Northrop Grumman meanwhile proposed its MQ-4C UAV as a partial solution to the requirement, augmenting a manned MPA, but it was judged to be too immature.

    A normally reliable informant told me that very senior Joint Forces Command sources had said the P-8 was not even placed top of the assessment when it came to pure ASW capability – that honour reportedly fell to the C295, with the P-1 and Sea Hercules close behind.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean the P-8 was not the best aircraft to meet the UK’s requirement, since the MOD was always clear it needed more than just an ASW platform, requiring anti-surface unit warfare, longrange search and rescue, command and control and maritime ISR capabilities as well.

    Maritime ISR is particularly important because it represents the bulk of what any maritime patrol aircraft will actually do, especially in peacetime, and provides the capabilities that underpin fisheries and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) protection, counter-piracy and maritime counter-terrorism roles. The P-8A ticks all those boxes, as well as providing good interoperability with our closest partner.

    The P-8 is undoubtedly a superb maritime ISR aircraft, but critics claim its high costs made it impossible for the UK to acquire sufficient aircraft to meet realistic requirements.

    Like Japan, Britain is an island nation with extensive offshore fisheries and oil and gas fields, and is also a maritime nation with important oceanic trade links. But unlike Japan, it’s also largely responsible for protecting the EEZs of British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies – large areas of ocean thousands of miles away from the UK, which further complicates its maritime patrol requirement.

    Britain also has a ‘bluewater’ navy – which operates globally and will soon include two large aircraft carriers – and relies on a nuclear deterrent based on Trident missiles. The SSBNs are a tempting target for enemy submarines – even in peacetime, other nations would love to be able to track them and monitor their position.

    Accordingly they have to be screened as they set off on patrol and ‘deloused’ as they return, further increasing the need for ASW capabilities. But while Japan has decided it needs 60 or more high-end ASW aircraft, Britain’s planned force will consist of just nine P-8s.

    An alternative platform with lower acquisition and lifecycle costs might have made a larger force possible, and numbers can have a quality all of their own, since one platform cannot physically be in two places at once.

    A fundamental lack of affordability may therefore be the P-8’s biggest disadvantage.

    Jon Lake is a leading British aerospace journalist and historian.


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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty Re: Royal Air Force (RAF): News

    Post  walle83 Sat Jul 31, 2021 9:35 pm

    The future sixt generation fighter program Tempest just recived 250 million punds for getting the design phase going.

    https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/british-tempest-combat-jet-project-gets-more-funding/?fbclid=IwAR0K-uKxfhUmDIkollEz7pNPIkg6z-lmxrbwby4vepWKe44_qW0UCIrw-gc

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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty British E-3D Sentry completes last mission before retirement

    Post  Finty Thu Aug 05, 2021 10:25 pm

    https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/british-e-3d-sentry-completes-last-mission-before-retirement/

    cry



    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 AKR-OFFICIAL-20210804-266-034-scaled.jpg?auto=compress%2Cformat&crop=top&fit=crop&h=580&ixlib=php-3.3
    A Boeing E-3D Sentry has returned to its home base at RAF Waddington following its final mission on Operation SHADER, bringing to a close 30 years of operational service.
    The Royal Air Force say here in a news release:

    “The E-3D Sentry aircraft flew its final operational sortie on the 30th July over Iraq as part of the counter-Daesh Operation SHADER. The aircraft from 8 Squadron had been deployed to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and was the latest and last deployment since 2015.

    The aircraft returned to RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire on 4th August and was greeted by Air Vice-Marshal Al Marshall, the Air Officer Commanding Number 1 Group and also Major General Thomas Kunkel United Stated Air Force Commanding Officer of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Sea Control Force.”


    Describing the aircraft’s lengthy service, the Commander of the Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance Force, Air Commodore Hay Commander said:

    “Sentry’s return from a hugely successful overseas deployment heralds a fitting end to over 30 years of continuous service in support of NATO, other coalition and national operations. Whether operating from their home base at Waddington or airfields from across Europe and the broader Middle East, Sentry has contributed by providing a Recognised Air and Maritime Picture that has enabled others to operate with significant freedom of action against the most hostile of threats.”


    The Royal Air Force say that during the period between retirement and the Wedgetail becoming operational, the Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance requirements will be covered by a combination of other aircraft and E-3s from the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force.

    What is the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force?
    Under NATO Allied Air Command’s operational control, the Airborne Early Warning and Control Force operates a fleet of Boeing E-3A ‘Sentry’ Airborne Warning & Control System aircraft, better known as AWACS. These aircraft provide members with an immediately available air and maritime surveillance as well as airborne command and control and air battle management capability.

    NATO say on their website that the Airborne Early Warning and Control Force is “the Alliance’s largest collaborative venture”.

    “A venture that exemplifies NATO’s ability to facilitate multinational cooperation and to exploit the benefits of that the pooling of resources can bring.”

    Further confirmation of this came recently thanks to a written Parliamentary question.

    Mark Francois, Member of Parliament for Rayleigh and Wickford, asked:
    “To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the date on which the (a) last E-3D sentry aircraft will be retired from operational service and (b) first E-7 Wedgetail will achieve initial operating capacity in Royal Air Force service.”

    Jeremy Quin, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, responded today:

    “We will retire the E-3D Sentry from operational service later in 2021, as part of the transition to the more modern and more capable fleet of three E-7 Wedgetail aircraft, which are expected to enter service in December 2023. The United Kingdom remains part of the NATO AEW&C Force Headquarters.”

    Wedgetail (pictured above) is an airborne early warning and control system, commonly known as AWACs or AEW&C. They are designed to track multiple targets at sea or in the air over a considerable area for long periods of time.
    This aircraft is replacing the E-3D Sentry, pictured below.

    What is the status of Wedgetail?
    The UK recently cut its order for five E-7 aircraft to three. The Defence Command Paper released earlier in the year, titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age‘, states:

    “We will retire the E 3D Sentry in 2021, as part of the transition to the more modern and more capable fleet of three E 7A Wedgetail in 2023. The E 7A will transform our UK Airborne Early Warning and Control capability and the UK’s contribution to NATO. The nine P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will help to secure our seas. The introduction into service of the 16 long range Protector remotely piloted systems will be the backbone of persistent, multi spectral surveillance, with the ability to strike and act decisively against our potential adversaries around the globe.”

    What is the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force?
    Under NATO Allied Air Command’s operational control, the Airborne Early Warning and Control Force operates a fleet of Boeing E-3A ‘Sentry’ Airborne Warning & Control System aircraft, better known as AWACS. These aircraft provide members with an immediately available air and maritime surveillance as well as airborne command and control and air battle management capability.

    NATO say on their website that the Airborne Early Warning and Control Force is “the Alliance’s largest collaborative venture”.

    “A venture that exemplifies NATO’s ability to facilitate multinational cooperation and to exploit the benefits of that the pooling of resources can bring.”
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty Re: Royal Air Force (RAF): News

    Post  Finty Fri Aug 06, 2021 10:28 pm

    Attaboy!

    RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoons based at RAF Lossiemouth scrambled earlier today to intercept Russian TU-142 ‘Bear-F’ Maritime reconnaissance aircraft as they approached the northern edge of the UK’s area of interest.
    The Typhoons, supported by a Voyager air-to-air refuelling aircraft from RAF Brize Norton, tracked the Russian aircraft as they transited across the North Sea in the vicinity of the Shetland Islands before escorting them out of the UK area of interest.

    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 230488507_10159728493519885_305335358810309745_n.jpg?_nc_cat=1&ccb=1-4&_nc_sid=730e14&_nc_eui2=AeFSMRhWsMK0ptinZPn_S-gTwRWZkk09EujBFZmSTT0S6ELNl7HvUxjW0uPjgaOxnefI_GwvbNj36VXyoqAiZ-HS&_nc_ohc=RFCelD4fKn8AX9pK4Wl&_nc_ht=scontent-man2-1


    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 233026212_10159728494324885_5401188889422036474_n.jpg?_nc_cat=1&ccb=1-4&_nc_sid=730e14&_nc_eui2=AeHOeToqfPLCIxynjsakWgqgwTAw3DNIgiHBMDDcM0iCIWmJdRqoQkGSpjJCCNwVxFaRLoapezZQReMw3c9YlM2N&_nc_ohc=R0xMnW7bsoQAX9KFdv0&tn=YC65cloPzL0TQuDj&_nc_ht=scontent-man2-1

    https://www.facebook.com/royalairforce/posts/10159728501599885
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty Re: Royal Air Force (RAF): News

    Post  JohninMK Sun Aug 08, 2021 3:55 pm

    You couldn't make this up

    The RAF's only runway the airforce's main airport hasn't been fully functioning for three weeks because of the potholes that damaged Boris Johnson's jet.

    Flights have been diverted from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, the largest RAF Station with 5,800 service personnel, to Birmingham and Stansted airports.

    New repairs, which cost £700,000 in total, to the runway which were carried out during very hot temperatures in July are believed to have melted because of the heat.


    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9873813/Runway-RAF-Brize-Norton-riddled-POTHOLES.html

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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty Re: Royal Air Force (RAF): News

    Post  Finty Sun Aug 08, 2021 4:57 pm

    It’s an embarrassing state of affairs but it has resulted in regular voyager flights from my local airport so every cloud etc. Ironically it happened just after it was announced the raf would be utilising civilian airfields for aircraft dispersals in an exercise next year
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty RAF Typhoons scramble in response to Russian aircraft activity close to Romania

    Post  Finty Sun Aug 08, 2021 9:40 pm

    More interception news from 2 days ago

    https://www.raf.mod.uk/news/articles/raf-typhoons-scramble-in-response-to-russian-aircraft-activity-close-to-romania/

    RAF Typhoons scramble in response to Russian aircraft activity close to Romania

    RAF Typhoons on NATO Quick Reaction Alert based in Romania have been launched in response to Russian aircraft flying into NATO airspace over the Black Sea.

    Operating from the Romanian Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constanta on the Black Sea coast, RAF Typhoons on the NATO Enhanced Air Policing mission scrambled on 5th August as NATO radars detected Russian aircraft in international airspace over the southern Black Sea. The aircraft were heading towards Romanian airspace.

    Flight Lieutenant Charlie, one of the RAF Pilots from IX (Bomber) Squadron, operating as part of 121 Expeditionary Air Wing, who was on Quick Reaction Alert duty and responded to the scramble.

    "When the Russian aircraft entered the Romanian Flight Information Region, we were scrambled to conduct a Combat Air Patrol in the area. As the suspect aircraft turned into Romanian airspace we were then instructed to visually identify the track. As we approached our Combat Air Patrol area, the Russian aircraft turned, headed away from us and left the FIR, at which point we resumed our air patrolling mission and practiced some air combat manoeuvres before returning to base."

    Flight Lieutenant Charlie
    IX (Bomber) Squadron Pilot, 121 Expeditionary Air Wing

    Operation BILOXI is the UK contribution to the NATO enhanced Air Policing mission in the region, which in turn is part of the NATO Assurance Measures first authorised in 2014 following the NATO Summit of that year. With this enhanced capability, NATO has demonstrated its collective resolve of deterrence and defence, specifically for the NATO Allies on the eastern flank of the Alliance.

    "This is our eighth scramble since assuming our NATO enhanced Air Policing mission at the start of May. Every time the call to scramble has been given personnel across the Wing have responded with the utmost professionalism to help secure NATO airspace in the Black Sea region."

    Wing Commander Lamping
    Commanding Officer 121 Expeditionary Air Wing
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty Re: Royal Air Force (RAF): News

    Post  JohninMK Sun Aug 08, 2021 11:19 pm

    End of an era. No more UK AWACS for two years and the Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (order changed from 5 to 3 previously).

    A Boeing E-3D Sentry has returned to its home base at RAF Waddington from Akrtiri bringing to a close 30 years of operational service.

    https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/british-e-3d-sentry-completes-last-mission-before-retirement/

    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 AKR-OFFICIAL-20210804-266-034-scaled.jpg?auto=compress%2Cformat&crop=top&fit=crop&h=580&ixlib=php-3.3

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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty After Afghanistan evacuation mission, UK air force still not reexamining plans to retire C-130

    Post  Finty Thu Sep 09, 2021 12:29 am

    https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/08/30/after-afghanistan-evacuation-mission-uk-air-force-still-not-reexamining-plans-to-retire-c-130/

    WASHINGTON — The arduous airlift demands of the Afghanistan evacuation mission haven’t changed the U.K. Royal Air Force’s plans to retire its C-130s by 2023, its top officer said Aug. 27.

    “This is the first large-scale operation that we’ve done with our A400s, and it’s demonstrated that this is an aircraft with real potential and enormous capacity,” said RAF Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston in an interview with Defense News. “It flies much higher and much faster and carries a greater payload than the C-130. So as every month goes by, my confidence in that decision increases.”


    The RAF ultimately transported more than 15,000 people out of Kabul from Aug. 14 to Aug. 28, according to the U.K. ministry of defence.

    Wigston — who visited the United States last week to attend the Space Symposium — spoke to Defense News on Friday evening, during the last hours of the United Kingdom’s presence in Afghanistan.

    At that point, the Royal Air Force had evacuated about 8,500 Afghans, an estimated 4,500 U.K. passport or visa holders, and 1,500 people from other nations, Wigston said. About 500 to 1,000 others awaited the last RAF flights out of Kabul.


    “We have stopped taking in new people for processing,” he said. “Over the next few hours, those 500 to 1,000 [people] remaining will be taken out. At that stage, our evacuation operation will have come to an end, and we will just focus on getting our people out safely.”

    The RAF used about 15 aircraft during the evacuation mission, with half staged forward — transporting passengers from Kabul to other cities in the Middle East — and the other planes conducting flights from those cities to the United Kingdom, Wigston said.

    Over the two-week period, aircraft spotters frequently documented British C-17s, A400s and C-130s moving in and out of the airspace at Hamid Karzai International Airport.

    In March, the defence ministry announced as part of a command review it would retire the RAF’s remaining 14 C-130Js by 2023.


    “Twenty-two A400Ms, alongside the C17s, will provide a more capable and flexible transport fleet,” U.K. defence secretary Ben Wallace said then.

    Despite the C-130s offering additional airlift capacity, Wigston said there’s no need for the RAF to revisit its current retirement plans.

    “It will be with a heavy heart that we retire the C-130 in two years’ time because it’s been an absolute workhorse, but I have absolute confidence in the A400 and what that aircraft is able to do going forward,” he said.

    So far, Airbus has delivered 20 A400M Atlas aircraft to the RAF.
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty UK to retire Tranche 1 Typhoons with more than half of airframe hours remaining

    Post  Finty Tue Sep 21, 2021 11:00 pm

    https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/uk-to-retire-tranche-1-typhoons-with-more-than-half-of-airframe-hours-remaining

    The UK's recently revealed plan to prematurely retire its Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft will see the fleet axed with more than half of its airframe fatigue life remaining, the government said on 7 September.

    Answering questions in the House of Commons, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence, James Heappey, said that the Tranche 1 Typhoons that were earmarked for early retirement in the Defence Command Paper published on 22 March would be retired with an average of nearly 60% of their airframe fatigue lives remaining.

    “There are 30 Typhoon Tranche 1 aircraft in the sustainment fleet and the projected average flying hours for each of the aircraft, when they reach their respective out-of-service date, is 2,544.8 flying hours,” Heappey said.

    With the Typhoon notionally rated to an airframe life of 6,000 hours, 2,544.8 hours represent just 42.4% of airframe use. With this figure being averaged out across the fleet, a number of the more recently delivered aircraft will have flown significantly fewer hours than this. Of the 53 Tranche 1 aircraft received by the Royal Air Force (RAF), 30 remain in the inventory. Of these, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told Janes that 20 are in active service while the remaining 10 are in storage.
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty A400M transport not certified to transport F-35 engines

    Post  Finty Tue Sep 21, 2021 11:14 pm

    https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/a400m-transport-not-certified-to-transport-f-35-engines/

    The container designed to carry engines for F-35 jets, for example to replace an engine on a deployed F-35, is certified for carriage in the C-17 and C-130J but not the A400M.
    F135 engines for the F-35 Lightning are transported in specialist containers designed by the engine’s manufacturer, Pratt and Whitney. The C-17 and C-130J aircraft were certified to carry the container in May 2020.

    The information came to light in response to a written Parliamentary question.

    Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, Asled in a written question:

    “To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 6 September 2021 to Question 40639 on Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft, which UK military aircraft are certified to carry that container; and on what date those aircraft were certified to do so.”

    Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, responded:

    “The F135 engine container is planned for carriage in the Globemaster C-17 and Hercules C-130J. The aircraft were certified to carry the container in May 2020.”

    On their website, the RAF describe the A400m Atlas as follows:

    “Entering operational service with the Royal Air Force in 2014, Atlas (Atlas C.1 A400M) provides tactical airlift and strategic oversize lift capabilities complementing those of the Hercules and C-17 fleets..

    Atlas (Atlas C.1 A400M) has the ability to carry a 37-tonne payload over 2,000nm to established and remote civilian and military airfields, and short unprepared or semi-prepared strips. Capable of operating at altitudes up to 40,000ft, Atlas also offers impressive low-level capability.”
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty British C-17 and Chinook fleets to be upgraded

    Post  Finty Tue Sep 21, 2021 11:16 pm

    https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/british-c-17-and-chinook-fleets-to-be-upgraded/

    The Ministry of Defence say that the UK’s Chinook helicopters will be enhanced with state-of-the-art defensive systems while the RAF’s C-17 Globemaster fleet will receive a software and hardware upgrade.
    For C-17, upgrades will include enhancements to the ‘Beyond Line of Sight’ satellite-enabled communication equipment, a wider field of view via the ‘Head-Up Display’ in the cockpit to help increase pilot situational awareness and widening the scope of the current free-fall parachuting capability.

    The five-year Chinook helicopter contract managed by DE&S will see the installation of state-of-the-art Infra-Red Suppression Systems (IRSS) across some of the fleet, offering better protection from threats posed by new missile systems using the heat (infra-red) signature of the aircraft to target.

    IRSS technology will counter with ‘blanking plates’ on the helicopters which mask the hot components and redirect airflow to cool the exhaust gases, making it more difficult to target.

    According to a news release:

    “The RAF will be boosted by an investment of almost £400 million to enhance the capabilities of two of its vital assets – the C-17 Globemaster aircraft and the CH-47 Chinook helicopter. UK’s C-17 fleet – which recently played a key role in the UK’s evacuation from Afghanistan – will receive a £324 million investment. This will upgrade software and hardware to improve airlift capability as part of a contract with the US Air Force. The UK’s fleet of Mk5 and Mk6 Chinook helicopters will be enhanced with state-of-the-art defensive systems, as part of a £64 million contract with Boeing Defence UK (BDUK) which will make them harder for adversaries to detect.”

    Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin said:



    “Whether evacuating people in Kabul, transporting people to hospital during Covid-19 or providing crucial logistics on the battlefield, the C-17 and Chinook provide an invaluable service to our Armed Forces across the globe. This investment ensures our aircraft are equipped with cutting-edge technology to face a myriad of emerging threats from adversaries.”


    And here https://www.flightglobal.com/defence/uk-signs-c-17-upgrade-chinook-self-protection-deals-with-boeing/145451.article
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty Re: Royal Air Force (RAF): News

    Post  Finty Wed Dec 15, 2021 11:09 pm

    From October but still interesting

    https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/typhoons-conduct-operations-from-austere-middle-eastern-base/
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty British Typhoon jet shoots down hostile aircraft over Syria

    Post  Finty Thu Dec 16, 2021 9:33 pm

    https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/british-typhoon-jet-shoots-down-hostile-aircraft-over-syria/?fbclid=IwAR3yaWVso5IbrohbryWZ3JvMLAqe2mL029l-Ip9x-XD9v3JBjoOTRJ0YYwM

    The Ministry of Defence stress that this was the first operational air-to-air engagement conducted by a British Typhoon jet and also the first RAF air-to-air missile firing during Operation SHADER.
    A British Typhoon jet has shot down a hostile drone over Syria after the aircraft was deemed to “pose a threat to Coalition forces in the area”.

    According to a Ministry of Defence news release:

    “This unprecedented event was the first operational air-to-air engagement conducted by an RAF Typhoon, and also the first RAF air-to-air missile firing during Operation SHADER – the UK’s contribution to the Global Coalition against Daesh.”

    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was quoted as saying:

    “This strike is an impressive demonstration of the RAF’s ability to take out hostile targets in the air which pose a threat to our forces. We continue to do everything we can alongside our Coalition partners to stamp out the terrorist threat and protect our personnel and our partners.”

    The Ministry of Defence say that the engagement took place when drone activity was detected above the At Tanf Coalition base in Syria.

    “As the drone continued on its track, it became clear it posed a threat to Coalition forces. RAF Typhoons conducting routine patrols in the area were tasked to investigate. Despite the small size of the drone making it a very challenging target, it was successfully shot down using an Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missile (ASRAAM) and the threat eliminated – a tribute to the skill and professionalism of Royal Air Force pilots.”

    The engagement took place on the 14th of December.

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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 5 Empty Final P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft arrives in Scotland

    Post  Finty Tue Jan 11, 2022 1:00 pm

    https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/final-p-8-poseidon-maritime-patrol-aircraft-arrives-in-scotland/

    The final P-8 Poseidon to be built for Britain, the ninth of nine, has now landed at the aircraft’s new home in Scotland.
    The RAF describe the P-8 as “a multi-role maritime patrol aircraft, equipped with sensors and weapons systems for anti-submarine warfare, as well as surveillance and search and rescue missions.”

    Aircraft number nine was spotted on approach to RAF Lossiemouth this morning.


    Seven of the nine aircraft have also now been named.

    ZP801 “Pride of Moray”
    ZP802 “City of Elgin”
    ZP803 “Terence Bulloch DSO*DFC”
    ZP804 “Spirit of Reykjavik”
    ZP805 “Fulmar”
    ZP806 “Guernsey’s Reply”
    ZP807 “William Barker VC”
    The names of the last two, including this aircraft, have yet to be revealed.

    The RAF Poseidon fleet, now nine aircraft, is already providing maritime patrol capabilities working side-by-side with the Royal Navy and other Allies to secure the seas around the UK and abroad.

    “The Poseidon’s comprehensive mission system features an APY-10 radar with modes for high-resolution mapping, an acoustic sensor system, including passive and multi-static sonobuoys, electro-optical/IR turret and electronic support measures (ESM). This equipment delivers comprehensive search and tracking capability, while the aircraft’s weapons system includes torpedoes for engaging sub-surface targets.”

    201 Squadron operates the Poseidon in the anti-submarine warfare role from RAF Lossiemouth on the Moray Firth in Scotland.

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