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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News

    GarryB
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 4 Empty Re: Royal Air Force (RAF): News

    Post  GarryB Fri Apr 02, 2021 10:11 am

    If they weren't increasing numbers of Trident missiles they could probably afford to pay NHS workers 15% more, and could probably afford more aircraft and more importantly more ships to support the aircraft carriers they have paid for...

    Their ships give them a global presence that land based F-35s can never give them...

    Those Typhoons they bought early and are retiring early because they are not full standard designs... did they get them cheap... being not fully functional aircraft?

    I would suggest if that was sold to an American consumer they would want to be able to return such incomplete aircraft and have them replaced with fully capable complete current model... because that is what they paid for.

    Harriers would get the job done and cost a fraction that the F-35 will cost to operate.

    The radar the Sea Harriers had was rather good, though probably not as good as the new one fitted to the F-35 but it probably worked properly.
    George1
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    Post  George1 Fri Apr 23, 2021 11:05 am

    UK has entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the US Department of Defense to purchase 14 Boeing CH-47F Chinook transport helicopters for the British Air Force.

    https://bmpd.livejournal.com/4296845.html

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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 4 Empty F-35B jets to join the fight against Daesh from the Carrier Strike Group

    Post  Finty Tue May 04, 2021 6:58 pm

    Belongs in either this or the Royal Navy thread...


    Gov wrote:UK F-35B fighter jets operating from HMS Queen Elizabeth will join Operation Shader in the fight against Daesh.

    F-35B Lightning fast jets will be the cutting edge of the Carrier Strike Group’s (CSG21) formidable power in the air.

    These are next generation multi-role combat aircraft equipped with advanced sensors, mission systems and stealth technology, enabling them to carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks.

    This will be the first time UK fighter aircraft are embarked on an operational aircraft carrier deployment since 2010, and will be the largest number of F-35Bs ever to sail the seas.

    The renowned 617 Squadron RAF (‘The Dambusters’) will operate the jets to provide tangible and impactful support to counter-Daesh operations in Iraq and Syria.


    Rest here:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/f-35b-jets-to-join-the-fight-against-daesh-from-the-carrier-strike-group
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 4 Empty Re: Royal Air Force (RAF): News

    Post  George1 Wed Jun 02, 2021 3:58 pm

    The 29th Squadron of the British Air Force, based in Coningsby, Lincolnshire, has unveiled the Typhoon fighter with a "very patriotic paint scheme," the country's Defense Department said

    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 4 16223710

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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 4 Empty Re: Royal Air Force (RAF): News

    Post  Finty Wed Jun 02, 2021 11:14 pm

    I quite like it, better than most British one-off paint schemes but you can’t beat the standard schemes. Even squadron markings are too much embellishment for me sometimes!

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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 4 Empty UK’s newest carrier joins fight against Daesh, stirs Russian interest

    Post  Finty Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:22 am

    EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Britain’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is helping to take on the “lion’s share” of operations against the Daesh (Islamic State) group in Iraq, UK naval commanders said. It has also piqued the interest of Russian warplanes, who try to keep tabs on its cutting-edge F-35 jet in a “cat-and-mouse” game with British and US pilots.
    Speaking aboard the 65,000-ton carrier on its first-ever deployment, Commodore Steve Moorhouse said the UK is carrying out most of the missions to wipe out the remnants of Daesh in Iraq as the US focuses on its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
    “At the moment, we’re taking on the lion’s share of that operation over Iraq, which is a fantastic, say, feather in our cap. But an achievement that ‘A’, we’re trusted and ‘B’, that we’re able to do that,” Moorhouse told reporters Sunday.
    It’s the first time that a UK aircraft carrier is supporting live military operations on the ground in over two decades, projecting British military power on a global scale. Moorhouse said the carrier offers the UK flexibility in how to conduct military operations abroad and “keeps those that wish to cause us harm ... on their toes.”
    He said the eastern Mediterranean has become more “congested and contested” over the last decade in light of the heavier Russian military presence in Syria, which is resulting in regular encounters with Russian ships and warplanes.


    “We’re rubbing up against Russian activity, not in a you know, in a dangerous or aggressive manner, but you’ve just got other people out here playing in what is a fixed piece of water and airspace,” said Moorhouse, adding that a Russian warship has come within 10 kilometers (16 miles) of the carrier.
    The commodore insisted that Russian, British and US pilots have a “healthy respect for one another” and their conduct has been “absolutely professional” since the aircraft carrier started anti-IS operations on June 18.
    “But there is a reality when you buy yourself a fifth-generation aircraft carrier and you take it around the world ... people are interested in it,” he added.
    Captain James Blackmore, who commands the eight British F-35 jets and the 10 helicopters aboard the carrier, said UK and Russian pilots have come within “visual distance” of each other.
    “It’s that cat-and-mouse posturing, it’s what we expect in this region of world. And as you can imagine, it’s the first time for F-35s into the eastern Mediterranean,” said Blackmore. “So, of course Russia wants to look at what they’re like, they want to look at what our carriers are like.”
    The state-of-the art F-35, armed with air-to-air missiles and laser-guided bombs, is being used over Iraq to look for other aircraft or unmanned drones, support troops on the ground as well as to carry out surveillance with its sophisticated sensor and radar systems.
    “It’s a fifth-generation aircraft with a hugely, hugely capable radar and sensor suite, and that’s what it brings. So it’s the eyes and ears that it’s offering out there,” said Moorhouse.
    The HMS Queen Elizabeth and its support ships, which include the US destroyer The Sullivans, will remain in the eastern Mediterranean for two to three weeks before moving through the Suez Canal to continue with a 7 1/2 -month deployment to India, South Korea and Japan.
    The carrier also has 10 US F-35 jets from the Marine Corps’ Fighter Attack Squadron 211 aboard that carry out operations under British command.

    https://www.arabnews.com/node/1880996/world
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 4 Empty Stealth jets fight Daesh in first combat missions from HMS Queen Elizabeth

    Post  Finty Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:23 am

    Stealth jets of the renowned 617 Squadron RAF (The Dambusters) carried out operational sorties for the first time from HMS Queen Elizabeth in support of Operation Shader and US Operation Inherent Resolve.

    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
    The ability to operate from the sea with the most advanced fighter jets ever created is a significant moment in our history, offering reassurance to our allies and demonstrating the UK’s formidable air power to our adversaries.

    The Carrier Strike Group is a physical embodiment of Global Britain and a show of international military strength that will deter anyone who seeks to undermine global security.

    For the task group, which has spent previous weeks in the Mediterranean working with NATO allies and partners, it marks a change of emphasis. From exercises and international engagements, the Carrier Strike Group is now delivering its full might of naval and air power, putting the “strike” into Carrier Strike Group and contributing to the UK’s fight against Daesh – Operation Shader, which forms part of the Global Collation against Daesh.

    Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, said:
    HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first missions against Daesh will be remembered as a significant moment in the 50-year lifespan of this ship.

    It also marks a new phase of our current deployment. To date we have delivered diplomatic influence on behalf of the UK through a series of exercises and engagements with our partners - now we are ready to deliver the hard punch of maritime-based air power against a shared enemy.

    The involvement of HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Air Wing in this campaign also sends a wider message. It demonstrates the speed and agility with which a UK-led Carrier Strike Group can inject fifth generation combat power into any operation, anywhere in the world, thereby offering the British Government, and our allies, true military and political choice.

    CSG21, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, is the largest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation and this is its first operational deployment, which is joint between the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

    In an era of persistent competition, the Carrier is already proving its worth. As the recent Integrated Review and Defence Command Paper underlined, our adversaries pose a growing threat to the international order and the values that underpin our security and prosperity.

    There are 18 UK and US F35B jets on board HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is the largest number to ever sail the seas. The aircraft are next generation multi-role combat aircraft equipped with advanced sensors, mission systems and stealth technology.

    Captain James Blackmore, Commander of the Carrier Air Wing, said:
    The Lightning Force is once again in action against Daesh, this time flying from an aircraft carrier at sea, which marks the Royal Navy’s return to maritime strike operations for the first time since the Libya campaign a decade ago.

    With its fifth generation capabilities, including outstanding situational awareness, the F-35B is the ideal aircraft to deliver precision strikes, which is exactly the kind of mission that 617 Squadron has been training for day-after-day, night-after-night, for these past few months.

    This is also notable as the first combat mission flown by US aircraft from a foreign carrier since HMS Victorious in the South Pacific in 1943. The level of integration between Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and US Marine Corps is truly seamless, and testament to how close we’ve become since we first embarked together last October.


    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/stealth-jets-fight-daesh-in-first-combat-missions-from-hms-queen-elizabeth
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 4 Empty F-35B From British Carrier Flies Over Russian Forces Training To Sink Enemy Warships

    Post  Finty Wed Jun 30, 2021 1:39 pm

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/41316/f-35b-from-british-carrier-flies-over-russian-forces-training-to-sink-enemy-warships


    The Russian naval task force deployed to Syria in recent days appears to have stepped up its drills in the eastern Mediterranean. At the same time, a recent video shows that at least some of the Russian participants have been shadowed by F-35B stealth jets operating from the U.K. Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth that’s conducting combat operations in the region, against ISIS targets. The latest Russian maneuvers come as tensions between Moscow and the United Kingdom remain high, after a Royal Navy destroyer sailed in waters close to Russian-occupied Crimea last week, and as large-scale, U.S.-led maneuvers in the Black Sea kick off today.

    The latest official video of the Russian deployment reveals that at least some of the three Tu-22M3 Backfire-C bombers and two MiG-31K Foxhound jet fighters armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles that deployed to Khmeimim Air Base in Syria’s coastal Latakia province last week are now conducting joint maneuvers with Su-35S Flanker fighters. The latter type is seen flying as an escort, carrying various air-to-air missiles, and operating from the same base. Also evident is at least one Su-34 Fullback strike jet, albeit armed with only a pair of short-range missiles for self-defense. Unlike the Tu-22M3 and MiG-31K, the Su-35s and Su-34s have been seen at the Syrian airbase regularly for years now.

    Previously, we have seen Tu-22M3s operating from Syria with a single example of the Kh-22 (AS-4 Kitchen) or improved Kh-32 anti-ship missile, but the video reveals a two-missile loadout. Theoretically, each Tu-22M3 can carry three of these weapons, two under the wings and one under the fuselage, but with a considerable reduction in range, since the fuel load has to be reduced accordingly. Therefore, two missiles are normally the maximum practical load, while one missile provides for a range of almost 1,400 miles. The MiG-31K is seen with its standard load of a single Kinzhal missile carried on the centerline.

    These missions also included an A-50 Mainstay airborne early warning and control aircraft, which is seen in the video operating from Khmeimim, as well as over the eastern Mediterranean. This aircraft, which is a familiar presence in Syria, could be coordinating the exercise, as well as keeping an eye on other movements in the air and at sea, such as CSG21 and its F-35Bs.

    One brief sequence shows an F-35B flying in a steep bank, apparently filmed from a Russian Navy warship. The distance at which the jet is shadowing the vessel means it’s unclear it was from the Royal Air Force or U.S. Marine Corps, but examples from both services are now onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth.

    Finally, there is a sequence in the video from an unspecified Russian Navy warship, allegedly the Admiral Makarov, one of the two Admiral Grigorovich class frigates that are involved in the current drills, the other being Admiral Essen. As well as commands being issued from the bridge, we see the crew racing to battle stations and close-ups of AK-630 multi-barrel gun, though no live-firing is seen. One of these same weapons was used to fire a ‘warning shot’ toward HMS Defender in the Black Sea last week.

    The remaining three Russian Navy warships involved in the maneuvers are the Slava class guided-missile cruiser Moskva and the Improved Kilo class submarines Stary Oskol and Rostov-on-Don. All these are from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

    Two other Russian assets that have been announced as taking part in the maneuvers have not been seen so far — these are the Il-38 May and Tu-142MK Bear-F long-range anti-submarine aircraft.

    The official statement provided by the Russian Ministry of Defense reiterates the fact that the current exercises are focused on defending friendly ships against aerial attacks. The carriage of hypersonic missiles (Kinzhal) is also mentioned but it’s not clear if these were used to replicate hostile attacks on the surface combatants. That would, however, fit in with reports last week of simulated enemy aircraft flying a mock attack against a frigate with anti-ship missiles. Moreover, the defense of surface combatants against targets flying at hypersonic speed — generally taken to mean in excess of five times the speed of sound — is a growing area of concern for navies around the world. For its part, the Kinzhal, which is a converted short-range ballistic missile, is claimed to be able to fly at 10 times the speed of sound.

    “Particular attention was paid to countering airplanes, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles of the imaginary enemy,” the latest report explains. The same drills also include ensuring the security of Khmeimim Air Base and the Russian Navy’s logistics hub in the Syrian port of Tartus.

    While this is the second time that the Tu-22M3 has been deployed to Syria, the emphasis on the type’s maritime strike mission is noteworthy, especially as it coincides with the high-profile appearance of HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Mediterranean for the first time, as first of its first operational cruise, as part of Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21). The MiG-31K and its Kinzhal missile have not been deployed outside of Russian territory before this, and it seems highly likely they are also on hand to practice the anti-shipping mission, too.

    We have discussed previously the significant power-projection capability that even irregular deployments of small numbers of Tu-22M3 and MiG-31K aircraft, and their respective missiles, can bring to the Russian outpost in Syria. While the Kh-22/32 and Kinzhal missiles are dual-role, allowing them to be configured to attack targets at sea or on land, the current deployment is stressing maritime missions, and these aircraft provide another way of both protecting Russian Navy ships and submarines operating in the wider region, as well as offering the potential for offensive actions against enemy shipping. All these missiles can also be fitted with nuclear warheads if required.

    Now that the runway and its facilities at Khmeimim have been modernized, the airbase is better able to host deployments like this in the future. It could also pave the way to having long-range Tu-95MS Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack strategic missile-carriers operating out of Syria, too.

    The fact that the Russian exercise is happening simultaneously with CSG21 being in the Mediterranean is unlikely to have been a simple coincidence. After all, official Russian accounts note that “one of the objectives of the exercises will be to monitor the actions of the [British] aircraft carrier group.”

    So far, there does not appear to be any corresponding imagery released by the Royal Navy or U.S. Marine Corps showing their perspective of the Russian maneuvers, but we can be confident that both sides are watching each other closely. The War Zone will keep you updated as the exercise continues to unfold, during a period of notable tensions between Russia and the United Kingdom.


    GarryB
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 4 Empty Re: Royal Air Force (RAF): News

    Post  GarryB Fri Jul 02, 2021 5:34 am

    Hilarious.... Turkey was not allowed to operate S-400s and F-35s in the same force because of fears the Russians would be able to collect secret data on the aircraft, but the British are happy to fly over Russian ships and give away the same secret data for free...

    But then of course F-35s in the Israeli Air Force and the F-22s the US deployed to the region already revealed such information anyway...

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    Post  lancelot Fri Jul 02, 2021 6:11 am

    GarryB wrote:Hilarious.... Turkey was not allowed to operate S-400s and F-35s in the same force because of fears the Russians would be able to collect secret data on the aircraft, but the British are happy to fly over Russian ships and give away the same secret data for free...

    But then of course F-35s in the Israeli Air Force and the F-22s the US deployed to the region already revealed such information anyway...

    That argument was such patent BS. The truth is the US uses CAATSA in an attempt to reduce Russian military weapons export income and make nations worldwide more dependent on US and its allies defense contractors. It means they can pull the plug on weapons support on any nation and render their military useless in case they want to intervene there. The F-35 and its dial home architecture being the maximum exponent of this. It allows them to know the complete status on each nation's aircraft including weapons loadout and data packages for missions. It allows them to remotely disable the aircraft. Same reason they don't want other countries to buy the Su-30/35.
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    Post  PapaDragon Fri Jul 02, 2021 2:49 pm

    GarryB wrote:Hilarious.... Turkey was not allowed to operate S-400s and F-35s in the same force because of fears the Russians would be able to collect secret data on the aircraft, but the British are happy to fly over Russian ships and give away the same secret data for free...

    But then of course F-35s in the Israeli Air Force and the F-22s the US deployed to the region already revealed such information anyway...

    Every single Israeli F-35 has been flying through Russian radar coverage from Hmmeim AB with everything from S-300, S-400 and Buks to A-50 AVACS, fighter jets and satellites from the moment they were delivered to Israel

    Whatever VKS wanted to learn about F-35 via radar they learned it long before UK even received their first F-35

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    Finty
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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 4 Empty Re: Royal Air Force (RAF): News

    Post  Finty Tue Jul 13, 2021 12:27 am

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-57756205.amp


    MoD announces jobs boost for RAF Lossiemouth


    he Ministry of Defence has announced a jobs boost for the north of Scotland with more than 100 new posts being created at RAF Lossiemouth.

    The contract, worth more than £230m, is part of the deployment of Poseidon maritime aircraft at the base in Moray.

    UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he saw it as a benefit of Scotland being part of the UK.

    But the Scottish government said the Conservatives had "zero credibility" on defence issues in Scotland.

    It said this was because of "deep cuts" the party had imposed on personnel and infrastructure north of the border.

    As well as a base for Typhoon fighter jets, RAF Lossiemouth will now be home to a fleet of nine P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol planes.

    Mr Wallace said the 106 new roles were part of a training and maintenance contract allied to the deployment of the anti-submarine aircraft.

    UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace used the announcement to highlight what he sees as the benefits of Scotland in the Union

    He added: "That's another generation of RAF investment into the area."

    Mr Wallace also pledged there were more jobs to come as part of a programme that included the opening of the base's new £75m runway last year.

    He said: "Defence is not a here today, gone tomorrow. You invest for the long term."

    Mr Wallace said the purchase of P-8A aeroplanes and E-7 Wedgetails (surveillance aircraft) brings "20, 30 years of investment".

    But he also challenged the case for independence.

    Mr Wallace said: "Defence of these isles is much better achieved collectively and together, and the strength of the union is demonstrated by the fact we can play to each others' strengths."

    The MoD is a major employer and spends more than £2bn a year in Scotland, much of it on shipbuilding.

    But Mr Wallace said an independent Scotland could not expect to get military orders from the rest of the UK.

    Speaking to the BBC, he said: "If you look at their economic figures, their deficit is so large I think it would be very, very difficult for an independent Scotland to maintain any armed forces of any type of armed forces of any credible size or capability."

    He also raised the question of what would happen to the Faslane nuclear base and an independent Scotland's place in Nato.

    In a statement, a spokesman for Scotland's first minister said: "The Tories have zero credibility when it comes to defence issues in Scotland given the deep cuts they have imposed on personnel and infrastructure north of the border.

    "An independent Scotland will be more than capable of maintaining conventional forces, but will not waste billions of pounds on nuclear weapons."


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    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 4 Empty Could Britain's Stealth Fighters Go Hypersonic? Should They?

    Post  Finty Tue Jul 13, 2021 3:03 pm

    Lotta ads on this site, not good.

    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/could-britains-stealth-fighters-go-hypersonic-should-they-189472

    Could Britain's Stealth Fighters Go Hypersonic? Should They?

    Can an F-35 be turned into a hypersonic aircraft?

    News last month that Britain is boosting its hypersonic weapons program didn’t come as a surprise. Many other nations are doing it.

    What caught everyone’s attention was that there are plans to rework the jet engines on the 1990s Eurofighter Typhoon—which propel the aircraft to Mach 2—into hypersonic engines that could achieve Mach 5 or faster.

    Which naturally led to a question: can existing fourth- and fifth-generation fighters—which operate at speeds of around Mach 2 or less—become Mach 5 speed demons?

    The technology in question is the Sabre engine from British firm Reaction Engines. Sabre aims to combine the advantages of both conventional jet engines with rocket engines. Ground tests have shown that demonstrated that the engine is capable of flying faster than Mach 3, according to Defense News.

    “SABRE’s unique feature is a precooler which reduces the temperature of the incoming compressed air,” explains British defense site Forces.com. “This means the engine does not need to cope with extreme temperatures which requires special materials.”

    “At high altitudes, it is a rocket, but, at lower altitudes, it works like a jet engine - sucking in and compressing air.”

    One option that the RAF is considering for development of hypersonic engines is to add pre-cooler technology to the EJ-200 gas turbine engine that currently powers the Typhoon.


    Alas, that isn’t the same as sticking a hypersonic engine on an older fighter.

    “You shouldn’t read into that we are somehow going to achieve a hypersonic Typhoon,” said Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier.

    There is more to developing a hypersonic aircraft than sticking a new engine in an old airframe. To turn a fourth- or fifth-generation aircraft, such as the F-16 or F-35, would invoke a variety of airframe, aerodynamic and avionics issues.

    Instead, Britain’s new £10 million ($12.2 million) hypersonics program will be used to thrust Britain into the hypersonic race that is currently dominated by the U.S., Russia and China. For example, hypersonic research is expected to bear fruit in engine development for the Tempest, Britain’s planned sixth-generation fighter.


    With 80 percent of Western fighters expected to be fourth-generation for the foreseeable future, hypersonic missiles are a way to keep older jets relevant. “We are working with some other people to see whether we can generate a Mach 5 capability in four years,” said Air Vice Marshal Simon Rochelle, chief of air staff capability. “There will be others pursuing higher and fast speeds … but much beyond that speed you start to change the chemical properties, the physical properties and metallic properties within the actual weapon system.”

    “Part of the reason for rapidly developing high-speed weapons was to enable those aircraft to maintain their edge," Rochelle said. “There is a challenge and competition now going on at range, at speed, at pace and we have to mobilize ourselves to be ready to take that on.”


    In other words, hypersonic engines won’t turn a Typhoon, F-15 or F-22 into a Mach 5 jet. Instead, hypersonic missiles will do the work. It’s the same approach that allows sixty-year-old B-52s to remain formidable weapons, by arming them with smart bombs. The platform remains the same, but the payload is updated as technology advances.

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    Post  Airbornewolf Wed Jul 14, 2021 2:43 am

    @ finty,

    you have any word about the crippling issues of manning british ships?.
    last i heard your nation could only afford to man skeletal crews on a few ships.

    How about stripping the nuclear submarine's in construction for replacements parts to keep the rest running?.

    Did britian learn yet of the kill-switches installed in the F-35's? because under no circumstance the U.S wants to meet its own aircraft in combat?.
    Or that its engine has been cleared from its self-sealing foam in case of fuel-tank damage?
    Because it got too heavy to take-off?. Maybe ask Thales in the Netherlands what they found on their survey's?.
    Can an F-35 with clean wings out-turn an external-tank wearing F-16 yet?. Found a way around yet how the F-35 avionics fail in an thunderstorm?.
    how much it costs to repair an F-35 stealth coating for the next flight?.
    Their limited payload?. As soon you open an weapon door you get painted?.
    Serbs pioneered that achievent with blowing an F-117 out of the sky.
    How to stop Khybinhy from breaking into your BMS systems?.
    you can not stop manually an A.I from breaking in your command systems.

    You have seen the Okhotnik-B platforms right?.

    I personally do not know you Finty, welcome to the forum anyway;).

    But do not believe the media you are fed.
    look into russian weaponry if you are interrested in naval warfare.
    you will find they pioneered supersonic weaponry a long time ago and know what these are capable of.
    i welcome anyone to look with an neutral view into NATO/USSR weaponry.

    Take a look at the P-500 basalt for example.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-500_Bazalt
    One missile pops its head above the rest to maintain an link to target.
    the rest go at high-speed to target below the enemy radar range.
    When one gets destroyed, another one rises to get radar contact with the enemy.

    these designs are from the 70's. they fly at 2.5 mach on final. an average ship has an radar range of 25 kilometers towards the horizon.
    It means most of these missiles will make that distance in less than 28 seconds to your ship when they appear on radar.

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    Post  GarryB Wed Jul 14, 2021 1:00 pm

    Hahahaha.... all a plane needs to fly at mach 5 is better engines... that is really really funny.

    The F-35 and Typhoon are fighter aircraft... they manouver... they have way too much wing to fly mach 3 let alone mach 5 and at mach 3 their airframes would be melting... the F-35 can't even fly in full AB for more than 90s without damaging its tail structure... so just getting supersonic would be a problem.

    I would not be surprised if RR could make a new jet engine type to fly faster than mach 2, but they would need to completely design a new aircraft from scratch to operate at such speeds and temperatures and altitudes... and it certainly would be very little use as a fighter because at top speed it will be flying very straight.
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    Post  Finty Fri Jul 16, 2021 1:31 am

    Airbornewolf wrote:@ finty,

    you have any word about the crippling issues of manning british ships?.
    last i heard your nation could only afford to man skeletal crews on a few ships.

    How about stripping the nuclear submarine's in construction for replacements parts to keep the rest running?.

    Did britian learn yet of the kill-switches installed in the F-35's? because under no circumstance the U.S wants to meet its own aircraft in combat?.
    Or that its engine has been cleared from its self-sealing foam in case of fuel-tank damage?
    Because it got too heavy to take-off?. Maybe ask Thales in the Netherlands what they found on their survey's?.
    Can an F-35 with clean wings out-turn an external-tank wearing F-16 yet?. Found a way around yet how the F-35 avionics fail in an thunderstorm?.
    how much it costs to repair an F-35 stealth coating for the next flight?.
    Their limited payload?. As soon you open an weapon door you get painted?.
    Serbs pioneered that achievent with blowing an F-117 out of the sky.
    How to stop Khybinhy from breaking into your BMS systems?.
    you can not stop manually an A.I from breaking in your command systems.

    You have seen the Okhotnik-B platforms right?.

    I personally do not know you Finty, welcome to the forum anyway;).

    But do not believe the media you are fed.
    look into russian weaponry if you are interrested in naval warfare.
    you will find they pioneered supersonic weaponry a long time ago and know what these are capable of.
    i welcome anyone to look with an neutral view into NATO/USSR weaponry.

    Take a look at the P-500 basalt for example.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-500_Bazalt
    One missile pops its head above the rest to maintain an link to target.
    the rest go at high-speed to target below the enemy radar range.
    When one gets destroyed, another one rises to get radar contact with the enemy.

    these designs are from the 70's. they fly at 2.5 mach on final. an average ship has an radar range of 25 kilometers towards the horizon.
    It means most of these missiles will make that distance in less than 28 seconds to your ship when they appear on radar.


    Thanks Wolf, I'm not a representative of our MOD but I'll try to answer a few questions!

    Yes I've heard of the Hunter project, good luck to them.

    As for the F35's faults, i try not to dwell on them but it isn't ideal obviously. i think they're up to 800 now I saw today. Hopefully they will be ironed out (eventually) but the F35 has been a flawed project. The aircraft is capable but flawed. For instance you mention the payload, not great at all and hence the use of the new 15EX as a 'bomb truck'. As for stealth, maintaining the coating has been better than on the F22 but it's still not perfect; good luck to Lockheed, they're aiming to drive down hourly operating cost to $35,000!

    The reason I joined this forum was to get more info about Russian aviation developments, my interest in which was there years ago but has only been reignited in the last year as I got back into western military aviation and naturally wanted to know what the 'enemy' were up to. One impressive stat for me is the 4,500 km range of the Kh101!

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    Post  Airbornewolf Fri Jul 16, 2021 10:55 pm

    Finty wrote:


    Thanks Wolf, I'm not a representative of our MOD but I'll try to answer a few questions!

    Yes I've heard of the Hunter project, good luck to them.

    As for the F35's faults, i try not to dwell on them but it isn't ideal obviously. i think they're up to 800 now I saw today. Hopefully they will be ironed out (eventually) but the F35 has been a flawed project. The aircraft is capable but flawed. For instance you mention the payload, not great at all and hence the use of the new 15EX as a 'bomb truck'. As for stealth, maintaining the coating has been better than on the F22 but it's still not perfect; good luck to Lockheed, they're aiming to drive down hourly operating cost to $35,000!

    The reason I joined this forum was to get more info about Russian aviation developments, my interest in which was there years ago but has only been reignited in the last year as I got back into western military aviation and naturally wanted to know what the 'enemy' were up to. One impressive stat for me is the 4,500 km range of the Kh101!

    I know, point taken.
    and my appologies.
    I could have worded that somewhat differently and more friendly.

    The F-35 is my nations newest "addition" as well. But its an pain the ass ever since we got it.
    Lockheed bought the Tech from the Russian Yak-141 in the 90's. and stored it.
    Royal Air Force (RAF): News - Page 4 Fc65d610
    The Yak-141 was scrapped by the russians as it was just too expensive to make it work. even then, it had an limited capacity.

    They tried to make the F-35 master of all, but now it is the master of nothing.
    i know, i heard the same story's too about "needing to team up".
    You can not team up and stay together in combat.
    You need to break because of incomming fire, F-15's are pretty agile. but when they are loaded with ordnance they can not go anywhere either.
    they need to shed their payload to be able to avoid and engage.

    Having aircraft enough you can even afford to have strike wings like this is an luxury.
    In Afghanistan all fighter aircraft flew in pairs, never multiple. bombers even alone.
    it was not because there was air superiority,
    because airpower is such an restricted resource, it simply can not be fielded in massive one-off missions.
    The problem is too if you withdraw strike craft from one area for an combined mission, you leave that area open to be contested by the enemy.

    There are also massive vulnerability's with the F-35 they can not possibly all iron out.
    They need to scrap it, older succesfull models need to be looked at what made them such successes.
    Redesign these and make new generation aircraft out of them.

    The big elephant in the room is also the costs of western stealth craft versus russian combat aircraft.

    For the costs we field one stealth F-22/F-35. The Russians can field two or three of their modern SU aircraft.
    Loaded on multiple hardpoints with anti-air missiles. They are not Stealth perhaps.
    But its irrelevant when they posess an superiour number of aircraft with an superior number of loadout.
    You have seen the large lens on Russian aircraft nose cones?. I believe the russians call it ISRT if i remember correctly.
    they are IR camera's to they can detect aircraft passively.
    The West stinger-system uses the same principle. it catches abnormalities in the IR spectrum and interpretates these.

    Russian air defense is unlike anything we currently possess in NATO.
    Here in NATO we only have Patriot or Stingers to hide behind right?.
    We in the west are without SPAAG's or SPAD's. When they penetrate that umbrella we have no answer.

    Russia ever since the cold war maintains an doctrine that they WILL take casualty's. so their weapon designs are directed to maintain combat effectiveness as an whole army.
    So their air defense is layered in various umbrella's of air defenses.

    At long range, an S-300/400 engages Western missiles/aircraft.
    Medium Range, Tor and BUK starts to engage as well.
    Close range, Tunguska/Pantsir with close-range interceptor missiles and auto-cannons.

    The deeper you go, the more attention you are going to get.
    Meanwhile new targets that enter the engagement range are engaged as well.
    Russia went an long way in automating its systems to engage multiple targets at once.

    The issue that is plagueing NATO also is its massive reliance of BMS systems.
    BMS standing for Battlefield Management System.
    The navy might call it differently but its basically the same.

    its an interconnected battlefield awareness.
    So for example, an ship in front of the coast sees that an unit on land in combat is engaged with an enemy unit.
    The ship then can use that data to target and fire on detected hostile unit.

    The massive weakness is, that an corrupted computer can send false data in the network without anyone knowing.
    It can create phantom units, and paint allied units to hostile and vice versa.

    The real issue is here that politicians and the millitary keep telling everyone they got the superiority.
    It is not the case. I was fed the same bullshit in the millitary untill i encountered the Russians and Russian hardware in Afghanistan.

    since you posted about the RAF and QE-Class of ships i assumed you where British.
    I know of the large issue troubling the Royal Navy. nuclear submarines being build being torn appart to keep the rest operational.
    That there is barely enough crew to operate the ships the Navy has at this moment. etc.

    Do not get me wrong, i catched up a lot about british maritime history trough Drachinifel's channel on youtube. i love his channel.
    I got deep respect for past british achievements on sea.
    you really might like his channel.
    https://www.youtube.com/c/Drachinifel/videos

    but right now in time, These are domestic problems that make the Royal navy unable to deal with any conflict.
    You need motivated men to crew your ships, and adequate funding to get ship-parts, munitions and training.
    there are barely enough to field british destroyer skeleton crews.
    In this day and age, big carriers are prime targets in the age of super/hypersonic missiles and supercavitating torpedo's.
    It was an massive waste of money to spend all this money on the QE-class carriers.

    Remember, any enemy knows you have to take these carriers to their oceans in order to use their strike-craft. they will prepare accordingly.

    the money was better suited to finishing the british submarine fleet and pressing an new type of all-round destroyer/cruiser class into service.
    smaller, more nimble ships or submarines with lesser crew are the future.
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    Post  PapaDragon Sat Jul 17, 2021 12:12 am


    I would like to offer my quick observation on this:

    During the Cold War the West was led by cadre of politicians who (like them or not) knew how to do their job and very often were war veterans themselves (George Bush for example was WW2 pilot)

    But once Cold War ended they were all pretty much universally replaced by cadre of incompetent idiots who never experienced a day of any hardship, who would literally do anything for money (and accept it from anyone) and had no clue how to do their jobs but who still managed to cruise for a long time on accomplishments of those who came before them

    But you can't cruise forever and now reality is hitting hard

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    Post  Airbornewolf Sat Jul 17, 2021 1:49 am

    PapaDragon wrote:
    I would like to offer my quick observation on this:

    During the Cold War the West was led by cadre of politicians who (like them or not) knew how to do their job and very often were war veterans themselves (George Bush for example was WW2 pilot)

    But once Cold War ended they were all pretty much universally replaced by cadre of incompetent idiots who never experienced a day of any hardship, who would literally do anything for money (and accept it from anyone) and had no clue how to do their jobs but who still managed to cruise for a long time on accomplishments of those who came before them

    But you can't cruise forever and now reality is hitting hard


    Thanks for your input Wink.
    And i agree with those words.

    For a long time, we deal with an NATO leadership structure that is inept at understanding its designated tasks.
    valueing personal political gain over the combat effectiveness of their own armies.

    @finty, we always would want you to come to your own conclusions.
    I, as an former NATO soldier with field experience would want to give the same message to you like PapaDragon does. That Western Leadership is inept.
    And of course we encourage for yourself to do the neccesary research if you want to come to your own conclusion.

    For me, and propably for PapaDragon Too. We know how the West portray's difficult geo-political matters.
    Black and white, the East are Enemies and we in the west are the Good Guys.
    His country has been part of NATO's political games for an long time.
    I respect his own opinions on this, so i will not adress this further as i can not speak for him personally.

    Personally speaking, Eastern Europe's people always had strong ties to Russia. And they are excellent fighters and keep their words.

    The bottom-line is, all of our leadership in NATO's/E.U leadership have no idea what the consequences of War is.
    And what worries us most of all is that NATO leadership is actively trying to make the war happen with Russia out of incompetence.
    They see eastern europe as tools to be used in that achievement.
    They are tools to be used and sarcrificed.

    It is incompetent leadership that is subservient to the U.S foreign policy.
    Media messaging asside, Russia never sailed ships into british coastal waters, NATO has on regular basis with Russia.
    Same for ground forces. There is no reasoning for American/NATO tanks on russian borders while Russia never done the same.

    I dont know if you read my afghanistan posts, but i have rather positive experiences with russian contractors/forces.
    They gave us heavy logistical support in Afghanistan under NATO Contracts, also in the British area of your nation's operations the Helmand Province.

    i will be happy to answer questions.
    i at least hope this gave some perspective.

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    Post  GarryB Sat Jul 17, 2021 11:26 am

    Having aircraft enough you can even afford to have strike wings like this is an luxury.
    In Afghanistan all fighter aircraft flew in pairs, never multiple. bombers even alone.
    it was not because there was air superiority,
    because airpower is such an restricted resource, it simply can not be fielded in massive one-off missions.
    The problem is too if you withdraw strike craft from one area for an combined mission, you leave that area open to be contested by the enemy.

    An enormous fundamental flaw with HATO is that it is essentially air power based... some very high speed aircraft with long range high speed missiles able to take down AWACS and JSTARS as well as inflight refuelling aircraft and HATO would be seriously in trouble... doubly so because its air power is the core of both its defence and its attack, so you lose a lot of planes in a badly thought out attack and all of a sudden you might find yourself short of aircraft for another attack or just for defence.

    There are also massive vulnerability's with the F-35 they can not possibly all iron out.
    They need to scrap it, older succesfull models need to be looked at what made them such successes.
    Redesign these and make new generation aircraft out of them.

    They should have left the VSTOL out of the mix... it massively increases complexity and problems, without adding anything that would actually be useful.

    A slow fighter like a fighter based on a helicopter is not that valuable except in very specific situations but that helicopter had better be able to do other things as well to be useful.

    The Ka-52K is intended to be able to fly around a 40K ton helicopter carrier with its airborne radar seeing out to a much larger horizon for low flying potentially stealthy anti ship missiles that ship mounted radar might miss because it is approaching in the radar shadow of an island or a neutral ship.

    Its primary role is not fighter however, but attack aircraft that can be a radar picket aircraft too when needed.

    Its lack of speed is not important because enemy fighters at low altitudes should be easy for it to detect at long range and the ships the helicopter operates with could launch a long range 150km 9M96 missile to deal with it... the lack of speed and altitude for the helicopter is not important in this case.

    It is intended that these ships would also be covered by fixed wing aircraft from a CVN as well so this is CIWS type stuff rather than primary air defence... which will be provided by escorting destroyers and cruisers and CVNs.

    The point is that a VSTOL jet fighter really does not add anything to such a scenario and would be much more expensive... especially being a 5th gen design.


    The big elephant in the room is also the costs of western stealth craft versus russian combat aircraft.

    This issue is exacerbated by the fact that the Russians have a very very good IADS for them to operate from within... the layers and depth of their air defences is impressive and any aircraft no matter how weak on its own can contribute to such a system... I know a lot of people have a very low opinion of the MiG-35, but even if it was crap it can still be directed to fly around the place shooting down western long range cruise missiles and standoff weapons blunting attacks and making them weaker so ground based systems will be much more able to both cope but also take down many of the launch platforms of those stand off weapons.

    These smaller fighters don't have enormous range but the things they will be protecting will be near their operational airfields which means they can get into position quickly and remain longer and therefore do a better job than a bigger more expensive aircraft could.

    For some roles a longer flight range might be useful but they have Su-27 upgrades and Su-30s and Su-35s and now Su-57s for that job supported by an extensive ground based IADS network which helps them use sensors and weapons and aircraft platforms efficiently and at max effectiveness.

    Russian air defense is unlike anything we currently possess in NATO.
    Here in NATO we only have Patriot or Stingers to hide behind right?.
    We in the west are without SPAAG's or SPAD's. When they penetrate that umbrella we have no answer.

    It is a serious possibility that the Russians might end up making more drones than HATO has SAMs in operational service...

    They are also making standoff munitions and missiles, both cruise and manouvering hypersonic...

    The Germans talking about negotiating with the Russians from a position of strength is amusing... the Russians likely already know... how long before HATO works it out?

    In this day and age, big carriers are prime targets in the age of super/hypersonic missiles and supercavitating torpedo's.
    It was an massive waste of money to spend all this money on the QE-class carriers.

    I disagree there, the west goes overboard with air power but it does make a lot of things easier including watching out for attacks and being able to go out at over 800km/h to meet a potential problem to see what it is instead of sitting and waiting and wondering what that blip on the radar actually is. By sending out planes you can see exactly what it is and even what it is armed with in most cases.

    I disagree that carriers are useless, but I agree instead of building two aircraft carriers they should have built four ships based on a very similar hull where the single aircraft carrier is 1.5 times longer, and the three other ships they built were cruisers that could be used to defend that carrier no matter where it went... but they really lack a long range SAM like the US Standard SM-2 and the Russian missiles...

    the money was better suited to finishing the british submarine fleet and pressing an new type of all-round destroyer/cruiser class into service.

    I would actually go further and say drop Trident completely, it is money totally wasted. Build decent SSKs and perhaps SSNs instead and some destroyers to support your interests...

    But once Cold War ended they were all pretty much universally replaced by cadre of incompetent idiots who never experienced a day of any hardship, who would literally do anything for money (and accept it from anyone) and had no clue how to do their jobs but who still managed to cruise for a long time on accomplishments of those who came before them

    And all being university educated saw those that came before them as ignorant and not very smart... I mean the whole success of the west is based on cutting taxes for the rich and starting as many wars as you think you can handle...


    And what worries us most of all is that NATO leadership is actively trying to make the war happen with Russia out of incompetence.

    They think it is their ace in the hole... we can use sanctions and bullshit badgering with WADA and IPCW and other "tool", but at the end of the day we can always try regime change or insurrection because we have military superiority and so they will always have to back down.

    I don't know if you have noticed it, but Putin is becoming less inclined to be nice, and even if he gets the boot, he is the pro western Russian leader, so anything that comes in instead is going to be a real shock for the west.

    They see eastern europe as tools to be used in that achievement.
    They are tools to be used and sarcrificed.

    Which, over time, can only turn them against HATO, like ten years of American lawyers and politicians in charge in Russia in the 1990s managed to achieve.

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    Post  flamming_python Mon Jul 19, 2021 11:23 pm

    Finty wrote:Lotta ads on this site, not good.

    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/could-britains-stealth-fighters-go-hypersonic-should-they-189472

    Could Britain's Stealth Fighters Go Hypersonic? Should They?

    Can an F-35 be turned into a hypersonic aircraft?

    News last month that Britain is boosting its hypersonic weapons program didn’t come as a surprise. Many other nations are doing it.

    What caught everyone’s attention was that there are plans to rework the jet engines on the 1990s Eurofighter Typhoon—which propel the aircraft to Mach 2—into hypersonic engines that could achieve Mach 5 or faster.

    Which naturally led to a question: can existing fourth- and fifth-generation fighters—which operate at speeds of around Mach 2 or less—become Mach 5 speed demons?

    The technology in question is the Sabre engine from British firm Reaction Engines. Sabre aims to combine the advantages of both conventional jet engines with rocket engines. Ground tests have shown that demonstrated that the engine is capable of flying faster than Mach 3, according to Defense News.

    “SABRE’s unique feature is a precooler which reduces the temperature of the incoming compressed air,” explains British defense site Forces.com. “This means the engine does not need to cope with extreme temperatures which requires special materials.”

    “At high altitudes, it is a rocket, but, at lower altitudes, it works like a jet engine - sucking in and compressing air.”

    One option that the RAF is considering for development of hypersonic engines is to add pre-cooler technology to the EJ-200 gas turbine engine that currently powers the Typhoon.


    Alas, that isn’t the same as sticking a hypersonic engine on an older fighter.

    “You shouldn’t read into that we are somehow going to achieve a hypersonic Typhoon,” said Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier.

    There is more to developing a hypersonic aircraft than sticking a new engine in an old airframe. To turn a fourth- or fifth-generation aircraft, such as the F-16 or F-35, would invoke a variety of airframe, aerodynamic and avionics issues.

    Instead, Britain’s new £10 million ($12.2 million) hypersonics program will be used to thrust Britain into the hypersonic race that is currently dominated by the U.S., Russia and China. For example, hypersonic research is expected to bear fruit in engine development for the Tempest, Britain’s planned sixth-generation fighter.


    With 80 percent of Western fighters expected to be fourth-generation for the foreseeable future, hypersonic missiles are a way to keep older jets relevant. “We are working with some other people to see whether we can generate a Mach 5 capability in four years,” said Air Vice Marshal Simon Rochelle, chief of air staff capability. “There will be others pursuing higher and fast speeds … but much beyond that speed you start to change the chemical properties, the physical properties and metallic properties within the actual weapon system.”

    “Part of the reason for rapidly developing high-speed weapons was to enable those aircraft to maintain their edge," Rochelle said. “There is a challenge and competition now going on at range, at speed, at pace and we have to mobilize ourselves to be ready to take that on.”


    In other words, hypersonic engines won’t turn a Typhoon, F-15 or F-22 into a Mach 5 jet. Instead, hypersonic missiles will do the work. It’s the same approach that allows sixty-year-old B-52s to remain formidable weapons, by arming them with smart bombs. The platform remains the same, but the payload is updated as technology advances.


    Talk about a sensationalist headline

    They went from deliberating on whether to turn the F-35 and Eurofighter into hypersonic aircraft (the heck??)

    To just concluding that it's better to stick hypersonic missiles on them instead

    Well durr. That's the conclusion everyone else has come to as well

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    Post  Isos Tue Jul 20, 2021 12:28 am

    I can't imagine the price of the RAM coating maintenace if they go over mach 2 let alone mach 5.

    Even at mach 1.6 it is huge.

    And I won't even go in details concerning the stupidity of this idea.
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    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 4 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 4 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 4 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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