Lockheed Martin F-35 program is a vast undertaking and will
eventually see the fighter jets sold to countries all around the
world. The question at this time is how many of the aircraft that
were originally ordered by the various partner countries will
actually be purchased and shipped once the aircraft are
operational.The F-35B STOVL version of the fighter has had
some serious issues of late that have prevented testing flights
operations entirely. The latest snag in the program comes as
word that partner country Britain is changing
its mind on the purchase of F-35B aircraft and going with
the conventional F-35C carrier version of the fighter.The
reason for the U.K.'s move to the F-35C version of the aircraft rather
than the STOVL version is that plans for building two new carriers
are in flux. As it stands, Britain's carriers are not capable of
working with allied French and U.S. naval fighters because the
British warships lack the catapult and arresting gear for carrier
take off and landings required by allied aircraft.
surprisingly, this is unwelcome news to Lockheed Martin. "We
will work closely with the U.K.'s Ministry of Defence to assess the
impact of any reductions to the program and to support their
decision,” said the company in a statement to Defense News.The
first hint that Britain might be having second thoughts on the F-35B
came this week when the foreword
to a new national security strategy written by Prime Minister
David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was published. The
foreword complained that the two carriers the Royal Navy were set to
construct "… [are] unable to operate with the aircraft of our
closest allies."Britain is looking to make defense
spending cutbacks and fitting its new carriers with the catapult and
arrestor gear that would allow the ship to work with U.S. and French
planes would be cheaper and offer more capability. A Ministry of
Defense spokesman said that the change to a conventional carrier
would make the new carrier, "cheaper, deliver more capability
and go further."Britain is also considering changing the
second of the 65,000-ton carriers to an amphibious helicopter role
rather than a standard carrier. The second carrier could also be
eliminated altogether. The carrier currently under construction was
originally designed for catapult and arrestor gear to be added later
if needed. The F-35C has already been purchased by Britain in small
numbers for test and evaluation. The U.S. Navy is currently the only
confirmed buyer of the F-35C.Britain was set to make a final
decision on buying more of the STOVL fighters next year and had
originally planned to buy 150 F-35B fighters – the number was later
reduced to 138 and could go even lower. Construction of the first of
the new British carriers is underway with the ship set to enter
service in 2016.
quote: But the real point to EM launch is how harsh the steam powered catapults are on the aircraft structure.
quote: Are you saying it's not possible to regulate steam pressure or where is that harshness coming from? I know for a fact they regulate the catapults according to air craft weight and the whole process of putting steam into a piston ensures a gradual delivery of force.
quote: Steam is far less simple than an electric motor.
quote: Steam is far less reliable than an electric motor.
quote: The fresh water needed for the steam piston to work must be desalanized, requiring time, energy, and additional maintenance.
quote: IF steam is so fucking great, why are they moving away from it then?
quote: Using such a system is quicker to charge and can be used on a smaller carriers.