UK to Move Back to F-35B STOVL Fighter
May 14, 2012 8:00 AM
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Conversion costs to modify carrier for the F-35C soared
The British government has changed its mind again on some of the F-35 Lightning II fighter jets that it intends to purchase. Unlike Canada, the British aren't considering delaying orders or reducing the number of jets they ordered this time around. Rather, the British government is now announcing that it will switch back to the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing version of the fighter rather than the F-35C carrier-based version.
The F-35B STOVL fighter was originally the version that the British intended to purchase, but delays and fears of the program being canceled after the U.S. put the B variant on probation led to the British
deciding to use
the F-35C instead. Recent improvements to the program have led to the fighter being removed from probation, and its future is looking better.
According to British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond, the plan to purchase the carrier-based F-35 versions was killed due to what he calls an unacceptable cost. Delays in the plan to convert the carrier to handle the F-35C had also mounted. According to Hammond, an estimate to convert one British carrier had doubled from the original $1.6 billion to an amount roughly twice that. One British defense official blames the U.S. for that cost increase.
According to the unnamed official, the United States had insisted that the UK purchase the required
Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System
or EMALS directly through a government-to-government foreign military sales (FMS) deal rather than allowing the British to purchase directly from the manufacturer. That requirement allegedly added about 150M pounds or about 7% to the cost of obtaining the EMALS system.
The British government expects flight testing for the F-35B to begin in 2018 while initial operational capability will commence in 2020.
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5/14/2012 6:55:46 PM
Okay, regarding the F35. Britain should not pursue in the purchase of the F-35 as the Naval Typhoon will perform better in all areas.
The Naval Typhoon will be a ton heavier in empty weight and will have AESA radar, TVC and CFT. The Naval Typhoon does not need a catapult and is classed a STOL aircraft.The Naval Typhoon bests the F-35B in wingloading, internal fuel(+CFT), TWR and being the lighter aircraft. Also developing the Naval Typhoon and using the aircraft would be cheaper than using the F35 as the F35 has a lot of problems and is a completely different aircraft for our Navy to get used too. The lack of performance in the F35 is worrying against other aircraft that other countries are developing (never underestimate the other).
The lower performance means there is more chance of the aircraft being shot down plus since the typhoon is super maneuverable it doesnt have to rely completely on electronics to defend the aircraft, typphoon has quicker reflexes and way better heavy loaded agility.
Eurofighter already has missiles like Iris-T that can shoot behind the aircraft and the Typhoon has 4 conformal hard points that reduce RCS and drag. Whereas the F35 can only carry 4 internal missiles, 2 short range and 2 long range, a typhoon typically carrys 4 long range and 4 short range. Eurofighter has the best frontal stealth of all the European fighters however not the best all around stealth.
The Typhoon is BVR optimised, it can supercruise (somthing the F35 does not have), at max reheat can travel at mach 1.6 with three supersonic fuel tanks (excellent for BVR)and has a large radar in which the new Captor E will be mounted on a swashplate and was said by an EADs officer "capable of recognizing F-35 at around 59 kilometers away" and the F35 radar "recognize the Eurofighter or semi-stealth fighter at 120 kilometers or farther based on the assumption both radars have the same capability."
The F35 doesnt have much chance getting near the Typhoon as either the Pirate, Newer Radar or DASS will detect the aircraft regardless of stealth.
Must also note the EADs officer has used the F35s detection against the Eurofighter having a 1m2 to 3m2 RCS and not the full frontal RCS of the typhoon which is far better than what many would think.
Stealth is expensive to repair, the F35 has a single engine which has more chance of the aircraft being lost to either damage or fault, the typhoon has been tested even on the RB199 on one engine.
The F35 has the hottest engine of any fighter aircraft in service and it is twice as noisy as any aircraft in service, this means Infra Red missiles and aircraft IR systems will have much better chance detecting the aircraft at long range, also being a noisier aircraft it raises the problem of alerting ground based targets to the aircraft.
Talking about ground targets, as the F-35 is the best ground attacker however it can only carry 2 internal ground attack weapons as there is hardly any space for more.
Wether or not either aircraft would reach their target, lets say within a combat radius of 400 miles on internal fuel (still using Naval Typhoon BTW) and not having external weapons on the F35 that means:
4 BVR missiles
4 WVR missiles
4 to 12 bombs depending on what they use.
Typhoon could still carry a 1000 liter tank with this loadout.
F-35B (keeping stealth)
2 WVR missiles
2 AtoG weapons
Note, they are trying to fit more internal weapons, trying.
Also must mention that even though the F35 could also carry external weapons, wasnt the whole point of getting the F35 is for its stealth? Not to mention ext weapons would make F35s performance worse.
Prices, well, F35 is more expensive and will probably be more expensive in future with all the problems that still need fixing
Latest problems with the F35 are oxygen related.
There is no point in the F-35B. Just make the Naval Typhoon.
I did not include Rafale M as it cant takeoff the carrier without a catapult.
Forget about catapult launched aircraft, its either Typhoon or the F35. Typhoon has been combat tested btw and is in service. You do not need a stealth plane to bomb targets or shoot aircraft. By the time the F35 gets into service or see a good amount of aircraft UCAVs will have succeeded it in stealth.
Developing the Naval Typhoon also increases chances of export and creating more jobs.
The guy from the register, Lewis Page does not have sufficient knowledge of aircraft. If he did he would have taken into proper consideration on WHY they changed F-35B.
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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