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Author Topic: Britain vacillating (again) over F-35 (C or B?, or is it B or C?)  (Read 10744 times)

Offline shawn a

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Well, according to this morning's edition of Defense Industry Daily (e- mail news of the industry), England is now mulling the wisdom of switching back to the -B model! WTF? (that means what theheck for? ((and the last F in BUFF stands for Fellow))
Evidently the cost of converting the future carriers to "cat and trap" is too high.
There are lots of comments on this on the 'net already, including phrases such as "white elephant", "Sounding like a failed project of the '60s", "buy Rafale", "buy navalised Typhoon", buy F-18s, we know they work", "it was reported in the Guardian, so of course it's MBF=(Male Bovine Feces)=BS", "Maybe we should all go out and buy white sheets because we're going to need them come the next large scale conflict". I detect unhappiness and frustration in those comments.
It seems as if the people responsible for the decision making in acquisition in the US, England, and evidently, Italy, are blinded by a Purple Haze-( "I'm acting funny, but I don't know why - 'scuse me, while I kiss the sky"--Jimi Hendrix, 101st Airborne).

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Re: Britain vacillating (again) over F-35 (C or B?, or is it B or C?)
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2013, 05:18:24 PM »
However! SVTOL of the F-35B is the only thing that makes the F-35 stand out, today and for many years to come. It's difficult to say if it's worth it, we can only know by the time it's been retired. Looking at the first Harriers, oh my god it's been important to have that capability. For second-gen Harriers, I'm not so sure. Still, I think it's the -B that can possibly earn the title of Strategic or at least Engineering Masterpiece in the future. While the -A and even the -C will be seen as dinosaurs.

Yeah, I'm maybe playing devil's advocate. But honestly, I wasn't sure about the -C version switch, it sounds awesome for a bit until you realize that second British carrier is probably not going to see the light of day. So now, some 1.5 years later, I'm glad to see they're sticking to the B, keeping the most options for deployment of the jets open, and just in case of economic turmoil, a fleet that imho has better market opportunities than the cat and trap F-35C.

Regarding the brought up alternative options, blegh, they were all something that would be regretted by 2030ish and regarded as wasteful acquisition. Navalized Typhoon would definitely have turned out as a white elephant, if not scrapped before IOC, zero export opportunity to offset some of the development cost. It only made sense to talk about some 10 years ago, and even then it was far-fetched.

Italy doesn't have the option to even consider something else, other than doing away with the capability altogether. Take a look at the Italian Harrier's service record, and you can see that it's easy to make the case to keep it. I wonder though if they can afford it in the long run, the navy's fleet is taking a big hit, and the new carrier is taking a big chunk of the remaining funding. I think we can see where this is going... the air force will probably need to dump some Typhoons on the second-hand market in the future and I wonder what will remain of the Tornado force in the shorter term.

Let's re-open this topic again in some years and see how the F-35B is going. The CTOL -A version aside... today it looks like the F-35B is taking leaps, while the -C is still lagging behind, although that's according to plan of course.
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