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Old 08-09-2010, 09:46 AM   #41
CastleBravo
Default Re: UK considers F/A-18F for RN instead of F-35B

I still doubt that the superbug will be substantially less expensive than the F-35. If we look at the $6B AUS the RAAF paid for 24 F/A-18F and ten years of support costs and compare it to the $16B Canada is budgeting for 65 F-35A and 20 years of support costs, they come out to about the same price.

The RAAF superbug program comes out to about $191.6M USD per aircraft if you assume $6B AUS = $4.6B USD. The $7B 20 year F-35A support contract halfed to equal the 10 year RAAF support contract leaves the Canadian price for 10 years of flying at 9B+3.5B / 65 or $192M per aircraft. This doesn't take into account the fact that the Canadian dollar is currently worth a bit less than the USD or the effect of inflation between the 2007 RAAF order and the future Canadian F-35A order. Of course the Canadians are buying the F-35A not the F-35B or C that the UK would buy.

I'm also curious what the real cost of the Eurofighter is for the UK. Anyone have some good numbers on the total cost per aircraft including R&D, the aircraft, and all the support to keep it flying?
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:13 PM   #42
eddie
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Default UK sends 12 RN pilots to qualify on cats-'n'-traps in the US

People at the MoD may finally be making some good decisions. Key parts in bold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janes
RN sends cadre of pilots to train on US carriers

Reuben F Johnson JDW Correspondent
Kiev

Robert Hewson Jane's Air-Launched Weapons Editor
London

Additional reporting by

Peter Felstead Editor
London
Key Points

*

A larger than usual number of UK pilots are taking part in carrier training in the US
*

The move may indicate that the UK favours a commitment to conventional aircraft launched by catapult rather than a STOVL platform

An uprecedented number of UK Royal Navy (RN) Harrier pilots have begun training for catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) carrier operations in the United States, information obtained by Jane's has revealed.

The news further fuels rumours that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) may be re-assessing its previous commitment to fulfilling the UK's Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) requirement with the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), instead opting for a conventional aircraft launched by catapult.

The latter could be the F-35C carrier variant of the JSF, which has a greater range and payload capability than the JSF STOVL variant and also costs slightly less per unit, or even the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet on which the UK pilots are likely to be certified. The RN's two future Queen Elizabeth-class carriers that would operate the JCA are designed for, but not yet intended to be fitted with CATOBAR equipment.

The programme for this exchange of aviators is much larger than normal and was apparently initiated in April when a senior US Navy (USN) officer announced training and squadron integration for 12 UK pilots. This officer then briefed the US Commander Naval Air Forces (CNAF) in mid-April.

Sources who spoke to Jane's on condition of anonymity state that the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OpNav) is "driving the requirement and the CNAF is implementing [it]". Given the high level of support, the training and timing for the programme will be high priority for the local F/A-18 fleet replacement training squadrons (FRSs).

USN sources anticipate that this training programme will be scheduled so that the RN will have 12 fully qualified carrier pilots by 2012. They did not mention whether or not any of these 12 would be trained for the rear-cockpit weapon systems officer (WSO) position in two-seat carrier aircraft or as landing signals officers (LSOs).

According to the programme plan, eight of the 12 pilots will complete a full syllabus on the Boeing/BAE Systems T-45 jet trainer (a carrier-capable version of the BAE Systems Hawk Mk 60) and a full CAT I syllabus on the F/A-18 Hornet. The CAT I syllabus has recently been designated as the pilot certification training for the F/A-18. Three pilots will complete a partial T-45 syllabus and a full CAT II F/A-18 syllabus, which is the training for qualified pilot transition to the F/A-18. The training regime for the 12th and last pilot has not been specified, but it is anticipated that he will conduct some T-45 Goshawk training and a full CAT I or II syllabus that includes day/night landing carrier qualification. Eleven of the UK pilots will join USN fleet squadrons and will be flying both C/D legacy Hornet and E/F Super Hornet models of the F/A-18. The 12th pilot will remain at one of the FRS locations as an exchange pilot.

The RN pilots will also fly US Marine Corps (USMC) McDonnell Douglas/BAE Systems AV-8B Harrier IIs.

It is the much larger number of pilots included (typical exchange programmes with the USN involve only two or three pilots) along with the additional training involved that suggest this pilot training programme is not part of a standard exchange tour.

"It's typical to take the RAF [Royal Air Force]/RN guy to the carrier for some 'good deal' [carrier] traps," said the USN source, "but they go in daytime only and are scheduled on a 'not to interfere with [regular USN] student traps' basis. In other words they do not have a quota. All 12 of the RN pilots addressed by this training will have a quota."

Asked about the reasoning behind the programme, one source told Jane's that it is designed to "give additional STOVL and cat-and-trap experience and provide invaluable 'big deck' familiarisation prior to introduction of Queen Elizabeth . It will also further strengthen the bonds between the USN, USMC and RN".

In conjunction with Jane's reports in July that the UK MoD is continuing to contract Converteam UK for the design, development and demonstration of an electro-magnetic catapult system, news of a cadre of UK pilots being carrier trained would seem to confirm the ministry is reassessing its carrier options. The contractual decision on what variant of F-35 to buy does not have to be made until early in 2011, although RN sources indicated to Jane's in July that the B/C decision would be made as part of the UK's Strategic Defence and Security Review process, so a decision could come this year even if no contract is signed.

Meanwhile, unsubstantiated reports have emerged that the RN might even be offered an ex-USN carrier as the size of the USN carrier force is reduced from 12 down to 10 ships. This would provide the RN with a conventional 'cat-and-trap' aircraft carrier in advance of the UK's two Queen Elizabeth-class carriers entering service. Although the RN does have experience of operating nuclear-powered submarines, its aircraft carriers have always been conventionally driven. While all USN carriers in service are nuclear powered carrier, the last conventionally powered carrier in USN service, USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), was decommissioned on 12 May 2009 and is currently maintained as a Ready Reserve Fleet asset.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:09 AM   #43
mangeface
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Default Re: UK considers F/A-18F for RN instead of F-35B

Quote:
Originally Posted by [R-DEV]Rhino View Post
Missed replying to this earlier but the UK have put in a lot of money and commitment in becoming level 1 partners in the JSF program in order to have a say in it, let alone many aspects of the JSF being crated by British firms like the engines are being made by Rolls Royce. Doesn't matter if we pull out now or not, we already have invested that money in the project to have our say in how we wanted it to suit our needs.
I think that'd be a bit of a nuisance to invest sooo much money to say "screw this".

Rolls Royce should keep it contract on the JSF as it's going to loose it's contract on the V-22 Ospreys to GE in the future when it expires. One upgrade that's been confirmed for the V-22D Osprey. More powerful, as if the aircraft isn't powerful enough (280 knot cruising speed at 80% of it's blade pitch in airplane mode, constant aircraft overspeeds, hub overspeeds, quite annoying for us maintainers).


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Old 08-22-2010, 01:11 PM   #44
[R-DEV]Rhino
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Default Re: UK sends 12 RN pilots to qualify on cats-'n'-traps in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie View Post
People at the MoD may finally be making some good decisions. Key parts in bold.
Training 12 guys on CATOBAR isn't that huge tbh and many RN pilots go off to the US to train on CATOBAR etc just so that we can mix forces if need be, same reason why USMC Harrier pilots train on our current carriers from time to time to get use to the Ski Jump and our methods.

All I really see here is the MOD dipping there toes in the water to see what it feels like and just exploring all the options here. Training 12 STOVL pilots in CATOBAR to not only see how they do in the training but to see what they think of it is the primary goal here as far as I can see.

I still think everything hangs in the balance.


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Old 08-22-2010, 01:26 PM   #45
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Default Re: UK considers F/A-18F for RN instead of F-35B

Quote:
Meanwhile, unsubstantiated reports have emerged that the RN might even be offered an ex-USN carrier as the size of the USN carrier force is reduced from 12 down to 10 ships. This would provide the RN with a conventional 'cat-and-trap' aircraft carrier in advance of the UK's two Queen Elizabeth-class carriers entering service. Although the RN does have experience of operating nuclear-powered submarines, its aircraft carriers have always been conventionally driven. While all USN carriers in service are nuclear powered carrier, the last conventionally powered carrier in USN service, USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), was decommissioned on 12 May 2009 and is currently maintained as a Ready Reserve Fleet asset.

Now that i wouldn't mind give our guys expreince on large carriers. the last was Ark Royal in the 70's. I doubt it would go ahead as we have no real Standard carrier planes(non VTOL). Maybe just run harriers of the end and fix a giant ski jump to the front of it.


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Old 08-22-2010, 01:40 PM   #46
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Default Re: UK considers F/A-18F for RN instead of F-35B

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Originally Posted by Technoelite View Post
Now that i wouldn't mind give our guys expreince on large carriers. the last was Ark Royal in the 70's. I doubt it would go ahead as we have no real Standard carrier planes(non VTOL). Maybe just run harriers of the end and fix a giant ski jump to the front of it.
Our new carriers are much more advanced then the old nimitz which is now a 40yr old design which is showing its age hence the creation of the Gerald R. Ford class (aka, Nimitz Mk2).

The QE class is not that much smaller than a Nimitz and size isn't everything since in STOVL format, the QE can match the same amount of sorties as a Nimitz can.

We are building 2 QE class carriers w/e now and even if we do sell off one of thous carriers (which is unlikely to happen) why would we then go and buy a carrier off the US which would require a sh*t load of modifications to the ships and our ports and our entire logistics chain which at the end of the day I wouldn't be surprised if it cost 2x as much as just keeping the 2nd QE class carrier.


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Old 08-22-2010, 02:17 PM   #47
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Default Re: UK considers F/A-18F for RN instead of F-35B

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Originally Posted by [R-DEV]Rhino View Post
Our new carriers are much more advanced then the old nimitz which is now a 40yr old design which is showing its age hence the creation of the Gerald R. Ford class (aka, Nimitz Mk2).

The QE class is not that much smaller than a Nimitz and size isn't everything since in STOVL format, the QE can match the same amount of sorties as a Nimitz can.

We are building 2 QE class carriers w/e now and even if we do sell off one of thous carriers (which is unlikely to happen) why would we then go and buy a carrier off the US which would require a sh*t load of modifications to the ships and our ports and our entire logistics chain which at the end of the day I wouldn't be surprised if it cost 2x as much as just keeping the 2nd QE class carrier.

The QE and Nimitz aren't really comparable. The QE just about is dead center between the supercarriers and the LHD/LHA carriers.
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Old 08-22-2010, 03:50 PM   #48
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Default Re: UK considers F/A-18F for RN instead of F-35B

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Originally Posted by Viper5 View Post
The QE and Nimitz aren't really comparable. The QE is probably closer to a Essex or America class LHA/D than a CV(N).
Because one is CATBAR and the other is STOVL they are not comparable? lol..

First of all the Size between them aint that different:



Also just for you, the Wasp class is ~40k tons and is 257m long, so some where in-between the Invincible class and the De Gaulle class.

Also for fun since I believe we need a better comparison for the Wasp class, I'm going to shove HMS Ocean in here too. which is 22,500 tons and 203.4 m long.

To summarize, The Nimitz class is much larger then the QE class yes, around 60% of the size of the Nimitz but funnily enough, the Wasp class is 60% of the size of the QE class. As such, the QE class is more or less size wise in the middle between the Nimitz and the Wasp classes.


Air Wing

Nimitz:
48 x F-18C/D or F/A-18E/F (fixed)
4x EA-6B EW (fixed)
4x E-2C AEW (fixed)
2x C-2 (fixed)
6x SH-60 ASW (rotary)
Total Fixed Wing Aircraft: 58
Total Rotary Wing Aircraft: 6
Total Air Wing: 64

Queen Elizabeth:
36 x F-35B JSF/JCA (fixed)
4 x EH101 Merlin ASW (rotary)
Total Air Wing: 40

Wasp class:
6 x AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft (fixed)
4 x AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopter (rotary)
12 x CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters (rotary)
4 x CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters (rotary)
3 x UH-1N Huey helicopters (rotary)
Total Fixed Wing Aircraft: 6 (20 max in different config)
Total Rotary Wing Aircraft: 23
Total Air Wing: 29

HMS Ocean
Up to 18 helicopters (typically Westland Commando and Lynx but also Merlins, Boeing Chinooks, Westland Apache), capable of carrying (but not operating) up to 15 STOVL aircraft such as Harrier GR9s.
Total Fixed Wing Aircraft: 18
Total Rotary Wing Aircraft: 0 (15 max in different config)
Total Air Wing: 18


To summarize, the Nimitz carriers many more aircraft than the QE class but it mainly carriers other types of aircraft like AEW aircraft etc, comparing just the fighting and ASW forces, they are not that different. Also to note the QE class could have many more aircraft crammed onto its deck if needed its pretty empty in contrast to the retaliative size of the Nimitz but even thou it has less aircraft than the Nimitz, its fewer aircraft can match the same sortie rate of a Nimitz's air wing due to it being in STOVL config. One large disadvantage of the QE class its a AEW is left only to its helicopters.
The Wasp class May have a max of 29 aircraft, but in its normal config, but only 20% of that is fixed wing aircraft and even in its config with mainly fixed wing aircraft, it still can only take 20 jets which is not far off Ocean's 15 jets. Hell the Invincible Class took 22 jets.
As such, even thou the QE classes air wing is a lot smaller than the Nimitz class, it can still match the Nimitz's sortie rate and its no where near its maximum capacity of jets, if needed you could easily cram a lot more jets on there.


Now I could go into detail in other areas but there isn't much point since most of thous areas other than mission systems etc which you can't really compare very easily are pretty much minor areas to "how powerful the carrier is", unless one of the areas is a serious disadvantage but none of the areas are that different on all the carriers.


As such in the numbers the QE class is slap bang in the middle between the Nimitz and the Wasp class, but that is until you look at how effective the carriers and the air wings really are and with the QE class having pretty much the same sortie rate as a Nimitz, the only real advantage the Nimitz has over the QE class is that since it is in CATOBAR config, its jets do have a longer range and can carry a larger payload but what advantage is that really when your jets are going to fall to bits after 15, 20yrs of being thrown off the side of a jet by a catapult where as proven by the Harrier, a STOVL jet can last twice that (Harrier has been in service for over 40 years and in that time the US Navy has had the F-4, F-14 and F-18 ).


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Old 08-22-2010, 04:24 PM   #49
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Default Re: UK considers F/A-18F for RN instead of F-35B

Do the sash and pom-poms chafe, Rhino?


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Old 08-22-2010, 08:54 PM   #50
CastleBravo
Default Re: UK considers F/A-18F for RN instead of F-35B

Quote:
Originally Posted by [R-DEV]Rhino View Post
As such, even thou the QE classes air wing is a lot smaller than the Nimitz class, it can still match the Nimitz's sortie rate and its no where near its maximum capacity of jets, if needed you could easily cram a lot more jets on there.
Do you have any sources for the sortie generation rates of the QE and the Nimitz-class? The only source I can find for the QE CVF states that;

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://navy-matters.beedall.com/cvf1-24.htm
In March 2005, the latest figures for JCA sortie generation from CVF were set at 108 launches in the first 24 hours, reducing to 72 per day for ten days and 36 for a further 20 days.
For a Nimitz-class CVN I think current doctrine calls for a sortie rate of 120 per day, but in the Surge 97 excise, the USS Nimitz showed that a CVN can launch more than 190(!!!) sorties per day over a four day period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://blog.usni.org/page/51/
On July 20, 1997, as part of JTFEX 97-2, USS Nimitz with Commander, Carrier Group Seven (CCG-7) and Carrier Airwing Nine embarked began a high intensity strike campaign. When they completed flight operations four days later, they had generated 771 strike sorties and had put 1,336 bombs on target.
Granted, this was not the typical operational tempo for a US CVN and most of the "targets" were less than 200mi away, but they still launched and recovered 771 strikers in four days; this wasn't some paper study, they actually did it.


Also, the CVW composition you listed for a Nimitz isn't its full capacity; the CVNs are capable of carrying as many as 90 aircraft. I think the future CVW will consist of four SH or F-35C squadrons, half a squadron of EA-18G, a few E-2D hawkeyes, some ASW helos, and a full squadron of UCAS. That would be around 60 fixed wing aircraft capable of striking targets.

I'm not trying to say that the QE should be CATOBAR or that the QE isn't a great design for the UK's needs, I just don't think its fair to claim that the QE is somehow magically capable of projecting as much power as a full-size CATOBAR CVN.
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