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  • British Harriers face the Axe.

    It looks like the Harrier force is about to be axed so the UK will now have no VSTOL capability and no Naval airpower other than a few choppers.

    We will however build two new carriers but rely on our allies to fly from one of them with the other being put into "Extended Readiness"!

    I have to say I think this decision needs some explanation. Surely if any of our aircraft were to face the the cutters torch it should have been the Tornado which is duplicated by the Typhoon? Do we realy have no requirement for Naval Air Power?

    If anyone can show the logic behind this strategy I would love to hear it.
    Last edited by cja; 2010-10-19, 12:52.



  • #2
    What about the F-35C we are getting?

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    • #3
      F-35c

      Yes, but they won't be ready until 2019. The problem is that the ships will be ready before the F-35s arrive and with the Harriers gone, you'll have a 2.5-3b acft carrier ... with no acft, because the Harriers will have been retired.

      Personally, I think it's an outrageously stupid decision:
      1) Why not just open negotiations with Argentina for the handover of the Falklands, because that's the message they're sending: "we won't have anything to defend it with".
      2) In the current theatre of operation (i.e. Afghanistan), which is the more valuable asset - the Tornado or the Harrier; I'd say the Harrier, for flushing out resistance and its ability to support ground troops. Maybe they think the AH-64 can do that just as well, but the Harrier can do a lot that the AH-64 can't.
      3) Is it possible to incorporate a ground attack ability into the Typhoon? Even if not, surely the Harrier and Typhoon can take over most of the Tornado's roles.

      It really does seem like a botched job, more focused on saving the pennies than developing a long term strategy. At least the KC30 and the A400M have survived.

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      • #4
        Budget cuts my friends every army in Europe is doing it now a day! Besides you will get F-35 soon so not too worry. And I'm sure they will not get rid of all at once you will have plenty Harriers to defend Falkland island and other islands that belong to U.K

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        • #5
          Originally posted by justLOT787 View Post
          ....you will have plenty Harriers to defend Falkland island and other islands that belong to U.K
          My understanding is that all UK Harriers are being withdrawn.

          As for the Falklands, as bad as UK forces have become, the Argentinian military threat has weakened even more. They pose no threat to the Falklands, which in any case are significantly better defended now than in 1982.

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          • #6
            Does this include the GR-9?

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            • #7
              All Harriers gone.

              I think the consideration to buy the F-35C has been dropped - too expensive and the EMALs catapault will add around a billion quid to change the design and implement. If the F-35's are to be purchased they will be the B version.

              On the Falklands, the Argentinians are no threat, and unlike 1982, there is an airfield capable of receiving large transport aircraft, and that has 4 x Typhoons on readiness. Add that to the greatly improved radar and air defences and the Falklands isn't an issue. Deployability elsewhere may be through...

              EDIT: You are kidding me...The F35C's are on the table! The QE's were designed to be able to accept the paraphenalia to operate CTOL aircraft - but the costs would still be massive. I guess because the costs are years hence they can be deferred... It also opens up the nice thought that the UK can finally get decent AWACS (Hawkeye's rather than an inflatable radome stuck onto the side of a chopper)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SYDCBRWOD View Post
                EDIT: You are kidding me...The F35C's are on the table! The QE's were designed to be able to accept the paraphenalia to operate CTOL aircraft - but the costs would still be massive. I guess because the costs are years hence they can be deferred... It also opens up the nice thought that the UK can finally get decent AWACS (Hawkeye's rather than an inflatable radome stuck onto the side of a chopper)
                The Nimrod had to go its specification has been changed so many times and was therefore subject to so many delays. As long as the replacements have the same capability as the MRA4????? That said, the closure of BAE Woodford and RAF Kinloss will be very sad to see.


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                • #9
                  I'm sure UK Army will first get rid of the old equipment first. About the F-35 as far as I know they are buying them but not the numbers they originally thought. I think but i'm not sure the air force was going to order about 160-180 F-35A and B but now they are cutting the number to about 70 planes. So the primary fighters in RAF will be the F-35 and Euro Fighter. They will get rid of most of Tornado's and Harriers and C-130J by 2018-2020.

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                  • #10
                    think the consideration to buy the F-35C has been dropped - too expensive and the EMALs catapault will add around a billion quid to change the design and implement. If the F-35's are to be purchased they will be the B version.
                    It was the F-35B we were originally getting which is the VSTOL version.

                    Apparently we are ordering 12 F-35C's which are catapult and arrestor gear aircraft. The two new carriers will be changed aswell to suit this.

                    The F-35C is a much better aircraft its less heavy and can carry a bigger payload than the F-35B. Good to see the British Government having a little bit of sense.

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                    • #11
                      So with the Kiwis, its "God defend New Zealand" - (Because we can't).
                      And now its "God save the Queen" - (Because we can't)!

                      Hang on...You guys have nukes too....Okay, i'll shut up now.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cja View Post
                        It looks like the Harrier force is about to be axed so the UK will now have no VSTOL capability and no Naval airpower other than a few choppers.

                        We will however build two new carriers but rely on our allies to fly from one of them with the other being put into "Extended Readiness"!

                        I have to say I think this decision needs some explanation. Surely if any of our aircraft were to face the the cutters torch it should have been the Tornado which is duplicated by the Typhoon? Do we realy have no requirement for Naval Air Power?

                        If anyone can show the logic behind this strategy I would love to hear it.
                        The Tornado is not duplicated by the Typhoon. The Tornado GR4 is a mature weapons system that has been upgraded in the last 10 years and has a larger air to ground weapons array than the Typhoon. The Typhoon as I understand it is still not certified in the air to ground role.

                        We already rely on our allies for air superiority in offshore conflicts and have done since the Falklands war. During the first Gulf war Tornado F3 aircraft were the second echelon of defense as they were deemed too vulnerable against modern MIGs.

                        The Harrier has not been used in a no duff ground attack role from an aircraft carrier since the Falklands war. There are reasons for this, one of them being that It can't actually land back on board with a full weapons and fuel load due to weight and time limitations in the hover. All UK ground attacks in wartime since the Falklands have been conducted from land.

                        The Harrier although a highly capable aircraft does not have the payload flexibility of a Tornado and is far less numerous in numbers.

                        I agree that the decision to build 2 carriers without catapults was at best short sighted and at worst incompetent. As was the decision to go for an F35 VSTOL replacement. A lot of these decisions would appear to have been political in nature, and as a result of inter service rivalry. The cancellation of the carrier projects would have actually been more expensive than allowing them to go ahead. The only option was to build them and hope the aircraft turn up some time soon.

                        FUBAR
                        Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms

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                        • #13
                          I wonder if India will be rubbing its hands at the prospect of buying a brand new aircraft carrier; if not India, who else might be interested? Australia? Thailand? Brazil?

                          Even if the British F-35s won't be ready until 2019, perhaps it might be possible to have USN/USMC aircraft operate from the new carrier, with RAF/RN crews being trained to convert to the new types until their aircraft are ready; "ground" crews on the carriers will also be used to handling the types and its onboard maintenance facilities will then be tooled and ready to handle the new aircraft as they arrive.

                          I have to say that I think it's a terrible shame that the Harriers are going; will they be scrapped, or can they be sold to another country? India, Thailand, Spain, Italy and the USMC also operate the type (in various guises); might they be persuaded?

                          http://www.jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=549543

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                          • #14
                            It looks like the Harrier force will cease flying before Christmas this year.


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                            • #15
                              Last Harrier shipboard operations

                              Today's British papers had pictures of a flypast at the end of the last Harrier operation from a British aircraft carrier. It was a sad day, but if one can take one consolation, one can certainly say that the Harrier, whether the RN Sea Harrier or the Joint Force Harrier, has distinguished itself, particularly of course the former, which made its name in the Falklands War.

                              Its memory will always be a good one; it's sad that it must become a memory and personally, I think it is a bad move, but that's the decision.

                              Here's a nice shot of a Harrier taken from an RAF KC-1 tanker:

                              http://jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=549543

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