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Subject: RN to ditch F-35C?
YelliChink    8/5/2010 1:32:59 PM
It seems that the new Cameron government is considering cutting F-35C and may replace the cut with Shornet. If true, then I guess Sea Harrier will remain in RN and RAF service for a bit longer.
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flamingknives       8/7/2010 9:07:12 AM
That's a pretty spectacularly wrong statement there fella.
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YelliChink       10/20/2010 11:43:35 AM

That's a pretty spectacularly wrong statement there fella.

Yup. It seems that ones that got gutted are F-35B and all Harriers.
There are still chances that they will further gut F-35C in favor of cheaper Shornet.
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Shawnc    Maybe SHornets then F-35Cs?   10/20/2010 2:22:30 PM
Personally, I always felt that CATOBAR was always the most versatile option, and considering that the in-service dates of all F-35 variants keep slipping, it may be advantageous for the RN to purchase 24-36 Super Hornets first to equip the Queen Elizabeth when she commissions around 2015.
By the time the F-35C  procurement starts, the situation may be more advantageous in 2020 for the RN to operate both QE2 carriers, in which case the carrier wings could then hopefully consist of perhaps 3 squadrons of F-35C and Super Hornets.

Note that acquiring the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, like Australia has, will give the FAA a long range precision strike asset that they lost with the Buccaneer, and add Air-to-Air Refueling and possibly EW/SEAD with Growlers as well. Plus.. the Superbug is now pretty cheap at USD$50-60 milliom each.
Now, I wonder if any country is looking three second-hand light carriers? You could probably get 60+ ex-USMC AV-8Bs rather cheaply (they're AMRAAM capable, unlike the Harrier GR.9s) and have a pretty useful carrier force up and running in a couple of years... ;)

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StobieWan       12/11/2010 8:29:25 AM

Mm...the F35C isn't that much more expensive than the SH is the thing -the Australians paid 3.1bn USD for 24 aircraft plus appropriate support (spares, training, tools et) - and that was in 2008. That's nearly 130m US per copy in a flyable condition. The F35C looks to top out at something not too far from that right now and we've a workshare in that. I'll dig out a link for the Australian costs if you like - people have tended to quote the lower "per airframe" number for the SH, which has been quoted as low as $65m but that's not a flyable aircraft. 

I'm not saying it's impossible but it seems unlikely. If they'd committed to steam catapults and getting the QE in service on time, then yes, SH might have been an option, getting us into a strike carrier capability by 2016 or so. It'd have taken a major effort and some money is the thing - and if you look, the ConDem SDR was really aimed at pushing any major expenditure until post 2015 - partly to get the expense out of their term, and also to dovetail with the drawdown of the Afghan commitment.

That's my cynical take - and their postponing the successor boats til 2015 sort of confirms that - although it also shifts the tension away regarding the Liberals long standing policy of disposing of Trident vs the Conservative desire to retain it (but not actually fund it!)



There are still chances that they will further gut F-35C in favor of cheaper Shornet.

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