UK May Borrow F-18s For Carriers; F-35Bs May Be Scrapped

UK May Borrow F-18s For Carriers; F-35Bs May Be Scrapped

Britain’s Conservative government, faced with enormous deficits, may launch its Queen Elizabeth class carriers without airplanes to put on them as it considers early retirement for its Harrier jump jets.

The two 65,000 ton carriers are built into the UK’s defense budget, but new airplanes are not. Scrapping the Harriers early, combined with delays to the Joint Strike Fighter short takeoff version, could leave the UK temporarily dependent on the U.S. for F/A-18s and V-22s. That raises the prospect of one country deploying carriers and then relying on another country to supply the airplanes to fly from them.

Although the U.S. and some NATO allies have engaged in exercises flying each others planes from each others carriers such heavy reliance on another country raised eyebrows among analysts the idea was reported in British newspapers.

“My first thought after reading the article was that [British Defense Minister Liam] Fox was floating a trail balloon, perhaps hoping the British public might object to the British Empire losing its independent ability to project power on its own.  I recognize the UK will seldom deploy without others, including the US.  However, it did just that during the Falkland campaign and likely does so periodically to show the UK flag globally.  In either case a brand new carrier will lose much of its shine if deployed without a complement of capable combat aircraft,” Frank Cevasco, one of Washington’s top international defense consultants and a former senior Pentagon official responsible for international weapons cooperation, said in an email.

“Desperate times require desperate measures,” Cevasco wrote, noting that “only the UK voters and their leaders can decide where the red line is.”

The London Daily Mail quoted a senior military source saying that the “U.S. Marines have the aircraft. Their aircraft would fly from the British carriers. Or we could borrow some from them.” To show just how sharp the debate must be within the British government and its Ministry of Defense, the Daily Telegraph has reported that Britain will scrap the F-35B and go with the JSF carrier version, known as the F-35C

The Queen Elizabeth carriers, the biggest warships ever built by the U.K., are designed to handle traditional carrier aircraft such as Super Hornets and the carrier version of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) or STOVL aircraft such as the Harrier and JSF. While the primary design stresses STOVL, the carriers are designed to be retrofitted with arresting cables, according to U.S. defense industry sources. That would enable the F/A-18 E/Fs and their predecessors to take off and land on the British ships.

Also, the ships are designed to be fitted with steam catapults and the UK has also continued work on electro-magnetic catapults.

An industry source said Super Hornet and their predecessor models should have no trouble taking off from the British ships as the ships are “extremely capable and are extremely big.” A Super Hornet should be able to “take off with a very significant combat load over deck with a zero wind load,” the source said. And the F/A/-18’s high energy nose gear mean it “is also ideally suited for ramp launches because they can absorb” the enormous energy required for a ramp launch.

The British plan to use the STOVL F-35 as the main weapon on the carriers so it would seem reasonable to conclude that any plans to use F-/A-18s instead of the F-35s would pose a threat to Lockheed Martin’s long-planned sale of 138 F-35Bs.

However, the industry source dismissed the threat to the F-35Bs, saying that any sharing of Super Hornets with the U.K. would be strictly a “capability gap-filler,” and not a replacement for the more advanced, fifth generation fighter.

If Britain hopes to supplement the Super Hornets with MV-22 Ospreys, that would be much more difficult, the industry source said. The Marines are relying on MV-22s in Afghanistan and as key aircraft for their Marine Expeditionary Units. The U.S. would be “hard-pressed” to lend some of those planes, according to the source.

Arms export restrictions should not be a problem for sharing any of the aircraft, the industry source said, especially for what he described as perhaps America’s staunchest ally.

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How are they going to borrow from us when we are short ourselves? They had better rethink thier strategy and not retire thier aircraft or just donate thier bird farms to us for the MARINES.


So far it’s just a trial balloon until formal plans are submitted in September.

Right now the Europeans have experimented with joint units — such as the (small) multinational heavy lift wing based in Hungary. I wonder if they could offer to host a multinational wing of F-18s? Of course they want a British presence, but it might be a good deal for all concerned.

Check out “Royal Navy To Get F-35Cs — Why?” at Aviation Week. for some more info.

Maybe its just time for the Europeans to fold their military into an EU military to bring about the logical ineviatble ends to an economic alliance.

Any British strategy depends on what their interests are. Plus all their old colonies (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Indian, South Africa, etc.) all have their own military forces. So, who are they defending? Otherwise, building two big deck aircraft carriers is an industrial make-work effort meant to sustain the image that England is still a global power. That’s now a farce. They should be stripped of their status as a veto power on the UN Security Council. Retaking the Falklands! It took the whole of their Royal Navy and ships taken-up-from-trade to take back two islands that they originally stole from Argentina (in violation of our Monroe Doctrine to keep Europeans out of the Americas ) so they could use them as a navy coaling refueling station. Talk about one obsolete policy supporting another. If they really want to save money, they should just scrap their carriers and cancel buying any version of the JSF (F-35). That would bring their finances in line with their “world power” status.

The EU only has the capability to deploy equipment-light brigades, if I’m not mistaken. England has little to gain by ceding sovereign military control to an organization with a token interest in defense.

British power projection is consitent with a nation that requires the ability to control sea lanes of communication for survial. It’s still an island nation. Support and teaming with Her Majesty’s commonwealth is of course important. As the Russians challenge Canada for resources to the north as well as passage and the Chinese have strategies for Austrailia (yes they do), one can understand the concern.
The U.S. can provide F/A-18’s especially if they want reserviced F/A-18 C/D’s, or ex Marine Corp A/B’s. Remember Austrailia fly’s thy F/A-18 (and have experience about U.S. aircraft carriers, and the Canadians fly F/A-18’s. There is strong commonality there. The U.S. will undoubtedly provide the aircraft in exchange for some other service. The U.S. has been counting on the two large British carriers as we have allowed our fleet to shrink.

The carriers themselves are just expensive white elephants and the rational for them is ludicrous. But a conservative government knows it will potentially get a lot of kudos for canceling them — something they can spend on all the other cuts they want to make.

US defense contractors are smarter they make sure their white elephants have bipartisan pork in them.

>British power projection is consitent with a nation that requires the ability to control sea lanes of communication for survial

Which sea lanes does it “control” at the moment ?

Does it mean the UK is already dad ?

Actually the new British carriers cannot easily install steam catapults because their propulsion based around Rolls-Royce’s integrated electric propulsion (IEP) system. Would have to come up with some way of generating a lot of steam or employ the (under development) electromagnetic launch system.

To those that refer to the carriers as white elephants, remember that the primary justification in the SDR was for platforms large enough to host a joint headquarters in order to support expeditionary warfare. The fact that they can bring their own aircraft is a bonus. If the British decide in their current review that they no longer support the concept of expeditionary warfare, then the acquisition of the carriers should be reviewed.

This will be a budget discussion, they cannot scrap the (new) carriers. That will be an instant 4 billion loss (even more).
The UK needs to reassess its military if they want to keep the (capable) carriers. Maybe cutting back on their nuclear assets wil be the trick.
It is clear to everybody that the UK cannot afford a superpower army/navy/air force anymore. All they try do now is keeping up the appearances, and that is a sad story.
I think the UK will scrap its F35B (and switch to the F35C in the end). Heck, even the Rafale may come in the discussion (but I think not as a solution). So in the end the F/A-18’s will be the “gap” solution in the end.

>remember that the primary justification in the SDR was for platforms large enough to host a joint headquarters in order to support expeditionary warfare.

Ah yes the pre-crash dreams of grandeur. Fact is cancel the carriers and the UK can still tag along on any American adventures it wants to.

But of course it wont be canceled outright — that’s not how things work. Instead cancel one of them and cut everything down to the. You still have a “carrier” to admire but it just cant do anything much. Which is fine since they aren’t going to do much in any case.

Hollow ships are the way of the future — keep up the count while reducing capabilities and costs. Just look at the LCS.

Its territorial waters within the English Channel (the busiest shipping lane in the world) and the North Sea, as well as projecting force within the international waters within these areas.

Russia was never a superpower both militarily or economically… the old Soviet Union that preceded it was. The military definition of a superpower is a country that has the capability to project a decisive military force anywhere in the world.

China is not set to meet that military definition any time soon, if ever. There’s numerous reasons for China not to pursue the capability to project power around the world. For starters their primary military rival that their entire military is modeled against is the US. It would drain even their large up and coming economy (which recently became the world’s number two economy, surpassing Japan). All the work they put into building their economy would be destroyed by trying to create a military that is able to project itself into the US. Instead, the more strategically and economically effective method of defeating a (highly unlikely) potential conflict with the US is to fight a war of attrition on their own soil. Which is exactly what they’ve been doing, by investing into large quantities and layers upon layers of access denial weaponry (SAMs and anti-ship missiles). Also, they have an upcoming rival in India right next door which is set to surpass China’s population in the not-to-distant future.

The UK should elect to further militarily integrate itself with the Commonwealth nations and the US, and expand their infrastructure to facilitate the increase of US strategic mobility capabilities and Commonwealth nation’s regional mobility capabilities. This would benefit the UK as well, as they would then be granted further access to US strategic mobility capabilities (more so than the present). I’m not saying to become dependent on the US, but to leverage each other’s strengths: the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. This is already happening, but only at a pace that is currently needed. A more proactive approach should be taken.

Oblat. That would be nice except the LCS is hardly a shining exampe of how to reduce costs. ;-) In fact they found a found a way to make costs explode whilst reducing capability in the case of LCS. Oooh it can go fast. Whoop dee do.

Indian Air Force is trying to acquire 50 Sukhoi PAK FA and 200 Sukhoi/HAL FGFA, and Sukhoi is planning to develop a carrier capable navalized variant of the PAK FA, presumably could do same with the FGFA. It would be a much stranger world if we were to see Russian sourced state of the art Indian aircraft operating from the decks of Brit flat-tops. The Russians would make fat profits. The Indians would learn carrier ops. And the Brits would save treasury while reinforcing old ties with an upcoming power.

Yeah I know it won’t ever happpen… but the thought is amusing.

One has to factor the politicians in this discussion. The French & UK governments have been in collusion about these carriers for some time. In 2008, Richard North wrote “There thus remains a possibility that the government could be considering dumping the F-35 (formerly called the Joint Strike Fighter) and buying in the French-built Rafale.

He returned to the subject yesterday. “There is much huffing and puffing about a proposal to share with the French one of the aircraft carriers currently being built for the Royal Navy.

This is being described as “barking mad” by military experts, a quote taken from the naïve Commander John Muxworthy, who thinks that the plan would jeopardise the UK’s military independence and place security of the nation in the hands of France, our oldest enemy.“

Yeah, the US and Britain should cut their military budgets even more, they need to make sure that all the bums get their welfare checks, free health care, free food stamps. Yeah, Socialism is the way to go, wow what a utopia. Bunch of gutless politicians, never touch the more than 60% of the budget that goes to entitlements, yet they want to gut the hell out of the less than 1/8th of the budget that goes to the military. Oh and of course we need to also keep throwing money down the black holes of foreign aid and rebuilding other countries. And we can’t forget all the bailouts of campaign donors or all of the plush benefits and retirement plans for our politicians. What we really need to do is gut the hell out of all that and put that into our military and energy production. That would strengthen the economy and create more taxpayers, we sure wouldn’t want that.

Allah is the on our site…
Iran is going on , up .…..up.….…up.….…up :-)

The British carriers, and the French, are part of a formula that provides a nation great power status. It’s about a lot more than just hulls in the water, which is why the UK remains a world leader and some other medium-strength military powers do not. You can’t fault a nation with a thousand-year-old monarchy, and former colonies and possessions spanning the globe, from feeling strongly that it needs to maintain a leadership role on the world stage. No wonder much of the debate in the UK is not about the ‘pure’ economics of this aircraft or that, or merging their defense into some putative EU military that replaces national defense; the debate is more about autonomy. I’m sure they will sort things out and meantime, I hope the US cooperates fully with making the carriers operational in whatever way the Brits decide to go.

O.K. point taken, Russia is not a superpower in the same sense that the U.S. clearly is.

Re: China: if you look back to history, there is a correlation between countries that have rapidly expanding economy’s with global trade routes and expanding armed forces (esp. Navy). This is in line with trade protection interests and foreign policy influence. Think former British Empire, think current U.S. ‘Empire’ (not colonies or dominions, but countries where the arm of U.S. influence is very strong). China is following suit. I agree that it has historically looked to its own back yard, with access denial weaponry, but its large naval expansion is in line with it’s growing economic expansion — trade interest protection. It will be no surprise to see China upgrade its ability to project land forces further afield if it’s economic dynamo continues turning. The equally populace India will follow suit if their economy continues with its expansion.

The U.S. based Heritage Foundation wrote the following in January of this year: “As has occurred historically with other rising powers, the most concrete manifestation of expanding interests, resources, and military capabilities is an expanding navy. Over the past two decades, the PLAN has grown from a primarily coastal defense force to a green– and blue– water navy. At the same time, the active participation of the PLAN in the anti-piracy patrols (off Somalia) has allowed Chinese naval officers to gain valuable experience. According to Admiral Yin, the establishment of a long-term Chinese naval base in the region (Aden was proposed) is due largely to logistical considerations.”

Re the U.K.: When looking at the Commonwealth of Nations one assumes Canada, Australia, New Zealand ? The 54 nations of the Commonwealth include the likes of Kenya, Belize and Pakistan! As an institution the Commonwealth of Nations / Commonwealth Secretariat is riven with divergent self interest and politics (perhaps best described as the historical burden of empire).

Do we then look to further integration with the U.S., to NATO, to further EU integration, or to the Commonwealth as you partly suggest? In the post cold war era each alliance of interest has major drawbacks (for the U.K.). Just look at the NATO members divergent commitment / performance in the Balkans and Afghanistan as an example.

I still maintain that the crux of the issue is to define a clear, and realistic, grand strategy. Militarily we currently rely on the narrative driven National Security Strategy (NSS) document. The NSS in its current form is more a political document than an operationally useful work. Whilst perhaps understanding the broad logic behind your suggestion, I believe the U.K. needs to be crystal clear what its interests are, where it wants to position itself globally, what it can afford, and the degree to which alliances are mutual. Without this direction the positioning of military capability and procurement are meaningless.

We need top down direction. Our poor ‘strategic’ performance and apparent throwing away of the COIN rule book in Helmand (which we pioneered from the Malayan insurgency) is ample example of this.

John, a very considerate perspective. I agree, carriers are about far more than just hulls in the water, and a wish for autonomy and global influence is clearly desirable for any nation.

Talk about a hollow threat! If the Brits can’t put aircraft on an aircraft carrier, they have no business building one. Who are they kidding? An borrowing aircraft from the USMC only makes them look more pathetic. The USMC needs to grow as it is and needs their own CAS. Why not have them mooch Hornets from Australia or Canada?

lofically they need take the rafale but when USA contol you…

Our claim to the Falklands Islands go back to the 1690’s and ARE superior to the Argentian Claims were based on suprious FRENCH not Spanish claims to the Island. So our legtimate claims pre-date the “Monro Doctrine” by about 130 years even before you guys rebelled against your lawful King.
The only Argentian “settlement” of the Islands was a bunch of state sponsored Pirates in the 1830’s, a generation before we started using the Islands as a coaling station. Get your facts straight before going to print, its the first rule of writing.

As for our Carriers and our defence policy in general, we are trying to reverse the damage caused by various Labour Governments over the last fifty years. in 1965, the Labour Government at the time cancelled the 65, 000 ton CVA-01 class Fleet Carriers and instead built the 20,000 tonInvincible class Through-Deck Helicopter Cruisers (Escort Carriers in other wards) in order to refight the Battle of the Atlantic for a third time only against the Soviets this time around.
The British Defence Policy is now reverting to our prior Cold War Defence Policy and we are still are a Major Global Power like France. So we need to be able to project our power when we need to. The last Labour Government made a right mess of things and one of the biggest blunders was getting involved in the JSF programme, which has been a complete cock-up from the beginning. We should have bouth the Super Hornet or the Rafaele from the beginning.

RE China: Yes, they are slowly building up their power projection capabilities. But it’s likely mostly for a regional show of force rather than to actually be able to project a decisive force anywhere in the world. As I said, in order for them to build up that kind of capability would create an economic sinkhole. The US spent the entire 1800’s building up global projection capabilities, but that was not the priority. The priority was continental expansion, combating the Native Americans. Besides, trying to develop the same kind of power projection as the French or British empires would have created an economic sinkhole that would have ruined an up-and-coming world power. No doubt the US had global interests in mind during this time period; evidenced by the Barbary Wars, the War of 1812, and ultimately the Spanish-American War.… which marked the end of the declining Spanish Empire and the beginning of the American status as a true world power.

Right now, a good analogue of where China is at compared to American history would be during the time of continental expansion. Just like the US during this time, should China commit to trying to develop projection capabilities as the US, it’ll create a financial black hole. Chinese leadership has already recognized the dangers unchecked military spending poses to their economy, which they would like to maintain growth and stability. Also just like the US during this period, their attention is more focused to right next door. India, Taiwan, and that North/South Korea fiasco.

Re the U.K.: I did say “further integrate”, as in the Commonwealth nations that the UK is already in good stride with. I didn’t mention NATO for a good reason: it’s too bogged down by political infighting, bureaucratic red-tape, and not all members are interested in their commitments. Which is why I named the US specifically, and Canada, Australia and New Zealand non-specifically. There’s already a very strong combined operations infrastructure in place between the US and UK, and there’s always room for expansion.

No doubt, I wholeheartedly agree that a strong definition is needed for the UK’s strategic issues. Also needed is a commitment to it… a wishy-washy dedication leads to nothing being done. These are the banes of the US military procurement process. A Request for Proposals is put up for a new weapon system with an initial set of specifications. But when a new president, Secretary of Defense or Chief of Staff is put in and the political environment changes, so do the specifications to suit the new environment. Or even worse, the weapon system is no longer deemed relevant and so the specifications are changed again and an attempt to justify it’s existence. The end result is a weapon system that is almost unrecognizable to the original RFP design, with dubious performance because it was designed for one thing but redesigned for another. It’s like saying you need a screwdriver, but turn around and say you need it to be a hammer.

“We need top down direction. Our poor ‘strategic’ performance and apparent throwing away of the COIN rule book in Helmand (which we pioneered from the Malayan insurgency) is ample example of this. ”

It’s a recurring thing with all militaries. The US found itself in COIN operations in the Philippines, all over the Caribbean and Central America in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s, and had to re-learn lessons in Vietnam, only to re-learn lessons again in Afghanistan and Iraq. Another example would be sniper training, which was constantly raised and dissolved throughout the 1800’s and early 1900’s… it was brought back in Vietnam and became permanent since then.

The UK military is a joke. The only thing they have left to be proud of is the SAS, and even the politicians are trying to gut that as well. The UK’s defensive (and offensive) strategy can be summed up in four words: “United States of America”. Socialism has failed miserably, and yet they continue to throw good money after bad.

I’ve got to ask where is that Great Britain that played a huge role in the defeat of Nazi Germany in WWII? From an outsiders perspective, it seems like much of the UK has been swamped with immigrants who don’t give a damn about their new home or it’s defense, and would rather have no military in order to pay for the welfare state.

British soldiers have fought hard in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the are often ill-supported by government.

This “conservative” political party is supposed to introduce these huge cuts, and the other two parties were likely to bring even more cuts than these if they won? What about cutting the areas where spending has ballooned since the end of the 80s, because it surely isn’t defense.

Rafale is unfortunatelly the only smart fighter able to close the gap. May be definitively for the RN since the JSF looks still in the dark !

Which US fighter landed on European carriers and which Europeans landed on US carriers?… The French only with Rafales on US Carriers and S Hornet on …the only European carrier: the De Gaulle. So they have the (nuke!) big carrier and …their own (very good) home made fighter.
Guess: who was right in previous industrial and strategic choices?

Hay, Alex D. I love a yank, who makes grand statements but backs it up with nothing, then moves it onto politics, declaring “socialism has failed miserably”, lets not forget who brought us to the point where America is bankrupt, can you say George bush Junior lols. Socialism isn’t perfect, but it’s a damm site better than outright capitalism, Truth be told, the ideal goverment would be some where between the two, A place where you dont have to worry about getting sick, cause you’ll loose your home if you do, but a place where your free to make a buck or two without to much interference, You pay a living wage, pay a fair tax on any profits.

Your right, about that, i mean the de gaule is nuclear , but hasn’t proven reliable. the rafale tho i cant say if its any good or not, wish britain had gone the same rout building nuc carriers plus our own fighter

And another correction is that it didn’t take all of the RN to retake the Falklands, although it did stretch it quite a bit, but that has to be set alongside the fact that the operation was run at a distance of 8,000 miles from the UK, with no forward base available, so it was a much bigger achievemnt than you give it credit for being.

I think you must have been taken in by the statement in this rather innaccurately reported piece that there is nothing in the budget for aircraft. There is — but the aircraft is the F35, in which the UK is a full partner, but that aircraft is delayed and getting more expensive by the day. So there will be a gap between the carriers entering service and the aircraft being available, that’s what this is about bridging the gap, not a long term arrangement.

The Great Britain that played that big part in WW2 was bankrupted doing so! I have to tell you that your outsider perspective is wrong — we haven’t been ‘swamped with immigrants’ .

What’s been lacking under the Labour Government has been a proper strategic review of defence requirements and we have arguably been spending on the wrong things (like an Air Force equipped to fight the Cold War).

What the current government is doing is conducting a proper strategic review (hopefully) and stories like this one are just so much speculation or connected with lobbying by interest groups.

Who’s talking about reducing costs? it’s all about maintaining profits in an era when your customer is going broke.

The UK government is doing what every conservative government has done, cutting into the socialist programs. The largest remaining on is the military socialism of no-bid contracts and cradle to grave entitlements.

But it’s nothing like what is going on in the US. That the Pentagon runs the worlds largest free child care program and the outright green envy you constantly see for industry bailouts is indicative of just how far we have come from a market economy. There are generations now who have known nothing but pentagon directed entitlements and cant even tell you what capitalism is.

Thus the undeniable fact which shows that this ‘news story’ is anything but BS.

Unfortunately this is the level of which the ‘news’ has degraded to. Just because some ‘governement official/ or ‘staffer’ leaks or proposes such nonsense does NOT mean it is true in anything but their imagination.

Get the lease qoute from the US navy or US airforce UK.

Who is “the oldest enemy”? The only one in Europe with independant foreign policy and independant defense/industrial policy or the country who took the best techno the UK had (VSTOL, Stleath, propulsion…) against its submission to its will?

Pity to have friends and enemies like that.

Ascension was really no more than a staging post, since ships could not even go alongside there, just anchor, it’s not possible to operate any serious logistical operation like that so while it was of value, it was very imited.

Remember the concept of having “allies”?
The US was buying Italian guns for our frigates, The RN Submarine force still outperforms our submarine fleet in “stalk and kill exercises”, .… I would say ANY military spending by an “ally” is an asset.
There are a lot of bad guys out there.

Ally : “To enter into or unite in a formal relationship, as by a treaty. — n. One allied with another”

Outstanding well said, I thought I was the only one left with some sense. Nope you got it too.

It’s nice to see an American acknowledging such things.

Aeroxavier — you know your English is so garbled that no one can understand you anyway. So keep posting!

The stovl type aircraft don’t have the fuel supply to fly any good distance from aircraft carrier. Its a smart move to switch to the U.S navy version F-35 it carriers a lot more fuel. The fan bay on the F-35 stovl takes a lot of the fuel stores making it a short distance aircraft just like the Harrier Jump jet (don’t make the same mistake twice).
The British may spoil them selves with that F-18 E/F its a very nice aircraft.

I am sure the British would be very pleased with some F/A-18Es or F/A-18Fs, especially if they include some of the proposed Block III upgrades. Yet this is all simply trouble the F-35 program doesn’t need. I don’t know the numbers, but if the Super Hornet can operate from these carriers, I am sure the F-35C could.

Indeed the British were a major player behind the development of the F-35B, being expected to be a major user of the type, and contributing their expertise to the program.

I think you are faling pray to a bunch of political/poor news reporting BS.

THE reason why the UK chose the F-35B over the F-35C was because it was LESS EXPENSIVE to stick with STOVL. The infrastructure (including training & operational) cost of going from Harrier to F-35B are SIGNIFICANTLY lower than from going from Harrier to F-35C (or Rafale or F/A-18E/F).

With that said, I hope the UK does switch to CTOL. Even as capable as the F-35B is, a 65,000 ton STOVL CV just does not make sense. And ultimately IF it does THE reason will be due to the F-35B no longer being able to carry ‘2000 lbs class’ AtG weapons internally.

The F-35B has an internal fuel capacity of 13,400 lbs and a combat radius with two ‘1000 lb’ JDAM + two AMRAAM of 498nm (possibly more but that is the number the JPO is ‘telling’ us).

Rafale !!

I say take the F-18 instead. The Super Hornet is a proven machine, whereas the F-35, it hasn’t seen combat action and already reports say that it is an inferior plane compared to most planes currently in service, I’m not hating on the F-35 (As a matter of fact, I love it), it’s just that the way I see it, the Super Hornet is without a doubt the better choice

they cannot be cancelled bae put in what many football teams call a buy out clause so it will cost more to cancel them which is a brillient idea on baes part



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