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F-22 - is it really that bad?


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#1 Wuzak

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:26 PM



$350m per plane
1.7 flight hours on average between catastrophic failures
Light armour not strong enough to protect against small arms fire

#2 Flo

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 11:26 PM

Ouch!

It's not going to get better any time soon. F-35A (USAF variant of the Lightning II): Unit cost (flyaway, 2011) US$122million, (weapon system) US$183.5million (from wiki). Not counting development costs, not due in service for another seven years.
The whole fleet were grounded in August. The Air Force want to resume unmonitored testing, over the advice of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation. Not real quick on the uptake, are they? :rolleyes:

Still, at least the F-35s being partly funded by potential customers. It might not make the development cheaper, but at least the poor American taxpayer won't face the whole bill.

Personally I recon BAe should dust down the P.1154 blueprints. Could be a market for a (much) cheaper alternative...;)

Depressing reading for US taxpayers: http://www.saffm.hq....-110211-038.pdf

#3 Wuzak

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 11:54 PM

Well, Ausralia was one that signed onto the F-35 program.

Not sure if we will still be customers.

Not sure why - there are many alternatives, from Europe, the US and even Russia.

#4 Flo

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 12:38 PM

The crabs blew half a billion pounds leasing four C-17s, when the Russians were willing to sell us a fleet of Antonovs for a fraction of that. The Globemaster's a lovely plane, but the An-124 is bigger, cheaper and we could achieve some political gain by increasing trade with the Russian Federation. Amongst other advantages, closer links would allow the UK (and therefore the West) more influence over their questionable domestic and foreign policy, with much less chance of restarting the cold war. It looked like a classic win/win situation.

With the F-35 I'm really not sure the impressive performance gains (over Harrier) are really worth the throw. The UK are committed to the carrier variant, but the Super Hornet your Air Force already have seems like a better buy. Faster, longer ranged, heavier armed and at the start of its' development cycle, it only really loses out on stealth abilities. How often will the British or Australians need a stealth jet in the next twenty years? How often will we face fifth generation opponents? Wouldn't it make more sense to keep a proven system current and concentrate on training, deployment and realistic force levels?

Forgot to bookmark my DoD website :o, but Wiki has a unit cost of US$ 304 million per airframe in service, vs US$ 55 million for a fully armed Super Hornet. You could afford to go in five to one up, with better trained and supported aircrew, if you had a canny purchasing authority.

Not something us Brits are known for, unfortunately. How about down under, mate? Any chance of your government suffering a sudden attack of common sense any time soon?

#5 flying kiwi

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 01:15 PM

I think the procurement problems are purely political, Flo. I have a friend in the Australian Army who was absolutely disgusted that they bought M1s. He said it decreased their armoured power compared to the old Leopards once you factored in logistics, terrain ability and a few other things. The only inside RAAF info I have suggests that Buccaneers would have been better than F111s for the missions they flew and that the F111s were totally useless well before they were retired. I'll try to remember to ask what my friend's opinion of the F35 is.

#6 Flo

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 07:49 PM

You can throw vested single service interests into the mix.

It would have cost £35 million per annum to keep HMS Ark Royal in service. We'd have made that back before june this year just by poising her 8-12 Harriers within striking range of Misrata. The fact that the Harrier is a much better CAS aircraft than either Tornado or the comedy Typhoon is just an added bonus.

But our politicians either got duff advice (perish the thought :eek:) or they can't count.

I.e. the Tornado is blowing £7.5 billion of our hard earned taxes on doing considerably less in Afghanistan than the Harriers they replaced. Cost for keeping the Harriers on task? £1.1 billion.

There's a huge defence review going on in the UK right now. I'm told they need to save £6 billion to balance the books. Hmm, I wonder how we could manage that? :rolleyes:

Oh, did I mention the Harrier GR 9 was brand new, at the start of its' development cycle? Or that the Tornados have metal fatigue in their 30 year old frames, with BAe refusing to support them beyond 2015?

Edited by Flo, 29 November 2011 - 08:00 PM.
almost forgot


#7 Wuzak

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 05:23 AM

I think the procurement problems are purely political, Flo. I have a friend in the Australian Army who was absolutely disgusted that they bought M1s. He said it decreased their armoured power compared to the old Leopards once you factored in logistics, terrain ability and a few other things. The only inside RAAF info I have suggests that Buccaneers would have been better than F111s for the missions they flew and that the F111s were totally useless well before they were retired. I'll try to remember to ask what my friend's opinion of the F35 is.


Opinion seems to be that both the F-18E/F Super Hornets and the F-35 don't give the strike capability of the F-111.

#8 Wuzak

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 05:29 AM

The crabs blew half a billion pounds leasing four C-17s, when the Russians were willing to sell us a fleet of Antonovs for a fraction of that. The Globemaster's a lovely plane, but the An-124 is bigger, cheaper and we could achieve some political gain by increasing trade with the Russian Federation. Amongst other advantages, closer links would allow the UK (and therefore the West) more influence over their questionable domestic and foreign policy, with much less chance of restarting the cold war. It looked like a classic win/win situation.

With the F-35 I'm really not sure the impressive performance gains (over Harrier) are really worth the throw. The UK are committed to the carrier variant, but the Super Hornet your Air Force already have seems like a better buy. Faster, longer ranged, heavier armed and at the start of its' development cycle, it only really loses out on stealth abilities. How often will the British or Australians need a stealth jet in the next twenty years? How often will we face fifth generation opponents? Wouldn't it make more sense to keep a proven system current and concentrate on training, deployment and realistic force levels?

Forgot to bookmark my DoD website :o, but Wiki has a unit cost of US$ 304 million per airframe in service, vs US$ 55 million for a fully armed Super Hornet. You could afford to go in five to one up, with better trained and supported aircrew, if you had a canny purchasing authority.

Not something us Brits are known for, unfortunately. How about down under, mate? Any chance of your government suffering a sudden attack of common sense any time soon?


Common sense - probably not.

Sukhoi offered Australia a couple of demonstrator Su-35s in 2002. But we declined. Instead we waited a few years, then retired the F-111s and bought the Super Hornets. Arguably much less capable than the Flanker.

btw, a current generation Su-35, with thrust vectoring from the Su-37, and possibly including engines capable of supercruise, would cost around $60m.

We had a fntastic initiative a few years back. We bought Kaman Sea Sprites to be updated with modern electronics and avionics a few years back. The Airframes themselves were 40 or 50 years old, IIRC. The cost of these upgrade packages was more than for brand new helicopters.

#9 bluezanzibar

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 02:54 PM

I think the procurement problems are purely political, Flo. I have a friend in the Australian Army who was absolutely disgusted that they bought M1s. He said it decreased their armoured power compared to the old Leopards once you factored in logistics, terrain ability and a few other things. The only inside RAAF info I have suggests that Buccaneers would have been better than F111s for the missions they flew and that the F111s were totally useless well before they were retired. I'll try to remember to ask what my friend's opinion of the F35 is.


I don't understand why the F111 attracts so much criticism, the facts are it was a superb medium range bomber and there is nothing currently available that can match it.

From http://f-111.net/JoeBaugher.htm

"Although vilified by some as being an unsafe and dangerous plane, the F-111 series of combat aircraft established the best safety record of any of the aircraft in the Century Series of fighters --- only 77 aircraft being lost in a million flying hours. There is no other aircraft in service with the USAF which can carry out the F-111's mission of precise air strikes over such long ranges in all-weather conditions."

"September 1972 saw the F-111 in Southeast Asia, participating in the final month of Operation Linebacker and later the Operation Linebacker II aerial offensive against the North Vietnamese. F-111 missions did not require tankers or ECM support, and they could operate in weather that grounded most other aircraft. One F-111 could carry the bomb load of four McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom IIs. The worth of the new aircraft was beginning to show, and over 4,000 combat F-111A missions were flown over Vietnam with only six combat losses"


From http://en.wikipedia...._F-111_Aardvark

"During Desert Storm, the 67 F-111Fs of the 48th TFW operated from air bases in Saudi Arabia. Because of their ability to deliver precision-guided ordinance in all-weather conditions, they played a key role in the destruction of the Iraqi command and control structure and in the elimination of key targets in the Kuwait theatre of operations. These aircraft flew 2500 sorties, destroyed 2203 targets, including direct hits on 920 tanks, 252 artillery pieces, 245 hardened aircraft shelters, 13 runways, 113 bunkers, and 12 bridges. A total of 5500 bombs were dropped. Almost 85 percent of these bombs were precision guided munitions...
...No F-111Fs were lost in combat during the Persian Gulf War, which is a remarkable testament to its combat effectiveness. "

#10 flying kiwi

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 05:03 PM

Many British will hate the F111 because it killed off the TSR2, whether this is actually what happened or not. As far as its strike capability goes, this was not needed by Australia and I'm told it was hugely complex and didn't end up doing anything that the Buccaneer couldn't have done far more cheaply. This is the opinion of 3 people I have spoken with who had or have roles in Australian aviation and defence. Whether it's correct or not, I don't know, but I tend to suspect that the RAAF went for unnecessary overkill in this case. Unfortunately, that's also pretty much all I can say at the moment, because the event where I gleaned more detailed information was held under Chatham House rules. If my circumstances allow, I'll ask what else I can repeat here.




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