United Kingdom Preparing For Large F-35 Order

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The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense is currently readying itself for the largest yet purchase of the F-35B. ‘Main Gate 4’ is a milestone that will order the UK’s first squadron of the JSF, numbering fourteen aircraft.

This first British squadron will move to the UK in 2018. This will allow for flight trials to begin aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in the same year. 2018 promises to be a very big year for British carrier aviation.

Currently, the UK is committed to the procurement of 48 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. Further procurement could lead to a total buy of up to 138 airframes. A planned Strategic Defense and Security Review, scheduled to be conducted in 2015, will help firm up the total number of future airframes ordered.

Several critics of the JSF program, grasping at straws in light of the flood of positive developments this year, are rolling out long used arguments. These arguments are poorly thought out, and tired. My personal favorite is the doom that awaits mechanics when they attempt a shipboard engine swap. The peanut gallery loves to point to the Harrier, as a supporting argument, stating that engine swap for the F-35B will be a nightmare due to engine length.

What the peanut gallery ignores is the amount of effort and disassembly that goes into an at sea Harrier engine swap. Due to engine placement on the Harrier, the entire wing needs to be removed before engine removal is even possible! F-35B does not require this step. Its worth noting that an engine swap for a Harrier aboard ship is an eight hour evolution.

Specific criticism, that critics scream is an unaddressed issue, is actuator maintenance or replacement for the F-35B. These critics love telling everyone that will listen, that this is the single issue that will doom the F-35B aboard ship. Have you ever noticed the issues critics make the most noise about are the ones they understand least? This ‘issue’ as they call it, is not an issue at all. While they claim this is something no one has bothered putting thought into, they are once again incorrect. At least their track record remains on track, with yet another claim swatted away, and rendered meaningless.

Beyond this new development, NAVAIR and the USMC have studied in depth the factors surrounding a shipboard F-35B engine swap. The information is out there, and has been for several years. It would be silly to expect the peanut gallery to engage in research that proves, or disproves their claims though.

 

 

 

 

~ by arcturus415 on August 12, 2013.

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