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This is a discussion on Royal Air Force [RAF] discussions and updates within the Air Force & Aviation forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by swerve Having thought a little more on it, I think the value of a Nimrod as a ...


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Old November 20th, 2007   #46
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Having thought a little more on it, I think the value of a Nimrod as a strike asset is in cases where nothing else can reach. We can't expect to have a carrier or a friendly airbase within Typhoon, F-35 (or until they retire) Tornado range, or an SSN within cruise missile range, of every possible target, all the time.

In this case, I'd say missile range is crucial, & while I think NSM could be useful in general, I'd rather our handful of Nimrod MRA4 kept further away from nasty people than the range of an NSM, if possible. Storm Shadow, or even better, an extended-range version, would be preferable.

There we have it: not a routine thing, but an occasional use for high value (I take it for granted we wouldn't waste such rare & expensive aircraft on low-value targets), time-critical (can't wait for an SSN or carrier to get there, or they'll be busy elsewhere until too late) targets. Not cases where there'd be any point skimping on the missile.
I agree completely. There is value in having something like the Nimrod, or in the case of other nations the Orion or upcoming Poisedon able to not only detect a target, but also strike it. My point regarding internal carriage of the NSM was that the strike mission aspect is of less (much less IMV) importance than the ISR aspect.

Now if a Nimrod or one of the other, similar type aircraft could be equipped with an internal weapons bay so that there was in improvement in aerodynamic performance that would be good. By this I mean improvements in range/loiter time and speed due to reduced drag, etc over a system using external hardpoints. At the same time though, it would likely be better to have a larger AShM for use from Nimrods and similar for the reasons Swerve mentioned. Such aircraft are valueable and limited in number, as such they should not be exposed to unnecessary risk by closing to a target. Given that there are other missiles available with greater range (and larger warheads) those would seem to make more sense for the limited occasions when such aircraft would make a warshot. I do not know if the various versions of Nimrod are set to take Storm Shadow, or if they are still using Harpoon, but those would seem to be better candidates (or at least Harpoon Block II+).

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Old November 21st, 2007   #47
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Now if a Nimrod or one of the other, similar type aircraft could be equipped with an internal weapons bay so that there was in improvement in aerodynamic performance that would be good. ...

-Cheers
Nimrod has an internal weapons bay, capable of carrying Stingray lightweight torpedoes, sonobuoys, etc. or additional fuel tanks for extended rang. I think there's a good chance NSM would fit in it. But Harpoon doesn't fit, & Storm Shadow is bigger than Harpoon.

A weapons bay is standard for MPAs in this class, e.g. P-3, P-8, the proposed A320 MPA all have one.
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Old November 25th, 2007   #48
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How capable is the current BROACH warhead (e.g. compared to the brute force of the RAF's 2000lb PW3)?
BROACH has at least double the performance of a general-purpose bomb of the same weight class. A BROACH based on a 245kg main charge can penetrate more than 2m of concrete.


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Will the change to JP-10 fuel have any effect on the missiles range?
JP10 has a higher density than JP5, a valuable feature given that a cruise missile such as Storm Shadow has only a limited amount of space within the fuselage to carry fuel. Switching from JP5 to JP10 while leaving than tank size unchanged would give a range improvement of about 15%.


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Last edited by Mercurius; November 26th, 2007 at 05:20 AM. Reason: typo
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Old December 4th, 2007   #49
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Quote taken from the RAF site today:

"The RAF’s ability to transport heavy equipment and supplies to troops in theatre was significantly enhanced with the purchase of a sixth C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft. The purchase of the aircraft, through a £130 million contract with the Boeing Company, was announced today by Baroness Taylor."

Out of the doom and gloom surounding the RN and UK Army procurement programs this is the one piece of good news. I also understand the RAF have also just received two Reapers and Hermes UAV's for use in Afghanistan.
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Old December 6th, 2007   #50
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Hello everyone this is my first post here so I opologise in advance if its less than great.

I have been interested in the Eurofighter for a long time now but it seems that while its among the best aircraft on Earth it isn't actually doing an awful lot. I fully admit that not being in the armed forces myself I could be way off the mark here (and if I am I'm sorry) but considering the UK is involved in 2 major conflicts I would have thought the Eurofighter would be sped into service to lend a hand.

All they ever seem to be doing is upgrading the aircraft (now that Tranch 2 is on the way and fast approaching they will be upgraded to that standard as well) and flying them at airshows with the only actual usage being QRA status to protect the UK (which while useful is not helping the troops doing an extremely hard job abroad).

So is the Eurofighter underutilised or am I just woefully under informed?
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Old December 6th, 2007   #51
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Hello everyone this is my first post here so I opologise in advance if its less than great.

I have been interested in the Eurofighter for a long time now but it seems that while its among the best aircraft on Earth it isn't actually doing an awful lot. I fully admit that not being in the armed forces myself I could be way off the mark here (and if I am I'm sorry) but considering the UK is involved in 2 major conflicts I would have thought the Eurofighter would be sped into service to lend a hand.

All they ever seem to be doing is upgrading the aircraft (now that Tranch 2 is on the way and fast approaching they will be upgraded to that standard as well) and flying them at airshows with the only actual usage being QRA status to protect the UK (which while useful is not helping the troops doing an extremely hard job abroad).

So is the Eurofighter underutilised or am I just woefully under informed?
With respect to the Typhoon being underutilized at present, I would say not currently. IMV there are a few things that need to be kept in mind. When originally designed, the Typhoon was to be an air superiority fighter, as such most development done for was in the air to air combat arena, being a late Cold War-era design.

Given the practical experiences of the last decade or two, the apparent need for dedicated air superiority fighters is much reduced from what had been anticipated during the 80's and earlier. Instead, what seems to be of greater relavance to curent air forces would be multi-role fighters. Taking the examples offered by the various air campaigns from the Gulf War (Episode I), Kosovo, Afghanistan and Gulf War (Episode II) the Western air forces quickly established air dominance in the opening days of the campaigns. Having achieved air superiority/dominance against hostile aircraft (the role of an air superiority fighter) there was no further need for that role during the campaign.

Given the experiences gathered, IIRC decisions were made to being developing the Typhoon into a more multi-role aircraft than had originally been envisioned. Once the multi-role Typhoons enter service, I would expect to see them widely deployed. Until such development is completed though, there is not much operational work requiring an air superiority fighter compared to that of bomb trucks.

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Old December 6th, 2007   #52
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Unhappy Fuel leak caused Nimrod crash

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The Nimrod was due to have been retired some years ago and a £2.2bn contract was agreed in 1996 to upgrade 21 Nimrod MR2 aircraft to Maritime Reconnaissance Attack 4 (MRA4) standard.

The programme involved the complete replacement of the aircraft's systems and more than 80% of its airframe, creating a virtually new aircraft.

However, rising costs and long delays have meant that the Nimrod MR2 will remain in service until at least mid-2010.

"The replacement Nimrod was originally called Nimrod 2000 - that tells you something," said Sean Maffett, an aviation commentator.

"All 21 MRA4s had been due to be in service by last year. Now the RAF is going to get 12 starting in 2010.

"There has just been one problem after another. It has been deeply disappointing and it has caused these old MR2 aircraft to be soldiering on much longer than they should have been."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7128054.stm
I'm surprised that they didn't pick another airframe instead of putting all eggs in one basket. Maybe they could order some new MPAs from Japan!
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Old December 8th, 2007   #53
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I wish we had bought some japanese MPAs. That would make a good bargaining chip for selling Typhoons to Japan.
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Old December 8th, 2007   #54
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I wish we had bought some japanese MPAs. That would make a good bargaining chip for selling Typhoons to Japan.
Since 1) it's only just started flight trials, & is therefore much further away from being operational than Nimrod MRA4, & 2) asking the Japanese to sell us a weapon would give the Diet a fit of conniptions, I think it's a bit of a non-starter.
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Old January 6th, 2008   #55
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Looks like the UK is going to buy ten additional Reaper's and five ground units bringing the total inventory to twelve (link below). I'm very surprised this 1- billion USD plus order has passed muster with the Treasury considering the pressure on the UK defense budget. If true very good news, the Reapers do represent the top of the food chain in current UAV technology, particularly the armed variants.

With the UK now introducing additional Reapers and Hermes 450s to the field I cannot see the Watchkeeper program surviving in it's current guise. Then again Watchkeeper was to be an Army asset (artillery), Reaper comes under the RAF, so maybe they will be drawn from separate budgets!

http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=3286749&C=europe
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Old January 7th, 2008   #56
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The Hermes 450s are just an interim lease deal and will go out of service when Watchkeeper comes into service.

Also Reaper is a completely different class of UAV to the Watchkeeper.
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Old January 7th, 2008   #57
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With the UK now introducing additional Reapers and Hermes 450s to the field I cannot see the Watchkeeper program surviving in it's current guise. Then again Watchkeeper was to be an Army asset (artillery), Reaper comes under the RAF, so maybe they will be drawn from separate budgets!

http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=3286749&C=europe
As Alpha Epsilon says, Reaper & Watchkeeper are different classes of UAV. They're complementary, not in competition. Also, Watchkeeper is more than just the air vehicles. It's a complete ground infrastructure as well.
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Old January 7th, 2008   #58
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As reported by Industry Daily:

"10 MQ-9 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) aircraft, 5 Ground Control Stations, 9 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems (MTS-B/AAS-52), 9 AN/APY-8 Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radar/Ground Moving Target Indicator (SAR/GMTI) systems, 3 Satellite Earth Terminal Sub Stations (SETSS), 30 H764 Embedded Global Positioning System Inertial Navigation Systems, Lynx SAR and MTS-B spares, engineering support, test equipment, ground support, operational flight test support, communications equipment, technical assistance, personnel training/equipment, spare and repair parts, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $1.071 billion."

The UK are looking at the MQ-9 only as a high-end surveillance drone to complement their mid-range Watchkeeper Mk450 UAVs and short-range Deseert Hawk and RQ-11 Raven UAVs.

With the introduction of ASTAR, Reaper and Watchkeeper (2010) the UK will end up with an extremely capable surveillance umbrella covering the complete spectrum of requirements – good news for once. The question is which program will suffer - the Government will always steal from Pete to pay Paul!
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Old January 8th, 2008   #59
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Yes good news indeed about the Reaper purchase.

When the Candberra PR9's were retired a couple of years ago without replacement, there were only three of them left. Still they were sorely needed on the frontlines and they flew operational missions in Afghanistan and Iraq right up to their retirement.

Many people were rightly upset at the lack of replacement, but as pointed out above, with No39 Squadron now operating a mixture of +- 13 Reapers and some Predator A's, the RAF has a better persistant reconaissance capability than it had with the Canberra's. Definitely a step up.

This is also very good news in the light of persistant rumours of further cuts to the front line, concerning the closing down of two Tornado GR.4 squadrons.
(One from each main operating base)
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Old January 8th, 2008   #60
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This is also very good news in the light of persistant rumours of further cuts to the front line, concerning the closing down of two Tornado GR.4 squadrons.
This has explicity been denied by a junior minister in parliarment iirc.
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