f-35 lighting II & Canberra Class LHD capabilities?
Australia is of course acquiring two LHDs as most of you probably already know. LHD stands for "landing helicopter dock" yet the LHDs have a runway and a ramp??? This might be a stupid question, but do you guys think that the F-35s we are getting in the future will be operational from these carriers? If any type of fixed wing aircraft are used on them, it will be a first for AUS in a while! ;)
This topic has been discussed in some depth (some would say to death) in the RAN Discussions and Updates thread, have a read and you will find all you could possibly need. (use the search function to narrow it down)
Short answer is the RAAF is only getting the land based F-35A which will not be able to fly off the Canberras and perhaps less obviously the internal arrangements of the LHDs do not permit the operation of STO/VL combat aircraft, i.e. fuel, magazines for ordinance and maintenance facilities. The ships may be able to land and fly off F-35B and Harriers but not operate them per say
Australia ISN'T buying the STOVL variant and has no plans on doing so in the future IIRC. I seem to recall the Aus DOD actually denying that's what they planned on doing when someone else noticed the ramp, i'll see if I can find it. Wouldn't be surprised if I can't because i'm not particularly well brushed up on my Aus defence politics.
The ONLY reason the Canberra class have the STOVL ramp is because - this is what I've been told - it's structurally integral to the hull of the Spanish JC1.
It's not a bolt on accessory like what you find on a QEC, IIRC it was decided (or calculated, whatever) that the cost of removing the ramp was too expensive.
This would've been better in the RAN thread.
The RAAF is aquiring the F-35A which is the conventional takeoff variant, the F-35B is required to operate from this type of vessell which is the short takeoff vertical landing variant.
Have a good read of the following threads, they have a wealth of discussion and information on this subject, and just a word of advise, read them as this subject comes up all the time and gets very tiresome, not saying that to palm you off, but it litteraly comes up every month or so :(
These threads have a wealth of information, it is a lot of reading, but will have every imaginable bit of info you seek
Reasons already outlined by various members and other Mods
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