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F-35B/C - Naval Air Discussions (USN & USMC)

Discussion in 'Air Force & Aviation' started by OPSSG, Apr 13, 2012.

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  1. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    F-35B/C - Naval Air Discussions (USN & USMC)

    Dear Members,

    In view of the length of the old F-35 Discussion thread (at 206 pages), the Mod Team have decided to close the old thread. From today onwards, members can continue their F-35 discussions in new threads. To organise these discussions, we have decided to split these discussions into three threads namely:

    (i) F-35 Program - General Discussion (covering all common platform issues, like the helmet system, program office news, GAO reports, and weapons integration);

    (ii) F-35B/C - Naval Air Discussions (covering all aircraft news specific to the USMC and the USN); and

    (iii) F-35 - International Participation (Partners, SCP and FMS Sales Discussions).​

    We provide links to each of the other F-35 discussion threads above and this is No. 2 of 3 threads on the F-35. This thread dedicated to discussions related to the F-35B/C - Naval Air Discussions (covering all aircraft news specific to the USMC and the USN).

    If you are a new member, you might want to read a backgrounder called "Air Power 101 for New Members", before posting to stay out of trouble (think of this as a survival guide, to avoid being banned by the Mod Team).

    Journalism used to be an attempt to provide a balanced story. Unfortunately, some of the current reporting on the JSF tries to sell you a point of view that supports a pre-determined meme and we get poor quality journalism that contains known falsehoods to advance the meme. Further, we welcome informed criticism of the JSF program but we do not condone the passing-off of known falsehoods to advance an anti-F-35 meme (see the post on Clipping the Wings of Misinformation, in Air Power 101).

    Having said the above, join us in the discussions below.

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  2. aussienscale

    aussienscale Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    [Mod Edit: This post is copied from another thread because aussienscale's reply and re-direction provided HAWX is relevant. Australia is in the process of acquiring two Canberra Class LHDs but despite that, there is no intent to acquire F-35Bs nor any plans to operate fixed wing manned naval aviation on the Australian LHDs. As aussienscale noted below, there are threads where such hypothetical discussions took place; and he has provided such links to past discussions for your ease of reference.]

    Hi Hawx, welcome to the site :) The short answer is no, you might see some possible cross decking from the USMC or the UK but that is about it.

    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 :(

    http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/navy-maritime/royal-australian-navy-discussions-updates-5905/

    http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/navy-maritime/sea-trials-lhd-jci-9587/

    http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/navy-maritime/hypothetical-carrier-buy-ran-10410/

    These threads have a wealth of information, it is a lot of reading, but will have every imaginable bit of info you seek

    Cheers
     
  3. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The F-35C carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is distinct from the F-35A and F-35B variants with its larger wing surfaces and reinforced landing gear to withstand catapult launches and deck landing impacts associated with the demanding aircraft carrier environment.
    The F-35As were the first to enter flight test at Edwards AFB with the F-35C being the last to enter testing. The F-35C will undergoing test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River prior to delivery to the US Navy.
    A F-35C pilot explains how IDLC will greatly improving glide path control in another media report. In a few years the F-35C’s flight control system will pair with the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) to enable data-linked approaches controlled from the carrier. IDLC will take relevant incoming data from the flight control computer and aid in making the process that much more precise.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013
  4. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    US Marine Corps Concepts & Programs 2013

    The F-35 brings strategic agility, operational flexibility and tactical supremacy to the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF). The F-35B variant unites 5th generation stealth, precision weapons and multi-spectral sensors with expeditionary responsiveness on a Short Take-off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) Fighter-attack platform. The F-35B will replace AV-8B, F/A-18 Hornet, and EA-6B aircraft and the F-35C will replace F/A-18C/D stationed on US Navy aircraft carriers.

    The F-35 is a force-multiplier for the MAGTF commander. It can operate without degradation within anti-access or highly contested airspace providing an advanced engagement capability that is not possible with legacy aircraft. The F-35 fuses information from all of its sensors and displays it to the pilot on large panoramic cockpit displays. This comprehensive and intuitive display provides complete situation awareness to the pilot, showing the location and status of both enemy and friendly forces. The ability for the F-35 to accomplish the entire kill chain independently minimizes reliance on other support aircraft. This reduces logistical requirements, further decreasing strains on MAGTF resources.

    The US Marine Corps (USMC) will employ the F-35B and F-35C to support the six functions of Marine Corps aviation. The six functions of Marine Aviation are as follows:

    (1) assault support;
    (2) anti-aircraft warfare;
    (3) offensive air support;
    (4) electronic warfare;
    (5) control of aircraft and missiles; and
    (6) aerial reconnaissance.​

    This remarkable breadth of employment will allow the Marine Corps to decrease its tactical aviation inventory while increasing aircraft lethality, survivability, and supportability compared to those of legacy aircraft.

    It is no exaggeration that the future of American air power — and American military pre-eminence in the Pacific — rests on the successful progress of the JSF program. The key to that progress is stable funding. The F-35’s greatest value is derived from its role in US grand strategy. That is, a good deal of the value of the F-35 comes from understanding its overall value as a fleet and in the context of the future of US air power in general. Too much of the conversation and almost all of the controversy comes from losing this critical perspective. Dr. Robert Farley's Oct 2011 article, 'Over the Horizon: The Transformative Capabilities of the F-35B', explains some of the broader issues relating to the F-35B, that demonstrate second order effects.
    The UK are also interested in using the Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing (SRVL) method to increase the bring-back capability for the F-35B. With SRVL developed, UK's F-35Bs will be able to a make a 6-deg. glideslope landing to bring-back up to 2,000-pound bombs for F-35B missions. The UK is planning to place an order for 14 the F-35B in late 2013. The UK wants to be able to deliver an initial operating capability from land bases toward the end of 2018 and a full capability, including carrier operations by 2023 (see 'UK Looks Ahead To F-35 Carrier Ops' for details).
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  5. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    First F-35B Delivery to MCAS Yuma - YouTube

    On 20 Nov 2012, Lockheed Martin delivered three F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft to the US Marine Corps during ceremonies at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. Official welcoming ceremonies at Yuma marked the handover of the jets to the Marines. The delivery of the first three operational-coded 5th generation F-35B STOVL fighters marks the beginning of STOVL tactical operational training at Air Station Yuma.

    First F-35B Night Vertical Landing - YouTube

    On 20 February 2013, it was reported that the US Navy scuttled plans for further testing of the F-35B aboard USS Wasp and buy four fewer F-35s -- two each of the F-35B and F-35C.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013
  6. Ananda

    Ananda Active Member

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    Just to confirm, USMC future only with F-35B right ? No SHornet for USMC right ? I've read several information on various media on this matter. Although I do believe most report indicated that F-35B will be the sole Fighters in USMC inventory, however some comment in other forum or media indicating that USMC still want to use FA-18F to replace their current FA-18D.

    OPSSG can you give me some clarification, Is this mean the F-35B will used mostly for Ground Support, or (this I tend more to believe), Harriers uses mostly as Ground Support (which it'is) and their Pilots need to be trained on Hornet for Air Combat Training. Anyway where do those Harriers pilots get combat training (if not with Hornet) ? I thought AV-8B only have limited Air Combat capabilities (compared to RAN Sea Harriers). Are they get Air Combat training with their AV-8B ? Is it sufficient for them getting Air Combat training with AV-8B considering their relative limited Air Combat capabilities ?
     
  7. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    No, this is wrong. The USMC is to acquire 340 F-35Bs (which may be deployed from FOBs, LHDs and LHAs) and 80 F-35Cs (which will be deployed from USN carriers). Each USN carrier has a USMC squadron.

    Yes. The USMC does not want to buy the Super Hornet.

    Wrong. See above reply and for more details on who is buying what, I repeat some information posted in another thread below.

    All combat coded F-35A/B/Cs are all supersonic; all are capable of air combat and also capable of conducting ground attack in the same mission. This means strike packages can self escort, rather than have another flight of aircraft to perform combat air patrol.

    All variants of the Harriers are subsonic (with or without radar on the nose) - so not so useful in future air battles. They will be replaced by the F-35B for the USMC, British Navy and Italian Navy.

    Hope this reply helps clarify things for you. Feel free to ask any questions, as you are a much valued member of our forum. I hope the others will add to my reply on these questions raised by you.

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  8. Ananda

    Ananda Active Member

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    Ok Thanks, sometimes I got confused when try following the Arguments on JSF especially F-35B. Many plus and minus arguments on F-35B on various media and forums, which some of them I do think has merit.

    One of them the argument's on effectiveness of F-35B from LHA as Light-Medium carriers. The argument I believe arise with the thinking that USN in the future will only can afford 6-8 super carriers (like Nimitz and Future Ford), from current 10-12 ones. This raise the need for LHA conduct secondary Carriers duty as Medium Carriers thus still can provide USN with up to 20 flat tops.

    However this thinking being challenge with the arguments that F-35B will have limited weapons load and range compared to F-35C, that will render LHA has to operated closer to shores and in such more vulnerable, and thus still need Super Carriers to support them. In sense LHA even with F-35B can't operated as independent like present super carrier group, thus using LHA with F-35B as replacement/augmenting shrinking super carriers force considered unworkable.

    What do you think about this ? Can LHA (say 2-3 LHA with F-35B) can replace 1 Nimitz/Ford ? I know it's not what LHA being design for, but the thinking with US economics capability in future, raised questions on the USN capabilities on operating same number of Nimitz/Ford with present inventory.

    Other thinking that I see arise is for USN operated 4-6 Ford and augmented with similar number of French CDG sizes nuclear/conventional medium carriers. However this thinking also being challenge since it can potentially force USN to reduce the number of LHA thus reducing the amphibious capabilities.

    In short there are still arguments and thinking to sacrificed F-35B in USN/USMC or RN for F-35C fleet only to safe costs.

    RN flip-flopping on F-35B (yes they are now come back again to F-35B, but looking to their latest practices, in my mind did not guarantee they will not some time in future referred back to F-35C although this will increased the building costs of QE2 and PoW), That's left Italian Navy that still wants F-35B for Cavour. Singapore show interest on F-35B, but in my mind this is too early to guarantee Singapore in the end will not back to F-35A.

    In short, compared to F-35A and F-35C, the B versions still have potential on vulnerability of the program continuations. Do you think the B future already save ?
     
  9. King Wally

    King Wally Member

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    I think if the Falklands War showed anything it's that a STOVL asset... even at reduced capability can be game changing. It brings something unique to the table and given the complete lack of alternatives I think its safe to say the F-35B is secure long term. In my opinion anyway.

    Ananda you raise several points about the USN in the long term and I have to admit I personally see them having to scale back their numbers of Super Carriers. The good thing is that the F-35B opens doors to other options if that is indeed true. While it's not ideal a couple WASP Class LHD's for example could project air power if needed and be at the right place at the right time to get the job done in a lot of circumstances. Even if it's just to buy the USN enough time to redeploy a Super Carrier to an exploding hot spot.
     
  10. Ananda

    Ananda Active Member

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    The question is how far the capabilities of LHA/LHD with F-35B can replace Nimitz or Ford super carriers. The thinking right now is whether F-35B can only be supplemental for F-35C or alternative.

    Right now USMC uses their AV-8B as ground support from LHA/LHD during amphibious operations. This concept try to be maximize with F-35B in such 2 LHA/LHD can be used by USN as alternative for Nimitz and Ford in the future, if the economics reality force USN only with 6-8 super carriers in the service. In sense the deficit of 3-4 Nimitz/Ford capabilities will be replaced by 6-8 LHA/LHD with F-35B.

    Again this raised questions.."Can it be done properly ?? " Can 2 or even 3 LHA/LHD with F-35B can replace a single Nimitz/Ford with all their F-35C, SHornet, Growler, and AEW ??

    If not..How far as potential stop gap the concept of LHA with F-35B can be uses as stop gap for Super Carriers ? example : LHA with F-35B can only be uses against softer target, but not all out Carrier Battle Group operations on Blue Water..

    This in turn would not satisfied the proponent of USN keeping the carrier force as it is, which according to several sources that I gather still strong politically. Then again Economic reality can say otherwise.

    That's why, I still found ideas and support for JSF program to ditch F-35B to save costs, thus enable to secure rational costs for F-35 A and C.

    Again I'm not supporting any Ideas, but wandering if the future for F-35B already save or not, since this's the one (that I believe) from the program that the future still have potential as questionable.
     
  11. RobWilliams

    RobWilliams Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The UK will not buy the F35C, it was an idea from the Conservative Government and they made the change back to the F35B.

    The only other scenario that might happen is after the initial buy of 48, the remainder may be filled with either of the other variants of the F35 to satisfy the JCA requirements but then would result in being the replacement of the Typhoon in the 2030's, so a bit of a political nightmare.
     
  12. Ananda

    Ananda Active Member

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    Thanks Rob, I do believe if 48 already firmed on F-35B, potential of any other variance of F-35 will only came as Typhoon replacement. Which still can be since no talk or any concept mature yet for possible Typhoon replacement (that I know of).

    Well, I just thinking on the Ideas that I pick up from pther forums and media, that if USN do reduced their Super Carriers numbers, then it will definitely have impact on the number of F-35C. Having smaller nuclear class carriers (like the size of French CdG) seems will not gain much of saving as it hoped, compared to LHA with F-35B.

    That's what I'm raising now, will the concept of LHA with F-35B can satisfies with proponent of Super Carriers which I do believe still strong politically in US. Or they might go other way, thus scrapping F-35B to save F-35C (including 10+ super carriers capabilities).
     
  13. RobWilliams

    RobWilliams Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That's currently how it's laid out, but i'm not going to really go into Tiffy here.

    I don't believe the LHA concept does very well in the US, IIRC after the first 2 (LHA 6 & LHA 7) America's being produced - which were designed with aviation facilities in mind - the rest will be given a well dock which will probably have a significant impact on those aviation facilities, so the 'small carrier' capacity won't be as potent after the first 2 ships anyway. Just had a check on Wiki and it's apparently to do with the USMC not being a fan of the LPH concept which would be the America's primary method of moving troops.

    The current numbers being thrown around is 20 F35B's when in a 'mini aircraft carrier' mode, so it'll be less than that after the first 2.

    Need to weigh it up, if the USN doesn't get the F35C presumably they could go back to the F/A -18E/F (which the C's aren't replacing). If the USMC loses the F35B then they know they lose fixed wing aviation, not to mention a rather ticked off Italy and UK now with huuuuuuge LPH's.

    Personally I believe the USN willl drop a couple of carriers, i'd love someone to point me in the direction of info saying it won't happen. But it's just important to remember that every USMC LHD/LHA operating as a mini carrier loses a big chunk of it's amphibious capability.
     
  14. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    @Ananda, the F-35B is the jewel in the crown of the JSF program. At one stage, the F-35B was on probation but no longer. It is still under development, just like the other two.

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD-J1KksHUQ"]F-35B - Taking STOVL to a New Level - YouTube[/nomedia]


    Some of the other forums you frequent deal with imaginary matters, rather than what is real (and it does not help that they have members who peddle misinformation). Which is why you were confused. You now stand corrected, in this thread. Cancelling any type now (A, B or C), at this stage will not save costs and would increase production lot costs. It needs volume to drive costs down and the F-35 buys in Asia will help with volume. See the F-35 - International Participation thread for more F-35 details and latest news on Japan, Korean and Singapore.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
  15. Ananda

    Ananda Active Member

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    Yes personally, I do tend to see USN with 8 Ford and Nimitz after 2020. Which considering the situations with everybody else, will not be a disaster for USN (I do not believe by then China will able to operated 4 carriers like some China forumers says). Still will be interesting to see how far this mini-carriers concept will be put forward if they do lose 2-3 super carriers capability.

    Thanks OPSSG, however do you mind elaborate on your statement why canceling B will not made saving in the costs of A and C ? Is this because by canceling B, there are no guarantee that the number of B cancelled will be allocated toward A and C, in such the Investment costs that being put on B, will not be replaced by new A and C numbers ?
    ( I tend to think that since it's more economic make sense, then some of arguments being put that seems neglected to calculate Investment costs of the B's or simply think it can be replace by allocating the order to A and C, which I do not believe as easy of that).

    Edit: Ok I see your point from other thread.

    Add:
    Sometime I'm wandering if the JSF life as a program will be easier if B is not included. Don't get me wrong I do believe B is one thing that differentiated JSF from other program. Don't believe in near future anyone else can come out with a LO Supersonic gen 5 fighter. However I do seems to think from many arguments and media report, that seems made me think JSF life will be much easier without B.

    However I do hope B still can materializes as operational Fighters soon.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2013
  16. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I find your latest question, very funny.

    With regards to US JSF funding for A, B & C:

    Who pays for A?
    Ans: USAF

    Who pays for B?
    Ans: USMC

    Who pays for C?
    Ans: USN (and USMC is part of USN)

    Product cost is volume sensitive. Turkey's move of 1 aircraft fro LRIP Lot-7 to LRIP Lot-9 increased the production cost of each of the 35 lot-7 aircraft by around US$1 million. The JSF needs to ramp up volume after LRIP Lot-9 onwards to drive down cost.

    If you cancel B. USMC funding for their tac air will go to another non-JSF program, to develop a new aircraft type. Total JSF volume goes down by at least 340 F-35Bs. How is this a cost savings for the US Government? The US will pay much, much, much more for each and every F-35A and F-35C. Thereafter the USMC will take another 10-20 years to develop a new replacement for their tac air (which will cost more $ than sticking to the JSF). For example, when the USMC decided to cancel the troubled Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle in 2010 and replace it with a new armored transport it takes until 2023 or 13 years to field the replacement.

    If you cancel C, the USN funding will go to another non-JSF program, to develop a new aircraft type. Total JSF volume goes down by 260 + 80 = 340 F-35Cs. How is this a cost savings for the US Government? The US will pay much, much more for each F-35A and F-35B. Thereafter the USN will take another 20-25 years to develop a new replacement for their tac air (which will cost more $ than sticking to the JSF). BTW, the first production model F-35C variant has flown on 15 Feb 2013.

    In both scenarios, we have not counted to cost of life-extension of existing platforms to be replaced by JSF aircraft for another 10-25 years.

    According to the Audit Report No.6 2012–13, released by Australian National Audit Office on "Management of Australia’s Air Combat Capability — F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Acquisition", it said:

    "21. Under the JSF Program the US, with its industry partners (in particular Lockheed Martin), is developing the F‐35 Lightning II aircraft to replace legacy fighters and strike aircraft in its own Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps air combat fleets. The cost to the US of F‐35 development and production is currently estimated at US$395.7 billion, which makes the JSF Program the most costly and ambitious US Department of Defense acquisition program by a wide margin...

    34. From the Australian perspective, concurrency risks in the JSF Program are not as significant because the US, as the principal developer of the F‐35, is bearing the bulk of the costs and risks involved. By the time Australia acquires its first F‐35 aircraft, the concurrency issues currently being experienced are expected to have been largely dealt with. Rather, Australia has benefited from the concurrency strategy of enabling F‐35 production processes and facilities to be tested and refined ahead of the F‐35 Full‐Rate Production decision...

    41. As at June 2012, the JSF Program Office estimated the Unit Recurring Flyaway (URF) cost of a CTOL F‐35A aircraft for Fiscal Year 2012 to be
    US$131.4 million. That cost includes the baseline aircraft configuration, including airframe, engine and avionics. The URF cost is estimated to reduce to US$127.3 million in 2013, and to US$83.4 million in 2019. These expected price reductions take into account economies of scale resulting from increasing production volumes, as well as the effects of inflation. The estimates indicate that, after 2019, inflation will increase the URF cost of each F‐35A by about US$2 million per year...

    44. Overall, the achievement of the JSF Program’s objectives... has progressed more slowly and at greater cost than first estimated. Nonetheless... initiatives to improve performance are starting to show results, in terms of software development milestones being more closely adhered to, and planned flight test targets being reported as met or exceeded in 2011–12..."

    A cancellation of any type will increase lot production costs and divert money away. How is that a cost savings? Logical?!? You have been hanging out at other forums for too long. [/big smile]
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  17. Ananda

    Ananda Active Member

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    Yep, more or less what I'm thinking. No Guarantee the cancellation of one type will means the numbered canceled will go to other type, i,e no guarantee the lost Investment costs can be recouped with more order of other Types as replacement.

    Well sometimes it's a good exercise of differentiating fantasy and reality ;) :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 8, 2013
  18. colay

    colay New Member

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    The not-so-favorable LPH experience has to take into consideration it was a relatively small vessel operating a limited number of less capable aircraft. It would depend on the circumstances, I suppose. You lose the floodable well deck with the LHA but in the Libyan scenario, it wasn't needed whereas the LHA's ability to field greater numbers of more capable aircraft and sustain a high tempo of flight operations for prolonged periods would have been very desirable and useful. Having a LHA simply gives the ARG/ESG commander greater aviation flexibility IMO and reducing dependence on the CVN fleet which will likely come under greater stress in the coming years. One LHA on each coast is a nice arrangement.
     
  19. RobWilliams

    RobWilliams Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That's the rub, in Lybia the extra aviation capacity would've been ideal, but on the flipside the well dock might be the thing you need in another scenario so it's all compromise.

    Completely agreed with the flexibility, add into that 6 F35B's per ship as the 'standard' complement (+ rotary assets) which is flexible and personally I don't think you could go wrong. The extra emphasis of pockets of B's in the fleet will become more and more pronounced.

    The Marines are onto a great capability with the B's and they know it, I wouldn't be surprised if they want to put a greater emphasis on B's on LHAs/LHDs considering the sort of strain the CVN's will be under, like you say, but not neccesarily to the extreme as treating them like mini carriers with 20 F35Bs.
     
  20. jack412

    jack412 Member

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    I was thinking that perhaps they could float a dirty great fuel tank into the well ?
    I know, I know there are a 100 issues to overcome..but it made some sense to me