Royal Air Force [RAF] discussions and updates

swerve

Super Moderator
..
It should either never have been started or cancelled much earlier I suspect. My personal nail in the coffin moment would have been the engine selection - there was apparently a Honeywell engine with better fuel consumption but of the same dimensions as the existing engine which would have fitted in, but that was rejected in preference for something with more power. At that point, you now need new wing boxes, you've already built a wider body fuselage and you're fitting new engines - to something, which as has been mentioned, was a collection of bespoke parts.

And we *knew* this would be a problem because when the Nimrod AEW program came up, they were careful to match the wings with the fuselage because it was understood that the parts were not a mass-produced fit.
Damn right. One decision that causes a cascade of others, each costing money, taking time & introducing risks.

I've seen a list of proposed replacement engines. Some would have run into the same problem as the BR710. Others might not, which would have meant no need for the wing box replacement. And there was the possibility of refurbishing the Speys. It should have been possible to get a bit more performance & keep them running for long enough.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Something like that. No new wing box, as you say, no new wing, therefore no largely new tail needed. IIRC a lot of the new stuff cascaded from decisions to change A, which then necessitated a change to B, & before you know it the alphabet doesn't look big enough.

Big thing with any hypothetical new engines is that they have to fit in without rebuilding the airframe.

I think one of the offers was to do something like that with second hand P-3s. The Spanish bit of Airbus did that successfully a few years later for Brazil, & IIRC for Spain, so we know it was doable. Can't see why it wouldn't be with Nimrod.

Either way, we could have been looking at a leisurely decision on when to buy something new.
Almost all the P3 reworks have gone fine - the only faceplant I can think of was Germany's recent termination. Of course, P3 was actually mass produced to some degree of industry standard - ie, all the aircraft were much more the same shape and size as one another than Nimrod ever dreamed of. Damned septics and their measuring stuff.


But, assuming you plan for Nimrod's uh..tolerances you get a bit of sensible work for the UK aerospace industry, and then "hey, we're totally a part of Eurobus, how about "unfolds logical shift to A3xx based ASW platform"



Or at least get us into pole position to be an active partner in P8.

No ASW gap, no billions down the drain.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Exactly. If they'd been less ambitious at the start & had proper project control we might have got decent, usable, MPAs within a reasonable time & at a reasonable price, giving us plenty of time to plan for something longer-term, & some money to spend on other useful stuff in the meantime.

I have a soft spot for Nimrod, but I'd have put up with another interim refurbished aeroplane. Even something like what the Italians have done (a few smaller, lower capability aircraft with OTS kit - the P-72 ASW, a militarised ATR-72) until something long-term could be sorted out would be better than a decade with no ASW aircraft.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yeah, that doesn't make sense. Spain is upgrading their Tranche 1s with Tranche 2/3 kit.


That's pretty much what we should be doing I'd have thought - are the RAF T1's in a bad state or high hours ? I think we're talking about sixty jets that could be brought up to a useful standard there.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
The RAF got 53 T1.

Given that some users are talking about disposing of T1s with a lot of airframe hours left, it could be worthwhile for other users to buy & refurbish 'em. Spain, for example. Already has an update plan, so it'd just be a question of putting some more aircraft through it.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
The RAF got 53 T1.

Given that some users are talking about disposing of T1s with a lot of airframe hours left, it could be worthwhile for other users to buy & refurbish 'em. Spain, for example. Already has an update plan, so it'd just be a question of putting some more aircraft through it.

If you wanted some low mileage, one careful owner T1s I'd have the Austrian ones :) Apparently their budget stretched to 3 hours flying for their entire fleet of 15 per day, max.

But seriously, yeah, even without the reworks, low hour Tiffy might be attractive to some users. Probably a bit much aircraft for a lot of possible countries. If you wanted to get into the top end of air defence in a reasonably cheap way, T1's reworked to T2 would be pretty good.
 
I read that they are planning on basing the E7 out of Lossiemouth. I know logistically it makes sense but thats a lot of assets in one location that can't be smart defence wise. This is why I feel the RAF need a more robust land based defence system.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
I read that they are planning on basing the E7 out of Lossiemouth. I know logistically it makes sense but thats a lot of assets in one location that can't be smart defence wise. This is why I feel the RAF need a more robust land based defence system.
An area missile platform like SAMP-T or similar ?

The RAF are getting CAMM for land use, that's point/inner layer - not sure how much use we'd get out of anything with a longer range tbh - crowded skies over our tiny island don't lend themselves to taking long range missile shots much.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
I'm not sure that "crowded" & Moray & points north fit in the same sentence. To the south & east there's Aberdeenshire, with 41 people per sq km, & to the west & NW there's Highland, with 9 per sq km. Combined, Moray & Highland have just over 0.5% of the population of the UK in 11% of the area. That gives them about the population density of Utah, Kansas or Norway, a third of the density of Texas.

Apart from helicopters servicing offshore rigs, I don't think there's heavy air traffic. I reckon a few SAMP/T systems to defend Lossiemouth would be able to operate fairly freely. They should be able to distinguish such things as oil rig helicopters from incoming missiles.

London - that'd be a different question.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
I'm not sure that "crowded" & Moray & points north fit in the same sentence. To the south & east there's Aberdeenshire, with 41 people per sq km, & to the west & NW there's Highland, with 9 per sq km. Combined, Moray & Highland have just over 0.5% of the population of the UK in 11% of the area. That gives them about the population density of Utah, Kansas or Norway, a third of the density of Texas.

Apart from helicopters servicing offshore rigs, I don't think there's heavy air traffic. I reckon a few SAMP/T systems to defend Lossiemouth would be able to operate fairly freely. They should be able to distinguish such things as oil rig helicopters from incoming missiles.

London - that'd be a different question.
Very good point of course - but Lossiemouth are also host to one of the larger Typhoon contingents as well - does SAMP/T or equivalent sync with that well ? Do we need missile batteries covering Lossiemouth ?
 
They say our military investment is due to a resurgent Russia and a more Aggressive China. So with Russia a attack would most likely be in the form of a cruise missile probably from a sub .we Don't do CAPS anymore so I doubt we would get the aircraft up quickly enough. Just my opinion investing in half a dozen batteries of good air defence systems would be useful.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
I don't think the UK has traditionally flow CAP - it's always been QRA - keep the jets on the ground at 5 minute readiness and launch them as needed - all the way through the cold war and til now. Admittedly a missile will get there faster in a shooting situation. I wouldn't mind a couple of batteries of something with ABM capabilities but what do you give up to get that ?
 

Terran

Active Member
Kinda interesting.

So the RAF have on order 5 Boeing 737 AEW birds. The first two will be converted from existing airframes. The first of the two has been selected a former Deer Jet (China) BBJ 737-700. Roughly 10 years old as a business jet it probably still has lots of service life. Has been in storage for about a year and a half after Deer Jet sold it back to Boeing.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I read that they are planning on basing the E7 out of Lossiemouth. I know logistically it makes sense but thats a lot of assets in one location that can't be smart defence wise. This is why I feel the RAF need a more robust land based defence system.
I would imagine if any perceived heightened threat environment, would see such vital assets dispersed at a minimum...
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Any aggressor would also have to run deconfliction with the USAF as well - it's a busy environment :)
Yep, that new $1.5b project at Lakenheath to permanently house 48x USAF, F-35A’s, on top of UK forces, shows the UK’s air defence isn’t exactly limited...
 
Yep, that new $1.5b project at Lakenheath to permanently house 48x USAF, F-35A’s, on top of UK forces, shows the UK’s air defence isn’t exactly limited...
Even Lakenheath is what 40/50 miles at the most from the sea. Even if the sub was 10 miles out could you launch by the time that missile has done distance I would say no
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Even Lakenheath is what 40/50 miles at the most from the sea. Even if the sub was 10 miles out could you launch by the time that missile has done distance I would say no

What are you trying to defend against in this scenario ? The UK ran some studies on the V force back in the sixties and came to the conclusion that under a four minute warning, even the jets that had launched immediately and were on their way to their targets would be consumed by the fireballs from nuclear strikes arriving after they left.

There's some things you can and should plan for and there's some stuff that well, maybe if it happens, you're done.

If a sub launched a strike with conventional cruise missiles from the English channel, I'm honestly not sure *what* you could sensibly do - that's a very crowded bit of sea and air space - you *might* be able to get a point defence system prepped but honestly, it's right out of the Tom Clancy school of "oh crap.."
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
What are you trying to defend against in this scenario ? The UK ran some studies on the V force back in the sixties and came to the conclusion that under a four minute warning, even the jets that had launched immediately and were on their way to their targets would be consumed by the fireballs from nuclear strikes arriving after they left.

There's some things you can and should plan for and there's some stuff that well, maybe if it happens, you're done.

If a sub launched a strike with conventional cruise missiles from the English channel, I'm honestly not sure *what* you could sensibly do - that's a very crowded bit of sea and air space - you *might* be able to get a point defence system prepped but honestly, it's right out of the Tom Clancy school of "oh crap.."
You would be better off putting the resources into finding and neutralising the Sub then trying a hail Mary defense against a SLCM
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
You would be better off putting the resources into finding and neutralising the Sub then trying a hail Mary defense against a SLCM

Exactly, like, build more Astutes, buy more P8 etc. Some assets that are easier to shift flexibly to face threats. I'm not *opposed* to the idea of buying in a couple of batteries of SAMP-T or something but it's "what did we lose to get that?" - and if the answer is a wing of F35 or a Type 26, I'd be "nope"
 
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