Friday, January 27, 2012

British MoD considering Rafale, F/A-18E waiting for the F-35

F-35C trials at Lakehurst Base ©Richards
Due to the recent arresting hook issues encontered by Lockheed Martin during the first carrier landing trials of the F-35C, the British Ministry of Defense starts to think about a possible plan B if the american aircraft were to be delayed. The problem seems quite serious as it could lead to a major redesign of the rear fuselage of the plane and thus to significant additional costs and delay.

"According to The Times, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar, the current commander-in-chief fleet, said concerns were growing about rising costs and delays in the JSF programme, something now worsened by order cuts from the US. 

Soar, who was addressing defence companies at the ADS Maritime Interest Group, reportedly said the UK might not receive the $100m per piece F-35 jets until a decade after the delivery of the carrier, currently set for 2019.

He was said to be considering the French Dassault Rafale and the US F-18 Super Hornet to give Britain an "interim aircraft capability". 

Soar indicated that the JSF would be a major talking point at the next strategic defence review in 2015."

sources :


  1. Carrier operation is a perishable skill. Leaving five years and hoping to pick it up again simply doesn't sound that practical.

  2. The distance between F35C's main gear and arresting hook does seem awfully short in the picture. Hope that they will eventually be able to solve the awkward bird's carrier landing problem.

  3. The British navy pilots are currently embedded in the Marine Nationalel to begin training on the Rafale M, precisely not to loose the skill. Or regain it, as they used Harriers before that. So if they took the Rafale they would even have some continuation of platform.

    I keep saying that the British and French should just add 2 and 2 together:
    • The French need a new or additional carrier
    • The British need operational planes
    and both have what the other needs.