F-35s ready for front-line operations

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CharlieOneSix
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F-35s ready for front-line operations

#1 Post by CharlieOneSix » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:34 pm

Military aviators can now fly the world’s most advanced fighter on front-line missions after the F-35 Lightning was declared operational.

In front of a new hangar built specially to house the stealth fighters at their home on land – RAF Marham in Norfolk – Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the fifth-generation jet was ready to take its place in the nation’s aerial order of battle.
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Nine F-35s are on UK soil at present, flying with the legendary 617 ‘Dambusters’ Squadron – an RAF formation, but nearly half its personnel are Royal Navy pilots or engineers.

Mr Williamson said the advent of the Lightnings made the UK’s “commitment to a role on the world stage clear to both our allies and our enemies.”

The declaration of Initial Operating Capability means the Lightning Force can conduct combat missions from land bases if world events require the stealth fighter’s intervention.

“This is great news for the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom as it is a key milestone along the road to operating the F-35 Lightning at the heart of our carrier strike capability from 2021,” said Commander James Blackmore, who has been involved in the programme for the past decade and is now in charge of flying operations (known as Commander Air, or ‘Wings’) aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth.

As a fifth-generation fighter, the F-35 is streets ahead of anything we have operated before. It’s proving itself to be highly capable in air-to-air and air-to-ground operations. Fuse that together with its stealth capability, it’s way beyond anything other land or sea-based fighters.

HMS Queen Elizabeth was designed from the keel up to support the F-35 and it showed. The ‘marriage’ between the ship and the aircraft was superb. We learned that together, we have got something quite special.
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There are now half a dozen nations who have operational F-35s, although on the US and UK are flying the stealth fighter from carriers.

The next key step for Britain is to declare the F-35 operational at sea – from the more challenging surroundings of HMS Queen Elizabeth, ready for the carrier’s maiden deployment in two years’ time.

So far the F-35, carrier and task group are bang on track to make that deadline.

Test variants of the F-35 conducted a myriad of trials aboard the Portsmouth-based warship off the Eastern Seaboard last autumn.

The data and experiences gathered are helping to ‘write the manual’ for safely operating F-35 squadrons when they embark – beginning this autumn with a return to the Eastern Seaboard of the USA.

This time the carrier will be joined by Marham-based front-line F-35s from 617 Sqn plus Lightnings from 17 Sqn, based at Edwards Air Force Base in California, where Fleet Air Arm and RAF pilots are developing the combat techniques for exploiting the fighter’s awesome capabilities in action.

The British-based pilots will prepare for that deployment both in UK skies and in four new full mission simulators opened by Mr Williamson on his visit to Marham; the new training complex also features classrooms and mock-ups of the F-35s for air and ground crew to practise on.

The Westlant 19 deployment will focused on operations, rather than the basics of flying the F-35 on and off the carrier’s expansive deck, and working as part of a carrier task group.
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“HMS Queen Elizabeth was designed from the keel up to support the F-35 and it showed. The ‘marriage’ between the ship and the aircraft was superb. We learned that together, we have got something quite special,” Commander Blackmore added.

“It’s not just about the aircraft, however. The key now is to bring the aircraft together with a whole carrier task group to deliver a truly potent force – and we are on course to deliver that from 2021.”
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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#2 Post by ian16th » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:10 pm

Does the F-35 have AAR capability that is compatible with any tanker that is currently in UK service?
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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#3 Post by Boac » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:17 pm



I would hope the US system access is still operational too.

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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#4 Post by Pontius Navigator » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:24 pm

Yes.

Video here:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/vid ... folk-video

Sorry about the source

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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#5 Post by ian16th » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:25 pm

Thanks.

The time I've seen the probes extended, I was unaware of them.
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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#6 Post by Woody » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:35 am

Anyone care to put a figure on how much each sortie has cost :((
The first of Britain's most advanced and expensive fighter jets have now carried out more than a dozen missions over Iraq and Syria.
With IS having lost its territory and on the run there are now few obvious targets.
The F-35s have not yet conducted any airstrikes. Instead they've been using their sophisticated sensors to gather intelligence.
The RAF describes the F-35 as the best "eyes and ears" on the battlefield, even though the jet is still suffering from a host of technical problems.
But its other great asset is that it is hard to see. Britain's first "stealth" jet can, in theory, avoid detection by enemy radar.
The real test in combat will not be against the remnants of IS, but a well armed opponent with advanced air defences.
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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#7 Post by fin » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:04 pm

Are there more than three different aircraft named Lightning?
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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#8 Post by llondel » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:38 pm

fin wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:04 pm
Are there more than three different aircraft named Lightning?
No, because it's three strikes and you're out.

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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#9 Post by barkingmad » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:02 pm

As long as it stays afloat........?

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2019/ ... eak-again/
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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#10 Post by Brian W May » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:24 pm

Be interesting to see which lasts the longest, the F-35 paintwork or the QE's hull . . .

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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#11 Post by 4mastacker » Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:19 pm

Apparently, 5 (or is it 6?) more new toys on their way to Marham.
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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#12 Post by barkingmad » Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:35 pm

Brian W May wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:24 pm
Be interesting to see which lasts the longest, the F-35 paintwork or the QE's hull . . .
Having watched ITV series "Fighter Pilot: The Real Top Gun" I can sleep easy of a night knowing those on QRA launching to see off the Russian threat may be paralysed on the ground by the £100million equivalent of having to Ctl-Alt-Delete because the 21st Century wonderplane doesn't like the pilot's name and/or password.

Is this progress??

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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#13 Post by Brian W May » Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:06 am

Do you remember the vaguely Country and Western song whose punch line was 'Life gets tedious don't it?'

Life gets tedious don't it . . .

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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#14 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:13 am

I wonder how long they are planning to take to work a new aircraft carrier, new aircraft type and a carrier group including electronic countermeasures and anti hyper-sonic missile defense systems in operational readiness? I trust they have factored the group into account, without which the carrier, and its short range F-35's, is really no more use than a large floating bread bin with a runway in well defended areas like the South China sea and even the Straits of Hormuz. If the carrier was only intended to show the flag and frighten 3rd world fuzzy wuzzies then it might have been better to have built a new Britannia for Her Majesty and spent the large amount of change left on some decent helicopter carriers for the heli's and F-35's (pity they sold the Harriers) and the rest on the RAF and the army.

Hubris etc. perhaps!
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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#15 Post by Fox3WheresMyBanana » Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:15 am

If you think of it as one of the USA's smaller aircraft carriers, and the UK as a whole as one of the largest, it makes a lot more sense.

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Re: F-35s ready for front-line operations

#16 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:49 pm

Fox3WheresMyBanana wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:15 am
If you think of it as one of the USA's smaller aircraft carriers, and the UK as a whole as one of the largest, it makes a lot more sense.
Britain’s new aircraft carrier to the Asia Pacific region on her first operational deployment, due in 2021.

The government is keen to assert freedom of navigation through international waters and, alongside US and Australian allies, has been forthright in defending such actions against an increasingly belligerent China.

The planned deployment will see F-35 stealth jets from the US Marine Corps embarked on the 65,000 ton ship...

Speaking in London last week Major General Su Guanghui, China’s Defence Attaché to the UK, said: “If the US and UK join hands in a challenge or violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China, that would be hostile action”.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/0 ... s-carrier/
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