Royal Air Force orbat

Discuss air warfare, doctrine, air forces, historic campaigns, etc.
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weasel1962

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Unread post29 Jun 2019, 02:09

RAF has smallest combat force in history with fewest fighter jets after shrinking by nearly half in just 12 years
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... e-low.html

Claims 102 Typhoon and 17 F-35B available.

Per Airbus military deliveries as at May 2019, 158 of 160 Typhoons delivered comprising 53 Tranche 1, 67 Tranche 2 and 38 Tranche 3A. 50+ are generally in sustainment.
Out of 17 F-35B, 8 are Blk 2B and before, remaining are currently blk 3F.

Squadron list
1 (F) Sqn - Typhoon FGR4 - QRA squadron stood up 2012
II (AC) Sqn - Typhoon FGR4 - QRA squadron stood up 2016
3 (F) Sqn - Typhoon FGR4 - QRA squadron stood up 2006
6 Sqn - Typhoon FGR4 - QRA squadron stood up 2010
IX (B) Sqn - Typhoon FGR4 - stood up 2019
XI (F) Sqn - Typhoon FGR4 - stood up 2007
29 Sqn - Typhoon OCU - stood up 2003
41 Sqn - Typhoon OTE - stood up 2006
17 Sqn - F-35B OTE - converted 2013
617 Sqn - F-35B - converted 2018
207 Sqn - F-35B OCU - stood up 1 Jul 2019
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weasel1962

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Unread post30 Jun 2019, 03:57

RAF should have 35 F-35B by 2022.
https://des.mod.uk/f-35-fleet-17-jet-order/
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weasel1962

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Unread post01 Jul 2019, 03:51

6 RAF/RN F-35Bs have been deployed in combat. Originally deployed for training as part of Exercise Lightning Dawn, then alongside Typhoons as part of Operation Shader.

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... al-sorties

Below is the range circle representing the combat radius of F-35B from RAF Akrotiri.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post01 Jul 2019, 15:55

Keep in mind that the F-35B's range profile is based on STOVL operations. When they operate from traditional airstrips, their range is significantly more.
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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quicksilver

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Unread post01 Jul 2019, 23:31

SpudmanWP wrote:Keep in mind that the F-35B's range profile is based on STOVL operations. When they operate from traditional airstrips, their range is significantly more.


Hmmm. Help me understand that.
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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post01 Jul 2019, 23:37

I honestly have a hard time picturing much savings for take off but landing at "idle" compared to landing at full power I can see getting some gains.
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quicksilver

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Unread post02 Jul 2019, 00:23

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:I honestly have a hard time picturing much savings for take off but landing at "idle" compared to landing at full power I can see getting some gains.


My bet is a couple hundred pounds...another 15-20 miles(ish). /2= 8-10 miles of radius.
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weasel1962

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Unread post02 Jul 2019, 00:50

Making the range circle irrelevant...
https://www.raf.mod.uk/aircraft/voyager/

...and they only need 1, which was deployed, to support both F-35s and Typhoon.
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blain

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Unread post10 Jul 2019, 00:25

I clicked on this topic for a good laugh. Actually, it's very sad. They just sold off an "extra" C-130J to the Marines. I wonder if there will be a fire sale of F-35s at some point.

I believe they are down to one armored division. When you are down to only one armored division, what's the point? Why have any? Maybe it will pay for a few more hip surgeries for the NHS or maybe patients will only have to wait three months for an MRI instead of 6 months?
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weasel1962

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Unread post10 Jul 2019, 02:56

Its worse when that sole armoured division won't have a full complement of tanks (only 148 to be upgraded under LEP?).
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... parts.html

and its not just the MBT fleet but the vehicle fleet in general as DN reports...
https://www.defensenews.com/global/euro ... ete-tanks/

On the transport front, the RAF has got 8 C-17s (s/no 171-178), 14 MRTT (6 KC3, 332-335, 337-338, 8 KC2 330-331, 339-343 and 336 configured for VIP with business class seats) and 20 out of 22 A400Ms (s/no 400-421). On C-130s, the RAF's plan is to keep the Hercules C4 (J-30, now 12 active, 1 stored, 2 w/o) and divest the C5s anyways (2 to Bahrain, 1 to Bangladesh, 1 to blue angels, 4 stored, 2 active).

RAF transport sqn
99 sqn - C-17
24 sqn - C130J C4/C5 - converting to A400 Atlas C1
47 sqn - C130J C4/C5
70 sqn - A400 Atlas C1
10 sqn - Voyager
101 sqn - Voyager
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weasel1962

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Unread post20 Jul 2019, 16:27

A400M woes

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/0 ... keep-26bn/

"A recent Defence Select Committee was told that engineering staff at RAF Brize Norton called the aircraft “a dog” and that on occasion only two out of the fleet of 20 aircraft were serviceable."

"In Parliament this week Mark Francois, a former Defence Minister, said: “We have paid £2.6 billion for an aircraft with appalling reliability, bad engines, a virtually broken gearbox, problem propellers, massive vibration problems and an inability to deliver paratroops.”

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

207 sqn returns to UK with 6 F-35B

https://theaviationist.com/2019/07/17/r ... -markings/
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weasel1962

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Unread post21 Jul 2019, 03:13

RAF/RN inventory per flightglobal's World Air Forces 2019.
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weasel1962

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Unread post23 Jul 2019, 00:46

Royal Navy Marines helicopter force faces 'challenging' changes
The Commando Helicopter Force is the wings of the Royal Marines
By Max Channon

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/l ... ce-3122453

The Royal Navy's Commando Helicopter Force - the wings of the Royal Marines - has faced some challenging changes, its commanding officer has said.

The Wildcat and Merlin helicopters - and their crews - are in the process of being transformed into an amphibious operations outfit, after spending a decade in the dry dust of Iraq and Afghanistan.

A Royal Navy spokesperson said: "The wings of the Royal Marines have taken a big step towards large-scale operations at sea after two action-packed months in the Baltic.

"Wildcat and Merlin helicopters were vital to the UK’s Baltic Protector deployment, which saw the helicopters spearhead amphibious assaults from the shores of Denmark to Estonia, with Plymouth-based flagship HMS Albion and RFA Argus at the heart of operations.

"After a decade of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and conversion to new helicopters – battlefield Merlins and Wildcats replacing Sea Kings and Lynx respectively – the squadrons have had relatively few opportunities to get to sea… and rarely on such large-scale exercises with so many nations.

"The two-month stint in the Baltic not only helped fliers and engineers get their sea legs back and hone their amphibious skills, but also demonstrated their ability to fight side-by-side with numerous allied forces and operate from bases they’ve never used before.

"The helicopters took part in three major exercises – in Denmark, in the central/eastern Baltic and, finally, in Latvia and Estonia – performing the basics of operating at sea (landing, launching, refueling) through to front-line combat missions (ferrying troops into battle, directing friendly air power, taking out threats)."

"The Wildcat proved that it can scout for ground troops and friendly air power, using its sensors to ‘lase’ targets for the Army’s Apache gunships to attack and support a night raid, dropping troops of 45 Commando behind ‘enemy’ lines in Latvia.

"And in neighbouring Estonia the Wildcats were used to guide HMS Kent’s main gun, shot up ‘enemy’ 4x4 vehicles, and provided key reconnaissance to Royal Marines on the ground of enemy movements, while the Merlin was a workhorse throughout the deployment, moving troops and equipment around and carrying them into ‘battle’ during the major raids."

Detachment commander Major Will Moore said the mission with the UK’s Joint Expeditionary Force task group marked a “successful return to amphibious operations” for the Commando Helicopter Force.

He continued: “Baltic Protector has been an excellent vehicle for Commando Helicopter Force’s air group to continue to refine its amphibious aviation skills and experience. The ingenuity, flexibility and professionalism of both the air group and RFA Argus’ crew has seen us overcome many hurdles to produce the effect required.”

Pilot Lieutenant Richard Burns said Baltic Protector had allowed crews of the new Merlin Mk4 – fully digital cockpit, folding rotor blades/tail for improved operations at sea – to prove the full range of the helicopter’s capabilities “from ‘helicasting’ [dropping Royal Marines into the water] to fast roping and conducting under slung loads to a moving deck.”

The detachment used aviation training/medical ship RFA Argus as its floating base for the deployment – turning the auxiliary into a makeshift aircraft carrier.

That could provide a useful pointer as to how a small detachment of helicopters could support the Royal Marines of tomorrow – the Future Commando Force being shaped for mid-21st-Century operations – and the planned ‘littoral strike ships’ they will use.

“The return to amphibious operations has provided the aircrew with many challenges, however it has shown that we are capable of deploying as an effective tailored air group in this role,” said Lieutenant Dominic Savage of 847 Naval Air Squadron, which flies Wildcats.

The regeneration of Commando Helicopter Force is not yet complete – Merlin Mk4s are still being handed over to replace the older Mk3s – but it is well on track to be fully ready for operations in all environments and scenarios as planned by 2023.

“The transformation with all our new aircraft is really going well,” said Royal Marines Colonel Steve Hussey MBE, Commanding Officer CHF.

“We’re about two thirds of the way through transition, and it’s been quite challenging, but the aircraft coming in are magnificent. Commando Merlin has delivered everything we could have asked for.”

The next major test for the Yeovilton-based force comes in the new year when it conducts its annual winter training in Norway and participates in NATO’s large-scale Cold Response exercise demonstrating how the alliance defends Europe’s northern flank against aggressors; the CHF helicopters are to base themselves on Dutch vessels.

“It will be demanding but an excellent and challenging time and we will rise to the occasion,” Colonel Hussey added.
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weasel1962

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Unread post24 Jul 2019, 04:27

RAF seeks hypersonic weapons and propulsions systems

https://www.airforce-technology.com/new ... s-systems/

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has announced a £10m contract to develop hypersonic weapons and propulsion systems that would make the RAF the world’s fastest air force.

The systems are set to be integrated with current and future aircraft and would make them capable of flying at more than Mach 5, five times the speed of sound. They are being developed by Rolls-Royce, Reaction Engines and BAE Systems under the direction of the Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO).

The plans were revealed by senior RAF officials at the Chief of the Air Staff’s Air & Space Power Conference (ASPC). The RAF wants the systems to be used with 4th, 5th and 6th generation fighters.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) chief of staff for capability and force development Air Vice-Marshal Simon Rochelle said: “In 2030, more than 80% of the NATO ORBAT [Order of Battle] will be made up of 4th Generation aircraft.

“Now, imagine all those aircraft firing thousands of Mach 5 missiles into the fight!”

The hypersonic weaponry will allow ageing 4th generation fighters like the British Aerospace Hawk 200 and Eurofighter Typhoon to keep pace with advanced surface-to-air and air-to-air systems. The weapons will also enhance the capabilities of the RAF’s newly operational F-35B fleet.

Chief of the air staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier said: “These will be designed and tested over the next two years, paving the way for the UK to become a centre of excellence in this technology and contribute to meeting future UK defence needs.”

He added: “This is not an idea, a lot of this technology now exists. What we are doing is providing additional investment and additional focus for that project so that we can deliver a military utility out of it.”

Mach 5, around 4,000 mph, is the lower threshold for hypersonic speeds. The new systems would allow the RAF to outpace other countries’ munitions. The current fastest missile in use is the Indian and Russian made BrahMos which travels at between Mach 2 and Mach 3, or2,200 mph.

Hillier said: “They [Russia and China] are able to move forward in generations of capability much more quickly. If we are going to maintain our competitive advantage, we are going to have to move faster.”

Rolls-Royce director of business development and future programmes Alex Zino said: “Rolls-Royce will work closely with the UK MOD and our partners BAE Systems and Reaction Engines to conduct and coordinate research into high Mach advanced propulsion systems.

“Going forward, this collaboration will allow us to focus on enabling innovative technologies for increased aircraft performance and capability.”

Sharing a joint-statement Rolls-Royce, Reaction Engines and BAE Systems said: “By bringing together acknowledged aerospace innovation capability from British companies, Rolls-Royce, Reaction Engines and BAE Systems, critical high Mach propulsion technology elements will be developed over the next 2 years, paving the way for a UK centre of excellence in this technology and contributing to meeting UK MOD future defence needs.

“This work highlights the importance of collaboration with our partners and will allow us to focus on developing innovative technologies for increased aircraft performance and capability.”

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is also looking into hypersonic weaponry, recently awarding a $930m contract to Lockheed Martin to develop the systems. Russia and China are also looking to develop hypersonic systems.
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