F35B in focus (PART 2) The multi-role marvel

The shape of things to come – video of F35B on trials

This is an F35B on shipboard trials, prototype of the aircraft that is now planned to fly from the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers from sometime around 2018.

As a non-aviation specialist, first impressions are that this £100 million contraption looks incredibly complicated, masses of moving parts hydraulics, hinges, doors levers etc all which all must function properly for a safe landing. Surely a huge maintenance challenge and vulnerable to even minor battle damage? When the plane takes off and is ‘cleaned up’ it has a certain 21st century beauty but seems to lack the elegance of the much simpler Harrier. However it does represent an exciting step up in capability if it works as advertised. FLY NAVY!

Useful web links about the looming decision on aircraft carriers ‘cats and traps’ and F35B or C

As we await the the decision by government on whether the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers currently building will be fitted with ‘cats and traps’, there is much debate and discussion about the issue. Here are a selection of some of the most informative online articles on this complex and politically charged argument.

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HMS Dauntless’ routine deployment underlines Britain’s right to defend the Falkland Islands

In 1982 foolish cuts to the Royal Navy by a Conservative government were seen as a green light by the Argentines to invade the Falklands. 2012 is the 30th anniversary of a short but bloody war that had a big impact on British history.

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“We do not have to choose between strong fiscal discipline and strong defence”

“We do not have to choose between strong fiscal discipline and strong defence, Indeed, in the longer-term one provides for the other.” It’s hard to believe it, but this is Defence Secretary Liam Fox, (quoting the US defence Secretary) speaking this week at RUSI (Royal United Services Institute).

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Air power from the sea – the case for aircraft carriers

The Issue

Current air operations in Afghanistan, emphasising the under-resourcing of helicopters, obscures the continuing dependency of the UK on the sea and sea-based air power. The historic and future dependence of the UK’s economy on the maritime environment drives the long-term requirement for the UK to have a flexible and proportionate global reach. This is not currently receiving the attention it deserves.

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