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Jericho Trompete

RAF urged to cut ‘Cold War’ new jets for cheap propeller aircraft - Times Online

Richard North, a defence analyst and another advocate of the aircraft, said: “The right kit for the sort of wars we are fighting today is a lot cheaper than the high-end kit.”

Tried and tested babies like these - I'm sure we could knock out a couple of hundred far cheaper than one of the new fancy jets. Of course then flying would become a real mans job again...


If only we could get the current mob to put on uniforms and fight like men. Maybe there is a niche market here for set piece warfare, where both sides are given the chance to dress the part, be issued with 1940's equipment/planes, tanks
( notes on the Geneva convention)et al and go to it!

All this nostalgia makes me peckish.
Ma, where's that powdered egg!

This is all well and good, but I remember reading somewhere that airframe and engines make up only a small percentage of the cost of a modenrn warplane. The bulk is in the complicated electronic systems, the things that help the crew fly in the dark/rain/blizzards and aim their weapons with an accuracy far greater than was seen in WWII. If this is the case building a modern Mozzie isn't going to be much cheaper than building a Typhoon.

Besides, when the time comes to duff up the French again we're going to look a bit silly launching Spitfires to take down Mirages.

Basically we have to accept that if we want a realistic defence capability we need to stump up at least 5% of GDP (not the 3% we currently do). Some savings can and should be made in the MoD hierachy and purchasing system*, but that's the bottom line. Once that's accpeted we can focus on the really deserving targets for spending cuts: the bloated bureaucracies and ridiculous projects run by the civilian wing of HMG (about 95% of the total spend).

*Joint development projects with other nations should be the first thing to go - they always cost more. Either build our own or buy off the shelf from overseas.

Super Tucanos can be fitted with BRITE star laser designators to deliver precision guided weapons. They could easily be integrated into the MoD by replacing some Tucanos with Super Tucanos and having COIN in a turboprop as a regular part of the training process on the way to fast jets. That way you have a readymade COIN airforce able to deploy at short notice.

Why do we have so many aircraft that can't be kitted out for offensive duties? The Hawk is used by other countries for ground attack roles. The Tucanos we buy can't be fitted with weapons. The cost of operating the pinnacle of our RAF is very high and it is fast putting hours on airframes, shortening their lifespan. Were those cheaper aircraft available for frontline duties they could have been shuffled over to Afghanistan when it became apparent we were going to try and do it on the cheap.

We could also have been buying surplus A-10s from the US long before now.

It is important to remember this current argument isn't Fast Jets v Turboprops. We already have a multi-role fast jet coming on stream - the Eurofighter. If we were at war with the French we'd use them against Mirages. The issue at the heart of it is perhaps; Do we need a supersonic jump jet? If yes, we can't afford much by way of COIN assets. If no, we can, whether it is some Super Tucanos or just more eyes in the sky (BN Defender or Beechcraft King Air, both of which we currently operate).

The bit that gets my goat is this: "Andrew Brookes, aerospace analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said: “I think that General Richards has been led astray by people who think that because it is cheap and cheerful it is the answer to the maiden’s prayer. In a Joint Strike Fighter you have a stealthy, magnificent intelligence-gathering platform. No one will see it coming and it could go to downtown Tehran, Pyongyang or maybe even Moscow tomorrow. You can say you would get a lot of Tucanos cheaply but the money for Typhoon and JSF has already been spent and they can be used for the whole spectrum of operations.”"

It's not a cloaked Klingon Bird of Prey FFS. Nice strawman conflating Eurofighter with JSF. JSF money hasn't been spent and there are questions over whether we require the extra cost of the jump-jet version. Cheaper carrier aircraft are available. Some new (or even, bigger) Harriers would be of use too. We surely have no intention of going to downtown Tehran, Pyongyang or even Moscow tomorrow without first flattening the place with cruise missiles and bombs dropped by US bombers.

The nasty thing coming next is the unmanned fighter. The US Air Force has some fighter pilot/programmers who've come up with software for a gun equipped UAV that gives it canned maneuvers against other aircraft. The results could be a cheaper aircraft that can pull more g's than any manned aircraft. I think they may be doing swarm maneuver studies also.

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