Sunday, March 4, 2012

UK 'is reconsidering the purchase of the F-35C'

The UK may have to undo the plans of buying the embedded variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and reverse the purchase for the variant F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) due to lack of funds to redesign the decks aircraft carrier ships, as had been reported.

The Minister of Defense is currently conducting studies to determine the final cost of the conversion of a carrier ship HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales to operate the F-35C. The results should be released later this year.

The current planning assumptions foresee the installation of electromagnetic catapults and cables EMALS retention in convoo to operate the F-35C.

When the original design of ships airfield was approved, it was assumed that Britain would buy the F-35B STOVL version, which does not require a catapult system is able to takeoff and land vertically.

While cells of the F-35C are cheaper and more effective than the F-35B, it is estimated a cost of £ 1 billion to convert convoos ship aircraft carrier catapults and buy EMALS, which may be too expensive for the Ministry of Defence to pay, according to a report in The Guardian .

Although it has a longer range and the ability to carry a heavier load, it is said that the F-35C suffers from significant flaws from the beginning of the program, which may increase their costs of development. At the end of last year, a Pentagon report cited concerns about the positioning of the hook tail of the F-35C and its ability to sustain vibration, and other problems.

Abandon the system of catapult and cable stop will also affect the ability to interoperate with the French aircraft carrier, was established as a cooperation treaty in UK / France, signed between the French President and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The costs of the aircraft may also increase as a result of reduced orders from international partners program. Italy cut its orders from 131 to 90 earlier this year and the UK will still set the scale of your order. One ad, which may include the final figures, is expected before Easter.

The MoD spokesman said: "We are currently finalizing the 2012-13 budget plan and balancing equipment. As part of the process, we are reviewing all programs, including elements of the program of aircraft carrier attack, to validate costs and ensure that risks are properly managed. "

"The Secretary of Defense expects to announce the outcome of this process to Parliament before Easter."

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