Monday, June 7, 2010

US Navy variant of the Joint Strike Fighter flies though may be too late for the Royal Navy

Lockheed Martin today reported the first flight of the naval variant of the JSF (F-35 Lightning II) for the US Navy today.

One can only imagine the Fleet Air Arm of the UK looking on, heavily committed to acquiring the F-35 to fly from the deck of one of the two new aircraft carriers under construction. The RN have played their cards in a manner reminiscent of the 'Through Deck Cruiser' as a means to avoid the loss of naval aviation capability in the 1970s surrendering one deck, though in truth how much cheaper will the second vessel really be, and can the UK in a Falklands type emergency deploy the F-35 on the second deck ?

In any event as ever the real enemy remains the Treasury. The Prime Minister today started laying the ground for the June 22nd 2010 toughest spending budget since the Second World War. The aircraft carrier program served many interests aside from the Royal Navy - Scottish political constituencies, the shipyards, the Unions to name a few - none of which are in hock to the Conservative Party. In addition the new MoD Ministerial team is very much Army leaning in character.

Tough times ahead...

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