Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fast jet fleet of the future

In its October issue, Combat Aircraft Monthly has published a new report into the future of the frontline of the RAF, which is an expansion on a series of rumors and reports first published by Jane's some time ago.
While not yet officially confirmed, it seems to be a quite accurate representation of the new plans of the MOD for the future force of fast jets available to the armed forces.

The recent past tells us that in 2010, prior to the SDSR, the UK lined a force of 12 frontline squadrons of fast jets: 3 squadrons on Typhoon, 7 on Tornado GR4, 2 on Harrier GR9. The nominal strenght of the Typhoon and Tornado squadrons is 12 jets, while the Harrier squadrons had only 9 due to an endless list of earlier reductions and cuts.
During 2011, two Tornado GR4 squadrons (XIII Sqn, RAF Marham, now to stand-up as second Reaper squadron;  and 14 Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth, which re-born as Shadow R1 squadron, with the planes coming out of 5 Squadron, where they had been flown together with Sentinel R1) were disbanded, and, notoriously, the Harrier was retired from service, shrinking the force down to 8 squadrons.

Today, following the return to life of 1st Squadron, re-formed officially on 15 September on the Leuchars airbase, the UK lines 9 fast jet squadrons: 4 on Typhoon and 5 on Tornado GR4.
According to the MOD Business Plan 2012 - 2015, 1st Squadron will now face a long build-up period towards IOC, which will conclude in March 2013.
The 5th Typhoon squadron is on the way, too, and it will stand up and achieve IOC between April 2013 and March 2015. 

Again in March 2015, the reduction in the Tornado GR4 force and readiness level will be fully implemented, with around 96 aircrafts in the fleet (down from over 130) and with just 18 Force Elements at Readiness (down from 40). It is expected that this will mean the disbandment of a further two squadrons, leaving a force of 3 Tornado squadrons to carry on until the Out of Service date for the type, now officially set as March 2019 (down from 2025, then 2021).

In the meanwhile, it is planned/hoped that the Typhoon deliveries will be completed (2017) and that the Typhoon force will achieve Full Operating Capability by March 2018.
By then, it is hoped that the Typhoon will be capable to employ Brimstone and Storm Shadow missiles, while there seems to be currently no plan to migrate the RAPTOR reconnaissance pod. Unfortunately, there is no firm date for the integration of the weaponry on Typhoon. The RAF once hoped to have it by 2014, but there seems to be no chance in hell of it happening, unless the UK (and possibly Saudi Arabia) go ahead on their own with the integration effort.

In December 2010, after the SDSR's publication, Air Vice-Marshal Greg Bagwell, commanding officer of the Royal Air Force's No. 1 Group (the HQ from which all combat squadrons depend) released an interview in which he painted a sad future of a RAF down to just 6 squadrons by 2020, with 5 being on Typhoon and 1 on F35.
At the time, however, they were reasoning on an order for 96 F35C, with a consequent build-up of the force in the years past 2020 and out to 2027 or further out into the future. Bagwell, in a demonstration of (bitter) realism, said that he was only sure about the single F35 squadron by 2020, implying that the rest of the plan was very much at risk.

The 5 Typhoon squadrons are justified by the existance of a plan for the shredding of all of the Tranche 1 aircrafts between 2015 and 2018/19, leaving a total of just 107 airframes. This plan is even mentioned on the RAF's Typhoon webpage.
In his interview, Bagwell said that the number of Typhoons was even at risk of shrinking further, with the Omani order possibly coming out of the UK's total without a replacement buy, bringing down the fleet's consistence to just 95.

The deal with Oman, which has been described as "imminent" for years now, is currently expected to be signed by year's end, but there has not been any recent mention of the planes coming out of the RAF's totals.
For a while, Oman thought about ordering up to 24 Typhoons, possibly Tranche 1 ex-RAF, but things changed with time, Oman ordered additional F16s instead, and eventually decided that it wants only 12 Typhoons, but fully-capable Tranche 3 ones.
It is still possible, in theory, that the RAF is forced to lose a dozen Tranche 3 production slots, ideally with a production tail added in 2017 to ensure the UK gets all 40 Tranche 3s on order. In the worst case, they could be simply lost.
But, as i said, this possibility has no longer been hinted at, so it probably has been abandoned, luckily. We have to keep in mind the UK would have to get the Eurofighter consortium and the partner countries approving such a change in the plans: an agreement was reached to reduce the Tranche 3 order for all 4 the countries, but another unilateral cutback might meet resistance.

Other things have changed, as well, since Bagwell released his interview. Namely:

- The standing up of the 4th and 5th Typhoon squadrons has been speeded up by a year. 

- The Prime Minister exposed himself a lot on Typhoon, on its value for the UK's armed forces and industry, and he's backing the export effort intensely.

- In Libya, the Typhoon Tranche 1 proved more effective and useful than the RAF expected.

- Last May, the last RAF Tranche 1 Typhoon was handed to BAE for the R2 retrofit to bring it to the Block 5 standard, known by the RAF as "FRG4, for Fighter-Reconnaissance-Ground attack.  

- BAE Systems is successfully collaborating with the RAF to deliver software Drops to upgrade the Tranche 1s, expand their capabilities and keep them relevant. Apparently, this method is working much better than anticipated, and at acceptable cost. It is believed to have greatly eased RAF's concerns about the cost of keeping the T1s relevant to operational needs. 

- The budget was "balanced", but in the process it was made clear that ordering 90/100 F35s in the relatively near future is not possible. Philipp Hammond has since announced that the UK is planning a first order of 48, very possibly including the 3 IOT&E airplanes already on order. And this will be it, for the moment. The switch to the F35B will be complete by April 2023, according to the Business Plan, possibly meaning that deliveries will be over by then.  
It will be close to 2030 before a second order can be discussed. Until recent times, the delivery of up to 138 (then 96) airplanes by 2027 had been the expectation.

- The export potential of the used Typhoon Tranche 1s proved very low, with the airplane not attractive enough for high-tier air forces and not cheap enough for the East-Europe air forces who are looking for western replacements for their russian fighters. Gripens and used F16s, cheaper and more complete in their capabilities, are dominating this market.

Jane's and Combat Aircraft Monthly report that the RAF's planning has changed, too.
With less F35s on the way, with not even the hope of jam tomorrow represented by new F35 squadrons in the 2020s and with the Typhoon T1 effectively without a market differently from what had been hoped, the RAF is now seriously thinking about keeping the Tranche 1 Typhoons and restore its earlier plan for 7 squadrons mounted on the type.

The aim is, quite clearly, the sustainment of a force of 8 to 9 squadrons into the 2020s, using what is available and on the way, instead of what exists only in hopes and promises.
The 5 Squadrons of Typhoons available by March 2015 could be supplemented by two more standing up in replacement of the 2 Tornado squadrons expected to go around that period, with the remaining 3 GR4 squadrons keeping numbers up.
In 2018, the first F35B squadron should be working its way into service, and by then the force could be made up by 7 Typhoon Sqns and up to 2 / 3 Tornado ones.
The following year the retirement of Tornado would leave a force of 7 + 1, and in the early 2020s a second F35B squadron would bring the force level back to 9 squadrons, which the RAF would try to sustain towards 2030, when a new F35 order is envisaged (either the B, or possibly the A variant) as a replacement for the Tranche 1s.

It represents a better utilization of available and funded resources, and keeps force levels up at acceptable levels. The F35B force would be very small (2 frontline squadrons, most likely) and very much carrier-focused, while the Typhoons would inherit most of the Tornado's work and roles.

This new thinking might have an impact on basing plans, as well, and a lot of things are said to be hanging in the balance: the transfer of Typhoons from Leuchars to Lossiemouth might not happen. The Army 2020 plan will have an impact as well, because Leuchars was expected to become an Army Base as part of the plan which would see a large Multi-Role brigade based in Scotland, but with the Multi-Role brigade concept dead, Scotland is now planned to host only an infantry brigade part of the Adaptable Force, meaning that Leuchars might well not be needed anymore.

Combat Aircraft even suggests that a third Typhoon base might be needed, and mentions Leeming and Cottersmore as possible solutions (I'd say Leeming, in the case, as Cottersmore is already an army base)  but this would imply new and additional costs, so i'd be careful on this part. I think the RAF might just squeeze more squadrons on the existing Typhoon stations.

The magazine also suggests that the activity of Tornado GR4 out to 2014 might obstacle the build-up of the F35's force at RAF Marham, which has been publically singled out as the preferred Main Operating Base for the F35s. It suggests that, while the Tornado maintenance infrastructure stays in Marham, the Tornado squadrons might end their career flying from Lossiemouth (which would then very likely be without a future, if the Typhoon transfer is really cancelled). Again, on this point more than on others i am doubtful, as i think that standing up the F35 force on Marham should be possible even with the Tornado around.

What matters the most, though, is that the F35s are heading for carrier duties and that the chance to see 7 Typhoon squadrons is growing, while the possibility of seeing the RAF down to just 6 squadrons by 2020 is growing remote.
Not bad, overall.    



  1. Excellent post!

    I really hope the RAF has as you suggest woken up from it's fantasy of 'jam tomorrow'.

    I absolutely agree that they should focus on what they have and what they know is on the horizon. That means holding on-to as many Typhoon's as possible in 7 squadrons and getting Brimstone + Storm Shadow fitted before Tornado goes. Perhaps stick the older Typhoon's on QRA duties to preserve the others for more challenging deployments.

    Id like to see enough Lightnings in service to support an eventual 3 squadrons (how many would we need for that?), but perhaps that is asking for a bit too much! If the RAF does have it's full compliment of Typhoon then I think it once again begs the question of just why it needs any Lightning at all, especially seen as a small fleet is going to be overwhelmingly focused on carrier operations.

    I also agree that Marham will be fine for bringing Lightning in-to service and that two main operating bases should suffice for Typhoon.

    All in all I'm far more hopeful now than I have been at any other point since the SDSR, fingers crossed!

    1. It's hard to say how many F35s are needed for a 3 squadrons force. 80 were meant sufficient for 4 frontline squadrons. So 60 might be about right for a force of 3, which would be much better (3 squadrons is what you need to fill the carrier up for war).

      I might even dare saying that 3 squadrons could come out of the 48 planes on order, if the number of attrition airframes is kept to a very minimum due to expectations of ordering more airplanes later on.
      In this scenario, though, one of the squadrons would, at any one time, have less than its 12 airframes, since a number of airplanes would be in maintenance.

      Using the T1 for QRA is the best solution, i think, assuming that BAE can develop a software drop that allows the Tranche 1 to use Meteor.
      The RAF wants to remove AMRAAM from service and standardize on the sole Meteor, in fact.

      But perhaps even this will have to change, since it's unlikely that the Meteor will be integrated so soon on the F35, which will be AMRAAM capable instead.
      We might end up seeing AMRAAM soldiering on for longer than planned.

    2. Those were the sort of numbers I was working with as well, if 80 makes 4 squadrons then I see no reason why 60 can't make 3, and that's only 12 extra aircraft to purchase. 48 in 3 squadrons does sound a bit stretched, it's always good to keep units at full strength and have a few in reserve on top of those undergoing maintenance.

      I think that 2 squadrons working with the RAF and 1 for the FAA isn't too bad, as long as the carrier group can be surged when it's required. I have long thought as well that 16 aircraft for carrier ops instead of 12 is probably achievable and advantageous without making the unit too cumbersome, a small increase can make a big difference.

      Not really sure how a 60:40 split will work with only 48 aircraft. It will be interesting to see to what extent the RAF as primary operator will be willing to share it's toys with it's RN partners.

    3. 6 billion for two carriers and 16 planes is still hoplessy pointless.

      The carrier are too big for what we need and the planes too exotic.

  2. I admire your nine squadron optimism, I do not buy it though.

    1. No one asks you to. This is what the RAF is reportedly trying to achieve as of now. Might not manage to, of course, but i cannot see into the future. At most, i make assumptions. Relatively often, i do get it right or close enough.

      For miracles, i'm still getting kitted up.

    2. Not criticising you in any way and you are often right, you produce the most well researched analysis on the UK Armed Forces that I no of in the public domain. I agree there will be seven Typhoon squadrons but my view is that will be a force structure with no other aircraft types. Tornado will retire and will be replaced by Typhoon T3 with T1 being replaced by F-35B.

    3. If you remove the T1, you can't have 7 squadrons, but only 5.
      If they are planning for a 7 squadrons force, then Tornado OSD and F35B arrival roughly cover each other, and they do not need to keep Typhoon around.
      In my view, the keeping of the Tranche 1, if successful, is meant to preserve more thann 7 squadrons.
      If the next SDSR changes things, and we both know it could happen, then it won't happen.

      But as of now, there's some hope at least.

    4. I would suggest they don't, Tornado OSD is 2019 and the is stated to receive no further upgrades or modernisation from now on, furthermore the type is notoriously expensive to run so there will be pressure to get it out of service rapidly. That 2019 OSD also fits very nicely with the March 2018 full operating capability for the Typhoon force. F-35B on the other hand should be delivered by 2023 which suggests that full operating capability may not be achieved until as late as 2024 by which time those Tranche 1 airframes are going to be getting very long in the tooth making the replacement of two remaining T1 squadrons with F-35B units logical.

      I also suspect that the infamous Bagwell interview was referring to a total of seven Squadrons but with one of the two F-35B squadrons wearing FAA uniforms as was the case in the dying days of JFH.

      Unfortunately the 2012 version of the MoD business plan is not very helpful on this topic as it can be read to support both our theories. It stops giving clarity after March 2015 when it clearly states a force of 5 Typhoon squadrons and 18 Tornado FE@R's.

      Time will tell.

    5. The Tornado OSD though should find a F35B squadron working up to IOC, and 7 Typhoon squadrons.
      A temporary drop to 8 squadron would be acceptable, i guess. I think that, compared to the alternatives, the RAF would love it.

      I'm also a bit horrified by hearing the Tranche 1s defined as "very long in the tooth" in 2024 when the first squadron wasn't operative until 2006.
      The fleet would have many more years ahead of itself, realistically, unless the Typhoon is really crap.
      If they will be retired it will be because of money, more than because of the airplane.

      It would be probably the shortest career in the story of a recent RAF aircraft type. They have been paid an horrendous amount of money, and they should be worked to exhaustion.

      "I also suspect that the infamous Bagwell interview was referring to a total of seven Squadrons but with one of the two F-35B squadrons wearing FAA uniforms"

      I would expect that kind of force structure too, but i think Bagwell would have counted the FAA-colored squadron too, since it would be nonetheless under RAF Group 1.

      I think he said one squadron of F35B by 2020 because the second will only follow after 2020.

      Indeed, i might dare saying that one RAF (Reserve) squadron will stand up to include the 6 airplanes based in the US for training and perhaps the 3 IO&T airplanes that will probably be used as contribution to the multinational OEU based in the US.
      The first frontline squadron, considering that it will have to build up for carrier aircraft work, could even be the FAA one. Arguably, it should be.

    6. The RAF has form, and a lot of it, of greatly reducing the numbers of aircraft it has in a legacy fleet as a new type enters service. When Tornado came along Jaguar went from 8 to 3 squadrons over the course of the 80s, Buccaneer from 4 to 2 and Phantom from 7 to 8 despite only entering service in the late 60s early 70s. For individual airframes 20 years worth of continuous use is actually quite substantial.

      I am very cautious about the Bagwell interview has he was clearly trying to make a point and was doing so using the most extreme interpretations to support his point.

      The 2012 business plan gives a Maritime Capability IOC for Lightning II of March 2021 which again makes me think we are looking at 7 squadrons. The March 2019 IOC is only for land based operations.

      I really think either of us could be right, I also think that MoD might be being deliberately ambiguous; hopefully we will get a definitive answer in the 2013 business plan.

  3. There is always RNAS Culdrose and Yeovilton if the RAF need some space to base the F35Bs.... Question is, is the 60:40 ratio (RAF to FAA) still going ahead? If the RAF is keeping more Typhoons, then surely the FAA should get more?

    1. Unfortunately, i think there are zero chances for Culdrose and Yeovilton.
      As for the 60:40, as of now it should still be the plan.

      The FAA should get the planes, in logical thinking. But it won't nonetheless. RAF is the budget-holder, and will still control F35 as part of Group 1 resources.

  4. Hi Gabriele

    From the post and comments it suggests that the RAF needs ~20 fighter planes to have a squadron of 12 fighter planes. I was just wondering if you knew what ratio other Air forces used?
    Any information would be much appreciated.

    1. It would take some research; i'll try to make a comparison at some point.

      But a particularly relevant figure is, i think, the Italian plan for the F35B fleet: the Navy was planning for 22 airframes to support a squadron of 14, with the following ratio:

      3 in the US for training (as OCU)
      5 unavailable at any one time for maintenance/upgrade etc
      14 forward fleet

      Now the plan has changed, with a fleet of 30 being procured, to sustain 2 squadrons (1 Navy, 1 air force). The strenght of the squadrons should be around 12 airplanes each, but the Italian Navy will have more trained pilots and will draw from air force airframes as necessary to ensure it can embark a full 14-strong squadron on the carrier Cavour.

      The ratio in theory is 15 aircraft for squadron, to sustain a force of 12. Expect the squadrons to miss an airframe or two every now and then, realistically, as airplanes go into maintenance.

      Probably more relevant to comparison purposes is the US plan.

      The USMC plans to stand up 16 frontline squadrons plus 3 reserve squadrons with its force of 340 F35B.
      However, 7 squadrons will have 16 planes each (to support land ops) while the other 9 squadrons will provide the embarked flights to the big amphibious ships and will have 10 planes each.
      The reserve squadrons will also have 10 planes.

      20 will be at the F35B training squadron at Edwards, and there will possibly be another two training squadrons of similar size.

      That means 232 airplanes used in frontline squadrons, up to 60 for training purposes and 48 for attrition.

      If we tweak the numbers and assume the Marines form 12-airplane squadrons, there would be 19.33 squadrons formed with the same 232 airframes.

      That means that the US Marines plan to have a total of 17.58 F35B airframes for each group of 12 airplanes in frontline duty, done the math.

  5. Thanks Gabriele, it is interesting to see the differences between air forces. The F-35 will be of particular interest as so many nations will be operating the aircraft giving the ability to see the differences (availability, cost of maintenance) between air forces. Hopefully this may lead to sharing of some of the better practises.

    One other question that springs to mind over the Euro fighter project, do you know what the UK's spent on the Euro-fighter so far, not including maintenance costs? I dread to think what the final bill is going to be.

    Thanks again mick

    1. We will have Typhoon cost figures up to date soon, when the NAO Major Projects report comes out. It is expected "in the autumn".

      Any day might be the right day, i guess.

      As of 2011, over 15 billion had been budgeted, and more than 17 were planned to be expended in total to complete the procurement.
      Over 400 million are already committed to the upgrades and weapon integration effort.

      And if i remember right, 12 or 13 billion pounds will be expended for running and maintaining the Typhoon out to 2030, according to forecasts.

    2. The Fighter Number Flap

      This article has a good overview on how the USAF determines the number of total aircraft required for a given number of combat-coded aircraft in the squadrons.


  6. Another insightful article, thanks.

    I was wondering if you could suggest any other blogs of this calibre. Not necessarily related to the British army; foreign forces or defence/strategic commentary in general.

    1. Glad you liked.

      I suggest you visit the various sites in the "Good food for thought" link list here on the right column, if you haven't yet. Some of the links are to great defence blogs.

      Plus i'd add "The Aviationist", which is a truly great blog on air force matters from all over the world.

  7. Is there any news that the RA would rather procure the A model of the F-35 rather than just the or only the B? If it's the A, they are reduce the number of strike squadrons or F-35s per squadron.

    1. I think they will order more F35Bs, eventually. But both Jane's and Combat Aircraft report that the RAF is interested in the A variant as a Typhoon replacement.

      Very premature, since we are talking of late 2020s or 2030 for the second F35 order and an hypothetical third F35 order going to 2040 to replace Typhoon and realize a manned fleet of sole F35s...

      I prefer to focus on the relatively "immediate" period, since even there we have to deal with considerable uncertainty, including a SDSR in 2015.

    2. At this stage F-35A seems to have been pencilled in as a Typhoon replacement at the types current OSD of 2030, this would allow the RAF to get in at the very end of the USAF production run and thus get the type at a relatively low price and with all the upgrades and developments that can be expected to have happened to it by then.

      At this stage it is unlikely to be little more than a picture on a powerpoint slide and highly subject to change, however it seems highly unlikely that there will be another European/US fast-jet programme that will be able to deliver aircraft on that time-frame so unless Typhoon OSD gets pushed back dramatically it seems inevitable that the RAF will get F-35A.

    3. I would expect that the Typhoon will live a lot longer than 2030, like mostly any other kind of airplane that the RAF has had in service.

    4. Agreed, but looking at the European/US pipeline there is no other platform likely to be available until 2040.

  8. Hi Gabriele,

    Good article, keeping up to date on current thinking. Thanks.

    As we both have said it makes sense to keep at least one tranche 1 Typhoon squadron operational.

    As to my opinion, I would be happy with 6 operational Typhoon squadrons, with a further 2 OCU reserve squadrons. As to F35B, 2 operational and 1 OCU reserve squadron is the best we cane hope for.

    It would be great to have a further squadron of F35B, but if we are only to get 48, I can’t see this. A 7th operational typhoon squadron would of course be welcome.

    I can see the F35A being the replacement for the Typhoon, but that is along way off.


    1. Do you vision them under RAF control or RN control? How many would the RN receive then?

    2. I would love to see 6 Typhoon squadrons, not as good as 7 but hey better than 5!

      For the Lightning I think the best initial structure would be 2 RAF squadrons and a larger Naval Strike Wing of around 16 aircraft. That would probably work with around 60 airframes, probably not with 48 though.

    3. 6 Squadrons should be achievable even with 107 airplanes, actually. Italy is getting just around 90 Typhoons in total, yet has already started raising the 5th squadron on the type.
      In theory, the RAF could do it even when it will no longer have the Tranche 1s.

      As for the F35B plans, yes, i think around 60 planes are needed for a 3 squadrons force.
      I also think that having less than 3 squadrons of F35s is a bit ridiculous when that is the minimum number needed to fit a wing of 36 planes on the carrier...

      With the USMC ratio of Total Airframes to Frontline Airframes, 48 planes would (in theory, of course) sustain 2.66 frontline squadrons in addition to the OCU.
      With 60, 3 squadrons are a go.
      With 80, 4 squadrons are comfortably supported. (The USMC will indeed get 80 F35C, and they are standing up 5 frontline squadrons (and perhaps a reserve one) with them, but the C squadrons will only number 10 planes each, probably)

    4. I'm guessing from the RAF's point of view 107 aircraft into 5 squadrons leaves enough left over to rotate them between front-line and reserve thus stretching out airframe hours. I agree a force of 6 squadrons could be achieved with the 107 Tranche 2/3, and even though id find hanging on-to some Tranche 1 preferable I would still personally be content to see such a move.

      With the F35B plan, if it were up-to me then we would unquestionably be getting 60 in the initial order. As you say that's just about enough for 3 squadrons and so id happily give the FAA 1 and the RAF 2 on the obvious condition and planning assumption that all 3 could be embarked on CVF if it was really necessary.

  9. Why is everyone talking about squadrons when they really are nothing more than convenient peacetime administrative units intended to generate force elements. It seems quite misleading to emphasis squadron numbers. What I would be far more interested in is just what capabilities and force element at readiness the RAF want for their FJ fleet.

    1. The two things are quite closely related, you know...

    2. Oooooh, look at the clever guy who who found FE@R on the internet and now thinks he is an expert- Im impressed....not.

      As Gabriele pointed out in his excellent analysis the nominal Unit Establishment of current RAF squadrons is 12 aircraft which as a rough rule of thumb will produce a FE@R of 6. Thus we can guess that by 2015 the RAF will have a declared FE@R of 42 and this may grow to 54 by the mid 2020s depending on whether the hinted at total force of 9 squadrons with 12 UE's is achieved. The extent of the 2010 cuts is glaringly obvious- in 2010 Tornado GR4 alone generated a FE@R of 40. Though it is worth pointing out that each of those force elements will be multirole which even in 2010 they were not.

  10. Any particular reason you had to act like a first class throbber in your first paragraph? Is that how you speak to strangers in real life or are you just a prat behind the keyboard?

    I asked a perfectly valid question.

    1. Merely responding suitably to the arrogant pre-supposing tone of misplaced sarcasm and totally unjustifiable, to the point of humorousness, sense of intellectual superiority with which you attempted to engage people who are self-evidently your actual intellectual superiors.

      And I answered your question.

  11. You're right. I should have known not to ask a question of my betters. It's not like the number of planes at readiness might be manipulated by being reduced despite Sqn structure etc

    But you're still right. I'll go back in my hole my dear man. You're the big fish here.

    1. You are perfectly entitled to ask questions of your betters, it is just best for all concerned if you leave out the arrogant sarcasm in the process.

  12. Nothing I said was written with a particle of arrogance it is only you which has picked that up. Quite how someone can be arrogant whilst announcing their ignorance of a subject is beyond my comprehension.

    But I've clearly trodden on some self esteemed toes.

    1. Yes it was, the entire phrasing and tone of your question was sarcastic and arrogant. Arrogance and ignorance frequently go together as you perfectly demonstrated.

  13. I can do arrogant if you like. Your faculties are obviously infeebled since I stated that I was in ignorance of something (I would be interested in...). You must have your own your own unique definition of arrogance that reconciles admitting ignorance and somehow having a sense of intellectual superiority on the subject.

    Your own nauseating sense of intellectual superiority and autistic debating manner is giving me more than a whiff of a chap called Bob. I see you remain as intolerable and conceited as ever in your Fortress of Insight.

    1. LOL.

      One can easily be arrogant whilst admitting ignorance, in your case you did it by claiming that you knew more than everyone else with your condescending "why is everyone talking about..." before declaring what it was you were ignorant of. The net result is you look like an idiot.

  14. I was referring to the article, which I read independently of Gabbies write up. But anyway, that's quite enough of this too-ing and fro-ing my dear Bob. Time to go back in your box I've finished my fun with you and won't indulge myself anymore at Gabbies expense.

  15. And incase anyone thinks I'm being unkind to Sideshow Bob here I invite you to disagree with him on something trivial and sit back and watch him launch into a fulminating screed regarding your intelligence and how he can barely bother engaging and educating such an intellectual amoeba as you. He has plenty of knowledge in many areas but unfortunately keeps it behind an odious facade of superiority and conceit.

    1. Wow, double insulting posts, I do feel special.

    2. Boring to you both, go fight somewhere else..

  16. Hi, have you seen the Lockheed Martin VARIOUS? Stealth VTOL UCAV, could come very useful on the STOVL carriers and Forward Operating Bases where Typhoons or the 2030 UCAV (Taranis) couldn't go.

    1. Seen it, but for now it is just a concept. And a rather unconvincing one, as it has tiny weapon bays and very little payload. Risks costing a lot for delivering little. I'm not exactly holding my breath for it.

    2. Yeah, and being Lockheed Martin it would cost more than a carrier within a year. Great Article by the way.

  17. thanks very much for your large information .and knowledge full description . i think it is sus a topi that many kinds of people face many problem. thanks for this.

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