A brief history of some notable CdG recent cruises
February – May 2010 deployment included “Brilliant Mariner” exercise in the Arctic Circle, embarked group of 12 Super Etendard and 7 Rafale M
June 2010 – training in the Mediterranean alongside USS Truman
13 October 2010 – 21 february 2011 – “Agaphante” deployment to Indian Ocean, flew 240 sorties over Afghanistan while there. 12 Super Etendard and 10 Rafale
20 March 2011 – 12 August 2011 – “Armattan”, 1350 sorties; 8 + 2 Rafale M and 6 Super Etendard
March – June 2012, training deployment with 8 Rafale and 7 Super Etendard
Refit period durint January – August 2013
20 November 2013 – 18 february 2014; “Bois Belleau”, deployment in the Indian Ocean in support to CSG-10, USS Truman
13 january – 19 may 2015; “Arromanches 1”, Indian Ocean then retasked against ISIS; 12 Rafale and 9 Super Etendard
18 November 2015 – 16 March 2016 “Arromanches 2”, 18 Rafale and 8 Super Etendard
30 September 2016 – 14 December 2016; “Arromanches 3”, 24 Rafale M, first deployment without Super Etendard
|The F-35B has weapon bays which are 14 inches shorter than those found on A and C and a payload limitation to two of the external pylons.|The difference between variants. Both B and C use a special pod containing the gun and 225 rounds, mounted on the central pylon under the fuselage. The A variant has the same gun but installed internally and with 180 rounds.
|There is a possibility to retrofit the A with refueling probes, but as of today nobody has gone in this direction|
|Please note how the procurement budget allocation for Combat Air nearly vanishes into the 2020s. This is going to be the elephant in the room.|
|There no longer is a separate Combat Air graph, unfortunately, but the Air Command aggregate published early this month does not suggest any improvement.|
|Project TEMPEST will need funding, in the same years in which the next batch of F-35s is due to be procured. Can both squeeze in the same budget?|
2017 Fast Jet Fleet (frontline squadrons only; OCU and OEU excluded)
3(F) Sqn 1(F) Sqn XI Sqn 6 Sqn II(AC) Sqn
IX(B) Sqn 12(B) Sqn 31 Sqn
617 Sqn (building up)
Near future plans
Tornado GR4 bows out in early 2019
Two additional Typhoon squadrons, IX and 12, to gradually build up.
617 Sqn achieves FOC, expands into a “super-squadron”, then splits into two as 809 NAS returns, by 20203
There might or might not be some manpower recouped thanks to ASDOT (Air Support to Defence Operational Training) which from 2020 will replace the current "aggressor" squadrons and the Cobham-provided, Falcon 20-based electronic warfare training aids.
736 NAS, the Navy's aggressor squadron on Hawk T1, is expected to disband in 2020 and depending on how ASDOT will work and who will man the new system, some manpower might be able to migrate towards the F-35.
The RAF own aggressor unit, 100 Sqn, is instead expected to carry on to 2027; after that, as the Hawk T1 era comes to an end, there might or might not be a shift of manpower to other areas.