Thursday, January 05, 2012

UK's defense centered on carrier aviation???

Check out this story from Defence Tech but check out this blurb...
“We are committed to purchasing the carrier-variant and the regeneration of our carrier strike force is at the heart of our defense strategy. We believe it will bring a big gain for NATO and potentially be a big relief to U.S. efforts in the European sphere. We’ve worked with the French to ensure that we will have a European carrier capability [that’s] always available. But of course, we are concerned that any slippage in production or any reduction in U.S. numbers will have an impact [on cost] and with budgets very tight, we’ll be watching very close any movement in the predicted unit costs.”
My take away's...

1.  The UK is solidly behind the F-35C despite public pressure.
2.  The UK appears to be going back to its maritime roots.
3.  The costs of the F-35 is a concern on both sides of the Atlantic and the Pacific...probably less in the Pacific but a concern none the less.
4.  Delays are going to be fought by partner nations.  This will become a sticking point.
5.  Looks like Loren was right.  Weapon sales are part of the new diplomacy.

Pics of the day...

F-35 delayed again.



Looks like we're going to get an all STOVL force regardless now.  The F/A-18A/C/D's and the EA-6's are all going to run out of airframe time.  Those spares from the UK will definitely come in handy.  Read the expected news here.  But as always a tidbit below.  I wonder why they dribble this info out instead of just laying it on the table?

The Pentagon is gearing up to restructure Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program for a third time in three years, sources said, with production of more than 120 more planes to be postponed to save money and allow more time for development.
The latest changes should save the Pentagon about $15 billion from fiscal 2013 through 2017 and will be part of the fiscal 2013 budget plan to be sent to Congress in February, according to three sources familiar with planning for the Pentagon's largest weapons program.
President Barack Obama will join Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the Pentagon on Thursday to discuss overall defense budget cuts and a revamped military strategy.
They are expected to mention the F-35 fighter plane and reiterate continued support for the program, but details of the restructuring plan and plans for other big weapons programs may not emerge until later this month, the sources said. The sources declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the plans publicly ahead of the official release of the president's budget.
I wonder when Black Friday for weapons programs is going to occur.  My prediction for cuts...

1.  Ground Combat Vehicle.
2.  JLTV.
3.  Marine Personnel Carrier.
4.  DDG-51

Reduced buys...

1.  MV-22
2.  F-35
3.  LCS
4.  CSAR replacement

And probably a bunch more that I just can't recall.  The boom times for defense is over.  The lean times are here.  Funny thing.  The ending of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are the drivers behind this move.  In all actuality a smaller defense budget has been in the making since the Bush Administration, only the 9/11 attacks destroyed the groundwork that they were laying.  Don't think cutbacks.  Think Revolution of Military Affairs (RMA) or Transformation.