Saturday, December 22, 2018

F-35 gets maritime strike with block 4...not with Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) but JSOW?

via Air Forces Monthly...
The Block 3F version can do limited strikes against ships, but Winter explained the radar and other sensor functions needed to attack land targets are different for attack of sea targets. The update in Block IV will allow the F-35 to be effective in the sea strike role as well, he said.

The Navy/Air Force Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), a variant of the AGM-158 JASSM-ER, is not a fundamental element of the new mission capability, Winter said. Although the F-35 has had fit checks of LRASM externally and can probably carry the weapon internally, the Navy’s threshold munition for the mission is the AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon, or JSOW, he said, noting that LRASM may be added later.
Story here. 

Just plain wow.

You do know what this means don't you?  It means the Navy's primary anti-ship bird will continue to be the Super Hornet and NOT the F-35C. 

If the F-35 isn't the lead in anti-ship strikes then what are they looking for it to do with the Carrier Air Wing?  Spare me the quarterback stuff!  The E-2D will continue to fill that role.  Drone quarterback?  The Navy is networking its ass off!  Destroyers 100 miles out from the carrier will be using those for their over the horizon defense of the fleet role.

What I'm trying to say is this.  The F-35 is going to fill a smaller and smaller niche role in the Wing.  No wonder they're only wanting one per carrier...and I'd bet before it's all over with its even less than that.  I'm betting that we might see only 5 squadrons bought total for the Navy.  MAYBE 100 aircraft total.  The C version will be the most expense model built and will probably see the shortest service life.

The Navy appears to be all in on its Hornet replacement sometime in the 2030s...

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