Britian may consider buying 150 French jets for Navy


crazyinsane105

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RITAIN may consider buying up to 150 French fighter jets for two new-generation aircraft carriers scheduled to go into service with the Royal Navy in 2013.

If the Government went ahead with the £5bn deal, it would mean cancelling existing US contracts to supply aircraftfor the carriers and could cause a major crisis in Anglo-American relations.

The unexpected verbal offer to buy the Rafale Marine jets came on January 24 when Defence Secretary John Reid met his opposite number, Michele Alliot-Marie, for crucial talks in London.

It followed well publicised difficulties between Britain and America on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project, dogged by a row over sharing technology.

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BRITAIN may consider buying up to 150 French fighter jets for two new-generation aircraft carriers scheduled to go into service with the Royal Navy in 2013.

Government went ahead with the £5bn deal, it would mean cancelling existing US contracts to supply aircraft for the carriers and could cause a major crisis in Anglo-American relations.


The unexpected verbal offer to buy the Rafale Marine jets came on January 24 when Defence Secretary John Reid met his opposite number, Michele Alliot-Marie, for crucial talks in London.


It followed well publicised difficulties between Britain and America on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project, dogged by a row over sharing technology.


It is understood that Reid said he would consider the French offer. Even agreeing to give the proposal serious consideration could be seen as a major snub to the Americans, whose relations with the French on defence are strained.


The French offer follows America's continued refusal to agree to the transfer of advanced technology on the JSF - the jet being built in the US by Lockheed Martin with co-operation from Britain.


The Ministry of Defence has already paid the Americans £2bn for development. BAE Systems, Britain's leading defence contractor, which is a vital partner in the project, was hoping for about £14bn in development and production contracts.


The MoD declined to give details of the French offer, but defence sources in Paris confirmed that a lengthy conversation took place.


The American refusal to share technology means that if one of the JSFs needed repairs, the work would have to be carried out in America.

It would also mean British forces would not have the right codes to arm the planes if they wanted to use them for missions not approved by the Pentagon.


There is growing anger at the Americans' obduracy over technology transfer. Britain has now made it clear that without 'achieving the appropriate level of sovereignty' over the JSF, it will consider cancelling the contract.


Washington's reluctance to give up the technology to its closest military ally is fuelled by fears that Britain might allow foreign firms access to America's most precious commercial and defence secrets.


Faced by the the refusal to share technology, Lord Grayson, Minister for Defence Procurement, said: 'There has to be a Plan B. We need to make sure we have done the work needed to ensure we have an option.'


The MoD still hopes that the Americans will change their minds. Meanwhile, it is looking at its options. Giving consideration to the French offer could strengthen the MoD's negotiating hand with Washington.


The 60,000-tonne carriers planned for the Royal Navy are designed to have powerful catapults built into the deck. This means they are not restricted to the vertical take-off version of the JSF. They could fire conventional take-off JSFs as well as modified Typhoon Eurofighters.


The Rafale Marine is already in service and is designed for use on France's new carrier - identical to those being built for the Royal Navy.

The decision by Paris to buy the design of the UK carriers for their own second large carrier makes the French option more palatable.

The French jets cost about £35 million each and would be cheaper, if probably unpopular, with the forces.

Gerald Howarth, Conservative defence spokesman, said: 'This shows the danger of the American refusal to give us the technology. They could drive us into the arms of the French

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Wow, I wasn't expecting this to happen. I thought after a while the US would give in and just give the British, America's closest ally, the stealth tech for the F-35. It seems like the US really doesn't want other countries to get their hands on US stealth tech.:nono:
 

bd popeye

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BRITAIN may consider buying up to 150 French fighter jets for two new-generation aircraft carriers scheduled to go into service with the Royal Navy in 2013.

If the Government went ahead with the £5bn deal, it would mean cancelling existing US contracts to supply aircraftfor the carriers and could cause a major crisis in Anglo-American relations.

The unexpected verbal offer to buy the Rafale Marine jets came on January 24 when Defence Secretary John Reid met his opposite number, Michele Alliot-Marie, for crucial talks in London.

It followed well publicised difficulties between Britain and America on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project, dogged by a row over sharing technology
Holy crap Batman!!! I hope this is just posturing by the British side to gain the full measure of the JSF. I really don't think at this time it will make a strain on US-Anglo relationships. But look at it this way. The British have for years shared the Harrier with the US...

The US really needs to take a proper look at this situation. It could kill the JSF program for over seas buyers. And maybe kill the whole program!
 

Totoro

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That's not exactly new news. It dates back to when US and UK were arguing over the tech transfer for f-35. More recent news sugguest that an agreement has been reached which UK is happy with so i would assume the rafale buy is very unlikely. I'm sure, however, brits will still keep it up their sleeve if any more problems surface, as some kind of pressure point.
 

FuManChu

Senior Member
Totoro said:
That's not exactly new news. It dates back to when US and UK were arguing over the tech transfer for f-35. More recent news sugguest that an agreement has been reached which UK is happy with so i would assume the rafale buy is very unlikely. I'm sure, however, brits will still keep it up their sleeve if any more problems surface, as some kind of pressure point.
That's what I thought when I saw this. John Reid had considered this months ago as an alternative - as the tech transfer was crucial for us. But now we have the deal that gives us that, the idea of French planes isn't plausable anymore.
 

ahho

Junior Member
If Britain was one of the major player in the JSF program and not get the stealthy models, then yeah Britain is pretty pissed. I think this is some sort of warning that other people have said to protest on the JSF
 

crazyinsane105

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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ahho said:
If Britain was one of the major player in the JSF program and not get the stealthy models, then yeah Britain is pretty pissed. I think this is some sort of warning that other people have said to protest on the JSF
Above that, why go for JSF when you have the EF Typhoon or even the Rafale? The JSF can't stand against those two fighters anyday.

I really don't see why the US is fretting over this stealth tech issue. I mean, there are British subs armed with US made Trident nuclear missiles for God sakes! The US would rather trust the British with American made Trident missiles rather than stealth tech? It just doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever.:confused:
 

Finn McCool

Captain
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crazyinsane105 said:
Above that, why go for JSF when you have the EF Typhoon or even the Rafale? The JSF can't stand against those two fighters anyday.
Is that true? I thought that the JSF was about equal with most of the advanced fighters in service or about to enter service, but I suppose that I'm wrong.

I think that the British have played too great a part in the JSF program for them to go without any JSFs. The Rafale could play the fighter/interceptor role and the JSF could fufill the strike role for the RN.
 

tphuang

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bd popeye said:
Holy crap Batman!!! I hope this is just posturing by the British side to gain the full measure of the JSF. I really don't think at this time it will make a strain on US-Anglo relationships. But look at it this way. The British have for years shared the Harrier with the US...

The US really needs to take a proper look at this situation. It could kill the JSF program for over seas buyers. And maybe kill the whole program!
Interesting, I thought they sorted out the issues already. There are like numerous threads on different forums recently on this. Despite the possible superior flight performance of Rafale, JSF should be a superior plane overall due to stealth. So, with the rising cost of Rafale these days (140 million mentionned on AFM a while back), JSF is still the best choice for the British.

But yeah, if the British withdraw their order of F-35B, F-35B is definitely heading for a cancellation. That doesn't bode well for the costs of A and C.

What would interest me is how the RAF treat the typhoon and F-35. That should indicate which aircraft is a better air superiority fighter overall.
 

MrClean

New Member
crazyinsane105 said:
Above that, why go for JSF when you have the EF Typhoon or even the Rafale? The JSF can't stand against those two fighters anyday.

I really don't see why the US is fretting over this stealth tech issue. I mean, there are British subs armed with US made Trident nuclear missiles for God sakes! The US would rather trust the British with American made Trident missiles rather than stealth tech? It just doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever.:confused:
I really doubt that anyone can say that for sure. The Eurofighter and Rafale are both excellent aircraft in both close in combat and BVR. You ask me the EF is the better of the two. But I don't think that you can say that it can beat another aircraft that it will probably never face in a real situation anyway. The EF and Rafale are both very maneuverable, but is there any proof that they are any more agile than the JSF that has TVC? Has there been any mock dogfights? I think not.

Also, I have heard about the recent tension over the JSF and it's supposed problem with it's stealth, and how that pissed off the UK and Australians. But still, the last I've heard, the JSFs 'curved stealth' tech still makes it's RCS smaller than that of the F-117. How much stealthier do you need it really? In the first Gulf War, the Nighthawk flew something like 3-4% of the missions, but accounted for over 25% of the successfully destryed targets. Not one was ever shot down. They were hardly ever detected on the Iraqi radar, if ever.

If the JSF has better stealth than that... Than all I can say is that the EF might have superior maneuverability, but you can't shoot what you can't see. All the JSF will have to do is stay out of visual range, and wait for some back up from his Raptor or Eagle-E buddies, or he could just launch one of his many possible AMRAAMS or Sidewinder-X.

I still have yet to see any proof that any of these planes are better than any other. If you ask me they are all very capable next-generation aircraft. IMO, they could all three easily fit in the #2 spot of best air superiority fighters, right behind the F-22.
 

Twix101

Junior Member
tphuang said:
Interesting, I thought they sorted out the issues already. There are like numerous threads on different forums recently on this. Despite the possible superior flight performance of Rafale, JSF should be a superior plane overall due to stealth. So, with the rising cost of Rafale these days (140 million mentionned on AFM a while back), JSF is still the best choice for the British.

But yeah, if the British withdraw their order of F-35B, F-35B is definitely heading for a cancellation. That doesn't bode well for the costs of A and C.

What would interest me is how the RAF treat the typhoon and F-35. That should indicate which aircraft is a better air superiority fighter overall.
About the cost of Rafale, this the cost with development, but if Britain buies Rafale, they will pay 45M€ (nearly 58M$) for each plane.

About Stealth, the Rafale EW system include modules to reduce significaly the SAR of the plane, same if it got external payload. The OSF (IRST/FLIR, LASER/TV system) can be a deadly advantage agaisnt the JSF, indeed, with the combination of the MICA IR (with can be used as a Medium range missile) the pane can engage target without be repeared due to radar emissions.

The second customer of the F-35B will be the USMC, they have to replace the AV-8B+.;)

So...That's all.
 

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