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XV107

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About XV107

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  1. Qatar to buy Typhoon

    It would take a spectacular shift in policy and Qatari thinking for them to go for an option which would put them on Uncle Sam's naughty step for the next, ooh, 50-100 years... Their linkage with the same groups as Iran is a theological one, whereas their links with the west are pragmatic, political ones. They want to be an influential state in the Gulf despite their size, and being on the wrong side of the argument with the US isn't on their agenda. They've got the CAOC┬╣ at Al-Udeid, and see the US as a critical part of their security. They're trying to balance the fact that their political and business interests point towards the west (particularly the US) and the fact that their theological interests put them on the same side as Iran. In my experience of working with some of their officers over the past couple of decades, they manage to compartmentalise this potentially awkward dichotomy with surprising ease... ┬╣ CAOC = Combined Air Operations Centre
  2. Qatar to buy Typhoon

    Strictly speaking, he made a commitment to reopen the fighter competition; the F-35 could still win. The plan went a bit awry when the RCAF pointed out that their legacy Hornets won't get to the in service date for the new fighter type, so the idea of the interim package was born. There's a Canadian chap posting over on Arrse [the British Army Rumour Service for the uninitiated] ('Terminal') who knows his stuff on this, and if you have time, his posts are worth a read. In essence, though, going for an interim fighter pretty much meant that the answer was the Super Hornet. Then, the dispute with Boeing erupted, and now... Typhoon would appear to be the ideal fit; I have had this view expressed by two RCAF officers, both of whom then added words to the effect of 'of course, as our procurement record since the 1950s shows, the fact that it's just the airplane for the job means it has no chance of being selected, eh?'
  3. Qatar to buy Typhoon

    Don't underestimate the Qataris... They have a leadership which is ambitious (hence the C-17 buy) and - a cynic might say possibly because so many of their leaders and officers pass through the UK education and/or military training system they've taken a shine to the phrase 'punching above our weight' - want to be regional players. As part of this, their political and military leadership has spotted that the Saudis in particular have a reputation for being at the 'all the gear, no idea' end of the spectrum and this erodes their credibility. So they've tried to be different, and if not there completely, aren't doing badly. Various events such as Op Unified Protector (Ellamy to us) and exercises with the US, France and the UK have left their hosts and western partners favourably impressed in the main, and the indicator that they're getting decent plaudits is that the Saudis were most discomfited to discover that while they turned up as the reputed 'big boys' [lots of shiny kit, etc] they were consistently and significantly out-performed by the Qataris. To be fair, I would say that there has been a strand of thinking within the RSAF that there's a section of their pilot cadre which has no business being in the cockpit of a fast jet and that they're there because of family status/connections, and the shock of coming in second best to the Qataris (and the UAE) has seen a move towards a more focused/professional approach (with, of course, the events in Yemen adding further impetus). The Qataris aren't in the same league as the Libyan forces were - and remember that part of that was down to leadership fears that the Air Force was dangerous because it could bomb the Presidential palace, etc.
  4. Qatar to buy Typhoon

    This is less about capability and/or showing off and more about buying 'friends' and influence. In essence, if one, or even two, of the three suppliers decides that they'll be taking Saudi Arabia's side in a dispute and will suspend the provision of spare parts, etc, then the chances are that at least one of the fleets can be kept flying. If - hypothetically speaking - they have an operational force of 50% of each of the three aircraft ( so 18 F-15 and 12 each of the Typhoon and Rafale) with the rest being in readiness/maintenance/etc, then a short-term embargo on spares supplies will have relatively little effect. Conversely suppliers - US, France, UK, Italy, Germany, Spain - all have an interest in ensuring that any future disputes between Qatar and its neighbouring Gulf states/Saudi are resolved swiftly. When three of the UN Permanent 5 members are interested in your continued purchasing of their kit/spares/expertise, even to a relatively limited degree in terms of numbers of items of kit, that's always handy if your neighbours fall out with you... On the flip side, stand by for the stories in Flight, etc, complaining that there's been a small but notable departure of RAF groundcrew (and perhaps a few pilots) who've decided that the tax-free, twice as much as you're currently earning remuneration is really quite an attractive way of heading into an early retirement, leaving the RAF short of vital personnel, coupled with reports that the RAF's aircraft are missing some crucial widget because these have all, for that moment in time, gone to Qatar...
  5. Modern VFA-103 loadouts?

    From June last year (Although taken from seaforces.org, the photos were taken by USN personnel, thus the USN gets the acknowledgement...)
  6. Jan's original reference to the 'MB-6' said 'two seater', which doesn't seem to fit any of the designs being discussed as the possible MB 6 (note missing hyphen). There was reference some time ago on the Secret Projects forum to this little beast, however: https://www.flickr.com/photos/40933081@N04/5233569371/ Which is a contraprop, a twin-seater... Secret Projects page Which, as far as I can tell, is a proper 'what if' as in 'what if James Martin had decided to design a two-seat push-pull aircraft with contraprops'. Or this may not be what Jan's referring to at all...
  7. VC Avro Manchester L7301 - Mid Upper query

    If you're eager to see them, Woody, if you put Avro Manchester L7300 into Google images, you should be able see PS's photos from the build (and a photo of a rather 2nd hand looking L7300 lying in a lake after its final landing).
  8. VC Avro Manchester L7301 - Mid Upper query

    AG:Sgt 972986 Allan McF. Mills RAF OK & evaded - Front gunner; without a front gunner, the nav would be 'triple hatted' and required (if necessary) to rush to the front turret to engage the enemy. As it was realised that this was a bad idea, the carriage of a gunner made sense; when the decision was taken to have a specialist bomb aimer, the turret duties were passed to him. AG:Sgt 1386637 B.W. Naylor RAF OK & evaded - Rear Gunner You'll notice that I've reordered the crew list. This is because there is some confusion in the literature - and I've not got round to checking the original file - as to the roles of the following. Nav:P/O 66005 Richard J. Barnes DFC RAF PoW No.370 - 'Bang on' Barnes is listed in some sources (for instance, the 50 Sqn Association's account of the Manser action) as the bomb-aimer as well as the navigator. I suspect that he might have worn an Observer's brevet, but would have to check. Either way, it is entirely plausible, given the date of the raid, that Barnes was called upon to deliver the bombs, but... Wop/AG:Sgt 1304730 Stanley E. King RAF OK & evaded. - Martin Bowman's Bomber Command: Reflections of War has, on page 219, the line 'Stan King dropped their cargo of 1, 260 4lb incendiary bombs'. It's possible that he was acting as the air bomber, but the final members of the crew may help us here: Wop/AG:P/O 120849 Robert M. Horsley RAF OK & evaded. 'Bob' Horsley died last year, aged 94. Daily Telegraph Obituary Wg Cdr Bob Horsley. And, helpfully, the author of this (you want chapter 8 'Maximum Effort') This confirms (or appears to - bear in mind the recollections appear some time afterwards) that Barnes delivered the bombs; that there was no upper turret, and that Stan King was the second W/Op doing things with wiggly amps, cats whiskers and the like... It also has the great hint that if, shortly after gaining membership of the caterpillar club over enemy territory and one finds oneself accosted by a German civilian while you are wearing full RAF battledress, stick your right arm up, shout 'Heil Hitler' in an intimidating manner and the civvy will ride off in a panic, allowing you to make good your escape... And then: Pilot:Sgt 1376820 Leslie H. Baveystock RAF OK & evaded - 'second dickie'; the days when Bomber Command crews consisted of single pilot plus Flight Engineer hadn't fully arrived at this point. The debate as to whether the second pilot should do some/all of the navigation was still - just - ongoing. Did rather well for himself as a first pilot upon his return to the UK: Wavetops at My Wingtips - Flt Lt Leslie Baveystock, DSO, DFC & Bar, DFM In that book (p.54), 'Bav' explains that Stan King would normally have manned the mid-upper turret, but D-Dog didn't have one. The Corporal armourer who pointed this out to Manser - I rather think he might have noticed - informed the crew that he'd put a couple of extra machine guns into the fuselage and 'perhaps you could poke a hole in the side of the aircraft to fire the guns through' [!] Bav described this as a 'well meaning but utterly stupid idea' which 'appalled me'. He was all for suggesting that King stay behind, since there was no job for him - but Manser merely nodded at the Corporal, and King went on the op. Bav was distinctly unimpressed at the presence of two extra - and useless - MGs and their ammo adding weight for little purpose (as, without being rude to him, did Stan King). Baveystock's description of D-Dog's condition illustrates just how much the barrel was being scraped to generate aircraft for the 1000 bomber raids - there is no way of knowing, but minus the weight of Stan King, the two MGs 'helpfully' added by the armourer and their ammo, would D-Dog's performance have been better, and would that...? We can't ever know, of course. Stan King appears to have the only member of the crew not to be awarded a gallantry medal - Barnes and Horsley were awarded immediate DFCs and Baveystock, Mills and Naylor DFMs; these were gazetted in the London Gazette of 6 October 1942, while Manser's VC was gazetted a couple of weeks later. The fact that King also evaded, but apparently went unrewarded might, perhaps, hint at a judgement that he shouldn't have been on the raid in the first place (which seems a tad harsh). It'd be interesting to find out whether he did receive any recognition in due course, but searching the Gazette has become so much harder since they upgraded the website to make it more user-friendly...
  9. Not an F-35. Either something covered by a 'black' budget (which might extend to something fairly ordinary doing something rather interesting) or one of the exotics bought from/donated by users of former Soviet kit.
  10. Victor SR.2

    There's an ebay user called Cathobo who does a 'PR Camera Crate/Fuel tanks mod' for the SR2 (no mention of a parachute).
  11. Did keeping allied scouts drab give a real advantage?

    The high casualty rate was an accepted by-product, but the evidence that Trenchard set out to get his men killed or captured simply doesn't stack up, I'm afraid. The thinking on parachutes was muddled - were they likely to diminish offensive spirit? Were they any good? What to make of the fact that when the matter was raised - despite some of the commentary by Arthur Gould Lee - there were complaints from some pilots and observers that those which were available were too bulky (and reliability was open to question). The casualty rate was inextricably linked to your point about going deep behind the German lines on offensive patrols - designed to dominate the airspace and to keep the Germans away from the army cooperation machines - with all the risks of being shot down and mechanical failure which attended. Look at the work of James Pugh, Tom Bradbeer, Syd Wise, et al, and the commentary on Trenchard in the latest bio by Russell Miller and the book chapters by Jordan and McKercher (in different edited volumes) and the picture is a bit more complicated. Oliver Stewart observed that many of the pilots felt that Trenchard could've tried to do more to reduce the casualty rate, but the point is that Trenchard took a 'if you want to make an omelette...' approach: the high casualty rate was, in his eyes, a regrettable necessity, but one which - as you say - he could at least use to show that his men were pulling their weight. The loss of Richthofen caused considerable angst - Herbert Sulzbach made a particular point of recording how upset everyone was when the news broke: "No words will suffice to...describe the grief every German feels at the loss of this national hero" Even allowing for hyperbole, it does make one think that Henderson, Trenchard et al had a point when it came to not lionising the 'aces' too much...
  12. BBMF Grounded

    Was that one for the Open Skies thread? [the delivery date for PA474 precludes any attempted witticism about the BBMF Lanc having some difficulty in accessing European skies earlier in its career...]
  13. Open Skies agreement

    I suspect that any discussion of this would inevitably stray swiftly into politics, but IATA provided this briefing note immediately after the referendum which outlines the issues/challenges/opportunities, and offered purely for info/interest.
  14. Modern desert camo colours

    Mike Baulkwill's Typhoon (when he was boss of 6) is probably the nearest you'd get to a modern take on RAF desert camo beyond the ATRF Desert Sand from 1990. You might think about the scheme on the Red Flag Buccaneer: http://miprofiles.i.m.f.unblog.fr/files/2016/01/buccaneer-flag.jpg (Artwork, but sufficient to give an idea) There was also a trial involving a grey/sand scheme known as 'Flashman', seen on a GR4 in Dave's post #8 Of the markings to hand, I'd say that XI(F) has the most obvious ME link, since it participated in the East African Campaign, Op EXPORTER (the operations against Vichy-held Syria and Lebanon) and then Op CRUSADER.
  15. BBMF Grounded

    I must say that's one of the most appallingly cynical posts about service heritage I've encountered in all my time on this forum. Which is why I can but lament the fact that I can only give one 'like' for it...
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