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Lightning II squadrons


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Just read in UK Defence Journal that the MOD have confirmed four operational Lightining II squadrons (48 aircraft), plus the OEU and an OCU. 617 and 809 we know about, plus 17 Sqn for the OEU but will the FAA get one of the two unannounced squadrons, does anyone know? It would seem pretty silly if the RN only get one, considering they will operate two carriers.

The good news is that apparently HMS QE will be operating Lightnings by 2018!

Edited by Meatbox8
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I may be out of touch, but the last thing I saw was that for the moment the order for F-35s is only sufficient to equip one Carrier Air Group. Given that it will be quite a while before we get two of them to sea, let alone two at sea together, that doesn't seem too unreasonable for now. Remember also that the Joint Harrier Force was intended ti use RAF Harriers at sea, we can presumably expect the same from the F-35.

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AFM is reporting that we will have 23 first batch F-35B in service in 2023 at which time 617 Sqn will split off some F-35 to form 809 NAS.

So, further squadrons do seem a fair distance off in the future.

Cheers, Ian

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Just a thought - shouldn't it be 'Lightning III' in RAF service ??

US forces may have only had one previous Lightning (P-38) - but the RAF has had two - P-38 AND English Electric !!

Sorry - I'm in between decalling jobs and feeling mischievous....

Ken

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Does the RAF want to forget the P-38? To Joe Public it's probably not known it operated them and there will only ever be one real Lightning........

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Just a thought - shouldn't it be 'Lightning III' in RAF service ??

US forces may have only had one previous Lightning (P-38) - but the RAF has had two - P-38 AND English Electric !!

Sorry - I'm in between decalling jobs and feeling mischievous....

Ken

Nope, whilst we ordered a fair few p-38's they were given to us with the crucial superchargers removed, tanked the altitude performance and left them underwhelming lower down so they were refused for service and sent back...so there was only one raf lightning till now, see no superchargers on the booms

26c1ce86fffc106dbde911275da429ea.jpg

Edited by PhantomBigStu
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With the RAF coming up to 100 years' of existence I understood that the MoD were going to renumber all Squadrons extant on that date starting at 1 again. So 617 Sqn (now) will become nn Sqn (617), nn being the new number and the (617) signifying its numberplate before centenary. This will continue work started within the EU towards a single EU defence force, where each of the member states Air Forces are to be issued with a block of Squadron numbers; precedence has been based on the dates of formation of their independent Air Arms (hence why the RAF has numbers starting at 1, being recognised as the oldest independent Air Force).

Part of this renumbering will involve laying up existing non-reused Squadron Standards, and retrieving currently non-used Sqn numbered Standards from various RAF institutions prior to that date. The re-organisation of RAFM Hendon and now Cosford are part of this "refresh" of the RAF's history during the first hundred years of its existence.

Peter

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I may be out of touch, but the last thing I saw was that for the moment the order for F-35s is only sufficient to equip one Carrier Air Group. Given that it will be quite a while before we get two of them to sea, let alone two at sea together, that doesn't seem too unreasonable for now. Remember also that the Joint Harrier Force was intended ti use RAF Harriers at sea, we can presumably expect the same from the F-35.

Well, I think it depends on how you define a carrier air group. HMS QE and POW will have tailored air groups depending on the mission. This could include F-35s, Merlin AS, Merlin AEW, Junglies, Apaches, Chinooks, you name it. All or some of the above. Just about anything that can land vertically. The frequently quoted number of just 12 F-35s per ship is some nonsense thought up by our glorious print press. What the MOD have said, as I understand it, is that during peacetime on normal cruises they will carry 12 F-35s, presumably from one squadron or drawn from two, so that other aircraft can be utilised in other roles away from ships. After all. at least half of the aircraft will be light blue and their principle role is to take over from the Tornado. It would be pretty silly to cram the carriers full of the entire complement of Lightnings as routine, even if it can carry about 40 if need be. I've even read somewhere the media getting hysterical over the fact that on humanitarian crisis work the ships won't have any F-35s, just helicopters!

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With the RAF coming up to 100 years' of existence I understood that the MoD were going to renumber all Squadrons extant on that date starting at 1 again. So 617 Sqn (now) will become nn Sqn (617), nn being the new number and the (617) signifying its numberplate before centenary. This will continue work started within the EU towards a single EU defence force, where each of the member states Air Forces are to be issued with a block of Squadron numbers; precedence has been based on the dates of formation of their independent Air Arms (hence why the RAF has numbers starting at 1, being recognised as the oldest independent Air Force).

Part of this renumbering will involve laying up existing non-reused Squadron Standards, and retrieving currently non-used Sqn numbered Standards from various RAF institutions prior to that date. The re-organisation of RAFM Hendon and now Cosford are part of this "refresh" of the RAF's history during the first hundred years of its existence.

Peter

I do hope this is a joke.

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Nope, whilst we ordered a fair few p-38's they were given to us with the crucial superchargers removed, tanked the altitude performance and left them underwhelming lower down so they were refused for service and sent back...so there was only one raf lightning till now, see no superchargers on the booms

26c1ce86fffc106dbde911275da429ea.jpg

Anyone have any clues, which would be the best 1/48 kit to start with, to build one of these?

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I was reading in the paper the other day about the sale of Diligence, an RFA which is the only ship in the RN specifically intended to act as a floating repair shop for RN ships that require attention anywhere in the world.

Other than money, or lack of - which is why the ship is being sold - the problem of manning is also an issue. Apparently, and others will know more than me about this issue, the Navy is struggling with retention and recruitment and so perhaps before we can get excited about two operational carriers the issue of having sufficient bodies to man (or woman) the vessels and their associated ships will have to be addressed.

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Just a thought - shouldn't it be 'Lightning III' in RAF service ??

US forces may have only had one previous Lightning (P-38) - but the RAF has had two - P-38 AND English Electric !!

Sorry - I'm in between decalling jobs and feeling mischievous....

Ken

But the RAF never accepted the P-38 - they were refused/rejected long before the ones turned up at Boscombe Down for testing (which were on loan from the USAAF). The lack of superchargers was down to them being a legacy of a French order. The Lightning II (P-38E equivalent with superchargers) was already on the production line at the time the order was cancelled (at least one carried RAF markings for 24 hours). The reasons for cancellation were based on an unknown 'performance' report from a British pilot in the States, but probably had more to do with a lack of dollars or there no longer being a need for an interceptor post-Battle of Britain. Lockheed, not being used to the machinations of the Air Ministry, tried to enforce the contract and it was only the onset of lend-lease and later Pearl Harbour that resolved the situation by supplying the aircraft to the US

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Also according to Air Forces Monthly, while we are committed to procuring 138 F-35s, there is a strong possibility that some of them may be bought as F-35As, which would be eminently sensible as buying 138 F-35Bs will be over the top for two carriers. SDSR '20 will shed further light on the idea. In that case I can see the FAA operating the 'Bs and the RAF the 'As.

Oh hang on, I said eminently sensible. Fat chance then.

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Anyone have any clues, which would be the best 1/48 kit to start with, to build one of these?

Any P-38E/F - the Academy one is usually considered the best - there used to be a couple of conversion sets with replacement engines (The thrust line on these was lower than on the ones with superchargers, so the engine nacelle shape is different) but not sure if anyone does one these days.

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Also according to Air Forces Monthly, while we are committed to procuring 138 F-35s, there is a strong possibility that some of them may be bought as F-35As, which would be eminently sensible as buying 138 F-35Bs will be over the top for two carriers. SDSR '20 will shed further light on the idea. In that case I can see the FAA operating the 'Bs and the RAF the 'As.

Oh hang on, I said eminently sensible. Fat chance then.

It certainly would make a lot of sense. So, potentially the RAF would get two squadrons of F-35As, the cheaper and more capable version, and the FAA two Squadrons of F-35Bs. Then a carrier could field 24 Bs or more in a surge op like the Falklands where 809 was hastily stood up. Or these aircraft could be spread over both ships although they won't sail together very often. Or, depending on the mission one carrier could carry all the Lightnings and the other helicopters in the Commando assualt role.

I don't think the RAF would like that though. They may like to get the A version but I don't think they'd be happy with the fixed wing FAA being so independent of them. It also makes the decision (or re-decision) not to buy the C version look increasingly nonsensical, especially if you add the fact that the ships won't be able to operate the E-2 Hawkeye (or take any aircraft from the French or US navies). I think the decision not to operate cat and trap was the wrong one personally. The ships were designed to be adapted to take it and, ok I'm not an engineer, but surely the system could have been bought off the shelf from the USN?

Edited by Meatbox8
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But the RAF never accepted the P-38 - they were refused/rejected long before the ones turned up at Boscombe Down for testing (which were on loan from the USAAF). The lack of superchargers was down to them being a legacy of a French order. The Lightning II (P-38E equivalent with superchargers) was already on the production line at the time the order was cancelled (at least one carried RAF markings for 24 hours). The reasons for cancellation were based on an unknown 'performance' report from a British pilot in the States, but probably had more to do with a lack of dollars or there no longer being a need for an interceptor post-Battle of Britain. Lockheed, not being used to the machinations of the Air Ministry, tried to enforce the contract and it was only the onset of lend-lease and later Pearl Harbour that resolved the situation by supplying the aircraft to the US

But the RAF never accepted the P-38 - they were refused/rejected long before the ones turned up at Boscombe Down for testing (which were on loan from the USAAF). The lack of superchargers was down to them being a legacy of a French order. The Lightning II (P-38E equivalent with superchargers) was already on the production line at the time the order was cancelled (at least one carried RAF markings for 24 hours). The reasons for cancellation were based on an unknown 'performance' report from a British pilot in the States, but probably had more to do with a lack of dollars or there no longer being a need for an interceptor post-Battle of Britain. Lockheed, not being used to the machinations of the Air Ministry, tried to enforce the contract and it was only the onset of lend-lease and later Pearl Harbour that resolved the situation by supplying the aircraft to the US

Could it also be that the RAF weren't very interested in twin engine, single seat fighters, as per the Whirlwind? By the way, why was the French order for non-supercharged versions? Was it embargoed?

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Since the Americans are having problems with their new EMALS catapults and arrester gear on the USS Gerald Ford I'm glad we didn't buy from them.

Ref Dilligence, the RN are going to lease a BP Rig support ship, which I believe Dilligence herself started life as.

I'd alswo heard that 800Sqn was one mooted to be stood up too.

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Since the Americans are having problems with their new EMALS catapults and arrester gear on the USS Gerald Ford I'm glad we didn't buy from them.

Ref Dilligence, the RN are going to lease a BP Rig support ship, which I believe Dilligence herself started life as.

I'd alswo heard that 800Sqn was one mooted to be stood up too.

Interesting vis the EMALS system. Perhaps it was the right decision then. The USN are going to have to make it work though but I personally wouldn't want to see the first commission of QE put back any further.

Good news (potentially) about 800 Sqn. I wonder what the make up of the squadrons would be if we buy the A and B version. i.e. will they still have a mix of light and dark blue crews? I would imagine there would be plenty of seconding and so on but I shouldn't think many RAF people signed up to go on regular three month cruises. Of course we don't KNOW if we are getting the A or whether the FAA will get another unit, but it's interesting to speculate.

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Could it also be that the RAF weren't very interested in twin engine, single seat fighters, as per the Whirlwind? By the way, why was the French order for non-supercharged versions? Was it embargoed?

I think this explains the convolutions behind the procurement and changes of mind...http://www.aerofiles.com/JBlock-p38expo.html

Tony

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Re: RFA Diligence, she has had an extremely long service with the RFA, she was in use in the North Sea before 1982 - IIRC named Stenna xxxxx - so at more than 34 years of age and despite any refits she will be well and truly due for replacement.

With the downturn in North Sea activity I also suspect that there are bigger better Oil Rig service vessels available on the 2nd hand market and that with the manpower shortage in the RN and RFA a replacement that requires less personnel or alternative manning solutions (contractors who would otherwise be working in the North Sea) will be welcome. Just a thought.

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I think this explains the convolutions behind the procurement and changes of mind...http://www.aerofiles.com/JBlock-p38expo.html

Tony

Thanks for the link. A very interesting article which pretty much explains the whole sorry saga.

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Re: RFA Diligence, she has had an extremely long service with the RFA, she was in use in the North Sea before 1982 - IIRC named Stenna xxxxx - so at more than 34 years of age and despite any refits she will be well and truly due for replacement.

With the downturn in North Sea activity I also suspect that there are bigger better Oil Rig service vessels available on the 2nd hand market and that with the manpower shortage in the RN and RFA a replacement that requires less personnel or alternative manning solutions (contractors who would otherwise be working in the North Sea) will be welcome. Just a thought.

Seems sensible. Knowing the mood in Aberdeen at the moment I would imagine there would be quite a number of seamen who would jump at the chance of work on a RFA. Will the MOD lease a ship do you think?

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Yes the ship is to be leased, at least initially. As has happend before, the ship may then be taken up fully.

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