via The Daily Telegraph.
Britain’s fighter aircraft fleet is set to shrink to its smallest in the RAF’s history as ageing jets retire by the end of the decade, a new analysis warns.If that isn't bad enough the 800 pound gorilla in the room is the fact that the F-35 will not deliver the same capability as the planes it will replace.
Numbers will be squeezed to only around 127 front line combat jets at best under current plans to retire Britain’s Tornado GR4s and early model Typhoons in 2019, before new F-35 stealth fighters arrive.
Defence chiefs have already warned that the RAF’s fast jet fleet is stretched to the limit and the new analysis from IHS Jane’s warns it is “perverse” to cut numbers further.
The RAF’s 87 remaining Tornados and 53 tranche 1 Typhoons are scheduled to retire in 2019.
By then, only 15 to 20 of the new F-35B jump jets will have arrived according to the analysis. The resulting fleet will be “the lowest number that the RAF will have fielded since its creation in 1918”.
The RAF’s reduced fighter fleet will be made up of technically advanced planes but “no aircraft, no matter how capable, can be in more than one place at any time”, said Gareth Jennings, aviation desk editor at Jane’s.
The good news is that this explains the desperation around the F-35.
Unless they get it into production NOW you'll see air forces around the world bailing. It also explains why the DoD wants the Super Hornet line shut down. Defense Ministries are going to have to explain why this new wonder jet is draining coffers. Alternatives will be sought and the Super Hornet would be at the top of many lists.
The Brits are royally screwed (pun intended).
They're about to go from a first rate air force to has beens all thanks to the idiotic focus on buying the F-35.