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Britain's Largest Warship

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Old Monday 4th November 2019, 10:08   #1
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Britain's Largest Warship

Last nights episode showed a variety of birds on the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth as she exercised off North America. Species I noted were Northern Parula, Grey Catbird, unknown Dendroica warbler and other LBJs, probably Song Sparrow. A Peregrine stayed with the vessel for many days and was welcomed by the Senior Launch Officer as it hunted and caught several passerines although one was injested into the fan of an F35 B.
All crew were advised not to feed any of the unwanted passengers.
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Old Friday 8th November 2019, 07:46   #2
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Being a military buff i thought i would give this a go and watched Ep 1 last night.

I thought it a bit over-dramatic. The pilot concerned has trained for yonks on this type in addition to countless hours on the much-missed Harrier. The Harrier was known for its high % of accidents and pilot loss and is acknowledged is ‘challenging’ in VTOL. The bulk of carrier runs were normal ones as it consumes far less fuel than in a hover especially with the Brit-invented ‘ski lift’.

The computer avionics on the F35 makes all this much easier for a pilot so the melodrama imo is for the cameras. What remains to be seen is what this aircraft actually does as the Harriers role was primarily CAS something which is negated by fast stealth. It is notable that the US Marines still retain the Harrier and indeed have upgraded it and also carry them as singles on small ships. The USMC also fund the budgeting for the A10 when Congress wanted to ‘Boneyard’ the type. Senators seeking votes do not get mortared by the Taliban and thus do not need ‘little friends’ loitering with intent and to protect the ‘grunts’.

The F35 has been delayed because, not surprisingly coming from the States, it was a ‘fattie’ i.e. obese at 2 tons overweight - which rendered it useless for what it was designed for i.e. carrier landings Altho it has been trimmed all ordnance is carried internally so it is extremely limited in the amount and variety it can carry. The general opinion is that it is a Turkey and will not replace the dogfighting role of the F16 and certainly not the all-round kill capability of the F15 family which is currently the dogs bollocks in air-air combat bar none.

I look forward to the remaining episodes particularly the bird one. On a different note perhaps they should have named it either The Liver Bird or HMS Scouse as apart from the Oxbridge test pilot and Navy officers every voice i heard was a Scouser! On ships it is routine to lock everything down but it is usually due to inclement weather conditions..........

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Old Sunday 10th November 2019, 21:22   #3
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Being a military buff i thought i would give this a go and watched Ep 1 last night.

I thought it a bit over-dramatic. The pilot concerned has trained for yonks on this type in addition to countless hours on the much-missed Harrier. The Harrier was known for its high % of accidents and pilot loss and is acknowledged is ‘challenging’ in VTOL. The bulk of carrier runs were normal ones as it consumes far less fuel than in a hover especially with the Brit-invented ‘ski lift’.

The computer avionics on the F35 makes all this much easier for a pilot so the melodrama imo is for the cameras. What remains to be seen is what this aircraft actually does as the Harriers role was primarily CAS something which is negated by fast stealth. It is notable that the US Marines still retain the Harrier and indeed have upgraded it and also carry them as singles on small ships. The USMC also fund the budgeting for the A10 when Congress wanted to ‘Boneyard’ the type. Senators seeking votes do not get mortared by the Taliban and thus do not need ‘little friends’ loitering with intent and to protect the ‘grunts’.

The F35 has been delayed because, not surprisingly coming from the States, it was a ‘fattie’ i.e. obese at 2 tons overweight - which rendered it useless for what it was designed for i.e. carrier landings Altho it has been trimmed all ordnance is carried internally so it is extremely limited in the amount and variety it can carry. The general opinion is that it is a Turkey and will not replace the dogfighting role of the F16 and certainly not the all-round kill capability of the F15 family which is currently the dogs bollocks in air-air combat bar none.

I look forward to the remaining episodes particularly the bird one. On a different note perhaps they should have named it either The Liver Bird or HMS Scouse as apart from the Oxbridge test pilot and Navy officers every voice i heard was a Scouser! On ships it is routine to lock everything down but it is usually due to inclement weather conditions..........

Laurie
Interesting POV.

Current "dog's bollocks" for air to air is inquestionably the F-22 Raptor. General opinion these days of the non-stealth family is the Eurofighter Typhoon with the F-15 "best of the rest".

Recent events have Typhoon kicking the backside of the F-35 in a visual range gunfight, but of course there is no reason to suppose F-35 pilots would be so sporting: as Gavin Lyall put it "the whole idea is to take your opponent by surprise and shoot him in the back".

US Army (not USMC) funded the A-10 when the USAF got fed up with it - USAF thinking incorrectly IMHO, and I think they US military has jointly learned the lesson.

Where you are correct is that the current take on F-35 piloting is that instructors prefer non-Harrier experienced people who don't have "bad habits" to unlearn. The F-35 is, according to those with experience in both, a piece of cake to handle in the hover and transitional phases entirely due to the computers managing all the little fluctuations (just as they do for Typhoon, F-22 and all the other "relaxed stability" types).

Haven't seen the programme yet but I deplore false jeopardy just as you do.

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Old Tuesday 12th November 2019, 14:39   #4
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I'm curious to know how the new aircraft would be 'scrambled' to confront immediate threats as there are often start up issues with it's totally automated systems, including the pilot having to log in and enter a password. A couple of times the suggested solution has been the classic 'turn it
off and on again'!

I also wonder at it's eventual susceptibilty to electronic attack or hack, it' seems inevitable that any enemy will soon work out a cyber attack against them?
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Old Tuesday 12th November 2019, 14:57   #5
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Andy,
I think at times of heightened and immediate threat, there would be an airframe on deck, pilot strapped in, weapons live and the systems ready for an engine start and rapid take off. Guess it depends on what and where the threats originate. Carriers, though a prime target, are heavily surrounded by one or two submarines, a flotilla of surface vessels and AWACS aircraft overhead.
Our Typhoon QRA bases and units can scramble and be airborne in arround 2 minutes I think from the initial call to the fast jet leaving the runway tarmac.

There are marine, ground based buildings and in flight aircraft constantly monitoring, jamming and searching for cyber attacks, a huge percentage of the defence budget is allocated for this

F35Bs practising this morning overhead, some sort of flight demonstration from RAF Marham this week I believe. I found it perplexing that the Lightning II, whilst incorporating an internal weapons bay to improve its stealth capability can quickly be rigged to carry an array of ballistic ordnance under the wings.
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Old Tuesday 12th November 2019, 16:18   #6
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Andy,
I think at times of heightened and immediate threat, there would be an airframe on deck, pilot strapped in, weapons live and the systems ready for an engine start and rapid take off. Guess it depends on what and where the threats originate. Carriers, though a prime target, are heavily surrounded by one or two submarines, a flotilla of surface vessels and AWACS aircraft overhead.
Our Typhoon QRA bases and units can scramble and be airborne in arround 2 minutes I think from the initial call to the fast jet leaving the runway tarmac.

There are marine, ground based buildings and in flight aircraft constantly monitoring, jamming and searching for cyber attacks, a huge percentage of the defence budget is allocated for this

F35Bs practising this morning overhead, some sort of flight demonstration from RAF Marham this week I believe. I found it perplexing that the Lightning II, whilst incorporating an internal weapons bay to improve its stealth capability can quickly be rigged to carry an array of ballistic ordnance under the wings.
Cheers,
Pat
The jeopardy introduced to a recent TV programme focused on the F-35 showed log-on problems: it seemed to me that the real issue was that the RAF pilot had forgotten his.... I don't think it is a real issue.

It's worth bearing in mind that the carriers are for power projection: there may not be other air combat platforms around for some of the special capabilities, though we hope Merlin with Crowsnest radar will supply long-range AWACs cover around the carrier group. The F-35s will be air defence, offensive counter-air, SEAD, deep strike and close air support. They are very capable in all these areas. The big question will be whether we buy enough of them.

Cyber is not a real threat to systems operated with an "air gap" between them and any cyber probing. Provided that the crews don't use secure systems for pirate copies of Grand Theft Auto there shouldn't be a problem.

As for external pylons that can quickly be rigged: stealth is an essential capability when "kicking the door in" during the early stages of a campaign. Once air superiority/supremacy is obtained and the enemy's GBAD reduced to scrap, the requirement is more for weight of ordnance on target, so get the pylons on. Simples.

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Old Tuesday 12th November 2019, 17:31   #7
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Seems like a fantastic versatile all rounder but will it eventually replace Typhoon as an interceptor - or is that what the Tempest scheme is about, given we cannot have the Raptor. I'm getting quite fond of the shape when I see them OTT (infrequently). Pretty loud rumble with full afterburner week when executing a low tight orbit over Fakenham on market day. Love it, many didn't but heh ho.

Only downside is not close enough to smell the Avgas!
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Old Tuesday 12th November 2019, 19:00   #8
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Seems like a fantastic versatile all rounder but will it eventually replace Typhoon as an interceptor - or is that what the Tempest scheme is about, given we cannot have the Raptor. I'm getting quite fond of the shape when I see them OTT (infrequently). Pretty loud rumble with full afterburner week when executing a low tight orbit over Fakenham on market day. Love it, many didn't but heh ho.

Only downside is not close enough to smell the Avgas!
Unfashionable though it is to admit it, I quite like the F-35 myself.

I don't think it's a replacement for Typhoon which carries a boatload of weapons and is the current class of the field in non-stealth dogfighting - but of course it's limited by needing airfields on solid ground. Used together the tactical scenarios for bushwhacking opponents with the combined capabilities of Typhoon and F-35 are intriguing. Some suggest F-35 out front with stealth, LPI radar and data fusion could run the battle without needing to do any revealing shooting itself - just calling in and targeting missiles from Typhoons held further back.

Tempest in any realistic form is a long way off. Think how long the RAF have been taking a plastic F-35 to airshows before getting working hardware.....

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Old Wednesday 13th November 2019, 08:49   #9
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I put forward the F15 as the Mutts Nuts purely on proven track record - the F22 and F35 are unproven and are unlikely ever to down an enemy aircraft using a gun - i don’t even know if they have them. Due to the ‘stealthy’ design they are also unlikey to be able to carry much in the way of a payload which makes you wonder what the loadout would be for either self-defense or beyond horizon air-air.

When they needed to collapse leaking oil wells during the Gulf war of ‘91 they came up with the novel idea of using tank gun barrels filled with an explosive. They had the weight, shape and loads of kinetic energy when delivered above Mach1. Stick a guidance kit on it directed to its target by a laser designator and boom the ‘Bunker Buster’ was born from a bit of recycling and weighing in at about a ton

My point being that try coming up with that off the back of a fag packet and then sticking it on either of the ‘smart’ planes - i don’t think so... It won’t be long before some geeky RAF Cadets will work out how to track them by Radar in heavy rain much as they did with the F117 Nighthawk back in the day

All good fun - I finished watching the programme and i think the narrator will win best Drama Queen in the upcoming Oacars and on a birdy note i think i have ticked Grey Catbird albeit not the Cornish one

Laurie -
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Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 19:11   #10
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Having spent the major part of my working life in the design and development of airbourne weaponry, which included what became known as the Cold War period, I have followed the opinions of the self-confessed military buffs on this thread with interest and would be further interested to learn how they formed their opinions.

Looking forward in anticipation guys.
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Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 19:55   #11
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My interest in military aviation was sparked at the age of 4 years by my brother wishing to join the RAF. I was fortunate to have a tour of the Indian aircraft carrier "Vikram" c.1960 courtesy of my great uncle who was shot down during the Vietnam campaign. This further fuelled a wish to fly but distractions at school meant not the best of qualifications to pursue a career in flying. Years at visiting Farnborough, Biggin Hill, Mildenhall, Fairford and other airshows satisfied a thrill of watching these aircraft being put through their paces. Any knowledge I've accumulated has been from reading specialist magazine articles, books and now the world of internet where an amazing amount of information is presented for the general public's nosiness, some of it absolutely startling from my point of view. I have two birding associates, one who worked as a contractor on weapon systems at Marham and a dear friend who worked in and alongside the MOD, both now retired and governed by the Secrecy Acts but apart from that my only qualification is a tour of RAF Marham including the Officers nmewsroom, briefing room and a sit in the cockpit of a GR4 Tornado.

P

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Old Friday 15th November 2019, 06:43   #12
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Crapbirder: they are merely opinions subjective or otherwise maybe you could enlighten us with your experience and inside knowledge and refute them by giving the benefit of yours?

Your comment is a thinly-veiled swipe at mine which is fair enough As they say - opinions are like @rseholes everybody has them. My thoughts on the combat capability and ability to engage are subjective and open to expansion. The record of the F15 is proven and is peerless the F22 and F35 is not. These planes roam at will over regions that are only capable of putting up a fight from the ground. As soon as Turkey acquires the latest Russian SAM’s the Yanks and NATO sh1t themselves!

People who design aircraft, weapons systems and ordnance do not always get it right and military history is littered with failed projects that cost us a fortune but turned out to be a vanity project and our MOD have no equals in that department. Soldiers fought for centuries with just one armband on the back of a shield until the Greek Hoplites put 2 on and thus the shield doubled as a weapon in addition to merely defence.

The fact that HMS Queen Elizabeth is based around one type of VTOL fighter and does not have the facility to catapault planes off and re-trap them makes it very specialised and only time will tell. The fact that a migrant passerine pulled in thru the air intake forcing it to ground does not bode well. Our American allies will still retain the features as they obviously operate other aircraft types whilst we will use Choppers.

Anyway - i watched the last one and had to laugh at the antics of the female Steward who had to practice her Search and Destroy abilities whilst constantly fumbling with a loose helmet. This was obviously set up for the camera for over-emphasis and something that the female instructor would not have wanted depicted as it is unprofessional but obviously went along with it. Note that the tattooed male next to her had no such problem and attempting to drill with a loosely buckled helmet would not have been allowed but its the sort of thing the Beeb excel at.....

A young female technician who was involved in testing the deck surface for the effects of the F35 exhaust sadly passed away earlier this year and is mentioned in the credits at the end of the 3rd episode In addition Commander Kyd’s tenure finished when they hit Portsmouth he was only in charge for sea-trials etc and upto receiving the White Ensign. His replacement didn’t last long as he used a Navy car for personal reasons and was demoted to be replaced by the Captain-in-waiting who was due to take on her sister ship the Prince of Wales.

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Friday 15th November 2019, 07:51   #13
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Must admit I saw nothing in the query but interest in others' range of interest and experience. I've been a spotter (funny how plane buffs accept that word but birders don't) since I could walk, and living in Farnborough I've seen company test pilots showing off the brand-new and exciting Lightning, Phantom, Mirages assorted, Rafale, Tornado, F-15, F-16, F-18, Typhoon, F-22 and the so far limited over here F-35 - we are promised a more complete exploration of its envelope next year, can't wait. Let's not forget MiG 29s, Su-27/30/35 variants and more....

It's perhaps technically correct to say the F-22 isn't yet combat proven - though I'm not totally sure, its certainly been operational in the Middle East - but you might as well say the Spitfire was combat proven and the Vampire wasn't. True but still rubbish - they were contemporary but weren't the same generation and the 1945 Vamp could outclimb, outdive, outturn and beat on the level the latest 1945 Griffon Spitfires.....

Back in 1990 my late father asked my brother and I if we were going to war in the Gulf what would we want to strap on and was surprised when we both replied "F-15" in the same breath.... same question now and I'd say F-22 Raptor without a shadow of a doubt.

Incidentally I seem to remember a little fracas in the South Atlantic that involved carriers with VSTOL only decks on our side and a conventional flat-top on the other - IIRC we won that.

Modern media is largely concerned to find things to knock - which is I suppose better than sycophancy to the Establishment, but don't be deceived into thinking you are getting balanced reporting. Not only are the lengthy testing, evaluating and development of concepts of operations for modern weapon systems necessary and effective, but snags are routine and so is solving them. Which the UK Defence Ministries that are now blended as MOD have been doing with Industry ever since the Avro Manchester turned out to be a turkey.

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Old Friday 15th November 2019, 09:56   #14
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My thanks to those who have found the time to respond to my query both on and off forum. May I assure rollingthunder that I'm not in the habit of taking swipes, thinly veiled or otherwise and as stated, merely interested to learn how others formed their opinions. My experience was gained while working for an employer on the list of MoD approved contractors.

People who design aircraft, weapons systems and ordnance do not always get it right but in their defence I would add that much of their output is governed by the paymasters.
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Old Friday 15th November 2019, 10:18   #15
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All fair and welcome comment

I got the impression that Raptors were Laser designating.

Don’t forget another Avro Turkey.....the Arrow

Laurie
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Old Friday 15th November 2019, 19:43   #16
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May be considered off topic but two comments if I may. Some of my best birding has been on military test ranges where live ordnance is fired but where there is little or no human disturbance.

Transmission of the third and final episode of Britain's Largest/Biggest Warship is scheduled for early evening on BBC2 tomorrow followed immediately by Dad's Army. Good example of how BBC TV programme making and presentation has changed over the years and I speak as one old enough to know how accurately the Dad's Army characters were portrayed.
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Old Friday 15th November 2019, 21:01   #17
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Some of my best birding has been on military test ranges where live ordnance is fired but where there is little or no human disturbance.
What would constitute your best birding cb? That there weren't a lot of humans present and their associated wandering around aimlessly or good density of bird species and numbers.
I was fortunate to visit STANTA and a guided tour of the area including where the Dad's Army closing titles and many episodes were filmed. The pines still look unchanged. I found the day very humbling and emotional, not least the few remaing bricks and foundations of the village houses but the two churches, one of which still receives family relatives of those who fell.

Two RAF or Royal Navy F35bs quite low overhead yesterday afternoon near Swafham.

P
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Old Saturday 16th November 2019, 05:47   #18
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Plantwise you need look no further than Salisbury Plain that is the UK’s largest ‘unimproved’ area of Chalk grassland. Large areas of which are accessible but not on ‘Red flag’ days

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Old Saturday 16th November 2019, 12:12   #19
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Britain's Largest Warship.

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What would constitute your best birding cb? That there weren't a lot of humans present and their associated wandering around aimlessly or good density of bird species and numbers.


P
Without doubt the former; as you know I prematurely ended my survey of rare breeding birds on North Norfolk heath land due to people literally following me around in order to visit and tell their friends, where I found active nests.

N.
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Old Saturday 16th November 2019, 17:34   #20
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Sister ship HMS Prince of Wales arrived in Portsmouth. Only ship assisted birds on board are organic Duchy of Cornwall chickens. Probably best to resign this thread for now.
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Old Saturday 16th November 2019, 18:32   #21
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Swarovski BTX in the Captain's cabin.
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Old Saturday 16th November 2019, 20:44   #22
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Swarovski BTX in the Captain's cabin.
RNBWS is - or used to be - a very keen bunch of birders who did some great reporting. I was acquainted with a Royal Navy officer who was very proud of the time his frigate in the North Atlantic hosted a white Gyrfalcon that lived on Fulmars for a couple of weeks.

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Old Saturday 16th November 2019, 22:08   #23
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RNBWS is - or used to be - a very keen bunch of birders who did some great reporting. I was acquainted with a Royal Navy officer who was very proud of the time his frigate in the North Atlantic hosted a white Gyrfalcon that lived on Fulmars for a couple of weeks.

John
The Navy has / had it's own bulletin, 'Sea Swallow' I think it was?
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Old Sunday 17th November 2019, 13:05   #24
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I don't think it's a replacement for Typhoon which carries a boatload of weapons and is the current class of the field in non-stealth dogfighting - but of course it's limited by needing airfields on solid ground.
Surprised to read that around 50 RAF Typhoons are " mothballed " at present ( even if they were part of the first deliveries ). That seems a heck of a lot of airframes to be in storage and unable to go if needed. Cannot quite my head round why they are kept if they would be ineffective ( not upgraded) against a well equipped enemy with state of the Migs and Sus. Also, for FJ, outdogfight the Rafael or Grippen?

P
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Old Sunday 17th November 2019, 13:33   #25
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Surprised to read that around 50 RAF Typhoons are " mothballed " at present ( even if they were part of the first deliveries ). That seems a heck of a lot of airframes to be in storage and unable to go if needed. Cannot quite my head round why they are kept if they would be ineffective ( not upgraded) against a well equipped enemy with state of the Migs and Sus. Also, for FJ, outdogfight the Rafael or Grippen?

P
Out of curiosity, how many battle ready, fastjet pilots do you think the RAF has, perhaps this is part of the reason they are mothballed?
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