Although it is claimed that the F-35B is destroying the British Navy, it has no other choice and is forced to use the US-made fighter line.
According to General Richard Dannatt, former Chief of Staff of the United Kingdom Armed Forces, the fifth-generation F-35B fighter made by the US is “destroying” the Navy and the Department of Defense of this country.
General Dannatt said that on a single F-35B, Britain had to spend up to 80 million pounds. Meanwhile, the F-35B’s cost per hour of operation costs up to 90,000 pounds.
Such spending would “crumple the defense budget for decades,” leaving the Army and some other UK forces at a loss.” The cost of the fighter is so high that the Air Force itself is starting to look for a cheaper fighter,” said the British military expert.
Experts say that no matter what the assessment of the F-35B, the British still can not give a more optimal option and are forced to use this fighter line if not all of its fleet of aircraft carriers become useless.
Because all of the British Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are designed to operate short runway takeoffs and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft with ski-jumping assistance.
Initially, the ships were expected to be equipped with launch systems and flyback cables for aircraft such as the Nimitz and Gerald R. Ford classes, but the high cost forced Britain to choose the STOVL solution and use the F-35B fighter.
Thus, the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier has absolutely no catapults and brake cables like other carriers. With this design, without the F-35B, the British carriers would be like landers with helicopters.
Initially, the F-35B was equipped with eight SDB II bombs inside the weapon compartment, but the F-35B had a much smaller internal weapon bay than the F-35A and F-35C due to the STOVL series design. This version can only carry 4 results. And in the case of accepting the F-35B operation, this model did not bring the British fleet power as expected because the internal armament of the F-35B was too small to carry enough SDB II bombs. As originally planned.
SDB II bomb with full name GBU-53 / B SDB II is a product of Raytheon Company. The integration of the SDB II bombs with the F-35 is of great importance because they make this aircraft capable of unprecedented combat capabilities on any aircraft family.
The “exorbitant” operating costs and the low combat efficiency are the reasons why the UK announced it would cut 68 F-35s in its new procurement and spend a budget on developing stealth fighter domestic.