Lend-Lease for the 21st Century

How did this get past the Obama Pentagon?

Suppose you have a brand-new aircraft carrier, but the jets that will operate from that ship won’t be available in sufficient quantities for another five years.  How do you utilize that platform to its full capabilities in the interim, without its primary strike asset?

For Britain’s Royal Navy, that is the near-term challenge: their new fleet carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, is in the final stages of construction and will begin sea trials next summer, with initial flight training in 2017-2018.  But with the RN’s first F-35 squadrons not scheduled to achieve their initial operating capability until 2020 (at the earliest), the Brits are looking for aircraft that can embark earlier and provide a combat punch before their own Lightning IIs are ready for action.

The solution is a lesson in creativity and coalition warfare.  According to the U.S. Naval Institute, the RN has reached agreement with the U.S. Marine Corps to deploy F-35 squadrons on the Queen Elizabeth until British units achieve their IOC in the jet.

Hopefully, a little bit of the USMC swagger will rub off on the Brits for them to take back home.

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3 Responses to Lend-Lease for the 21st Century

  1. guy says:

    By 2020 ‘swagger’ will be replaced with ‘mince’.

    I’ve never seen so many people charged with important positions in government with such a visceral hatred for the populace, traditions, and legacy of the country they are supposed to be running.

    Just saw this btw – http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/obama-to-nominate-first-openly-gay-service-secretary/article/2572440

    Hooray, gay dude in charge! Granted the service he’ll be in charge of will consist of 10,000 PR spokespeople and no weapons whatsoever, but he’s gay. That’s what’s important.

  2. Zendo Deb says:

    They don’t need ‘swagger.’ Special Air Services and Special Boat Services pretty much invented what we think of as “special operations.” The HALO jump (not used much anymore). I think they were the first to adopt SCUBA once Cousteau invented it.

    All that sneaking around? Just didn’t fit with the American notion of valor and honor during and after WWII. How many times did the US military start and then abandon snipers? Too sneaky. Not stand-up-and-fight enough. Probably why the UK has the longest confirmed sniper shot. (That and they buy their snipers better rifles.)

    The Brits just aren’t so obnoxious about it.

  3. Eric Wilner says:

    As I understand it, the contract for those new carriers called for an option to retrofit them with EMALS.
    With the F-35 delayed, the RN tried to exercise that option, but it turned out that the plan for the retrofit started with “Strip it down to the keel…” or words to that effect.
    Anyway, that’s the story I heard back when I was working for a little company that was trying to sell the RN the special test equipment for checking the EMALS cabling once it was installed.
    And so the RN is stuck with a carrier that can’t launch any planes they’ll have available any time soon, and now they’re picking up hitchhikers.

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