France-Germany-Spain Future Combat Air System (FCAS/SCAF/FSAC)

marauder2048

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LowObservable said:
PS - There's certainly never been any other replacement plan for the F-15E, nor was any major enhancement/life extension in the budget until the F-35 schedule slipped.

F-15E AESA upgrade funding started way back in the 2003-2004 period during which the USAF was still receiving new-build F-15Es
and telling congress that the F-15E would serve until at least 2030.

GAO tells me the list of candidates seriously considered to the replace the F-15E goes all the way back to at least the A-12.

The RAND study from 1995 ("The Gray Threat") was already showing that the EFA (EF-2000) and Rafale were pricing themselves
out of the teen-series replacement market.

That left Gripen which has been out-performed by upgraded teen-series in the Finnish and Swiss evaluations.
And because of Gripen's substantial US content, it's not that much cheaper to own/operate.

Of course, all of this talk about new combat aircraft development is silly since we've been told that it's all about upgrades, pods and payloads.
 

Arjen

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On cost: following the logic of the RAND study from 1995, I would say F-35 has priced itself out of the teen-series replacement race too.

When South Korea held its competition for 60 new fighters, F-15SE and Typhoon were offered within budget. The competition was re-run, with South Korea signing up for 40 F-35s, on the same budget.
The Dutch air force has had an inflation-corrected F-16 replacement budget since the late nineties, which at the start was deemed sufficient for 85 aircraft. This number dwindled to 37 a few years ago. The Dutch, having already paid for two development aircraft, have since ordered an additional 8 aircraft. More F-35s are expected to be ordered later, with some uncertainty whether enough will be left from the fixed, inflation corrected budget to achieve a 37 aircraft fleet. The Dutch accounting office has repeatedly warned about the financial burden of operating F-35s, identifying it as a threat to other defence activities - think army, navy.

Gripen E won the Swiss competition on cost (cost *really* matters), but the win was nixed by a referendum with no aircraft being ordered at all.
Brazil has chosen Gripen E(/F) as well.
On the Finnish competition, the verdict is yet to come.

I expect a new Franco-German jet to be extremely costly.
 

LowObservable

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That left Gripen which has been out-performed by upgraded teen-series in the Finnish and Swiss evaluations.

As Arjen points out, this statement is nonfactual. The Swiss evaluation was against the Rafale and Typhoon, and the Gripen won, and the Finnish contest has not concluded.

And because of Gripen's substantial US content, it's not that much cheaper to own/operate.

Aside from being a nonsequitur, lower operational cost was the key to the Swiss decision.
 

SpudmanWP

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Keep in mind the Korean F-35 deal was for LRIP F-35s. It's a little disingenuous to compare LRIP prices to well established fighter lines given that the F-35 is already far cheaper than the numbers in the Korean deal.
 

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That would be weird assumption given that the available price of the F35 is under 100M$ when 4th gen design (exept Russian) are understood to be above that line.
 

Arjen

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SpudmanWP said:
Keep in mind the Korean F-35 deal was for LRIP F-35s. It's a little disingenuous to compare LRIP prices to well established fighter lines given that the F-35 is already far cheaper than the numbers in the Korean deal.
Let's wait and see how many F-35s the Dutch budget (or any other) will buy. To me, US government accounting of the F-35 project's cost is extremely complex and difficult to follow.
France and Germany may or may not go ahead with a new fighter. If they do, I dearly hope that project's cost will be easier to interpret.
 

marauder2048

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LowObservable said:
That left Gripen which has been out-performed by upgraded teen-series in the Finnish and Swiss evaluations.

As Arjen points out, this statement is nonfactual. The Swiss evaluation was against the Rafale and Typhoon, and the Gripen won, and the Finnish contest has not concluded.

And because of Gripen's substantial US content, it's not that much cheaper to own/operate.

Aside from being a nonsequitur, lower operational cost was the key to the Swiss decision.

Note I said evaluation:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/81390363/Swiss-Air-Force-Confidential-Report-on-the-Evaluation-of-the-Eurofighter-the-Gripen-NG-and-the-Rafale

The Gripen's current capabilities for DCA missions are inferior to those of the Swiss F/A-18/CD,
which entered service in the Swiss Air Force 11 years ago
.

It's pretty damning with regard to the proposed Gripen MS21 (~ NG) as well.

The Finnish Air Force evaluated the Gripen in the early 1990s (from hornetfinn)

Finnish evaluation in earrly 1990s showed that while Gripen had fairly low running costs,
it had expensive spare parts and F/A-18C/D actually had favourable life-time costs. This was serious
surprise as Hornet was not originally even considered as it was thought to be too
expensive to buy and operate. That assumption proved to be false and Hornet was selected
due to having best capabilties and also second cheapest life-time costs. Cheapest was not published b
ut many things indicate that it was F-16 which was the cheapest and Gripen the third.
I seriously doubt the costs have changed that much for Gripen since then.

Arjen said:
On cost: following the logic of the RAND study from 1995, I would say F-35 has priced itself out of the teen-series replacement race too.

You're thinking of the Super Hornet which as RAND estimates predicted turned out to be very expensive
and generally uncompetitive.

Arjen said:
When South Korea held its competition for 60 new fighters, F-15SE and Typhoon were offered within budget.

The F-15SE did not exist in any meaningful way which combined with the fact that is used a hybrid FMS/direct commercial
sale made cost comparisons and predictions problematic as subsequent events showed.
 

LowObservable

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Keep in mind the Korean F-35 deal was for LRIP F-35s. It's a little disingenuous to compare LRIP prices to well established fighter lines given that the F-35 is already far cheaper than the numbers in the Korean deal.

LRIP schmelrip (maybe I shouldn't use that expression around Marauder ;D), the first RoKAF aircraft will still be production number >250.

Yes, there was that Swiss document. It was clearly not final - since they picked the Gripen. And a second-hand account of a Finnish evaluation prior to the 1992 Hornet order is of historical interest at best.
 

SpudmanWP

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the first RoKAF aircraft will still be production number >250.
Which is still being produced at a rate much lower than FRP.
 

marauder2048

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LowObservable said:
LRIP schmelrip (maybe I shouldn't use that expression around Marauder ;D), .

Feel free to use unscholarly language; it's the generally unscholarly approach that makes me :'(.

LowObservable said:
historical interest at best.

Appropriate given we were talking about the history and motivations for the JSF program.
The Swiss and Finnish evaluation show that the RAND assessment withstands the test of time
and we've seen that Raymer's follow-on work at RAND was deeply influential to USAF thinking on JSF.
 

Arjen

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You were writing about UPDATED teen-series outperforming Gripen. That doesn't fit the earlier Swiss and Finnish competitions. My point was that if you posit Typhoon and Raphale as pricing themselves out of the teen-series replacement business, the same goes for F-35.

I fear the new Franco-German fighter, if it comes, will be just as costly. The Swiss and Brazilian governments decided to settle for what they saw as good enough, like the USA decided against the more capable Airbus tanker in favour of the cheaper Boeing tanker. Both met requirements, outperforming the requirements wasn't important enough - or so has been communicated.
 

SpudmanWP

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Arjen said:
I fear the new Franco-German fighter, if it comes, will be just as costly.

It will cost a lot more due to:
1. "Too many cooks in the kitchen" in the same way that caused the split of France from Eurofighter.
2. It can never be made in the numbers & rate at which the F-35 is being built so it can never match the F-35's price if it tries to match it's capabilities.
3. It's development cost will be much higher per airframe due to lower numbers of planes that can be built.
4. Two engines
 

sferrin

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Arjen said:
You were writing about UPDATED teen-series outperforming Gripen. That doesn't fit the earlier Swiss and Finnish competitions. My point was that if you posit Typhoon and Raphale as pricing themselves out of the teen-series replacement business, the same goes for F-35.

Except that neither of those two are being built in anything like the planned F-35 numbers so that doesn't necessarily follow.
 

LowObservable

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So where does RAND conclude that the Europeans had priced themselves out of the "teen-series replacement market"?

That doesn't seem to be what is being said here:
 

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SpudmanWP

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LowObservable said:
So where does RAND conclude that the Europeans had priced themselves out of the "teen-series replacement market"?

Your own example shows it.

The "gray threat" can be taken seriously only if the new European fighters are likely to be sold in significant numbers outside of Europe (they were not).
In the uncertain strategic global environment that is evolving in the wake of the Cold War, it is difficult to predict the likely sales prospects for these fighters. However, three basic points can be made. First, several of the key European governments and contractors involved in these programs appear to be more committed than ever before to promoting foreign sales and seem determined to do whatever it takes to win export orders (they were not since they "bowed out" of several competitions claiming "it was already in the bag for the US"). Second, the export price of these fighters will likely be broadly competitive with U.S. fighters available for export (again, they were not). Third, a large potential market outside of Europe exists. As a result, it is probable that major export orders for one or more of the new European fighters will eventually be won.

History shows that they were not able to meet the goals of price.
 

red admiral

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SpudmanWP said:
Which is still being produced at a rate much lower than FRP.

There's pretty small reductions in cost due to leaner curve effects over 200 aircraft. A further 5-10% reduction in F-35 UPC doesn't come remotely close to matching the ~50% cost differential cf Typhoon in the Korea competition.
 

SpudmanWP

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EF was eliminated before a final contract was signed so the only thing they ever officially offered was a vague "bid".

However, if you look at actual contracts signed, the F-35 has been far cheaper than the F-18E, F-15E, Eurofighter, and Rafale.

zirJp0F.png
 

marauder2048

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Arjen said:
You were writing about UPDATED teen-series outperforming Gripen. That doesn't fit the earlier Swiss and Finnish competitions.

Factually incorrect. The Swiss F/A-18s in the evaluation had undergone the Hornet 21 updates that were purchased in 2003.
If you read the evaluation, those updates greatly contributed to the F/A-18's edge in several tasks.

I don't know which F/A-18 configuration the Finns were considering during their evaluation.
 

LowObservable

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M-2048 was saying that RAND had predicted the failure of the Europeans to reach a price point where the teen-series could be replaced.

Typing stuff into the quote in red does not change the fact that RAND predicted otherwise.

Also, as you should know... well, actually, as you do know, comparing package prices to US contract prices is a very hazardous thing to do.
 

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LowObservable said:
comparing package prices to US contract prices is a very hazardous thing to do.
Even taking the final FMS F-35 Korean contract and comparing it to other US FMS deals (F-15 & F-18) shows the F-35 to be a better deal and is only getting cheaper by the day.
 

LowObservable

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But the USAF has reduced its planned peak annual production rate by 25 per cent (80 to 60), as shown in the FY18 SAR. Why do they do this when the jet is "getting cheaper by the day?"
 

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They make lot's of stupid decisions, you'll have to ask them.
 

marauder2048

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So where does RAND conclude that the Europeans had priced themselves out of the "teen-series replacement market"?
LowObservable said:
M-2048 was saying that RAND had predicted the failure of the Europeans to reach a price point where the teen-series could be replaced.

vs.

The RAND study from 1995 ("The Gray Threat") was already showing that the EFA (EF-2000) and Rafale were pricing themselves
out of the teen-series replacement market.

Not sure how you get predicted or concluded. But Table 4 shows pretty clearly than even under what
Raymer regards as optimistic and potentially naive assumptions about European fighter production rates /costs
and rather pessimistic assumptions on new-build teen-series rates that the European fighters (aside from Gripen)
would be more expensive than anything other than the Super Bug.

The part you excerpted follows from Raymer's other assumption that

The Europeans can, of course, offset higher prices with better deals on
technology transfer and industrial participation.

Which in Hungary came down to consumer refrigerator production.

LowObservable said:
But the USAF has reduced its planned peak annual production rate by 25 per cent (80 to 60), as shown in the FY18 SAR. Why do they do this when the jet is "getting cheaper by the day?"

They submit their funded quantity request and then their unfunded quantity request.
Congress has shown great enthusiasm for combining these quantities.
 

red admiral

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SpudmanWP said:
However, if you look at actual contracts signed, the F-35 has been far cheaper than the F-18E, F-15E, Eurofighter, and Rafale.

Comparing apples and potatoes is really clutching at straws
 

sferrin

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red admiral said:
SpudmanWP said:
However, if you look at actual contracts signed, the F-35 has been far cheaper than the F-18E, F-15E, Eurofighter, and Rafale.

Comparing apples and potatoes is really clutching at straws

What should they compare if not signed contracts? ???
 

LowObservable

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Unfunded requests are for the current FY. The reduction to 60/year is in the program of record.

As for the AF's wishes for the current year, rather than speculate, here are the facts (page 6).

http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS25/20170216/105552/HHRG-115-AS25-Wstate-HarrisJ-20170216.pdf

An overview of modernization is here:

https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Harris-Bunch-Nowland_03-29-17.pdf

Of course, none of these problems would exist had the program - which has always been fully funded in development - stayed on the 2010 schedule. Let alone the 2008 schedule.
 

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sferrin

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LowObservable said:
Of course, none of these problems would exist had the program - which has always been fully funded in development - stayed on the 2010 schedule. Let alone the 2008 schedule.

Did any of the Eurocanards meet their initial schedules?
 

LowObservable

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Did any of the Eurocanards meet their initial schedules?

Obviously not, and for reasons that are clear and on the public record and that have been frequently discussed here. You are quite aware of them. I believe a lawyer would describe your question as "vexatious".

By the way, one factor that makes the comparison of contracts difficult is that FMS contract announcements and disclosures are subject to Federal acquisition regulations and (clearly) contracts between two non-US entities are not. Furthermore, European governments have an incentive to "big up" the announced contract value to show the voters that they are getting a fat return on their investment. This doesn't have much of a competitive effect because prospective customers know what they're really paying and what the financial terms are.
 

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sferrin said:
Did any of the Eurocanards meet their initial schedules?

Nope, and going by the German AF comments (if they do represent their thinking) they don't expect Airbus or Dassault to manage a new fighter without taking a quarter of century either.
 

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Hood said:
Assembling bits of F-35 at least keeps people in work and the technical know-how running. At least BAE Systems is keeping their design folks busy by sub-contracting them out for other nations' projects.

SpudmanWP said:
However, if you look at actual contracts signed, the F-35 has been far cheaper than the F-18E, F-15E, Eurofighter, and Rafale.

I don't know if I'll live enough old to see this, but, I am very (very !) impatient to see the efficiency of british know-how for other nations' projects (the wonderful meetdeadlines and cost controllers TFX and F-3, for example) and the cheapier future of the F-35 (compared to previous génération planes), notably for buyers of small quantities...

One example (among a lot of others...) of my mind... :

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/17/ministry-defence-facing-hundreds-millions-hidden-costs-new-fighter/

and that with a land involved in the stealth aspect of the plane...


Well, beyond irony (even if I thought 100% of what I wrote), the Israel case will be, for me, the most realistic test for the efficiency, the reliability and the cost controls of the marvellous plane that (almost) all the world want to buy or imitate...

Appointments in 5, 10, 20, 30 years...


Alas, I am not sure that a France-Germany (maybe with others) fighter jet (if eventually it will exist...) will be cheapier, more cost controller, more reliable, more deadlines meeter and more efficient. Not considering that there will be a day where there will be a RADAR (or other system) to see all the stealth planes like the other planes... And each new year advances the arrival of this new system... It is not impossible that this plane will be already obsolete when it will fly for the first time...

Appointments in a future... (maybe)
 

Arjen

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Hood said:
Nope, and going by the German AF comments (if they do represent their thinking) they don't expect Airbus or Dassault to manage a new fighter without taking a quarter of century either.
If I remember correctly, one reason Rafale's development took so long was that the French government consciously slowed down matters because of a limited budget - not because Dassault couldn't develop things faster.
With Dassault only having to defer on Rafale to the French government as opposed to the the various partners in the Tornado and Typhoon projects, Rafale's development might have been much quicker with more generous funding.

Looking at Dassault's track record, governments taking ages to specify what requirements are to be met are more likely to delay/scuttle this project.
 

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The problem is that a long term strategy (past F35) can't be made without innovation minded interlocutors in the industry. Our military can't build a realistic proper vision by themselves. They need input from industrial. When was that the last time when Airbus Military and Dassault did field something at least Evolutionary ?


Otherwise, I agree with you on the Rafale project. Without the imposed delay, the dev time could have been cut by almost a decade and certainly a bunch of billions of Euro
 

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A related point is that its not just the airframe you need to worry about but the avionics that go into it.

As was pointed out in the Japanese F-3 thread, development of the F-3 is slowing due to the development costs. Screwing together the ATD-X demonstrator was one thing but you need the radars, passive sensors, datalinks etc. to go into it. Japan has now found it needs international partners to fill out its "empty box". In Japan's case a lot of that equipment will probably be US.

What are Airbus and Dassault going to use in the new fighter? Warmed over Eurofighter parts or reliance on French avionics (Thales & MBDA)?
CAPTOR-E has taken a long time to get to fruition, design work beginning in 1993 and so far only the UK has backed its acquisition. Look at the political disinclination to fund Tranche 3B in Germany, Meteor integration and Storm Shadow integration. Despite all the demands for super-maneuverability by the Germans when EFA was created, thrust-vectoring still hasn't materialised even in test hardware form. It's this kind of penny-pinching that has drawn out Eurofighter development and probably made it more costly in the long run.

Neither government have proven to be keen on spending on development programmes and that has slowed progress but France at least has a a 100% French aircraft, engine and major avionics package to show for it. Even so, its this past history that makes me skeptical that suddenly both governments are going to ask Airbus or Dassault to make them a new programme costing billions of Euros. France may well have the greater drive to find a Rafale successor but they haven't the deep pockets to go it alone, especially if it turns out Berlin was just playing along, saying the right political words without intending to spend anything.
 

kaiserd

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If I may I think some of the contributors are missing the wider point.
What is being proposed is not a direct F-35 competitor, but a long term project to create the technology for and to build a Typhoon/ Rafale, and potentially F-35, replacement; what comes next.

As such issues raised around costs and efficient management are valid (promises to be very expensive over many years), as are concerns that it would have to compete with (parallel?) UCAV projects and that it may be difficult to sustain the political will to see the project through.

However issues raised around technical ability of Airbus and Dassualt to build it and its associated avionics, technology etc. appear misplaced.
And if this project was to be put on a firmer footing then involvement by the likes of Saab and BAe (post potential Brexit-related acrimony) in this project or whatever this project ends up evolving into is also quite likely.
 

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kaiserd said:
And if this project was to be put on a firmer footing then involvement by the likes of Saab and BAe (post potential Brexit-related acrimony) in this project or whatever this project ends up evolving into is also quite likely.
Ideally, cooperation can lead to a result bigger than the sum of its constituent parts.
However:
the anecdote alluded to in Hesketh Pearson’s Bernard Shaw: His Life and Personality (p. 310-311) when “a strange lady giving an address in Zürich wrote him a proposal, thus: “You have the greatest brain in the world, and I have the most beautiful body; so we ought to produce the most perfect child.” Shaw asked: “What if the child inherits my body and your brains?”
 

kaiserd

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Arjen said:
kaiserd said:
And if this project was to be put on a firmer footing then involvement by the likes of Saab and BAe (post potential Brexit-related acrimony) in this project or whatever this project ends up evolving into is also quite likely.
Ideally, cooperation can lead to a result bigger than the sum of its constituent parts.
However:
the anecdote alluded to in Hesketh Pearson’s Bernard Shaw: His Life and Personality (p. 310-311) when “a strange lady giving an address in Zürich wrote him a proposal, thus: “You have the greatest brain in the world, and I have the most beautiful body; so we ought to produce the most perfect child.” Shaw asked: “What if the child inherits my body and your brains?”

Perhaps more aptly for the European military aircraft industry going forward;
“If we do not hang together, we will all hang separately.”
Benjamin Franklin
 

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Indeed. Necessary, but not sufficient.
 

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You know what, I actually do question whether a Franco-German Euro-Canard replacement would work for the UK.

BAE just fired thousands of people because they have a shortage of future work. They and many others want the UK Government to commit to a Typhoon replacement programme now, not in 10 years time when it suits the above players.

That means BAE developing and designing technology for an aircraft to fly in 20+ years time. The potential UK Aviation Industrial Strategy cannot be based around shared technology with France (FCAS at this stage), the rest of Europe (this project) and the US (the F35 and future projects).

Although bizarrely it does seem to be coalescing around promotion of the Hawk trainer!?!
 

kaiserd

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mrmalaya said:
You know what, I actually do question whether a Franco-German Euro-Canard replacement would work for the UK.

BAE just fired thousands of people because they have a shortage of future work. They and many others want the UK Government to commit to a Typhoon replacement programme now, not in 10 years time when it suits the above players.

That means BAE developing and designing technology for an aircraft to fly in 20+ years time. The potential UK Aviation Industrial Strategy cannot be based around shared technology with France (FCAS at this stage), the rest of Europe (this project) and the US (the F35 and future projects).

Although bizarrely it does seem to be coalescing around promotion of the Hawk trainer!?!

If you want to do anything about those job losses you need to sell more Typhoons and Hawks now or in the immediate past.
The UK doesn’t need a Typhoon replacement in any like the timescale that would save those jobs.
The anywhere near recent past, present and future of the UK military aviation industry is and has to in international cooperation. For example the Hawk is now essentially a joint project with India.
The UK doesn’t have the means or the will for it to be any other way.
 

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