Photo: Ariel Schalit / AP
UK risks losing its combat power and to worsen relations with the United States because of a dispute over the purchase of fighter-bombers F-35 Lightning II. It is reported by Sky News, citing military sources.
According to them, the senior officers of the Royal air force (RAF) pushed the idea of buying from the Americans not only aircraft of type B (sea-based), but A — land-based. Britain plans to buy a total of 138 fighters. The interlocutors reported that the type of A plan to replace the last of 13 cars from the first batch of 48 pieces.
As noted by one of the sources, this approach can completely undermine the entire program of aircraft carriers. “For the air force, there is no operational reason to take option A. If it can’t fly from an aircraft carrier, it should not be to buy,” he said.
The interlocutors Sky News indicate that any transition to a ground-based version of the aircraft will cause the wrath of the United States that helped Britain to restore the combat capability of the fleet, a drawdown from savings. According to one of them, Washington regards the British Navy as the only one able to control aircraft carriers. “But carriers should have the opportunity to work with combat aircraft, — said the source. — If the RAF will choose option a (…), the United States will perceive this as a serious betrayal.”
At the same time some experts point out that the F-35 land-based is not only cheaper, but also can fly farther and carry more weapons. In addition, the acquisition will not be tied to the potential of the operation to the sea. Opponents of the purchase And, in turn, suggests that different types of fighters equipped with different equipment. This will ultimately lead to increased costs: required certifications and delivery of other spare parts.
The official cost of the F-35B is 90 million pounds ($115 million) for the aircraft type And will have to pay 70 million pounds ($90 million). In this regard, most of the interviewed military sources believe that in the end London hardly ever will purchase all of the planned machine.
Video, photo All from Russia.