Newsletter 12
Spring 2006
Updated on 25Feb2006
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents © Hawker Association

Arado crescent criticisms
Association ties
Beyond the Harrier
Christmas lunch
Col. John Driscoll
Comet to Hawk
Double testimonial
Hawk news
Hawker people news
Indian Harrier
Kingston heritage project
News of members
Not boring at all
Programme 2006
RAF Harrier story
RN CVF carrier and F-35b
Sea Harrier finale
Sea Fury racers
Sopwith stories
Thomas Allan Collinson
Who's who?  
The RN is to have two 65,000 tonne carriers to replace the Invincible class ships which were home to the Sea Harriers. Costing  £2.7 billion they will be the RN's largest ever ships, so large in fact, that no single UK shipyard is capable of building them. Consequently the ships are being broken down into 4 large and 22 smaller units which will be built at a number of shipyards around the country ranging in size from Babcock at Rosyth, BAES at Govan and Vosper-Thorneycroft, to the small Appledore yard in Devon. Each module with its self- contained systems will be brought as close to completion as possible before final assembly.

To realise this vast project the Aircraft Carrier Alliance has been formed by BAES, Babcock, the VT Group, Thales, KBR and the MoD.

The design task is made more difficult because the MoD wants the ships to be easily converted from the intended STOVL mode, where the US/UK F-35B Joint Strike Fighters (now known as the Joint Combat Aircraft, JCA, in the UK) needing just a ski jump, to a conventional aircraft mode needing catapults and arrestor gear. This is to cover the eventuality that the US Government discontinues the F-35B STOVL variant, or even worse, cancels the entire JSF programme. In the first case the USN's F-35C variant might be adopted. In the second case the RN might be stuck with developed F-18s or navalised Typhoons or Grippens.  Harrier GR9s from the JASS programme (see Newsletter 10) would also be available, at least as a stop-gap.

Initial F-35B deliveries to the UK are not expected until 2014 but as the MoD is not yet contractually committed to the aircraft we could see Joint Force Harriers still operational in 2020!  
Michael Pryce points out that on 2nd February BAES Salmesbury started manufacture of the first F-35B rear fuselage; 41 years to the day since the P.1154 was cancelled.