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F-35C for the Royal Navy


Via Galrahn, it looks as if the Royal Navy is ditching plans to buy the F-35B (VSTOL variant), and instead buying the F-35C (carrier variant) and adding catapults to its new carriers. As I’ve suggested before, this makes a lot of sense; the F-35B is appropriate for smaller carriers, but is wasted on a big deck ship, as it lacks the range and payload of its sister aircraft. As Galrahn notes, this probably won’t save the Royal Navy much money, even though the F-35C is projected to be cheaper than the F-35B. Redesign and the addition of catapults (possibly EMALS) will eat up the savings. It does mean, however, that the CVF will be significantly more capable. If I ran the RN, I’d probably still buy some F-35Bs in order to keep one of Illustrious or Ark Royal around and effective, but the F-35C should be the main purchase.

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