What really surprised me about Brexit as an outsider to UK/Euro politics, is that the UK would willingly give up their heavy influence in continental politics.
It seemed like the UK was effectively wielding influence from within the EU to spike plans it considered unfavorable, such as the formation of a continental army, or significantly closer integration between Germany and France.
Beyond the economic ramifications of the decision, does getting out from under EU regulations make up for this loss in influence? Will it effectively lock the UK out of future Eurofighter/Aster type multinational defense projects?
The following suggests Tornado will continue to serve until 2024: https://armscontrolnow.org/2012/09/1...modernization/
This suggests that a Tornado replacement may be in the cards for a 2030 timeframe: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...rnados-426634/
Perhaps Kato can weigh in?
Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 10 Jan 17, at 21:57.
Last edited by Toby; 10 Jan 17, at 22:13.
(yeah, we're publicizing stuff again that would be classified in other countries)
Page 13-14, Airborne Effects Network, is what you're looking for. You will not find the word "nuclear" in the above strategy though as we don't like to talk about nukes. The nuclear role is subsumed in the sentence "the future focus of the Tornado will be on SEAD and the employment of heavy weapons" with the footnote that the Eurofighter won't have a "long range air to surface stand off missile" integrated.
The Tornado replacement "NextGenWS" within FCAS in Germany is under current early concept designs intended to be a sensor fusion platform leading a swarm of UCAVs, similar to British and French concepts; in the British FCAS concept this is centered around the F-35 as a designated platform. Early concept in Germany is being developed jointly with Spain, as they're seeking a Hornet replacement in a similar role as a junior partner in an international project. British concepts are being developed jointly with France. The current intention in Germany - post-Brexit and in the sense of the "CSDP of the 27" - is apparently to wait for the Lancaster Treaty to expire and then hook up with France to design a joint platform and possibly the UCAVs as well.
The nuclear strike role of Tornado and its successor system will depend purely on politics, mostly on how Trump acts and whether Fillon as the designate next conservative French president will use the opportunity to offer us ASMP-A again. Within the context of a future Tornado replacement project jointly with France i'm right now seeing a not too remote chance for us to switch over.
Last edited by kato; 11 Jan 17, at 07:14.
Yes, as said the UK is basing it around the F-35 (and shifting roles to the Typhoon, like Germany does).
However to fully replace the Tornado there's the joint FCAS project:
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...ounced-422866/ (pre-Brexit-vote: March '16 - announcement)
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...s-work-432509/ (post-Brexit-vote: December '16 - prototyping)
The joint project is pretty much about designing a UCAV that'd serve as a supplement to F-35 in penetration strike and SEAD roles. The UK would operate this with the F-35 as a sensor fusion platform leading such UCAVs.
France does not have a designated sensor fusion platform for the same purpose yet, which is what possible cooperation with Germany is about. Steve was also talking in particular about German and Italian Tornadoes. For those see above. Italy seems to be testing Neuron btw to move into a similar direction as the others, like the UK using their future F-35 as core lead platforms for UCAVs.
Last edited by kato; 11 Jan 17, at 16:37.
Germany doesn't yet have a replacement for the Tornado in production. From what I can see, they can walk away from the nuclear sharing program, which would be a political decision. They can order F-35s later, although I think they would have done so already if that was their intent. Or they can extend the life of the Tornado while they work on getting a new strike fighter into production.
I can tell you from our experience with the F-22/F-35 that building 5th gen fighters is a difficult and expensive undertaking, and I doubt the Germans want to foot the bill alone. It also happens that as the Tornados are getting older, the Mirage 2000s that form the basis of French deterrence are as well. France and Germany are probably both looking into acquiring a nuclear capable strike fighter in the near future, so a German partnership with Dassault seems to be the obvious solution.
This would also fit politically with what I see as Germany wanting to move away from being overly reliant on the US under Trump, or the UK after quitting the Euro club. A common German/French nuclear capable strike fighter, would likely be capable of deploying both the B-61 and the AN-52, which would provide some of the "strategic flexibility" mentioned in the PDF posted by Kato.
Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 11 Jan 17, at 21:26.
"According to current plans, the TORNADO will be kept in service until the mid-2020s. In order to provide enough time for the development and procurement of a successor system and to maintain the capability spectrum within the context of FCAS, studies are being carried out to determine whether the in-service period can be prolonged by stretching the remaining ﬂight hours or whether a service life extension of the TORNADO until the mid-2030s is possible. [...] In order to seamlessly maintain the current capabilities of the Bundeswehr, the initial operational capability of a NextGenWS must be achieved before the TORNADO reaches the end of its service life. "
Nuclear delivery is one of the "current capabilities". One that requires relatively few planes in comparison to other capabilities. Such as the number that an aircraft in IOC would give us.
"The central element of this new approach to multinational cooperation is the assumption of a lead role by a single nation for each platform. This lead role is not necessarily linked to a dominant share of the work and may also be justifed by the contribution of one or more key technologies. What is instead crucial in this context is control over a process. For reasons of industrial, economic or Alliance policy, compromises must therefore be reached on other projects. This means, however, that a nation must relinquish a leading role in other felds of technology."
This is a departure from previous politics in so far as it makes it possible for Germany to e.g. strike a deal with France and let them take the "lead role" having Dassault develop a platform that we'll then buy. In return it could mean that e.g. the French then buy something entirely else from German companies as part of a compromise trade-off; tanks come to mind in particular for the same timeframe, as there's already some cooperation on a possible joint successor to Leopard 2 and Leclerc.
The ASMP-A as the current generation is a Mach 3 supersonic cruise missile with about 500-600 km range carrying a selectable-yield 150-300 kt TNA warhead; it will be modernized in the next couple years. A new fighter won't be equipped with it though, as ONERA has already been designing the successor system ASN4G ("nuclear air-ground missile 4th generation") for a while for future replacement of ASMP-A at "coincidentally" the same replacement date as Mirage 2000N and Tornado. They're currently still running dual development strategies, one being a relatively straight-forward Mach 4-5 supersonic ASMP-A replacement and the other being a less-interceptable Mach 7-8 hypersonic missile.
Last edited by kato; 11 Jan 17, at 22:16.
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