Memorandum from the Ministry of Defence
JOINT COMBAT AIRCRAFT
1. The Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) will
replace the capability now provided by the RN Sea Harrier and
the RAF Harrier GR7/9 and will form a major part of the UK's Future
Combat Air Capability in the second and subsequent decades of
this century. The JCA will be operated as part of a Joint Force,
from both the new aircraft carriers (CVF) and land bases, in a
manner similar to the existing Joint Force Harrier but with the
greatly enhanced performance required to meet the demands of future
2. The Defence Secretary announced on 17
January 2001 that the US led Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft
had the best potential to meet the JCA requirement. The JCA programme
entered its Demonstration Phase through participation in the JSF
System Development and Demonstration programme. The UK is the
only full ("Level 1") collaborative partner with the
United States, both nations having agreed
the JSF aircraft's key performance parameters. On 26 October 2001
Lockheed Martin, along with Northrop Grumman and BAE SYSTEMS as
Team Lockheed , was selected
as the prime contractor for the JSF System Development and Demonstration
programme, the UK having participated in the source selection
process. On 30 September 2002 the Defence Secretary announced
that the UK had selected the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing
(STOVL) variant of JSF to meet the JCA requirement.
3. The purpose of the System Development
and Demonstration programme is to mature, test and evaluate the
detailed design of the JSF aircraft and to integrate key equipment
(including UK weapons).
Aircraft production is expected to commence in 2007 with production
of the early UK aircraft commencing in 2009.
4. The current estimated cost (at 50% confidence)
of the JCA Demonstration Phase is £1,914 million, against
an approval of £2,034 million. The UK contribution to the
US in cash terms, agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
for JSF System Development and Demonstration remains fixed at
$2 billion. This equates to £1,300 million using current
mandated exchange rate assumptions (and also equated to some 8%
of the predicted total development cost at point of MOU signature).
This contribution will be paid over a 12 year period beginning
in October 2001. Some £475 million had been spent by the
end of 2004-05 on the UK's contribution to the JSF System Development
and Demonstration programme, UK national studies and the earlier
US concept demonstration phase. The UK costs for the manufacture
and in service support phases will not be established until the
Production Main Gate decision is taken.
5. Phased production approvals are anticipated,
starting with approval to sign a further MOU in December 2006
to enable production, sustainment and follow-on development. Formal
negotiations on this MOU have recently commenced on a multi-lateral
basis with the 9 JSF partner nations.
6. The In Service Date (ISD) is when the
capability provided by the Joint Combat Aircraft is assessed as
available for operational use with an initial cadre of aircraft
and trained personnel. The ISD will be set when the main investment
decision for JCA is taken. Our previously announced planning assumptions
based on an ISD of 2014 have not been changed. This would require
taking delivery of the aircraft from 2011, and to be conducting
flight trials, including work-up flying from the CVF, in advance
of the ISD. We also plan to enhance the capability of JCA beyond
that provided at ISD through the subsequent integration of additional
UK-specific weapons in a collaborative follow-on development phase.
7. Deliveries of UK aircraft commence in
2011 to enable us to participate in joint US/UK Operational Testing
and Evaluation, pilot training, aircraft and squadron work up.
To ensure that the most cost-effective profile is adopted delivery
profiles are not fixed until Production Main Gate.
8. Under current plans, training of UK pilots
will start in the US from 2007. These initial pilots will join
the pool of pilots for the System Development and Demonstration
programmes. We expect 19 UK pilots will be trained under this
contract, 8 will join this joint test programme (and will subsequently
go on to form the UK Operational Evaluation Unit in 2011) and
11 will form the first cadre of instructor pilots.
9. The training of the pilots that will
form the first UK operational squadron will commence in 2012 at
a US training centre.
Up to 64 pilots will be trained in the US to meet the manning
requirement for the first UK operational squadron, as well as
to refresh the Operational Evaluation Unit and the initial instructor
pilots as aircraft block upgrades are released. The training syllabus
has yet to be finalised but is expected to be between 7 to 9 months
10. Training will transfer to the UK training
in 2015, and the throughput per year will increase from 18 pilots
per year to a peak of 42 trained in 2020 to match the aircraft
build-up programme for the JCA Force. Annual training throughput
will stabilize at approximately 30 pilots per year until the JCA
programme nears out of service date, when training throughput
will reduce to match aircraft fleet reductions.
11. Problems due to unplanned weight growth
on all three JSF variants were identified early in 2004. The impact
of weight growth on the performance of the Short Take Off and
Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant was most severe due to the inherent
limitations of vertical landing technology. Work conducted by
a specially established team
has restored confidence that the performance requirements can
be met. In total, there has been a 3,000lb reduction in the actual
weight of the STOVL aircraft and the equivalent of a further reduction
of 1,000lb through improvements in thrust and a review of the
landing requirements. This work was ratified by the US Defense
Acquisition Board in October 2004 and reviewed by the MoD's Investment
Approvals Board in January 2005.
12. Inevitably, for a complex development
programme, risks remain. Work continues on the assessment of how
any further problems could be mitigated, should this be necessary
to protect the Key User Requirements (KURs) through life and across
the full operational spectrum. The greatest focus remains on achieving
the weapon "bring back"
KUR of the STOVL aircraft, for which weight and propulsion system
performance are critical factors.
13. The UK's requirements for information
to enable sovereign operations, maintenance and upgrade of JSF
throughout its service life are set out in the Exchange of Letters
(EOL) signed by the US and UK Defence Secretaries. This has led
to a jointly developed US-UK technology matrix which sets out
the UK information requirements at the most detailed level. This
has been widely staffed with the US to ensure they fully understand
our needs and has been used as a model for other JSF partners
to develop their own sovereign requirements. The Department is
working at the highest levels with the US administration to ensure
that the UK can achieve its sovereign goals as well as enabling
UK Industry to fulfil its contractual role within Team Lockheed.
14. Final numbers (and variants) will depend
on the outcome of ongoing work to confirm overall Future Combat
Air Capability requirements. While no final decisions have been
taken we anticipate buying up to 150 STOVL variants of the Joint
Strike Fighter to meet our JCA requirement.
15. The Future Carrier (CVF) programme continues
in its Assessment Phase, enabling further risk reduction and refinement
of the carrier design, through a process of value engineering
prior to the main investment decision (Main Gate). The companies
involved, BAE Systems, Thales, and Kellog Brown & Root UK
Ltd (KBR UK Ltd), continue to be engaged with MoD in an Alliance
approachbest described as a co-operative relationship between
a client and key contractors/suppliers as a means of delivering
improved performance and enhanced mutual business results. The
key benefits of the Alliance approach were set out in the Further
Memorandum to the Committee in February 2005.
Current forecast costassessment phase
16. The current forecast cost of the continuing
CVF Assessment phase is approximately £300 million. The continuation
of the Assessment Phase is aimed at optimising the balance between
performance, time and cost and achieving the appropriate degree
of risk reduction before the main investment decision.
Current forecast costdemonstration and
17. The costs of the Demonstration and Manufacture
phase will not be bounded until Main Gate. At that point the boundaries
of the costs will be established at "Lowest, Most Likely,
and Maximum". However, the Alliance's 100 day internal
review, initiated by the CVF Integrated Project Team Leader in
March 2005, which scrutinised and challenged planning assumptions
with robust value engineering techniques, has confirmed that the
project remains financially viable.
18. We are moving towards the Main Gate.
The exact date will only be set when we are confident that the
design and contractual arrangements are right and we have sufficient
understanding of the cost, scheduling and risks involved.
Current target in-service dates
19. The target in-service dates for the
two future aircraft carriers remain unchanged at 2012 and 2015.
However, as with all projects in the assessment phase, in-service
dates are not fixed until the main investment decision.
Date when first carrier is expected to be fully
20. The In Service Dates and Initial Operating
Capability for the ships, aircraft and various associated equipments
that make up the Carrier Strike capability are intermediate milestones
on the route to achieving the Full Operating Capability. Each
of these key milestones needs to reflect a realistic programme
goal and must therefore be based on a sufficiently mature plan
so that a definitive date for the Full Operating Capability for
the Carrier Strike Capability can be established. Elements of
the Carrier Strike capability, however, will be delivered in advance
of Full Operating Capability.
Dates of planned withdrawal from service of the
current aircraft carriers
21. The current planned Out of Service Dates
for the Invincible class aircraft carriers are: 2010 for HMS Invincible;
2012 for HMS Illustrious; and 2013 for HMS Ark Royal. These dates
are contingent on the final In Service Dates set for CVF. HMS
Invincible will be held on very low readiness from October 2005
until reaching her Out of Service Date.
Maritime airborne and surveillance and control
22. The Maritime Airborne Surveillance and
Control (MASC) programme will provide assured airborne surveillance
and control through the surveillance of air and surface targets
and the battle management of air borne assets. This broad capability
is currently provided by the Sea King Mk7 Airborne Surveillance
and Control (SKASaC) variant.
23. MASC has achieved the objectives set
for its Concept Phase and, consequently, received Initial Gate
approvalallowing it to move into the Assessment phase of
the projectin July 2005. The MASC Assessment Phase will
examine the options for providing the solution to the MASC capability
requirement including: the continuation of the current SKASaC
system; the ability of other ship-optimised rotary wing platforms
to provide the capability; and the potential applicability of
other solutions. The Assessment Phase will also address the interoperability
with CVF and the Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) and progressively
reduce risk, aiming for a Main Gate planned towards the end of
24. The MASC In-Service Date (ISD) will
be decided by Main Gate but is likely to be after the introduction
of JCA and CVF: the current SKASaC system will provide the initial
airborne surveillance and control capability for Carrier Strike.
Progress in de-risking the programme ahead of
the main investment decision
25. The increasing design maturity of the
whole ship aspects has been aided by the Value Engineering (VE)
conducted as part of the Alliance's 100 day review. The
VE focussed on the identification and validation of opportunities
to de-risk the programme by concentrating on cost of the product
design; equipment and construction. Whilst producing considerable
cost savings and risk reduction, the measures adopted led to a
degree of redesign in a number of the systems areas.
26. The appointment of KBR as the Physical Integrator
and the growing engagement with the shipbuilding industry has
done much to de-risk the supply side of the programme this year.
Alliance Agreement; roles and responsibilities;
development of the optimum shipbuilding strategy
27. Agreement of the alliancing principles
by the current participants was a significant step forward. Work
continues to develop the detailed arrangements. This includes
the Alliance Agreementwhich will confirm and commit each
participant to achieving the objectives of the Allianceand
the complementary Works contracts for the Demonstration and Manufacture
phase. We aim to conclude these prior to the main investment decision.
28. The creation and integration into the
Alliance of the Shipbuild Entity and the development of the optimum
shipbuild strategy is clearly a key issue for the Alliance and
work on this continues. While four potential shipyards were identified
on 30 January 2003BAE Systems Naval Ships at Govan, Vosper
Thornycroft at Portsmouth, Swan Hunter on Tyneside and Babcock
BES at Rosyththe extent of their involvement, and the potential
for involvement of other yards will be decided on the basis of
achieving VFM while taking into account the capability, capacity
and resources of UK industry to meet the full range of planned
naval programmes. As client, MoD has retained the right to have
the final say in the decisions.
Discussions with the French Government or French
industry about the programme
29. UK and French industries have been tasked
jointly by the UK and French National Armament Directors (NADs)
to propose areas for possible co-operation as a way of reducing
costs and risk whilst preserving our respective national programmes
and timelines. Industry has confirmed that it is technically feasible
for the basic CVF design to be adapted to meet French requirements,
with the French being responsible for some specific adaptations.
Ministry of Defence representatives from both the UK and France
have been involved in the work in a constructive way, and a better
common understanding of the design and related operational aspects
has been obtained.
30. The MoD's Memorandum to the Committee
in May 2003 explained that the Ministerial level mutual understanding
between the two countries was that industry to industry co-operation
represented the best way forward. Industry is further investigating
a range of co-operative possibilities. The cost, risk and possible
contractual arrangements that would be associated with any particular
options that are subsequently proposed will then be clarified.
The industry output will determine the optimum and most cost-effective
way in which any co-operative options can be implemented. How,
and to what extent, UK and French industry will participate in
a joint programme will form part of these studies.
Discussions with the United States about the Future
31. Extensive discussions have taken place
between the UK and the US related to aircraft carriers since the
inception of the UK's CVF programme. From the outset the UK MoD
has been acutely aware of the primacy of the US in the design,
development, production and use of aircraft carriers.
32. Three US Navy platform programmes are
relevant to CVF:
Carriers The US has a well
established programme of carriers and steel has now been cut on
the $13bn first-of-class CVN21. However, US carriers are larger
than the UK's requirement demands, are mostly nuclear-powered,
carry a large number of aircraft for a diverse range of tasks,
and are subject to US-specific manning constraints. Nonetheless,
discussions with this programme have been underway for some time
and vigorous information exchange has benefited the UK in areas
such as flight deck layout, sortie generation flows, air traffic
management, island design, aircraft launch & recovery equipment
and sustainability; conversely, the US have shown interest in
UK lean-manning enablers (eg skills and habitability), weapons
handling, acquisition strategy and construction methods.
LHA(R) The US is procuring
a replacement class for its LHA amphibious carriers. LHA(R) is
not a Strike Carrier like CVF, being roled to provide Close Air
Support to Marines ashore, but as it shares the UK's requirement
to operate the STOVL variant of JCA, a particular area of joint
interest is in "ship-air integration". The UK CVF and
US LHA(R) teams have committed to working together to undertake
this further work in a constructive and timely manner.
DD(X) The next-generation
US destroyer programme is likely to be fitted with a propulsion
and power generation plant very similar to that envisaged for
CVF and for which, incidentally, the US are gaining significant
benefit from interaction with the UK Type 45 project. The shore
demonstration of the DD(X) plant is the subject of ongoing information
exchange with the CVF team.
1 Via the the Joint Operational Requirement Document
(JORD) that is signed jointly by US and UK. Back
Following the US led Concept Demonstration Phase for JSF. Back
All figures are expressed in resource terms at outturn prices,
except where stated otherwise. Back
Production phase starts with the Low Rate Initial Production
(LRIP) which initially produces test aircraft and increases their
capability through subsequent LRIP batches and block upgrades
until a decision for full rate production is taken. Back
Described as Developmental Test and Operational Test (DT&OT)
The US Integrated Training Centre (ITC). Back
The UK Integrated Training Centre (ITC). Back
The STOVL Weight Attack Team (SWAT). Back
The level of ability of a craft to return to base with unused