Here’s an old drum that I like to pick up and bang. Nobody else really wants to hear the tune any more, but it’s still a personal favourite.
Let’s crunch some basic numbers.
- F/A-18E/F Super Hornet £44m ($67m)
- F-35B Lightning II £130m ($197m)
Price per (36 aircraft) carrier air wing:
- F/A-18E/F Super Hornet 1584m ($2412m)
- F-35B Lightning II 4680m ($7092m)
So the savings to the British taxpayer (remember them… the people that elect the
clowns politicians that make these mistakes decisions) on a carrier air wing of 36 aircraft would have been £3276m ($4680m). Two air wings (1 for each carrier) would amplify the savings to £6552m ($9360m).
SIX-POINT-FIVE BILLION POUNDS!
That’s enough to fund the entire Type 26 frigate programme of 13 vessels and increase that programme to an operationally-efficient 16 (16x £350 = £5600) and build an eighth Astute-class submarine (£800m) and order 3 more River-class OPVs (£150m).
Yes, I am aware that my accounting is simplistic. Yes, I am aware that folks in the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force want shiny new F-35 aircraft and would consider the F/A-18 as a “make do.” Yes, I am aware that money was already wasted redesigning the carriers for “cats & traps” then back again. Yes, yes, yes. But I still like my old drum and I still like the simple tune I play on it.