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US sanctions on Turkey for Russia purchases could ground Brit F-35s

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Other Overhaul Centres

Other overhaul centres are either available or planned. So in the worst case engines could get sent across the Atlantic to be worked on, which is borderline absurd, both the Netherlands and Norway are I believe planning on stumping up the money to have an engine overhaul centre (~$1 Billion last time I read up on it).

https://www.regjeringen.no/en/aktuelt/AIM-Norway-to-maintain-F-35-engines/id2345652/

Plus there's also Israel which is pretty much going to be able to overhaul the whole aircraft itself.

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Re: Other Overhaul Centres

The key word is 'overhaul'. Remember the deal with Turkey was done before Trump. I suspect that to Trump, overhauling an engine (made in the US) outside of the US is an affront and a needless loss of US jobs.

The question is whether Poodle Mk2 (T.May) can take advantage of her claimed 'special' relationship with Trump and establish an overhaul facility in the UK...

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Re: Other Overhaul Centres

I'd be more likely to trust Norway not to cock up than Turkey, primarily because Turkey is volatile (Erdogan is a ticking timebomb as much as he is convenient right now), whereas Norway is not.

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Re: Other Overhaul Centres

The question is whether Poodle Mk2 (T.May) can take advantage of her claimed 'special' relationship with Trump and establish an overhaul facility in the UK...

Poodle Mk2 is just much to unattractive for that to happen.

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Re: Other Overhaul Centres

"I'd be more likely to trust Norway not to cock up than Turkey"

Stating the obvious?

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Pirate

leave increasing numbers of vital British-owned fighters grounded.

Lemons have not been invaluable to British defence since the days of scurvey!

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Re: leave increasing numbers of vital British-owned fighters grounded.

Lemons? I thought you chaps were "Limeys"?

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Re: leave increasing numbers of vital British-owned fighters grounded.

Lemons? I thought you chaps were "Limeys"?

Chacun a son fruit de citrus..

(Limes are smaller and much, much easier to grow in this country. Important when you want to supply your fleet with them and are at war with your nearest provider - France..)

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IT Angle

Lemons? I thought you chaps were "Limeys"?

I think the term "Hangar Queen" sums up this aircrafts performance so far.

Have they fixed the SW bug that shuts off the air supply to the pilots yet?

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Uncle Sam has raised the possibility of sanctions against Turkey for buying Russian anti-aircraft missile systems – putting the UK's supply of overhauled F-35 fighter jet engines at risk.

The S400 as a threat against stealth aircraft is a Strawman. It is a long range AA system, it is not specifically designed to wipe out Stealth aircraft.

The real Russian stealth killer is Buk from 2M series onwards. It is quite visible how it is operates for real in battle conditions on amateur footage from Damascus last cruise missile attack. It goes up to 4-5 km altitude either by guidance from earth or to pre-programmed coordinates punched in manually on the launcher console (no radar in that mode so no HARMs will help). It then looks DOWN from a direction where F35 has a radar signature comparable to any other fighter inclusive of prehistorics like Mig 23, F104 or Mirage. It comes down on it from above and there is one less F35.

By the way - if you search youtube for generic videos they all show "normal" mode of operation which is guidance from Earth by radar so you do not see that. You need to search for specific footage from the shed and empty office block destruction exercise.

In any case, it is not the real reason. After the post-coup spat with USA and the spat over the Kurds Turkey moved all of its currency and gold reserves which were on storage in USA to Switzerland (a fraction upon specific USA insistence went to UK, but that is probably temporary). It has also been twisting the arms of all of its private banks to do so and it has been quite vocal around the region for everyone to follow their lead. They also supported Qatar against the other gulf states and USA in the recent Gulf spat and they did not provide the necessary level of assistance to the empty shed and office block demolition exercise. They expected this to come without punishment? Dream on.

As far as S series AA systems other NATO countries have S300 and this has not been a big deal, just the opposite. Everyone is cheering when the Slovakian or the Greek bring their toys to an exercise so they can test against them. Rumour is - at least one of them is negotiating upgrades and S400 too. No punishments. They however do not move out their currency and gold reserves and behave the way a good client state should behave.

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They expected this to come without punishment? Dream on.

Turkey have shot down Russian aircraft with impunity, and then Putin comes grovelling to Erdogan offering state of the art SAM systems. The Americans are as bad - who ever thought it a good idea to sell the US' most advanced aircraft to a weakly aligned country with GDP of $11,000 per capita, led by a despotic ruler elected on an Islamist ticket? And then, the fools give that country a key role in the programme. That is world class stupidity, and all Erdogan has to do is make noises about cancelling F35 and buying Su-57, and the US will pipe down. Lets not forget that Turkish bombing of Kurds (both at home and In Syria) has gone unpunished.

Both US and Russia know that Erdogan is playing them off, and that he is unreliable and untrustworthy, and to a large extent all of this (including the latest spat over F35) is purely pantomime. If the call came from NATO for Turkey to block the Bosphorous, nobody in their right mind believes that Turkey would stand up to Russia. They saw what happened in Crimea - but in any event, the Russian Black Sea Fleet is not militarily significant - a handful of ancient design Kilo class subs, a motley collection of missile frigates and a ramshackle assortment of other types. Turkey remains in NATO simply because the rest of NATO doesn't have the balls to kick them out.

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Turkey have shot down Russian aircraft with impunity

Impunity my a**e. The sanctions after that cost them north of 6Bn. That is why Erdogan had to switch to grovel mode.

Do we like it or not the reality is very simple - Turkey is the primary manufacturing site and transit site for most of Central Asia, Middle East and the southern part of ex-USSR. Anything and everything from textile to F16s. If I go into a DIY shop in let's say Bulgaria, 90% of the cheap and mid-tier power tools are not made in China. They are made in Turkey. Same for the rest of the region and especially ex-USSR Central Asia.

So all Putin had to do to get Erdogan into grovel state was to deny turkish truckers transit permits and tourist traffic for 3 months. That was enough to get him where he wanted him.

And all Erdogan has to do is make noises about cancelling F35 and buying Su-57

Turkey is building F16s and full set of armament for them, the F35s Turks really need themselves are for the Spanish made amphibious assault pocket aircraft carriers and they are model B - same as UK fleet arm. There is presently no replacement for that in the Russian shopping catalogue. If he does not get F35s he has to surrender the aircraft carrier role on these and refresh the bid for the new assault helicopter which the Russian nearly won and arm that with navalized KA-52s instead of F35s (something Russians should be able to deliver).

Both US and Russia know that Erdogan is playing them off, and that he is unreliable and untrustworthy,. Of course he is.

If the call came from NATO for Turkey to block the Bosphorous, nobody in their right mind believes that Turkey would stand up to Russia. Despite a number of calls to do so, Turkey never violated the Bosphorus treaty. Statement of the fact - both of these. Not like we did not ask them quite a few times (both to let an aircraft carrier in and to prevent USSR getting out).

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If I go into a DIY shop in let's say Bulgaria, 90% of the cheap and mid-tire power tools are not made in China. They are made in Turkey. Same for the rest of the region and especially ex-USSR Central Asia. So all Putin had to do to get Erdogan into grovel state was to deny turkish truckers transit permits and tourist traffic for 3 months.

You're not often wrong, but today is that day!

Turkey's main export partners don't feature Russia (or any Russian-influenced country) in the top 15 export markets. Not to mention that Turkey has a land border with Bulgaria, so doesn't need Russian influenced transit permits for any EU country, or more widely at least its top 19 non-Russian trade partners. And given that Erdogan's repeatedly shown that he doesn't give a shit about domestic population through contrived terror attacks, or through political repression, you really are not going to convince me that he would give a toss about Russia restricting relatively minor trade arrangements that would probably be more detrimental to the exportee nations.

Russia itself is destination for a mere 1.2% of Turkish exports. with Belarus, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia perhaps bring that up to a total of around 5%. And Russia's largest import from Turkey? Citrus fruit. If a few lemon farmers have a hard time, you really think Erdogan's going to give a tinker's cuss? And what does Turkey buy from Russia? Largely fuel, followed by metals. Those are both liquid commodity markets, so other than some short term inconvenience, the Russians have no hold on Turkey for those.

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Turkey's military is far larger, better equipped and trained than Russia's. People seem to think Russia is some military powerhouse, but it's not really.

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Anonymous Coward

You are forgetting Qazaqstan (formerly Kazakhstan), you know that non-Russian influenced country that buys lots from Turkey (the good stuff) and China (the cheap stuff).

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You're not often wrong, but today is that day!

I gave Bulgaria as an example as it has been 40 years since I have been "on the ground" to Caucasus and beyond. So I cannot tell you how a shop there really looks, I can only guess based on knowing who trades with whom and how much. My bet is that it looks the same as Bulgaria due to costs, trade volumes and other similar factors. You go into a shop and 90% of all industrial goods are Turkish.

Even if you buy a Renault or Ford van in these countries it will be assembled guess where - in Turkey.

Turkish trade with Kazahstan alone in 2015 was 1.5Bn per year in 2015. Add the other republics and the South of Russia itself you get ~3Bn. Russian tourism to Turkey prior to the incident was ~3Bn per year. Total 6Bn.

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"who ever thought it a good idea to sell the US' most advanced aircraft to a weakly aligned country with GDP of $11,000 per capita, led by a despotic ruler elected on an Islamist ticket?" I would venture to suggest that would be the previous US Administration and probably deliberately rather than out of stupidity.

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"who ever thought it a good idea to sell the US' most advanced aircraft to a weakly aligned country with GDP of $11,000 per capita, led by a despotic ruler elected on an Islamist ticket?"

Did you read the bit in the article about Turkey being in a really handy position to bottle up most of the Russian Navy? It's basically a bribe to keep them as potentially the enemy of our enemy.

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Did you read the bit in the article about Turkey being in a really handy position to bottle up most of the Russian Navy?

Bottling the Russian navy has always been a Red Herring even in the days when it had multiple Slava class cruisers (they are now spread thin - one per fleet), double digit numbers of missile boats and landing craft. It was definitely not the reason in 1952 when Turkey joined NATO as that was exactly the time when Stalin paid back Admiral Kusnetsov the "debt" of disobeying Stalin's orders on 22nd of June 1941. The payback was scrapping the entire fleet refurbishment program as well as any fleet offensive capability.

Turkey joined NATO In the early days as a forward base to bottle Hankala and the nuclear armed bomber fleet based there to keep it away from all UK and USA assets in the middle East. Remember - it was 1952 - when USA and UK had the perception that they actually own the place.

A secondary goal was to have someone bail out Greece if the Bulgarians go into "Maritsa river will run thick with blood" mode and decide that they want back their Mediterranean territories - the ones where Britain organised the ethnic cleansing after WW1. Ditto if Warsaw pact decides that it is a worthy goal to assist in.

Hankala is now a ruin, the Southern branch of the USSR Strategic bomber command is now non-existent and Bulgaria is a NATO member. So the actual real reasons for Turkey to be brought into NATO no longer exist. As far as the Black Sea fleet Red Herring, that is an even lesser reason now than in 1952.

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Anonymous Coward

People seem to think Russia is some military powerhouse

Any country with nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them is a military powerhouse.

That's a card that pretty well trumps anything else you can put on the table.

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Did you read the bit in the article about Turkey being in a really handy position to bottle up most of the Russian Navy? It's basically a bribe to keep them as potentially the enemy of our enemy.

And strategically invalid. Given the length of the transit from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean (say 600km between the Black Sea and Naxo) and multiple narrow pinch points as well as relatively shallow water in much of the northern Aegean, in war time it would be a fairly limited challenge to keep the Black Sea fleet bottled up with NATO assets outside and offshore of Turkey. And the Black Sea fleet isn't that large - ignoring the antiques and small craft, there's what, six submarines and a similar number of frigates. If the Russians were expecting military action, and wanted the Black Sea fleet in the Med, they certainly wouldn't wait for fighting to break out before moving their assets.

So the idea of Turkey holding back the Russkie naval hordes is nonsense. Turkey's strategic value for NATO or Russia is solely the extent to which either side is denied airspace or granted access to airbases. And on that matter, would you trust Erdogan? I wouldn't - I'd expect a "dog ate my homework" excuse for not complying with Article 5, and then a steadfast pretence of neutrality which neither Turkey, Russia or NATO do much to honour.

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Syria chemical weapons facility raid, for which the US President gave ample warning, was designed to trigger Syria anti-missile defense to see what they've got and gauge the Russian input.

Worked a treat.

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Syria chemical weapons facility raid, for which the US President gave ample warning, was designed to trigger Syria anti-missile defense to see what they've got and gauge the Russian input.

Except they'd already done that a year ago with the attack on Shayrat airbase. But you are correct that there was certainly another motive, since if the Syrians were making or storing chemical weapons, a high energy attack is very likely to release any agents stored there. From which I conclude that the targets were more likely comms or intelligence facilities.

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and they performed pretty shit vs a subsonic target on a static course. tomahawks are hardly stealthy, fast or laden with ecm.

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Facepalm

"The real Russian stealth killer is Buk from 2M series onwards. It is quite visible how it is operates for real in battle conditions on amateur footage from Damascus last cruise missile attack"

considering how every missile/bomb reached its target in the last attack on Syrian chemical weapons storage and manufacturing, I'd say it's not very effective.

Maybe this entire thing is JUST politics. Russia trying to make it look like they're an actual threat. U.S.'ians having to save face and be consistent in foreign policies, so we have to threaten sanctions against Turkey, who probably got a 'sweet deal' from Putin, just to rub our noses in it. And, Putin laughing all the way.

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Unhappy

Russia is ahead in one aspect of flying . . .

and that is they don't require people to 'walk the runway' picking up the minutiae and debris before their jets depart.

Anyone who has observed US aircraft departures will know there is a lengthy clean-up of runways as their engines are more susceptible to damage than those of the Russians.

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Happy

The C in China doesn't equate with . . .

poor quality, Chinese military gear is good quality - where it counts.

And 'Cheap' refers to the differential between inflated US military contractor prices, approved by both military and political personnel who upon retirement take up lucrative positions with the very same contractors and those in other countries.

The US has a long line of failed projects, notwithstanding rigged horse-and-cart 'demonstrations'.

Mikhail Kalashnikov’s AK-47 is an excellent example of the fallacy of 'cheap'. There are somewhere between 75 and 100 million AK-47s worldwide - an obvious success story. About 50 standing armies use the AK-47 — including those of China, Egypt, Cuba, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, VietNam, Iran and Iraq.

In most places, an AK47 can be bought for $50 – $100, in governmental quantities. China is the world’s largest producer of them. No American gun can be wrapped in 'burlap' (sack cloth), buried in the soil and later recovered in serviceable condition.

As someone who spent considerable hours cleaning Fabrique Nationale Fusil Automatique Leger (Light Automatic Rifle), or FN FAL in the military, the qualities of the AK47 would be appreciated.

No, the C does not stand for Cheap Cost.

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WTF?

Who Ever Thought It A Good Idea To Buy . . .

something you can't even service?

Only the dumb British Government.

It wasn't so long ago when military electronics wouldn't be purchased without 'second sources' to ensure continuity of supply of spare parts.

I work for a company that supplies military equipment to the 'non-aligned' market place and one key element of the majority of contracts is that most of the components can be sourced from in-country suppliers.

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Re: Who Ever Thought It A Good Idea To Buy . . .

there are many US cheap rifles that can be mucked up and fired, there are youtube channels devoted to spading mud over rifles then actually using them. The AK isnt all that, sure they can work but the ammo is iffy and moat have been rechambered. they arent particularly accurate nor reliable under continual use.

M16s are fragile when needed and dont even mention that POS the UK use. French MAS only needs to smell mud or rain and it jamz if it isnt oiled to buggery. German kit is ok but a bit fragile. As usual, use something belgian if you want to reliably murder people from a distance. Sources? Best drinking buddy was an armourer in belle vue manchester. he never shuts up about the stuff when films are on.

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Indeed it is politics and on a global scale with high stakes. If we go back to Reagan and his "star wars", that effectively broke up both physically and economically the USSR. I'm thinking the

Russians are returning the favor by increasing the threat level and verbal BS.

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And on that matter, would you trust Erdogan? I wouldn't

Seeing the string of 'Arab Spring' overthrown governments with the CIA's fingerprints all over them, and the coup attempt in Turkey, you can be fairly certain that Erdogan has connected the dots and is assuming that the US was behind that coup as well.

This definitely explains the 180 degrees from open hostility to Russia, by shooting down a jet that may or may not have violated Turkey's airspace, to purchasing the latest anti air missiles from the very same they were previously openly hostile to.

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Re: Who Ever Thought It A Good Idea To Buy . . .

Very good observation.

How would the battle of Britain have gone if Spitfire engines needed to be shipped across to Ireland if they needed to be overhauled.

This just demonstrates that the F35 is a dead duck. Very expensive fireworks once they fly over territory that's covered by S400 air defence.

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@Ledswinger

> and that he is unreliable and untrustworthy,

I think we can absolutely trust Erdogan to reliably do whatever is in the best interests of Erdogan.

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@ledswinger

Except they'd already done that a year ago with the attack on Shayrat airbase.

Yeah, nothing much would change in a year.

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Happy

through the simple method of batting its eyelashes at Russia while pointedly glancing back at the US

That's a beautiful image.

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Pure Bugs Bunny.

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LDS
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"That's a beautiful image."

Not is you think Erdogan doing it...

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Madness

I know that it's been said before, but it's frankly insane to buy any weapons system and not have the ability to fully service it domestically.

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Re: Madness

What does that say about the mental state of our generals and the MoD?

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Re: Madness

tearing their hair out cos they were told they had to buy the F35, and now its taking up so much of their budgets, they cant afford to do their actual jobs

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MJI
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We should have invested in F136n programme

As above then would have been non issue.

Could we restart it?

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Re: We should have invested in F136n programme

I believe there are some* still boxed up in their environmental protection units that might be available. Although how easy it would be to get them working and integrated with the aircraft now I don't know. Sheer madness to cancel it when the DoD could point to the savings made by having two engine suppliers for the F-16.

*Less than 10?

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MJI
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Re: We should have invested in F136n programme

where did <space>engie go?

or was it <space>egine?

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Joke

Who Cares

The F35 is never going to fly any way so why would we need to refit the engines? its record so far make's the Brize Norton Static display team look good!

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Alert

When you rattle your sabre ...

... be careful not to cut yourself.

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Anonymous Coward

Garbage in, garbage out

"The situation is a sticky one. Turkey is a vital NATO ally: it has the ability to bottle up Russia's southern naval fleet in the event of WWIII breaking out by closing the Bosphorus, the strait between Europe and the Middle East."

Yes... as if a few boats stuck in some pond somewhere will stop the nukes traversing the skys. If it WWW3 GTNW you don't need the ships.

The Navy's just one of the ways to suck the cash out of workers pockets, keep em poor enough so they don't get too asre-ey and kick the rich fuckers out.

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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

The main value of Turkey to NATO these days is its position in the Middle East. American bases in Turkey are ideally situated to strike east into Iran or south into Iraq or Syria and Lebanon, and generally complement the US bases in Bahrain and Qatar.

The US bases in Turkey saw extensive use in the first and second Iraq wars, and in the war against ISIS in Iraq. Their key role in providing bases for aerial refuelling means that even aircraft based elsewhere depend upon them.

So long as the Middle East has oil, Turkey will be important to NATO.

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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

American bases in Turkey are ideally situated to strike east into Iran or south into Iraq or Syria and Lebanon,

If Turkey allows their use for the purpose. That is a very big IF.

It has been disallowed for Syria and Iraq for several years now.

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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

I'll never forget the day Turkey forbade the US 4th Infantry Division from transiting Turkey to enter Iraq.

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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

No, you shouldn't. After all, once US does what it does best, it is up to the locals to pick up the pieces. Name one conflict US get involved within the last 50 years and the country on the receiving end fared better after the US withdrawal.

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