Discovered this bit of news over on the Information Dissemination blog. Then also back on November 10th, on James Hasik's blog.
The U.S. Navy might be changing its mind and wants to get BOTH types of Littoal Combat Ship (LCS) program. Up until now, the USN was saying it was going to choose one or the other - not both! Politics sticking its nose in to save jobs (and the congressman's phoney bloney job to parapharase that line from Blazing Saddles).
But even more telling is this article posted on Next Navy by Craig Hooper. The F-35B purchase for not only the United States, but for foreign nations who have already sunk big bucks into designing and building flatops to handle the STOVL aircraft design that might in fact be dropped because it canot meet its performace goals. Included with this article is a photoshopped picture of two different carrier designs that are in the works.
Quote: So, if the F-35B does go away, America’s major Pacific allies will be left with, well, a brace of aircraft-less aircraft carriers. And that, on the part of those who spent their treasure to buy F-35B-friendly platforms, is going to sting a bit. Nobody likes to be left holding a few multi-billion dollar platforms that fail to provide the expected operational benefits.
With China looking set to finally field their first aircraft carrier, the demise of the F-35B means that America’s Asian partners will “loose face”–and a substantial security blanket. While it is too early to know just what the ramifications the likely F-35B implosion may have upon Pacific security, at the end of the day, it isn’t good news if regional partners cannot respond in kind to a Chinese carrier task force. End Quote.
But even more telling, Craig Hooper puts forth the notion that China herself might fill the void with their own design! Oh wait! The DEW Line did publish photos of some new Chinese VTOL design. China's aircraft manufacturer AVIC showed off at the 2010 Zhuhai airshow, a stealthy/fan-in-fuselage/compound-pusher/VTOL strike aircraft with internal weapons bays. FlightGlobal photographer Tom Gordon snapped photos of the model on the display stand.
Here is a YouTube video of the Japanese newest helicopter carrier, the Hyuga.
The Koreans have their own carrier in the works known as DOKDO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ROKS_Dokdo_(LPH_6111).jpg).
Bottom line, we have new flatops and the F-35B was promised to be the be all end all for these baby flattops. And it looks like the F-35B will not be around for much longer.
Ref. 1. Information Dissemination blog. "Coach Says 'Go For Two!'" November 18, 2010. (http://www.informationdissemination.net/2010/11/coach-says-go-for-two.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+InformationDissemination+(Information+Dissemination)).
2. James Hasik "Is buying two types of littoral combat ship good for the US Navy?" November 10, 2010.(http://www.jameshasik.com/weblog/2010/11/is-buying-two-types-of-littoral-combat-ship-good-for-the-us-navy.html).
3. Next Navy "In the Pacific, the F-35B debacle is a strategic nightmare" by Craig Hooper. November 17, 2010. (http://nextnavy.com/in-the-pacific-the-f-35b-debacle-is-a-strategic-nightmare/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+NextNavy+(Next+Navy)).
4. Flight Global.com. "China's AVIC unveils stealth Zhuhai surprise" by Stephen Trimble. November 18, 2010. (http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/).