back to article European F-35 avionics to be overhauled at Sealand, says UK.gov

The UK's Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) will be overhauling European nations' F-35 fighter jet avionics at a collection of sheds in a busy enclave of north Wales. DECA won the £2bn "global repair hub" contract, which will last until 2040. The agency will be partnered with BAE Systems and US company Northrop …

  1. wolfetone Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Well, it's more or less a job for life seeing how much of a useless piece of shit that F-35 is turning out to be.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      Nonsense. It's a great piece of equipment - for keeping contractors busy and government pork flowing, that is.

  2. Phil W

    Expansion

    "most of the old RAF station has been sold to developers"

    It's been maybe a year since I last went that way, but last time I did a fairly substantially portion of it is still there. More than enough for this kind of project.

    1. WonkoTheSane

      Re: Expansion

      Being only 17 miles from Liverpool, RAF Sealand is hardly "in a remote corner of North East Wales".

      In fact, with the Welsh border at it's Southern edge, RAF Sealand is actually in England (just)!

      As can be seen on Google Earth( http://tinyurl.com/RAFSealand ), the remaining Western half of the site has now been bulldozed, and access roads are now under construction.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Expansion

      Nope, it's mostly gone, they've been clearing the industrial estate side of the site as recently as a couple of months ago, perhaps in anticipation of this contract?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Coffee/keyboard

    Remote Corner ?

    The author of this third rate so called piece of journalism isn't aware that RAF Sealand is close to one of the largest industrial areas of the UK. Bala is remote but Deeside certainly isn't, one of Britain's biggest factories is only down the road, the Airbus wing factory at Hawarden which employs about 6000 people.

    Try getting out of London

    1. phil 27

      Re: Remote Corner ?

      This, I saw Sealand and thought "oh that'll be because its just up the road from the Airbus factory then" and is far from the middle of nowhere.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remote Corner ?

        You've also the massive Stanlow refinery which is the UK's second biggest plus the Vauxhall and Jaguar factories not far away as well. Not to mention a whole load of other chemical sites.

    2. Oh Matron!

      Re: Remote Corner ?

      Along with Toyota's huge engine plant

    3. graeme leggett

      Re: Remote Corner ?

      Just looking at map, I would describe it as just off an A-road about four miles from centre of Chester. "remote" is not a word I would use either.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Remote Corner ?

      Correction request sent to The Ed vial email:

      Ed,

      RAF Sealand is described as a remote area of North East Wales, it most certainly isn't. Read the comments in reply to the article for further information and please correct before Gareth's ignorance of UK geography makes a fool of The Reg and himself even further.

      Do Gareth an educational favour by relocating him from the Capital so he may learn what goes on outside Laandan, may I suggest Hull for a posting.

      Yours

      Doc Ock.

      PS I now need a second new keyboard.

      1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: Remote Corner ?

        My family is from the Rhondda. As far as I'm concerned, anything further north or west than the Brecons is impossibly remote.

        (yes yes, my geographical knowledge is a bit sketchy when it comes to the north-east. Correction shortly to be applied)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Remote Corner ?

          >My family is from the Rhondda.

          ?

          https://thewestlondoner.wordpress.com/

          Croeso i ogledd Cymru ;)

        2. Commswonk Silver badge

          Re: Remote Corner ?

          yes yes, my geographical knowledge is a bit sketchy when it comes to the north-east. Correction shortly to be applied

          Er... that's more than a "bit" sketchy; Chester (et al) and thus RAF Sealand is actually in the north west of England, or at least it was last time I drove past it.

          1. PNGuinn
            WTF?

            Re: Remote Corner ?

            What does the Font of all internet knowledge say? Any Ariel photos on the net?

            1. Ben Bonsall

              Re: Remote Corner ?

              --What does the Font of all internet knowledge say? Any Ariel photos on the net?

              plenty.

              https://www.google.be/search?q=ariel&biw=986&bih=776&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiAi46po5vQAhXGDsAKHf32BxsQ_AUIBigB

    5. phuzz Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Remote Corner ?

      I've never been to that part of the UK, and know nothing about it. So five seconds looking at a map and I can see that it's only remote if your definition of remote is "outside of zone 3".

      Perhaps in future the author should spend a couple of minutes looking up places on a map before writing about them? I'm sure you'll still miss local subtleties, but at least it'll look like you did more research than just re-writing the press release.

    6. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: Remote Corner ?

      > the Airbus wing factory at Hawarden

      Ah, so they plan to poach staff rather than train or re-train anyone?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remote Corner ?

        Dunno, but with Stanlow, Airbus, Jaguar, Toyota, Connah's Quay, Shotton all a stones throw away it sounds like a ghastly industrial wasteland.

    7. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Remote Corner ?

      If only there was a way of doing a bit of quick research without using outdated reference books or, better yet, without even having to leave your desk!

      I must look further into this. Perhaps by using some sort of advanced electronic equipment? I understand there have been interesting developments in automated adding machines lately.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remote Corner ?

      I think the "phrase remote corner" could well refer to the part of the brain the journalist had to engage when talking about anything outside of London.

      On another note I do wish that they would change the acronym "DECA" to something else as it just makes me think of 45rpm vinyl.

    9. PhilipN Silver badge

      Here be dragons

      No need to be po-faced. True Brits treat inhabitants of the next village as aliens. Somewhere a couple of miles down a side road which you pass every day for years without going down may as well be another planet. Half the inhabitants have horns and a tail. The other half walk with a stoop with their knuckles dragging on the ground. Or so I was told. I've never been there.

      1. PNGuinn
        Pirate

        Re: Here be dragons

        Milton Keynes?

  4. Rich 11 Silver badge

    and will be fully operational for the F-35 by 2018.

    And how long after that will they have to wait for the first fully-operational European F-35?

    1. WonkoTheSane

      I doubt there will be any such animal. RAF Sealand no longer has a runway, and is used to repair avionics that have been removed from aircraft. Any aircraft shipped there will arrive by truck.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ WonkoTheSane - As posted above Hawarden airfield is only down the road and Speke Liverpool airport is only 10 miles as the crow flies. They may elect to fly in there for removal and refit or be airfreighted in.

        1. WonkoTheSane
          Headmaster

          I know. All this is local to me.

          My late father spent his entire working life (40+ years) at BAe Chester (or De Havilland, then Hawker Siddley, as it was previously known), except for 2yrs National Service with the RAF in Germany.

          The RAF prefer to replace avionics modules at operational airfields & truck faulty parts to places like RAF Sealand for repair. (Disclaimer: A guy two desks over from me used to work there)

      2. seven of five Silver badge
        Joke

        > I doubt there will be any such animal. RAF Sealand no longer has a runway, and is used to repair avionics

        > that have been removed from aircraft.

        In theory the F35B, as a stovl, wound not really need a runway - some straight bit of road should do the trick.

        > Any aircraft shipped there will arrive by truck.

        Ah, excellent idea: sell HMS Sitting Duck and HMS White Elephant to india and use a RO-RO freigther laden with trucks laden with F35 as a replacement.

        ...given this, one might save even more money and use the F35A instead :)

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          In theory the F35B, as a stovl, wound not really need a runway - some straight bit of road should do the trick.

          No it will not. You will need a BIG blowtorch to free it from the melted tarmac after that.

          While the Harrier could land nearly anywhere, that is no longer the case for the F35 because of its exhaust temperature. If it is landing on tarmac it will melt it, if it is landing on grass it is pretty much guaranteed to be set on fire.

          This is part of its Yak-141 inheritance. Lokheed bought the VTOL tech which went into the F35 from Yakovlev and if you look at any of the Yak-141 footage you can nearly always see the fame from the take-off auxiliary at take-off/land or hover.

          1. seven of five Silver badge

            > No it will not. You will need a BIG blowtorch to free it from the melted tarmac after that.

            >

            > While the Harrier and the Yak-38 could land nearly anywhere, that is no longer the case

            > for the F35 because of its exhaust temperature. If it is landing on tarmac it will melt it, if it

            > is landing on grass it is pretty much guaranteed to be set on fire.

            This "aircraft" is getting better and better. Wasn´t the engine an extra-cost option anyway? My truck idea gets more attractive by the second...

            1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

              This "aircraft" is getting better and better.

              And? Do you expect anything different from USA adapting Russian tech?

              The school of thought, the design approach is drastically different. When Russians are left alone they deliver some impressive engineering. It may be butt-ugly, but it does the job. When Americans are left to their own they also tend to deliver (albeit you may not like the price and timescales as in f.e. F22).

              When Americans try to incorporate Russian tech you get an Antares. Or F35-block B. If it does not blow up on the landing pad it will be a heap of trouble for years to come. In fact it is better if explodes on the landing pad so that it cannot be marketed as a genuine piece of BAE innovation (which it is not - it is the old Yak-141 design repackaged in a different fuselage).

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Lockheed bought the VTOL tech which went into the F35 from Yakovlev

            And Uncle's Sam's finest thought that their number one enemy would sell them something useful?

            I bet that the Russian's wet themselves laughing when they were offered money for the drawings, and looked forward to exactly the expensive failure that is the F35B.

            1. herman Silver badge

              Well, Russia isn't really an enemy (only for politicians looking for a campaign slogan), but I do agree that they prolly had a good larf over a few bottles of vodka at their local after making the sale.

      3. jabuzz

        We are getting F35B and hence they don't actually need a runway...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      perhaps 2108

  5. Ikoth

    The site is literally 1/3 of a mile "over the border" into wales, less than five miles from the city of Chester, and three and a half miles from the massive Airbus factory at Hawarden. And if that's still too parochial for you, its 12 miles from the center of Liverpool.

    The western side of the site has been sold & cleared, but the eastern side is still there. It looks like a set from 28 Days Later and needs some tlc from an industrial sized strimmer, but there are plenty of offices, sheds and other assorted buildings there. I drive past it most days.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      its 12 miles from the center of Liverpool.

      Better make sure all those electronic parts are kept under lock and key then.

  6. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Interesting contract ...

    A 'private' company with revenues of £25m per annum gets a contract worth £2bn?

    Think I'll be touting for F-35 business - on that basis I have a revenue of £10k and a motheaten shed which should allow me a £1m contract at least ...

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      Yeah, but what you don't have is the friend who knows the guy who can call his buddy who can change the decision in your favor.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Interesting contract ...

      Well, that's £2bn over the lifetime of the contract (22 years from 2018-2040). So even ignoring inflation and crudely dividing it by 20 years - you get £100m per year. Of course in the first few years, with only a few tens, then low hundreds of planes in Europe there'll be much less work. Eventually ramping up to I'd guess a thousand or so, assuming the F35 gets cheaper and starts to replace older F16s that have been in services since the 80s.

      It's also not a private company.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting contract ...

      Using Pi components as in picture would be a step forward in reliability and cost reduction.

  7. Cuddles Silver badge

    Good timing

    "DECA won the £2bn "global repair hub" contract, which will last until 2040."

    By which point the F-35 may just about be capable of taking off without needing 6 reboots and then catching fire.

    @ Andy The Hat

    "A 'private' company with revenues of £25m per annum gets a contract worth £2bn?"

    Worth £2 billion over nearly 25 years, which is only £80 million per year. A bit more than they're making now, but same order of magnitude and doesn't really seem unreasonable.

  8. Daz555

    They will be busy looking after those 12 planes we can afford to buy.

    On the subject of melting roads and fields on fire - can't the F-35 be landed in a very very short fashion rather than vertically thereby reducing likely hood destroying whatever is underneath you?

    1. Bob Wheeler
      Joke

      ...landed in a very very short fashion...

      Any plane can be landed like that. It's called nose down into the earth. It's more of a question of do you want to use the plane afterwards.

      1. seven of five Silver badge

        Re: ...landed in a very very short fashion...

        Like the pilots say: Any landing you walk away from was a good one. Bonus if you can re-use the aircraft afterwards...

      2. PNGuinn
        Happy

        Re: ...landed in a very very short fashion...

        So, there IS a way to get the F35 to work properly then ...

  9. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "The work will be based at DECA's facility at the mothballed MoD Sealand site, on Deeside in north Wales, and will be fully operational for the F-35 by 2018."

    Nah, it won't. But so won't the F-35, so what the hell.

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