moo wrote:As I said, we would run out of budget before that becomes an issue.
The carriers will only ever see a maximum of 40 aircraft (fixed wing and rotary) unless something very unusual happens - the expected normal aircraft load is 24 F-35s and 5 helicopters, which is a small increase on the typical aircraft load carried by the Invincible-class carriers (22 aircraft, fixed wing and rotary) while the carrier itself has a deck space of nearly triple (yes, the F-35 is larger, but not that much larger).
We only have 14 F-35s on order, with an "agreement" for 42 in total - 138 were originally planned, but the UK will never see that number in operation. We may see another order in 15 years as replacement, but not realistically in any way is the RAF/RN going to operate more than 42 aircraft.
I think your concerns are baseless, tbh.
Why you think the UK will buy less than the 138 planned? The last SDR was very clear on the commitment to get the full number and nothing has indicated a change to that.
What we may see is a reduction in Bee for A models, as suggested again recently. Would certainly suit the RAF to have more land based aircraft that are overall more capable (minus the STOVL of course).