NATO air forces proposal 3

Current state

Aircraft costs FY2014

COMBAT:

A-4 – 11,2 million USD

A-6E – 38,3 million USD

A-10 – 20 million USD

AC-130H – 177,3 million USD

AC-130J – 111 million USD

AC-130U – 254,5 million USD

AC-130W – 118,7 million USD

AH-1Z – 29,9 million USD

AH-64A – 26,8 million USD

AH-64D – 18,6 million USD

AH-64E – 35,5 million USD

AV-8B – 45,6 million USD

B-1 – 409 million USD

B-2 – 1,1711 billion USD

B-52A – 249,8 million USD

B-52B – 127 million USD

B-52C – 63,7 million USD

B-52D – 57,9 million USD

B-52E – 52,3 million USD

B-52F – 57,9 million USD

B-52G – 67,7 million USD

B-52H – 81,8 million USD

CF-18 – 140,2 million USD

EA-18G – 91,2 million USD

EF2000 – 129,2 million USD

F-4E – 17,9 million USD

F-15C – 128,13 million USD

F-15E – 44,9 million USD

F-16A – 30,5 million USD

F-16C – 71,1 million USD

F-18A – 34,3 million USD

F-18C – 69,2 million USD

F-18E – 60,9 million USD

F-22 – 277 million USD

F-35A – 174 million USD

F-35B – 232 million USD

F-35C – 273 million USD

Gripen C – 43 million USD

L-39 – 5,5 million USD

L-159 – 16,8 million USD

Mi-24 – 25 million USD

Mi-35 – 13,9 million USD

Mi-171Sh – 17 million USD

MiG-21-93 – 29,6 million USD

MiG-29 – 35 million USD

MiG-35 – 62 million USD

Mirage 2000 – 51,4 million USD

PC-9M – 6,2 million USD

Rafale C – 92,7 million USD

Rafale M – 109,6 million USD

Rafale B – 102,6 million USD

Super Etendard – 31,9 million USD

Tornado IDS/ADV – 47 million USD

Tornado ECR – 55,8 million USD

 

TRANSPORT:

A318 – 71,9 million USD

A319 – 85,8 million USD

A320 – 93,9 million USD

A321 – 110,1 million USD

A400M – 120 million USD

An-26 – 4 million USD (?)

An-32M – 19 million USD

B-707 – 37,5 million USD

Bae 146 – 69,3 million USD

C-2 – 37,5 million USD

C-5A – 220,8 million USD

C-5B – 258,6 million USD

C-5C – 127,1 million USD

C-5M – 99,8 million USD

C-12 – 6 million USD

C-17 – 251,8 million USD

C-20 – 37 million USD

C-26 – ?

C-27J – 36,6 million USD

C-40 – 70 million USD

C-130E – 17,2 million USD

C-130H – 43,5 million USD

C-130J – 66,3 million USD

C-130J-30 – 80,8 million USD

C-160 – ?

C-212 – 9 million USD

C-295 – 28,4 million USD

CL-600 – CL-605 – 25 million USD

CN-235 – 39 million USD

CT-39G – ?

CV-22 – 71,6 million USD

DHC-6 – 7,2 million USD

ERJ-135 – 16,8 million USD

ERJ-145 – 21,3 million USD

Falcon 7X – 55,5 million USD

Falcon 900 – 39 million USD

HC-130J – 81 million USD

L-410 – 0,95 million USD

M28B – 3,1 million USD

MC-130E – 83,1 million USD

MC-130H – 171,8 million USD

MC-130J – 81 million USD

MC-130W – 66,5 million USD

P.180 – 7,55 million USD

PC-12 – 4,6 million USD

Tu-154 – 50 million USD

UW-18B – 7,2 million USD

 

TANKER:

A310MRTT – ?

A330MRTT – 190 million USD

KC-10 – 127,7 million USD

KC-130H –

KC-130J – 71,8 million USD

KC-130T – 57,5 million USD

KC-135 – 57,2 million USD

KC-707 – 60 million USD (?)

KC-767A – 133,2 million USD
AWACS:

E-2: 182 million USD

E-3: 390 million USD

E-4B: 322,2 million USD

E-8C: 353,1 million USD

R-99: 85,1 million USD

 

C&C:

G500: 45,3 million USD

G550: 56,9 million USD
EW

EC-130H: 165 million USD

E-6B: 163,6 million USD

 

Recon:

U-2: ?

WC-135: 70,1 million USD

RC-12: 6 million USD+

P-3: 75,9 million USD

 

+5 trainer types that will not be replaced

 

Aircraft inventory

 

Albania

No fixed-wing aircraft or attack helicopters

 

Belgium – 3,0639 billion USD

54 F-16A/B – 1,647 billion USD

7 A400M – 840 million USD

1 Falcon 900 – 39 million USD

1 ERJ-135 – 16,8 million USD

2 ERJ-145 – 42,6 million USD

11 C-130H – 478,5 million USD

 

Bulgaria – 1,60245 billion USD

15 MiG-21 – 444 million USD

15 MiG-29 – 525 million USD

5 C-27J – 183 million USD

1 An-24

2 An-26 – 8 million USD

1 An-30

7 L-410 – 6,65 million USD

1 A319 – 85,8 million USD

1 Tu-154 – 50 million USD

1 Falcon 2000

1 P.180

1 PC-12

12 Mi-24 – 300 million USD

 

Canada – 17,0893 billion USD

103 CF-18 – 14,4406 billion USD

5 A-310 –

4 C-17 – 1,0072 billion USD

4 DHC-6 – 28,8 million USD

8 C-130E – 137,6 million USD

8 C-130H – 348 million USD

5 C-130T –

17 C-130J – 1,1271 billion USD

 

Croatia – 550,2 million USD

12 MiG-21bis – 355,2 million USD

10 Mi-171Sh – 170 million USD

2 An-32B

1 CL-604 – 25 million USD

 

Czech Republic – 1,3024 billion USD

14 JAS-39C/D – 602 million USD

25 L-159 – 420 million USD

4 C-295M – 113,6 million USD

8 L-410 –

12 Mi-35 – 166,8 million USD

 

Denmark – 1,1802 billion USD

30 F-16A/B – 915 million USD

4 C-130J – 265,2 million USD
Estonia

N/A

 

France (Air Force) – 16,5643 billion USD

45 Rafale C – 4,1715 billion USD

42 Rafale B – 4,3092 billion USD

72 Mirage 2000 – 3,7008 billion USD

4 E-3 – 1,56 billion USD

2 C-160 (SIGINT) –

14 KC-135R – 800,8 million USD

3 A400M – 360 million USD

36 C-160 –

14 C-130H – 609 million USD

27 CN-235 – 1,053 billion USD

 

France (Navy) – 5,5361 billion USD

40 Rafale M – 4,384 billion USD

19 Super Etendard – 606,1 million USD

3 E-2 – 546 million USD

 

Germany – 20,4596 billion USD

93 Tornado IDS – 4,371 billion USD

29 Tornado ECR – 1,6182 billion USD

112 EF2000 – 14,4704 billion USD

71 C160 –

5 A310MRTT –

 

Greece – 14,3257 billion USD (reduce to X billion USD)

157 F-16C/D – 11,1627 billion USD

44 Mirage 2000 – 2,2616 billion USD

12 RF-4E (recc.) –

34 F-4E AUP – 608,6 million USD

4 R-99

15 C-130 (B + H) –

8 C-27J – 292,8 million USD

 

Hungary – 1,3654 billion USD

14 Gripen C/D – 602 million USD

3 C-17A – 755,4 million USD

2 An-26 – 8 million USD

 

Iceland

N/A

 

Italy (Air Force) – 16,5825 billion USD

76 EF2000 – 9,8192 billion USD

72 Tornado IDS – 3,384 billion USD

15 Tornado ECR – 837 million USD

43 A-11A (C-27A) –

12 C-27J – 439,2 million USD

4 KC-767A – 532,8 million USD

5 C-130J – 331,5 million USD

6 KC-130J – 430,8 million USD

10 C-130J-30 – 808 million USD

 

Italy (Navy) – 729,6 million USD

16 AV-8B – 729,6 million USD

 

Latvia – 0,95 million USD (assume 17 million USD)

4 An-2 –

1 L-410UVP – 0,95 million USD

 

Lithuania – 117,2 million USD

1 L-39ZA – 5,5 million USD

3 C-27J – 109,8 million USD

2 L-410UVP – 1,9 million USD

 

Luxembourg

N/A

 

Netherlands – 2,4639 billion USD

2 F-35A – 348 million USD

61 F-16A/B – 1,8605 billion USD

4 C-130H-30 –

2 KC-10 – 255,4 million USD

 

Norway – 2,0617 billion USD

57 F-16A/B – 1,7385 billion USD

4 C-130J-30 – 323,2 million USD

 

Poland – 5,1095 billion USD

48 F-16C/D – 3,4128 billion USD

31 MiG-29 – 1,085 billion USD

32 Su-22

2 An-28TD

23 M28B – 71,3 million USD

16 C-295M – 454,4 million USD

5 C-130E – 86 million USD

 

Portugal – 1,3748 billion USD

30 F-16A/B – 915 million USD

6 C-130H – 261 million USD

7 C-295M – 198,8 million USD

2 Falcon 50

 

Romania – 1,4683 billion USD

36 MiG-21 – 1,0656 billion USD

2 An-30 –

7 C-27J – 256,2 million USD

3 C-130H – 130,5 million USD

4 An-26 – 16 million USD

22 IAR 330 SOCAT

 

Slovakia – 220,65 million USD

6 MiG-29 A/B – 210 million USD

1 An-26 – 4 million USD

7 L-410 – 6,65 million USD

 

Slovenia – 69,15 million USD

11 PC-9M – 68,2 million USD

2 PC-6

1 L-410 – 0,95 million USD

 

Spain (Air Force) – 9,853 billion USD

46 EF2000 – 5,9432 billion USD

86 F-18A/B – 2,9498 billion USD

2 KC-707 – 120 million USD

1 B-707 – 37,5 million USD

12 C-212 – 108 million USD

10 CN-235 – 390 million USD

5 KC-130H –

7 C-130H – 304,5 million USD

 

Spain (Navy) – 547,2 million USD

12 AV-8B – 547,2 million USD

4 Cessna Citation –

 

Turkey – 20,7167 billion USD

242 F-16C/D – 17,2062 billion USD

69 F-4E – 1,2351 billion USD

7 KC-135R – 400,4 million USD

2 B-737 –

1 A-400M – 120 million USD

45 CN235-100M – 1,755 billion USD

1 CN235 EW

1 CN235 Recce

16 C-160T

2 G550

 

United Kingdom (Air Force) – 23,8576 billion USD

117 EF2000 – 15,1164 billion USD

102 Tornado GR4 (IDS) – 4,794 billion USD

2 Bae 146 C3 – 138,6 million USD

8 C-17 – 2,0144 billion USD

10 C-130J – 663 million USD

14 C-130J-30 – 1,1312 billion USD

 

United Kingdom (Navy) – 11,136 billion USD

3 F-35B (48 intended – 11,136 billion USD)

 

United Kingdom (Army) – 1,7688 billion USD

66 AH-64 (1,7688 billion USD)

 

United States (Air Force) – 374,3293 billion USD (reduce to 308,5 billion USD)

343 A-10C – 6,86 billion USD

8 AC-130H – 1,4184 billion USD

17 AC-130U – 4,3265 billion USD

12 AC-130W – 1,4244 billion USD

66 B-1 – 26,994 billion USD

20 B-2 – 23,422 billion USD

76 B-52H – 6,2168 billion USD

23 C-5A – 5,0784 billion USD

34 C-5B – 8,7924 billlion USD

2 C-5C – 0,2542 billion USD

12 C-5M – 1,1976 billion USD

69 C-12 – 414 million USD

223 C-17 – 56,1514 billion USD

11 C-26

13 C-27J – 475, 8 million USD

13 C-130E – 223,6 million USD

265 C-130H – 11,5275 billion USD

10 C-130J – 663 million USD

79 C-130J-30 – 6,3832 billion USD

2 CN-235 – 78 million USD

10 M28 – 31 million USD

32 E-3B/C – 12,48 billion USD

4 E-4B – 1,2888 billion USD

16 E-8C – 5,6496 billion USD

2 E-9A

4 E-11A

14 EC-130H – 2,31 billion USD

7 EC-130J

254 F-15C/D – 32,54501 billion USD

219 F-15E – 9,8331 billion USD

827 F-16C/D – 58,7997 billion USD

183 F-22A – 50,691 billion USD

14 F-35A – 2,436 billion USD

59 KC-10 – 7,5343 billion USD

417 KC-135 – 23,8524 billion USD

10 LC-130H

20 MC-130H – 3,436 billion USD

27 MC-130P

4 MC-130J – 324 million USD

3 OC-135B

22 RC-135

178 T-1A

446 T-6A

508 T-38

4 T-41

3 T-51

20 T-52

3 T-53

31 U-2

10 WC-130J

2 WC-135

3 UW-18B

17 CV-22B – 1,2172 billion USD

 

United States (Army) – 5,033 billion USD

48 C-12 – 288 million USD

4 C-20 – 148 million USD

11 C-26

2 C-31

3 C-37

5 EO-5C

36 RC-12 – 216 million USD

51 AH-6

107 AH-64A – 2,8676 billion USD

619 AH-64D – 11,5134 billion USD

64 EH-60

 

United States (Navy) – 86,1359 billion USD

34 C-2 – 1,275 billion USD

8 C-20 – 296 million USD

4 C-37

12 C-40

19 C-130T

1 CT-39G

67 E-2C – 12,194 billion USD

16 E-6B

114 EA-18G (10,3968 billion USD)

11 EP-3E

100 F-18A/B (3,43 billion USD)

333 F-18C/D (23,0436 billion USD)

565 F-18E/F (34,4085 billion USD)

4 F-35C (1,092 billion USD)

 

United States (Marine Corps) – 33,8827 billion USD

48 F-18A – 1,6464 billion USD

181 F-18C/D – 12,5252 billion USD

5 KC-130F –

2 KC-130R –

28 KC-130T – 1,61 billion USD

46 KC-130J – 3,3028 billion USD

12 UC-35 –

181 AH-1 – 5,4119 billion USD

99 AV-8B – 4,5144 billion USD

126 MV-22B

21 F-35B – 4,872 billion USD

 

Totals

Air superiority/multirole: 4.147

Strike: 1.118

Close air support: 343

Aerial refuelling: 602

Transport: 1.344

EW/C&C: 86

TOTAL: 10.585

 

Notes

As it can be seen, NATO air forces have basically abandoned their ground troops, with only 343 aircraft (3,2%) being capable of carrying out close air support. 1.118 “strike” aircraft (10,6%) are basically useless on the battlefield. While many of aircraft avaliable (39%) can engage other aircraft, most of them are so compromised by interceptor/multirole compromises that they are far heavier and more expensive than they should be; even those that are not too large still tend to have major shortcomings.

 

Aircraft to be used

Air superiority fighter (FLX)

Length: 13,1 m

Wingspan: 8,5 m

Empty weight: 5.418 kg

Maximum speed: Mach 1,8

Cruise speed: Mach 1,55

Combat radius: 1.037 km

Wing loading: 259,4 kg/m2

Thrust-to-weight: 1,25

Takeoff distance: 301 m

Service ceilling: 18.462 m

Unit flyaway cost: 38,25 million USD; 45 million USD naval version

Sorties/day/aircraft: 2,7

 

Air superiority fighter will be used for establishing and maintaining air superiority, and if possible, air supremacy over the battlefield. It will also be used to hunt down enemy support aircraft such as tankers and AWACS.

 

Close air support fighter (AX)

Length: 12,04 m

Wingspan: 12,97 m

Empty weight: 6.500 kg

Maximum speed: 860 kph

Cruise speed: 460 kph

Combat radius: 1.311 km

Wing loading: 395 kg/m2

Thrust-to-weight: 0,58
Takeoff distance: 427 m

Unit flyaway cost: 9,18 million USD; 10,8 million USD naval version

Sorties/day/aircraft: 3

 

Close air support fighters will be divided into several groups. First one will be used for battlefield interdiction, attacking and possibly eliminating enemy units before they reach the front; once enemy units do reach the front, this group will attack targets of opportunity supporting troops in combat. Second one will loiter just behind the front and will respond on requests for support by ground troops. Third one will be centrally-controlled (central reserve) and used as commander of division/corps decides, to support breakthroughts or reinforce critical parts of the front.

 

Forward air controller aircraft (OLX)

Length: 8,82 m

Wingspan: 8,6 m

Empty weight: 1.750 kg

Maximum speed: 475 kph

Cruise speed: 450 kph

Combat radius: 1.850 km

Wing loading: 147/212 kg/m2

Unit flyaway cost: 2,35 million USD; 2,77 million USD naval version

 

Forward air controller aircraft will loiter over the battlefield, providing information about on-ground situation to ground commanders and helping direct (or directing) CAS aircraft. In counter-insurgency warfare, FAC will also be used to hunt the enemy forces, acting as a low-cost CAS aircraft.

 

Tanker aircraft (A330MRTT)

Length: 58,8 m

Wingspan: 60,3 m

Maximum speed: 880 kph

Cruise speed: 860 kph

Range: 14.800 km

Service ceilling: 13.000 m

Empty weight: 125.000 kg

Useful load: 45.000 kg non fuel payload

Fuel capability: 111.000 kg; 4.600 l/min offload*

Unit flyaway cost: 190 million USD

 

* FLX topped off in 0,5-1 min; ~40 refills

 

Dirt strip air lifter (A400M)

Length: 45,1 m

Wingspan: 42,4 m

Cruise speed: 780 kph

Range: 3.298 km

Service ceilling: 11.300 m

Empty weight: 76.500 kg

Useful load: 37.000 kg

Takeoff distance: 980 m

Unit flyaway cost: 120 million USD

 

A330MRTT was selected for tanker since it is equipped for both boom and hose-and-drogue refuelling; additional but less important benefit is its ability to serve as a strategic air lifter. C-130 and A-400M were candidates for dirt strip air lifter. 79,6 million USD C-130 can lift 33.000 kg over 3.800 km (0,63 USD/kg/km) while 120 million USD A400M can lift 37.000 kg over 3.298 km (0,98 USD/kg/km), making C-130 a better choice in both number of aircraft per price and cost effectiveness, even though A-400M is a better aircraft on a per-platform level. However, since C-130 line is about to shut down, A-400M was used.

 

Lightweight dirt-strip air lifter (C-123)

Length: 23,25 m

Wingspan: 33,53 m

Maximum speed: 367 kph

Cruise speed: 278 kph

Range: 1.665 km

Empty weight: 16.042 kg

Useful load: 11.174 kg

Unit flyaway cost: 5,2 million USD

 

Aircraft carrier capable air lifter (C-2)

Length: 17,3 m

Wingspan: 24,6 m

Maximum speed: 635 kph

Cruise speed: 465 kph

Range: 2.400 km

Empty weight: 15.310 kg

Useful load: 9.350 kg

Unit flyaway cost: 37,5 million USD

 

EW aircraft (EC130)

Length: 29,7 m

Wingspan: 40,3 m

Cruise speed: 540 kph

Range: 3.694 km

Empty weight: 45.813 kg

Unit flyaway cost: 165 million USD

 

Each procurement batch will be as follows:

45 FLX (1,72125 billion USD)

120 AX (1,1016 billion USD)

75 OLX (176,25 million USD)

3 A330MRTT (570 million USD)

6 A400M (720 million USD)

24 C-123 (124,8 million USD)

1 EC130 (165 million USD)

 

Total cost: 4,5789 billion USD

 

Procurement batch for navies will be:

12 FLX (540 million USD)

12 AX (129,6 million USD)

12 OLX (33,2 million USD)

2 C-2 (75 million USD)

Total cost: 777,8 million USD

This batch corresponds to an air group of a single aircraft carrier (carrier proposal is currently on queue).

 

Notes

 

All new designs use retractable refuelling probe as probe-and-drogue refuelling is faster (several aircraft can be serviced by one tanker) and allows for buddy-type refuelling.

Trainer aircraft (T-1A, T-6A, T-38, T-41, T-51), WC-135, P-8 and U-2 will not be replaced. Most reconnaissance functions, however, will be taken over by the AX. Transport helicopters will also be kept (and for that reason will not be listed here), but attack helicopters will be replaced by dedicated ground attack aircraft.

If possible, all aircraft should use ethanol for fuel. This should allow all aircraft listed to use same fuel as ground vehicles and ships.

 

NATO air forces

First, it should be noted that under this plan all air forces will be reverted to being part of the respective armies of their countries, while navies will keep their own aviation. This measure should improve military efficiency, as separate air force (feeling like bastard children of armies, which they basically are) tend to try and inflate their own importance even at the cost of combat effectiveness.

 

Belgium – 3,0639 billion USD / 3,1076 billion USD

30 FLX

80 AX

50 OLX

2 A330MRTT

4 A400M

16 C-123

1 EC130

 

Bulgaria – 1,60245 billion USD / 1,60206 billion USD

18 FLX

42 ALX

24 OLX

1 A330MRTT

2 A400M

8 C-123

 

Canada – 17,0893 billion USD / 17,0944 billion USD

180 FLX

460 AX

276 OLX

10 A330MRTT

22 A400M

90 C-123

2 EC-130

 

Croatia – 550,2 million USD / 548,36 million USD

10 FLX

12 AX

6 OLX

8 C-123

 

Czech Republic – 1,3024 billion USD /1,30338 billion USD

12 FLX

36 AX

18 OLX

1 A330MRTT

2 A400M

8 C-123

 

Denmark – 1,1802 billion USD / 1,1828 billion USD

12 FLX

24 AX

18 OLX

1 A330MRTT

2 A400M

6 C-123

 

Estonia

N/A

 

France (Army) – 16,5643 billion USD / 16,4928 billion USD

168 FLX

420 AX

240 OLX

10 A330MRTT

22 A400M

86 C-123

4 EC130

 

France (Navy) – 5,5361 billion USD / 5,4446 billion USD (7 carrier wings)

84 FLX

84 ALX

84 OLX

14 C-2

 

Germany – 20,4596 billion USD / 20,35648 billion USD

200 FLX

536 AX

336 OLX

14 A330MRTT

26 A400M

107 C-123

4 EC-130

 

Greece – 14,3257 billion USD / 4,5789 billion USD

45 FLX

120 AX

75 OLX

3 A330MRTT

6 A400M

24 C-123

1 EC130

 

Hungary – 1,3654 billion USD / 1,228 billion USD

12 FLX

24 AX

24 OLX

1 A330MRTT

2 A400M

12 C123

 

Iceland

N/A

 

Italy (Army) – 16,5825 billion USD / 16,49592 billion USD

168 FLX

444 AX

288 OLX

10 A330MRTT

22 A400M

86 C-123

2 EC-130

 

Italy (Navy) – 729,6 million USD / 777,8 million USD

12 FLX

12 AX

12 OLX

2 C-2

 

Latvia – ? / 14,1 million USD

6 OLX

 

Lithuania – 117,2 million USD / 120,56 million USD

12 AX

2 C-123

 

Luxembourg

N/A

 

Netherlands – 2,4639 billion USD / 2,4758 billion USD

24 FLX

60 AX

36 OLX

2 A330MRTT

4 A400M

12 C-123

 

Norway – 2,0617 billion USD / 2,05584 billion USD

22 FLX

58 AX

34 OLX

1 A330MRTT

3 A400M

10 C-123

 

Poland – 5,1095 billion USD / 5,06496 billion USD

48 FLX

132 AX

84 OLX

3 A330MRTT

8 A400M

24 C-123

1 EC130

 

Portugal – 1,3748 billion USD / 1,35708 billion USD

12 FLX

36 AX

24 OLX

4 A400M

6 C123

 

Romania – 1,4683 billion USD / 1,42708 billion USD

12 FLX

36 AX

24 OLX

1 A330MRTT

3 A400M

6 C123

 

Slovakia – 220,65 million USD / 220,32 million USD

24 AX

 

Slovenia – 69,15 million USD / 69,8 million USD

12 OLX

8 C-123

 

Spain (Air Force) – 9,853 billion USD / 9,83684 billion USD

96 FLX

258 AX

160 OLX

6 A330MRTT

14 A400M

52 C-123

2 EC-130

 

Spain (Navy) – 547,2 million USD / 543,56 million USD

8 FLX

8 AX

8 OLX

2 C-2

 

Turkey – 20,7167 billion USD / 20,713 billion USD

204 FLX

540 AX

336 OLX

14 A330MRTT

27 A400M

116 C-123

4 EC-130

 

United Kingdom (Army) – 25,6264 billion USD / 25,61956 billion USD

252 FLX

672 AX

432 OLX

16 A330MRTT

34 A400M

132 C-123

6 EC-130

 

United Kingdom (Navy) – 11,136 billion USD / 5,4446 billion USD

84 FLX

84 AX

84 OLX

14 C-2

 

United States (Army) – 379,3623 billion USD / 313,6602 billion USD

3.120 FLX

8.160 AX

5.100 OLX

204 A330MRTT

408 A400M

1.632 C-123

68 EC130

 

United States (Navy) – 86,1359 billion USD / 85,5624 billion USD

1.320 FLX

1.320 AX

1.320 OLX

220 C-2

 

United States (Marine Corps) – 33,8827 billion USD / 33,79854 billion USD

522 FLX

522 AX

522 OLX

86 C-2

 

Totals

Air superiority: 6.675

Close air support: 23.765 (14.168 AX, 9.579 OLX)

Aerial refuelling: 300

Transport: 3.404 (615 A400M, 2.451 C-132, 338 C-2)

EW: 95

TOTAL: 34.239

 

As it can be seen, all combat types actually relevant for combat have received a major reinforcement (total number of aircraft has increased almost 3,5 times). Since replacements are also superior even in one-on-one comparision, that will lead to a major increase in combat capability. Alternatively, number of aircraft could be reduced to as much as half while keeping ability to carry out all tasks (and still far surpassing that ability in some tasks) almost equal to current force structure.

 

Since both aerial refuelling and some transport platforms can carry out both tasks (and unlike combat aircraft, ability to carry out one task does not necessarily harm the ability to carry out another), actual number of tankers is 915, and actual number of transport aircraft is 3.704, both far greater than before and with increased tactical airlift capability.

 

USAF vs USAAF

 

This will be a direct comparision between current USAF and proposal.

 

For most important mission – close air support – USAF has only 343 A-10C, producing 1.029 sorties per day. A-10 has 33 attack passes (22 gun bursts + 11 hardpoints). USAAF would have 8.160 AX, producing 24.480 sorties per day. AX itself has 24 attack passes (17 gun bursts + 7 hardpoints). As a result, curent USAF fleet produces 33.957 attack passes per day, whereas USAAF fleet would produce 587.520 attack passes per day (a 17,3:1 advantage).

 

In air superiority, USAF 1.483 fighters producing 1.561 sorties per day. USAAF would have 3.120 fighters producing 8.424 sorties per day – a 2:1 advantage in aircraft and 5:1 advantage in sorties. In total, USAF currently has ~5.640 aircraft. USAAF would have 18.692 aircraft, typically superior to types currently in service.

 

For air superiority fighters at least, number of ground maintenance personnel would actually decrease. F-15 requires 30 maintenance personnel per aircraft, and F-16 requires 23. Assuming that the F-22 requires 45 personnel in keeping with its increased maintenance requirements, then current USAF air superiority fleet needs 42.076 maintenance personnel. USAAF proposal has 3.120 air superiority fighters, for whom maybe 18.720 maintenance personnel will be required.

 

Removing UAVs would also help with it – while not listed here, and thus it is assumed that they are not replaced, USAF has 104 MQ-9 Reapers. A 4-Reaper CAP costs 68,8 million USD, and needs 171 personnel. Each 4-ALX CAP would cost ~55-75 million USD and need 48-60 personnel, while a 4-OLX CAP (more comparable to the MQ-9) would cost 14-20 million USD with even lower personnel requirements. UCAVs are also excessively centralized by their very nature, and thus combat ineffective.

 

Conclusion

 

If this plan is ever followed, result will be a major increase in NATO air forces’ combat ability, especially in terms of (currently almost nonexistent) close support for the ground troops.

 

This plan has additional advantage of replacing 111 different fixed-wing aircraft types used across the NATO with a total of 17 different types, vastly simplifying logistical situation. Due to the entire NATO using same types of aircraft, production could be separated according to either a following blueprint or some other:

 

FLX

EJ200 is produced by Eurojet GMBh in Germany, while Skyward IRST is produced by Selex ES in Scotland. Airframe and defense suite should be produced in France, and possibly Sweden, due to their experiences with Rafale and Gripen, respectively.

 

AX

AX should be made in entirety in United States due to US experience with the A-10. Additional factor in that decision is that both GAU-12 gun (basis for AX’s proposed GAU-32) and ALF-502R-5 engine used by the AX are produced in United States.

 

OLX

OLX should be produced in United States for similar reason as AX (both engine and guns are US-made).

 

A330MRTT

A330MRTT should be produced in France as production line already exists there.

 

A400M

A400M should be produced in Spain as production line already exists there.

 

C-123

C-123 should be produced in United States as it is a US design. Another possibility is opening a production line in Canada, either instead of or along with production line in US.

 

EC-130

EC-130 should be produced in United States as it is a US design, though it could be possible to open a production line in United Kingdom.

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12 thoughts on “NATO air forces proposal 3

  1. Seeing that the majority of these aircraft are not sophisticated, a very large number of them could probably be produced everywhere.

    – Each nation should probably produce their own analogues of the ALX, FLX, and OLX, perhaps substituting some components for local made ones.

    – The larger aircraft like the A330 though will have to be produced in their host nations.

    Plus for security reasons, some nations may prefer to make their own aircraft anyways.

    • “– Each nation should probably produce their own analogues of the ALX, FLX, and OLX, perhaps substituting some components for local made ones. ”

      Maybe, but it might be easier to set up production lines as I listed, with countries themselves producing at least some spare parts so as to ease logistical situation.

      ALX and OLX can definetly be produced in a large number of nations, FLX… not so much, US, UK, France, Sweden, Germany, *maybe* Spain, Italy, Norway, Finland and Canada but that’s it.

      “Plus for security reasons, some nations may prefer to make their own aircraft anyways.”

      True.

  2. Another interesting question is whether or not NATO even needs to be kept around. It has already met its original mandate of keeping the world safe from the USSR, which no longer exists. It anything, NATO seems to exist solely to enforce American military power over the rest of the world at this point.

      • I get the impression that the ramping up of tensions with Russia are too.

        In particular, it’s been argued that Germany and Russia have been becoming very close economically. The US appears to have deliberately triggered the events in the Ukraine and put Russia in a position where they had to take the Crimea or lose their Black Sea fleet. Then the tensions have been raised ever since. In truth, Germany, France, and most of Europe seems to want a diplomatic solution to the current situation. The Americans seem to want Cold War II.

  3. This proposal runs on increased capability for the same cost. I’d be curious what the potential savings to the taxpayers would be for same capability at reduced cost.

    • It would be quite difficult to determine what “capability” is. It should be measured by air forces’ overall impact on the enemy operations, but how do you measure that? Sorties per day is only an approximation, it measures force presence, but what impact will the air force have on the enemy’s tempo of operations? How many replacement aircraft do you need to have the same effect? How will current and proposed forces’ strengths and weaknesses play against those of potential enemies? What about on-ground survivability? Pilot training and its effects on force effectiveness? Impact of all NATO countries operating same aircraft types on deployability? Psychological impact that far greater CAS support will have on troops on the ground?

    • But if you want an approximate answer, I’d say that you need 1/3 as many FLX as there are air superiority fighters in the current state to have the same air superiority presence (and still greater air superiority capability) as the current force, so total price would be 1/5 of the current one. Savings in lifetime costs will be very large as well due to commonality between NATO countries (in spare parts as well as ammunition and weapons), easier maintenance, lower direct and indirect operating costs (less fuel consumption, smaller pool of spare parts required, easier air base maintenance), lower R&D costs for future upgrades etc.

  4. I realize it would be hard to quantify. My point was simply that making the fighters you propose as opposed to the F-35 could potentially reduce the US defecit by a significant amount.

    • It would. Let’s say that the F-35 costs 150 million USD, you’d need an FLX, an ALX and an OLX to cover all the bases, which costs 50 million USD total. So procurement cost would be 1/3 of the F-35s, and I imagine that between lower fuel consumption (2.721(?)/39.000 kg/h cruise/max for the F-35 compared to 2.200/19.329 kg/h cruise/max for the FLX, ALX, OLX taken together), easier maintenance and reduced basing plus reduced personell wage requirements (15 people for the F-35, prob. 5 people for the FLX, ALX and OLX each but with less training necessary). Granted, F-35 can’t carry out CAS or COIN warfare at all, and is crap at air superiority, so it isn’t really comparable.

      Direct operating costs would be 30.000 USD/h for the F-35 compared to 6.300 USD/h for the FLX, ALX and OLX. Total operating costs would be 45.000-55.000 USD/h for the F-35 compared to maybe 15.000-20.000 USD/h for the FLX, ALX and OLX.

      (I used this to help with opcost estimates: http://nation.time.com/2013/04/02/costly-flight-hours/ )

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