Defense Issues

Military and general security

Aircraft prices FY2014

Posted by Picard578 on September 28, 2014

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

 

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55 Responses to “Aircraft prices FY2014”

  1. NicJon said

    Hey Picard, thanks for posting the info above. This is one of the aspects I’ve been researching recently while doing that Close Air Support table (posted in your comparison page).

    Any idea or source you know of for the costings in 2014 dollars for the:

    Frogfoot
    Skyraider
    Thunderbolt
    Corsair 1
    Sturmovik
    Tempest
    Typhoon
    Stuka

    Cheers and keep up the good work! 🙂

    • picard578 said

      Sorry, but I didn’t write down sources as I originally made that table for my own use. Some of these figures are also not very accurate, as they are simply older figures, but adjusted for inflation (I did use newest avaliable information).

    • Chris said

      Another issue is the way these aircraft are produced.

      Aircraft during WWII were essentially mass produced the way that cars are today. When you produce that many units, you get the economies of scale and certain multiplicative effects.

      By contrast, producing a few extremely complex aircraft tends to inflate the price even more, which is what is happening. The other is that there have been problems that the advocates did not anticipate or actively worked to hide in some cases.

      • picard578 said

        True. Modern aircraft are “built” by hand, like models, while WW2 fighters were “produced” on a production track like cars. In World War II, Sherman tank was mass-produced on a production track, while Germany had to build their tanks because they used repurpused locomotive factories. This way of production automatically increases price.

      • Chris said

        An ALX or OLX type of fighter could easily be produced en masse. It’s been done before.

        FLX … if you bought enough. Ships were once mass produced in numbers too. Kaiser Shipyards is an example during WWII of pioneering large scale production. Today ships are mass produced using a set of prefabricated pieces and assembled in place. Today China, South Korea, and Japan dominate this area.

        Another example as you’ve hinted are tanks. The T-34 may be a good example of this. I’d say the Russians to an extent still have some of this mentality even today, although even they are going for more expensive stuff.

  2. tensegrity said

    It would seem that:

    1) the more expensive/superior is an aircraft, the fewer will be their numbers
    2) forces utilizing cheaper aircraft may (given significant defense budgets) field far greater numbers of inferior but cheaper aircraft
    3) at some level of greater numbers of cheaper aircraft, the force using the inferior but cheaper aircraft wins (aren’t Me-262 and Millennium Challenge examples of this?)

    Questions:

    1) how many inferior/cheaper aircraft are the F-22s/F-35s expected to kill?
    2) is the answer to the above at all credible and does it comport with likely numerical advantages of forces utilizing cheaper aircraft?
    3) isn’t the obvious opposing force strategy simply to produce large number of cheap aircraft and keep their pilots flying them often, neither of which it would seem the US can do with its expensive “superior” aircraft?

    • picard578 said

      “of inferior but cheaper aircraft”

      Not necessarily inferior. Cheaper aircraft, if designed with good understanding and clear goals, can be superior to more expensive aircraft.

      “how many inferior/cheaper aircraft are the F-22s/F-35s expected to kill?”

      F-35 isn’t superior to many aircraft, so you can eliminate it from question right away. As for the F-22, it depends on force ratios, organization and users’ skills.

      “isn’t the obvious opposing force strategy simply to produce large number of cheap aircraft and keep their pilots flying them often, neither of which it would seem the US can do with its expensive “superior” aircraft?”

      Indeed it is.

      • tensegrity said

        I was being conservative in my argument in not assuming the F-35 or F-22 to be inferior. While I do find many of the arguments against the F-35 to be compelling, lacking an engineering background I’m not sure how relevant my opinions are on such things. At the same time, as an actual pilot of small, propeller-driven airplanes, the arguments against effective multi-role aircraft resonate with me very much. Clearly, in small airplanes none exist that do more than a very few things well, as the trade-offs are so stark. I can’t think of why the trade-offs involved in airplane design wouldn’t be a kind of generalized principal applying to both small, reciprocating engine airplanes as well as fancy jet fighters and everything in between. If that’s the case, then the multi-role/multi-service aspect of the F-35 looks to me especially bad.

      • picard578 said

        “If that’s the case, then the multi-role/multi-service aspect of the F-35 looks to me especially bad.”

        It actually is a cause of most of the F-35s troubles, especially the STOVL requirement which necessitated a massive engine, very fat, draggy body and small wings.

      • Chris said

        The problem is you cannot make an aircraft good at everything. The end result is a lot of compromises in the design … and that is assuming it works as planned, which in the case of the F-35 does not appear to be the case. The problem too is if you want a plane to do everything, you gotta include a lot of stuff per plane and that pushes up complexity.

        Jack of all trades is always the master of none.

      • Andrei said

        Well depends on how well the jack is designed. Rafele is a jack of all trades and seems to be master of air-superiority, and SEAD, and deep battle field interdiction.

      • picard578 said

        Indeed it is. But Rafale was designed as an air superiority fighter from onset, all other roles are simply tacked on.

      • Andrei said

        That’s my point: if you design a multirole aircraft from the start as you would a single role aircraft then you are going to obtain a pretty balanced multirole aircraft. The prime example here are the Rafale, Gripen and F-16 and going back in time the Viggen and Tornado. If you design an aircraft from the start with emphasis on multi-role then you are going to obtain a crappy (that’s a technical term 😀 ) expensive aircraft. Prime examples F-35 and F-111.
        To clarify my view: if one designs an aircraft for WVR air-combat using modern sensors and requirements, one will obtain a highly maneuverable aircraft, with enough high-lift devices to have adequate turning capacity and lift even at low speeds and with an impressive passive sensor suite. This will naturally make the aircraft perform very well in a suite of air to ground/sea missions were identification of the target is done based on radio frequency/heat emissions of the target and thus low speed for identification of target by eye is not paramount and were the Target is designed to engage aircraft and thus Armour protection might not be adequate. Example of such mission are SEAD/DEAD and anti-ship warfare. In my opinion an aircraft designed for air-superiority could perform these missions with the same efficiency as it’s main mission without additional modifications. If the pilots can be trained to perform all this missions with the same efficiency is another problem. From these missions one can then add capabilities to perform other missions using specialized pods and weapons but the efficiency will decrease as the speed ranges change and the sensors needed change. For example the same air-superiority air-craft with minor software changes could perform deep battle field interdiction attacking vehicle targets deep behind enemy lines and it might do it better then a CAS aircraft if the targets are very deep behind enemy lines and with heavy air-defenses (a sort of sniping mission). But the same aircraft will be mediocre at best at CAS.
        Point is one can make an affordable multi-role aircraft if one dose not cram to many radically different missions on the same aircraft.

      • picard578 said

        “if you design a multirole aircraft from the start as you would a single role aircraft then you are going to obtain a pretty balanced multirole aircraft.”

        But one that will be quite limited in terms of actual multirole ability. Gripen for example can do air superiority, ground attack and maritime attack. But in maritime attack it is limited by avaliable payload, and in ground attack it is hopeless when it comes to the most important mission – close air support. Same goes for Rafale, and while it is a better bomber than Gripen, it came at expense of larger size and increased cost.

        “This will naturally make the aircraft perform very well in a suite of air to ground/sea missions were identification of the target is done based on radio frequency/heat emissions of the target and thus low speed for identification of target by eye is not paramount”

        Which means attacking ships and large, fixed targets. Even then, a second crewmember is a plus for ground attack while it is a deadweight at best in air-to-air combat. So you still need two different variants of the same aircraft.

        “In my opinion an aircraft designed for air-superiority could perform these missions with the same efficiency as it’s main mission without additional modifications.”

        Actually, no. If an air superiority fighter is to be used properly for SEAD and AShW, it needs to be modified with stronger wings, stronger pylons (possibly with larger spacing than would otherwise be required) as well as additional hardpoint(s) and software. All of that increases weight, cost and maintenance requirements.

        ” Point is one can make an affordable multi-role aircraft if one dose not cram to many radically different missions on the same aircraft.”

        True (see Gripen), but it will still be more expensive than single-role aircraft.

      • Andrei said

        “Actually, no. If an air superiority fighter is to be used properly for SEAD and AShW, it needs to be modified with stronger wings, stronger pylons (possibly with larger spacing than would otherwise be required) as well as additional hardpoint(s) and software. All of that increases weight, cost and maintenance requirements.”

        You are not getting my point. I was saying minimal modification in both weapons and airframe. What stops a passive guidance anti radiation medium range air-to-air missile from targeting a ground based radar? Basically only the software of the missile. In fact what stops a mid-course-update air-to-air missile from being guided by the aircraft at ground based radar? Basically again the software of the missile. With a minimal upgrade of the software of air-to-air missiles they could be fired at ground based radars. In this instance the small warhead of the missile would not be a problem, a radar antenna is a very fragile target and the sensor fused warhead of a modern AA missile would spread the damage over the whole antenna basically destroying it and rendering the SAM battery or Anti-Air capability of the ship useless.
        In fact anti-radiation missile are usually redesigned Air to Air or SAM missiles, USAF used the Shrike which was a redesigned Sparrow and the US Navy used a redesigned Standard missile as anti-radiation missile, before they both switched to the HARM which looks like an enlarged AMRAAM.
        Basically I’m saying to carefully design the missiles together with the aircraft so that in a SEAD mission the air-superiority aircraft would use the same missile load-out as in an air-to-air mission. In this case no strengthening of the wings or modifications of the hard-points are needed.

        • picard578 said

          “Basically I’m saying to carefully design the missiles together with the aircraft so that in a SEAD mission the air-superiority aircraft would use the same missile load-out as in an air-to-air mission. In this case no strengthening of the wings or modifications of the hard-points are needed.”

          True. There is still an issue of training, though.

      • Chris said

        Dual engine aircraft like the Rafale or the Su-27 could probably do a decent job of maritime attack, SEAD, and some degree of tactical bombing, while maintaining a good air superiority performance level.

        Single engine aircraft that are small and agile, like the FLX, though probably could not carry more than a few light anti-ship or light anti-radiation missiles. Maybe a few light bombs.

        Neither of the above is good for CAS.

        It would also mean that some pilots would have to train for that mission too.

  3. tensegrity said

    “The problem is you cannot make an aircraft good at everything. ”

    That point is certainly obvious to anyone who is a pilot, but it may be getting harder to make to non-pilots/non-engineers when we now have the air force arguing to congress (and seemingly getting away with it) that even the B-1b can do CAS missions. I wish that nonsense had gotten smacked down / highlighted much more severely than just Sen. McCain’s skepticism. In my mind it is a great example of the senior military leadership arguing utter nonsense, which should make the general public at least somewhat skeptical of whatever they say (like perhaps in the case of the F-35). Of course, it doesn’t help the layperson’s understanding when after such events we have articles written by B-1b pilots (with slight conflicts of interest perhaps) echoing what their leadership said about the virtues of B-1bs and B-52s as substitutes for the A-10.

  4. Wait, what? Is that price of the F-15E accurate? Why is it 1/3 the price of the C model?

  5. Chris said

    What would be really interesting to see are the drivers for these costs. Probably could be divided into buckets.

    – Inflation: Of course, all other things being consistent, this will be an issue.

    – Airframe and other physical modifications, such as a new engine. Sometimes useful. Increased thrust, sometimes bigger fuel tanks, wings, etc. Sometimes the frame is designed to be more aerodyanamic.

    – Avionics and electronics: Probably the one largest cause of cost increases. Some are useful. But other things are probably of questionable use, add weight, reduce reliability, add maintenance, and drive up costs. Probably for MICC profits more than fighting ability.

    – Weapons: Aircraft have to get new software and support for new weapons systems. Sometimes useful. It depends on the weapon.

    – Radar stealth: This deserves its own category since it has drove up costs so much lately. Not very useful relative to cost.

    – Other features: VTOL would be an example of an “other” feature. Most of these are useless and often expensive.

    – Corporate markup and no bid contracts: Result of crony capitalism and MICC industry practices. Obviously useless.

    That should be a general list. Probably could be more extensive. Note the omission of labor (middle class wages stagnant or declining), because it has not been rising as a percentage of costs and most modern weapons are not labor intensive, more like capital intensive.

  6. Chris said

    A very wise online writer once noted that society is going to end up in either 2 directions:

    – Something close to Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek

    OR

    – Something closer to 1984, at which point society will probably collapse internally and may regress

    My great fear is that the latter might happen.

    • picard578 said

      Latter is certain to happen, though that collapse might be pricesly what will push humanity in the correct direction. Or maybe not…

      • Andrei said

        Well the 1984 type society was in the background of Star Trek and it’s collapse or better yet collapses ultimately led to the society seen in the shows and movies.

      • Chris said

        It depends too on the severity of the collapse.

        Not severe enough: Lessons not learned.
        Too severe: Not recoverable, at least for a long time, at which point the lessons will be forgotten

        Only moderate severity I suppose will be the solution. Perhaps an example of too severe would be the collapse of ancient Rome. I guess the 2008 Financial Meltdown and the crisis after was not severe enough.

      • Andrei said

        “Too severe: Not recoverable, at least for a long time, at which point the lessons will be forgotten”

        To continue with the Start Trek example the recovery took about 2 centuries. The Eugenics wars in the background were in about 1984, that’s the point at which society unraveled, and after that a whole lot of other shit happened, including nuclear apocalypse, and basically it took to about 2150 for human society to start to recover.

  7. Chris said

    Some of the Star Trek novels are fascinating. The Eugenics Wars, the novel Federation might be worth recommending as well, and a few non-canon novels that explores this theme.

    What is certain though is that the 21st century will likely be a very difficult one for humanity. To an extent, you could argue that Europe did “learn” in a way the lessons of World Wars – the idea that war, once thought of as something that nations just did, was a bad idea that left all sides poorer. Can humanity learn that lesson? It’s open to debate.

  8. Chris said

    It’s interesting to note that it’s not just fighter and bomber aircraft that are creeping up in cost.

    Fuel tankers, transports, and C&C aircraft also seem to be going up in price.

  9. Duviel Rodriguez said

    Picard578, you are full of it. Stop grinding your ax. Time will prove you wrong like so many others. But by than, Dassault would have already paid you. Its too bad you can’t be unbiased because you do clearly have good knowledge.

    • picard578 said

      “Stop grinding your ax. ”

      You’ve got it backwards. I changed my opinion because I have proven myself wrong through the research – maybe you won’t believe it, but the F-22 used to be my favorite aircraft, back in 2010 or so. But then I started doing a research after running across presentations from Pierre Sprey and Winslow Wheeler, and this blog started as a way to make that research avaliable to others.

      “Time will prove you wrong like so many others.”

      Actually, time has already proven a few of my short-term predictions correct, and while it would be idiotic to claim that I have gotten it 100% correct, I believe that majority of my more important predicitions and beliefs will be eventually proven right.

      “But by than, Dassault would have already paid you.”

      Why not Saab? Or Sukhoi? Or Boeing? Or Federation Starfleet?

      I’m not a Dassault employee and I have no intention of becoming one. For one, I’d have to learn French, and it’s too much of a chore (though my native language isn’t much better, at least when it comes to grammar).

      • Duviel Rodriguez said

        I like you Picard578 but in some of your statements it is clear (even to a lay person like myself) that you have an Ax to grind. Maybe if you were a little less abvious you would have hooked me.

        When you make arguments you focus on the parts that F-22 and/or F-35 can be at a disadvantage (close in visual fights) and yet you look over things like stealth (not just of the airframe but also the radar and sensors), networking (you state that data links make plane less stealthy and thats a dubious claim), sensor fusion, cooling properties to allow for greater carry of avionics, EW/EA capabilities, etc.

        Look I am not beleiving the other side either that wants to convince me that Raptor is so much better than the competition. All of these (Raptor, Rafale, Typhoon, maybe even Su-35) planes have similar technologies and in the right hands and in varying scenarios can beat each other. I can’t beleive that anyone is that much further ahead than the other, at least not for long.

        If you are not getting paid Picard (and I doubt that), maybe you schould be.

        Defense companies very much value public opinion and blogs/publications like this one are the ones that drive that opinion.

        You write in English so yes you are right. You are probably not being paid by Dassault. Although Indians read English. ???

        Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

        • picard578 said

          “When you make arguments you focus on the parts that F-22 and/or F-35 can be at a disadvantage (close in visual fights) and yet you look over things like stealth (not just of the airframe but also the radar and sensors), ”

          I did not overlook stealth, take a look here:
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/stealth-in-the-air/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/value-of-stealth-aircraft/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/are-stealth-aircraft-really-required-for-dealing-with-air-defenses/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/how-stealthy-is-the-f-35/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/aircraft-signature-reduction-measures/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/comparing-modern-western-fighters/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/comparing-modern-fighter-aircraft/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/f-22-analysis/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/f-35-analysis/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/air-superiority-fighter-proposal-6/

          Stealth should be all-encompassing, that is, if you have the aircraft with low RCS, it should also have low IR signature and low emissions signature. F-22 is a large aircraft with consequently high IR signature (aerodynamics and size cannot be entirely compensated for by IR signature reduction measures) and it has no passive sensors capable of detecting and identifying passive enemy aircraft at BVR. In other words, F-22 is not stealthy.

          “Defense companies very much value public opinion and blogs/publications like this one are the ones that drive that opinion.”

          Defense companies can go f*** themselves, for all I care. And you should read my blog a bit before making an opinion.

          “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

          Likewise.

        • Duviel Rodriguez said

          Thanks for the reading material.

          Food for thought:

          F-22/F-35 incorporates a slew of new technologies and there will be growing pains.

          The first jet planes (late 1940’s early 1950’s) were no better than the last prop planes and much more problematic. You just dont give up on promising tech if you want to meet the future defense needs. Same as when the first V engines and auto transmissions came out in cars. The first Gen was poor.

          I do totally agree that the prices are inflated and full of pork.

          I have read many publications that claim that tech in APG-77/81 AESA’s will make it untracable to current technology in passive modes.

          Adding a FLIR to these planes is a good idea and totally possible. FLIR’s are pretty well developed and US/NATO militaries use it in various forms already.

        • picard578 said

          “You just dont give up on promising tech if you want to meet the future defense needs.”

          That is true, but problem is in defining the promising tech. But as a rule of thumb, most potentially important/beneficial/performant technologies tend to be comparably simple, or at least not hugely complex/expensive.

          “I have read many publications that claim that tech in APG-77/81 AESA’s will make it untracable to current technology in passive modes.”

          I’d like more details as you haven’t been completely clear. Is radar supposed to be passive? If so, then it is indeed untraceable, because there are no emissions. If not, then it is a question of how good RWR is – and RWR always has an advantage over the radar.

          “Adding a FLIR to these planes is a good idea and totally possible.”

          Not just FLIR, IRST (FLIR can be included as a mode in IRST). And yes, it is possible – there are F-16s with IRSTs – and should be done.

        • Duviel Rodriguez said

          The other thing I just can’t get over is why are the worlds top airforces so willing to buy F-35 at a much higher price than your favored Rafale?

          Do nations not employ top minds and advisors when making decisions on where to put their billions.

          The only one that has chosen Rafale was India and F-35 was not offered.

          I cant figure that part out.

          And if Stealth is so overated than why is everyone trying to develop it.

          something is not adding up.

        • picard578 said

          “The other thing I just can’t get over is why are the worlds top airforces so willing to buy F-35 at a much higher price than your favored Rafale?”

          – bribes
          – kickbacks
          – industrial benefits
          – interservice budgetary conflicts
          – prestige
          – external political pressure
          – misinformation regarding cost and capability

          BTW, I believe Gripen to be better value for money than Rafale, even though Rafale is better in one-on-one comparision.

          “Do nations not employ top minds and advisors when making decisions on where to put their billions. ”

          They do, but procurement is typically ruled by considerations other than military effectiveness.

          “The only one that has chosen Rafale was India and F-35 was not offered. ”

          It was, but India refused it:
          http://www.indiastrategic.in/topstories462.htm
          http://sputniknews.com/military/20111102/168346252.html
          http://www.defencetalk.com/india-rejects-us-f-35-jsf-offer-31733/

          “And if Stealth is so overated than why is everyone trying to develop it.”

          Part of it is follow the leader mentality. If you look, you’ll find many examples of it in past. Before Vietnam, everyone – even the USSR – jumped on the US’ “dogfighting is irrelevant” bandwagon.

          Other one is money. If you take a look at history, people tend to focus on expensive weapons, and military likes expensive toys as well. Battleships have been proven useless in World War I (entire naval war basically revolved around naval blockade and submarine warfare) yet they were still thought of as most important naval assets as late as 1941. There are two reasons for that. More expensive weapons are more useful in interservice budgetary wars. Second, being able to afford expensive weapons – aircraft carriers and stealth aircraft – shows off country’s prestige.

          Third one is modern day fascination with technology. Stealth fighters are high tech, and are so a good bragging rights reward.

        • Duviel Rodriguez said

          First, allthough I disagree with (or at least doubt) much of what you assert, I do value and enjoy reading youre insight and point of view.

          I agree with the following, but does Rafale/France not utilize the same tactics? Dasault also offers increased industrial benefits/technology transfer than most competitors to include Typhoon and F-35.

          bribes
          – kickbacks
          – industrial benefits
          – interservice budgetary conflicts
          – prestige
          – external political pressure
          – misinformation regarding cost and capability

          “as a rule of thumb, most potentially important/beneficial/performant technologies tend to be comparably simple, or at least not hugely complex/expensive”.

          I agree in short term. In long-term the more risks you take the larger the long-term payoff.

          Think of any of todays top mil tech. Precision weapons, Cruise missiles, Missiles of all types, Jet engines, Radar, Submarines, Nuclear reactor power sources on naval ships. Computerized, stabalized, laser aided, tank rounds, Etc.

          All was once very high tech forward looking and risky.

          I agree that the cost of F-22/35 and B-2 is greatly inflated and that these planes will suffer from growing pains (they have over long development) in any war before 2020 an airforce flying Rafales/Typhoon will probably do better. Rafale/Typhoon are basically optimizations of the same airframes that have been around for 50+ years. Not just in airframe but in use of software to direct many functions and aid in fusion of sensors, etc. F-22/35 were/are big risks but if you want to stay relevant in future warfare you better innovate and invest.

          You say that you have changed youre stance in the past. I think you should consider rethinking youre stance on complex tech.

          “I’d like more details as you haven’t been completely clear. Is radar supposed to be passive? If so, then it is indeed untraceable, because there are no emissions. If not, then it is a question of how good RWR is – and RWR always has an advantage over the radar”

          What I remember reading is that the APG-77/81 radars will be picked up by RWR but it will be impossible (they claim) to track it back to source therefore target will not know where enemy is just that they are close by.

          Do you have any insight on this?

        • picard578 said

          “I agree with the following, but does Rafale/France not utilize the same tactics?”

          France only offers bribes, kickbacks and industrial benefits. It is not large enough to force other countries to buy its products. Same goes for Sweden. On the other hand, US use all of that, plus heavy diplomatic pressure. And since US are far larger country, they are more capable in offering anything that France and Sweden can offer.

          Plus, US are the largest NATO country, and an important ally of quote a few countries (S. Korea, Japan, Australia, Israel, UK), which is typically more important in securing exports than aircraft being exported. US could easily sell F-4 or F-5, and it would still find many customers.

          There is also one more question I forgot to mention before, and could be as important as all others, if not more so: a question of inertia. Countries have a tendency to prefer supplier(s) whose hardware they have already operated. Take a look:

          F-35 partner and export countries:
          UK: replaces Harrier (UK/US)
          Italy: replaces Harrier (UK/US)
          Netherlands: replaces F-16 (US)
          Canada: replaces CF-18 (US)
          Turkey: replaces F-16 (US)
          Australia: replaces F-18 (US)
          Norway: replaces F-16 (US)
          Denmark: replaces F-16 (US)
          Singapore: replaces F-16s (US)
          Israel: replaces F-16 (US)
          Japan: replaces F-4 (US)
          Korea: replaces F-16 (US)

          F-35 is basically flying on the F-16s success, and F-16 *was* a genuinely good aircraft.

          This means that Gripen is far more successful in exports, since it is operated by countries that have not previously operated Swedish aircraft:

          Exports:
          South Africa: replaces Cheetah (a Mirage III upgrade)
          Thailand: replaces F-5
          United Kingdom: used as a trainer

          Leases:
          Czech Republic: replaces MiG-21
          Hungary: replaces MiG-29 (may be purchased once lease expires)

          Similarly, all countries where Rafale does have a good chance of winning the contract are those that have previously operated Dassault Mirage variants.

          “I agree in short term. In long-term the more risks you take the larger the long-term payoff.”

          Not really. Complexity of technology has nothing to do with risks or payoff. It does have to do with ability to understand the problem. Better the understanding of a problem, simpler and more effective the solution.

          “Think of any of todays top mil tech. Precision weapons, Cruise missiles, Missiles of all types, Jet engines, Radar, Submarines, Nuclear reactor power sources on naval ships. Computerized, stabalized, laser aided, tank rounds, Etc. All was once very high tech forward looking and risky. ”

          And it does provide advantage in certain circumstances, but it is far, *far* from magic, or even a decisive advantage.

          GAU-8 is still *the best* precision weapon avaliable to USAF. Cruise missiles are less effective than naval gunfire, assuming of course that latter can reach the target. This is the reason why Zumwalt was proposed to use a rocket-propelled guided projectiles for its gun. Air-to-air missiles supplement the gun, not replace them; and among the missiles themselves, simpler IR missiles tend to outperform more complex radar-guided ones, even assuming the equal range. As far as antitank missiles go, simple recoilless rifles are far more versatile than ATGMs, and either can be more effective than another, depending on circumstances. Antitank cannons can also be far more effective than missiles or aircraft. And as Israelis discovered back in the Yom Kippur War, aircraft cannot replace artillery – and within artillery, self propelled artillery has uses that towed artillery does not have, but same goes in reverse. Katyusha firing 128 unguided rockets is still far more effective psychological weapon than number of guided missiles that you can fire for the same cost – and keep in mind that moral is more important than physical. Conventional carriers tend to have far greater avaliability and lower cost than nuclear ones, and nuclear carriers cannot make any use of their range/endurance advantage because their escorts are not nuclear powered, and they still carry huge amounts of ammo and aviation fuel, which has to be replenished. Nuclear submarines are far better in open ocean than conventional ones due to their speed and endurance – but war is typically waged in coastal waters, and if a nuclear submarine meets enemy conventional submarine in coastal waters, nuclear submarine is almost certain to die. Laser targeting on tanks is good in Arabian deserts – but in European landscape, if you use laser targeting you are going to get shot dead by your enemy who is using simple optical scope.

          “I agree that the cost of F-22/35 and B-2 is greatly inflated and that these planes will suffer from growing pains (they have over long development) in any war before 2020 an airforce flying Rafales/Typhoon will probably do better. Rafale/Typhoon are basically optimizations of the same airframes that have been around for 50+ years. Not just in airframe but in use of software to direct many functions and aid in fusion of sensors, etc. F-22/35 were/are big risks but if you want to stay relevant in future warfare you better innovate and invest. ”

          Except the F-22 does not give any advantage over Rafale or Typhoon in the real shooting war, even after 2020. To fight at BVR, you have to identify the enemy, which means optical sensor – either IRST or a visual camera. F-22 has neither, and as a result it cannot actually engage the enemy at BVR.

          Besides, F-22s stealth was never intended to provide advantage in the air-to-air combat. F-22 was supposed to destroy Russian aircraft over Russia itself, so it needed stealth to minimize a probability of getting shot down by a SAM (and unlike fighters, SAMs can be used at BVR: if there are friendly fighters around, they are inactive. If there are no enemy fighters around, they shoot at everything that flies and can be detected). But even if there is a war against China, it would make no sense to send aircraft over mainland China: NATO isn’t going to send troops to China, all air combat will be fought over Pacific islands, and in such circumstances ability to shoot down enemy aircraft and to provide CAS to ground troops will take precendence. Which means that Rafale, Typhoon, Gripen, F-15 and the F-16 are going to be primary hitters in air-to-air, and grunts will pray that some A-10s are avaliable for air-to-ground work.

          “You say that you have changed youre stance in the past. I think you should consider rethinking youre stance on complex tech.”

          I don’t hate complex tech. It has its uses, and I recognize that. It’s just that I don’t think that it can solve problems by itself, or that indiscriminate throwing of technology at problems is a good idea.

          What technology is avaliable matters. How you use that technology matters far more.

          Take a look here:
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/air-superiority-fighter-proposal-6/

          You’ll see that I used QWIP IRST instead of AESA radar. Both are equally high technology. But IRST has huge advantages over the radar: it does not warn the enemy of one’s presence, and it can actually identify targets at beyond visual range. I also used IR missile warners, which are if anything more complex than radar ones, because they offer major advantages in terms of range, accuracy and stealth. I used turbofan EJ230, despite greater complexity than turbojets’, because no avaliable turbojet fulfilled my requirements. I used MICA IR, and proposed several rather complex multistage BVR missiles, in order to cure BVR missiles’ greatest faults (destroying surprise and lack of maneuvering ability during endgame).

          Now here:
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/nato-navies-proposal-revised/

          I used frigates instead of destroyers because I don’t see destroyers as having much use, and I used small conventional carriers to improve survivability. But in terms of submarines, I used both nuclear and conventional submarines, allowing them to compensate for each others’ weaknesses. And because naval war will invariably gravitate towards coastal or closed waters, I proposed using more conventional submarines than nuclear ones.

          But people often think that more complex weapon is automatically more capable. Bollocks. Capability in war is defined not as “what this weapon can do”, but as “what effect this weapon has on its user, on enemies and on way of waging the war”. Going by technologists’ definition, Saturn V is the “most capable” rocket built by humanity. But it still doesn’t make sense to build Saturn Vs for use as ICBMs, since all targets for ICBMs are here on Earth.

          “What I remember reading is that the APG-77/81 radars will be picked up by RWR but it will be impossible (they claim) to track it back to source therefore target will not know where enemy is just that they are close by.

          Do you have any insight on this?”

          APG-77 is an AESA LPI radar which uses frequency jumping, frequency spread and relatively low emissions to make it more difficult to detect. However, these have limitations. Since AESA’s beam is steered via interference between emissions of different TR modules, APG-77 can only produce 4 beams. Each of these will have its own frequency, and will be 250.000 – 2,5 million times stronger than background noise. Modern RWRs can memorize and compare emissions, so while older RWRs will indeed have trouble detecting the APG-77 (and APG-81), new RWRs can do it. IIRC, APG-81, when tested, managed to jam F-22s APG-77.

  10. Duviel Rodriguez said

    Thank you.

    You definately have an interesting perspective and you defend it well in most cases.

    Thankfully we have not had a chance to test youre theories and hopefully we never will.

    Youre statement about political pressure and arms contracts serving to maintain alliances is definately something I had overlooked.

    Red Flag is a very good simulator of combat scenarios. Problem is its hard to get insight into results and scenarios.

    I would love to be a fly on the wall in those post exercise meetings.

    • picard578 said

      “Thankfully we have not had a chance to test youre theories and hopefully we never will. ”

      I sure hope so. But as the saying goes: hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

      “Red Flag is a very good simulator of combat scenarios. Problem is its hard to get insight into results and scenarios. ”

      And assumptions. Different BVR missile Pk assumptions can have major impact on exercises’ outcomes. I know that in Anatolian Flag, radar-guided BVR missiles were assumed to have Pk of 90%, while in tests between F-15s and F-22s BVR missiles were assumed to have a 65% probability of kill. Needless to say, neither level of performance was ever achieved in the real world. Plus, F-22s were outnumbered at most 4:1 and typically 2:1; yet Gripen would outnumber the F-22 between 12:1 and 28:1 and Su-35 between 4,5:1 and 13:1 (numbers in the air: number of units for X USD times sortie rate).

  11. Duviel Rodriguez said

    I suspect you may not be judging modern AAM correctly. AAM have come a long way since 1970’s. Ability to maneuver and maintain lock (especially IR) has greatly improved. We cant just continue to use old facts over and over. 90% or even 65% is probably elevated (especially for Radar guided) against well trained pilots and manuverable aircraft but 25% is probably too low for Missiles like AIM-9X and others like it. At least from what I have learned.

    Whats sure is that AAM of today are way better than those early AAM. You also have to look at ability of IFF (not used in Nam) that allows pilots to truly fire BVR.

    I dont know where you get your force levels from? US air power plans on building 2000+ F-35’s. No likely enemy will even come close to having 1000 modern jets.

    I dont think anyone owns more than a couple hundred Gripens.

    China and russia have less than 1000 Flankers and most are really old.

    F-35 will nearly always outnumber enemy.

    • picard578 said

      “AAM have come a long way since 1970’s. Ability to maneuver and maintain lock (especially IR) has greatly improved.”

      But aircraft’s ability to outmaneuver and otherwise counter missiles has also improved. MiG-23 could pull 16,7 deg/s instantaneus, Rafale and F-22 pull 28-30 deg/s sustained turn rate at 15-20.000 ft. This is still far more than AIM-120s instantaneous turn rate at sea level.

      “Whats sure is that AAM of today are way better than those early AAM. You also have to look at ability of IFF (not used in Nam) that allows pilots to truly fire BVR. ”

      Visual ID is now possible at BVR, so yes they can fire at BVR. But it still means that radar stealth is useless in aerial combat.

      “I dont know where you get your force levels from? US air power plans on building 2000+ F-35’s. No likely enemy will even come close to having 1000 modern jets. ”

      What US plan and what US get are two different things. 650 F-111s were planned, only 141 was procured. Several hundred F-117s were planned, only 59 were procured. 132 B-2s were planned, only 21 was procured. 650 F-22s were planned, only 187 were procured. In the end, only 320-575 F-35s will be bought by US.

      “I dont think anyone owns more than a couple hundred Gripens.”

      Nobody has as large budget as USAF, either. Gripen delivered 247 aircraft at 14 billion USD program cost, or 57 million USD per aircraft (unit procurement). F-22 delivered 187 aircraft at program cost of 70 billion USD, or 374 million USD per aircraft. Gripen’s unit flyaway cost is cca 40 million USD, meaning that 4 billion USD are R&D costs. F-22s unit flyaway cost is 250 million USD (see link below), meaning that 23,25 billion USD are R&D costs.
      http://pogoarchives.org/labyrinth/08-wheeler-w-covers.pdf

      In other words, if procured for F-22s budget, Gripen would have 4 billion USD R&D costs, leaving 66 billion USD for procurement. This would mean 1.650 aircraft procured (or 9:1 advantage over the F-22). Likewise, if F-22 was procured at Gripen’s budget, it wouldn’t have enough for even R&D; even if R&D is ignored, entire Gripen’s budget would provide for 56 aircraft.

      In other words, USAF would be far better off with Gripen NG, as it would mean reasonable aircraft procurement costs that would leave far more money for more important aspects, such as pilot training and maintenance.

      “F-35 will nearly always outnumber enemy.”

      In USAFs procurement dreams, maybe. Not in reality, which will see far less F-35s bought than planned. And keep in mind that what matters are numbers in the air, which means number of aircraft * sortie rate. F-35 can fly only one 1-hour sortie per two days. Most other aircraft can fly far more often.

      • Duviel Rodriguez said

        You have a way of arguing your point by bringing in argument points that although not relevent to the issue makes your argument much easier to prove. You would have made an excellent trial lawyer. Unless you already are a lawyer? I obviously dont know what you do in your real life.

        I never debated that F-35 would be a better financial decision for USAF or anyone else. I simply stated that no likely foe will have even close to the numbers of fighters in the air that USAF/USN/Marines (China is the only one that “maybe” could). Although very expensive, like you have said before bribes, kick-backs, political factors, etc will probably drive heavy procurement. I guess we shall see over the next decade.

        Honestly I hope you are right. I dont see the need to buy 2000+ F-35 for the US. Nobody is going to attack the US and more powerful military would just make politicians more likely to get involved in external military adventures that usually only serve the very rich corporations and investors.

        You are looking at sortie rate in peace time. In peace (or operations not requiring high sortie rate) the U.S. military makes sure the planes are in perfect condition before flying. Why risk if you dont have to. Even the T-6 is requiring a lot of hours of maintenence per flight. Its becuase in peace they take their time to double check every detail before sending up pilots.

        In a real war the planes will fly with much less maintenence. The Stealth coating may not be as effective but you argue that stealth is useless anyways.

        Even in gulf war one (which did not really push that hard for sortie rate) the sortie rate was much higher than had been previous for Teen series.

        F-35/22 are complicated aircraft testing a lot of new tech, so yes there will be issues but, now is a good time to take risks because their is no real enemy in the horizon.

        China and Russia are not going to fight right now they are a long way from being capable. Also, in any engagement with Russia in Europe, US will have the rest of NATO. In an engagement in Pacific/Asia US will be fighting with Japan, S. Korea, Australia, India, or any combination.

        I look at F-22/35 as investments that will pay dividends toward future capabilities. Financially its a poor investment but tactically its a great investment. We will learn a lot and we will see who is right. Most likely all will be wrong and right in different parts. The next aircraft will be so much better.

        I beleive Stealth (in all its forms), Sensors, Sensor fusion and use of super processors to assist pilot in decision making and provide superior situational awareness, will prove to be the future.

        Computer science and electronics engineers are the future air war winners.

        Fighter Mafia may be correct aerodynamically but to deny the usefulness of sensors and avionics to me is foolish.

        I guess time will tell who is right.

        History tells us that the army (air or ground) that best incorporates new tech (along with other factors like tactics, morale, training, industrial capabilities/logistics) will win the next war.

        You make some good points Picard but you need to let go of some things and consider that you could be wrong in defending certain points.

        High tech is the future and investment now will pay high dividends later.

        • picard578 said

          “I never debated that F-35 would be a better financial decision for USAF or anyone else. I simply stated that no likely foe will have even close to the numbers of fighters in the air that USAF/USN/Marines”

          It is a related issue. If the F-35 can’t be afforded in numbers planned, then it is entirely likely that Russia or China might actually have greater number of fighters. And keep in mind that, to have same number of fighters in the air, you need twice as many F-35s avaliable as Flankers. And US can’t count on always being able to outspend its potential enemies.

          “You are looking at sortie rate in peace time. In peace (or operations not requiring high sortie rate) the U.S. military makes sure the planes are in perfect condition before flying. Why risk if you dont have to.”

          Relative sortie rates should stay the same, though, assuming similar logistical capabilities.

          “Computer science and electronics engineers are the future air war winners. ”

          Aircraft is a system, and to ignore aerodynamics in favor of electronics is a great way to create a flop (opposite is also true).

          ” Fighter Mafia may be correct aerodynamically but to deny the usefulness of sensors and avionics to me is foolish.”

          Nobody ever denied it, and as a matter of fact Fighter Mafia always considered situational awareness crucial. But not all sensors are equally useful, or useful in all roles.

          “History tells us that the army (air or ground) that best incorporates new tech (along with other factors like tactics, morale, training, industrial capabilities/logistics) will win the next war. ”

          Technology is finish on top of the cake, human factors are far more important.

          “High tech is the future and investment now will pay high dividends later.”

          High tech, yes, but which high tech? High tech is not limited to radar stealth and AESA radars. And loading fighters with all technology avaliable will only make them less effective, so you have to choose what to focus on.

  12. Duviel Rodriguez said

    There are different approaches. F-22 is one F-35 is another, Rafale, Typhoon, Gripen, Etc. We are in a transition period and we will see what tactics and technology wins out.

    Even USAF and USN differ some in ideas. U.S. is not putting all eggs in one basket. A number of upgraded F-15’s and F-16’s are being kept. USN has purchased roughly 600 new Super Hornets.

    F-35 is no dog fighter but it will have great situational awareness (although you deny it) and will be very hard to target from BVR. F-35 is designed to defeat air defenses and perform precision strike from high above. F/A-18E/F has a similar role as F-35.

    F-22 does have very good aerodynamic and kinematic performance, as good as any including Rafale. TV Will not be always useful but, if used correctly (through lessons learned) it will allow for much greater snap up snap down at most realistic battle speeds. F-22 can also accelerate better than any and get away if it needs to. In BVR F-22 will be realistically untargetable.

    F-15 and 16 can stand with most.

    Look I know you will argue that it was mostly against inferior Arab pilots but F-15 is 100-0 in combat. Against many Soviet aircraft of its same era Mig-23, Mig-29, even Mirages. Syrian and Egyptian pilots were trained in soviet tactics (although level of training was not high). Iraqi pilots were experienced from 8 years of fighting and did receive a pretty high level of training.

    Everyone does the “monday morning quarterback” thing but, before U.S. Airpower embarrased them, Iraq was known to have a well trained and equiped air force and their air defense system incorporated some of the best Soviet and French systems and was robust especially around Baghdad.

    Serbias Air defenses included some of the best Soviet systems of that time too.

    I just don’t think you give enough credit to the technologies and abilities that U.S. has developed historically and currently.

    Soviet aircraft have yet to win any engagement and you give a great deal of credit to their aircraft. Su-30MKI has done pretty well against F-15 in simulations but thats all we have.

    • picard578 said

      “Even USAF and USN differ some in ideas. U.S. is not putting all eggs in one basket. A number of upgraded F-15’s and F-16’s are being kept. USN has purchased roughly 600 new Super Hornets.”

      Actually, USAF *is* putting all eggs in one basket. USN is smarter in that respect and is keeping some F-18s.

      “F-35 is no dog fighter but it will have great situational awareness (although you deny it)”

      That “great situational awareness” is limited to visual range and wholly dependant on assumption that its helmet will work in combat. Otherwise, it will have worse situational awareness than most modern fighters. On BVR, its situational awareness will be worse than Rafale’s, Typhoon’s, Gripen NG’s or that of some F-16 variants, as its “IRST” is little more than IR targeting pod with A-A mode. As a matter of fact, EOTS uses midwave IRST, which improves resolution (important in air-to-ground mode) but reduces range in air-to-air application.

      “and will be very hard to target from BVR.”

      Only if enemy has no IRST.

      “F-35 is designed to defeat air defenses and perform precision strike from high above.”

      That is true. F-35 was intended as a bomber from the outset, but its A-A capabilities are rather limited as a result.

      “F-22 does have very good aerodynamic and kinematic performance, as good as any including Rafale.”

      F-22 has better climb rate and acceleration, but Rafale has superior instantaneous turn rate and transient performance, and looses energy at lower rate when in turn.

      “TV Will not be always useful but, if used correctly (through lessons learned) it will allow for much greater snap up snap down at most realistic battle speeds.”

      TV is basically a suicide in dogfight, it is only useful at either supersonic speeds (which is not where dogfight is fought) or at very low speeds (where your energy is too low to avoid attacks).

      “In BVR F-22 will be realistically untargetable.”

      Depends. If the enemy has no IRST and F-22 stays passive, that will be true due to the F-22s low RCS and high cruise speed, but if the enemy has IRST then the F-22 will be detected and targeted comparatively easily – without the F-22 pilot being any wiser about it until he detects the missile itself.

      “Syrian and Egyptian pilots were trained in soviet tactics (although level of training was not high). Iraqi pilots were experienced from 8 years of fighting and did receive a pretty high level of training. ”

      Wrong. Arab pilots never received as much training as needed, and more importantly, training they did receive was crap, with no attention to actual tactics.

      Iraqi pilots were experienced in running away (they pretty much ran away every time they met any Iranian aircraft, up until lack of spares effectively eliminated Iranian Air Force), and their levels of training were abysimal. They were not trained for night combat or bad weather combat at all, and training in all other aspects of combat was crippled by ineffective tactics and lack of ability to supply and maintain aircraft. More details here:
      https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/why-gulf-wars-cannot-be-used-as-a-basis-for-estimating-effectiveness-of-beyond-visual-range-combat/

      “Iraq was known to have a well trained and equiped air force and their air defense system incorporated some of the best Soviet and French systems and was robust especially around Baghdad. ”

      Iraq might have had a reputation, but reputation does not equal capability. Their air force was crippled by lack of spares, pilots were undertrained and tactics used were unrealistic. Defense system was used incorrectly, with no attention to Soviet shoot-and-scoot tactics and no provisions to counter Allied tactics.

      “Serbias Air defenses included some of the best Soviet systems of that time too.”

      And Serbs used what they had well and as a result Serb ADS survived the war nearly intact, while Iraqi ADS was neutralized very quickly.

      “I just don’t think you give enough credit to the technologies and abilities that U.S. has developed historically and currently. ”

      Tactics, training and organization matter far more than technology. Plus US typically had massive numerical superiority (160:1 in the air against Iraqis in Desert Storm).

      “Soviet aircraft have yet to win any engagement ”

      I will assume that under “Soviet aircraft” you mean Su-27 and MiG-29. And as a matter of fact, Soviet aircraft tended to do OK when not used against a force that had massive superiority in training. In a war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Ethiopian Su-27s shot down 4 MiG-29s, Eritrean MiG-29s shot down 1 MiG-21. Russian MiG-29s might have shot down 4 Moldovan MiG-29s.

      “and you give a great deal of credit to their aircraft.”

      I give credit where credit is due. Su-27 family of aircraft always had great aerodynamics, and inclusion of IRST was a great move, but early Su-27 versions were crap simply because you had to be an octopus to operate them properly. However, that shortcoming got adressed later, and Su-35s only problems are its size and cockpit visibility.

  13. Duviel Rodriguez said

    Common!!

    600+ Super Hornets/Growlers is more than just some.

    Yes F-35 will have better (or at very least as good) situational awareness than any current aircraft. The only way youre assumption is correct is if every one shuts down all their avionics and flies electron free. Also, situational awareness includes being able to know what the air defenses are doing if you are fighting in hostile skies.

    Their is no logical reason to beleive that F-35’s EW will not be as good or probably better than anyone’s. F-35 EW incorporates the best equipment from the best minds all over the world. Lockheed-Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, BAE, Etc. The best minds in the world (in the relevant fields) work for those companies because they pay the best. That is what has made the U.S. great, the best minds in the world usually end up fleeing here (if not already born here).

    Realistically IRST also has limitations. IRST (like Laser guidance) relies on good whether and even with good climate has a range of under 50 miles. I know some claim upto 90 miles but thoes are unproven and probably unrealistic claims at this point. Like the claim that F-22 is completely invisible was unrealistic. Things go both ways Picard!

    IRST is a good piece of equipment but just one piece of many that make a good aircraft. You make it seem like having an IRST is everything and having superior command of the EMS is not important.

    there are many aerospace professionals who seem to think that TV can be used at high subsonic speeds. You just have to know how to use it becuase it does effect the aircrafts aerodynamics.

    Those Iranian Pilots you suddenly praised guess who trained them?

    To say that most of Serbias ADS servived US air operations is at best a half truth.

    The only equipment that survived was the equipment that was not used becuase they knew they would lose it just like happened in Syria in 1982 and Iraq in 1990.

    Scoot and shoot is not a very militarily effective tactic. Its just simply the only tactic that could survive under superior SEAD. Serbia was bombed at will and if they would have defended themselves they would have lost all of their ADS not just some.

    I am not an airpower pro but I do have some common sense and open mind. I am a psychologist by training and trade, and it sounds too me like you have some very strong narcissistic tendencies.

    Remember Picard you’re views are not the only ones that count and beleive it or not you are in the minority in many of youre views.

    Once again I want to say that although I disagree with many of youre opinions (yes most of it is opinions), I do thank you for sharing them with me.

    It’s hard to find anyone in my social circle to discuss these topics with, and my wife thinks I am insane when I talk about this. In her words “you are a psychologist you are not in the Airforce” LOL.

    • picard578 said

      “Yes F-35 will have better (or at very least as good) situational awareness than any current aircraft. The only way youre assumption is correct is if every one shuts down all their avionics and flies electron free.”

      Only revolutionary thing in the F-35 is its stated ability to project images from IR MAWS onto the pilot’s HMD. Radar? Present on virtually all fighters. IRST? F-35s IRST is basically an inbuilt air-to-ground FLIR pod as opposed to air-to-air optimized PIRATE or OSF. 360* coverage with IR MAWS? Present on Rafale (F-22 and Gripen NG use UV MAWS). RWRs? Present on virtually all fighters.

      “Their is no logical reason to beleive that F-35’s EW will not be as good or probably better than anyone’s.”

      EW suite doesn’t make the aircraft by itself, and BTW Sweden and France tended to have EW suites that were just as good as comparable systems in the US and UK. Some Swedish systems are used on US aircraft, and Sweden is currently the world leader in GaN technology.

      http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140715/SHOWSCOUT15/307150033/Gallium-Nitride-Gets-Fighter-Debut-Saab

      “F-35 EW incorporates the best equipment from the best minds all over the world. Lockheed-Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, BAE, Etc. The best minds in the world (in the relevant fields) work for those companies because they pay the best.”

      That’s true except when it isn’t.

      “Realistically IRST also has limitations. IRST (like Laser guidance) relies on good whether and even with good climate has a range of under 50 miles. I know some claim upto 90 miles but thoes are unproven and probably unrealistic claims at this point. Like the claim that F-22 is completely invisible was unrealistic. Things go both ways Picard!”

      Things go both ways indeed, but you are obviously misunderstanding things. Few facts about the IRSTs:
      1) range figures are given in ideal weather – PIRATE (90 km head-on, 145 km tail-on subsonic fighter target; OSF – 80 km head-on, 130 km tail-on subsonic fighter target)
      2) they are typically used in air-to-air application
      3) aircraft typically operate at medium to high altitudes, well above cloud cover

      As a result, IRSTs theoretical performance is more likely to be true than radar’s theoretical performance, as IRST can’t be jammed except by weather, which is quite rare at 30.000-60.000 ft fighter aircraft will typically operate at.

      “You make it seem like having an IRST is everything and having superior command of the EMS is not important.”

      IRST is mostly immune to jamming and is the only passive sensor capable of detecting a non-radiating targets even in adverse conditions (night, thin cloud cover etc.). So it is the most important sensor where air combat is concerned. Radar can be jammed, datalinks can be jammed, radio can be jammed… though the last two can be, if not jammed, genuinely useful.

      “there are many aerospace professionals who seem to think that TV can be used at high subsonic speeds. You just have to know how to use it becuase it does effect the aircrafts aerodynamics.”

      Those many being whom? Aircraft turn by using lift to pull them around. TVC is used simply to counter ineffectiveness of control surfaces at low subsonic and supersonic speeds, it does not improve lift by itself.

      “Those Iranian Pilots you suddenly praised guess who trained them?”

      US did. And US military aviation pulled through quite a few questionable procurement decisions because its pilots were trained well enough to compensate for the crap they were given.

      “To say that most of Serbias ADS servived US air operations is at best a half truth.”

      US managed to destroy 3 out of 80 radar SAM batteries, 14 armored vehicles and caused 387 military casualties.

      I have trouble thinking of 96% as anything but majority.

      “The only equipment that survived was the equipment that was not used becuase they knew they would lose it just like happened in Syria in 1982 and Iraq in 1990.”

      Actually, Serbs fired 845 radar SAMs. That was quite a heavy usage, yet only 3 batteries were eliminated, despite US fighters firing 743 HARMs.

      “Scoot and shoot is not a very militarily effective tactic. Its just simply the only tactic that could survive under superior SEAD. Serbia was bombed at will and if they would have defended themselves they would have lost all of their ADS not just some. ”

      Its purpose is allowing SAMs to survive, so yes it is effective in its purpose (at least against the enemy that doesn’t have A-10s to take out SAMs with GAU-8). And SAMs are only useful for attrition warfare, not for area denial, so any other approach would not have made sense anyway.

      “I am not an airpower pro but I do have some common sense and open mind. I am a psychologist by training and trade, and it sounds too me like you have some very strong narcissistic tendencies. ”

      Remember that “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.” So forget “common sense” and take a good look at military history, at very least from 1914 to today.

      “Remember Picard you’re views are not the only ones that count and beleive it or not you are in the minority in many of youre views. ”

      I am well aware of both of these facts. My views are not facts, even though they are based on facts. Are they correct? I believe so, but it is impossible to prove for certain (and I hope it will stay that way). As for being a minority, it is true, but is also irrelevant.

      “Once again I want to say that although I disagree with many of youre opinions (yes most of it is opinions), I do thank you for sharing them with me.

      It’s hard to find anyone in my social circle to discuss these topics with, and my wife thinks I am insane when I talk about this. In her words “you are a psychologist you are not in the Airforce” LOL.”

      No problem.

      P.S. Only people who don’t have opinions are those that do not think.

  14. Y said

    Hi Picard,
    I was looking for dat about f-16cost. Your pentagon budget approach is methodical as always. I’ve found:

    – fy2003_p1
    F-16A
    111,2 Musd
    4 n
    27,8 Musd/ea
    (pag. F-2)

    not sure to have kept reasonable numbers. I’d like to confirm I don’t look for exact numbers but for accurate ones.
    Should a foreign contry add VAT tax to that value?
    I’ll look for F-16 C/D cost because I’m curios. Where did you get 70Musd/ea cost?
    Thanks

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