About

Due to lot of mis- and dis- -information about defense issues, primarily related to United States, but not only, I have decided to start this blog, where I will do my best to separate propaganda from truth.

Blog will include analysis of different weapons as well as other aspects of war. You can comment on posts, and if you have suggestions for future articles, you are welcome to post comment on this page; any questions or feedback not specific to certain article can be posted here, I will give my best to adress them.

New posts will be published on 1., 11. and 21. day of the month. If article is unavaliable, it will be posted on the next scheduled day.

If you have suggestions, please post them here. Alternative contact is picard578@gmail.com .

2012 in review

2013 in review

2014 in review

2015 in review

Reason for my nickname is twofold. First, Patrick Stewart is one of my favourite actors, and Star Trek is the first role I watched him in. Second is Star Trek itself. Optimism displayed in the series has always held appeal to me, even as I came to realize how impossible it is to actually achieve everything displayed in the series.

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63 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Picard. I’m a big fan of your site. I recall seeing an article somewhere recently where a U.S. general stated the F-35 is designed mostly for ground attack with limited air to air capability (70%/30%). Are you familiar with that one.

    As a commercial pilot who likes to research and a proud Canadian, I am afraid our military leadership and political leadership have been influenced by the claims of Lockheed. Having only 65 aircraft, and of this type frankly makes the RCAF insignificant and irrelevant. I agree with your discussions on “bang for the buck” and wish the government would take the money they said the F-35 would cost and buy JAS39 Gripen NG’s. Our force would number in the hundreds and we could afford to train our pilots to proficiency. Then we could actually contribute to NORAD, NATO and future coalition missions.

    Saab, as well as Dasault both offered to have the aircraft built in Canada, which I’m not sure is the right thing to do, but also to share the source codes. I would like to see the government invest in the Gripen NG and perhaps work with Saab on evolving a Gripen NG air superiority model, with some of the changes you suggest in your possible design or updates to the Gripen. Redesigned cockpit with 360* view, CFT’s to increase range without the need of droptanks, the 414 EP engine and integrated IRST covering behind and below the aircraft.

    Yes, this would increase the cost per unit somewhat, but the the acquisition and operating costs would still be less than the competitors.

    That would make too mush sense. Unfortunately, that seems beyond our current political and military leadership. The history of military procurement in Canada over the last few decades is maddening.

    • “Are you familiar with that one.”

      I remember seeing it somewhere, can’t remember where though.

      “I am afraid our military leadership and political leadership have been influenced by the claims of Lockheed.”

      Just like most of the world. Repeat a lie 100 times and it *will* be accepted as truth.

      “Our force would number in the hundreds and we could afford to train our pilots to proficiency. Then we could actually contribute to NORAD, NATO and future coalition missions.”

      Agreed. And what is important to understand is that cheaper weapon does not necessarily mean less capability. It all depends on what you want to do.

      “I would like to see the government invest in the Gripen NG and perhaps work with Saab on evolving a Gripen NG air superiority model, with some of the changes you suggest in your possible design or updates to the Gripen. Redesigned cockpit with 360* view, CFT’s to increase range without the need of droptanks, the 414 EP engine and integrated IRST covering behind and below the aircraft. ”

      Good idea(s). Though it would involve a major redesign of the aircraft (IIRC, ECU is the reason for lack of rearward visibility).

      “Unfortunately, that seems beyond our current political and military leadership.”

      Tell me about it. Over here, I wonder wether our politicians are on psychedelic drugs.

  2. Good evening Picard.
    Thx for your very precious work .
    Just a suggestions please:
    – Is is possible if you can post topic about anti aircraft artillerie -like S-60, KS-19, Oerlikon, Bofors 35, 45 mm- against modern fighters like F-22, F-35, F-15 E, EF-18, F-16 D.
    – Could you please post another topic about JDAM effectiveness.

    Regards.

    PS: Sorry for my english, but I do my best -je ne sais si vous parlez français, votre pseudo semble indiquer que vous êtes francophone, désolez pour mon anglais rempli de fautes de gramaire, je fais du mieux que je peux-

  3. Hello Picard,
    I recently found out about your blog. Thank you for your articles. I am learning a lot. If you find the time, I have a real war game for you and I would be grateful if I have your suggestion.
    I am Greek. We have been in war with our eastern neighbors for the last 3000 years, whether it is the Persian empire, the Ottoman Empire or the Turkish “Republic”. We’ve been guarding the western entry gates and we have to continue to do so, even now, when, as you have probably heard, our economics are very bad ( a big reason for that is what we spend in weapon systems due to Turkey).
    The situation right now is (more or less) this:
    The Turks have about 250 F16s that are being upgraded to block52+ and they have an order of >100 F35s coming in the next ten years starting in 2017(?). Furthermore, they are planning their own stealth fighter to replace the F16s in 2030. I won’t take into account their older planes or ours (F4s, Corsairs, etc, because they will be all out of service in a few years).
    The Greeks have about 155 F16s (blocks 30, 50, 50+ and 50+ adv.) and about 45 Mirage 2000 ( 25 Mk2 and 19 EG/BGs).
    Bare in mind these facts:
    The Greek ministry of defense has stated some years ago, that the optimum number for fighters is 300.
    We have to daily intercept the Turkish fighters that violate our air space and fly over greek islands in close dogfights most of the time.
    The Aegean see, where the encounters happen is a very small space.
    So, here are some solutions, baring in mind our economics:
    Upgrade the F16s to block 60 with AESA radars and the rest of the Mirages to mk2 or 3. (In 2007 the UAE purchased 80 Block60s so their are tested and also recently Dessault agreed to upgrade the Mirages.)
    These two upgrades are essential and have to be done whatever the new fighter will be. What’s next?
    1. Buying the Rafale, which is cheaper to buy and use than Typhoon and the American teens and has the low rcs and passive weapons, so it will be better guarded against the F35s from BVR. Bare in mind that we have the weapons and the technical knowledge of the French technology from the Mirages. They are also very good in dogfights and they have the range to go to Cyprus and back. The downtime is good also.
    2. Buying a banch of Gripens? Cheap to buy and use, less downtime, a lot of them in the skies, but with no IRST and no AESA (Gripen NG maybe?), but we will have three different fighters in our fleet with the respective costs that follows.
    3. Buy nothing and wait for USAF to sell F16s, after they are replaced with F35s and invest in AAs (S400s(?))?
    4. How about the new SU35. You don’t seem to have it in great esteem.

    Thank you in advance for your time.

    • “Furthermore, they are planning their own stealth fighter to replace the F16s in 2030.”

      If they start development now, I don’t see them getting it before 2035, considering protracted time needed for stealth fighters to enter service. Then again, Turkey is not USA.

      “The Turks have about 250 F16s that are being upgraded to block52+ and they have an order of >100 F35s coming in the next ten years starting in 2017(?).”
      “The Greeks have about 155 F16s (blocks 30, 50, 50+ and 50+ adv.) and about 45 Mirage 2000 ( 25 Mk2 and 19 EG/BGs).”

      Now, F-16 requires 19 maintenance man-hours per hour of flight, compared to 10 for Mirage 2000, 30-50* for the F-35, 3-10 for Gripen and 12-15 for Rafale.

      *my estimate, 2014 value is 205 maintenance man hours:
      http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/feature/5/151303/a-look-at-f_35%E2%80%99s-true-o%26s-cost.html

      Assuming that these are roughly proportional to the sortie rate, Turkey could generate 360 sorties (300 F-16, 60 F-35) for each 284 Greek sorties (186 F-16, 98 Mirage). In terms of missiles in the air, at typical loadouts this gives Turkey 600 WVRAAM + 1440 BVRAAM against Greek 568 WVRAAM + 1136 BVRAAM. This would give 205 onboard kills for Turkey and 175 for Greece.

      Now, Rafale, Gripen or the Su-35…

      There are several issues with each even before we start talking about combat effectiveness. Rafale is a French aircraft, and Greece is probably intimately familiar with French fighters, which is a plus. It is also an excellent air superiority fighter and a very good bomber. MICA IR is the only Western IR BVR missile in service, and Rafale is currently one of the only two Western fighters to use it. However, it is rather expensive, and while having Mirages already means that Greece may not have to pay for integrating non-French ammunition on Rafale, French missiles tend to be more expensive than their counterparts from other countries. Gripen is also a very good aircraft, and uses readily-avaliable ammunition from several sources – German IRIS-T, French MICA, and US AIM-120 and AIM-9. However, it lacks IRST, is comparably short ranged and has inferior situational awareness and defense suite in general. Su-35 typically uses Russian missiles, is hardest to maintain out of the three, and while it does have somewhat better situational awareness than Gripen thanks to its IRST, its situational awareness is still significantly inferior to Rafale, and its defense suite is inferior to both Rafale and Gripen.

      Standard loadout is 2 WVRAAM + 4 BVRAAM for all three aircraft. Maximum loadout is same as standard for Gripen, 4 WVRAAM + 5/6 BVRAAM (or 10 BVRAAM) for Rafale and 2/6 WVRAAM + 12/8 BVRAAM for Su-35. Standard loadout gives 0,62 onboard kills to Gripen and 0,62-0,74 onboard kills to Su-35 and Rafale. Maximum loadout gives 0,62 kills to Gripen, 0,8-1,08 kills to Rafale and 1,26-1,54 kills to

      Su-35.

      Above assumed that all fighters are using IR WVR missiles and EM BVR missiles. However, they all can use IR BVR missiles as well, which at standard loadout gives 0,74 kills. At maximum loadout, this gives 0,74 kills to Gripen, 1,1-1,26 kills to Rafale and 1,62-1,78 kills to Su-35.

      Gripen, Rafale and Su-35 can also carry a wide variety of ground attack munitions, including standoff weapons, so I don’t see much difference there, except in range and payload. External payload is 9.500 kg for Rafale, 6.500 kg for Gripen and 8.000 kg for Su-35. Su-35 will be assumed to generate 1 sortie / day / aircraft, same as the F-15.

      https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/aircraft-prices-fy2014/

      In FY 2014 USD, 186 F-16C + 98 Mirage 2000 costs 18,26 billion USD, giving 284 sorties with 568 WVRAAM and 1136 BVRAAM in the air. For the same price, one can get 424 Gripen Cs, 197 Rafales or 281 Su-35.

      424 Gripens gives 925 sorties with 1850 WVRAAM and 3700 BVRAAM in the air. 197 Rafales gives 296 sorties with 592/1184 WVRAAM and 1184/1776 BVRAAM in the air. Su-35 gives 281 sortie with 562/1124 WVRAAM and 1124/2810 BVRAAM in the air.

      Total number of onboard kills is 574-685 for Gripen, 183-373 for Rafale and 174-478 for Su-35.

      In terms of ground attack, total tonnage of ordnance lifted would be 6.012 t for Gripen, 2.812 t for Rafale and 2.248 t for Su-35 (compare to 2.050 t for the current Mirage/F-16 fleet).

      In other words, Gripen is by far the best choice.

      • Picard, thank you for your reply.
        So, if I am getting this right. Upgrade the F16s and Mirages and start buying Gripen C’s (or NGs) to be our fighter for the next decades.
        When do you believe we will have an estimate for the characteristics of the Gripen E (NG)? From what I am reading it will solve all the problems of the C variant (range, load, TWR, IRST, AESA), except for the rear visibility of the cockpit, and the fly away cost will be around $ 50mil, while maintaining low fuel consumption, low downtime, short landing and take off (ideal for the Greek islands). Maybe not ideal for Australia and Canada with their vast distances, but for Greece it seems ideal.

        • “So, if I am getting this right. Upgrade the F16s and Mirages and start buying Gripen C’s (or NGs) to be our fighter for the next decades.”

          Yes, that is what I would suggest.

          “When do you believe we will have an estimate for the characteristics of the Gripen E (NG)?”

          I already have some, but so far nothing is set in stone, and it won’t be until the first production aircraft rolls off the line.

          Length: 14,9 m
          30 m2 wing area

          Weight:
          7 000 kg empty
          9 344 kg with 2 Sidewinder, 4 AMRAAM and 50% fuel
          8 736 kg with 2 Sidewinder and 50% fuel

          Wing loading:
          311 kg/m2 with 2 Sidewinder, 4 AMRAAM and 50% fuel
          291 kg/m2 with 2 Sidewinder and 50% fuel

          Fuel fraction
          0,31 (7 000 kg empty, 3 130 kg fuel)

          Thrust
          11 793 kgf afterburner (older info: 9 993 kgf)

          Thrust to weight ratio:
          1,26 with 2 Sidewinder, 4 AMRAAM and 50% fuel (OR 1,07)
          1,35 with 2 Sidewinder and 50% fuel (OR 1,14)

          Speed:
          Mach 1,2 supercruise w 2 IRIS-T, 4 AMRAAM, centerline tank @ 25.000 ft

          “From what I am reading it will solve all the problems of the C variant (range, load, TWR, IRST, AESA), except for the rear visibility of the cockpit, and the fly away cost will be around $ 50mil, while maintaining low fuel consumption, low downtime, short landing and take off (ideal for the Greek islands).”

          Correct, though it will be slightly less agile, if data I have cited above is correct.

    • I’ll think about it, but that is just how I write them in Word. I’m actually uncomfortable reading large(r) font. If you have problems reading posts you can always zoom in with ctrl+scroll (I know that at least Google Chrome supports it).

  4. Hi there, Mr. Picard. I have just a quick question for you. Whenever I get into A-10 debates, the opposition (generally very pro F-35, very anti A-10) have a tendency to just dismiss any articles linked to War Is Boring or Foxtrot Alpha offhandedly, as if saying “it’s War Is Boring” is enough to discredit everything the article says. I was just wondering if you could explain their logic or lack thereof?

    • Logic is that they cannot discredit articles posted on these sites with proper arguments, so they have to resort to ad hominem attacks. But it is more than that; just as is the case with my blog, these two blogs promote arguments and viewpoints that are very different from conventional viewpoints. Human mind is a totalitarian dictator: it does not want to accept anything that goes against its ingrained – and typically perfectly insulated from any kind of logic – beliefs. This effect becomes far stronger when you get a group of people of similar viewpoints, and increases in strength as size of the group increases (that is also why large design teams = shitty aircraft/tank/ship, in most cases). People are social animals, and so have ingrained instinct to seek protection of the group. Anyone who does not accept the predominantly held viewpoints is automatically seen as a danger by the group, and is thus ostracized: ignored at best, attacked at worst (I know a guy – from another site and another topic of debate, nothing to do with the military – who even received personal threats due to his views).

      This is especially a problem because of a second, also very widespread, effect: the blind ram effect. That is to say, the blind ram does not see where he goes and so falls into the ravine, and all the sheep behind them – who do see where they are going but lack independent thought – also fall into the ravine following him. Most people do not have time, or nerves, to do a research of their own. For that reason, they accept views that get released first, without question – then, or later. Again, a problem, as truth is far slower than a lie. This is further reinforced by the fact that we are taught, from early on, to rely on opinions of various authorities – parents, teachers, and so on, and people typically fall back on it due to either lack of knowledge abot the topic, lack of time to do their own research, or simple intelectual laziness. But most authorities, even experts, are neither objective – basic mindset is formed during childhood, and it often dictates the way of thinking from then on; besides, to be objective means to be omniscient – or independent, as they depend on organizations, such as military, government or corporations, for their livelihood and research funds. Within the military, people are early on taught not to question the party line dictated by the generals, for the sake of their career (John Boyd, one of the greatest military thinkers the West has seen, and also a known military maverick who would always say and do what he believed to be correct, never made it past Colonel), and many remain in that mindset even after they leave the military. For ANY given viewpoint, you can easily find experts to support it. This makes it easy for people to be controlled, and establishment-supported experts are always the loudest ones, first to be given media space and given most media attention. This naturally includes military propagandists. And since the blogs you have mentioned, just like mine, espouse views different from what the establishment espouses, they are automatically seen as a danger due to being outliers.

      (And yes, the same thing you have mentioned about War is Boring and Foxtrot Alpha also applies to my blog).

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