|Quoting FBWless (Reply 73):|
Add to this the political influence and domestic market needed to design and manufacture 4G (and above) fighters. What other country of the size of Sweden has this ability? Maybe Canada?? As Sweden is a tiny political player in the world, Gripen has only its capability expressed as gain times price to warrant its existence. Sure there are other fighters with higher gains, but at what price?
Couple of problems:
1. Europe's fighter aviation industry is on the decline. SAAB, Dassault, BAE, all don't have a 5th generation fighter in development. It is expected that without a 5th generation fighter, the Europeans are going to struggle to stay alive in the fighter business. In all likelihood at least one, and likely two of the three will be effectively out of business by 2020. Saab will almost certainly disappear, followed by either Dassault, or the Eurofighter consortium (and it is most likely the Eurofighter consortium, as one of its participants, BAE is looking towards a merger with Airbus).
2. The Gripen as it exists today is simply nothing special. It is a modern but very small airframe with a minimal radar and EW
suite. It has a datalink and more or less all of the other features one would expect in a passably modern 4th generation aircraft, but it isn't a world beater in any respect. It is small and cheap. It is reliant on the US for its engines, BVR weapon, and other key technologies which means it will always be competing head to head with the F-16, and as history has demonstrated, almost always losing.
The Gripen NG
concept is a pretty impressive attempt to bring what is currently a more or less standard 4th generation aircraft up to the nebulous 4.5 generation level. It is essentially taking the Super Hornet approach to the Gripen. Grow the airframe, add fuel, add thrust, add an AESA and other modern avionics. The end result would be a nifty little plane, but one that would arrive on the scene rather late. It also has that one little issue of not actually having been ordered by anyone. There are a lot of concept planes floating around out there and most of them never get built. If the Gripen NG
is going to become anything more than a footnote in history someone needs to come forward with enough cash to order 100+ of them.
|Quoting FBWless (Reply 73):|
Norwegian politicians and military had to lie about projected price of the F-35 and falsify Gripen capability (as well as trash talking the Gripen) to sell it to the public. That decision was so biased even EF pulled out early from the competition. The only positive outcome for SAAB was that the Gripen NG demonstrator could be built.
There are bigger forces at play, one that affects Sweden. The Norwegian defence contractor Kongsberg, is now currently in the final development stages on a new fifth generation SSM ( Naval Strike Missile). They intend to compete internationally against Sweden in the SSM market, and try to push Sweden out of the market. Kongsberg has been developing a version of the NSM for internal carriage on F-35 (the Joint Strike Missile) with Lockheed Martin as the standard anti-shipping missile for F-35.
Obviously this has big ramifications; not only did Sweden lose a export customer for Gripen, but they will be facing a significant threat to their market for a huge share of the market for SSMs.
In addition, the Norwegian government is also very keen for Nammo to take a large portion of the market for ammunition for the F-35's 25mm gun as well.
Considering the planned procurement numbers for F-35, and the multitude of export and partner customers for F-35, it is not surprising that the weapon industry in Norway made a significant push for F-35.