vr773
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:36 pm

Ozair wrote:
vr773 wrote:
Out of curiosity, could you link to a source that has an apples-to-apples comparison of the operational costs?

Belgium haven't released their evaluation and I doubt they will for commercial in confidence reasons. The closest evaluation we have is the leaked Danish evaluation which has the F-35, Eurofighter and F/A-18. Even if Belgium release their evaluation the data will only cover the F-35 and Eurofighter given the French didn't submit a compliant offer.


The Belgian government is claiming that the decision was based on cost reasons. If the Danish evaluation is all we have then there is no reliable source that allows the assertion that the Typhoon's operating costs are twice or three time as much. For example the Danish evaluation it didn't take into account technical information on the Typhoon and the Super Hornet submitted by the German Defense Ministry and Boeing that the Danish government had asked for.

I find the assumption credible that the tender was just for show and that the decision to buy the F-35 had been made a long time ago already. http://www.defense-aerospace.com/cgi-bi ... 6639&cat=5
This all sounds a lot like what happened in Norway.
 
Ozair
Posts: 2996
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:54 pm

vr773 wrote:

The Belgian government is claiming that the decision was based on cost reasons.

And on cost reasons the F-35 is almost certainly cheaper than the Eurofighter not only to acquire but to operate as well. The Danish evaluation demonstrated this clearly and the F-35 has only gotten cheaper since then, both to acquire and operate.

vr773 wrote:
If the Danish evaluation is all we have then there is no reliable source that allows the assertion that the Typhoon's operating costs are twice or three time as much.

Perhaps I wasn't clear, my statement was that any fighter jets operating costs for their lifetime with the respective Air Force are typically two to three times the acquisition cost. That goes for any fighter jet, not just the F-35 or Eurofighter. I am not saying the operating cost of the Eurofighter is two to three times that of the F-35.

vr773 wrote:
For example the Danish evaluation it didn't take into account technical information on the Typhoon and the Super Hornet submitted by the German Defense Ministry and Boeing that the Danish government had asked for.

Incorrect but I see no reason to again go over an evaluation that clear explains its reasoning and justifications.

vr773 wrote:
I find the assumption credible that the tender was just for show and that the decision to buy the F-35 had been made a long time ago already. http://www.defense-aerospace.com/cgi-bi ... 6639&cat=5
This all sounds a lot like what happened in Norway.

I wouldn't use Defence Aerospace as a source of knowledge. Not only does he demonstrate a clear bias towards the Rafale in anything he writes but he has a problem with truth... I have demonstrated on multiple occasions how Giovanni de Briganti either selectively quotes information to suit his narrative or simply writes false information he tries to represent as fact.

If we look at the article in question you quoted, the information is incorrect on the FMS submission as the FMS cost quoted by the DSCA is a top end cost, not the price submitted by LM and the US DoD for the tender. It is standard practice for the DSCA cost to reduce significantly.

It is also easy to understand why the Netherlands is paying more for a similar number of jets, given they have ordered earlier in the price curve, within the LRIP period, and have had to pay a premium for those aircraft. The Belgians will receive their jets right at the point where the F-35 cost curve hits its lowest point, full rate production with over 150 aircraft being manufactured a year, and will probably be lower than currently estimated.

As with the Danes, the Belgians clearly did not say a contender had to be stealth, they likely listed the types of missions the aircraft had to execute. They also did not specify a nuclear carriage requirement which would have invalidated the Eurofighter bid from day one.

Kudos to Airbus for even submitting a bid but the assertion that the Eurofighter provides better capability and costs less to acquire and operate than the F-35 is clearly false.
 
vr773
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:23 am

Ozair wrote:
vr773 wrote:
For example the Danish evaluation it didn't take into account technical information on the Typhoon and the Super Hornet submitted by the German Defense Ministry and Boeing that the Danish government had asked for.

Incorrect but I see no reason to again go over an evaluation that clear explains its reasoning and justifications.

And I see no reason to again go over an evaluation that provides poor reasoning and justifications because it's based on factually false data.

Ozair wrote:
vr773 wrote:
I find the assumption credible that the tender was just for show and that the decision to buy the F-35 had been made a long time ago already. http://www.defense-aerospace.com/cgi-bi ... 6639&cat=5
This all sounds a lot like what happened in Norway.

I wouldn't use Defence Aerospace as a source of knowledge. Not only does he demonstrate a clear bias towards the Rafale in anything he writes but he has a problem with truth... I have demonstrated on multiple occasions how Giovanni de Briganti either selectively quotes information to suit his narrative or simply writes false information he tries to represent as fact.

I didn't link to the original article because it was in Dutch. De Briganti is simply quoting a report from Stavros Kelepouris so you're shooting the messenger.

Ozair wrote:
If we look at the article in question you quoted, the information is incorrect on the FMS submission as the FMS cost quoted by the DSCA is a top end cost, not the price submitted by LM and the US DoD for the tender. It is standard practice for the DSCA cost to reduce significantly.

I didn't call that into question. The information that is relevant for my point is that there is credible reporting that the decision was political and had been made long before the tender was concluded.

Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, now Belgium; there is a clear pattern of reporting that these selection processes involving the F-35 were a sham. Hard evidence exists in the case of Norway so it's not crazy to assume that behind-closed-doors political pressure played a role in Belgium too.
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 1129
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:00 am

I’m sure the decision was political. It’s not good politics to lose your front line pilots because you bought AC that could not survive 20 minutes in a contested environment.
 
vr773
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:37 am

Planeflyer wrote:
I’m sure the decision was political. It’s not good politics to lose your front line pilots because you bought AC that could not survive 20 minutes in a contested environment.


Of course the decision was political. As it should be. What is worth looking into is whether the decision was based on a tender or if it had been made long ago. If the latter, it would be illegal. It's hypothetical at this point but who knows what information becomes available to us in the next couple of months.

The "contestant environment" talking point that you bring up at every opportunity is irrelevant here. It's also mind boggling to me how someone can bet against the development of detection technology to the extent that one would call every lesser level of stealth useless. Odds are, all flying objects are soon equally detectable regardless of their shape, paintjob, etc. That by the way doesn't change the fact that right now, the Eurofighter Typhoon is still the superior airplane in almost all other performance categories.
 
bigjku
Posts: 1710
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:51 pm

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:18 pm

vr773 wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:
I’m sure the decision was political. It’s not good politics to lose your front line pilots because you bought AC that could not survive 20 minutes in a contested environment.


Of course the decision was political. As it should be. What is worth looking into is whether the decision was based on a tender or if it had been made long ago. If the latter, it would be illegal. It's hypothetical at this point but who knows what information becomes available to us in the next couple of months.

The "contestant environment" talking point that you bring up at every opportunity is irrelevant here. It's also mind boggling to me how someone can bet against the development of detection technology to the extent that one would call every lesser level of stealth useless. Odds are, all flying objects are soon equally detectable regardless of their shape, paintjob, etc. That by the way doesn't change the fact that right now, the Eurofighter Typhoon is still the superior airplane in almost all other performance categories.


Detection doesn’t work like that with radar. Lower cross section will increase the effectiveness of all jamming and countermeasure as well. And as detection technology improves whatever would find an F-35 would find a Eurofighter at significantly greater range so there is still a huge difference.

The Eurofighter has lost competitions to the F-15 which went into service in the 1970’s. It’s not a realistic option against the F-35. It’s not superior in really anyway but speed and theoretical maneuverability. That is just the reality.
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 1129
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:58 pm

vr773 wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:
I’m sure the decision was political. It’s not good politics to lose your front line pilots because you bought AC that could not survive 20 minutes in a contested environment.


Of course the decision was political. As it should be. What is worth looking into is whether the decision was based on a tender or if it had been made long ago. If the latter, it would be illegal. It's hypothetical at this point but who knows what information becomes available to us in the next couple of months.

The "contestant environment" talking point that you bring up at every opportunity is irrelevant here. It's also mind boggling to me how someone can bet against the development of detection technology to the extent that one would call every lesser level of stealth useless. Odds are, all flying objects are soon equally detectable regardless of their shape, paintjob, etc. That by the way doesn't change the fact that right now, the Eurofighter Typhoon is still the superior airplane in almost all other performance categories.


I bring up contested environments because the only reason for any Europeon country to invest in expensive fighter ac is an insurance policy and deterrence against what we all hope never happens again.

And so what do you say to your constituents when all your typhoons are lost or worse they had to be flown to the UK or elsewhere because the skies over the continent were too risky?

When making decisions that must stand the test of time factoring in the worst case scenario is the smart move and most times you pay extra for this. But in this case the typhoon is the more expensive choice which is why I said Belgium played air smart.

I’ll bet Germany comes to same conclusion. Every time another red flag takes place there is more data about just how obsolete 4 th gen ac are in week 1.
 
mxaxai
Posts: 658
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:29 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:05 pm

bigjku wrote:
The Eurofighter has lost competitions to the F-15 which went into service in the 1970’s. It’s not a realistic option against the F-35. It’s not superior in really anyway but speed and theoretical maneuverability. That is just the reality.

The only competitions it actually lost to the F-15 were those in Singapore and Korea. Both of which bought it more for ground strike rather than air superiority. The Eurofighter only got into that from 2008 on with tranche 2 (and with a quite limited loadout at that time). The others were usually lost to the F-35.

Btw: Regarding speed, the F-15 is probably even superior to the Eurofighter (and the F-35).
 
vr773
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:34 pm

Planeflyer wrote:
And so what do you say to your constituents when all your typhoons are lost or worse they had to be flown to the UK or elsewhere because the skies over the continent were too risky?

How well can one judge the likelihood of detection of any airplane in a real war scenario? And even if one could estimate it, how much would that information be worth 5 years from now, 10 years from now? I would be playing it safe and would argue that the Chinese are probably already able to see my F-35 coming and plan my missions accordingly. That likelihood will probably increase further. Even a mid-sized private company such as Hensoldt may already have the tech to fully spot "5th generation" planes. But this point is not relevant for the decision that Belgium made because they claim that the decision came down to costs and nothing else.

Planeflyer wrote:
When making decisions that must stand the test of time factoring in the worst case scenario is the smart move and most times you pay extra for this. But in this case the typhoon is the more expensive choice which is why I said Belgium played air smart.

That's an interesting point and it brings us back to Airbus' US$21 billion claim that Ozair mentioned on the previous page. It may just be the case that Belgium's MoD claims to have made the decsion based on pure purchasing costs w/o factoring in longer-term cost to the taxpayer that would also take lost potential revenue into consideration. We're left guessing until Airbus explains the US$21 billion better but I don't find it completely impossible that that could be true.
 
mxaxai
Posts: 658
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:29 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:46 pm

Ozair wrote:
vr773 wrote:

Well they're not talking about cost per se but include gains from industrial cooperation into the equation.
https://www.lesoir.be/186802/article/20 ... -de-combat

I'm aware of that and exactly why I think the claim is absurd. Airbus is not selling the Eurofighter to lose money and the claim that they can put five times the contract value into the Belgium economy is frankly baseless and completely unverifiable.

The Eurofighter consortium claims that they contribute 600 million € annually to the Belgian economy. Over the ~ 30 years of operation, this turns out to be about 18 - 19 billion €. Actually pretty simple maths IMO. Whether this value remains constant over three decades, and what the effects of the eventual end of the Eurofighter line or the start of the new FCAS are, is obviously not included, so the number is a bit useless.
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 1129
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:04 pm

There is nothing more expensive than losing ac and front line pilots.

As for the Chinese ask yourself why they are racing to develop 5 th gen capabilities.

This was not a hard decision.
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 1129
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:56 pm

And we have even talked of deterrent value which has to be an important consideration for the decision makers.
 
Ozair
Posts: 2996
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:24 am

vr773 wrote:
And I see no reason to again go over an evaluation that provides poor reasoning and justifications because it's based on factually false data.

Factually false data provided by the manufacturers themselves…

The Eurofighter, developed in a partnership between the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Spain. The primary manufacturer behind the Eurofighter is the European company Airbus. The German Federal Ministry of Defence is the supplier of the aircraft on behalf of Germany. •
The F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, developed in a collaboration between nine partner countries (the USA, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Australia, Norway, Denmark and Canada). The primary manufacturer behind the Joint Strike Fighter is the American company Lockheed Martin. The Joint Strike Fighter Program Office is the supplier of the aircraft on behalf of the United States.
The F/A-18F Super Hornet, developed in the USA. The primary manufacturer behind the Super Hornet is the American company Boeing. The U.S. Navy International Programs Office is the supplier of the aircraft on behalf of the United States.

https://www.fmn.dk/temaer/kampfly/Docum ... mmary5.pdf

Do you honestly think that Airbus, LM and Boeing didn’t submit anything and had nothing to do with the respective bids? That Denmark relied solely on responses from the German MoD, the JPO and the USN?

vr773 wrote:
I didn't link to the original article because it was in Dutch. De Briganti is simply quoting a report from Stavros Kelepouris so you're shooting the messenger.
I didn't call that into question. The information that is relevant for my point is that there is credible reporting that the decision was political and had been made long before the tender was concluded.

My comments on De Briganti aside, it is clear from what I wrote that the article is wrong on a number of issues. The issue then is why provide any credibility to an article when it gets some very basic factual issues wrong.

vr773 wrote:
Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, now Belgium; there is a clear pattern of reporting that these selection processes involving the F-35 were a sham. Hard evidence exists in the case of Norway so it's not crazy to assume that behind-closed-doors political pressure played a role in Belgium too.

You will always find those disaffected with the deal, surely you don't think everyone buys a European jet because it was the best option and the F-35 because it was a political decision…

Instead of looking for the difficult behind closed doors political conspiracy it is clear the respective nations made selections based on what they wanted for their Air Forces. Looking at their respective F-16 experiences you can see why they were happy to go the F-35 route. It also has become the cheapest option by virtue not of its capability but primarily because of its production run and the ability to leverage economies of scale none of its competitors can.

mxaxai wrote:

The Eurofighter consortium claims that they contribute 600 million € annually to the Belgian economy. Over the ~ 30 years of operation, this turns out to be about 18 - 19 billion €. Actually pretty simple maths IMO. Whether this value remains constant over three decades, and what the effects of the eventual end of the Eurofighter line or the start of the new FCAS are, is obviously not included, so the number is a bit useless.

Potentially that is true but clearly that is based on production and a Belgian run would see production continue perhaps 3 more years before the respective lines end. Then that value dries up and the Belgians see primary users of the Eurofighter in Germany and the UK replace their jets beginning in 2040, increasing the sustainment cost of a jet and reducing the likelihood of upgrades.

vr773 wrote:
How well can one judge the likelihood of detection of any airplane in a real war scenario? And even if one could estimate it, how much would that information be worth 5 years from now, 10 years from now? I would be playing it safe and would argue that the Chinese are probably already able to see my F-35 coming and plan my missions accordingly. That likelihood will probably increase further. Even a mid-sized private company such as Hensoldt may already have the tech to fully spot "5th generation" planes. But this point is not relevant for the decision that Belgium made because they claim that the decision came down to costs and nothing else.

That goes against the trend of multiple militaries across the world investing in 5th gen technology. They are literally spending billions to get to that point in research and acquisition. The same nations that claim anti-stealth radars and missiles are themselves developing stealth aircraft. Interestingly enough you better tell that same story to Dassault and Airbus who are clearly seeking a Stealth platform for their new aircraft, as are the British for the Tempest, as are the Chinese, Russians, Indians, Turks, Japanese…

Perhaps they have an idea of how transformational the technology is and why those nations have and will continue to invest billions to catch up to and hopefully supersede the F-35.
 
steman
Posts: 1528
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2000 4:55 pm

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:33 am

I´m sorry if it has been reported before but I don´t think I´ve read it anywhere:
will the Belgian F-35s be built by Leonardo in Italy? If I´m not wrong the Italian assembly line (FACO) is responsible for production of all examples destined to European Air Forces, with the exception of the RAF. They have already built some Dutch machines, so I assume they will build the Belgian ones too?
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 3057
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:33 pm

I will also note, as mentioned before that the Belgians and the Dutch have an agreement to pool resources for joint operations, either abroad or at home.

With the Dutch having picked the F-35, it is a no-brainer that under the same agreement, the Belgians also operate the F-35; they can easily share and resources and personnel with the Dutch, and having only one aircraft type between the two nations makes that a simple proposition.
 
User avatar
Aesma
Posts: 10592
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:14 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:43 pm

I'm French but I have no problem with EU countries buying the F-35 right now (can't say the same for other military hardware when there is a competitive EU product). However I'm surprised they don't defend their purchase by simply stating the obvious, that the F-35 is more technologically advanced.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
Ozair
Posts: 2996
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:32 pm

steman wrote:
I´m sorry if it has been reported before but I don´t think I´ve read it anywhere:
will the Belgian F-35s be built by Leonardo in Italy? If I´m not wrong the Italian assembly line (FACO) is responsible for production of all examples destined to European Air Forces, with the exception of the RAF. They have already built some Dutch machines, so I assume they will build the Belgian ones too?

I'm not sure about Belgium but I would expect at least a portion of the fleet will be assembled in Italy. Currently only Italy has received Italian assembled F-35s (per the F-35 aircraft database at F-16.net) but according to the below link they have started work on Dutch F-35s,
Currently, Cameri is assembling Italian F-35s - the first of which rolled out of the factory in March 2015 - and has already started assembling the first of 29 Dutch F-35s.

https://www.f35.com/global/participatio ... ticipation
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 1129
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:03 pm

Aesma wrote:
I'm French but I have no problem with EU countries buying the F-35 right now (can't say the same for other military hardware when there is a competitive EU product). However I'm surprised they don't defend their purchase by simply stating the obvious, that the F-35 is more technologically advanced.


Bravo!

Well said.

Imagine the savings, improvements to capabilities and deterrence( If Europe, US, Korea and Japan don't stick together WW2 will occur again w/i a generation of the split) if the West cooperated more closely.

Lets just pick submarines, and tankers and imagine what is possible.
 
Ozair
Posts: 2996
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:57 pm

War is Boring lifted this article from the De Standaard. The factal basis for their claims is so far off it beggars belief why they bothered to publish the article, except perhaps to follow other F-35 click bait media...

The F-35 Is the Wrong Choice for Belgium

Belgium reportedly has chosen the American-made F-35 to replace its old F-16s.

The F-35 is a technological marvel, with radar-absorbing skin coatings that help it to avoid detection.

But it’s also complex, expensive and unreliable. Unable to fly as frequently as the F-16 can do, and too expensive to buy in large numbers, the F-35 despite its impressive technology actually represents a backward step for the Belgian air force.

In buying a small number of F-35s to replace a much larger fleet of F-16s, Belgium is repeating the mistake that the The Netherlands and Denmark made years earlier when they, too, chose the F-35 over a less expensive fighter such as the Gripen or even an upgraded F-16.

News agency Belga first reported the Lockheed Martin-made F-35’s victory over the Eurofighter — a joint British, German, Italian and Spanish warplane — in a long-running competition to replace more than 50 F-16s that Belgium acquired in the 1980s and upgraded with new weapons and software in the early 2000s.

Belgium reportedly will buy just 34 F-35s for $4.1 billion, with deliveries beginning in 2023. The air force operated 56 F-16s, also built by Lockheed, until an accident in early October that resulted in one F-16 firing its gun during maintenance, destroying a second F-16 and damaging a third.

A new F-16 with the latest enhancements costs around $70 million. By contrast, each F-35 sets back taxpayers $120 million.

But maintenance costs account for most of a fighter’s overall expense. Owing to its complexity and the cost of maintenance to its stealth coating, the F-35 costs as much as $28,000 per flight hour, according to Forbes. An F-16 costs just $8,000 per flight hour.
Worse, the F-35 is unreliable. In 2017, just half of the U.S. Air Force’s F-35’s were flyable at any given time, according to official figures that Air Force Times obtained. Seventy percent of single-seat F-16s were flyable.

With just 34 F-35s, Belgium could rapidly run out of air power. Around half might be flyable on any given day. Of those 17 flyable jets, most will be busy on training flights. A handful will be deployable for war. Denmark, which is paying $3.1 billion for 27 F-35s, has stated a goal of deploying four jets to a war zone for a year at a time every three years.

Belgium might manage to deploy five F-35s. And the pilots of those five jets will be less skilled than they might have been had they trained with a more reliable aircraft. Owing in part to the lack of flyable aircraft, U.S. Air Force fighter pilots fly on average just 16 hours per month in 2018, according to Air Force Times.

They need to fly as many as 25 hours a month to maintain fighting skills, according to John Venable, a former F-16 pilot who is now an analyst with the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation.
F-35s aren’t reliable enough to support intensive training. That could cost lives during wartime. The F-35 “will needlessly spill the blood of far too many of our pilots,” warned Winslow Wheeler, a former analyst with the Center for Defense Information in Washington, D.C.
If Belgium chose a simpler warplane — a new F-16 or Sweden’s Gripen — it could buy more of them and fly them more often than it could do with the F-35. That likely would mean a larger deployable force with better pilots.

In reportedly choosing the F-35, Brussels seems to be betting that the plane’s ability to avoid detection by enemy forces is worth its higher cost and lower reliability. But stealth is just one way a warplane wins in battle. Superior sensors and weapons, pilot prowess and even sheer numbers can also mean the difference between victory and defeat.

Moreover, stealth in essence is a countermeasure targeting specific types of sensors. The F-35 is designed to defeat the kinds of X-band radars that other warplanes and some ground-based air-defenses use to detect enemy jets.

To sidestep the F-35’s design attributes, countries such as Russia, China and Iran are developing radars that emit at lower frequencies — and also adding infrared and visual sensors to their air defenses. It’s for that reason that Pierre Sprey, co-designer of the F-16, called stealth a “scam.”

New sensors could eliminate the F-35’s sole advantage over cheaper and more flyable planes. If and when that happens, Belgium will be left with an air arm that’s smaller and less reliable than it was just a few years earlier, with no technological advantage to justify those liabilities.

The F-35 is the wrong choice for Belgium.

This op-ed originally appeared at De Standaard.

https://warisboring.com/the-f-35-is-the ... r-belgium/
 
vr773
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:51 am

Aesma wrote:
I'm French but I have no problem with EU countries buying the F-35 right now (can't say the same for other military hardware when there is a competitive EU product). However I'm surprised they don't defend their purchase by simply stating the obvious, that the F-35 is more technologically advanced.


But the main horse the F-35 is betting on is stealth and the entire weapon system is a lot less effective if that stealth doesn't work. And if that's the case I'd prefer to see my pilot in the faster airplane, with longer range, and much better maneuverability. And that's the Eurofighter.
 
Ozair
Posts: 2996
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:46 am

vr773 wrote:
Aesma wrote:
I'm French but I have no problem with EU countries buying the F-35 right now (can't say the same for other military hardware when there is a competitive EU product). However I'm surprised they don't defend their purchase by simply stating the obvious, that the F-35 is more technologically advanced.


But the main horse the F-35 is betting on is stealth and the entire weapon system is a lot less effective if that stealth doesn't work. And if that's the case I'd prefer to see my pilot in the faster airplane, with longer range, and much better maneuverability. And that's the Eurofighter.

That isn't an accurate representation of the respective aircraft.

The F-35 likely has the same or greater range than the Eurofighter in both A2G and A2A configurations. For range figures you can read the following reference which takes data provided by manufacturers on a number of western fighter aircraft, https://www.reddit.com/r/F35Lightning/c ... _fighters/ Even with the fuel degradation and the reduced thrust the F-35 achieved a similar range. Remove those limitations, and add the PW F135 Growth Option One available by the time Belgium gets their jets, which promises 6-10% thrust increase as well as a 5-6% fuel burn reduction, and the range of the jet increases. Add in Growth Option Two (currently not funded) which is expected to provide similar thrust and fuel burn improvements to the engine. Beyond that the US is planning for a new engine to power the F-35 in the 2025-30 timeframe that will being a 30% range increase on top of the existing aircraft.

The Eurofighter may have a slightly higher top speed but the reality is that figure is reasonably meaningless. A higher top speed is probably beneficial for a very small select number of missions but to achieve those higher top speeds the Eurofighter has to use and subsequently release its drop tanks (or carry them and suffer an aerodynamic penalty and how many drop tanks do you expect Belgium to acquire) or be limited with fuel load by not carrying the tanks. The F-35A carries 7,000lbs more internal fuel than the Eurofighter, approximately 65% more while preserving a clean configuration and not being penalized by the external carriage of weapons. That additional fuel translates into being able to stay at a higher speed for a longer period of time which in high speed intercepts is the deciding factor.

The Eurofighter and F-35 are both 9G+ aircraft. The F-35 has the ability to pull more AoA , up to 50 degrees compared to the Eurofighter which is limited to 24 degrees unless the respective Air Force takes up the AMK modification (which no one has), which increases it to 34 degrees. http://gnanavelaviator.blogspot.com/201 ... n.html?m=1 Increased AoA significantly improves WVR combat performance.

The sensors on the F-35 are generally superior to the Eurofighter

- the APG-81 is a larger and more powerful radar and will remain so even when the CAPTOR-E enters service. At this point the expected TRM count on the CAPTOR-E is 1500 while the F-35 has 1600+ in a more mature system with more refined software algorithms. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/EuroRADAR_CAPTOR The CAPTOR-E will have a swashplate to move the radar head which provides some advantages but also introduces additional mechanical complexity to a system that is trying to remove it.

- The Eurofighter has no EODAS equivalent system except for an active radar for missile warning. Obviously an active radar for missile warning is likely to provide adversaries with the location of the aircraft via ESM.

- The EOTS is an impressive system that will only get better on Belgian aircraft becuase by the time they order EOTS the Advanced verison will likely be implemented which incoprorates significant improvements.

- The HMD on the F-35 is comparable to the Eurofighter only if the Eurofighter pilot uses the STRYKER II helmet.

- The sensor fusion on the F-35 is better than the Eurofighter in all aspects with the system able to automatically assign sensors to conduct scanning of respective threats and areas.

- The datalink on the F-35 is significantly more capable, higher data rate and much lower probability of detection, compared to the Eurofighter which is restricted to Link 16.

The F-35 exceeds the Eurofighter on the ability to carry A2G weapons. The Eurofighter is limited by its pylons to carrying either fuel or a large 2000lb series weapon meaning the jet either requires targets to be closer or must use tankers to reach distant targets. The F-35 also has two pylons rated for 5000lb weapons if required. If both jets are loaded with as many A2A weapons as they can carry the F-35 has a total load out exceeding the Eurofighter while still maintaining that fuel load advantage.

For Belgium, we know the F-35 is cheaper to acquire and we also know the F-35 is cheaper to operate. The F-35 already has almost 2/3 the operating number of aircraft globally of the Eurofighter and will likely exceed the Eurofighter for aircraft deployed in two years’ time, doubling four years later and then again four years after that. This creates a massive sustainment and upgrade path that Beligum can plug into in exactly the same way they did with the F-16.

Finally, while the F-35 has the ability to use stealth as an advantage when it desires, the Eurofighter does not. It will always be limited in its ability to detect stealth aircraft, its inability to reduce its RCS due to external weapons and fuel tanks, and will struggle to reach first look first shot opportunity against current and future 5th generation platforms.
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 1129
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:16 am

And if that was not enough no 4 th gen ac can penetrate contested airspace which means greatly reduced deterrence.

Remember the Maginot line?

It doesn’t worn any better in the sky?
 
vr773
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:26 pm

Ozair wrote:
That isn't an accurate representation of the respective aircraft...


I didn't say that the Eurofighter is stealthier and I didn't compare sensors. You're quoting marketing presentations or reddit users who quote marketing presentations. I'm going with the mainstream opinion that the Eurofighter provides better characteristics necessary for air dominance than the F-35; which is what Belgium in my opinion is more likely to need than dropping bombs on Russia.
 
vr773
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:30 pm

Planeflyer wrote:
And if that was not enough no 4 th gen ac can penetrate contested airspace which means greatly reduced deterrence.

Remember the Maginot line?

It doesn’t worn any better in the sky?


Ignoring the real possibility that the F-35 can be detected makes your contested-airspace-argument a tautology.
 
bigjku
Posts: 1710
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:51 pm

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:04 pm

vr773 wrote:
Ozair wrote:
That isn't an accurate representation of the respective aircraft...


I didn't say that the Eurofighter is stealthier and I didn't compare sensors. You're quoting marketing presentations or reddit users who quote marketing presentations. I'm going with the mainstream opinion that the Eurofighter provides better characteristics necessary for air dominance than the F-35; which is what Belgium in my opinion is more likely to need than dropping bombs on Russia.


I don’t think that’s the mainstream opinion at all. On a very small subset of missions for air dominance it might do better. But overall even for the air to air mission the F-35 is going to clobber the Eurofighter.

The reality is the air policing mission is the only one the EF can do reasonably well aside from unopposed bombing runs. I wouldn’t call it mainstream that it’s better air to air at all. In fact I suspect in any honest exercise it’s going to get its clock cleaned by the F-35.
 
Ozair
Posts: 2996
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:22 pm

vr773 wrote:
Ozair wrote:
That isn't an accurate representation of the respective aircraft...


I didn't say that the Eurofighter is stealthier and I didn't compare sensors.

I didn't state you did but in ignoring those two key factors you completely ignore modern air warfare and BVR combat. Sensors rule BVR combat, if you can detect and identify your adversary before he does then you can control the engagement. First look first shot opportunity and the element of surprise afforded by this has defined air combat for 80 years and the concept continues to be validated today in realistic combat exercises involving 4th and 5th generation aircraft.

vr773 wrote:
You're quoting marketing presentations or reddit users who quote marketing presentations. I'm going with the mainstream opinion that the Eurofighter provides better characteristics necessary for air dominance than the F-35

Presentations provided by the manufacturers for the respective competitions. Is there another place you would like to get the information? If you have what you consider to be better sources then please quote them, else your claims on the capabilities of the Eurofighter as a better platform over the F-35 for range, speed and maneuverability for Belgium don't have any substance.

vr773 wrote:
which is what Belgium in my opinion is more likely to need than dropping bombs on Russia.

If you consider that air dominance is the key mission type that Belgium will have to conduct in the future then the F-35 is a perfect platform for Belgium to operate. Its superior sensors will allow it to detect and track adversaries earlier than comparable platforms, with in turn it being highly unlikely that the F-35 will be detected and tracked. It has a huge fuel fraction and the benefit of internal weapons to reduce drag, providing it with excellent range and acceleration. Supporting those key factors are the lower operating and sustainment costs of the aircraft and the ability to join a global user community that has a defined upgrade path. So much so going from Blk 3F to Blk 4 is a US$10 billion dollar development which Belgium has to pay none off, but will receive jets to that standard when they acquire. They can subsequently pay for upgrade to Blk 5 which will again push the capabilities of the aircraft even further.

When you add A2G mission requirements into the mix the F-35 enters a class of its own above all others, literally.

There is nothing wrong with the Eurofighter, it is a great aircraft but for an Air Force that has a choice between the two platforms the capability difference, cost difference and the competitions won, clearly show the F-35 is the superior aircraft.

bigjku wrote:

The reality is the air policing mission is the only one the EF can do reasonably well aside from unopposed bombing runs. I wouldn’t call it mainstream that it’s better air to air at all. In fact I suspect in any honest exercise it’s going to get its clock cleaned by the F-35.

The key argument is not if the F-35 can defeat the Eurofighter but whether the Belgium Air Force could better execute the mission set it needs to with the Eurofighter than the F-35. I strongly believe, and the Belgian Air Force agrees, that the F-35 is the better platform to do what they need at a cost they can afford.
 
Ozair
Posts: 2996
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:32 pm

An opinion piece on FlightGlobal.

OPINION: F-35 win in Belgium should come as no shock to Europe

Belgium’s selection of the Lockheed Martin F-35 to replace its F-16 fleet is not that surprising a step; Brussels had long seemed set on acquiring the type.

What was more eyebrow-raising, however, was the degree of outrage expressed by parts of Europe’s aerospace industry at the Joint Strike Fighter’s triumph.

Both Airbus and Dassault released statements that, while stressing respect for the “sovereign decision”, chided Belgium for not advancing Europe’s cause.

That those two protagonists should complain is a little odd: Airbus did not lead the bid for the Eurofighter consortium; BAE Systems – which is also aft-fuselage manufacturer for the F-35 – had that role, but has kept tactfully silent. And as for Dassault, it was the subject of a French offer so vague as to be inadmissible.

Belgium might also cast an eye at Eurofighter partner nations Italy and the UK, both of which have also opted for the F-35.

Of course, there is much to be said for Europe pulling together on defence matters, but promises of jam tomorrow do not remove the need for a fifth-generation fighter today.

While the decision by France and Germany to collaborate on a future combat air system for the 2040s is commendable, European industry is still suffering from the decisions that led to the bloc developing both the Eurofighter and the Rafale.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ck-453240/
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 1129
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:28 pm

vr773 wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:
And if that was not enough no 4 th gen ac can penetrate contested airspace which means greatly reduced deterrence.

Remember the Maginot line?

It doesn’t worn any better in the sky?


Ignoring the real possibility that the F-35 can be detected makes your contested-airspace-argument a tautology.


Plz explain why air forces who have the choice, opt for the F35. Could it be that they actually know what they are doing?

The first iraq proved that 4 th gen ac were the obsolete . Saying otherwise is putting your head in the sand.
 
Ozair
Posts: 2996
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:49 pm

An interview with the Belgian Colonel primarily responsible for the acquisition of a new fighter.

Colonel Harold Van Pee: "The annual F-35 operating costs will be similar to those of the F-16"

The architect for the replacement of the F-16s was Colonel Harold Van Pee, who heads the Defense team (ACCaP), who conducted the evaluation of the candidates who led the government's selection of the F-35. A procedure that has come to an end in a relatively short time, for those who know the markets of military aviation.


Only two of the five candidates initially interested have applied for the Belgian market. Some said it was proof that the Request for Government Proposal (RfGP) was designed for Lockheed Martin. What do you answer them?

That does not make sense. This happens all the time as candidates withdraw after showing a sign of interest. For the replacement of the mine hunters, this is also the case: they started at 5 and are no more than 3. Some assess their chances on the basis of the RfGP, look who participates and decide to start or not. Because it is a serious investment. You have to get some data. There are dozens of people who have to write the final offer, which was 3,000 pages at Lockheed and Eurofighter! It costs millions. If some feel they have little chance of winning, they do not participate.Especially if it's transparent. Nobody wants to lose because it can damage the reputation for future markets.


Do we finally know why the French have chosen to submit a proposal out of competition?

I do not know. It's pretty incomprehensible. Usually, this is not a problem to withdraw. It is said that the tender is not suitable or that it is oriented ... And nobody finds anything wrong. Since everything was public, it is difficult to say that the RfGP was geared towards a candidate.

Up to a week before the deadline for submitting the offer, they were still attending meetings with us. Something happened the last week of August 2017. What? I do not know. It is true that the French had at that time several defense ministers, that the chief of staff of the armies had resigned and that of the General Delegation of the armament (DGA) arrived at the end of mandate. They also had problems in India. What I can say is that all that was in the French partnership proposal was precisely what the RfGP was asking for. They could have offered it as part of the procedure.


And the other two original candidates, Boeing and Saab?

Maybe Boeing did not feel supported by his government. As for Saab, everyone said it was because of nuclear. In fact, they made it clear - and they came to explain it to us - that the Swedish government could not provide the support that Belgium demanded for external operations.


Did the Defense want a device with a nuclear capability, even if it was not in the RfGP?

There is no reference to a nuclear capability in the RfGP.Except for a sentence that requires a device capable of operating in an environment NBC (Nuclear, Chemical, Bacteriological, Ed).


And stealth?

You refer to an article that concluded that the Belgian government would have accepted, at NATO level, to have a capability of suppressing enemy anti-aircraft defenses (Sead). Which would have resulted in the obligation to purchase a stealth aircraft. It's completely wrong. NATO admitted that there was a gap in this area.But Sead has several aspects: weapons fired from a distance, more advanced radars and other techniques, which some call stealth. It was therefore logical to mention such a capacity in the RfGP. It would have been completely abnormal not to do it! From there to saying that we wanted a stealth fighter plane, that's not true. If we follow this logic, it would mean that the French would be obliged to buy the F-35 ... The European Armaments Agency also refers in its documents to this ability Sead, in terms sometimes more explicit than the Nato.

The Rafale and the Eurofighter, and even the F-16, also have some stealth capabilities. The French also believe that the Rafale is the best plane in the world for Sead missions. Better than the F-35!


Is it true that the F-35 maintenance software can block all planes from the USA?

No. This is not correct. For the simple reason that not all F-35s are in constant contact with this system.


How to explain that the price obtained by Belgium is lower than expected? Has the US government agreed to lower prices?

The F-35 is built 250 copies per year, against 10 or 15 for other devices ... If you take the total amount divided by the number of devices that we buy, the purchase price for Belgium is 76.3 million euros for the aircraft ready to fly. The United States has dropped the portion of historical development costs that should have been paid to them. A gift of 475 million dollars. This kind of reduction, which the US has already granted for other purchases, was becoming rarer. But here they were pushed back by the competition with the British. They also exempted Belgium until 2030 from their portion of future development costs, or 7.2 million per year.


Criticism has been raised about the costs of using the F-35. Can we quantify these costs?

Basically, an hour of flying F-35 costs 30% more than the F-16 in operating costs. But we will steal 30% less hours. Because we will have fewer planes and we will practice more on simulator. In total, where 222 million euros are needed for the F-16s in annual operating costs, we will increase to 229 million. This is much less than what had been planned as a ceiling in the Strategic Vision (270 million). We will stay more or less the same amount, even if the flight time on F-35 is actually more expensive. This is also seen when comparing A400M and C-130 or NH-90 with Agusta.


How will maintenance be done?

Major maintenances, like those for the 300 hours, are removed. As the aircraft have become modular, it will no longer be necessary to immobilize a plane for months. We can just change a module, which will be sent to the civilian industry. There will be less to do in unity. We will have about 250 technicians less on both bases.


What can the Belgian industry expect for maintenance and other benefits?

It could be associated with the maintenance of the F-35 but not only at the Belgian level, but well European or worldwide. The idea is to strengthen the competitive position of the Belgian defense industry to help it position itself in a global market. With Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Wittney (engine manufacturer), the Belgian State will invest (277 million for the government) in the know how of Belgian firms to help them win markets, for the F-35 but also for other markets. But there is no 100% guarantee that these firms will win these markets.


Is not arriving after everyone going to make things very difficult?

That's true in part. But there are still a lot of activities to allocate. It is a very competitive system. It's not because we win a market that it's forever.The Americans really want to lower the cost of the plane. That's how it works in the civilian sector as well.


Could the F-35 market change the Belgian aeronautical industrial landscape?

Whenever contracts have to be redistributed, there will be winners and losers. LM and P & W toured Belgian companies for three years to identify opportunities. It is also in their interest to succeed because it will serve as a model for other future markets. But it is possible that some firms have been less consulted than others. And that some that do not have much to do for the moment in the aeronautical sector will perhaps be more spoiled in the future ...


Are these transfers of skills and the opportunity to participate in these markets the only benefits offered by Lockheed?

No. One-third of the proposals relate to the production of parts for the F-35, at the global level. Another third is the implementation of the F-35. I am thinking, for example, of the use of simulators. Finally, the third third concerns measures that are not directly related to the F-35, such as cybersecurity or sensitive components.

https://www.lecho.be/entreprises/defens ... 69235.html
 
vr773
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:22 pm

Planeflyer wrote:
vr773 wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:
And if that was not enough no 4 th gen ac can penetrate contested airspace which means greatly reduced deterrence.
Remember the Maginot line?
It doesn’t worn any better in the sky?

Ignoring the real possibility that the F-35 can be detected makes your contested-airspace-argument a tautology.

Plz explain why air forces who have the choice, opt for the F35.


No problem. Because of political pressured exerted by the US government on behalf of Lockheed Martin and their lobbyists.
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 1129
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:34 am

vr773 wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:
vr773 wrote:
Ignoring the real possibility that the F-35 can be detected makes your contested-airspace-argument a tautology.

Plz explain why air forces who have the choice, opt for the F35.


No problem. Because of political pressured exerted by the US government on behalf of Lockheed Martin and their lobbyists.


Good grief, if their was pressure you don’t think this would have come out..... in Belgium?

Somebody please explain to me how any 4 th gen ac is in the interests of Belgium?
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 3057
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:32 am

Planeflyer wrote:
vr773 wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:
Plz explain why air forces who have the choice, opt for the F35.


No problem. Because of political pressured exerted by the US government on behalf of Lockheed Martin and their lobbyists.


Good grief, if their was pressure you don’t think this would have come out..... in Belgium?

Somebody please explain to me how any 4 th gen ac is in the interests of Belgium?

Or maybe, just maybe, the F-35 might be the best fighter available right now that can be combat effective at a reasonable cost for the next 20-30 years?
 
vr773
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:46 pm

Planeflyer wrote:
vr773 wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:
Plz explain why air forces who have the choice, opt for the F35.


No problem. Because of political pressured exerted by the US government on behalf of Lockheed Martin and their lobbyists.


Good grief, if their was pressure you don’t think this would have come out..... in Belgium?

Somebody please explain to me how any 4 th gen ac is in the interests of Belgium?


It's naive to think that attempts to hide backroom arrangements will be futile just because Belgium is a small country. But yes, the reporting from Stavrous Kelepouris is the kind of smoke that indicates there's a fire.
 
bigjku
Posts: 1710
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:51 pm

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:50 pm

vr773 wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:
vr773 wrote:

No problem. Because of political pressured exerted by the US government on behalf of Lockheed Martin and their lobbyists.


Good grief, if their was pressure you don’t think this would have come out..... in Belgium?

Somebody please explain to me how any 4 th gen ac is in the interests of Belgium?


It's naive to think that attempts to hide backroom arrangements will be futile just because Belgium is a small country. But yes, the reporting from Stavrous Kelepouris is the kind of smoke that indicates there's a fire.


And Eurofighter, a consortium of several massive European companies several of them with considerable government ownership exerts no pressure and engages in no backroom agreements right?

Just want to make sure I am following correctly.
 
vr773
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:02 pm

bigjku wrote:
vr773 wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:

Good grief, if their was pressure you don’t think this would have come out..... in Belgium?

Somebody please explain to me how any 4 th gen ac is in the interests of Belgium?


It's naive to think that attempts to hide backroom arrangements will be futile just because Belgium is a small country. But yes, the reporting from Stavrous Kelepouris is the kind of smoke that indicates there's a fire.


And Eurofighter, a consortium of several massive European companies several of them with considerable government ownership exerts no pressure and engages in no backroom agreements right?

Just want to make sure I am following correctly.


I don't think you're just making sure you are following correctly.
European governments have political power that they do use but they have considerably less leverage. Are you disputing that?
 
bigjku
Posts: 1710
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:51 pm

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:14 pm

vr773 wrote:
bigjku wrote:
vr773 wrote:

It's naive to think that attempts to hide backroom arrangements will be futile just because Belgium is a small country. But yes, the reporting from Stavrous Kelepouris is the kind of smoke that indicates there's a fire.


And Eurofighter, a consortium of several massive European companies several of them with considerable government ownership exerts no pressure and engages in no backroom agreements right?

Just want to make sure I am following correctly.


I don't think you're just making sure you are following correctly.
European governments have political power that they do use but they have considerably less leverage. Are you disputing that?


I don’t believe they have less leverage except for the fact they can’t provide the same support (both program wise and defense posture wise) that the US can.

I will be clear. I think the F-35 is far and away the best technical option for anyone who can buy it. It’s going to clean the clock of the EF in pretty much everything but putting on an airshow. So I don’t think any of this matters.

But I also don’t care if it did nor do I care if pressure was applied. So long as a nation wants to largely rely on the US nuclear deterrent and overall military capability as the fundamental underlying basis of their national defense I would say if the planes were technically equal it would still be the right thing for Belgium to buy US equipment and it doesn’t bother me a bit if pressure was applied to that end.

If Europe wants that kind of leverage pay the defense bill to have it. They have not and do not. And all this nonsense talk about a European Army is transparent as a wet t-shirt. What it will turn into is a way to drive European nations to buy French and German stuff. Because it’s not about increasing capabilities and hasn’t been since the 1980’s.
 
vr773
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:49 pm

bigjku wrote:
vr773 wrote:
bigjku wrote:

And Eurofighter, a consortium of several massive European companies several of them with considerable government ownership exerts no pressure and engages in no backroom agreements right?

Just want to make sure I am following correctly.


I don't think you're just making sure you are following correctly.
European governments have political power that they do use but they have considerably less leverage. Are you disputing that?


I don’t believe they have less leverage except for the fact they can’t provide the same support (both program wise and defense posture wise) that the US can.

I will be clear. I think the F-35 is far and away the best technical option for anyone who can buy it. It’s going to clean the clock of the EF in pretty much everything but putting on an airshow. So I don’t think any of this matters.

But I also don’t care if it did nor do I care if pressure was applied. So long as a nation wants to largely rely on the US nuclear deterrent and overall military capability as the fundamental underlying basis of their national defense I would say if the planes were technically equal it would still be the right thing for Belgium to buy US equipment and it doesn’t bother me a bit if pressure was applied to that end.

If Europe wants that kind of leverage pay the defense bill to have it. They have not and do not. And all this nonsense talk about a European Army is transparent as a wet t-shirt. What it will turn into is a way to drive European nations to buy French and German stuff. Because it’s not about increasing capabilities and hasn’t been since the 1980’s.


It does bother me when political pressure is applied because it's wrong and illegal to spend taxpayer money that wouldn't have been spent otherwise.

I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say with the rest of your reply but here are my comments:
- The leverage I'm talking about is rooted in a system that is a lot more complex than a "defense bill". Nobody pays a bill to NATO by the way.
- "Europe" is not something that does something as a single entity.
- The idea of a "true European army" that Macron mentioned in a recent speech is not new. I think the fact that he mentioned it now is more driven by the notion that EU member states cannot count as much on the US as a reliable ally as they used to. It's more about independence than it is about capabilities. It's a vision and it would be a long way to get there; but it's healthy to have the discourse.
 
Ozair
Posts: 2996
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:14 pm

vr773 wrote:

It does bother me when political pressure is applied because it's wrong and illegal to spend taxpayer money that wouldn't have been spent otherwise.

vr773, you have absolutely no evidence that US political pressure was exerted against Belgium over and above what European nations and political forces within Belgium did. As for this political pressure, if you look back across the competition you can see far more comments and pressure being applied by European Governments than the US. Examples of this pressure is the extension of the selection process to accommodate the French non bid.

In a major policy reversal, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel on Friday announced an abrupt change in the process to select a replacement for the Lockheed F-16s operated by the Belgian Air Force.

At a press conference held after the Cabinet meeting, Michel said that Belgium will thoroughly evaluate the French offer based on the Dassault Rafale, as well as the possible upgrade of the F-16s. He also postponed the decision until mid-October.

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articl ... grade.html

Or perhaps we can review the comments made by a spokesman for Eurofighter themselves...
A spokesman for the Eurofighter proposal to Belgium declined to respond directly to Parly’s comments on Eurofighter, but said in a June 11 e-mail that “Eurofighter is a combat-proven, multi-role platform with almost 500 aircraft across Europe, making it the backbone of European air power. It is 100% designed, manufactured and assembled across Europe, sustaining a high technology European defence & aerospace industrial base.”

“We are pleased to be part of this rigorous, open and transparent process and await the decision of the Belgian Government.”

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articl ... r-bid.html

Eurofighter themselves stated they were happy it was an open and transparent process.

So what are you complaining about that Eurofighter didn't have a problem with?

vr773 wrote:
I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say with the rest of your reply but here are my comments:
- The leverage I'm talking about is rooted in a system that is a lot more complex than a "defense bill". Nobody pays a bill to NATO by the way.

Except member nations of NATO do pay directly to NATO... From the NATO website,

Direct contributions are made to finance requirements of the Alliance that serve the interests of all 29 members - and are not the responsibility of any single member - such as NATO-wide air defence or command and control systems. Costs are borne collectively, often using the principle of common funding.

Within the principle of common funding, all 29 members contribute according to an agreed cost-share formula, based on Gross National Income, which represents a small percentage of each member’s defence budget.

Common funding arrangements are used to finance NATO’s principal budgets: the civil budget (NATO HQ running costs), the military budget (costs of the integrated Command Structure) and the NATO Security Investment Programme (military capabilities).

https://www.nato.int/cps/em/natohq/topics_67655.htm
 
vr773
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sat Nov 17, 2018 12:23 am

Ozair wrote:
vr773 wrote:

It does bother me when political pressure is applied because it's wrong and illegal to spend taxpayer money that wouldn't have been spent otherwise.

vr773, you have absolutely no evidence that US political pressure was exerted against Belgium over and above what European nations and political forces within Belgium did. As for this political pressure, if you look back across the competition you can see far more comments and pressure being applied by European Governments than the US. Examples of this pressure is the extension of the selection process to accommodate the French non bid.

There are credible allegations and this kind of behind-the-scenes pressure has happened before - in Norway. And there's evidence for that. In light of this particular case, in light of the proven history of aggressive interventions of the US governments on behalf of their industry, it's not impossible to hypothesize that the selection process in Belgium was a sham.

Ozair wrote:
In a major policy reversal, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel on Friday announced an abrupt change in the process to select a replacement for the Lockheed F-16s operated by the Belgian Air Force.
...
Eurofighter themselves stated they were happy it was an open and transparent process.
...

Both comments, in different ways, are political. Blindly believing what politicians and company PR departments say is counterproductive when trying to find out what's true if you ask me.

Ozair wrote:
vr773 wrote:
I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say with the rest of your reply but here are my comments:
- The leverage I'm talking about is rooted in a system that is a lot more complex than a "defense bill". Nobody pays a bill to NATO by the way.

Except member nations of NATO do pay directly to NATO... From the NATO website,...

But that's not what bigjku was referring to. But then again I assume you knew that.
 
Ozair
Posts: 2996
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:39 am

vr773 wrote:
There are credible allegations and this kind of behind-the-scenes pressure has happened before - in Norway. And there's evidence for that.

So your only evidence for this is Norway. You do realize Norway was a partner in the program since 2002,

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program added a new international partner today when Norway officially joined the JSF's System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase.

Becoming a part of the SDD phase qualifies Norwegian industry to bid for work on the program, and enables Norway to influence the F-35's design and mission.

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articl ... r-(june-21).html

So Norway joins the F-35 SDD phase in 2002 so they can gain industrial work and influence the design. Clearly no one was forcing their hand to spend millions to join then, Norway as with the rest of the partners saw an opportunity. Then Norway runs a competition to select their new jet. During that process Norwegian politicians make it very clear they want the aircraft with the best capability. As a result of the two horse race they choose the F-35, a frankly obvious choice. Why would Norway chose the Gripen, an aircraft backed by only Sweden and smattering of small tier Air Forces compared to the F-35 backed by the most powerful military and a host of tier one Air Forces. From a capability perspective the F-35 is clearly levels above the Gripen NG/E.

Yes the US tried to influence Norway to select the F-35, not that they had to try hard given Norway had already identified the opportunities and joined the SDD program, but of course so did Sweden to select the Gripen. We see the same thing already with Finland, who already face pressure from Sweden to select the Gripen over rivals on the promise of closer cooperation (ironically the same promises France kept trying to make to Belgium).

vr773 wrote:
In light of this particular case, in light of the proven history of aggressive interventions of the US governments on behalf of their industry

No more than other nations. The difference is the US has a massive industry and provides through this the FMS program that many nations take advantage of.

vr773 wrote:
it's not impossible to hypothesize that the selection process in Belgium was a sham.

It certainly is impossible based on the evidence and assessment you have provided.

vr773 wrote:
Both comments, in different ways, are political. Blindly believing what politicians and company PR departments say is counterproductive when trying to find out what's true if you ask me.

So instead of reading the actual words of people who are involved in the situation, you would rather claim there is backdoor information that apparently only you can identify? Please come back to reality or again provide evidence that what you are claiming actually occurred.

vr773 wrote:
But that's not what bigjku was referring to. But then again I assume you knew that.

Sure, you write something wrong and then claim it isn't being interpreted correctly...

The truth is the F-35 today is simply a better aircraft than the Eurofighter for almost all the mission sets that nations want to operate. Eurofighter themselves have stated the competition was rigorous, open and transparent, it is probably time you gave up the crusade and accepted the facts present before you.
 
vr773
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:16 pm

Ozair wrote:
vr773 wrote:
There are credible allegations and this kind of behind-the-scenes pressure has happened before - in Norway. And there's evidence for that.

So your only evidence for this is Norway. You do realize Norway was a partner in the program since 2002,

And yet the United States felt the need to apply diplomatic pressure and sabotage the Gripen bid.

Ozair wrote:
So Norway joins the F-35 SDD phase in 2002 so they can gain industrial work and influence the design. Clearly no one was forcing their hand to spend millions to join then, Norway as with the rest of the partners saw an opportunity. Then Norway runs a competition to select their new jet. During that process Norwegian politicians make it very clear they want the aircraft with the best capability. As a result of the two horse race they choose the F-35, a frankly obvious choice. Why would Norway chose the Gripen, an aircraft backed by only Sweden and smattering of small tier Air Forces compared to the F-35 backed by the most powerful military and a host of tier one Air Forces. From a capability perspective the F-35 is clearly levels above the Gripen NG/E.

Yes the US tried to influence Norway to select the F-35, not that they had to try hard given Norway had already identified the opportunities and joined the SDD program, but of course so did Sweden to select the Gripen. We see the same thing already with Finland, who already face pressure from Sweden to select the Gripen over rivals on the promise of closer cooperation (ironically the same promises France kept trying to make to Belgium).

I think it's a political and industrial problem. Whether they tried hard or not to influence the decision doesn't matter when evaluating the legality and morality of the behavior. The fact that they felt the need to intervene despite Norway's sunk cost gives an indication that they were highly motivated to skew the decision in their direction.

Ozair wrote:
vr773 wrote:
In light of this particular case, in light of the proven history of aggressive interventions of the US governments on behalf of their industry

No more than other nations. The difference is the US has a massive industry and provides through this the FMS program that many nations take advantage of.

A lot more than any other western nation.
I don't think it's relevant to discuss whether there's a net benefit in joining the program because it doesn't make it right either way. I personally think that the mere fact that you're buying black box technology that a foreign commander in chief who considers you a "foe" has some control over, is reason enough to not buy it.

Ozair wrote:
vr773 wrote:
it's not impossible to hypothesize that the selection process in Belgium was a sham.

It certainly is impossible based on the evidence and assessment you have provided.

It certainly is not impossible. We have evidence for this type of behavior and we have credible reporting that suggests that the decision in Belgium was made in 2013 already. I'm not saying that's 100% what happened. But it's not to be ruled out.

Ozair wrote:
vr773 wrote:
Both comments, in different ways, are political. Blindly believing what politicians and company PR departments say is counterproductive when trying to find out what's true if you ask me.

So instead of reading the actual words of people who are involved in the situation, you would rather claim there is backdoor information that apparently only you can identify? Please come back to reality or again provide evidence that what you are claiming actually occurred.

Yes. The Eurofighter representative had to say what he had to say from a PR perspective. My claim is not out of the blue. It's based on credible reporting and precedent.

More generally, this is a forum where people can share their opinion. I'm going to continue doing so regardless of whether my opinion fits your world view (i.e. what you call "reality") or not.

Ozair wrote:
vr773 wrote:
But that's not what bigjku was referring to. But then again I assume you knew that.

Sure, you write something wrong and then claim it isn't being interpreted correctly...

I would be surprised if bigjku wasn't referring (and potentially misinterpreting) the 2014 Wales summit agreement. But I might be wrong. If it was a reference to what you posted, then I would interested how "Europe" is currently not "paying the defense bill" that is associated with the NATO regulation you quoted.

Ozair wrote:
The truth is the F-35 today is simply a better aircraft than the Eurofighter for almost all the mission sets that nations want to operate. Eurofighter themselves have stated the competition was rigorous, open and transparent, it is probably time you gave up the crusade and accepted the facts present before you.

I disagree but that's not even relevant for the point I'm making that this decision may have been made a long time ago.
 
bigjku
Posts: 1710
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:51 pm

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:21 pm

You are vastly over thinking it. Europe has no nuclear deterrent. Europe has basically no blue water naval capability. Many European nations that used to have a reasonable mechanized land force don’t have that anymore.

EU nations needed the US to kick in the door in North Africa so their aircraft could effectively operate there. This is because the French and British don’t really have credible SEAD capability. Then they ran short of munitions doing it. They struggle to overwhelm any substantial air defense because they can’t generate volume fires of precision munitions at any distance because they have no heavy bombers, relatively few naval ships equipped to do so and low numbers of long range weapons in the first place.

When I look at how money gets spent defense wise in Europe I see to a very large degree a jobs program. Eurofighter more than anything was in my view a jobs program. It’s an aircraft with ambition to be maybe somewhat better than an F-15. 30 years later.
 
vr773
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:53 pm

bigjku wrote:
You are vastly over thinking it. Europe has no nuclear deterrent. Europe has basically no blue water naval capability. Many European nations that used to have a reasonable mechanized land force don’t have that anymore.

EU nations needed the US to kick in the door in North Africa so their aircraft could effectively operate there. This is because the French and British don’t really have credible SEAD capability. Then they ran short of munitions doing it. They struggle to overwhelm any substantial air defense because they can’t generate volume fires of precision munitions at any distance because they have no heavy bombers, relatively few naval ships equipped to do so and low numbers of long range weapons in the first place.

When I look at how money gets spent defense wise in Europe I see to a very large degree a jobs program. Eurofighter more than anything was in my view a jobs program. It’s an aircraft with ambition to be maybe somewhat better than an F-15. 30 years later.

My first question for you is: What are you talking about? My second question for you is: Who is "Europe"?

Let's imagine for arguments sake that any of what you just wrote is true. How would it make it right? How would it justify to cut backroom deals? I just don't understand what you're trying to say.
 
bigjku
Posts: 1710
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:51 pm

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:41 pm

vr773 wrote:
bigjku wrote:
You are vastly over thinking it. Europe has no nuclear deterrent. Europe has basically no blue water naval capability. Many European nations that used to have a reasonable mechanized land force don’t have that anymore.

EU nations needed the US to kick in the door in North Africa so their aircraft could effectively operate there. This is because the French and British don’t really have credible SEAD capability. Then they ran short of munitions doing it. They struggle to overwhelm any substantial air defense because they can’t generate volume fires of precision munitions at any distance because they have no heavy bombers, relatively few naval ships equipped to do so and low numbers of long range weapons in the first place.

When I look at how money gets spent defense wise in Europe I see to a very large degree a jobs program. Eurofighter more than anything was in my view a jobs program. It’s an aircraft with ambition to be maybe somewhat better than an F-15. 30 years later.

My first question for you is: What are you talking about? My second question for you is: Who is "Europe"?

Let's imagine for arguments sake that any of what you just wrote is true. How would it make it right? How would it justify to cut backroom deals? I just don't understand what you're trying to say.


The reason US political pressure means more for some of the small countries is they are competent enough to assess what a real defense capability and equipment looks like. They don’t give credence to British, French or German pressure because their defense capability isn’t credible.

The fact that they aren’t making a real attempt to defend themselves is also why much of the equipment falls down technically. The Eurofighter is a poor solution because the principal focus of it was to ensure assembly in three different countries and plenty of jobs. Realistically what does it offer that a contemporary F-15 doesn’t?

In short I don’t think there is a backroom deal of any substance. I think most nations look at who they want to curry favor with and what equipment gives them the best bang for the buck and they decide accordingly. Has the US competed aggressively for these deals? Sure. I expect nothing less from any government doing so. The US has more leverage because it has more to offer and generally more capable equipment.
 
Kiwirob
Posts: 11667
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 2:16 pm

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:07 pm

Maybe the real question that should be asked is does Belgium even need an air combat force? What’s the point if they need to get involved in air combat the shit has really hit the fan and whatever the have isn’t going to make much difference. And who would they be policing if air policing is a requirement, they’re buddies with the French and Dutch and the Germans are hardly likely to invade again so IMO they could probably spend that money on much more important issues like health and education.
 
Ozair
Posts: 2996
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:12 am

Kiwirob wrote:
Maybe the real question that should be asked is does Belgium even need an air combat force? What’s the point if they need to get involved in air combat the shit has really hit the fan and whatever the have isn’t going to make much difference. And who would they be policing if air policing is a requirement, they’re buddies with the French and Dutch and the Germans are hardly likely to invade again so IMO they could probably spend that money on much more important issues like health and education.

LOL, five years ago is the fourth post in this thread which is by yourself and states the following,
Kiwirob wrote:
The other questions worth asking, do the Belgium's actually have a real requirement for an air combat force, just keep some helicopters and transports.

It hasn’t changed after 5 years. Belgium see a need both politically and militarily to operate a fast jet Air Force.

vr773 wrote:
Yes. The Eurofighter representative had to say what he had to say from a PR perspective. My claim is not out of the blue. It's based on credible reporting and precedent.

You keep making this claim but don’t provide any evidence of such other than veiled references to thin reporting that you haven’t linked. In the absence of any actual evidence why would any of us take your version of events over that of the manufacturer?

vr773 wrote:
More generally, this is a forum where people can share their opinion. I'm going to continue doing so regardless of whether my opinion fits your world view (i.e. what you call "reality") or not.

Then make it clear when you are sharing your opinion and when you are not by posting facts, links etc to support factual statements/assessments.

The forum rules are very clear,

When stating facts, statistics or newsworthy bulletins, please be sure to include an HTML link or reference to a publication. If you are merely providing an opinion, please MENTION THIS in your post. It is each member's responsibility to avoid arguments based on rumors or misinformation.




vr773 wrote:
I disagree but that's not even relevant for the point I'm making that this decision may have been made a long time ago.

It is actually very relevant because despite being asked for it numerous times you haven’t given any factual evidence why the Belgians should have chosen the Eurofighter over the F-35. Despite your claims of already making a decision the Belgians ran a competition and provided the following to the vendors to support the intent, https://www.vandeput.fgov.be/sites/defa ... osal_0.pdf

In reviewing all of those mission scenarios available in Annex C I cannot see a single mission the Eurofighter would be better equipped to handle than the F-35. That and cost is why Belgium chose the F-35, it was the more capable airframe against the requirements they presented while also being cheaper to acquire and operate.

There is nothing more to it than that.
 
Kiwirob
Posts: 11667
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 2:16 pm

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:07 am

Nice to see I’m consistent and haven’t contradicted myself.
 
mxaxai
Posts: 658
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:29 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:16 pm

Ozair wrote:
Kiwirob wrote:
Maybe the real question that should be asked is does Belgium even need an air combat force? What’s the point if they need to get involved in air combat the shit has really hit the fan and whatever the have isn’t going to make much difference. And who would they be policing if air policing is a requirement, they’re buddies with the French and Dutch and the Germans are hardly likely to invade again so IMO they could probably spend that money on much more important issues like health and education.

LOL, five years ago is the fourth post in this thread which is by yourself and states the following,
Kiwirob wrote:
The other questions worth asking, do the Belgium's actually have a real requirement for an air combat force, just keep some helicopters and transports.

It hasn’t changed after 5 years. Belgium see a need both politically and militarily to operate a fast jet Air Force.

While I suppose that it won't be acceptable politically, you could argue that a dedicated Air Force is not necessary. Instead, like the US, an EU-wide Air Force could serve the general purpose needs with individual reserve units for each country. I mean, why does Belgium need 2 fighter jet bases and stealth capability while Idaho, 7 times larger, only has one base (Mountain Home afb) with 50 F-15s and and an ANG that operates only A-10s? Looking at typical intercepts, anything that shows up over Belgium territory will be in one of the neighboring countries by the time one of their fighters reaches it.

Of course, having the same jet as their neighbors (Netherlands) could help to streamline their forces and increase interoperability.
 
User avatar
Dutchy
Posts: 6869
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2007 1:25 am

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:15 pm

mxaxai wrote:
Of course, having the same jet as their neighbors (Netherlands) could help to streamline their forces and increase interoperability.


The BeNelux is cooperating in the QRA role, in turn the Dutch and Belgiums are doing the QRA-rules.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
st21
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:15 pm

Re: Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon

Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:07 pm

Kiwirob wrote:
Maybe the real question that should be asked is does Belgium even need an air combat force? What’s the point if they need to get involved in air combat the shit has really hit the fan and whatever the have isn’t going to make much difference. And who would they be policing if air policing is a requirement, they’re buddies with the French and Dutch and the Germans are hardly likely to invade again so IMO they could probably spend that money on much more important issues like health and education.


Yeah, no. Belgium is not New Zealand.

Belgium is a NATO country (whose headquarters is actually located there... little reminder) and as such has obligations to fulfill towards the alliance it belongs. That means being committed to collective defense and providing forces to help defend another alliance member if the needs arise. Thats why you regularly see Belgian F-16s in the Baltic countries deployed as part of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission. Belgian F-16s have also been sent on many expeditionary missions for the last 20+ years with deployments to Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq & Syria. And those were not symbolic, 'show the flag' contributions but real combat deployments involving bomb dropping, etc. While the number of aircraft deployed during those missions remained modest (6-12), the amount of sorties and strikes they did was far disproportionate compared to the size of their contingents and hardly ridiculous when you look at the statistics. For example, something like 5.5% of all missions were flow by BAF F-16s in Inherent Resolve at one point. Same story in Libya where 'small' countries like Belgium, Denmark and Norway combined flew more missions and delivered more PGMs than countries like France or the UK.

And axing an entire capability doesnt seem very wise to me at a time when the US is losing patience with NATO European allies accused of "freeriding" on US security guarantees and is asking them to do more. Not to mention Europe's turbulent neighborhood with a resurgent and aggressive Russia to the east and instability in North Africa and the Middle East. This is hardly the time for disarming. Even without all those factors, i still think it would be very unwise and foolish for Belgium to disband its air combat capability like you suggest. It is very easy to axe and destroy and entire capability overnight but it is much more difficult and costly to rebuilt one when you realize you need one again... Flushing all the BAF's considerable experience and knowledge accumulated over the last decades down the crapper just to save a few bucks is just not worth it. All countries with a first-rate air force have come to the same conclusion. All except NZ...

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos