Ozair
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:19 am

rheinwaldner wrote:
Can French nuclear technology be ruled out for EU Air Forces? As far I can see, they have all it needs...

I don't see a reason why that wouldn't work except for the political/policy implications of it. The aircraft would obviously have to be configured with the intent to carry a french nuclear weapon, which is currently the ASMP. An issue might be that France either has or is moving to only 40 air delivered nuclear warheads out of a total of 300 warheads. That seems a low number and would be satisfied by French use. I'd also suggest that France, given the low number of warheads, may eliminate air delivered nuclear weapons from their inventory when the Mirage 2000N retires.
 
Ozair
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:33 am

RJMAZ wrote:
The manufacturers of the Eurofigher, Gripen and Rafale could easily combine to develop a 5th generation stealth multi role aircraft.

Avionics and software has overtaken the airframe and engines as the most difficult and costly part of a new fighter development.

Using off the shelf avionics and software would allow a new aircraft to be developed swiftly and on a budget.

The airframe itself using modern CAD design would be easy to develop. An airframe 20 years ago would take 5 years of research and 5 years of prototype testing/redesign. Today that 10 year development would take less than a year. Look at Boeing's clean sheet trainer.

Making it VLO stealth is now relatively easy. Planform alignment and computer simulation has come along way in 10 years since the F-35 was developed.

Engines are also simple. Adding new core, hot end cooling to the current Rafale or Eurofighter engines would add a 20% thrust improvement in the same weight/size. Put standard engines in the prototype.

Something with dimensions and weights exactly half way between the F-35 and F-22 would be ideal.

The aircraft could be firing missiles and dropping bombs within 5 years of contract sign.

If all that was possible don't you think Japan, Turkey and South Korea who are all pursuing 5th gen platforms, would have aircraft in service by now? Instead they are also looking at 15+ year development time frames.

As for your specific points,
- Avionics on a 5th gen are not something you buy off the shelf.
- If an engine upgrade of 20% was possible for Eurofighter/Rafale today so easily don't you think they would do it? Instead the airframe and engine are designed in parallel because they are so tightly integrated.
- Planform alignment is very important for a stealth aircraft but today RAM plays also plays a big role. Achieving the RAM technology on the F-35 required a significant number of years of development and a lot of money.
- Stealth is also more than alignment. What point is it to design a stealth airframe with great planform alignment if you don't also design every antenna on the airframe, which typically need to be recessed or buried in the airframe, to have low RCS themselves. It is a very difficult and complex trade off which again takes years of research and development. Easy to do on previous generations of aircraft but if you want F-35 levels of stealth then it takes time and money.
- Finally it takes time to flight test these airframes, especially if you pursue high AoA/G capable aircraft that have integrated radar and EW suites. If you test the airframe with a standard engine you have to retest the airframe when you put a new engine on, expand the flight envelope again and learn all the new handling characteristics.
 
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cpd
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:49 am

If you must carry special stores, then just build a stealthy drone that can take one or two weapons. Fly it in there and deploy the weapons and be done. No crews to worry about and you could fly a swarm of them if you need to. Even if you don't want to carry special stores, the swarm idea has merits.
 
tommy1808
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:54 am

Ozair wrote:
- If an engine upgrade of 20% was possible for Eurofighter/Rafale today so easily don't you think they would do it? Instead the airframe and engine are designed in parallel because they are so tightly integrated. .


The M88-3 is aiming for +20%, the EJ230 is aiming for +30%, so 60/90kN and 78/117kN.

best regards
Thomas
Times are changing: 70 years ago the USA went to war to defeat the Nazis, now they elect them to run their country.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:13 am

angad84 wrote:
I'm with you on most of this except the last bit. No way anyone can build and field a 5th gen platform in five years, regardless of tech readiness levels.

You are wrong. I can assure you it is definitely possible.

For the last few years there has been massive improvements in CAD design and automation. There has only been one supersonic airframe made using this new development technology.

Boeings T-X went from critical design review to first flight in less than 12 months. Boeing and Saab weren't even trying hard as they both are busy developing other products. They don't even need to make a flying prototype now or do full scale fatigue tests. All is all done in the digital world.

If the program was sole source Boeing could have production aircraft coming off the line right now. That would be 3 years start to finish.

Source: http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a24460/boeings-new-training-plane-t-x/

As the avionics and software will consume most budgets all future bomber, fighter, attack aircraft will move towards a common software architecture. Features can be removed and added like plugins. So AESA LPI and electronic attack algorithms will not have to be changed between aircraft. The majority of software code in the F-35 will be reused for the USAF bomber and 6th gen fighter programs.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:33 am

Ozair wrote:
If all that was possible don't you think Japan, Turkey and South Korea who are all pursuing 5th gen platforms, would have aircraft in service by now? Instead they are also looking at 15+ year development time frames.

My post only applies to the countries that have developed 4th generation fighters and own the intellectual knowledge. This does not apply to countries that have only assembled 4th generation aircraft using kits.

Flight testing serves a different purpose these days. It is simply to calibrate the fly by wire software. It is not to find aerodynamic design flaws like the good old days. The ability of building a high angle of attack aircraft was perfected 10 years ago. Its just that the current new fighters are designed in the 1980's.

Ozair wrote:
- Avionics on a 5th gen are not something you buy off the shelf. .
In 20 years time they will be. There will be one software architecture with plugins for all the features. So they don't have to be continuously recoded for every aircraft.

Ozair wrote:
If an engine upgrade of 20% was possible for Eurofighter/Rafale today so easily don't you think they would do it?.

The Rafale, Eurofighter, Super Hornet and F-16 all have engines available with 20% greater thrust. The manufacturers have all released specs of the improved engines. Most have even been tested and are ready to go. The Airforces aren't going to swap out perfectly good engines with lots of life yet.
 
Ozair
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:46 am

tommy1808 wrote:
Ozair wrote:
- If an engine upgrade of 20% was possible for Eurofighter/Rafale today so easily don't you think they would do it? Instead the airframe and engine are designed in parallel because they are so tightly integrated. .


The M88-3 is aiming for +20%, the EJ230 is aiming for +30%, so 60/90kN and 78/117kN.

best regards
Thomas

Sure both programs exist but no Rafale or Eurofighter fly with those engines today even though both have been concepts for 15+ years, nor are either currently planned for integration onto the respective platforms. Either way, the gestation for these engines is a lot longer than a 3 to 4 year time frame as suggested.

I have no doubt that a nation could, if necessary due to conflict or grave imminent threat, crash a program and get a hashed up stealth fighter plus derivative engine working in a shorter time frame than current programs but that takes volumes of cash, national imperative. and a conscious choice to walk away from any type of safe development and testing. Doing even that in 5 years seems near impossible.
 
Ozair
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:58 am

RJMAZ wrote:
My post only applies to the countries that have developed 4th generation fighters and own the intellectual knowledge. This does not apply to countries that have only assembled 4th generation aircraft using kits.

Flight testing serves a different purpose these days. It is simply to calibrate the fly by wire software. It is not to find aerodynamic design flaws like the good old days. The ability of building a high angle of attack aircraft was perfected 10 years ago. Its just that the current new fighters are designed in the 1980's.

According to the Russians the Su-57 was not built in the 80s, the J-20 certainly wasn't nor was the F-35. All three were built in the digital age but all three have gone through extensive flight test programs and all, from the variation in the test frames, have required modifications to allow them to operate safely and to their potential. For instance the latest Su-57 prototype has re-enforcement in several locations, likely as a direct result of flight test data, and from what can be seen still don't have a production jet firing missiles and dropping bombs.

RJMAZ wrote:
In 20 years time they will be. There will be one software architecture with plugins for all the features. So they don't have to be continuously recoded for every aircraft.

20 years is a long time and certainly not today, what good would building a 5th gen fighter jet from scratch be in 2037?

RJMAZ wrote:
The Rafale, Eurofighter, Super Hornet and F-16 all have engines available with 20% greater thrust. The manufacturers have all released specs of the improved engines. Most have even been tested and are ready to go. The Airforces aren't going to swap out perfectly good engines with lots of life yet.

I'll concede that point on engines, you and Tommy are right that engine upgrade is easier although still not within the time frames you indicate.
 
Ozair
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:01 am

RJMAZ wrote:

Boeings T-X went from critical design review to first flight in less than 12 months. Boeing and Saab weren't even trying hard as they both are busy developing other products. They don't even need to make a flying prototype now or do full scale fatigue tests. All is all done in the digital world.

If the program was sole source Boeing could have production aircraft coming off the line right now. That would be 3 years start to finish.

Source: http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a24460/boeings-new-training-plane-t-x/

The T-X is very very far from a 5th gen fighter...
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:57 am

Ozair wrote:
According to the Russians the Su-57 was not built in the 80s, the J-20 certainly wasn't nor was the F-35. All three were built in the digital age but all three have gone through extensive flight test programs and all, from the variation in the test frames, have required modifications to allow them to operate safely and to their potential.

The Boeing trainer is the only supersinic aircraft to use the modern CAD software. The Russian SU-57 and Chinesse J-20 were both designed more than 10 years ago. They could not be designed, built and tested in a fully digital environment. So prototypes and modifications would be needed.

The Chinese were building kit aircraft from Russia. The Russians had no Research and development in the 1990's.

I am talking about Europe. Multiple countries have designed, developed, built and operated 4th gen fighters. They could easily have a 5th gen aircraft flying within 5 years if they used existing avionics and existing engines with a thrust bump.

Boeing spent less than $2 billion to design, manufacture and then fly two trainer aircraft in less than 2 years. The trainer may be smaller but that is less than 10% of the budget of the western 4/5th gen fighters.

$10 billion for development could get it done easily. Though it would end up costing twice as much as a F-35 for a twin engine version with equal stealth/speed/agility. That's the price you pay to prop up your aviation industry. The software can then evolve over time like the Eurofighter Tranches.
 
Ozair
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:24 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
The Boeing trainer is the only supersonic aircraft to use the modern CAD software. The Russian SU-57 and Chinesse J-20 were both designed more than 10 years ago. They could not be designed, built and tested in a fully digital environment. So prototypes and modifications would be needed.

The Chinese were building kit aircraft from Russia. The Russians had no Research and development in the 1990's.

I am talking about Europe. Multiple countries have designed, developed, built and operated 4th gen fighters. They could easily have a 5th gen aircraft flying within 5 years if they used existing avionics and existing engines with a thrust bump.

Boeing spent less than $2 billion to design, manufacture and then fly two trainer aircraft in less than 2 years. The trainer may be smaller but that is less than 10% of the budget of the western 4/5th gen fighters.

$10 billion for development could get it done easily. Though it would end up costing twice as much as a F-35 for a twin engine version with equal stealth/speed/agility. That's the price you pay to prop up your aviation industry. The software can then evolve over time like the Eurofighter Tranches.

The only evidence you have for creating a 5th gen fighter so quickly and cheaply is Boeing development of their T-X, a cheap supersonic trainer that is not a production aircraft but a risk reduction concept that will see significant revision and alteration if it gets selected for the T-X competition. In the absence of anything else, and clear evidence from current and future planned development programs on timelines, it is very hard to believe most of what you claim is possible.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:46 pm

Ozair wrote:
The only evidence you have for creating a 5th gen fighter so quickly and cheaply is Boeing development of their T-X, a cheap supersonic trainer that is not a production aircraft but a risk reduction concept that will see significant revision and alteration if it gets selected for the T-X competition.

"Boeing T-X is a production aircraft; it is not a prototype. We’ve already built two and we’re ready to build more!"

http://www.boeing.com/defense/t-x/index.page

I know its hard to comprehend. But you clearly haven't seen or understand the power of the current design software. The prototyping stage for an agile, stealth, supersonic airframe is no longer required.

The Europeans need to follow the Pareto principle which means they are willing to accept a compromise of 80% of the potential max capability available at the tine. So no hypersonic, unmanned AI. The 80/20 rule is what made the skunk works a success.
 
Ozair
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:16 am

RJMAZ wrote:
"Boeing T-X is a production aircraft; it is not a prototype. We’ve already built two and we’re ready to build more!"

http://www.boeing.com/defense/t-x/index.page

Given Boeing is competing against both LM and Leonardo who have in production T-X candidate aircraft I think that claim is more marketing than fact.

But that still doesn't change the requirements for a 5th gen platform against a simple supersonic trainer. The level of complexity between the two is vast.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:50 am

Ozair wrote:
Given Boeing is competing against both LM and Leonardo who have in production T-X candidate aircraft I think that claim is more marketing than fact.

But that still doesn't change the requirements for a 5th gen platform against a simple supersonic trainer. The level of complexity between the two is vast.

No it is fact.

"we have invested to build two production jets that are ready to go…a full development program, SRR [systems requirements review], PDR [preliminary design review], CDR [critical design review] and a full flight-test program. We built two because we wanted to prove that we weren’t just a demonstrator; we have an airplane we can build repeatedly.”

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... n-relevant

If anything the Boeing clean sheet has many advantages being designed and tested digitally. It will be lighter, easier to build, built using fewer but larger parts. I sound like I'm a salesman for Boeing but its because this is the first application this digital design has been used.
 
YIMBY
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:30 am

With all available know how, experience, theory and CAD software, I believe that the Europeans could design a new fighter in one year, if the governments decide to invest sufficient resources on that. It might be better than any existing fighter in their imaginable adversaries (I do not imagine a war between US and Europe even though 15 year ago it were even more crazy to imagine a war between Western Europe and Russia).

To design a 5th generation fighter that is cheaper, stealthier, more reliable and more capable than F-35 certainly requires much more. Including all testing I assume it to take far beyond 5 years. It depends a lot how much resources can be allocated (parallel studies can boost the design but have the risk that it must be redone if some fundamental parameter is changed after testing) and what weaknesses can be tolerated. During peacetime governments hardly can accept one test pilot to lose her life in testing.

Finally, in today's Europe it would take more time to reach the political agreement than to do the actual work. Only a concrete military threat can accelerate both.
 
parapente
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:08 am

Instead of looking for the next new shiny toy (as so often happens)I would like to think that they are taking a long hard look at the wars they have had to fight and what was required (as opposed to a mythical 'cold war').
Iraq conflict 1,2 and now 3.Afghanistan 1and 2.Syria.Libya.I would suggest that the present platforms are more than good enough and can be made better at a much lower cost.Hell look at how the US keep extending the life of the 'simple' A10 as it is just soooo good at what it does.
 
YIMBY
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:51 pm

parapente wrote:
Instead of looking for the next new shiny toy (as so often happens)I would like to think that they are taking a long hard look at the wars they have had to fight and what was required (as opposed to a mythical 'cold war').
Iraq conflict 1,2 and now 3.Afghanistan 1and 2.Syria.Libya.I would suggest that the present platforms are more than good enough and can be made better at a much lower cost.Hell look at how the US keep extending the life of the 'simple' A10 as it is just soooo good at what it does.


In Europe (West and East) the primary task of our air forces is to defend our homelands from alien intruders. That is nothing mythical. The best defence system is what you never have to use.

Attacking faraway developing countries is second priority only for a handful of air forces, for the rest it is completely negligible. Many do, however, deploy a couple of planes in common operations just to show flag. When have other European countries than Russia and UK made more than symbolic contribution to a distant conflict? Maybe France a couple of times.
 
parapente
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:19 am

I agree it is only the UK and France that go on 'Global Excursions '.But for me it only emphasises the point.The present French and 'UK' twin engined aircraft are find (IMHO) without requiring another huge dollop of taxpayers money to feed the appetite of the loss making (in reality) military a/c companies.
As for the rest of Europe.There is plent to choose from right now.As you say they are looking for sir defence so this Tornado replacement is irrelevant to their requirements anyway.I would suggest it's totally irrelevant personally.Unmanned a/c?perhaps.For overseas excursions you are not putting pilots lives on the line-the politicians would love that!
 
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Slug71
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:03 pm

Could always buy the FC-31 from China. :duck: :white:
 
Planeflyer
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:53 am

Yes 4 th gen fighter can survive in friendly, home airspace or air shows.

Good luck defending, deterring or keeping that friendly airspace against a determined adversary who has 5 th gen ac and 400 series SAM batteries.

4 th gen ac are not safe in eastern Poland.

Very much a pay me now or keep your fingers crossed that you don't have to pay later. Losing crews is a very expensive proposition and they will be lost in great #'s in contested airspace w any 4 th AC.

Granted a worst case scenario that requires 5 th gen AC is unlikely but it's not zero so if you want to buy more 4 th gen AC just understand you will have to rely on some other AF to defend your friendly airspace.
 
parapente
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:55 am

Our only potential 5th generation threat is Russia.Even here Their a/c is not fully developed.Furthermore it doesn't look that stealthy to me (Yup appreciate that means nothing).Russia has always prioritised manoeuvrability over stealth.
But (just for once) how about getting our politicians to do something.Russia has (never did) no aspirations for some European war.Far better to spend tax payers money on something useful for a change.You know like health or education?!
What we have already and more coming soon (F35) is more than enough.
As stated above unmanned is the future and the politicians would love it as no nationals die.
 
Planeflyer
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:04 pm

Parapente, agree fully that where to spend taxpayer money is a very tough call.
 
bilgerat
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:28 pm

Ozair wrote:
If an engine upgrade of 20% was possible for Eurofighter/Rafale today so easily don't you think they would do it? Instead the airframe and engine are designed in parallel because they are so tightly integrated


A year or two ago I read some interesting literature from Eurojet. They say a customer can buy from them an EJ210 tomorrow with a 10% increase in thrust over the EJ200 fitted on production Typhoons. They have the EJ220 (72kN dry/103kN wet) funded and in development, and they say they can also develop an EJ230 with (78kN dry/120kN wet) if a customer wants to fund the development.

To put that in perspective an EJ220 powered Typhoon would have a thrust:weight ratio of 1.3:1 in an air-air configuration and 0.9:1 *at maximum takeoff weight*. With an EJ230 those numbers increase to 1.5:1 and 1.04:1 respectively.

According to the RAF they're in no rush to upgrade Typhoon's thrust as the aircraft already has a very competitive thrust:weight ratio with the standard EJ200.

parapente wrote:
I agree it is only the UK and France that go on 'Global Excursions '.


True, but that will change once the EU gets an army under its political leadership. The wheels are already in motion.
 
bigjku
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:51 pm

More thrust isn’t really that important for the EF honestly. Sure it’s nice but generally such options to move basically the same engine upward in thrust means reducing the life of the engine and/or foregoing an improvement in fuel consumption.

There are numerous things that need developed and deployed widely on EF before more thrust. It’s nowhere near the top. The problem is the airframe is an evolutionary dead end. No fighter built in the future will look anything like it. Everything will look like an F-23/35 in major features or like a flying wings. The J-20 has canards but otherwise is totally different than the EF with its internal carry, large internal fuel capacity and shaping.

I can see why investment has been so slow.
 
CX747
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:33 am

Seems in September, Germany asked for briefings on the F-15 and F/A-18 Super Hornet. Both are perfect replacements and have been highly upgraded. If you purchase the newest Super Hornets, you can ride the investment dollars the US Navy is pumping into that program. In addition to training, maintenance and future upgrades, it is really a no brainer.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:00 am

CX747 wrote:
Seems in September, Germany asked for briefings on the F-15 and F/A-18 Super Hornet. Both are perfect replacements and have been highly upgraded. If you purchase the newest Super Hornets, you can ride the investment dollars the US Navy is pumping into that program. In addition to training, maintenance and future upgrades, it is really a no brainer.

1. The USAF is intending on retiring the F-15E by 2040... so that will leave international customers holding the bag for any future upgrades and support.
2. The USN intends on retiring the F/A-18 Super Hornet starting in 2030... again, leaving international customers holding the bag for any future upgrades and support.

If the Germans intend on keeping a Tornado replacement for more than 20 years, neither of them will work from a financial point of view. Once the major operator pulls the plug on an aircraft type, the costs for support and maintenance sky rockets, along with increasing scarcity of parts. And if something does go wrong, the Germans can't turn to the US for assistance in resolving the issue as the type would be out of US inventory.
 
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Aesma
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:14 pm

Can you imagine Merkel buying Trump's planes ? I certainly can't. Germany asking the US military to leave its soil is more likely to happen in the next few years.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
CX747
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:31 pm

ThePointblank wrote:
CX747 wrote:
Seems in September, Germany asked for briefings on the F-15 and F/A-18 Super Hornet. Both are perfect replacements and have been highly upgraded. If you purchase the newest Super Hornets, you can ride the investment dollars the US Navy is pumping into that program. In addition to training, maintenance and future upgrades, it is really a no brainer.

1. The USAF is intending on retiring the F-15E by 2040... so that will leave international customers holding the bag for any future upgrades and support.
2. The USN intends on retiring the F/A-18 Super Hornet starting in 2030... again, leaving international customers holding the bag for any future upgrades and support.

If the Germans intend on keeping a Tornado replacement for more than 20 years, neither of them will work from a financial point of view. Once the major operator pulls the plug on an aircraft type, the costs for support and maintenance sky rockets, along with increasing scarcity of parts. And if something does go wrong, the Germans can't turn to the US for assistance in resolving the issue as the type would be out of US inventory.


Those are soft retirement dates AT BEST. I highly doubt either are retired at that time. In addition, it can take 10 years to retire out at type. So for the F-15E, you are looking at 2050 at the earliest which would be a 25-30 year service life. In addition, there are a multitude of foreign customers who have purchased the type. Israel, South Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and most recently Qatar. If Germany doesn't want to join the F-35 party, the F-15 and F/A-18 are their best bet for the next 15-20 years. Whether or not Nationalistic pride blinds them from doing so is another matter.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
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Aesma
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:55 pm

Qatar bought F-15 and is now treated how by the US ? Like crap. Enticing for sure.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
mxaxai
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:28 pm

CX747 wrote:
If Germany doesn't want to join the F-35 party, the F-15 and F/A-18 are their best bet for the next 15-20 years. Whether or not Nationalistic pride blinds them from doing so is another matter.

There is next to nothing either F-15 or F/A-18 offer that the Eurofighter cannot. Especially looking into the future, where 4th-gen fighters will continue to be overtaken by other platforms. With the US insisting on defense spending of 2 % of the GDP it may be wise to develop your own future combat systems instead of transferring all that money (and knowledge) to a single US manufacturer.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:04 am

CX747 wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
CX747 wrote:
Seems in September, Germany asked for briefings on the F-15 and F/A-18 Super Hornet. Both are perfect replacements and have been highly upgraded. If you purchase the newest Super Hornets, you can ride the investment dollars the US Navy is pumping into that program. In addition to training, maintenance and future upgrades, it is really a no brainer.

1. The USAF is intending on retiring the F-15E by 2040... so that will leave international customers holding the bag for any future upgrades and support.
2. The USN intends on retiring the F/A-18 Super Hornet starting in 2030... again, leaving international customers holding the bag for any future upgrades and support.

If the Germans intend on keeping a Tornado replacement for more than 20 years, neither of them will work from a financial point of view. Once the major operator pulls the plug on an aircraft type, the costs for support and maintenance sky rockets, along with increasing scarcity of parts. And if something does go wrong, the Germans can't turn to the US for assistance in resolving the issue as the type would be out of US inventory.


Those are soft retirement dates AT BEST. I highly doubt either are retired at that time. In addition, it can take 10 years to retire out at type. So for the F-15E, you are looking at 2050 at the earliest which would be a 25-30 year service life. In addition, there are a multitude of foreign customers who have purchased the type. Israel, South Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and most recently Qatar. If Germany doesn't want to join the F-35 party, the F-15 and F/A-18 are their best bet for the next 15-20 years. Whether or not Nationalistic pride blinds them from doing so is another matter.

And by that time, the costs for upgrades and spare parts will skyrocket, causing problems with availability.

Good example of this? The F/A-18 Hornet. The type is still in service, but is long out of production and is heading towards retirement. However, availability rates are getting pretty abysmal for the type for many users, and many users are finding it difficult and expensive to source spare parts.

And god forbid what is going to happen when the USN retires the type, and there are still foreign users operating the Hornet; getting spare parts is going to turn into a nightmare scenario without the buying power the USN has to buy spares.
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 648
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:02 am

4th gen ac are dead end and the German AF knows this. Merkel may not like Trump but she likes dead crews less.
 
vr773
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:21 am

Planeflyer wrote:
4th gen ac are dead end and the German AF knows this. Merkel may not like Trump but she likes dead crews less.


This sounds like Trump personally is the only one in the world who will ever be capable of building stealthy multirole combat aircrafts. I also doubt whether lack of stealth features will inevitably result in more dead crews.
 
vr773
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:26 am

mxaxai wrote:
CX747 wrote:
If Germany doesn't want to join the F-35 party, the F-15 and F/A-18 are their best bet for the next 15-20 years. Whether or not Nationalistic pride blinds them from doing so is another matter.

There is next to nothing either F-15 or F/A-18 offer that the Eurofighter cannot. Especially looking into the future, where 4th-gen fighters will continue to be overtaken by other platforms. With the US insisting on defense spending of 2 % of the GDP it may be wise to develop your own future combat systems instead of transferring all that money (and knowledge) to a single US manufacturer.


I'm not sure about the tech aspects but if you're right it would still make sense to solicit proposals from Boeing in order to improve your negotiation position with competitors. It might also just be that the F-15 or F/A-18 are cheaper for Germany even though they are not superior technologically.
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 648
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:16 pm

vr773, right now and for the next 20 years there is one Western source of 5th gen AC.

Re 4th vs 5th gen AC survival rates in contested airspace, there is a real world test going on right now in Eastern Poland. NATO commanders can see the data for themselves.
 
YIMBY
Posts: 234
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:32 pm

Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:29 pm

mxaxai wrote:
CX747 wrote:
If Germany doesn't want to join the F-35 party, the F-15 and F/A-18 are their best bet for the next 15-20 years. Whether or not Nationalistic pride blinds them from doing so is another matter.

There is next to nothing either F-15 or F/A-18 offer that the Eurofighter cannot. Especially looking into the future, where 4th-gen fighters will continue to be overtaken by other platforms. With the US insisting on defense spending of 2 % of the GDP it may be wise to develop your own future combat systems instead of transferring all that money (and knowledge) to a single US manufacturer.


Strike Eagle offers better capabilities for ground attacks and SuperHornet maxes take-off and landing performance. The differences may not be large enough to justify an almost similar type with even older design. A specifically designed SuperTyphoon might do that better, not necessarily cheaper.

But I do agree with another poster that such talks may be mostly a fake trick to get more negotiation power.
 
YIMBY
Posts: 234
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:51 pm

ThePointblank wrote:
And by that time, the costs for upgrades and spare parts will skyrocket, causing problems with availability.

Upgrades may be close to impossible (unless the owner has its own technology), but the spare parts will not skyrcocket, if the buyer has any sense and negotiation power. They can store the critical parts and manufacture pirate parts. In military sector the inspectors do not check the originality of the parts. At the end you may have to cannibalize some planes for spare parts. That happens even for civil airliners, even quite new ones, if the manufacturer sells planes with dump prices to later recover the profit from spare parts.

ThePointblank wrote:
Good example of this? The F/A-18 Hornet. The type is still in service, but is long out of production and is heading towards retirement. However, availability rates are getting pretty abysmal for the type for many users, and many users are finding it difficult and expensive to source spare parts.


Any hard facts? There are not that many users: Australia, Canada, Spain, Finland, Malaysia, Kuwait. Who has problems?

Even for fighters still in production like F-16 the oldest and newest ones are not 100 % compatible with spare parts and the early version may suffer equal lack of spare parts.

ThePointblank wrote:
And god forbid what is going to happen when the USN retires the type, and there are still foreign users operating the Hornet; getting spare parts is going to turn into a nightmare scenario without the buying power the USN has to buy spares.


Which spare parts you have to buy in bundles and cannot store or produce locally or buy from alternative sources?

Any other country than Switzerland and Finland even plans to use Hornets for the next decade?
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 2860
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:20 am

YIMBY wrote:
Upgrades may be close to impossible (unless the owner has its own technology), but the spare parts will not skyrcocket, if the buyer has any sense and negotiation power. They can store the critical parts and manufacture pirate parts. In military sector the inspectors do not check the originality of the parts. At the end you may have to cannibalize some planes for spare parts. That happens even for civil airliners, even quite new ones, if the manufacturer sells planes with dump prices to later recover the profit from spare parts.

1. You obviously have not heard of DMSMS.
2. "inspectors do not check the originality of the parts"? Seriously? Parts are ALWAYS checked to ensure they are original parts, along with the attending paperwork. And the military is even more strict on the originality of parts.

YIMBY wrote:
Any hard facts? There are not that many users: Australia, Canada, Spain, Finland, Malaysia, Kuwait. Who has problems?

The USN and USMC for starters. Did you notice how many classic Hornets are out of service awaiting spare parts with the USN and USMC, and how they are often robbing serviceable aircraft from stateside squadrons to make sure squadrons overseas and on deployment have serviceable aircraft? I think the phrase 'death spiral' is being used in regards to serviceability of the Hornets.

Also, by 2020's, the mission computer on the F/A-18 Hornet (classic Hornets) will become obsolete. The USN, Australia, and Canada will not be paying for any more upgrades to the mission computer on the Hornet, which will lead to the only user operating the Hornet past that time frame, Finland, to shoulder all of the development costs associated with keeping the mission computers updated. And there are a total of 46 equipment-specific software-driven systems, with 8 of them require software updates throughout the service life of the aircraft. And the costs of software updates have continuously increased as users start phasing out the Hornet, and, hence, no longer participate in sharing the costs.

Or, if you want something structural, how about the centre barrel on a F/A-18? Replacing that on a Hornet will set you back roughly $3-5 million per centre barrel... and that's volume pricing!

YIMBY wrote:
Even for fighters still in production like F-16 the oldest and newest ones are not 100 % compatible with spare parts and the early version may suffer equal lack of spare parts.

The majority of F-16's out there are of the later Block 40/42 and 50/52 standards. The USAF has retired the older blocks, and has updated the Block 40/42 aircraft to a similar configuration to the 50/52's.

Also, the majority of the earlier F-16's out there have undergone extensive avionics updates under the Mid Life Update program... the avionics on most early model F-16's are equivalent to a current production F-16 Block 50/52.

YIMBY wrote:
Which spare parts you have to buy in bundles and cannot store or produce locally or buy from alternative sources?

Any other country than Switzerland and Finland even plans to use Hornets for the next decade?

Everything. It is not cost effective to ask GE for example, to produce a handful of F404 engines for one user, if GE is even willing to do so in the first place. The cost per unit would be astronomical.

They might be willing to keep a production line going if they have an order for hundreds of engines on the books, but they would probably shutter the production line if they don't have enough critical mass to keep production going.

Also, tons of parts on the F/A-18 are ITAR controlled, which means you will need US State Department approval to even touch them... the parts can only come from the US government approved sources, and you can't reverse engineer or copy the part, as that is a breach of ITAR compliance regulations... which means a ton of legal consequences for everyone involved.

And the Swiss intend on retiring the Hornet after 2020, and Finland will also be formally selecting a new fighter in 2021.
 
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seahawk
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:47 am

SH will be fine, as the Growler fleet will stay in service for a long time. But economically and based on performance only F-35 makes sense.
 
Ozair
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:05 am

seahawk wrote:
SH will be fine, as the Growler fleet will stay in service for a long time.

Not sure on that. 2040 would be perfect timing for a Growler replacement based on a UCAV. The jamming mission should be reasonably straight forward for an AI to handle while a UCAV will handily beat the Growler on range. It would also be interesting to see a UCAV designed specifically for jamming applications.
 
YIMBY
Posts: 234
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:02 pm

ThePointblank wrote:
YIMBY wrote:
Upgrades may be close to impossible (unless the owner has its own technology), but the spare parts will not skyrcocket, if the buyer has any sense and negotiation power. They can store the critical parts and manufacture pirate parts. In military sector the inspectors do not check the originality of the parts. At the end you may have to cannibalize some planes for spare parts. That happens even for civil airliners, even quite new ones, if the manufacturer sells planes with dump prices to later recover the profit from spare parts.

1. You obviously have not heard of DMSMS.
2. "inspectors do not check the originality of the parts"? Seriously? Parts are ALWAYS checked to ensure they are original parts, along with the attending paperwork. And the military is even more strict on the originality of parts.


Iran, to start with?

ThePointblank wrote:
YIMBY wrote:
Any hard facts? There are not that many users: Australia, Canada, Spain, Finland, Malaysia, Kuwait. Who has problems?

The USN and USMC for starters. Did you notice how many classic Hornets are out of service awaiting spare parts with the USN and USMC, and how they are often robbing serviceable aircraft from stateside squadrons to make sure squadrons overseas and on deployment have serviceable aircraft? I think the phrase 'death spiral' is being used in regards to serviceability of the Hornets.


You were obviously referring to export users, so US is not a valid answer.

And what you tell is obviously a deliberate choice to make full use of the equipment before their retirement.

ThePointblank wrote:
Also, by 2020's, the mission computer on the F/A-18 Hornet (classic Hornets) will become obsolete. The USN, Australia, and Canada will not be paying for any more upgrades to the mission computer on the Hornet, which will lead to the only user operating the Hornet past that time frame, Finland, to shoulder all of the development costs associated with keeping the mission computers updated. And there are a total of 46 equipment-specific software-driven systems, with 8 of them require software updates throughout the service life of the aircraft. And the costs of software updates have continuously increased as users start phasing out the Hornet, and, hence, no longer participate in sharing the costs.


Software updates are not impossible for the user. You can be sure that they have reverse engineered all the software they do not have source code.
Many countries, Germany to start with, do not like to receive at all any equipment without access to the source code and full documentation.
Who on earth would like to buy a gun that might be remote-controlled by its vendor?

ThePointblank wrote:
Or, if you want something structural, how about the centre barrel on a F/A-18? Replacing that on a Hornet will set you back roughly $3-5 million per centre barrel... and that's volume pricing!


Someone rebuilt a full Hornet from two crashed ones, in Finland and Canada, if I remember correctly.

ThePointblank wrote:
YIMBY wrote:
Even for fighters still in production like F-16 the oldest and newest ones are not 100 % compatible with spare parts and the early version may suffer equal lack of spare parts.

The majority of F-16's out there are of the later Block 40/42 and 50/52 standards. The USAF has retired the older blocks, and has updated the Block 40/42 aircraft to a similar configuration to the 50/52's.

Also, the majority of the earlier F-16's out there have undergone extensive avionics updates under the Mid Life Update program... the avionics on most early model F-16's are equivalent to a current production F-16 Block 50/52.
YIMBY wrote:
Which spare parts you have to buy in bundles and cannot store or produce locally or buy from alternative sources?

Any other country than Switzerland and Finland even plans to use Hornets for the next decade?

Everything. It is not cost effective to ask GE for example, to produce a handful of F404 engines for one user, if GE is even willing to do so in the first place. The cost per unit would be astronomical.

They might be willing to keep a production line going if they have an order for hundreds of engines on the books, but they would probably shutter the production line if they don't have enough critical mass to keep production going.

Also, tons of parts on the F/A-18 are ITAR controlled, which means you will need US State Department approval to even touch them... the parts can only come from the US government approved sources, and you can't reverse engineer or copy the part, as that is a breach of ITAR compliance regulations... which means a ton of legal consequences for everyone involved.

And the Swiss intend on retiring the Hornet after 2020, and Finland will also be formally selecting a new fighter in 2021.


Believe me, no one in their fair senses buys a fighter system without a long term support contract. If the supplier terminates it unilaterally, it is in breach and the buyer will have all right to do whatever to make their planes operable. And every air force makes sure that they do have sufficient internal maintenance capacity so that in case of a major crisis - for which the military exists - they can maintain their planes. In war nobody remembers what ITAR stands for.

As far as I know, Finland will fly Hornets up to end of 2020's, and as long as Boeing (or US government) want to sell more fighters to Finland, they will continue the support of the old ones. Breaking the support is a sure way to block all future sales. (Finland might even ask Volvo for help with engines.)

Of course the US government may terminate the support for any customer of any US fighter (even European Fighter with US parts like Gripen) for political reasons, which indeed may be more common than out-of-stock spare parts. And sure they can send a couple of missiles on the heads of those who do not obey their rules of compliance, but that is power, not law.
 
Noshow
Posts: 287
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:11 pm

Germany needs a nuke capable aircraft as one of the Luftwaffe's wartime NATO-roles is to carry and drop a few US owned and US guarded B61 bombs to their targets in the unlikely case those are needed. The Tornado is certified for that mission the Eurofighter not. US-Certification would require to fully disclose the EF-software to the US to be able to integrate those weapons. So instead of lowering their trousers the germans want to buy ready certified US stuff for that "special" role. That might be some F-35 or something more traditional but it will be US-made and "capable" in any case.
 
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seahawk
Posts: 5490
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:23 pm

F-35 would also be a nice option to replace the remaining SEAD F-35s.

Imho the tender is a choice between the Super Hornet or the F-35, the others are outsiders imho.
 
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Slug71
Posts: 441
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:45 pm

Very unlikely Germany will buy a US fighter IMO. I think it will be more Eurofighters or the Rafale. Rafale makes sense if Germany is to partner with France for a 5th Gen fighter.
 
Noshow
Posts: 287
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:13 pm

Quite the opposite. See above point please.
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 648
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:59 pm

No 4 th gen fighter can penetrate contested airspace as well as a 5th gen fighter.
The only reason not to buy F35 is politics. Germany is too competent to let this happen
 
Ozair
Posts: 1656
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:45 pm

YIMBY wrote:
Software updates are not impossible for the user. You can be sure that they have reverse engineered all the software they do not have source code.
Many countries, Germany to start with, do not like to receive at all any equipment without access to the source code and full documentation.
Who on earth would like to buy a gun that might be remote-controlled by its vendor?

I doubt highly that any nation has reverse engineering the software. For starters that is in breech of their contract and in most cases these acquisitions are made through FMS contracts which are very clear on what can and cannot be done by the acquirer. Reverse engineering flight software would mean the respective Air Force would have to undertake all modifications of that flight software, including testing of every minor change to ensure it does not impact the jet. That is simply not possible for smaller operators such as Kuwait, Finland, the Swiss and highly doubtful for the larger operators like Canada and Australia.

YIMBY wrote:
Believe me, no one in their fair senses buys a fighter system without a long term support contract.

That is not true. A bit of research will point you to the fact that Governments essentially cannot sign 20 or 30 year sustainment contracts. Contracts are typically signed for five or perhaps ten years periods but not longer. It would disadvantage both the government and the company to sign such a contract. A good example is the RAAF acquisition of the Super Hornet. The fleet was purchased in 2007, started arriving in 2010 and went FOC in 2012. In 2016 they signed a five year sustainment contract with Boeing,

The federal government has signed a new contract for the provision of sustainment services for the F/A-18F Super Hornet and the EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack aircraft, Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne announced during a visit to Brisbane.
The contract is valued at about $264 million for an initial five-year period; the arrangement with Boeing Defence Australia involves subcontractors including Raytheon Australia, Northrop Grumman Australia and Pacific Aerospace.

http://australianaviation.com.au/2016/08/super-hornet-and-growler-sustainment-contract-signed/
The clear intention of the RAAF is to operate the SH until at least 2025 and the Growler until at least 2030, yet they signed a sustainment contract for half the expected remaining SH duration…

YIMBY wrote:
If the supplier terminates it unilaterally, it is in breach and the buyer will have all right to do whatever to make their planes operable. And every air force makes sure that they do have sufficient internal maintenance capacity so that in case of a major crisis - for which the military exists - they can maintain their planes. In war nobody remembers what ITAR stands for.

You are projecting an idealised version of fast jet sustainment that doesn't exist. Yes Air Forces have reserve inventories of parts for their fast jet fleets but they do not have the capacity to manufacture these and it is highly doubtful they would be able to generate these in a quick enough timeframe to maintain serviceability. You will also find that spares inventories have reduced significantly in volume in the last 20 years as Governments look to reduce the amount of money tied in long term sustainment parts that may never be needed.
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 2860
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:30 am

Ozair wrote:
I doubt highly that any nation has reverse engineering the software. For starters that is in breech of their contract and in most cases these acquisitions are made through FMS contracts which are very clear on what can and cannot be done by the acquirer. Reverse engineering flight software would mean the respective Air Force would have to undertake all modifications of that flight software, including testing of every minor change to ensure it does not impact the jet. That is simply not possible for smaller operators such as Kuwait, Finland, the Swiss and highly doubtful for the larger operators like Canada and Australia.

Correct. Generally, only the very large users, or those willing to front large amounts of money and resources will even bother to domestically modify the flight software, and even then, the OEM is there to provide technical assistance, if it is even allowed in the first place.

Even the Israeli's, who generally are never satisfied with the gear they buy and tend to modify the heck out of the systems they purchase, don't have access to the flight software of the F-35, or are even allowed to integrate Israeli systems as replacement for the American systems. They were only given access to the threat library, permitted to plug in certain Israeli EW and datalink systems, and Israeli weapons through a plug and play feature in the F-35's avionics.
 
YIMBY
Posts: 234
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:32 pm

Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:31 am

Ozair wrote:
YIMBY wrote:
Software updates are not impossible for the user. You can be sure that they have reverse engineered all the software they do not have source code.
Many countries, Germany to start with, do not like to receive at all any equipment without access to the source code and full documentation.
Who on earth would like to buy a gun that might be remote-controlled by its vendor?

I doubt highly that any nation has reverse engineering the software. For starters that is in breech of their contract and in most cases these acquisitions are made through FMS contracts which are very clear on what can and cannot be done by the acquirer. Reverse engineering flight software would mean the respective Air Force would have to undertake all modifications of that flight software, including testing of every minor change to ensure it does not impact the jet. That is simply not possible for smaller operators such as Kuwait, Finland, the Swiss and highly doubtful for the larger operators like Canada and Australia.


If a country like Sweden can design and build a modern fighter and write software from scratch, countries like Finland and Switzerland can build capacity to maintain both hardware and software. A country like Germany would have even an order of magnitude better resources. It would certainly cost a lot of money, but not necessarily more what they pay to US for the maintenance. The maintenance contracts tend to cost more then the initial purchase, up to a billion a year.

And what would you do if your customer breaks the cryptic contract (that no one even has bothered to read)? Send a nuke?

Do not believe that those reverse engineering the software would shout it in the public.

The contract is something to agreed with two parties, and usually neither party has dictatorial powers, as there are still alternatives. It may be different in your idealized world with LM monopoly.

Ozair wrote:
You are projecting an idealised version of fast jet sustainment that doesn't exist. Yes Air Forces have reserve inventories of parts for their fast jet fleets but they do not have the capacity to manufacture these and it is highly doubtful they would be able to generate these in a quick enough timeframe to maintain serviceability. You will also find that spares inventories have reduced significantly in volume in the last 20 years as Governments look to reduce the amount of money tied in long term sustainment parts that may never be needed.


If the Air Force does not have sufficient maintenance capacity, they have neglected their duties.

The RFB's usually include their paragraphs on technology transfer. They are not only to give jobs to local people on the assembly but also to learn how to do all the maintenance in case of a long-term crisis with all connections broken. Of course, the manufacturers hesitate to give that, for commercial reasons, to extort their customers on maintenance.

There are also second-hand markets for spare parts, e.g. from air forces quitting the type. Whether peace-time bureaucracy allows that is then another story, but in a crisis even the military may forget bureaucracy.
 
YIMBY
Posts: 234
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Re: Germany Considers Tornado Replacement

Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:40 am

Planeflyer wrote:
No 4 th gen fighter can penetrate contested airspace as well as a 5th gen fighter.
The only reason not to buy F35 is politics. Germany is too competent to let this happen


Any modern fighter can penetrate Iraq. No fighter can penetrate Russia unnoticed, neither any West European country, except those that neglect their defence.

Stealth is for something in between.

To send a nuke, use ballistic missiles.

Yes, I know that the main purpose of stealth is to avoid a missile targeting you instead of getting unnoticed in enemy air space.

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