Ozair
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BAE/Saab new fighter jet collaboration

Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:19 pm

An interesting development and may signal an end to some of the other collaborations that BAE had been seeking, with Turkey and Japan. This aircraft would likely arrive at a similar time to the French/German effort so will be very interesting to see, if this gets off the ground, how different it will be in concept and market appeal. Everything from the French/German effort looks to a large twin engine aircraft while I can’t see that same size and configuration coming from a BAE/Saab collaboration. It also makes the 2040 export market a lot more competitive and will call into question any claims for export of either airframe.

It seems like Europe may again develop two competing fighter aircraft at the same time and have to potentially relive the export failure of the current generation. This time hopefully they end up being aimed at different ends of the market.

If launched it also shows where Saab likely sees the Gripen E and its future needs, with the Gripen E being a stop gap measure between the Gripen C and this new concept.

UK holds discussions with Sweden over fighter collaboration

The UK and Sweden have conducted initial talks regarding collaboration on a future fighter aircraft.

This story broke this morning and has now been featured by many outlets however it was broken by the Financial Times this morning.

The organisation say that the MoD is looking to new aerospace partners after being left out of Franco-German programme. This isn’t new, last year BAE Systems and Turkish Aerospace Industries signed an agreement to collaborate on the first development phase of an indigenous fifth-generation fighter jet for the Turkish Air Force.

The planned aircraft, the ‘TFX’ is expected to be a twin-engine, fifth-generation Turkish ‘aerial superiority fighter’. The aircraft is planned to replace F-16 in Turkush service. As far back as December 2015, Turkey had indicated that it intended to chose BAE Systems to assist with the design of the fighter.

It is understood that Rolls-Royce have offered Turkey EJ200 engine technology transfer and joint-development of a derivative for the TFX. Signing this agreement in Ankara in the presence of The Prime Ministers of Turkey and the United Kingdom, BAE Systems Chief Executive, Ian King, said:

“BAE Systems is a leader in designing, manufacturing and supporting fighter aircraft and is in an excellent position to contribute technical and engineering expertise and experience of managing complex projects to this key Turkish programme. The announcement signals an exciting next step in relations between both Turkey and the UK with the co-operation between BAE Systems and TAI paving the way for a deeper defence partnership. The agreement confirms ongoing collaborative work on the design and development of the aircraft.”

At its peak hundreds of Turkish and UK engineers will collaborate on the TF-X programme helping to support collaboration on the skills, technology and technical expertise required to deliver the programme.

The news regarding Sweden comes as the UK is preparing to release its Combat Air Strategy. This strategy will examine the operational capability needed in the future and the skills and resource required to deliver it. The work will take new and emerging technology into account, as well as export potential, whilst testing British industry’s ability to deliver our future requirements.

It is expected to be launched at the Farnborough Air Show.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“Since the birth of airpower, British industry has been crucial to maintaining our military’s world-leading position. As we celebrate 100 years of the RAF protecting our skies, it is fitting that we create bold and ambitious plans to help our brave Armed Forces keep us safe in the face of intensifying threats. The Combat Air Strategy will bring together the best of British engineering, skill and design, and deliver a compelling vision for the future of air power.”

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, said:

“It is especially fitting that we launch the Combat Air Strategy as our Royal Air Force marks its 100th anniversary. Combat Air capabilities have been at the heart of the RAF’s capabilities throughout its history, and are constantly employed on operations across the world today.

This strategy will ensure that the RAF can continue to remain at the forefront of the high-end airpower technology and innovation we need to deal with future threats, working in close collaboration with UK industry and our international partners.”

The UK is already a major player in the air sector which accounts for 85% of the Britain’s defence export orders. The industry is made up of close to 2,500 companies, generating more than £33.5bn in turnover and employing more than 128,000 people – some 26,000 of them in highly skilled research, design and engineering jobs say the MoD.

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/uk-hold ... aboration/
 
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Slug71
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Re: BAE/Saab new fighter jet collaboration

Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:41 am

Interesting indeed. I'm not sure it would effect any other collaborations that may involve BAE though. Perhaps it could be a split development depending on what BAE's contributions will be.
If I were to guess, it will probably be a single engine fighter that will replace the gripen. And inturn replace the UK's Gripens and support the F-35s and Eurofighters (which in turn could be replaced by the FCAS or Germany/frances JV or more F-35s).

Probably has something to do with the SAAB 2020 project.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flygsystem_2020

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Ozair
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Re: BAE/Saab new fighter jet collaboration

Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:50 am

Slug71 wrote:
Interesting indeed. I'm not sure it would effect any other collaborations that may involve BAE though. Perhaps it could be a split development depending on what BAE's contributions will be.
If I were to guess, it will probably be a single engine fighter that will replace the gripen. And inturn replace the UK's Gripens and support the F-35s and Eurofighters (which in turn could be replaced by the FCAS or Germany/frances JV or more F-35s).

Just a point of note that the UK doesn't have any Gripens, the Empire Test Pilot School has access to a single Gripen D that is maintained and operated by the Swedish Air Force.
 
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Slug71
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Re: BAE/Saab new fighter jet collaboration

Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:55 am

Ozair wrote:
Slug71 wrote:
Interesting indeed. I'm not sure it would effect any other collaborations that may involve BAE though. Perhaps it could be a split development depending on what BAE's contributions will be.
If I were to guess, it will probably be a single engine fighter that will replace the gripen. And inturn replace the UK's Gripens and support the F-35s and Eurofighters (which in turn could be replaced by the FCAS or Germany/frances JV or more F-35s).

Just a point of note that the UK doesn't have any Gripens, the Empire Test Pilot School has access to a single Gripen D that is maintained and operated by the Swedish Air Force.


Oh ok. I thought the ETPS had a fleet of them.
 
smithbs
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Re: BAE/Saab new fighter jet collaboration

Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:09 pm

I hope that Boeing can school SAAB on cost reductions. The JAS 39 was always interesting but whenever I'd try to dig up cost information it appeared that JAS 39 was a few million more expensive than a regular F-16 (Block 50/52/+ or so - not the Block 60s). If you are buying a "7/8" F-16 then it would be nice to actually acquire it for 7/8 of a F-16. Of course, L-M has a huge volume manufacturing advantage.
 
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Slug71
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Re: BAE/Saab new fighter jet collaboration

Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:19 pm

smithbs wrote:
I hope that Boeing can school SAAB on cost reductions. The JAS 39 was always interesting but whenever I'd try to dig up cost information it appeared that JAS 39 was a few million more expensive than a regular F-16 (Block 50/52/+ or so - not the Block 60s). If you are buying a "7/8" F-16 then it would be nice to actually acquire it for 7/8 of a F-16. Of course, L-M has a huge volume manufacturing advantage.


Maybe as far as purchase cost goes. Operating and Maintenance costs of the JAS 39 is lower.
 
Ozair
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Re: BAE/Saab new fighter jet collaboration

Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:55 pm

Slug71 wrote:
smithbs wrote:
I hope that Boeing can school SAAB on cost reductions. The JAS 39 was always interesting but whenever I'd try to dig up cost information it appeared that JAS 39 was a few million more expensive than a regular F-16 (Block 50/52/+ or so - not the Block 60s). If you are buying a "7/8" F-16 then it would be nice to actually acquire it for 7/8 of a F-16. Of course, L-M has a huge volume manufacturing advantage.


Maybe as far as purchase cost goes. Operating and Maintenance costs of the JAS 39 is lower.

While that may be true we don't have accurate information to verify that claim. The most common metric used is a Janes report from 2012 that is clearly not accurate and does not compare apples to apples. We also know the USAF flies the F-16 at a much higher per hour cost than many other operators, so clearly the methods for maintaining the same aircraft can differ across Air Forces. An accurate per hour cost or total life cost comparison across the fast jet inventory is probably not obtainable, at least not unless there is some actual released cost figures from Air Forces and Governments.
 
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Slug71
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Re: BAE/Saab new fighter jet collaboration

Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:42 am

Ozair wrote:
Slug71 wrote:
smithbs wrote:
I hope that Boeing can school SAAB on cost reductions. The JAS 39 was always interesting but whenever I'd try to dig up cost information it appeared that JAS 39 was a few million more expensive than a regular F-16 (Block 50/52/+ or so - not the Block 60s). If you are buying a "7/8" F-16 then it would be nice to actually acquire it for 7/8 of a F-16. Of course, L-M has a huge volume manufacturing advantage.


Maybe as far as purchase cost goes. Operating and Maintenance costs of the JAS 39 is lower.

While that may be true we don't have accurate information to verify that claim. The most common metric used is a Janes report from 2012 that is clearly not accurate and does not compare apples to apples. We also know the USAF flies the F-16 at a much higher per hour cost than many other operators, so clearly the methods for maintaining the same aircraft can differ across Air Forces. An accurate per hour cost or total life cost comparison across the fast jet inventory is probably not obtainable, at least not unless there is some actual released cost figures from Air Forces and Governments.


True. The biggest reason for me to believe it may be true, is the SAAF. Their budgets have been cut so much, that the biggest deciding factor was probably cost. But then again, apparently only 12 are flying. But that could be due to pilot shortage or the low budgets. Or both. But I'm also not sure if the F-16 was an option. Though I do recall something about F-16s being offered to the SAAF, but could be wrong.
 
Ozair
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Re: BAE/Saab new fighter jet collaboration

Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:33 am

Slug71 wrote:
True. The biggest reason for me to believe it may be true, is the SAAF. Their budgets have been cut so much, that the biggest deciding factor was probably cost. But then again, apparently only 12 are flying. But that could be due to pilot shortage or the low budgets. Or both. But I'm also not sure if the F-16 was an option. Though I do recall something about F-16s being offered to the SAAF, but could be wrong.

The arms deal through which South Africa acquired the Gripen, as well as the Hawk, corvettes, submarines and helicopters has been mired in controversy and scandal for nearly the last two decades.

While all the other acquisitions went through a competitive tender and shortlist the SAAF didn’t select the Gripen as part of a completion, it was part of the combo deal in the late 90s with BAE that saw the Hawk and Gripen essentially sole sourced. This article talks of the US providing South Africa with F-16s, perhaps even the embargoed Pakistani jets in 1998 but I don’t believe a serious offer was ever made.
March 28, 1998 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Rumors say that the United States will offer South African National Defense Force (SANDF) F-16 fighter jets. These would probably be second-hand U.S. Air Force F-16 B and C variants, which are being phased out as they are replaced by the latest D-series planes.

F-16s retails at about four million U.S. Dollars each, considerably less than the estimated 20 to 30 million Dollars cost of new competitors such as the French Mirage 2000 and Swedish Saab Grippen. The South African Air Force (SAAF) needs about 30 frontline fighters to replace its squadron of Cheetahs by 2005. It also needs light helicopters and training jets to replace its equipment, which will become obsolete shortly after the turn of the century. South African defense industry sources believed that the Americans might offer the F-16s at bargain prices, or give them away as part of a donation of American equipment to an African peacekeeping force.

Pretoria has remained cool towards taking part in such a force because of defense budget cutbacks and because it does not want to be seen to be acting as an American surrogate in Africa. The SAAF was given a number of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft by the Americans last year. However, the planes were so worn out that they required extensive refurbishment, something that, it is understood, has to be carried out by American companies under the donation agreement.

There was speculation that a shipment of F-16s, which had earlier been sold to Pakistan by the Americans, might be resold to South Africa. The U.S. Congress vetoed the export of those planes to Pakistan because of that country's alleged involvement in nuclear proliferation.

http://www.f-16.net/f-16-news-article321.html

Given the suggested price the offering would almost certainly be for used F-16s A/B models. That probably would have been sufficient for what South Africa needed to do with the aircraft and likely cost a lot less in total ownership costs (acquisition and sustainment) than the Gripen deal.

Agree though that South Africa would probably have the same number of jets flying today no matter what they selected back then given the lack of ongoing sustainment funding available.
 
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Slug71
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Re: BAE/Saab new fighter jet collaboration

Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:50 am

Ozair wrote:
Slug71 wrote:
True. The biggest reason for me to believe it may be true, is the SAAF. Their budgets have been cut so much, that the biggest deciding factor was probably cost. But then again, apparently only 12 are flying. But that could be due to pilot shortage or the low budgets. Or both. But I'm also not sure if the F-16 was an option. Though I do recall something about F-16s being offered to the SAAF, but could be wrong.

The arms deal through which South Africa acquired the Gripen, as well as the Hawk, corvettes, submarines and helicopters has been mired in controversy and scandal for nearly the last two decades.

While all the other acquisitions went through a competitive tender and shortlist the SAAF didn’t select the Gripen as part of a completion, it was part of the combo deal in the late 90s with BAE that saw the Hawk and Gripen essentially sole sourced. This article talks of the US providing South Africa with F-16s, perhaps even the embargoed Pakistani jets in 1998 but I don’t believe a serious offer was ever made.
March 28, 1998 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Rumors say that the United States will offer South African National Defense Force (SANDF) F-16 fighter jets. These would probably be second-hand U.S. Air Force F-16 B and C variants, which are being phased out as they are replaced by the latest D-series planes.

F-16s retails at about four million U.S. Dollars each, considerably less than the estimated 20 to 30 million Dollars cost of new competitors such as the French Mirage 2000 and Swedish Saab Grippen. The South African Air Force (SAAF) needs about 30 frontline fighters to replace its squadron of Cheetahs by 2005. It also needs light helicopters and training jets to replace its equipment, which will become obsolete shortly after the turn of the century. South African defense industry sources believed that the Americans might offer the F-16s at bargain prices, or give them away as part of a donation of American equipment to an African peacekeeping force.

Pretoria has remained cool towards taking part in such a force because of defense budget cutbacks and because it does not want to be seen to be acting as an American surrogate in Africa. The SAAF was given a number of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft by the Americans last year. However, the planes were so worn out that they required extensive refurbishment, something that, it is understood, has to be carried out by American companies under the donation agreement.

There was speculation that a shipment of F-16s, which had earlier been sold to Pakistan by the Americans, might be resold to South Africa. The U.S. Congress vetoed the export of those planes to Pakistan because of that country's alleged involvement in nuclear proliferation.

http://www.f-16.net/f-16-news-article321.html

Given the suggested price the offering would almost certainly be for used F-16s A/B models. That probably would have been sufficient for what South Africa needed to do with the aircraft and likely cost a lot less in total ownership costs (acquisition and sustainment) than the Gripen deal.

Agree though that South Africa would probably have the same number of jets flying today no matter what they selected back then given the lack of ongoing sustainment funding available.


Good point about the Armscor deals.

Yes that's what I was thinking of in regards to the F-16s. The one I was thinking of was indeed A/Bs. I could be wrong, but I recall reading that the Gripen was chosen over the F-16s due to value. But who knows.
 
GDB
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Re: BAE/Saab new fighter jet collaboration

Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:31 pm

smithbs wrote:
I hope that Boeing can school SAAB on cost reductions. The JAS 39 was always interesting but whenever I'd try to dig up cost information it appeared that JAS 39 was a few million more expensive than a regular F-16 (Block 50/52/+ or so - not the Block 60s). If you are buying a "7/8" F-16 then it would be nice to actually acquire it for 7/8 of a F-16. Of course, L-M has a huge volume manufacturing advantage.


Are we comparing like for like? Consider - the F-16 had the massive advantage of a huge home market, (USAF), then quickly a pan NATO one. This on top of being developed with access to all that work at various institutions, including NASA, to have a firm technological basis, to match that captive market.
Meanwhile, SAAB's mission is to develop aircraft tailored for the needs of the Royal Swedish Air Force.
That birthed some great and innovative aircraft, the Draken, then Viggen, designed, especially in the case of the latter type, to operate in need be off base, maintained by short term conscripts, a mix a hardy Russian style thinking and more modern Western style technology.

So was the JAS-39, only the technology of the time of it's conception allowed a more saleable aircraft. While still having that off base and limited support ability.
However that still small home market, the neutralist position of Sweden which drove the designs, also limited over decades the diplomatic, military links and alliances that do often drive procurements.
I'd say SAAB have done well to sell as many JAS-39's as they have, all this considered.
 
smithbs
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Re: BAE/Saab new fighter jet collaboration

Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:47 pm

It's probably not possible to compare sale prices as such between JAS 39 and F-16. Every sale is different, has different terms, and is rarely fully disclosed (or at least it's difficult to get into the details, and even then more difficult to compare across deals). Also, JAS 39 has some lease history to further muddy the situation. And in the case of SAAF, I doubt F-16 was a serious contender - not sure if SAAF would go with an American model as their premier aircraft given political history since the 1960s, and the difficulties of "politics" in South Africa these days that L-M would probably rather avoid.

JAS 39 probably could have been obviously cheaper than a F-16 if it had a volume of over 4000 units, but that we'll never know.

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