Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 21 Feb 2018, 22:56
by steve2267
Have not recalled seeing this discussed elswheres, and the Tactics subforum seemed as appropos as any, so I'ze done plunked it here.

The recent thread mentioning Bulgaria's plans for an upcoming tactical fighter aircraft tender caused me to ponder the following question:

For nations that cannot afford to buy all 5th gen aircraft, what is the optimum 5th gen to 4th gen ratio? That is, where is the elbow in the effectiveness curve vs cost as one considered different ratios of 5th gen to 4th gen aircraft.

Is it 1:2? 1:4? 1:10?

As Red Flags continue apace with F-35's and F-22's mixed in with F-16's, F/A-18's (including Super Dupers and Growlers), F-15's, Rafales, and Typhoons, the answer is probably still being discovered as CONOPS are developed, tested, and refined. So perhaps this question has yet to be answered by those who would not tell anyway. :drool:

In the case of Bulgaria, they do not appear to have the money to buy one squadron of F-35's, let alone F-35's plus a bunch of 4th gens.

But perhaps a nation such as Poland might opt for a squadron or two of Lightnings plus an appropriate number of Vipers.

My guess is that a ratio of about 1:4 of Lightnings to whatever 4th gen grabs your fancy would be optimal. That being said, since the price of the Lightning will soon be less, if it is not already, than any new production 4th gen (possibly excepting the Super Duper?), then the question may be how many used 4th gens does one acquire to optimally enhance F-35's? Used Vipers, potentially upgadeable to the -V standard, might be the way to go there.

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 21 Feb 2018, 23:46
by ricnunes
I would say 100% 5th gen and 0% 4th gen or resuming buy all 5th gen aircraft even because the cost of modern 4th gen (the so called 4.5th gen) is very similar, almost the same and even in some/many cases more expensive than 5th gen and this not to mention effectiveness.

And even assuming you could buy 4th for a rather cheap price (which you basically can't except perhaps for some 2nd hand F-16's and then upgrade then to F-16V) it would be better to have:
1- a sole fleet of 60 5th gen fighter aircraft
then,
2- a fleet of 35 5th gen fighter aircraft and 70 gen fighter aircraft (if you want to use a 1:2 ratio) or a total of 100 planes.

Option 1- is not only cheaper at all levels which ensures better readiness and with this a much more effective and more survivable fighter fleet than option 2-

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 00:16
by vilters
What is the mission?

Not all missions require a 5th gen A/C.
And F-16's run at half the operational cost of F-35.

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 00:50
by rheonomic
It depends on your metric of optimality.

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 02:58
by SpudmanWP
vilters wrote:F-16's run at half the operational cost of F-35.
:doh:

Per the latest SAR the F-35 runs only 14% more than the F-16, not DOUBLE.

Do try and keep up.

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 04:00
by magitsu
If someone can't afford enough F-35s, they certainly can't afford to buy two new types of planes.
4 gen is in the mix only if there's already bought frames with enough flight hours left to warrant keeping them flying. As in sunk cost. Building new infrastructure from the ground up for a new 4 gen and 5 gen would be ludicrous.

There's a Canadian study about this.
Summary of Bridging and Mixed Fleet Analysis Findings

The analysis found that a mixed fleet of higher capability aircraft able to fulfil the most challenging NATO missions and lower capability aircraft able to fulfil Canada's NORAD obligations totalling more than 65 aircraft could not provide the same overall capability as the single fleet of 65 higher capability aircraft. Moreover, there was strong evidence that unless the purchase cost of the fleet of lower-capability aircraft was half the purchase cost of the fleet of higher-capability aircraft, a mixed fleet would provide less capability at a higher cost.

https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/app-acq/a ... f-eng.html

This probably means that the only new mixed fleet that makes sense for smaller air forces is one that combines a jet trainer and a fighter. Like T-50 or FA-50 and F-35.

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 04:40
by popcorn
The USN is buying more SHs and the Israelis are reported to favor new F-15s in lieu of more F-35s so it would appear CONOPS will largely determine the ideal ratio which would be unique to every air arm.

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 04:45
by vilters
I am keeping up.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... fl-421499/

Looks like CPFH for a F-35 is slightly HIGHER then double the F-16 cost.

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 04:55
by Corsair1963
popcorn wrote:The USN is buying more SHs and the Israelis are reported to favor new F-15s in lieu of more F-35s so it would appear CONOPS will largely determine the ideal ratio which would be unique to every air arm.



Yes, USN is buying more Super Hornets. Yet, that will very shortly come to the end. As production of the F-35C will increase to at least 24 Aircraft per year post 2021. As for Israel wanting F-15's instead of F-35's that is wild speculation and has no basis in fact......

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 04:58
by vilters
Corsair1963 wrote:
popcorn wrote:The USN is buying more SHs and the Israelis are reported to favor new F-15s in lieu of more F-35s so it would appear CONOPS will largely determine the ideal ratio which would be unique to every air arm.



Yes, USN is buying more Super Hornets. Yet, that will very shortly come to the end. As production of the F-35C will increase to at least 24 Aircraft per year post 2021. As for Israel wanting F-15's instead of F-35's that is wild speculation and has no basis in fact......


if you have full control of the air situation as Israel does, stealth becomes less and less important.
Anf their F-15's have a solid reputation.

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 05:25
by SpudmanWP
vilters wrote:I am keeping up.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... fl-421499/

Looks like CPFH for a F-35 is slightly HIGHER then double the F-16 cost.

Now try OFFICIAL, "APPLES to APPLES" SAR information.

Image

Do try and keep up.

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 05:47
by wrightwing
popcorn wrote:The USN is buying more SHs and the Israelis are reported to favor new F-15s in lieu of more F-35s so it would appear CONOPS will largely determine the ideal ratio which would be unique to every air arm.

Israel is not in favor of more F-15s instead of F-35s. They're wanting both.

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 07:08
by Corsair1963
wrightwing wrote:
popcorn wrote:The USN is buying more SHs and the Israelis are reported to favor new F-15s in lieu of more F-35s so it would appear CONOPS will largely determine the ideal ratio which would be unique to every air arm.

Israel is not in favor of more F-15s instead of F-35s. They're wanting both.




Israel may want to acquire some more second hand examples of the F-15. Yet, I doubt she would use a large portion of her Defense Budget. To buy more F-15's when she could have additional F-35's! (just saying)

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 07:11
by Corsair1963
vilters wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:
popcorn wrote:The USN is buying more SHs and the Israelis are reported to favor new F-15s in lieu of more F-35s so it would appear CONOPS will largely determine the ideal ratio which would be unique to every air arm.



Yes, USN is buying more Super Hornets. Yet, that will very shortly come to the end. As production of the F-35C will increase to at least 24 Aircraft per year post 2021. As for Israel wanting F-15's instead of F-35's that is wild speculation and has no basis in fact......


if you have full control of the air situation as Israel does, stealth becomes less and less important.
Anf their F-15's have a solid reputation.


Sorry, Israel is in love with the F-35 and has made no formal (i.e. official) request for F-15's.... :doh:

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 12:14
by ricnunes
And regarding the F-16 vs F-35 operating costs lets not forget that:
1- The F-35 still didn't enter full production rate.
2- The F-16 benefits from DECADES of service which means that its maintenance is more than optimised. Give the F-35 a few more years and you'll see its operating costs going down (as its maintenance gets more optimised). So it's likely possible that the F-35 operating costs will eventually become lower than the F-16 or any other 4th gen fighter aircraft for that matter.

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 14:03
by vilters
Spudman's numbers are from 2012.
Flightglobals numbers are from FY2015.

Cost between F-16 and F-35 will eventually close up to 2/3 (in favor of the F-16) and this seems pretty realistic.

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 15:48
by Dragon029
Spudman's numbers are from the FY2018 Selected Acquisition Report (the numbers are in baseline year 2012 dollars, not from 2012) and are the forecasted figures of the F-35's CPFH (with the estimate last updated on March 7th, 2016), used to calculate the jet's lifecycle O&S cost (the (in then-year dollars) $1.1 trillion figure / $1.5 trillion when production and R&D are added in).

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 16:01
by mixelflick
popcorn wrote:The USN is buying more SHs and the Israelis are reported to favor new F-15s in lieu of more F-35s so it would appear CONOPS will largely determine the ideal ratio which would be unique to every air arm.


I thought the Israeli's were interested in more F-35's, not new build F-15's. They'll take our leftovers and modify the hell out of them, but as for new jets - believe they're only interested in more F-35's.

Which if you ask me, is telling...

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2018, 17:02
by SpudmanWP
Per today's announcement of ALIS 3.0 being released for fleet integration

Gowder asserted that the release of 3.0 fixes some of the problems that have led to F-35 sustainment costs taking too long to come down, and as it spreads throughout the fleet in 2018, “I think you’ll see a big improvement” in sustainability this year, she predicted. With a further update in 2019, more progress should be made, she added.


http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... -Slow.aspx

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 16 Apr 2018, 03:53
by Corsair1963
mixelflick wrote:
popcorn wrote:The USN is buying more SHs and the Israelis are reported to favor new F-15s in lieu of more F-35s so it would appear CONOPS will largely determine the ideal ratio which would be unique to every air arm.


I thought the Israeli's were interested in more F-35's, not new build F-15's. They'll take our leftovers and modify the hell out of them, but as for new jets - believe they're only interested in more F-35's.

Which if you ask me, is telling...


I think you hit the nail on the head. As Israel has no real interest in New Built F-15's. So, I would expect to see them place an additional order for more F-35's in the near future. While, acquiring some more used F-15D's from the US to be upgraded to Israeli Standards.

Re: Optimal 5th:4th gen ratio?

Unread postPosted: 20 Apr 2018, 14:37
by mixelflick
Corsair1963 wrote:
mixelflick wrote:
popcorn wrote:The USN is buying more SHs and the Israelis are reported to favor new F-15s in lieu of more F-35s so it would appear CONOPS will largely determine the ideal ratio which would be unique to every air arm.


I thought the Israeli's were interested in more F-35's, not new build F-15's. They'll take our leftovers and modify the hell out of them, but as for new jets - believe they're only interested in more F-35's.

Which if you ask me, is telling...


I think you hit the nail on the head. As Israel has no real interest in New Built F-15's. So, I would expect to see them place an additional order for more F-35's in the near future. While, acquiring some more used F-15D's from the US to be upgraded to Israeli Standards.


They got their mits on it (F-35) and their tune changed real fast. Previously, they expressed interest in the F-15SE. Haven't heard a word about it since LOL. It's likely that in addition to the sensors and SA, they've since experienced its raw power and agility. It climbs like an Eagle, rates like a Viper and has nose pointing authority better than a SH. The latter is new to them, and if anyone can use it to their advantage its Israeli pilots.

And then of course, there's the invisibility switch. Custom made for strikes in Syria (with Russian SAM's proliferating there) as well as Iran - the inevitable strike that's coming. Unlike the previous strikes on Baghdad, the F-35 won't require any top cover from F-15's. It can fight its way in and out.

And as a point defense interceptor, I have to believe that's where their interest in the F-35B resides. Shorter on range and lacking the heavy hitting 2,000lb JDAM internal carriage, it nonetheless can be loaded up with AMRAAM's and I'd imagine the Python 4 or whatever iteration they're up to. Even if their airfields get hit in a surprise attack, it'll guarantee defensive counter air still takes place.