F-35A versus Saab Grippen NG

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post07 Aug 2018, 09:29

IMO, the big difference is that research and development costs for F-35 will be spread over a huge number of airframes compared to all other recent fighter aircraft. The development of F-35 cost about 60 billion US$ (including engine). That is huge number as development of other fighter aircraft cost about 20-30 billion US$. From official numbers it seem the case at least for Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon. JAS Gripen E is not easily comparable as it uses so much off-the-shelf components like engine, radar and IRST.

As that 20-30 billion R&D costs are spread over 200-500 aircraft (like in Rafale and EF Typhoon), then each aircraft will carry about 40-60 million US$ of R&D cost. That cost will be paid by customers in one way or the other and this will significantly increase the costs of these aircraft. JAS Gripen E definitely has the lowest R&D costs and each aircraft likely carries pretty small cost for that. Of course it also has easily the lowest performance all around.

F-35 on the other hand has 2-3 times the development costs of these other aircraft. The big difference is that there will be at least 3,000 of them and so each aircraft will only carry about 20 million US$ of these costs.

I do think that manufacturing cost of F-35 is likely higher that in other aircraft due to the size and capabilities of the aircraft. It has VLO stealth, internal weapons bays, huge amount of sensors and other systems. So it must be pretty complex (and thus costly) aircraft to manufacture although large production run helps due to having real production line. But overall acquisition costs are similar or even less as R&D costs per aircraft are much lower than in Rafale and EF Typhoon at least.

Of course small number of F-35s can do things that would need much larger number of other fighter aircraft and also support assets to achieve. So unit cost comparisons are almost meaningless.
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kimjongnumbaun

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Unread post07 Aug 2018, 23:09

I think the biggest turn off for any potential customer of the Gripen is going to be the funding for support. If anything goes wrong or there is a bug in the system, which invariably happens, you have a small base of users to fund the fix. Depending on how expensive it is, it may never be resolved due to lack of resources. Compare that to the US which has ample funding to resolve issues and it's a no brainer.
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aprichelieu

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Unread post08 Aug 2018, 22:12

hornetfinn wrote:IMO, the big difference is that research and development costs for F-35 will be spread over a huge number of airframes compared to all other recent fighter aircraft. The development of F-35 cost about 60 billion US$ (including engine). That is huge number as development of other fighter aircraft cost about 20-30 billion US$. From official numbers it seem the case at least for Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon. JAS Gripen E is not easily comparable as it uses so much off-the-shelf components like engine, radar and IRST.

As that 20-30 billion R&D costs are spread over 200-500 aircraft (like in Rafale and EF Typhoon), then each aircraft will carry about 40-60 million US$ of R&D cost. That cost will be paid by customers in one way or the other and this will significantly increase the costs of these aircraft. JAS Gripen E definitely has the lowest R&D costs and each aircraft likely carries pretty small cost for that. Of course it also has easily the lowest performance all around.

F-35 on the other hand has 2-3 times the development costs of these other aircraft. The big difference is that there will be at least 3,000 of them and so each aircraft will only carry about 20 million US$ of these costs.

I do think that manufacturing cost of F-35 is likely higher that in other aircraft due to the size and capabilities of the aircraft. It has VLO stealth, internal weapons bays, huge amount of sensors and other systems. So it must be pretty complex (and thus costly) aircraft to manufacture although large production run helps due to having real production line. But overall acquisition costs are similar or even less as R&D costs per aircraft are much lower than in Rafale and EF Typhoon at least.

Of course small number of F-35s can do things that would need much larger number of other fighter aircraft and also support assets to achieve. So unit cost comparisons are almost meaningless.


The development cost of Gripen E is estimated to $2B or about $20M per aircraft, which is about the same as the F-35.
That is for 100 aircrafts, so a few additional orders may significantly lower that. It is unlikely that the F-35 volume will double from 3,000.
The $80M price mentioned for the F-35 does not include the cost of updating to Block 4. That is going to increase the price.
The real difference will be the running cost. Have seen articles claiming that the program cost of the F-35 will be $600M per aircraft.
Something that needs to be highlighted is the number of available aircrafts. Gripen involved in Baltic air patrolling had no problems maintaining availability, while Typhoons doing the same had significant problems.
What is the sustained sortie rate of various aircrafts? That is something I’d like to know.

For small countries, the cost of equipping a base for F-35 is so high that both Norway and Denmark will only have a single air base capable of servicing F-35s. What if this base is taken out?
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post08 Aug 2018, 23:43

The $80M price mentioned for the F-35 does not include the cost of updating to Block 4. That is going to increase the price.

Why should it? Do you ever include the cost of future upgrades in ANY fighter purchase?

Will the Gripen E ever get upgrades? Are you including those costs?

Btw, the per plane F-35 R&D came out at $15mil, and that was for three different versions.

The real difference will be the running cost. Have seen articles claiming that the program cost of the F-35 will be $600M per aircraft.


The CPFH for an F-35 is projected to only be 14% above that of an F-16C (per the SAR). Given the massive boost in capabilities that it affords over the F-16C, that is a bargain.

For small countries, the cost of equipping a base for F-35 is so high that both Norway and Denmark will only have a single air base capable of servicing F-35s. What if this base is taken out?

No matter what jet they picked, they were going to consolidate the main basing.
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magitsu

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Unread post09 Aug 2018, 11:15

Here's more about that "2 billion".

Funding for the Gripen-E program was bolstered in February when the company received development monies totaling $1.64 billion from the state defense materials agency FMV.

The funding covers development on the Gripen-E from 2015 to 2023, including the adaptation of test and trial equipment, simulators and rigs.

The total value of possible orders under Saab’s JAS Gripen-E “complete” development agreement with FMV amounts to $7.3 billion, of which $2 billion has now been received. The remaining orders within the agreement are expected to continue up to the end of 2014.


Other segments of Saab’s funding agreement with FMV includes possible orders to modify 60 Gripen-C to Gripen-E aircraft, and the delivery of 22 new Gripen-Es, and related equipment, to Switzerland, subject to final approval by the Swiss Parliament.

http://www.defenseworld.net/news/8562/S ... evelopment

So at that point the dev cost estimate would've been "“The Swedish government has a huge stake in the Gripen-E’s development. It has already invested almost $2 billion at various stages up to now. It will not want the project to fail,” almost $2 billion + that $1.64 billion for 2015-2023. Which is already more than 2. Since 2023 is now the current schedule for IOC, it might have needed more money.

So lets say at least $3.5 billion is guaranteed.

How much the swap and delay between Switzerland and Brazil cost is still a mystery.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post09 Aug 2018, 15:54

The Gripen E was in dev long before 2015 so don't forget to add those costs and anything that Saab paid themselves.
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magitsu

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Unread post09 Aug 2018, 17:22

SpudmanWP wrote:The Gripen E was in dev long before 2015 so don't forget to add those costs and anything that Saab paid themselves.

Swedish gov's cost pre 2013 is included in that "already invested almost $2 billion at various stages up to now" which was said in june 2013. But the thing you said about Saab's own spending. That we can only guess, but it must be sizable.
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Unread post09 Aug 2018, 19:29

hornetfinn wrote:Of course small number of F-35s can do things that would need much larger number of other fighter aircraft and also support assets to achieve. So unit cost comparisons are almost meaningless.

Outstanding summary analysis, hornetfinn. I deeply appreciate your always-insightful commentary. :applause:
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post09 Aug 2018, 20:17

To put what hornetfinn said into a picture...

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spazsinbad

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Unread post09 Aug 2018, 20:59

The PDF no longer at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/51578291/Pres ... blue-FINAL but 2 pages attached below.
Attachments
Canuck F-35 attack 51578291-Presentation-Deck-15-Mar-11-blue-FINAL pp2.pdf
(165.75 KiB) Downloaded 22 times
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post09 Aug 2018, 21:23

I found it again.. and attached it here:
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JSF Program Technical Briefing (Mar 17, 2010).pdf
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XanderCrews

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Unread post10 Aug 2018, 03:58

aprichelieu wrote:
The development cost of Gripen E is estimated to $2B or about $20M per aircraft, which is about the same as the F-35.
That is for 100 aircrafts, so a few additional orders may significantly lower that. It is unlikely that the F-35 volume will double from 3,000.
The $80M price mentioned for the F-35 does not include the cost of updating to Block 4. That is going to increase the price.
The real difference will be the running cost. Have seen articles claiming that the program cost of the F-35 will be $600M per aircraft.


Remembering of course that the Gripen NGs AMERICAN F414 engine was already developed, and of course your factoring in the original legacy Gripens development and upgrade costs into all these Gripen NG development costs too right?

It sure would be disingenuous, even deceptive to pretend that the Gripen E is not a new variant of an already developed fighter with a COTS engine. Correct?


Why are we taking the F-35 for its entire program cost, but only one variant of the Gripen calling it a "program" and comparing costs? That seems pretty absurd. Especially if we are griping about Block 4 Update costs on the F-35...

So just so I understand the rules, we can bash the F-35 for upgrades not taken or included yet, but we will "forget" the Entire Gripen Development going back to the 1980s and treat the E Variant as if it just sprung out of thin air?



Something that needs to be highlighted is the number of available aircrafts. Gripen involved in Baltic air patrolling had no problems maintaining availability, while Typhoons doing the same had significant problems.
What is the sustained sortie rate of various aircrafts? That is something I’d like to know.


Oh I think that needs to be highlighted, but not the way you think If an F-35 is 6 times more effective than an F-16, I wonder just how many availiable Gripen Es one needs to match up an F-35. lets be very generous and say 4. Now how are the costs looking? number of aircraft? Why do I need 16 Gripen Es when I can buy 4 F-35s? How much more training, recruiting, logisitics, and infrastructure must I support for 16 aircraft vs 4?

I'm constantly frustrated at Gripen Fans going on about how simple, basic, and inexpensive this airplane is without considering the actual quality. You don' get to have it both ways. If Gripen E is as Bill Sweetman says "delibrately constrained" so as not to have features that make it "too costly", it must be acknowledged that it does not have the expensive features and thus quality that other aircraft do. Full stop.

Stop trying to convince me a golf cart is a 4 wheel drive truck, even when you buy 4 golf carts. It doesn't work that way.


For small countries, the cost of equipping a base for F-35 is so high that both Norway and Denmark will only have a single air base capable of servicing F-35s. What if this base is taken out?


You can always fly to another nation in Europe that operates F-35s and has the infrastructure setup if worse comes to worse. Swedes can fly their Gripen Es to... Brazil? Hmmm :|


And did we mention that the Gripen E is looking more expensive than an F-16?

http://www.defenseworld.net/news/22782/ ... 1I0SdJKiUl
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hornetfinn

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Unread post10 Aug 2018, 11:21

I was about to write the same XanderCrews. Gripen E R&D costs would also increase when factoring in other off-the-shelf equipment like Raven AESA, Skyward G IRST and other such items. Of course Gripen had pretty low development budget but it also clearly gives the lowest performance of all Eurocanards. That's fine for some countries, but most will go for higher performance options. Of course most countries will go directly to F-35 as that clearly gives the most bang for the buck overall.
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Unread post10 Aug 2018, 20:29

magitsu wrote:Here's more about that "2 billion".

Funding for the Gripen-E program was bolstered in February when the company received development monies totaling $1.64 billion from the state defense materials agency FMV.

The funding covers development on the Gripen-E from 2015 to 2023, including the adaptation of test and trial equipment, simulators and rigs.

The total value of possible orders under Saab’s JAS Gripen-E “complete” development agreement with FMV amounts to $7.3 billion, of which $2 billion has now been received. The remaining orders within the agreement are expected to continue up to the end of 2014.


Other segments of Saab’s funding agreement with FMV includes possible orders to modify 60 Gripen-C to Gripen-E aircraft, and the delivery of 22 new Gripen-Es, and related equipment, to Switzerland, subject to final approval by the Swiss Parliament.

http://www.defenseworld.net/news/8562/S ... evelopment

So at that point the dev cost estimate would've been "“The Swedish government has a huge stake in the Gripen-E’s development. It has already invested almost $2 billion at various stages up to now. It will not want the project to fail,” almost $2 billion + that $1.64 billion for 2015-2023. Which is already more than 2. Since 2023 is now the current schedule for IOC, it might have needed more money.

So lets say at least $3.5 billion is guaranteed.

How much the swap and delay between Switzerland and Brazil cost is still a mystery.


You are mixing together development cost and the cost including production aircraft.
SAAB is getting payment in advance.
The cost for 60 Gripen E was estimated to 35,6B Sek which includes development cost.

You do not include the development cost of stuff you buy, so the development of the F414 should not be included in the Gripen E development cost, unless SAAB requests custom modifications and pays for them.
GE certainly wants to recover their development cost, but that is included in the price of the engine, and not in the Gripen E development cost.
Gripen A-D development is a done deal. The development cost of that is already accounted for and split between the ~250 aircraft delivered.
When a decision is to be made on a new development, you do not include the development cost of already designed products.
You calculate how much money you have to pay to get you from the current state to the desired state.
General Dynamic/Lockheed Martin has a lot of expertise gained from previous development, but that should not be included in the F-35 development cost. The Gripen E looks like earlier Gripen, but almost every detail is changed, and developed using new methodologies.

The reason for bringing up F-35 Block 4 is because that is supposed to fix a number of known deficiencies where the F-35 does not meet the requirement spec. Several of the planned deliveries of Block 4 like collision avoidance and SDB II support is already available for Gripen.

Sweden has plenty of places where Gripen E can be based, but it will be difficult to defend northern Norway with F-35 bases in Belgium.
If an F-35 is as capable as 4 Gripen, but only manages to do 25% of the sorties of a Gripen, then they are equivalent.
That is why the sustained sortie rate of aircraft is of interest.
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Unread post11 Aug 2018, 01:48

aprichelieu wrote:If an F-35 is as capable as 4 Gripen, but only manages to do 25% of the sorties of a Gripen, then they are equivalent.
That is why the sustained sortie rate of aircraft is of interest.

Given that they are testing 40 sorties without maintenance for F-35 at this point it's better just forget 25% pipe dreams. Besides sortie rate is not the only relevant thing. If the aircraft is not survivable enough in each of their sorties, it's going to stop delivering capability sooner than later.

Several things are indeed superficially available for Gripen. But there's zero practical experience for example from modern cruise missiles, because Sweden doesn't have them.
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