F-35A versus Saab Gripen NG

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 07:00

I'd like to clarify what I wrote earlier. I meant that F-35, Eurofighter and Rafale R&D costs could be fairly well compared as all have developed a new airframe, engines, radar, IRST/EO sensors etc. F-35 even adds a targeting pod (EOTS) and three distinct variants into that and even Rafale has two variants.

Gripen E is totally different as it's still heavily based on earlier Gripen variant which meant much of the aerodynamic and flight control development was already done. It also has many expensive items that are bought off-the-shelf like engine, radar and IRST. So there was not much R&D work done for those items in the Gripen program. Modern engine development alone would cost billions. Of course it was smart to use off-the-shelf systems for Gripen as it would've been very costly to develop those systems for such a small project. But it also means that performance levels and capabilities are lower all around.

F-35 R&D was very expensive as the performance and capability goals were extremely high. But production run of several thousands means that those costs are easily acceptable and roughly comparable to Gripen E unit-per-unit.
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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 09:07

Gripen E and F-35 are definitely not comparable in any way, but they are going to be compared as they compete against each other in several acquisition competitions. Both are multirole fighter aircraft and both can do missions air forces around the world need to do. So people are going to compare them to each other. Saab tries to sell them saying that they are good enough and cheaper to buy and operate than competitors and has benefits in tech transfer for example. That may well be true in some cases, but most people here have the opinion that Gripen E is not good enough for most air forces (that might meet modern IADS and enemy fighters) and not even as cheap as claimed.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 14:57

bumtish wrote:
loke wrote:Why so much noise?

As stated before: The F-35 and Gripen E are apples and oranges.

One is a full-blown 5. gen fighter, in the medium/heavy weight class

The other is a 4.5 gen fighter, in the light weight class.

One is developed by the US in collaboration with several partners over many years, with a massive budget.

The other is developed on a "shoe-string" budget by a country having a population smaller than many cities around the world.

The awesomeness of Gripen does not come from it's capabilities, but that a small country like Sweden manage to develop it at all.

Look at where India is whith their Tejas LCA "homegrown" program.... decades late, lots of foreign technology, and still not there yet!


I don't disagree with you on this, but there is a claim in the thread that Sweden is doing the same (and more) on a shoe-string budget as the US and partners do. Obviously, the Swedish budget essentially covers the systems integration of off-the-shelf hardware on a Swedish developed aeroshell and software development (flight control, sensors, weapons). This also a lot less ambitious project concerning capabilites.

In the opposite corner is the fully fledged RDT&E effort of three variants of a stealth fighter including a STOVL and CV version. It includes development of an engine, avionics, the whole bondoggle. A lot of basic research also went into the program. It has a lot more capabilities and a LOT more future development potential. It also includes devolping/maturing a mass production line, not cheap, but pays off in the end. (Compared to this what is going on in Linköping is cottage industry (not disparaging their setup, given the means it is an effective way of doing it, but they don't have that part of the cost either)).

On top of that, the testing regime in the US is just a lot more rigorous than what we do in Europe (it is both good and bad).

I know you know this. And I think Gripen E is a good idea for Sweden and a number of potential customers.

I can also understand that posters react when presented for the idea that because fighter A costs $2B to develop and fighter B costs $55B then fighter B just wasted money and the people who developed fighter A are just 27 times smarter.

This is then garnished with a list of F-35 deficiencies at end of SDD lifted from DOT&E and GAO to show that F-35 is a troubled jet when public oversight like DOT&E and GAO is just non-existent for European fighter projects. You don't get yearly lists of current deficiencies, availability rates and mission capable rates on European fighters in development.

Gripen is most likely subject to all kind of ailments we just don't hear about, but they fix it somehow eventually just like in other fighter programs.

Also, the reliability and maintenance specification of F-35A is nearly identical to Gripen C, but somehow there is a notion out there on the internetz that the F-35 is a ludicrously unreliable and maintenance. OK, F-35 has not met all yet but here is still time to go before it has to.

Without the prerequisite understanding it is easy to think that the Gripen programme is a true wonder that just breaches all convention.


Summed It up perfectly. And I'll be the first to say that the F-35 has had problems but it's a far more ambitious program. People still declare it impossible in fact that's the level of difficulty.


Gripen E may have a few unhappy surprises ahead too. It's taken far too long just to get where it is now, and it still has a ways to go.

It still amazes me that with the F-35 its "oh yeah!? Prove it! Well that still proves nothing!" And then with Gripen its "oh yes, pamphlet! This sales brochure and company slide proves everything!"

If you'll notice F-35 is often spoke of in future tense, while gripen past tense, as its considered a done deal already


Now if it was up to me there would never be another comparison again, And they would be judged on their own individual merits separately as they again are not really real world rivals
Last edited by XanderCrews on 16 Aug 2018, 15:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 15:02

The Griphen is a just a state sponsored wet dream for local industry to keep jobs alive.

But when you open the shell all you see is made in the USA or under USA license.
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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 18:46

SpudmanWP wrote:
aprichelieu wrote: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.


The components of Blk4 that are "fixes" are <$5k as Block 4.1 is a software-only upgrade.



https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/03/2 ... t_uk_345m/

F-35B Block 4 software upgrades will cost Britain £345m
After we leave the EU we could cover that in a week with change to spare ... allegedly

By Gareth Corfield 22 Mar 2018 at 09:59
Britain will spend £345m ($486m) upgrading its F-35B fighter jets to the most recent, combat-ready, version of the aircraft’s operating system.

...
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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 18:52

hornetfinn wrote:I'd like to clarify what I wrote earlier. I meant that F-35, Eurofighter and Rafale R&D costs could be fairly well compared as all have developed a new airframe, engines, radar, IRST/EO sensors etc. F-35 even adds a targeting pod (EOTS) and three distinct variants into that and even Rafale has two variants.

Gripen E is totally different as it's still heavily based on earlier Gripen variant which meant much of the aerodynamic and flight control development was already done. It also has many expensive items that are bought off-the-shelf like engine, radar and IRST. So there was not much R&D work done for those items in the Gripen program. Modern engine development alone would cost billions. Of course it was smart to use off-the-shelf systems for Gripen as it would've been very costly to develop those systems for such a small project. But it also means that performance levels and capabilities are lower all around.

F-35 R&D was very expensive as the performance and capability goals were extremely high. But production run of several thousands means that those costs are easily acceptable and roughly comparable to Gripen E unit-per-unit.


That was exactly my point as well. Since the Gripen E development cost was so low, the development cost per airframe is in the range of the F-35, but the potential for much lower development cost is higher, given an India order will double the amount of airframes that shares the development cost.

The reason for bringing up Block 4, is that this is really the F-35 people are expecting, and people seems to think that everyone will upgrade all their F-35s to Block 4. The British seems to believe they will have to pay $486M for the upgrade, which for 138 aircrafts maps to $4-5M per aircraft. That is why the cost of the upgrade should be included when You calculate the cost of the F-35.
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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 19:16

gideonic wrote:
aprichelieu wrote:The Gripen E App based S/W architecture which allows weapons to be integrated without going though multi-year requalification of the complete S/W is probably what triggered a similar move in the F-35.


Oh boy, sure, everything sure revolves around the gripen. It sure has nothing to do with being already there for the F-16.

So F-16 buyers can develop their own S/W for the F-16, based on the open API,
and have their pilot deploy it on their own F-16s while refueling between missions,
without need to requalify the flight control S/W?

This is what the F-35 project was considering in 2015.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=27634
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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 19:47

aprichelieu wrote:F-35B Block 4 software upgrades will cost Britain £345m
After we leave the EU we could cover that in a week with change to spare ... allegedly

By Gareth Corfield 22 Mar 2018 at 09:59
Britain will spend £345m ($486m) upgrading its F-35B fighter jets to the most recent, combat-ready, version of the aircraft’s operating system.


I did not say that Block 4 was virtually free, only the "fixes" to 3F deficiencies that are not already covered under the C2D2 program.

Block 4.xx in relation to your link, actually covers two Block upgrades, 4.1 and 4.2.

4.1 is a software-only upgrade (ie very cheap < $15k) that will go live in 2021
4.2 is hardware & software that goes live in 2023

Image

The reason for bringing up Block 4, is that this is really the F-35 people are expecting, and people seems to think that everyone will upgrade all their F-35s to Block 4. The British seems to believe they will have to pay $486M for the upgrade, which for 138 aircrafts maps to $4-5M per aircraft. That is why the cost of the upgrade should be included when You calculate the cost of the F-35.

The UK is already part of the Block 4 dev team and are actively paying the dev costs for it. Why would the pay for the dev but not the actual upgrades especially since Block 4 contains their Spear3 missile and Meteor AAM?

So F-16 buyers can develop their own S/W for the F-16, based on the open API, and have their pilot deploy it on their own F-16s while refueling between missions, without need to requalify the flight control S/W?

We're talking about weapons and no, the Gripen cannot do it but the F-16 (Blk40/50 M6/M6+), F-15E, and F-35 (Blk4.1) can using UAI.
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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 20:03

SpudmanWP wrote:
aprichelieu wrote:And updates to all deficiencies are for free?
Software fixes are coming out of the JPO office at a rate of 2 per year as part of the C2D2 program. They are applied in the field by local techs so for all intents & purposes, they are free. Every partner nation is also part of the post-SDD program to develop new features (ie Blocks 4.x and forward). When new Blocks are released, they only pay for the kits & install (as needed) since they already paid for the dev.

aprichelieu wrote:The Gripen E App based S/W architecture which allows weapons to be integrated without going though multi-year requalification of the complete S/W is probably what triggered a similar move in the F-35.

Please provide the source info that says that a Gripen can mount a weapon that it has never seen before and within an hour be able to use all of it's features without needing to change any part of the Gripen's software, because THAT is what UAI can do.

Btw, the whole "multi-year" thing is due to the entire block update ("version #" in Saab terminology) usually involving a lot of weapon & feature changes. It's not saying that a single weapon by itself would take multiple years.


What the Gripen S/W architecture allows you to do is to develop an application that can do whatever the developer wants it to do (within limits) and upload to the aircraft without SAAB beeing involved. This allows new functionality to be developed and deployed in days.
Can You run Facebook on an F-35 without S/W development using UAI?
With this architecture you extend the functionality app by app, and not in Blocks - like an iPad/iPhone.
The Apps do not affect the flight control system, which is why you can run them without requalification.
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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 20:13

The F-35 has an API, but I don't know the details of it. Israel is using it for their C4 system. Yes, the F-35's avionics are fully isolated through the use of VM's and middle-ware.

Is there a UAI equivalent for Gripen (ie where a weapon that has never been seen by anyone at Saab can be mounted and fully utilized by the mission computer and off-board mission-planning systems)? A source for that claim would be nice.
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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 20:55

SpudmanWP wrote:The F-35 has an API, but I don't know the details of it. Israel is using it for their C4 system. Yes, the F-35's avionics are fully isolated through the use of VM's and middle-ware.

Is there a UAI equivalent for Gripen (ie where a weapon that has never been seen by anyone at Saab can be mounted and fully utilized by the mission computer and off-board mission-planning systems)? A source for that claim would be nice.


Yes, but I do not think the API for the Israelis allows you to download and install S/W from the ”App Store”.
I do not know if it is UAI equivalent, but if the question is:

Is there a way where a weapon that has never been seen by anyone at Saab can be mounted and fully utilized by the mission computer and off-board mission-planning system?

The answer is yes. A Gripen user can develop an App which integrates a weapon into the Gripen S/W without SAAB beeing aware of that the weapon even exists. The weapon App can display information on the screen and be controlled by various input mechanisms. There is no need for any ground crew to be involved, and each pilot can customize the aircraft to his liking, when he enters it. SAAB says that they can get a new App running in days, something that used to take months.
This is the background to the ”Smart Fighter” commercials, it behaves like a SmartPhone.
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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 21:14

Sorry, calling BS on that.

The weapon has to integrate with all of the other systems in the Gripen and has to integrate into the Mission Planning software that the military uses to.... "plan the mission". The Gripen has to also know everything about the weapon with things like drag, launch parameters, etc in order for it to calculate available fuel, g-limits, etc.

It can't simply be launched by an "app", it has to be integrated.
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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 21:38

Block 4 costs money for F-35, but Gripen surely gets updates for free. Come on, whether they are old style mid-life upgrades or bite-sized continual development drops the follow on development of capabilities costs money.

Here's an official source for Gripen E. Vago Muradian interviews Saab's head of marketing for Europe Magnus Lewis-Olsson at Farnborough 2018. 3 mins is the right time. At 4 min they talk about Taurus (JASSM EU alternative) and they admit that they have only flown with it. Swedish AF doesn't use it, so there's a ton of work still missing.
For the rest he said earlier that those that are hanging under the wings are integrated, but even that might be slightly overpromising. 6 min they talk about their advantage, tech transfer, specifically to India (meaning mostly AESA radar tech). 7.30 min they talk about that software approach (split of flight controls and other stuff), the usual ipad reference (which is also common with F-35).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MrABYgUEUI

They actually used some civilian standard ( RTC 178C ) instead of the usual defense industry approach in validating the avionics system. It's supposedly a higher standard (according to Saab ofc). This was not in the video above, but has come up in the Finnish acquisition talks.
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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 22:11

SpudmanWP wrote:Sorry, calling BS on that.

The weapon has to integrate with all of the other systems in the Gripen and has to integrate into the Mission Planning software that the military uses to.... "plan the mission". The Gripen has to also know everything about the weapon with things like drag, launch parameters, etc in order for it to calculate available fuel, g-limits, etc.

It can't simply be launched by an "app", it has to be integrated.


And you claim, without any knowledge about the architecture that the App cannot inform the aircraft about things the aircraft needs to know? SAAB has integrated weapons before, and I think that they have put some thought into this.

And no, an app does not need to be integrated, since it can communicate with other parts of the system using message passing.
As for UAI, the move is towards NUAI, and since Gripen E has the MIL-STD-1760 Class II bus, there is nothing stopping anyone from writing an App supporting NUAI. Maybe a US Weapons manufacturer that wants to sell stuff to Brazil.
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Unread post16 Aug 2018, 22:18

So.. Still no source then to your claims of these "wonder" apps running on a Gripen that can do anything but require no input and no testing from Saab?
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