F-35A versus Saab Gripen NG

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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mixelflick

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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 12:05

What SAAB really needs is a US Congress, who swallowed the SH line about being "mostly the same aircraft, just with an upgrade". They could also use another willing foil, akin to the US Navy. Willing to forego a "best in class" aircraft, they settled for an all arounder. That's about as nice as I can put it. More cynical people might describe it as a jack of all trades, master of none. Or an underpowered, short legged dog. But I digress...

SAAB has neither of these, as the Gripen is put under the cold, hard microscope vs. other aircraft in its class. Actually, nothing is quite as small/under-powered. True, it has its strong points: An excellent E/W suite, Meteor and easily maintained. But the one strong point that made it attractive is now gone - it's no longer "cheap" or a good value for the money.

That was its whole raison de etre, or however you spell it LOL. Going to be a cold, cold day when SAAB shuts the production line down...
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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 12:26

"...That was its whole raison de etre, or however you spell it LOL. Going to be a cold, cold day when SAAB shuts the production line down..."

Novel Coronavirus may provide the perfect excuse for prod. shutdown.
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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 14:36

Reports from finnish competition will - possibly- tell us more.
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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 18:36

notam123 wrote:Reports from finnish competition will - possibly- tell us more.

Unlikely that we'll get any. They are also about the whole package (for Saab including GlobalEyes) operating within the Finnish defense system, so somewhat meaningless for everyone else.

Brazil and Switzerland indicate that Gripen has never won with technical merit.
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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 19:11

weasel1962 wrote:That's it. However, Saab is still offering the cheaper option to convert the older C/Ds into Es for potential customers since Sweden took the decision to have newbuild Es...


Saab does not offer that because it's impossible.
They do however still offer C/D models besides E/F models.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 20:30

weasel1962 wrote:That's it. However, Saab is still offering the cheaper option to convert the older C/Ds into Es for potential customers since Sweden took the decision to have newbuild Es...



By the time the "conversion" has replaced nearly every single part, you might as well have started with a new build, and saved money unless they're offering some kind of "hybrid" or "C/D+"

The Marines wanted to use Rebuilt UH-1Ns to create the UH-1Z in the H-1 program and we discovered that wasn't possible. so UH-1Z was built by itself because it actually saved money to buy new than to try and convert old.
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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 21:25

Speaking of which.... The RAN converted old SH-2F AirFrames from the BoneYard into almost Super Seasprite SH2G(A) but faltered at the last, having to cancel the program (long story) at a cost of $1.4 Billion or thereabouts. Story here:

http://www.rumourcontrol.com.au/hot_top ... 21208.html
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Unread post19 Mar 2020, 01:18

XanderCrews wrote:
weasel1962 wrote:That's it. However, Saab is still offering the cheaper option to convert the older C/Ds into Es for potential customers since Sweden took the decision to have newbuild Es...



By the time the "conversion" has replaced nearly every single part, you might as well have started with a new build, and saved money unless they're offering some kind of "hybrid" or "C/D+"

The Marines wanted to use Rebuilt UH-1Ns to create the UH-1Z in the H-1 program and we discovered that wasn't possible. so UH-1Z was built by itself because it actually saved money to buy new than to try and convert old.


There are other examples e.g. CH-47Fs which are practically new builds even if remanufactured. However I see it more as an upgrade program i.e. its still going to have a 3000km ferry range based on the C/D airframe but with E/F avionics. Those C/D airframes have low mileage. This is similar to Taiwan F-16 upgrade. Considered F-16V even if using the old airframes.
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Unread post19 Mar 2020, 14:53

weasel1962 wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:
weasel1962 wrote:That's it. However, Saab is still offering the cheaper option to convert the older C/Ds into Es for potential customers since Sweden took the decision to have newbuild Es...



By the time the "conversion" has replaced nearly every single part, you might as well have started with a new build, and saved money unless they're offering some kind of "hybrid" or "C/D+"

The Marines wanted to use Rebuilt UH-1Ns to create the UH-1Z in the H-1 program and we discovered that wasn't possible. so UH-1Z was built by itself because it actually saved money to buy new than to try and convert old.


There are other examples e.g. CH-47Fs which are practically new builds even if remanufactured. However I see it more as an upgrade program i.e. its still going to have a 3000km ferry range based on the C/D airframe but with E/F avionics. Those C/D airframes have low mileage. This is similar to Taiwan F-16 upgrade. Considered F-16V even if using the old airframes.



So after this entire NG/E/F Fiasco the swedes could have simply packed the E/F avionics into the Gripens they've had all along huh?
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Unread post19 Mar 2020, 17:32

XanderCrews wrote:
So after this entire NG/E/F Fiasco the swedes could have simply packed the E/F avionics into the Gripens they've had all along huh?

How do you define "fiasco" in this context? I think it is too early to call Gripen E a fiasco, at least from the perspective of Sweden and Brazil, and even Saab for that matter. I think they fully realize that the market they are addressing is very small.

Regarding packing E/F avionics into C/D instead of developing the E/F: The E/F has significantly more internal fuel, a stronger engine, higher MTOW and more pylons. AFAIK development costs have not been very high, I believe Saab makes a profit by producing and selling the 60+36 E/Fs currently on contract. Developing new avionics for C/D would in any case cost some money, so not sure how big the difference in development costs of Gripen E/F and development/integration costs of new avionics for C/D would be. Also not sure how easy it is to integrate things like the new EW system, the expanded MAWs, and the Skyward into a Gripen C? Also the performance of an AESA fitted for the C would probably be less than the Raven performance.

The only drawback I can think of that E has compared to C is the lower TWR. TWR is less important these days than it used to be, so not sure of much of an issue it really is. We will probably know more about that when the Swedish and Brazilian air forces start using the E/Fs. If it is really bad then I am sure we will hear some complaints about it. And yes in such a case it could be a fiasco, but I don't think we are there yet.
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Unread post19 Mar 2020, 18:05

XanderCrews wrote:...

The Marines wanted to use Rebuilt UH-1Ns to create the UH-1Z in the H-1 program .. so UH-1Z was built by itself...


Minor nitpick for accuracy. The "UH" upgraded to the Yankee (UH-1Y). The "AH" was the Zulu (AH-1Z). Otherwise spot on to the point.

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Unread post19 Mar 2020, 19:28

loke wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:
So after this entire NG/E/F Fiasco the swedes could have simply packed the E/F avionics into the Gripens they've had all along huh?

How do you define "fiasco" in this context? I think it is too early to call Gripen E a fiasco, at least from the perspective of Sweden and Brazil, and even Saab for that matter. I think they fully realize that the market they are addressing is very small.



why was saab adjusting their sales figures up to 400-450 again?

I do think its a fiasco. and for many reasons. cost being one of the large ones. Remember that NG was geared toward the export market. Gripen C seemed sufficient for Sweden in terms of range right? But NG was not a Swedish program only. It was built to be "joint" remember a 2nd nation had to share the expenses before Sweden would jump aboard. My point being Sweden could be cruising around in its snazzy rebuilt Gripen C/D+s years ago now but instead we had to completely reinvent the wheel so Brazil can play. ready by 2021 right? You yourself have succumbed to the dual idea that everything is going according to plan, theres "no delays" and yet this "new variant" won't be ready until 2021 after losing in Norway all the way back in 2008. and the demo flying in 2009. I think thats sort of funny. Its going according to plan? the CGI models from 2006 were PLANNED to be in initial service by 2021 with about 6 built? It took 6 years for the Super Hornet to go from first flight to IOC, and even more damning IOC in the US requires an entire combat ready squadron. Super Hornet did that in 6 years from first flight (1995) to IOC (2001) and was even dropping bombs 1 year after that in Iraq.

its a fiasco because it costs a lot, and is horrifically late for what its supposed to be, while also not meeting sales goals and have some really adjusted performance numbers. You can say "well the F-35 is the same!" Which again is more damning to the Gripen NG and saab as they were supposed to be the opposite of that, and the F-35 is picking up sales and is in service.

its a fiasco because if you went back to 2010 or 2012 and told the fanboys how the next 10 years were going to shake out they would deny such a thing was even possible. Its taken SIGNIFICANT "expectation" management." and/or amnesia and/or blindness to get to where we are now and be happy. If you hit them with reality in 2012 the shock may have killed them. :mrgreen:

so saab and sweden, our prudent, spartan, thrifty little dynamos didn't think to just use the C's now with the new avionics but instead set out on a whole new program that would take decades to realize? smart fighter alright.

all the arguments about how "schedule adjustments aren't delays" or whatever its late. And now



Regarding packing E/F avionics into C/D instead of developing the E/F: The E/F has significantly more internal fuel, a stronger engine, higher MTOW and more pylons. AFAIK development costs have not been very high, I believe Saab makes a profit by producing and selling the 60+36 E/Fs currently on contract. Developing new avionics for C/D would in any case cost some money, so not sure how big the difference in development costs of Gripen E/F and development/integration costs of new avionics for C/D would be. Also not sure how easy it is to integrate things like the new EW system, the expanded MAWs, and the Skyward into a Gripen C? Also the performance of an AESA fitted for the C would probably be less than the Raven performance.


I'm not sure about the technical feasibility of it all. I read somewhere you need an F414 to make the Gripen E avionics work, an F414 requires a larger intake too, but the point is were all those features worth all the time and expense? You know my answer.

this giant merry go round only to learn "hey look we could have just upgraded the C's and the range wouldn't be as good, but thats never been a bother anyway right?"

The Gripen is the greatest fighter ever, but its also in need of upgrades? yes. ok.

I've made the point several times, that the Gripen NG/E just so happened to address what were perceived as major shortcomings of the aircraft for the point of making it more attractive on the export market. (pure coincidence) my point being here that if Sweden just said "lets build this for us by upgrading C+" as Weasel talks about, they'd probably be done already and might even have more orders, but since this was geared internationally, they reinvented the wheel and have ONE customer for all their trouble. thats going to produce 4 a year through the 2020s, at the expense of billions. and its still not in service yet.

That seems like a fiasco. And I know, I know fanboys don't see like this, everything is going perfectly according to plan. How is both perfectly on time and yet won't be ready at all until 2021. Magic.



The only drawback I can think of that E has compared to C is the lower TWR. TWR is less important these days than it used to be, so not sure of much of an issue it really is. We will probably know more about that when the Swedish and Brazilian air forces start using the E/Fs. If it is really bad then I am sure we will hear some complaints about it. And yes in such a case it could be a fiasco, but I don't think we are there yet.



I'm glad we came to that conclusion after it fell well short of the performance markers its ardent fans were dazzling the internet with for 10 years already, and many still do to this day.

what a time to be alive.

blindpilot wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:...

The Marines wanted to use Rebuilt UH-1Ns to create the UH-1Z in the H-1 program .. so UH-1Z was built by itself...


Minor nitpick for accuracy. The "UH" upgraded to the Yankee (UH-1Y). The "AH" was the Zulu (AH-1Z). Otherwise spot on to the point.

BP


Youre right, Zulued when I should have Yankeed.
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Unread post19 Mar 2020, 20:17

XanderCrews wrote:this giant merry go round only to learn "hey look we could have just upgraded the C's and the range wouldn't be as good, but thats never been a bother anyway right?"


Yes, absolutely!

Moreover, one have to understand that the Gripen (A, B, C and D) is a Lightweight fighter and guess what?? Lightweight fighter have short range, period! For instance look at the range of the F-5 for example. Afterall they are Lightweight for a reason, eh?

And instead of accepting the limitations of Lightweight fighters such as the Gripen A-to-D, F-5 etc... one of them having short range while keeping up the advantages of such Lightweight fighters such as being cheap and affordable (specially for "poorer" nations like happened with the F-5) the Gripen E became a "Medium-weight fighter Travesti" - something that like the gender identity, it pretends to be one thing while being another or in the case of the Gripen E a Lightweight fighter pretending or wanting to be a Medium-weight fighter - and this, with the following result:
- The Gripen E doesn't have the range advantages of a Medium-weight fighter (for instance having a shorter range than the F-16) while being more expensive than or just as expensive as a Medium-weight fighters (for instance being more expensive than the F-16).

So yes, I agree with Xander. IMO the Gripen E is a fiasco since it ended up having the Medium-weight fighter disadvantages (compared to Lightweight fighters) but lost the advantages of Lightweight fighters while not having the exact same advantages that Medium-weight fighters have compared to Lightweight fighters.

Moreover and what's funny is that apparently the range advantages that the Gripen E may have over the Gripen C aren't probably "that useful". For instance while Brazil being a very large country it seems to be happy with their F-5s (which again have short range).
I would also say that for Switzerland (the Gripen E partner before Brazil) that range shouldn't be much of an advantage (due to the country's small size).
And we don't even need to mention Sweden.
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Unread post19 Mar 2020, 20:43

I'll break it down really simply and if one is a Gripen kool aide drinker look away or think of cute kittens.

1. The Gripen didn't invent the concept of the cheap, easy to fix and operate light fighter

2. The trade off for the low cost of the light fighter is performance, especially in the high end metrics.

3. if the light fighter is as expensive as the other higher performing,heavier fighters, it is a failure of the entire concept

4. it is not written in the stars that the Gripen E will be automatically cheap-- it has to actually cost less, and significantly so

5. It doesn't have a monopoly on being the cheap air police option. (in South Africa they're just using Hawks)

the Gripen E should not cost anywhere near what the famously expensive F-35A does. and yet it we have sources that indicate it will cost more, and Brazil slowing production even further guarantees it. Thats a fiasco.

for decades Gripen fans like Sweetman see his 6th generation fighter article from 2014 for proof, to wit:

However, what should qualify the JAS 39E for a “sixth generation” tag is what suits it most for a post-Cold War environment. It is not the world’s fastest, most agile or stealthiest fighter. That is not a bug, it is a feature. The requirements were deliberately constrained because the JAS 39E is intended to cost less to develop, build and operate than the JAS 39C, despite doing almost everything better. As one engineer says: “The Swedish air force could not afford to do this the traditional way”—and neither can many others.

It captures the Gripen internet warrior argument perfectly-- cost and economics is now a tactical capability like speed agility and low observability. and as a bonus stab and twist, this written in 2014 and still 7 years away from service entry one has to wonder what would happen if it was done the "traditional way"

It is as Bill Sweetman would say himself "right there on the tin" and they have conflated cost with tactical capability in regards to sortie generation and fleet readiness and availability. Again its nearly impossible to get a single Gripen fan to actually talk about the thing for more than even a paragraph without mentioning money no matter how much one tried to stick to the subject of tactical capability. when capability comes up, the Gripen E is not a show stopper. The entire concept hinges on it being less costly as a trade off for decreased capability and even its fan realize this as cost becomes the ultimate trump card whenever its capability falls short "sure it sucks at X, Y, and Z but saab tells me thats all irrelevant these days, and besides-- it costs less"
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Unread post19 Mar 2020, 21:49

Apologies for being off topic but wouldn't it be better to compare the Gripen E to something like F.16 Block 70 series.
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