F-35A vs KF-X

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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mixelflick

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Unread post02 Jul 2018, 13:58

South Korea has a long, rich history in buying more modern versions of US jets. Their F-15K's are some of the most modern anywhere, for example. Buying the F-35 would be far preferable to developing this "quasi F-35" IMO. I get it - everyone wants an indigenous fighter program "just in case". That case however (the US refusing to sell S. Korea our jets) is pretty far fetched IMO. Too far fetched to warrant the $ spent on this thing.

If I were S. Korea I'd be developing custom E/W gear and weapons like the Israeli's. The Lavi was a good study in why sometimes, it's just better to buy American vs. try to develop something yourself (that wasn't much more capable than the F-16). You can add Japan and their F-2 to that list...
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Unread post02 Jul 2018, 16:43

mixelflick wrote:South Korea has a long, rich history in buying more modern versions of US jets. Their F-15K's are some of the most modern anywhere, for example. Buying the F-35 would be far preferable to developing this "quasi F-35" IMO. I get it - everyone wants an indigenous fighter program "just in case". That case however (the US refusing to sell S. Korea our jets) is pretty far fetched IMO. Too far fetched to warrant the $ spent on this thing.

If I were S. Korea I'd be developing custom E/W gear and weapons like the Israeli's. The Lavi was a good study in why sometimes, it's just better to buy American vs. try to develop something yourself (that wasn't much more capable than the F-16). You can add Japan and their F-2 to that list...


I don't think the Koreans see the KF-X as a "just in case" aircraft. I would guess they are doing it much more as a show of national pride. It says, "We are as good as anyone else and stand equal to other nations" since very few nations can make their own combat jets and two that do are China and Japan. Efficiency and Price doesn't matter. The Koreans (collectively, not always individually) have a massive chip on their shoulder (long history of domination by other nations plus something about the Japanese trying to destroy their history and culture really sticks in their craw). So even though they can't make the engines, lavishly copied the exterior of the F-35, and wanted the US to basically give them everything that makes the F-35 the F-35, they are going to press on with the project. Because it is not just a defense program, it is basically national therapy. Basically the same reason Turkey is making their own indigenous fighter as well.

Just my $0.02 theory.
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zero-one

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Unread post03 Jul 2018, 13:39

The reason could also be...Well the F-35 is basically the best fighter for every mission, except for air to air, bettered only by the Raptor in that mission.


not everyone needs a Top tier SEAD/DEAD/CAS/Interdiction aircraft with great range. Some people would love to have an aircraft, 70% of the F-35's capabilities, If it can be cheaper Like an F-15SE or F/A-18 ASH. The US won't build it because it will divert resources away from the JSF program.

Well that opens the door for S.Korea, Not everyone can afford the F-35, maybe they can buy it but operating and maintenance cost is another story.

With the F-35's data sharing capabilities, they can also have a force structured around ~50 F-35s and supported by 150 Pseudo F-35s (a.k.a. KF-X)
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steve2267

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Unread post03 Jul 2018, 14:21

Korea may be trying to retain or increase its industrial capacity for designing and building tactical combat aircraft.

The F-35 is so far ahead of everything else, that if other countries don't try to catch up, their industry will be relegated to 2nd class military / industrial enterprises.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, add dollop of F-117 & gob of F-22, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well, then bake. Whaddya get? An F-35.
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Unread post03 Jul 2018, 15:10

zero-one wrote: If it can be cheaper Like an F-15SE or F/A-18 ASH.

And F/A-18E cost M$70 in 2017 and an F-15K cost M$100 in 2006. How do you see more advanced versions of either of these being cheaper than an F-35A which is already at M$95 and dropping year over year.
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zero-one

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Unread post03 Jul 2018, 15:35

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:And F/A-18E cost M$70 in 2017 and an F-15K cost M$100 in 2006. How do you see more advanced versions of either of these being cheaper than an F-35A which is already at M$95 and dropping year over year.


Well Kuwait got them Rhinos cheaper at $53M
https://defence-blog.com/aviation/kuwai ... craft.html

Remember these birds were created with American requirements as the basis. The emphasis on range is greater, top tier SEAD capability is a requirement.

S.Korea won't necessarily have those exact requirements. What if They want an F-35 with just the air - air capabilities, make it a point defense fighter, slash the SEAD capabilities by half, slash the strike capabilities by half.

I think thats well within S.Korea's technical capabilities, making the cost justifiable is the only problem.
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Unread post03 Jul 2018, 15:54

You can't base the plane's price on a single contract to a single mfg, even if it's the prime. What about the engines, GFE, pylons, pods, tanks, etc?
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Unread post03 Jul 2018, 15:56

zero-one wrote:Well Kuwait got them Rhinos cheaper at $53M
https://defence-blog.com/aviation/kuwai ... craft.html

Remember these birds were created with American requirements as the basis. The emphasis on range is greater, top tier SEAD capability is a requirement.

S.Korea won't necessarily have those exact requirements. What if They want an F-35 with just the air - air capabilities, make it a point defense fighter, slash the SEAD capabilities by half, slash the strike capabilities by half.

I think thats well within S.Korea's technical capabilities, making the cost justifiable is the only problem.


I have to disagree with this point. Of course, while we internet rabble rousers have no idea what Korea's requirements are, I have to ask from which air force do they need such an air-to-air capability? Does NORK truly possess that large and dangerous a tactical combat aircraft threat? While I suppose the KF-X could be designed to repel / shoot down the awesome NORK air force, relying on F-35's, F-16's, and maybe F-15K's for strike interdiction & CAS, I will argue its the other way around: use F-15K's and F-35's for any necessary air-to-air operations, and utilize the KF-X as a networked shooter / bomb dropper leveraging the F-35's ISR and COMMs capability.

Since the F-35's sensors are so good, and sensor fusion works so well, and MADL transmits so much data... why not build a KF-X without a radar? If they could implement a MADL-compatible system, then could the KF-X receive all its required targeting information from F-35s? That might save a good amount of money in development costs.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, add dollop of F-117 & gob of F-22, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well, then bake. Whaddya get? An F-35.
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zero-one

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Unread post03 Jul 2018, 16:13

All I'm saying is, the F-35 is top tier in everything.
Do you have a cheaper, less capable version lying around?

Cause the Chinese have, its called the J-31. And if they can make it cheap. It may sell.

a Pseudo F-35 won't be as capable, We'll sit here rolling our eyes on the lack of DAS,
crude sensor fusion,
700 T/R module AESA,
350 NM combat radius,
11,000 pound payload

but if they can make it cheap and rely on the fact that they have real F-35's that can provide all the S.A. thy can ask for, countries like Singapore, India, Taiwan, the Philippines may be interested.

The west has no low end 5th gen fighter right now, so Korea, India, Turkey and others may want to fill that niche.
The real challenge is to make it cheap
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Unread post03 Jul 2018, 16:18

steve2267 wrote: I have to ask from which air force do they need such an air-to-air capability?

China,
You'll need numbers to play around with the PLAAF.

F-35's can make F-15s and F-16s much better
just imagine what a force of F-35s supported by Pseudo F-35's can do?
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Unread post11 Jul 2018, 13:30

zero-one wrote:All I'm saying is, the F-35 is top tier in everything.

The west has no low end 5th gen fighter right now, so Korea, India, Turkey and others may want to fill that niche.
The real challenge is to make it cheap


Not sure they'll succeed. India can't do anything right when it comes to military procurement, they're automatically out of the race. Just look at their service rifle. Or their tank. Or their submarine. Or their self-propelled howitzer. The problem is that all Indian defense development is consolidated under a big, state-run organization that literally cannot do anything correctly.

Turkey and Korea at least know which end the pitot tube goes on, but I'm not sure their design approach will yield a low-end counterpart to the F-35. Both designs have, thus far, been twin-engine. Twin engine does have some advantages, but I'm pretty sure that kilonewtons per dollar is not one of them. TF-X is envisioned to re-use a lot of Typhoon components, which should save development costs. But, so far as I am aware, the 'phoon has not proven an easy or cheap plane to maintain. Certainly the Luftwaffe's abysmal readiness rate would suggest that. Long term costs of an aircraft rapidly overshadow the initial purchase costs, and the F-35 is designed with ease of maintenance and low long term costs in mind. On top of that, Lockmart has somehow brought the cost of a new F-35 below that of the eurocanards.
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Unread post11 Jul 2018, 13:44

Economies of scale also come into play. Turkey, South Korea, India and Japan won’t be committed to thousands of aircraft for their own use and the competition on the export market is stiff. They’ll only be able to produce relatively small numbers of indigenous 5th gens and that will drive up costs. These countries’ best bet would be to form a consortium so that they could ensure that a decent number of jets will be built. Of course, the politics of such an endeavor are a whole new can of worms....
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Corsair1963

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Unread post12 Jul 2018, 01:53

icemaverick wrote:Economies of scale also come into play. Turkey, South Korea, India and Japan won’t be committed to thousands of aircraft for their own use and the competition on the export market is stiff. They’ll only be able to produce relatively small numbers of indigenous 5th gens and that will drive up costs. These countries’ best bet would be to form a consortium so that they could ensure that a decent number of jets will be built. Of course, the politics of such an endeavor are a whole new can of worms....



Not to split hairs but Japan is not developing a 5th Generation Fighter..........


Yet, I agree with your remarks in general.
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weasel1962

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Unread post12 Jul 2018, 02:54

Well, I wonder what everyone else calls the F-3 stealth fighter program then. Probably the Japanese designation 第5世代.
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Unread post12 Jul 2018, 03:20

weasel1962 wrote:Well, I wonder what everyone else calls the F-3 stealth fighter program then. Probably the Japanese designation 第5世代.




Japan stopped flight testing the X-2 (formerly ATD-X) and isn't going to develop the F-3.........(old news)
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