Finnish DefMin Interest in F-35s NOT Gripens

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Corsair1963

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Unread post14 Sep 2020, 08:47

loke wrote:
The Pentagon's five-year budget plan for the F-35 falls short by as much as $10 billion, the military's independent cost analysis unit has concluded, a new indication that the complex fighter jet may be too costly to operate and maintain.

The Defense Department's blueprint for the next five fiscal years calls for requesting $78 billion for research and development, jet procurement, operations and maintenance and military construction dedicated to the F-35 built by Lockheed Martin Corp. But the cost analysis unit estimates $88 billion will be needed.

He added that the projected cost increase isn't due to any expected major increase in the unit cost of the aircraft. In fact, the cost analysis office projects that the average procurement cost for an F-35, including its engines, is dropping from a planned $109 million to $101.3 million in 2012 dollars. By contrast, it found that estimated support costs once the planes are built have increased about 7% over a 2012 estimate.

https://www.stripes.com/news/us/pentago ... 5-1.644700

It seems the support costs of the F-35 is still an issue...
https://www.stripes.com/news/us/pentago ... 5-1.644700


Such estimate have been wrong from the start..... :?
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magitsu

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Unread post15 Sep 2020, 13:19

Bold claims by a Typhoon reporter. At least hornetfinn should probably take a peek.

Here's about a half of the facebook post's content.
Though designated as the ECRS Mk 2, (European Common Radar System Mk 2), the new UK radar has little in common with previous Euroradar AESA radars, despite sharing the same ECRS designation prefix. The ECRS Mk 0 AESA radar fitted to Kuwaiti and Qatari Typhoons, and the ECRS Mk 1 radar which is being developed for the German/Spanish retrofit programme are derivatives of the mechanically scanned (M-Scan) Captor-C, using much the same back-end, but married to a new AESA array with an innovative double swashplate repositioner. They are collectively known as Captor-E variants.

The ECRS Mk 2 radar does share a common interface with the platform and weapons system, via the German supplied attack computer, and uses the same power generation and cooling, but is not based on Captor technology, instead using a completely new open-architecture radar ‘back end’. From the power supply forward the new radar uses completely new hardware, including what is referred to as a “revolutionary” Multi-Function Array. This will allow the radar to provide traditional air-to-air and air-to-ground, search, track and targeting functions as well as new electronic warfare (EW) and wide-band electronic attack (EA) capabilities.

The open architecture of the back end will also enable the rapid low cost development cycles necessary for the radar to be adapted to counter dynamic and developing threats. The concept is that the whole radar will become what is being called ‘mission ware’, which can be changed with the same level of overhead and difficulty as it now takes to change mission data – crucially without having to go back through the safety case every time the software is changed.

The ECRS Mk 2 also has a completely new processor, a new receiver, a dedicated EW receiver and techniques generator, and a completely different system for the antenna repositioner, using a single rotating joint, rather than the double swashplate arrangement of Captor-E. The aircraft will even feature a new radome to support the wide bandwidth that comes with ECRS Mk 2.

The Typhoon’s relatively wide nose allows it to accommodate a large radar dish, and this in turn allows a large number of transmit-receive modules (TRMs). Leonardo claim that ECRS Mk 2 has significantly more Transmit-Receive Elements than other radars. Because a large dish with a large number of transmit receive modules makes for a narrow beam, this means that ECRS Mk 2 will have focused power, and since the Typhoon provides all of the electrical power and cooling that is needed, it will have the ability to generate some exceptionally high-powered, focused electronic attack, but also great sensitivity allowing unparalleled passive detection and a very long reach.

All of this has led Leonardo to claim that ECRS Mk 2 will be the World’s most capable fighter AESA radar, blending the power and precision of traditional radars while also enabling the simultaneous operation of its wide-band Electronic Warfare functionality. This will allow RAF pilots to locate and identify enemy air defences and suppress them using high-powered jamming – adding the suppression/destruction of enemy air defences (SEAD/DEAD) role to the Eurofighter Typhoon’s multi-role mission set. The aircraft will engage targets while remaining beyond the reach of threat systems – and will jam enemy radars even when their main lobe may be looking in another direction.

The new ECRS Mk 2 will also enable the Typhoons to link up with future data-driven weapons to combat rapidly evolving air defences, ensuring that UK Typhoons will be able to continue to dominate the battlespace for many years to come.

The ECRS Mk 2 radar makes use of both Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) semi-conductors within its array, blending the strengths of the different technologies to cost effectively provide a differentiating military capability.

ECRS Mk 2 is built on the lineage of the ARTS (Advanced Radar Targeting System) and Bright Adder technology demonstrators, and on the ES-05 Raven radar used on the Saab Gripen NG, rather than being based on the original Captor radar and the AESA-equipped CAPTOR-E.

https://www.facebook.com/aerospaceanaly ... ?__tn__=-R

I left out the usual bs, about stealth supposedly degrading and this new Typhoon driver "not having to worry about signature". But this is the radar offered to Finland.

The initial plan is for all 40 of the UK’s Tranche 3 aircraft to be equipped with ECRS Mk.2, though there is an option to re-equip Tranche 2 Typhoons as well. Both Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 aircraft have the necessary pre-mods to allow an ECRS Mk 2 retrofit, but that decision does not need to be made yet.

The new radar is also being offered to export customers, including Finland - where the Typhoon offer is based on alignment with the RAF aircraft standard, including Radar 2.
Jfc what a niche radar. 40 units, with IOC 2025. Is this really helping their chances?
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loke

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Unread post15 Sep 2020, 14:24

IMHO Typhoon doesn't stand a chance. Too expensive, too niche, and too many weak points.

F-35 will win this.

SH+growler will be a distant second, and may only win if they decide that the F-35 related costs are too much (infrastructure+other support costs). I am guessing they are willing to reduce the number of F-35 quite considerably to make it "fit" into the annual budget. Nobody wants to buy a 4.5 gen fighter if they can have a true 5. gen with all the bells and whistles.

I don't see many arguments for the Typhoon to be honest. It is an unfinished product today and it will be unfinished in 2025, with a brand new AESA that will need quite some time to mature. And it will probably be more expensive than either F-35 or SH. Why would Finland pay more for less?
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hythelday

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Unread post15 Sep 2020, 15:37

loke wrote:
I don't see many arguments for the Typhoon to be honest. It is an unfinished product today and it will be unfinished in 2025, with a brand new AESA that will need quite some time to mature. And it will probably be more expensive than either F-35 or SH. Why would Finland pay more for less?


If ALIS/ODIN still sucks and there is too much overseas logistics support and black boxes for a "neutral" state.

I would not disregard Typhoon so much vs the Boeing bid. This new radar clearly offers a significant increase in EW/EA. While Growler+NGJ may be more potent, it's limited fleet is still a liability for Finland, since it is more susceptible to mission avaliability/attrition/time and space limitations as well as kinetic attack by SRBMs or even ground (special) forces. Danish eval placed SH slightly higher in mission effectivenes in A/G missions, but Typhoon was rated higher in DCA and apparently "more survivable" in S/DEAD. Of course since the Finns have their own methods this might not mean much, but keep in mind that they might want a more A/A geared machine which is expected to fight since day one without americans providing air supremacy. The Finns also have quite a bit of artillery to provide fires for the grunts (for Danes priorities are reversed)
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hornetfinn

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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 09:39

magitsu wrote:Bold claims by a Typhoon reporter. At least hornetfinn should probably take a peek.


The ECRS Mk 2 radar makes use of both Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) semi-conductors within its array, blending the strengths of the different technologies to cost effectively provide a differentiating military capability.


The initial plan is for all 40 of the UK’s Tranche 3 aircraft to be equipped with ECRS Mk.2, though there is an option to re-equip Tranche 2 Typhoons as well. Both Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 aircraft have the necessary pre-mods to allow an ECRS Mk 2 retrofit, but that decision does not need to be made yet.

The new radar is also being offered to export customers, including Finland - where the Typhoon offer is based on alignment with the RAF aircraft standard, including Radar 2.
Jfc what a niche radar. 40 units, with IOC 2025. Is this really helping their chances?


Thank you magitsu, very interesting indeed! I think they will most likely replace the HPA (High Power Amplifier) in the T/R modules with GaN one, but retain GaAs in other components as it's still cheaper. In HPA GaN allows much better output power, higher transmit duty factor and longer pulse lengths along with better efficiency (significantly less input power and cooling needed for given output power). GaN HPA will also give it better LPI/LPD and EW capability. However in low power solutions GaAs can be fairly competitive with GaN and in some rare cases can outperform it, so this solution makes sense.

This will likely be a huge increase in capability compared to current MSA Captor and will likely be one of the most capable radars in any fighter. It could very possibly outrange (against same target, not against each other) even the AN/APG-77(v)1 while retaining the current power supply unit and cooling capacity. Together with Meteor, it definitely makes Eurofighter Typhoon a powerful interceptor even against LO targets protected by powerful EW. Of course against VLO targets the relatively high RCS of Typhoon will be a problem as it will most likely be seen first.

I can see this could help in Finnish competition if the above is true with the actual system. Then Eurofighter Typhoon would be very good interceptor with best T/W ratio, likely highest acceleration and speed. Problem would be survivability like in all 4th gen fighters against advanced threats. I also think that currently it probably has one of the weaker avionics systems in this competition. So how much can we trust that it will get much better for Finnish use? It will need new internal networks, much more computing power, better sensor fusion system, significantly upgraded EW system and data links. How much would these cost and how many current user nations are going to put their money towards these upgrades?
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loke

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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 12:52

hornetfinn wrote: I also think that currently it probably has one of the weaker avionics systems in this competition. So how much can we trust that it will get much better for Finnish use? It will need new internal networks, much more computing power, better sensor fusion system, significantly upgraded EW system and data links. How much would these cost and how many current user nations are going to put their money towards these upgrades?

I recall reading that due to "builtin" limitations on Typhoon it is actually very difficult to significantly upgrade the hardware of the Typhoon and integrate faster, more capable computers and databuses, leading to better data fusion etc. And as you point out there is also a question of how many countries will contribute to such expensive upgrades.
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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 12:56

hornetfinn wrote:How much would these cost and how many current user nations are going to put their money towards these upgrades?

My main worry. The marketing is enthusiastic for the benefits as always, but Finland would become the ECR Mk2's main user with the current UK Block 3 commitment of 40. How many others would there be when we know that radar swaps aren't simple? To an older gen platform that's already on its way out? Germany is already downplayed due to domestic industrial considerations (otherwise for the ECR Tornado replacement this radar would make a lot of sense), which was at least half the reason why the UK went with this. The fact that they operate F-35 and develop a radar is good on the other hand, they at least know where the bar is set.

Finland has been rather conservative buyer of proven solutions. So Typhoon acquisition would be a real lock step with the UK, when the previous assumption was that all other Typhoons would've been more similar. Assessing the outlook based on current financial situation could lead to Typhoon serving longer than expected. There just can't be money for Tempest as a manned fighter.

How the eventual Finnish Typhoon MLU would look is a real mystery. Likely expensive due to platform abandonment and the usual stalling/splintering tech within the consortium. There's room and power at least (Gripen doesn't even have that).
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hornetfinn

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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 14:21

loke wrote:
hornetfinn wrote: I also think that currently it probably has one of the weaker avionics systems in this competition. So how much can we trust that it will get much better for Finnish use? It will need new internal networks, much more computing power, better sensor fusion system, significantly upgraded EW system and data links. How much would these cost and how many current user nations are going to put their money towards these upgrades?

I recall reading that due to "builtin" limitations on Typhoon it is actually very difficult to significantly upgrade the hardware of the Typhoon and integrate faster, more capable computers and databuses, leading to better data fusion etc. And as you point out there is also a question of how many countries will contribute to such expensive upgrades.


I think that the French have been very sensible in upgrading the Rafale with totally new avionics architecture early on (from F1 to F2 standard) and has clearly been more flexible and easier to upgrade than EF Typhoon with new capabilities and systems. I think EF Typhoon has been upgraded also, but not quite to the degree of Rafale.
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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 14:32

magitsu wrote:How the eventual Finnish Typhoon MLU would look is a real mystery. Likely expensive due to platform abandonment and the usual stalling/splintering tech within the consortium. There's room and power at least (Gripen doesn't even have that).


Definitely so. I think there is that same problem to varying degrees with all other contenders besides F-35, which is guaranteed to have very large user base until 2060 at least. With others there will definitely be much smaller and likely diminishing user base in the future.
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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 20:48

Here's a fun recap of the reasons Finland bought the classic Hornets over F-16s, MiG-29s, and Mirages the last time Finland had a fighter competition. It's in Finnish so use Google Translate or similar software.

https://www.iltalehti.fi/kotimaa/a/201707022200238131
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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 20:53

hornetfinn wrote:I think that the French have been very sensible in upgrading the Rafale with totally new avionics architecture early on (from F1 to F2 standard) and has clearly been more flexible and easier to upgrade than EF Typhoon with new capabilities and systems. I think EF Typhoon has been upgraded also, but not quite to the degree of Rafale.


France is committed to buying new Rafales until the next generation aircraft comes online. They prefer to export now and delay future purchases until more advanced features are introduced. So the Rafale pipeline does appear from the outside to be healthier, even if the new British radar for past 2025 is much better than the current French radar.
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Unread post17 Sep 2020, 07:09

talkitron wrote:Here's a fun recap of the reasons Finland bought the classic Hornets over F-16s, MiG-29s, and Mirages the last time Finland had a fighter competition. It's in Finnish so use Google Translate or similar software.

https://www.iltalehti.fi/kotimaa/a/201707022200238131


In that evaluation almost 30 years ago, I find it interesting that Hornet was found to have significantly longer combat radius and endurance (along with the largest missile load) compared to all other contenders. Swiss evaluation in 2009 found that only Rafale met the range/endurance minimum expected capabilities, which were based on Hornet performance levels (but possibly somewhat higher). Hornet range and endurance has been criticised a lot, but according to these two in-depth evaluations, it's not bad at all compared to competitors but is actually near the top. Maybe the F404-GE-402 engines help that much over -400 engines?
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Unread post17 Sep 2020, 07:15

hornetfinn wrote:Hornet range and endurance has been criticised a lot, but according to these two in-depth evaluations, it's not bad at all compared to competitors but is actually near the top. Maybe the F404-GE-402 engines help that much over -400 engines?


Or USN sets bingo fuel margin very high to have gracious reserve for "bolters" and gracious use of afterburner for take-offs AND landings?
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Unread post17 Sep 2020, 08:00

hythelday wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:Hornet range and endurance has been criticised a lot, but according to these two in-depth evaluations, it's not bad at all compared to competitors but is actually near the top. Maybe the F404-GE-402 engines help that much over -400 engines?


Or USN sets bingo fuel margin very high to have gracious reserve for "bolters" and gracious use of afterburner for take-offs AND landings?


Probably that too. There is definitely less need for substantial reserves either in Finland or Switzerland as we both still lack carriers... :mrgreen:
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Unread post17 Sep 2020, 10:02

Budgetary smooth sailing continues. HX project got its 1.7 billion extra allotted for 2021 budget. Total FDF spending 4.87 billion in 2021, representing 54% increase to the current year. So C-19 didn't matter whatsoever.
2% gdp share was cracked and will continue for the next five years.

An increase of over 50 percent in the defense budget. :)
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