F-35A versus Saab Grippen NG

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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lamoey

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Unread post04 Nov 2008, 22:09

I recently had the opportunity to ask the Norwegian ambassador to the US about the official view of the Norwegian government on the upcoming fighter purchase. The only useful peace of information he was able to give, beyond that he could lose his job in less than 5 seconds if he did not answer with care, was that the decision would be made before the year (2008) ends.

With two competitors left, the LM F-35A and the SAAB Gripen NG, the battle is raging in the Norwegian press. So how do these two jets objectively compare?
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Maks

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Unread post04 Nov 2008, 23:16

I can't imagine that the Norwegian government will decide in the next two months what they are going to do. At the moment there are more pressing things to be taken care of. In the course of 2009 (after the summer) seems to be more realistic to me.
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Unread post04 Nov 2008, 23:46

The ambassador was actually quite firm on that. Perhaps the decision has been made already, but they are waiting to announce it.

As late as today a former government minister and high level labour party person came out in defense of the F-35, so who knows...
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Unread post05 Nov 2008, 00:17

I think that Norway will follow suit and choose the F-35, along with the rest of NATO.
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Unread post05 Nov 2008, 06:53

lamoey,

Maybe he answered your question correctly in saying: that before end of 2008, the govt would have an official 'view' with regards to the future purchase??

Knowing how politicians speak, perhaps he was leaving open the door that within a short time the Nor Govt would have an official view as to when the purchase decision would be made and perhaps after a fly-off of production models?

My personal view is either aircraft have excellent capability potential. It would have to come down to more detailed testing/evaluation and financial (although weigh in favor of reliability and capability), imo. That's how I'd play it if I were the noble King of Norway!
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Unread post05 Nov 2008, 07:30

lamoey wrote:I recently had the opportunity to ask the Norwegian ambassador to the US about the official view of the Norwegian government on the upcoming fighter purchase. The only useful peace of information he was able to give, beyond that he could lose his job in less than 5 seconds if he did not answer with care, was that the decision would be made before the year (2008) ends.

With two competitors left, the LM F-35A and the SAAB Gripen NG, the battle is raging in the Norwegian press. So how do these two jets objectively compare?


The F-35A is the superior aircraft for ALL missions -- A2A, A2G or simply recon. A few magnitudes less detectable, superior tactically achievable performance, longer range, better sensors, better UI, etc. However, these days a lot of times a fighter aircraft is not bought as a tool of defense. Sometimes they are bought as a job creation program. The Gripen NG offers significantly more technological and industrial offsets. So who knows...
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Unread post05 Nov 2008, 16:10

In purely technical and combat capability terms, the F-35 is vastly superior to the Gripen. The competition is not even close. However, the F-35 is also a lot more expensive, a lot noisier, consumes more fuel, and likely will be more expensive to maintain. It also comes from a rather politically unpopular USA.

I somehow doubt that Norway will be going to war anytime soon against the UK, Sweden, or Russia. Norway also does not seem to be too interested in deploying it's armed forces overseas in support of the many UN missions or Middle Eastern wars. When Norway joined in the multi-nation F-16 buy several decades ago, there was an active threat to Norwegian sovereignty from the Warsaw Pact. That threat no longer exists.

I suspect that the Norwegian fighter buy will not be made on technical grounds. The fighter buy will be mostly symbolic. They will probably buy about 36-48 fighters in order to patrol their own skies. Either the Gripen or the F-35 can easily accomplish that mission. The decision will come down to what message the Norwegian government wants to project. If they want to show a Euro-centric and Scandinavian solidarity, they'll probably buy the Gripen. If they want to show a US-centric orientation with the capability to integrate and deploy around the world, they'll probably choose the F-35.

Bottom line: The Norwegian decision will reflect the desires of the Norwegian people, not the EU or NATO commanders wishes.
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Unread post06 Nov 2008, 03:16

Meteor wrote:In purely technical and combat capability terms, the F-35 is vastly superior to the Gripen. The competition is not even close. However, the F-35 is also a lot more expensive, a lot noisier, consumes more fuel, and likely will be more expensive to maintain. It also comes from a rather politically unpopular USA.

I somehow doubt that Norway will be going to war anytime soon against the UK, Sweden, or Russia. Norway also does not seem to be too interested in deploying it's armed forces overseas in support of the many UN missions or Middle Eastern wars. When Norway joined in the multi-nation F-16 buy several decades ago, there was an active threat to Norwegian sovereignty from the Warsaw Pact. That threat no longer exists.

I suspect that the Norwegian fighter buy will not be made on technical grounds. The fighter buy will be mostly symbolic. They will probably buy about 36-48 fighters in order to patrol their own skies. Either the Gripen or the F-35 can easily accomplish that mission. The decision will come down to what message the Norwegian government wants to project. If they want to show a Euro-centric and Scandinavian solidarity, they'll probably buy the Gripen. If they want to show a US-centric orientation with the capability to integrate and deploy around the world, they'll probably choose the F-35.

Bottom line: The Norwegian decision will reflect the desires of the Norwegian people, not the EU or NATO commanders wishes.



Remember, modern fighters stay in service for decades. So, the Gripen would be obsolete shorty after it entered service. If, Norway selected the type.......Personally, my money is on the F-35A.
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Unread post06 Nov 2008, 06:16

Meteor: Warsaw pact threat no longer exists, obviously and thankfully, but to consolidate all future oriented defense deterrence to an assumption that Norway will not go to war against UK or Sweden?!? Huh??

You don't conceive of anything in the 'derivative' periphery there, which might demand a concerted effort for modern deterrence and capability per the main focus?

Corsair:

Gripen NG as it currently looks, will not be obsolete as much as Mig-35, Su-30/34, F-15SG, EF tranche III, or F-16 block 60 will be obsolete.. Sure, you have to deal with unknown numbers of Su-35BM, Mig-31+, and some PaK-FA over the next 20 yrs, but Gripen NG will not be obsolete as you seem to imply. However, it will greatly come down to how platforms will be upgraded and most importantly, armed, over the next 15 yrs... including with passive sensors, networked communications, active anti-missile capability, anti-missile decoy/CM and of course, long-range/stand-off, multi-mode guided air-intercept and attack weapons.

If one can't afford the fast paced demand for upgraded sensors/CM/weapon upgrades in near-future, then IMHO it's best to fly Home defense sub-sonic trainers and just go with SAM, cruise and tactical ballistic missiles for deterrence.
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Unread post06 Nov 2008, 18:17

geogen wrote:Meteor: Warsaw pact threat no longer exists, obviously and thankfully, but to consolidate all future oriented defense deterrence to an assumption that Norway will not go to war against UK or Sweden?!? Huh??

You don't conceive of anything in the 'derivative' periphery there, which might demand a concerted effort for modern deterrence and capability per the main focus?

Corsair:

Gripen NG as it currently looks, will not be obsolete as much as Mig-35, Su-30/34, F-15SG, EF tranche III, or F-16 block 60 will be obsolete.. Sure, you have to deal with unknown numbers of Su-35BM, Mig-31+, and some PaK-FA over the next 20 yrs, but Gripen NG will not be obsolete as you seem to imply. However, it will greatly come down to how platforms will be upgraded and most importantly, armed, over the next 15 yrs... including with passive sensors, networked communications, active anti-missile capability, anti-missile decoy/CM and of course, long-range/stand-off, multi-mode guided air-intercept and attack weapons.

If one can't afford the fast paced demand for upgraded sensors/CM/weapon upgrades in near-future, then IMHO it's best to fly Home defense sub-sonic trainers and just go with SAM, cruise and tactical ballistic missiles for deterrence.


Clearly, the Gripen would have a much harder time vs the Su-35 or even Mig-35. (let alone PAK-FA or J-XX) Also, with all do respect the Gripen will become obsolete as more and more 5th Generation Types enter service. While today the threat appears low. If, we've have learned anything from History. Is that times change and so do threats. Let's also not forget that everyone must share the collective burden. We all do respect purchasing the Gripen doesn't support that aim..........
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Unread post06 Nov 2008, 20:34

I think the F-35 would be better but thats just my opinion. :wink:
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Unread post06 Nov 2008, 21:16

Have anybody done a side-by-side comparison of the known figures of these two fighters?
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Unread post06 Nov 2008, 22:20

I don't think that there is any doubt that the F-35 is a much superior fighter to the Gripen, and I don't think that anybody here has argued that. The question is; Is the F-35 or the Gripen the optimum fighter for Norway today?

We could argue that the F-22 is superior to the F-35, so obviously Norway should buy F-22s. We know that will not happen because of two things; Norway can't afford F-22s, and the US won't sell Norway F-22s. Those two reasons have nothing to do with combat capability. Rather, those are economic and political decisions.

The same will happen with the F-35 v Gripen decision. If it were left to a bunch of Norwegian fighter pilots to make the decision, I'm pretty sure that they would select the F-35. But they won't make the decision; Norwegian politicians will. And the politicians will do what governments all over the world do; They will balance military, economic and political benefits. As an example, witness the A400 mess in Europe. Although there was already an airlifter in production (the C-17) with far greater capabilities than the A400 will ever have, the politicians made a political and economic decision that building their own transport was the better move. The same will happen with the F-35 vs Gripen decision. Which of the two candidates makes the best technical, economic, and political case?
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Unread post06 Nov 2008, 23:16

Meteor wrote:I don't think that there is any doubt that the F-35 is a much superior fighter to the Gripen, and I don't think that anybody here has argued that. The question is; Is the F-35 or the Gripen the optimum fighter for Norway today?


The F-35 is not a fighter, it's an attack aircraft. The USAF will use it as a replacement for the F-117. Norway need a multirole fighter, not a bomb truck, that needs escort if it would have to enter an airspace with possible threat from figters.

Meteor wrote:We could argue that the F-22 is superior to the F-35, so obviously Norway should buy F-22s. We know that will not happen because of two things; Norway can't afford F-22s, and the US won't sell Norway F-22s. Those two reasons have nothing to do with combat capability. Rather, those are economic and political decisions.

The same will happen with the F-35 v Gripen decision. If it were left to a bunch of Norwegian fighter pilots to make the decision, I'm pretty sure that they would select the F-35. But they won't make the decision; Norwegian politicians will. And the politicians will do what governments all over the world do; They will balance military, economic and political benefits. As an example, witness the A400 mess in Europe. Although there was already an airlifter in production (the C-17) with far greater capabilities than the A400 will ever have, the politicians made a political and economic decision that building their own transport was the better move. The same will happen with the F-35 vs Gripen decision. Which of the two candidates makes the best technical, economic, and political case?


The A-400 is a totally different class of aircraft as the C-17. It's smaller an lighter, much less expencive, cheaper to operate, and can operate from airfields that are smaller than the C-17 needs. So your comparison is incorrect.
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Unread post06 Nov 2008, 23:41

Casey wrote:The F-35 is not a fighter, it's an attack aircraft. The USAF will use it as a replacement for the F-117. Norway need a multirole fighter, not a bomb truck, that needs escort if it would have to enter an airspace with possible threat from figters.
Welcome to the boards.. but your way wrong.

The F-35 will be replacing the F-16, F-18, F-15, AV-8B, A-10, and others. Did you notice all the fighters that it will be replacing?

While the US will be using it in a secondary role (like the F-15 / F-16 roles), all the international partners, with the possible exception of the UK, will use it as their top of the line A2A fighter. It will be able to do anything a F-16 can do... only better.
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