Finnish DefMin Interest in F-35s NOT Gripens

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loke

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Unread post15 Mar 2021, 18:21

magitsu wrote:Some very good info translated and retrieved from behind the paywall:
The Defense Forces will recommend one winner, politicians will choose

The fighter that is the most successful in the war games against a modern and strong enemy is the Air Force's and Defense Administration's proposal for a new fighter to Finland.

During 2021, the government will select the successor of the Hornet from among five fighter bidders. The final choice of Finnish political decision-makers may also be other than the proposal of the Defense Forces.

- We will only present the winner, emphasizes [Brigadier Juha-Pekka] Keränen, the Air Force's HX project manager.

If the government asks, the Defense Forces can also state, for example, the second and third placed and present the reasons for its ranking.

Keränen admits he would be astonished if the politicians chose something other than the winner of the performance comparison presented by the Air Force.

If the politicians don’t choose the Defense Forces favorite, it won't be due to the costs being too high.

All fighters up to the performance appraisal have had to pass strict limits on purchase price and life cycle costs, as well as industrial cooperation and self-sufficiency.

They will be analyzed at the same time as the war games for the manufacturers ’final bids to be submitted by the end of April. A rejected result in some area drops the candidate out of the performance appraisal.

According to Keränen, the process is carefully documented so that it treats the manufacturers participating in the tender equally and is fully traceable. If the politicians would choose other than the number one in the selection process, they would be left with the burden of proof to the direction of the manufacturers.

The Finnish Parliament has already approved an acquisition of 10 billion €, of which 9.4 billion will go to fighters and weapons and 0.6 billion to system transition and infrastructure building for the Defense Forces. The use of a fighter jet must not cost more than ten percent of the approximately € 2.5 billion defense budget each year.


Pirkkala's HX Challenge winter tests fortunately happened before the corona spread

The spread of the corona pandemic in 2020 started fortunately for the HX fighter project only after all fighters had time to fly at the Satakunta Air Command in Pirkkala, Tampere during January – February.

From that event [HX Challenge], the Air Force received invaluable information about the performance of the fighters in the difficult winter conditions of Finland.

These actual documented performance values are also the basis for simulations and war games based on them. If no value was obtained for any of the performance metrics, to be on the safe side, the Air Force assesses that capability as lower than promised. Only verified results matter, not manufacturers promotional speeches.

I wonder how Gripen E with its late development schedule could've fared well here... I'd expect several cases of manufacturer promised values downgraded to lower bound of reasonable range.

Finland has ways to mitigate a surprise missile strike

In Ilkka Remes' thriller book, the Kremlin's Fist, a surprise Russian missile strike manages to paralyze the Finnish fighters by destroying the entrances to their rock cave hangars. Fighters can't get into battle, and the power of the strategic weapon system is nullified, leading to the loss of the control of the airspace.

According to Brigadier General Juha-Pekka Keränen, this example gives a wrong picture of the defense capability. The attack couldn't be carried out without prior preparations, which would sooner or later be figured out by military intelligence.

- In a crisis situation, we would increase preparedness and decentralize equipment to different bases. We have a high readiness to start a battle with some equipment at any time, says Keränen.

Missile attacks can also be protected against by constantly changing locations in the area of ​​the air bases.

- Accurate weapon also misses accurately. However, there are not countless missiles in the style of the book of Remes. All of them won't be used to destroy bedrock, reminds Keränen.

The Air Force calculates that some ground stationary radars would inevitably be lost if a battle began. However, the fighters' own radars and other Defense Forces surveillance systems can create situational awareness during combat.

Efforts have been made to protect fighter and combat management, for example, from cyber attacks with separate networks and secure information systems that do not insert additional memory sticks.

- A fighter flight is able to communicate with each other in the air via data links, even if the connections to the ground are broken.

A cyber attack can also affect the country's electricity grid and obscure Finland. The Air Force has its own independent reserve power systems.

The goal is for the Air Force, with more than 60 fighters, to be able to keep some equipment constantly in the air around the clock. The number would vary from a flight to more than ten, depending on the fighting situation.

Bigger fighter force can be concentrated to a certain area at a certain time, if the situation requires it.


The most important part:
Resting on the shoulders of roughly 10 men

In the war game, a period of three weeks is reserved for each fighter system.

Only about ten people gather in security-classified premises, and their work will lead to a proposal of the best fighter for Finland.

Among them are officers, engineers and doctors of technology. In addition to the Air Force, the Army, the Navy and the General Staff are represented, as the fighters, as a strategic weapon system, support the entire Defense Forces battle by forming an accurate situational awareness and directing for example missiles fired by others to their targets.

From computer-based simulations of different battle situations, we move on to multi-day war games in which each entire fighter system fights an enemy in different scenarios.

The systems offered are intended to be tested against a number of different attacks.

- We do several what-if scenarios that try to anticipate how the enemy could attack, says Keränen.

The aim is for experts to find as vicious ways as possible to attack Finland and try to fight them.

It's about playing chess. The opponent tries to find the weakness of each defense system and the defender in turn strikes the attacker's weaknesses.

The activities of fighters are limited, for example, by the fact that there are weapon systems in Finland's neighboring areas, the impact of which reaches Finnish airspace.

Assistance is not assumed from others, ie war games do not take into account, for example, defense cooperation with Sweden.


- Each fighter system has weaknesses and strengths, Keränen refers to the combat value of the F-35, Super Hornet and Growler, Eurofighter, Gripen and Rafale.

Success in the war game consists of many factors.

The fighter must first be able to make it in time into the fight to use its weapons, i.e. it must have the ability to observe and maneuver when combat loaded.

Such a fighter that is survivable, but not able not get into battle in time to inflict losses on the opponent is useless.

On the other hand, a fighter must also survive battle intact and not get destroyed itself.

Upon returning to base, a fighter must be quickly refueled, rearmed, and back in the air.


Otherwise, it won't cope with waves of attacks swarming quickly into the airspace and it won't have time to fight. A fighter on the ground for too long is also in danger of being destroyed at an air base.

There are also differences in armaments. According to public data, the European fighter missile Meteor is even more effective than the American fighter missile.

However, there's lack of comparable data from real air combat. The exact verified weapon parameters are secret and known only to the representatives of the fighter project. According to Keränen, American and European missile types have their strengths and weaknesses.


Defense cooperation is not included

Keränen doesn't want to speculate about the possibility that Finnish fighters could also be based in Sweden, for example. In February, Swedish Minister of Defense Peter Hultqvist pointed out that Sweden was preparing a host country agreement with Finland that would allow the transfer of equipment between the countries.

The war game scenarios are played with the assumption that this is Finland's independent defense system operating in Finland.

It may not even make sense to protect Finnish fighters by landing in Sweden, as they may not have time to fight there. A better combat effect could be achieved by bringing Swedish fighters to Finnish bases.

Keränen doesn't take a position on the security policy issues, such as creating a deterrent to an attacker by means of defense cooperation.

However, the fighters themselves are meant to form a deterrent to those considering the attack. Trade will then be a successful part of defense, foreign and security policy if Finland does not go to war.


Fighter mix would be expensive, Fighter assembly needs to be carefully considered

In theory, Finland could have the opportunity to purchase several fighter types in the HX project.

Among other things, Finland deals directly with the US Defense Administration, in which case the order could be a combination of Super Hornet, master of electronic warfare Growler and F-35 fighter in a suitable ratio. This would result in a combination of performances that aren't present in one system.

- If I could choose for myself, there would be two different types of fighters that would be changed, even every 15 years. It's just expensive. As a small country, we cannot afford to operate it, says Keränen.

Finland is therefore not seeking such a solution for cost reasons.

Another open issue is the assembly of fighters in Finland. Many fighter manufacturers offer assembly capability as part of an industrial collaboration.

However, assembly costs Finland more than manufacturing fighters elsewhere. Thus, it may make more sense to acquire similar critical know-how for engineers other than with their own production line.

As I assumed, the lavish public offers of even the assembly of all fighters in Finland isn't being treated as a gift. It's just a covenient way to fulfill a large share of the industrial partnership requirement, but it may be a non-economical way to acquire the ultimate goal of achieving sufficient maintenance know-how.

F-35 critique balances out its future prospects

The assessment of future development prospects adds to the evaluation of fighter candidates. The fighter system should serve for up to 40 years.

Until last year, it seemed that the F-35 fighter was clearly ahead of the rest in this field with its large American order volume and convincing sales figures.

Since then, the scales can be said to have leveled off as there's growing criticism in the U.S. Air Force of the expensive F-35.

The system is surely described as a Ferrari, but the U.S. Air Force doesn’t want to drive to work with a Ferrari every day, but only use it on Sundays. A cheaper and lighter fighter would suffice for everyday needs.

In terms of features, such a fighter could be an American version of the Swedish Gripen, designed to be easy to upgrade and inexpensive to use.

The U.S. Air Force’s F-35 was originally designed to replace the aging warhorse F-16 and other obsolete aircraft types in the various branches of defense, but because the new project scope included little bit of everything and the best performance, the price and size of the fighter swelled.

Proponents of the F-35, on the other hand, point out that there would once again be a danger of a new development project that would swallow hundreds of billions of dollars, with the end result being a "new F-35" with its problems.

Among the demands of future development potential, Keränen mentions, for example, cyber-resilience and the ability to jam the opponent.

- One development path in the future is how to steer or work with unmanned vessels. It is still in the vision and development stage. This will be assessed in future development potential.

According to Keränen, these weapons are also affected by international treaties. In combat, unmanned air vehicles can be useful flying right by the side of a fighter, as they can have firepower and can take a hit on behalf of the fighter.

As the forward-looking assessment based on public data can be considered to have leveled off in advance as the uncertainty of the strongest candidate F-35 increases, the current, actual performance of the fighters is likely to be more clearly emphasized in the Air Force selection proposal.

This part probably suffers from reporter's recentism and includes a bit of wishful thinking. But it's quite clear that the competition will stay tough until the end.

https://www.kaleva.fi/suurten-panosten- ... -m/3433284

1. I don't agree that the "competitions will stay tough until the end". The Finnish Air Force will clearly recommend F-35. As I have stated previously, an air force that is given a free choice between F-35 and a 4.5 gen fighter will choose the F-35.

2. The Air Force is quite clever in making it clear that they are putting the "burden of proof" on the politicians if they do not choose the Air Force winner -- politicians hate accountability and ending up in a situation where they might be blamed for something. So this gives them a strong incentive to pick the winner the Air Force selected (on a side note, the political climate in Finland seems extremely different from e.g. Germany, where an air force official was fired for "thinking loud" about the F-35)

3. Interesting comments about "15 years" -- this is in line with what I have said in previous postings...

4. Interesting comments about "Loyal wingman" -- this is in line with what I have said in previous postings...

5. Not surprisingly, they "down-weight" the capabilities of not-yet-finished Gripen, just like Switzerland did. I wonder if they did a similar "down-weighting" of LM's claim of (2012) 25,000 USD CPFH in 2025... I would not be surprised if they "forgot" to do that....
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loke

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Unread post15 Mar 2021, 18:40

XanderCrews wrote:
magitsu wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:CSAF Brown really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Here's his latest. Now trying to redefine readiness with the CMC.
https://warontherocks.com/2021/03/redef ... s-or-lose/



i don't know if I was ready for that level of "buzzword bingo" this early. :roll:


Double speak, and double think, and paradoxes are nothing new to the military, but wow isn't this the same guy who threw his most advanced, least expensive future platform strike fighter under the bus not even a month ago in favor of some dream sheet vapor-ware legacy platform? who is this idiot? Watching this guy blunder into the F-35/Gen plus debacle, gave me zero confidence in his abilities. Real deep strategic thinking there, bud. You can definitely manage this giant force during this "critical time"


Not really happy with the service chiefs. We've spent 15 years screwing around in the sandbox, the military refuses to let go of the middle east, while screaming they don't have enough resources and are behind in everything (geewhiz you boys havn't been distracted by anything have you?) and how we need to prioritize and make tough choices, before once again making that "tough choice" of "D. All of the above". the inability to put Europe over Afghanistan, Japan over Kurdistan, and South Korea over Syria is absolutely spellbinding.



I'm not going to derail this thread anymore, this is about Finland. But boy oh boy am I not impressed with these people.

Not sure what you are complaining about. I found the "War on the Rocks" text from Brown and Berger to be quite good and to the point. For Browns previous comments, I am not sure how much of that was due to the journalists twisting his words, and/or just him being inexperienced with dealing with such a situation.

In any case, F-35 development started ages ago, and clearly things have changed since then. If they had written requirements today of an USAF multirole fighter I think they would have been quite different, in particular when it comes to range, payload, and a few other things. I think we may see an increased focus on drones and "loyal wingmen" in the future. The issue with a "loyal wingman" is that you need a manned aircraft nearby. Currently, the best candidate would be the F-35, however range is inadequate for the Asia-Pacific. Perhaps the fastest quick-fix would be to develop conformal fuel tanks for the F-35 -- this in combination with a new, adaptive/variable cycle engine should considerably increase the range. Alternatively, a stealthy, unmanned tanker should also do the job.
Link an F-35 with 4-5 "loyal wingmen", and off you go.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post15 Mar 2021, 20:42

loke wrote:Not sure what you are complaining about. I found the "War on the Rocks" text from Brown and Berger to be quite good and to the point.


Never change, loke.

For Browns previous comments, I am not sure how much of that was due to the journalists twisting his words, and/or just him being inexperienced with dealing with such a situation.


such a twist is impossible if one knows what they are doing. This is basic stuff and he botched it. if they take a hatchet to the F-35, I don't want to hear the USAF complain about readiness and aging airplanes, they should have learned with F-22 and if they haven't then there's no helping them and I have no sympathy. He walked right into a great big bear trap marked "Danger: Bear trap" he was either the smartest guy in the room and had a great trick up his sleeve, or the dumbest. And him walking back his comments, after a firestorm, signal he was not option A: smartest guy, so that leaves option B

In any case, F-35 development started ages ago, and clearly things have changed since then.


oh horseshit. for nearly 2 decades people have whined the F-35 is unneeded since the future is RPGs and IEDs in whatever-i-stan and the F-35 is gross and expensive overkill. People that have advocated the F-35 have quick to point out that its needed to fight near peer adversaries like Russia and Chine for example. Well now there are near peer adversaries and suddenly "things have changed?" Really? Did the pacific get bigger? Have the USMC not been practicing dispersed operations and the USN not building CVNs and the USAF not recapping tankers with an eye to the pacific all these years? the US Military just never looked at the global map before now?
The F-35 was good to go for 20 years and then one day the boss looked at the map and the range and carriage was a no go? what? The USAF plans to use F-35s into the 2060s but one day in 2021 they were suddenly outdated?

The reasons you list are completely yours and its more complicated than that.

Did everyone just fall for near term propaganda that doesn't add up after taking amnesia pills for a decade? "clearly things have changed" into the exact thing we have been preparing for for decades?

Image

In any case, Gripen NG/E/F development started ages ago, and clearly things have changed since then.

no? oh right...

Loke, it changed to YOU. you discovered loyal wingman and started spamming it everywhere at the same time you were complaining about the iceland detachment and the same time this CSAF scuffle started. We can even pinpoint the date "things have changed" based on your posting history


If they had written requirements today of an USAF multirole fighter I think they would have been quite different, in particular when it comes to range, payload, and a few other things.


not really no, Theres no other fighter out there that can top the F-35s range and carriage. if the USAF wants to get bigger and better its going to have to pay for that. There's a reason the F-16 exists and the USAF didn't go full F-15 and ditto with the Navy's Hornets and not full on Intruders and Tomcats.

the USAF got only a fraction of the F-22s it wanted. but surely if it had developed its own 5th gen strike fighter it would have been better than the F-35, cost less, and been more available. You can look at the Navy's A-12 as a great example of how things would have just worked out. i mean they didn't with the f-22, but in fantasyland I'm sure the USAF would have just nailed it.

People like yourself are getting way ahead of yourself because you woke up one day and decided the future was here and everything is different. We havn't even finished replacing the teen series. The F-35 is the best theyre going to have for the foreseeable future. If the F-35 has range problems and survivability problems then thats really bad news for the thousands of F-15s and F-16s and A-10s in service. And those need to be replaced first and foremost before we start looking at the F-35 follow on, or next gen or whatever. Theyre putting the cart before the horse, and if it all collapses they have no one but themselves to blame.

Luckily its all budget drama, and a lot of other things. but I'll leave you with this. (warning NSFW language) and you can see if you notice any parallels:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxQw0VoT538

I think we may see an increased focus on drones and "loyal wingmen" in the future.


What a bold guess :roll:

Watching you discover that program that still in its infancy and glob onto it reminds me of the heady days of the Gripen NG in about 2011. good times, downright nostalgic around here.


The issue with a "loyal wingman" is that you need a manned aircraft nearby. Currently, the best candidate would be the F-35, however range is inadequate for the Asia-Pacific.


Disagree, and as I said "Asia pacific" didn't just appear from no where. plus we have tankers, the boring manned variety. The first F-35 squadron in the USMC went straight to Japan. the US has had the "pacific pivot" going on for years now.

I think F-35s range is perfectly adequate for a fighter class airplane, I think bigger than that you're looking at either a revolution in engine tech, or building a fighter that's about just under the size of a strategic bomber, and that's costly. Everything could use more range, the question is can you afford it and what else gets sacrificed? And thats why things are tougher than they look. On paper, F-22 is magnificent, that's not the issue though.

Image


Perhaps the fastest quick-fix would be to develop conformal fuel tanks for the F-35 -- this in combination with a new, adaptive/variable cycle engine should considerably increase the range. Alternatively, a stealthy, unmanned tanker should also do the job.
Link an F-35 with 4-5 "loyal wingmen", and off you go.


neat.
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magitsu

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Unread post15 Mar 2021, 22:36

loke wrote:5. Not surprisingly, they "down-weight" the capabilities of not-yet-finished Gripen, just like Switzerland did. I wonder if they did a similar "down-weighting" of LM's claim of (2012) 25,000 USD CPFH in 2025... I would not be surprised if they "forgot" to do that....

There isn't any 25k number to begin with. They've acquired info about the cost factors and are going to calculate with their own method so it's sure that they are comparable.

Yes, the burden of proof to politicians in case they don't want to follow the recommendation part is smart.
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Unread post15 Mar 2021, 22:53

Another story, now actually F-35 related:
F-35 fighters do not have to be concentrated in one base in Finland, at least because it would be too expensive to adapt two bases to suit the machines.

This is stated by Scott Davis, who is the head of the aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin's Aeronautics business unit in Finland.


It has been estimated in the public that converting an air base to fit an F-35 would have cost roughly € 400-600 million abroad.

The F-35 is one of five fighter candidates to replace the Air Force F/A-18 Hornets.

“The cost of converting bases is comparable to other candidates,” Davis says.

**

The construction of the bases accounts for just over 300 million euros.

Lauri Puranen, Program Director at the Ministry of Defense, says that the Finnish Defense Forces have calculated the construction needs caused by each of the fighter candidates.

- I trust our calculations.

Puranen doesn't comment on the needs of individual fighter candidates. However, he says the construction costs needed by the different candidates are “amazingly close to each other.”

- Differences are some tens of millions of euros.

**

Concentrating new fighters to one base hasn't even been discussed, Puranen states.

**

According to Lockheed Martin Davis, the maintenance of the fighter is simple, and it's feasible to utilize Finnish conscripts.

**

Finland is able to perform all maintenance and lifecycle upgrades in Finland.

**

Maintenance involves sending the data to the manufacturer for analysis. This is done via the internet and does not require a satellite connection.

- The F-35 produces a huge amount of data, and when it comes from all user countries, it can be used to improve maintenance.

Davis stresses that no operational data is transmitted.

According to Davis, the F-35 is designed to operate for 30 days without the need to connect it to a maintenance data network. In times of crisis, this can be stretched.

https://www.kaleva.fi/hornetin-seuraaja ... an/3437163
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Unread post15 Mar 2021, 23:14

loke wrote:1. I don't agree that the "competitions will stay tough until the end". The Finnish Air Force will clearly recommend F-35. As I have stated previously, an air force that is given a free choice between F-35 and a 4.5 gen fighter will choose the F-35.


never say never

2. The Air Force is quite clever in making it clear that they are putting the "burden of proof" on the politicians if they do not choose the Air Force winner -- politicians hate accountability and ending up in a situation where they might be blamed for something. So this gives them a strong incentive to pick the winner the Air Force selected (on a side note, the political climate in Finland seems extremely different from e.g. Germany, where an air force official was fired for "thinking loud" about the F-35)


they didn't pull a Canada

3. Interesting comments about "15 years" -- this is in line with what I have said in previous postings...

4. Interesting comments about "Loyal wingman" -- this is in line with what I have said in previous postings...


You suggested they lease Gripen Es that aren't yet in service or anywhere near being built that Sweden would pay for, buy UAVs, and then buy airplanes not yet in existence with no clue about what their cost or performance or availability will be. "this is in line" LOL yeah, good one.

5. Not surprisingly, they "down-weight" the capabilities of not-yet-finished Gripen, just like Switzerland did.


Yeah, being in service is actually pretty important it turns out. I don't think the swiss "down weighted" them. You have to be there to be "down weighted" right?


I wonder if they did a similar "down-weighting" of LM's claim of (2012) 25,000 USD CPFH in 2025... I would not be surprised if they "forgot" to do that....


not how Finland works and its not 2025 yet-- good try though. 2025 will be just one or two year away from the FOC Gripen E though. so thats nice. its smart for Finland to look at what it will cost for Finland to operate the jet. don't really the implication of what "forgotten" with the Fins in HX, that's pretty nasty and without evidence.

But we do have plenty of evidence of Saab "forgetting" to tell us what their airplane even costs flyway. "forgetting" to update their CPFH numbers. "Forgetting" to not reblog wild claims on the internet "Forgetting to include other maint. costs in their public pitches. No wonder you think everyone "forgets" so often :mrgreen: its like a battered wife who thinks all husbands are abusive
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 08:37

XanderCrews wrote:
loke wrote:1. I don't agree that the "competitions will stay tough until the end". The Finnish Air Force will clearly recommend F-35. As I have stated previously, an air force that is given a free choice between F-35 and a 4.5 gen fighter will choose the F-35.


never say never

It's 99.99% certain that Finland will buy F-35. If you had known Finland and Finnish politics a bit better you would have agreed. The probability of Finland buying F-35 is probably higher than the probability of partner Canada buying F-35... although I would put Canada at more than 90%, they are after all a partner country.

3. Interesting comments about "15 years" -- this is in line with what I have said in previous postings...

4. Interesting comments about "Loyal wingman" -- this is in line with what I have said in previous postings...


You suggested they lease Gripen Es that aren't yet in service or anywhere near being built that Sweden would pay for, buy UAVs, and then buy airplanes not yet in existence with no clue about what their cost or performance or availability will be. "this is in line" LOL yeah, good one.


Nope, that's not what I suggested. I suggested they should do a competition 15 years later between F-35 and other modern fighters like the Tempest and NGAD. Perhaps F-35 would have won also 15 years down the line, who knows? The thing is that it's not going away, so delaying the buy with some years would not make them "lose" the opportunity to buy F-35 as you seem to imply, it will still be there, but they would gain the opportunity to compare it against other more modern jets. Also, in 15 years the implications of integrating loyal wingmen and other drones will become more clear. Lease of Gripen E was just an example, and probably the most "realistic" one since I don't think the USN have any Super Hornet to spare -- neither does France have any Rafale to spare. Also, Sweden could have offered a better lease deal. Anyway, it was just a creative "what-if" idea, nothing to get upset about. Finland is on track to purchase the F-35, of that I am sure. It will be interesting to see how many they will buy. Norway will operate 48 F-35, could afford one air base only, with a defense budget much much larger than Finland, and a non-existing army. Wait, we got 4 frigates , that's where the money went!! Strange then that the very capable Finnish corvettes they are building will be equipped at roughly the same level as the tiny Norwegian frigates... :bang:)
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 08:51

XanderCrews wrote:
In any case, F-35 development started ages ago, and clearly things have changed since then.


oh horseshit. for nearly 2 decades people have whined the F-35 is unneeded since the future is RPGs and IEDs in whatever-i-stan and the F-35 is gross and expensive overkill. People that have advocated the F-35 have quick to point out that its needed to fight near peer adversaries like Russia and Chine for example. Well now there are near peer adversaries and suddenly "things have changed?" Really? Did the pacific get bigger? Have the USMC not been practicing dispersed operations and the USN not building CVNs and the USAF not recapping tankers with an eye to the pacific all these years? the US Military just never looked at the global map before now?
The F-35 was good to go for 20 years and then one day the boss looked at the map and the range and carriage was a no go? what? The USAF plans to use F-35s into the 2060s but one day in 2021 they were suddenly outdated?

The reasons you list are completely yours and its more complicated than that.

Did everyone just fall for near term propaganda that doesn't add up after taking amnesia pills for a decade? "clearly things have changed" into the exact thing we have been preparing for for decades?

not really no, Theres no other fighter out there that c
Disagree, and as I said "Asia pacific" didn't just appear from no where. plus we have tankers, the boring manned variety. The first F-35 squadron in the USMC went straight to Japan. the US has had the "pacific pivot" going on for years now.

I think F-35s range is perfectly adequate for a fighter class airplane, I think bigger than that you're looking at either a revolution in engine tech, or building a fighter that's about just under the size of a strategic bomber, and that's costly. Everything could use more range, the question is can you afford it and what else gets sacrificed? And thats why things are tougher than they look. On paper, F-22 is magnificent, that's not the issue though.

You seem to miss a big point -- until very recently, people did not really appreciate how quickly China is ramping up, and the capabilities they have built in the last few years, putting all US bases in the region at risk.

This is "new information" and was not known to anybody when the F-35 program started. How could they have known? No doubt the F-35 is the best fighter currently in production, also for the Asia Pacific. However pointing to the fact that the F-16 is even less suited to the Asia Pacific than the F-35 does not really address the issue at hand -- that even the F-35 has some weak points in the Asia Pacific region, in particular range and payload.

Since the F-35 is currently the "best there is" at the moment, I am guessing the USAF will start producing them in large numbers once block 4 becomes available. Does not make much sense to crank up production now, just to upgrade to block 4 a few months later.

However the F-35 does not cut it by itself. It will need support of NGAD and loyal wingmen.

You are clearly underestimating China... in a few years your eyes will open, and you will see the stark realities of the situation. China can outspend the US, just like the US could outspend the USSR. That's why I in a previous post said the US had to be smarter about how they spend money. Loyal wingmen will be very capable, much cheaper than F-35 and help boost numbers.
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 10:16

XanderCrews wrote:
loke wrote:I wonder if they did a similar "down-weighting" of LM's claim of (2012) 25,000 USD CPFH in 2025... I would not be surprised if they "forgot" to do that....


not how Finland works and its not 2025 yet-- good try though. 2025 will be just one or two year away from the FOC Gripen E though. so thats nice. its smart for Finland to look at what it will cost for Finland to operate the jet. don't really the implication of what "forgotten" with the Fins in HX, that's pretty nasty and without evidence.

But we do have plenty of evidence of Saab "forgetting" to tell us what their airplane even costs flyway. "forgetting" to update their CPFH numbers. "Forgetting" to not reblog wild claims on the internet "Forgetting to include other maint. costs in their public pitches. No wonder you think everyone "forgets" so often :mrgreen: its like a battered wife who thinks all husbands are abusive


Yes. Each competitor has to prove (with actual and factual data) that the package that they offer can be operated within Finnish defence budget. That's means this must be done in less than about 270 million euros or about 320 million US dollars a year.

Let's calculate. Finnish Hornets fly about 150 hours a year on average. Multiply that with say 60 aircraft. That means the 36,000 dollar CPFH would be about the maximum possible without lowering the number of aircraft or flight hours. Of course both could be done if performance doesn't suffer too much. F-35A CPFH also includes earliest jets, which increase the average flight hour costs due to them needing more maintenance and upgrades. It also seems the trend is downwards and for Finland CPFH would likely be well within reasonable limits. And there is no uncertainty in those numbers as those include currently several hundred F-35s flying operationally around the world all the time. We don't need to trust LM in anything as FAF people can just call any of the dozen F-35 operator organizations and ask them about operational costs. Can we say the same about Gripen E? :wink:
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 10:49

loke wrote:You seem to miss a big point -- until very recently, people did not really appreciate how quickly China is ramping up, and the capabilities they have built in the last few years, putting all US bases in the region at risk.

This is "new information" and was not known to anybody when the F-35 program started. How could they have known? No doubt the F-35 is the best fighter currently in production, also for the Asia Pacific. However pointing to the fact that the F-16 is even less suited to the Asia Pacific than the F-35 does not really address the issue at hand -- that even the F-35 has some weak points in the Asia Pacific region, in particular range and payload.

Since the F-35 is currently the "best there is" at the moment, I am guessing the USAF will start producing them in large numbers once block 4 becomes available. Does not make much sense to crank up production now, just to upgrade to block 4 a few months later.

However the F-35 does not cut it by itself. It will need support of NGAD and loyal wingmen.

You are clearly underestimating China... in a few years your eyes will open, and you will see the stark realities of the situation. China can outspend the US, just like the US could outspend the USSR. That's why I in a previous post said the US had to be smarter about how they spend money. Loyal wingmen will be very capable, much cheaper than F-35 and help boost numbers.


How do you envision such "loyal wingmen" than have long enough range for Pacific, have high payload, be very capable and also be much cheaper? What would make them much cheaper? What capabilties do you envision they would have and how could those be made cheaper? No current project seems to be much more than technology demonstrators and fairly low performance systems compared to say F-35.

Making a fighter that has significantly higher payload and range than F-35 will mean significantly more expensive aircraft to buy and operate. I think F-35 is perfect blend of payload, range and other capabilities while having reasonable costs.
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 11:35

hornetfinn wrote:
loke wrote:You seem to miss a big point -- until very recently, people did not really appreciate how quickly China is ramping up, and the capabilities they have built in the last few years, putting all US bases in the region at risk.

This is "new information" and was not known to anybody when the F-35 program started. How could they have known? No doubt the F-35 is the best fighter currently in production, also for the Asia Pacific. However pointing to the fact that the F-16 is even less suited to the Asia Pacific than the F-35 does not really address the issue at hand -- that even the F-35 has some weak points in the Asia Pacific region, in particular range and payload.

Since the F-35 is currently the "best there is" at the moment, I am guessing the USAF will start producing them in large numbers once block 4 becomes available. Does not make much sense to crank up production now, just to upgrade to block 4 a few months later.

However the F-35 does not cut it by itself. It will need support of NGAD and loyal wingmen.

You are clearly underestimating China... in a few years your eyes will open, and you will see the stark realities of the situation. China can outspend the US, just like the US could outspend the USSR. That's why I in a previous post said the US had to be smarter about how they spend money. Loyal wingmen will be very capable, much cheaper than F-35 and help boost numbers.


How do you envision such "loyal wingmen" than have long enough range for Pacific, have high payload, be very capable and also be much cheaper? What would make them much cheaper? What capabilties do you envision they would have and how could those be made cheaper? No current project seems to be much more than technology demonstrators and fairly low performance systems compared to say F-35.

Making a fighter that has significantly higher payload and range than F-35 will mean significantly more expensive aircraft to buy and operate. I think F-35 is perfect blend of payload, range and other capabilities while having reasonable costs.

First, note that I am not advocating for "replacing" F-35 with loyal wingmen, but rather supplement them. The point is that the US will not be able to afford producing and operating a sufficiently large enough number of F-35 over the next 20-30 years, especially considering the Asia Pacific theater.

Since the loyal wingmen will be much cheaper than the F-35, they do not need to have high payload, that's only needed for manned fighters which tend to be more expensive than unmanned. The loyal wingmen also don't need to have the same sensor suite as the F-35, since the F-35 (or NGAD) can provide that. A large number of cheap loyal wingmen supplementing F-35/NGAD would tip the balance in favor of the US and allies.

If you look at development times of unmanned fighters they are indeed shorter than for manned, in particular using modern "digital twin" technologies. Low cost will come with large numbers produced.

If the US don't have loyal wingmen within 15 years, they will struggle to maintain the status quo in the Asia Pacific region. Necessity is the mother of invention. After the end of the cold war, the US started slacking. Now it's time to gain speed and re-invent. If not, it will be game over for US global dominance, and China will dominate.

Adm. Phil Davidson, head of U.S. forces in the Pacific, warned in testimony to Congress last week that China could invade Taiwan by 2027 — a significant acceleration compared to officials’ previous estimates of 2035.

Despite a global pandemic, in 2020 China commissioned 25 advanced new ships, including cruisers, destroyers and ballistic missile submarines — capabilities designed to keep America and its allies that might interfere on Taiwan’s behalf at bay, a second senior defense official said. Meanwhile, Beijing is integrating its new equipment into an increasingly sophisticated force, demonstrated in a loudly publicized live-fire event last fall in which Chinese forces took out an “enemy” with ballistic missiles, and developing a theater command structure much like that of the U.S. military.

“None of those are definitive and says, ‘We think we’re going to go by here,’ but we think that the circumstances become more viable in the near term,” the second defense official said. “If we look only at the longstanding Chinese messaging of 2035 at the soonest, 2049 realistically for a world class military, we are deceiving ourselves and we run the risk of falling into a misdirection from Beijing.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/03/1 ... wan-476170
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 12:33

magitsu wrote:Another story, now actually F-35 related:
F-35 fighters do not have to be concentrated in one base in Finland, at least because it would be too expensive to adapt two bases to suit the machines.

This is stated by Scott Davis, who is the head of the aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin's Aeronautics business unit in Finland.


It has been estimated in the public that converting an air base to fit an F-35 would have cost roughly € 400-600 million abroad.

The F-35 is one of five fighter candidates to replace the Air Force F/A-18 Hornets.

“The cost of converting bases is comparable to other candidates,” Davis says.

**

The construction of the bases accounts for just over 300 million euros.

Lauri Puranen, Program Director at the Ministry of Defense, says that the Finnish Defense Forces have calculated the construction needs caused by each of the fighter candidates.

- I trust our calculations.

Puranen doesn't comment on the needs of individual fighter candidates. However, he says the construction costs needed by the different candidates are “amazingly close to each other.”

- Differences are some tens of millions of euros.

**

Concentrating new fighters to one base hasn't even been discussed, Puranen states.

**

According to Lockheed Martin Davis, the maintenance of the fighter is simple, and it's feasible to utilize Finnish conscripts.

**

Finland is able to perform all maintenance and lifecycle upgrades in Finland.

**

Maintenance involves sending the data to the manufacturer for analysis. This is done via the internet and does not require a satellite connection.

- The F-35 produces a huge amount of data, and when it comes from all user countries, it can be used to improve maintenance.

Davis stresses that no operational data is transmitted.

According to Davis, the F-35 is designed to operate for 30 days without the need to connect it to a maintenance data network. In times of crisis, this can be stretched.

https://www.kaleva.fi/hornetin-seuraaja ... an/3437163


Nice one, thank you magitsu!

Very interesting that all competitors seem to be so close cost-wise all around like stated many times by Puranen for example.

I also have zero doubts about Finnish conscripts doing much of the basic maintenance work. Pretty much all of them are highly educated, smart and motivated people. Of course there are career professionals who oversee what they do and also do the most demanding maintenance tasks.
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 16:03

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Whoa whoa whoa! Timeout. Loke you are spreading BS and I'm going to correct it, even if this is not the best thread for it.


loke wrote:You seem to miss a big point -- until very recently, people did not really appreciate how quickly China is ramping up, and the capabilities they have built in the last few years, putting all US bases in the region at risk.


That is absolute BS. We had war game going on in the late 1990s about China and South Pacific. We have had analysts talking for decades about China. The US Navy has been screeching about China for decades if anything because they needed a new boogie man. This is nothing new in US Military circles. We had the "pacific pivot"

In the fall of 2011, the Obama Administration issued a series of announcements indicating that the United States would be expanding and intensifying its already significant role in the Asia-Pacific, particularly in the southern part of the region. The fundamental goal underpinning the shift is to devote more effort to influencing the development of the Asia-Pacific's norms and rules, particularly as China emerges as an ever-more influential regional power. Given that one purpose of the "pivot" or "rebalancing" toward the Asia-Pacific is to deepen U.S. credibility in the region at a time of fiscal constraint, Congress's oversight and appropriations roles, as well as its approval authority over free trade agreements, will help determine to what extent the Administration's plans are implemented and how various trade-offs are managed. Areas of Continuity. Much of the "pivot" to the Asia-Pacific is a continuation and expansion of policies already undertaken by previous administrations, as well as earlier in President Obama's term. Since President Obama's inauguration in 2009, the United States has given considerable time and emphasis to Southeast Asia and to regional multilateral institutions. Under President George W. Bush, the United States emphasized the strengthening of relations with existing allies in Asia, began moving toward a more flexible and sustainable troop presence in the region, concluded a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea, brought the United States into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) FTA negotiations, and forged new partnerships with India and Vietnam. All of these steps have been furthered by the Obama Administration. Transformational Elements. That said, there are a number of new aspects of the shift. The most dramatic lie in the military sphere. As part of a plan to expand the U.S. presence in the southwestern Pacific and make it more flexible, the Obama Administration has announced new deployments or rotations of troops and equipment to Australia and Singapore. U.S. officials have also pledged that planned and future reductions in defense spending will not come at the expense of the Asia-Pacific (nor of the Middle East). Additionally, underlying the "pivot" is a broader geographic vision of the Asia-Pacific region that includes the Indian Ocean and many of its coastal states. Benefits, Costs, and Risks. Underlying the "pivot" is a conviction that the center of gravity for U.S. foreign policy, national security, and economic interests is being realigned and shifting towards Asia, and that U.S. strategy and priorities need to be adjusted accordingly. For many observers, it is imperative that the United States give more emphasis to the Asia-Pacific. Indeed, for years, many countries in the region have encouraged the United States to step up its activity to provide a balance to China's rising influence. There are a number of risks to the "pivot," however. In an era of constrained U.S. defense resources, an increased U.S. military emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region might result in a reduction in U.S. military capacity in other parts of the world. Another budgetary consideration is that plans to restructure U.S. military deployments in Asia and minimize cuts in the Navy may run up against more restrictive funding constraints than plans yet assume. Additionally, the perception among many that the "rebalancing" is targeted against China could strengthen the hand of Chinese hard-liners. Such an impression could also potentially make it more difficult for the United States to gain China's cooperation on a range of issues. Additionally, the prominence the Obama Administration has given to the initiative has raised the costs to the United States if it or successor administrations fail to follow through on public pledges made, particularly in the military realm

People have been talking about China since the fall of the USSR as the next national defense priority. We have augmented and moved more bases to the pacific including a permanent presence in Australia .

And this is before we get into all the Chinese ally, North Korean games that have been on going again for decades as well.

Put simply? We knew China was "ramping up" because we have been watching it happen. We can read a chart. Line go up

This is "new information" and was not known to anybody when the F-35 program started.


Absolutely lying.

How could they have known?


how could they have known the Pacific was big? is this a serious question?

We've known for YEARS. That communist nation of a billion people didn't just spring up. Again you are spreading falsehoods to create a narrative that was never true. People have been calling this for DECADES. In fact people were making fun of the Navy in the 2000s because they desperately wanted a foe to get funding and budget against.


No doubt the F-35 is the best fighter currently in production, also for the Asia Pacific. However pointing to the fact that the F-16 is even less suited to the Asia Pacific than the F-35 does not really address the issue at hand -- that even the F-35 has some weak points in the Asia Pacific region, in particular range and payload.


Again, you're pushing a narrative that doesn't line up with historical facts. Its not any secret the pacific is large. world war II in the pacific was the largest battlefield in human history. we had concerns about the F-22s range in the pacific decades ago. just like all things in the pacific are a range concern... the pacific is "rather big" and we "kind of knew that" to use cheeky british understatement.




Since the F-35 is currently the "best there is" at the moment, I am guessing the USAF will start producing them in large numbers once block 4 becomes available. Does not make much sense to crank up production now, just to upgrade to block 4 a few months later.


hopefully

However the F-35 does not cut it by itself. It will need support of NGAD and loyal wingmen.


You're clearly the expert on China as you think it only suddenly "sprung up overnight" and no one was watching.


You are clearly underestimating China...


BULLSHIT. At any given moment 2/3 of the USMC is oriented on pacific. We haven't been talking about Invading New Zealand the last 20 years. What do you think we've been doing?

in a few years your eyes will open, and you will see the stark realities of the situation.


Yes Loki, as a US Marine who was actually involved in the Pacific I am really happy you could enlighten me on my job from civilian-land, Norway. its serious? you don't say? You really think you're the only guy in the world who sees it? Think people haven't been warning about this for a long, long time?

What do you think the US Navy and Marines have been talking about outside GWOT the last 20 years? What do you think all the budget battles for the "unneeded to fight terror" gear acquisitions are about? what do you think PACAF has been doing or the Korean garrisons? Stark realities of the situation?? What you think we have been preparing for? cookie making? i know better than you the realities of war.

Let me explain to you whats happening. Other than Covid theres not many surprises here. What you're seeing is a military that has for years planned for china (the accuracy of those plans it always up for debate of course) but its now finally "here" and what the military is doing is acting like it came out of nowhere in order to get funding. And you fell for it because you seem really prone to Propaganda like most Gripen fans. Its not your fault, you just don't learn from it. Right now the biggest grift is not the "surprise rise" of china, its whats being pitched to get funds. its taking advantage of the situation to get money in an ever tougher fiscal environment.

That's what you're seeing. And you're reacting to the stimulus like you've been conditioned to do.

with China I didn't "see this coming" I watched it happen, like lots of people. its just finally "ripe" enough to pick. The only thing thats "changed" is that the Pacific that has been on the backburner in the background, has now finally officially moved to the front. But the idea of going to war with China predates the F-35 by a wide margin. You didn't really think we were making the F-35 to fight over Afghanistan did you? F-35 is the first post USSR clean sheet fighter design. We weren't building it to take on Russian Oligarchs. None of this is from "out of nowhere" but the Military sees a political opportunity. What do you think the wargames and intel winning and endless exercises and reams of intel reports are for?

China can outspend the US, just like the US could outspend the USSR. That's why I in a previous post said the US had to be smarter about how they spend money. Loyal wingmen will be very capable, much cheaper than F-35 and help boost numbers.


Have you applied to headquarters? work on your powerpoint slides, or we can just recycle the ones we have been using for years and years already. Dust off the 1999 Shinseki war games and get going. We are sending a helicopter to come pick you up now. Thank goodness you were paying attention for the rest of us sorry lot!! I didn't even realize I had been stationed in the Pacific until yesterday!

Spare me. You can float Gripen propoganda all you want' but don't speak decisively about things you know nothing about and clearly don't understand. You don't get to rewrite history, that's saab's job.
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 17:24

The F-35’s greatest operational limitations are likely to be exposed in the Indo-Pacific where the distances involved in potential US combat operations against Chinese forces make all tactical fighters uncomfortably dependent on vulnerable tanker support. This is a factor which may reduce F-35 procurement in favour of more B-21s and UCAVs

https://rusi.org/publication/rusi-defen ... xaggerated

In a new report titled “Thunder without Lightning,” (PDF) authored by Bill French and Daniel Edgren for the National Security Network (NSN), argues that the United States’ fifth-generation fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), has major shortcomings that will leave it particularly ill-suited to project air power in the Asia-Pacific region. [...]

In short, the F-35 just doesn’t have the right feature set to thrive in the geographically expansive war-fighting scenarios foreseen in the Asia-Pacific.

Specifically, the authors write that “The F-35’s short range means that it will be of limited use in geographically expansive theaters like the Asia-Pacific or against so-called anti-access threats whereby adversaries can target forward airbases.”

https://thediplomat.com/2015/08/why-the ... a-pacific/

Asked if there will be two variants of the NGAD—one for Europe, where combat ranges are small, and one for the Indo-Pacific, where distances are great—Brown said “the goal is to provide … as much range as possible.” A longer-legged aircraft “provides you additional options” for basing, and will require fewer tankers, adding to the force’s flexibility.

https://www.airforcemag.com/tacair-stud ... ge-needed/

In the long run, if expeditionary operations are truly the future mode
of USAF employment, it may be desirable to acquire a fleet of combat
aircraft that is better suited to the demands of long-range operations.
The current mix of aircraft, designed during the Cold War, is optimized to fight a relatively short-range air campaign in Central Europe or on the Korean peninsula. The next generation of USAF
fighter and attack aircraft, the F-22 and F-35 JSF, will likely have
about the same range as current systems, making them no more capable of conducting extended-range operations without heavy tanker support. The USAF may want to consider whether improving
its flexibility and capability for challenging future expeditionary operations makes it worthwhile to consider a new generation of longer-range, higher-speed combat aircraft

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/p ... MR1216.pdf

Yes the long ranges of Asia Pacific has been known, and F-35 is not really suited. One can argue why (lack of foresight/hindsight, lack of money, lack of technology, lack of imagination) but in any case, here we are.

I suspect that although the US has been aware of the potential of China for a long time, they did not really predict the rapid military growth we've seen recently, and the implications.

China's navy launched 25 major ships in 2020 in spite of the pandemic. They have made a lot of progress on the "carrier killers" but also systems to take out Guam and other bases.

If the USMC has known for decades that China would reach this level in 2021,why did they recently decide to retire attack helicopters from 2005?? Or did they not see this coming in 2005...
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 17:40

loke wrote:First, note that I am not advocating for "replacing" F-35 with loyal wingmen, but rather supplement them.


This was going to happen anyway. Youre advocating for the sun to rise in the East, and then declaring you "Called that" when it inevitably happens.

The point is that the US will not be able to afford producing and operating a sufficiently large enough number of F-35 over the next 20-30 years, especially considering the Asia Pacific theater.


Not worried about F-35 operational cost for a myriad of reasons, not least of which is the same technological breakthroughs you're talking about.

Since the loyal wingmen will be much cheaper than the F-35, they do not need to have high payload, that's only needed for manned fighters which tend to be more expensive than unmanned. The loyal wingmen also don't need to have the same sensor suite as the F-35, since the F-35 (or NGAD) can provide that. A large number of cheap loyal wingmen supplementing F-35/NGAD would tip the balance in favor of the US and allies.

If you look at development times of unmanned fighters they are indeed shorter than for manned, in particular using modern "digital twin" technologies. Low cost will come with large numbers produced.

If the US don't have loyal wingmen within 15 years, they will struggle to maintain the status quo in the Asia Pacific region.


Again this is nothing new under the sun.

Necessity is the mother of invention. After the end of the cold war, the US started slacking. Now it's time to gain speed and re-invent. If not, it will be game over for US global dominance, and China will dominate.



This is where is start to get a little frustrated. The US started slacking?

*we spend about 3 quarters of a trillion dollars annually.

*We are the largest users of armed, combat UAVs on the planet and have been killing people with them in the mideast and southern asia for the last nearly 20 years now along with ISR

*We have been moving with UAVs for decades now and only continue to expand on them

*We created 2 fifth generation fighters, one of them is the largest defense program in history

*of that last 5th generation fighter, the F-35 it features things most people said we would never need or use and came under fire for like STOVL for example

*The USMC went to an "All in" strategy on the pacific from a "mostly in" strategy we have been using for over a decade. (this started in earnest under General Amos, who once again being ahead of his time regarding china was maligned by many)

*we created over 600 Super Hornets, and 100 Growlers. along with ships and a new class of CVN not to mention submarines

*we are SLOWLY evolving out nukes, another "You'll never need those silly things!" program that might come in handy.

*We tried and failed to field the EFV. it was canceled because it couldn't be used to kill terrorists. speaking of:

*every damn program we tried to create and put forward caught a ton of $hit because it wasn't good for fighting terrorists. We had to run uphill the whole damn way, and now every c0ckscuker that questioned what were doing is now shouting that we weren't prepping for big wars is hitting the panic switch on China (though to be fair we want them doing that)

*everyone in the military that was saying "it won't be IEDs and RPGs forever is being vindicated, and everything we fought to keep or advance is luckily around.

*A lot of people in the military impaled their careers advocating for the future big war instead of the present terror war. I mean that. a lot of people took one for the team. General Moseley, General Amos, lots of people big and small pointed out that GWOT was a phase.

Resting on our laurels my a$$. We worked our tails off. We sacrificed, And then people with no clue come in and start saying ridiculous stuff. its one of the reason Trump got elected. The US was spending and building and arming into oblivion, only to have weak allies barely bother to honor their commitments, while chiding us all along the way.

its a no win situation on one hand:

The US is a militaristic empire with a massive runaway MIC that is completely oversized, we outspend the next countries by orders of magnitude, our navy has a weight more than the next 10 combined, we don't need "wonder weapons" and has our allies wondering why we don't have nice things like healthcare and other lollipops, since the US is backward violent and primitive, you americans and your guns :roll:

and on the other hand:

We are woefully unprepared, we barely spent any money or developed any new weapons we rested on our laruels, we developed and employed hundreds of UAVs -- but didn't do it hard enough. We upped our military's spending massively while nearly everyone else cut, yet STILL we didn't spend enough. We havn't invested in new weapons, other than all those new weapons. but we should have bought even more, even harder. we've spent over a 10 trillion dollars the last 13 years or so, yet bought absolutely nothing. its like the US didn't even bother building thousands of airplanes that are 4.5 and 5th gen. And luckily bringing our allies into the 21st century along with us. Don't worry boys, we will do all the heavy lifting, but if you could at least help us load the barbell...

This is madness. We can and will do more, but to act like we haven't done anything while eating crap the whole way? give me a break. if "resting on our laurels" is what we've done the last 25 years, we need to "rest" more. Thank god we actually invested and persisted with F-35. if it was up to some people we would be dropping "crates of handgrenades" out of Cessna cubs and bringing back prop jobs to strafe ISIS while letting everything else fall away.

and it was others like me that kept saying not to throw the baby out with the bathwater and the GWOT was a sideshow. That we needed "Waste" like the F-35, we needed Osprey, We needed F-22, we needed EFV, We Needed UAVs for both big and small taskings. Maybe we didn't need MRAPs and A-10s. (remember that? when the mean old USAF tried to get rid of the A-10 because it didn't work for China? was that 2014? 2015?)


Adm. Phil Davidson, head of U.S. forces in the Pacific, warned in testimony to Congress last week that China could invade Taiwan by 2027 — a significant acceleration compared to officials’ previous estimates of 2035.

Despite a global pandemic, in 2020 China commissioned 25 advanced new ships, including cruisers, destroyers and ballistic missile submarines — capabilities designed to keep America and its allies that might interfere on Taiwan’s behalf at bay, a second senior defense official said. Meanwhile, Beijing is integrating its new equipment into an increasingly sophisticated force, demonstrated in a loudly publicized live-fire event last fall in which Chinese forces took out an “enemy” with ballistic missiles, and developing a theater command structure much like that of the U.S. military.

“None of those are definitive and says, ‘We think we’re going to go by here,’ but we think that the circumstances become more viable in the near term,” the second defense official said. “If we look only at the longstanding Chinese messaging of 2035 at the soonest, 2049 realistically for a world class military, we are deceiving ourselves and we run the risk of falling into a misdirection from Beijing.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/03/1 ... wan-476170[/quote]

yeah they're moving around the arbitrarily set western timelines to create a sense of urgency to get more funding. I have to act surprised by this. In fact if any asks I'm officially terrified and stunned at Chinese military improvements (TM). That's an important part of Military Intelligence. Spending years gathering and analyzing data and briefing your superiors. But then you have to be "surprised" about it. Rome wasn't built in a day, but China sprung up overnight. yes, sir! How could the most sophisticated intelligence apparatus miss this?

Well we didn't. but we have to pretend we did.
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