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Showing posts from December, 2013

Merry Christmas!

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Wishing everybody a Merry Cristmas, Happy Holidays, and a Fantastic New Year!  
I'll leave you with this:  http://www.noradsanta.org/

The Gripen gets a Brazilian (sale)!

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It looks like Saab has another customer.

Hot off of the Dassault Rafale being disqualified from its F-X2 fighter competition, Brazil has decided to declare Saab's Gripen as the winner.

With the Rafale gone, and the F-18E/F Super Hornet weighed down with the extra baggage of limited technology transfer and...  Uh...  American wiretapping,  The Gripen's victory isn't much of a surprise.


Will this lead to development of the Sea Gripen?  Will the increased orders help secure the Gripen NG's development and help Saab lower costs even more?  Will this free up Saab's marketing department to start working on Canada next?

Let's hope so.

RAND study: Are joint fighter programs even worth it?

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One of the driving forces behind the JSF program has been the effort to save money by amalgamating several different fighter replacement projects into a single effort.  The idea makes sense, in theory.  Why develop two, three, or four separate aircraft when you can develop a single platform capable of all requirements?  Not only is there a promise of saving development costs, but a common platform also promises to be cheaper in the long run as well, with economies of scale providing cheaper construction and sustainment costs.

This is the theory.  Reality has proven to be much different.

A new study performed by the RAND think tank questions the logic behind "Joint Fighter Programs".    Its conclusion:  Joint fighter programs end up being far more expensive in the long run.  Many don't work at all.

Let's look at the TFX program responsible for the development of the F-111 "Aardvark.  The TFX program was intended amalgamate two seemingly similar projects.  The fi…

Looks like the Rafale is out of the running in Brazil.

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A decision still seems to be a ways off for for Brazil's F-X2 fighter competition.  Intended to replace its interim second hand Mirage 2000Cs (Brazil's Mirage IIIs have been retired), Brazil has been considering the Dassault Rafale, the Boeing F-18E/F Super Hornet, and the Saab Gripen E/F.  It now looks like the Rafale will no longer be considered due to price concerns.

This is bad news for Dassault, which hasn't seen its deal with India move as smooth at it would like, and French production has been slowed for budgetary reasons.  The Rafale is on the list of potential fighter choices for Canada and other countries, but its increasingly looking like a longshot when pitted against industry giants like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and the Eurofighter consortium.

The Rafale would have been a great fit for Brazil.  Transition from its current Mirage fleet would have been a snap, and the Rafale M would make a great contender to replace aging A-4 Skyhawks in use on Brazil's Sãu…

Canada's fighter jet "reset"... One year later.

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One year ago today, Canada's plan to buy 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jets was "reset" under concerns of costs and suitability.  The federal government promised a "National Fighter Jet Procurement Secretariat" that would do a in depth look at all the options available and come up with a plan to purchase the best fighter for Canada.

So, what has happened in the last year to bring Canada closer to a proper CF-18 replacement?



Okay.  Maybe a little more than that.  But not much.

FEBRUARY 22nd The entire F-35 fleet was grounded over concerns about crack found in the engine.  This was determined to be a "minor" issue, and the fleet was eventually cleared for flight again.
FEBRUARY 25th Time magazine publishes an in depth look at the "Most Expensive Weapon Ever Built".  While the article doesn't focus on Canada's involvement with the JSF program, it does bring to light three glaring issues with the F-35 program.  First, the …

Saab and Boeing team up for T-X... And beyond?

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For those of you that have missed it, big news happened the other day.  After a few months of dropping hints and some wild speculation, Boeing and Saab have officially announced that they are forming a joint partnership to develop a contender for the USAF's T-X program.

Both companies could use the boost.  Boeing hasn't had the best of luck selling fighters lately.  Meanwhile, Saab seems to really have trouble locking down Gripen sales.  With T-X numbers expected to run anywhere from 350-1000, it's likely to keep both companies in the fighter 'business for the foreseeable future.


Surprisingly, Boeing and Saab have announced that their T-X bid will be an all new, "clean sheet" design.  Many, including myself, Guessed that Saab and Boeing would merely offer a stripped down Gripen.  This would have the benefit of offering a proven, low cost design with very little risk involved.  The Gripen is already used for the Empire Test Pilot School in the U.K, so why no…

Revisionist history... Should we have bought the CF-18?

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the CF-18 Hornet really the best aircraft for Canada over the last 30-odd years?  It's hard to imagine the RCAF without it, but the F/A-18 might not have been the best choice at the time.  The truth is that the F/A-18 was merely the "last fighter standing" after several others were dismissed as being unsuitable or too expensive.  Looking back one wonders how things might have been.

Canada's "new fighter aircraft" (NFA) was developed to find a single airframe to replace both the CF-101B used for interceptor duties and the CF-104 used for ground attack (despite the F-104's intended use as an interceptor) and nuclear deterrence in Western Europe.  138 aircraft were planned, with provisions to order more if needed.  Plans to replace the CF-116 (CF-5) Freedom Fighter with the same aircraft was postponed indefinitely.


In 1965, Canada had joined up with Germany, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands to develop a "multi-role combat aircraft for 1975" (…

F-35 vs Super Hornet... Done simple.

This was too funny not to share.