Friday, July 4, 2014

Fighter Jet Fight Club: Silent Eagle vs. Gripen!


In the third installment of FJFC, I've decided to mix things up a bit.  Whereas the first two match-ups pitted similar aircraft against each other (Typhoon vs. Rafale, JSF vs. Super Hornet), these two aircraft occupy different ends of the fighter spectrum.  The F-15 has been around since the 70s, since then, it has earned an undefeated streak of victories.  It has also been continuously improved, culminating into the F-15SE Silent Eagle that Boeing is now pitching to prospective buyers.  The JAS-39 Gripen, on the other hand, started service in the 90s, with the intention of being Sweden's sole multirole fighter.  It has since morphed into the "Gripen NG", an updated version intended for worldwide sale.

A brutish giant with a menacing reputation is pitted against a undersized upstart...  David and Goliath anyone?

Remember, in Fighter Jet Fight Club; every system works as advertised and costs don't matter.  Given the...  Uh...  Controversy of my last two installments, I will now include a brief discussion at the end looking at more "real world" implications.  Scoring remains the same, however.  For a detailed listing of the rules, check here.

Air-to-Ground:

Interdiction/penetration:  What sets the Silent Eagle apart from other F-15s is its emphasis on front-aspect stealth.  Taking one of the most effective strike platforms in the world (the Strike Eagle) and making it harder to detect is a surefire recipe for success.  Its ability to carry weapons internally help keep its radar signature down.  On top of this, it will equip a modern electronic warfare suite.

The Gripen has a promising ECM suite, and it has the benefit of a small IR and RF signature thanks to its small size and single smaller engine.  Start hanging large missiles or bombs to it, however, and things start to change.  Would it match the Silent Eagle's capability?  Unlikely.  

With each aircraft building upon its previous version's strengths, I have to give this one to the Silent Eagle.  With a powerful electronic warfare system and reduced frontal RCS, the F-15SE is the one to beat here.  Boeing claims its front radar signature is close to the F-35's.  Advantage:  Silent Eagle

Deep Strike:  The F-15SE should have a pretty impressive range right out of the box.  Bigger fighters can hold more fuel, after all.  Add to this the ability to mount conformal fuel tanks and huge external drop tanks and you have a strike fighter that can fly seemingly forever.  If that wasn't enough, the Silent Eagle could strap on a few AGM-158 JASSMs (joint air-to-surface standoff missile).  The newest version, the JASSM-ER, has a range of about 1,000km.

The Gripen E/F manages to hold 40% more fuel than its earlier variants.  It is also a small, fuel efficient design, and various drop tanks sizes will be available.  It can carry either the KEPD 350 or the Storm Shadow stand-off missiles.  The KEPD 350 has a shorter range than the JASSM-ER, and the Storm Shadow has a smaller warhead.

With a range that can only be beat by strategic bombers, the F-15SE wins this one, hands down.  Advantage:  Silent Eagle, clear winner.

Payload:  With a maximum payload of 23,000lbs, the Silent Eagle can carry a heavier bomb load than a B-29 Superfortress.  Also, by utilizing CFTs, it doesn't have to sacrifice pylons to fuel tanks.

The Gripen E/F carries a heavier payload with more hard points than its predecessors, but does not even come close the the F-15SE.  Advantage:  Silent Eagle, by a whole bunch.

Close Air Support:  With precision guided weapons dropped from high altitudes becoming the norm for close-air-support, the F-15 looks more than capable.  Plenty of targeting pod options along with a long loiter time are definite pluses here.

The Gripen is just as capable of carrying those same type of precision guided weapons, however.  Not only that, the Gripen can operate from improvised airfields, closer to the action.  If that wasn't enough, it performs much better at low altitudes, allowing the pilot to put his own eyes on the action, not just the targeting pod.  Advantage:  Gripen.

While both fighters are capable multi-role platforms, the Silent Eagle's sheer size gives it a clear advantage in payload and range.  It is also more than capable of holding its own in suppressing group based defenses.  The Gripen's only advantage is when the situation calls for "danger close".  Air-to-ground winner:  F-15SE Silent Eagle.

Air-to-Air:

First-look, first kill:  The Silent Eagle's radar will be roughly equivalent to that in the Super Hornet...  Only with a significantly larger (1,500 vs 1,000 T/R modules) "dish".  This brings the F-15SE's radar capability closer to that of the F-22.  Also, with a radar absorbent materials and internal weapon storage, the SE's frontal radar cross section is said to approach that of a F-35.  In a head-on confrontation, the Silent Eagle has a clear advantage.  Like any other stealth aircraft, once you start mounting weapons externally, the F-15SE's RCS increases considerably.  

 The Gripen E/F has a small radar cross section for the simple reason that it is a small fighter.  It also mounts its 1,000 T/R AESA radar on a repositioner, giving it a wider field of view than the fixed one in the F-15SE.  From the back, the Silent Eagle's two big, powerful, hot engines will light up the Gripen's IRST like a Christmas tree, more so when using afterburners to go supersonic.  The JAS-39E/F's IR signature is also rather small, thanks to a single engine that is smaller than a single F-15SE engine.  The Gripen also doesn't need to use afterburner to go supersonic.

Straight on, carrying internal weapons only, the F-15SE has the edge.  Things get a little complicated during any other scenario, however.  The Silent Eagle's front stealthiness does not carry over into the top, bottom, or sides.  From these angles, the F-15SE is the same big RCS fighter it has always been.  The greater the angle approach, the more the Silent Eagle concedes its advantage to the Gripen.  This advantage also disappears if the F-15SE is carrying external weaponry.  Given the extremely limited conditions that the Silent Eagle would have an edge here, I have to give this one to the Gripen:  Advantage:  JAS-39E/F Gripen

Beyond Visual Range:  [Note:  To avoid complicating matters, we are going to assume both aircraft are armed with AIM-120D AMRAAMs.  The "AMRAAM vs. METEOR" debate will have to wait for another time and place...  Sorry to disappoint!]

Again, this gets complicated base on whether the F-15SE is carrying internal weapons only or not.  Firepower or stealthiness?  That is the question that will have to be asked and answered every time the Silent Eagle prepares for a mission.  Either way, the F-15SE should be an absolute monster in the air.  From the outset, the Eagle was meant to fly higher and faster than just about any other fighter out there.  With an air combat record of over 100 kills and zero defeats, the F-15 is the one to beat.

The Gripen E/F should be no slouch in this department, however.  Initially designed to counter the MiG-29 and Su-27 (which was designed to counter the F-15), the Gripen can hang with the big boys. While it lacks the F-15's raw power, it still has the ability to supercruise.  This allows it to keep its speed up without guzzling fuel and increasing its IR signature.

With or without stealth, the F-15SE wins this one.  A bigger radar gives it an advantage in locking on, while its higher speed and maximum altitude allow it the ability to give its AMRAAMs more kinetic energy, increasing their range.  Quite frankly, the F-15 is the reigning champion in air-to-air combat based on its BVR abilities.  As good as the Gripen may be, it is still just a contender.  Advantage F-15SE Silent Eagle.

Within Visual Range:  Things change somewhat when the two aircraft get closer.  If the Silent Eagle is in stealthy configuration (4 internal AMRAAMs only), it will be at a disadvantage to its Swedish rival.  The Gripen typically carries at least 2 wingtip mounted IR guided missiles (IRIS-T, Sidewinders, or similar) and at least 2 RF guided missiles (AMRAAM or equivalent). This gives the Gripen a better mix of seeker heads.  In "non-stealthy" mode, the F-15SE can carry AIM-9X Sidewinders, made more lethal by IRST and HMD assisted targeting.

The Gripen presents a much smaller heat signature than the F-15SE, however.  Its single, smaller engine powering a smaller airframe simply gives off less heat that the massive F-15.  This difference increases when both aircraft fly transonic.  With its afterburners firing, the F-15SE is of a Roman candle lit beside a birthday candle.  While both aircraft are capable of extremely violent maneuvers, the Gripen's newer relaxed stability, fly-by-wire design gives it a clear edge here.  The F-15SE may incorporate fly-by-wire, but it cannot really capitalize on this since its design still originates from the 1970s.

All said, the F-15SE will likely try its best to avoid a "merge" with a JAS-39E.  As impressive as the F-15 is, it is still a 40-year old design that can only do so much to fight the laws of physics.  The Gripen is smaller, more agile, and does not need to rely on its afterburner to maintain speed.  Depending on whether the F-15SE is carrying Sidewinders or not, WVR combat with a Gripen will likely not fare well for the Eagle.  Advantage: JAS-39E/F Gripen.

Dogfight:  Given the Gripen's WVR performance, you would think this would be a cakewalk for it right?   Not really...

The F-15SE used the venerable M61 Vulcan 20mm gatling gun.  This cannon has been used by the majority of American fighters since the 60s.  It can belch out over 6,000 rounds per minute out of its 510 round magazine.  For as much as the Eagle can dish out, it can take it.  The F-15E Strike Eagle, from which the Silent Eagle is derived from, is itself a beefed up version of the F-15B.  How tough is the F-15?  In 1983, an Israeli F-15D had a mid-air collision with an A-4 Skyhawk, yet managed to land safely despite missing its entire starboard wing.

By comparison, the Gripen is a welterweight.  While certainly more nimble and harder to hit, the Gripen needs to rely on dishing far more out than it can take.  For this, its Mauser BK-27 revolver autocannon packs a substantial punch.  The BK-27's 27mm rounds are larger, yet travel roughly the same speed (1,100 m/s) as the M61's.  While the BK-27 has a slower rate of fire (up to 1,700), that rate of fire is instantaneous, whereas the M61 needs to "spool up".  The Gripen pilot needs to make those shots count as the Gripen only carries 120 rounds, about 1/5th that of the F-15SE.  That Mauser cannon is only available on the single-seat Gripen models as well.

While the Gripen E's cannon has slightly more punch than the F-15SE's, it likely wouldn't be enough.  The Silent Eagle simply has more staying power and more ammo.  Gripen Fs (along with older Bs and Ds) do not even mount a cannon.  Advantage:  F-15SE Silent Eagle.

A battle between the Silent Eagle and the Gripen would be study in contrasts.  Raw power versus nimble agility.  While the F-15SE would likely be the favorite, the Gripen E could very well win the day if it plays cautious.  The Silent Eagle may win simply on the element of surprise.  The more efficient Swede has the advantage if it forces its opponent to rely on its fuel-robbing afterburner, or if it brings the battle close enough that the Silent Eagle's stealth and bigger radar are no longer an advantage...  But not too close.  For fans of the "Game of Thrones", the Eagle versus the Griffon would likely resemble the infamous "Mountain and the Viper" (CAUTION: SPOILERS!)  Given the F-15's reputation, it's better BVR ability, and its sheer ruggedness; I have to give it the edge in a battle with the Gripen.  Air-to-air winner:  F-15SE Silent Eagle, but barely.



Versatility/Logistics:

Versatility:  When the F-15 was initially conceived, it was meant to be a pure air-superiority fighter.  "Not a pound for air-to-ground" was the design mantra.  With the F-15E, that mantra got defenestrated and quite a few pounds (about 2,700) were added.  The F-15SE is a true multirole strike fighter, equally capable performing interception as it is ground pounding.  The Eagle is also capable of handling other big stuff like the AGM-158 cruise missile and even experimental anti-satilite missiles.  It is even nuclear capable.  

From the outset, the Gripen was conceived to be equal parts Jakt (fighter), Attack, and Spanning(reconnaissance) aircraft.  Its right there in the designation JAS-39.  While both aircraft should be capable of mounting similar types of weaponry, the Gripen has already been cleared for a wider variety of non-American weapons like the IRIS-T and Meteor.  While the Gripen has already seen several variants, leading up to the current E and F models, there is still the potential for two more models.  A "Sea Gripen" concept has been advertised to Brazil and others.  There has been talk of the Gripen being used as the basis for a T-38 Talon trainer replacement.  Currently the Gripen D model is used in the Empire Test Pilot School.

While both declare themselves "multirole", the F-15SE's job seems to focus on a three simple words. Blow.  Stuff.  Up.  By contrast, the Gripen would likely be a superior choice for more nonviolent roles like reconnaissance and training.  This gives it the edge in versatility.  Advantage:  JAS-39 E/F Gripen


Logistics:  A big airplane needs a big runway, and the F-15SE is no exception.  No less than 2,300 meters is required.  It also burns a lot of fuel and takes a well trained ground crew at a proper airbase to maintain.  The Silent Eagle also uses the USAF's preferred "boom" style of aerial refueling, requiring a dedicated tanker like the KC-10 or KC-135.

As for the Gripen, logistics is where it shines.  Designed to be supported by a team of one technician and five conscripts, the Gripen is one of the most maintenance friendly fighter aircraft in the world today.  It does not even need a true runway, just 800 meters of straight highway will do.  It can be supported out of the back of a truck.  When deployed, a single C-130 Hercules can support a force of 10 Gripens.  With a "probe-and-drogue" style of aerial refueling, the Gripen is compatible with refueling pods like those found on Canada's CC-150 Polaris, CC-130H(T) Hercules, or even the "buddy" refueling pods found on other fighters like the Super Hornet.  

The Gripen is the clear winner here.  Advantage:  JAS-38 E/F Gripen, clear winner.





Final Score:

Air-to-ground:  F-15SE = 3  -  JAS-39E/F = 1
Air-to-air:  F-15SE = 2  -  JAS-39 E/F = 2
Versatility/Logistics:  F-15SE = 0  -  JAS-39E/F = 2

Final result:  F-15SE = 5  -  JAS-39E/F = 5

Given that the Silent Eagle clearly won the air-to-ground and squeaked by on the air-to-air portion, I have to declare it the winner.  

WHAT?  Did the guy who started the gripen4canada blog just declare the F-15SE a better fighter than the Gripen?

Yup.  

In a world where costs do not matter and everything works as advertised, the F-15SE will likely be a slightly better choice than the Gripen NG.  This comes with an awful lot of fine print, however:
  • Neither aircraft technically exist yet.  Both have "demonstrators" that differ slightly from what the finished product will be.  
  • Weapon systems are not compared.  This would be the true tie-breaker here.  If the MBDA Meteor offers an improvement on the AMRAAM, then the Gripen wins this one if it is equipped but the F-15SE is not.
  • The F-15SE Silent Eagle has yet to find a buyer, whilst the Gripen NG has found 2 (formerly 3).  The Gripen NG's future is pretty much assured at this point, whilst the Silent Eagle's future is very much in doubt.
  • The F-15SE's canted tails, said to enhance stealthiness, are said to be a customer option.  
  • The Silent Eagle's stealthiness is a topic of debate, while it was once claimed to match the F-35 in frontal RCS, recent claims have been more conservative.  
  • A lot of the F-15SE's advantages seem like overkill.  Is a Mach 2.5+ fighter capable of carrying over 10 tons of ordinance, including nukes, really needed?
  • On the other hand, some of the Gripen's advantages, like its reduced logistic footprint, seem more practical.  
Then, there is the big one.  Costs are not supposed to matter in FJFC, so this next part has no part in the final scoring.  Using the F-16 as a benchmark (here and here), the F-15 costs nearly twice as much as the Viper to fly.  By comparison, the Gripen operates as 2/3rds the cost of the F-16.  This means that for every Silent Eagle launched, you could afford to send 3 Gripen NGs instead.  

Consider that, then you can figure out for yourself which one is the real winner here.  

Let me know what you think.  


144 comments:

  1. Nicely done.

    As far as numbers of aircraft, Canada does not have enough pilots anyway. We are recruiting from other nations, like the UK.
    Now in an air to air exercise the F-15 lost to the SU-27(could be internet propaganda?)

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  2. Great comparison! The F-15SE has some important theoretical advantages, but they come with a big price tag.

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  3. No plane is undefeatable. Every plane has strengths and weaknesses. Every Pilot has strength and weaknesses. It is a crap shoot, but you are right.

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  4. No way the F15 would beat the Gripen E in a dogfight! No way. The Gripen will turn inside the Eagle every time. The Eagle will bleed energy quicker and will not be as good in the slow regime. I don't know about the Eagles nose pointing ability but the Gripen managed 100 degrees angle of attack during trials. My bets would be that the Gripen has a better nose pointing ability than the F15. The Eagle really doesn't have that much more power than the Gripen E either. Their thrust to weight isn't far apart but the Gripen will have more power due to more modern aerodynamics.
    The Gripen is a smaller and much lighter aircraft and is therefore much nimbler with higher agility. The old F5 was often successful against the F15 in dogfights.


    Also, "loose sight loose the fight" ever heard of that? It's dead simple to see where the F15 is going and what its energy state is because its bloody HUGE. The Gripen is small and difficult to see.
    I don't buy your "gatling gun with more rounds" argument either. To be able to react to split second opportunities is more importan and also to have as little lag as possible from the gun. The Mauser BK27 is one of the best out there and also used by the Typhoon (which would also whip the F15 in a dogfight). Also, 27mm vs 20mm is an important difference. The Gripen simply has higher firepower and when its lag-free gun hits it hits much harder.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSkmzjTsl1M



    To put a huge twin engine BVR behemoth ahead of the Gripen in a dogfight is ridiculous. I would rate the F5 higher than the F15 in that area. Certainly the F16 too. Neither of those are as good as the Gripen in a dogfight.

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  5. Looking at this comparison between the F-15SE vs Gripen NG leads me to a totally different perspective. How about a 20/80 Hi/Lo mix of the F-15SE and Gripen NG in the RCAF? Even if it's a follow on version of the latest Saudi F-15SA with latest electronic warfare, glass cockpit, digital flight control, latest FADEC engines, with the standard tails the plane would be an absolute beast in most categories. If Boeing's current path forward also including integration of some of the Growler functionality onto the 15 platform then things get very interesting.
    Realistically is the RCAF going to be able to fly these in great numbers? No. Certainly not from a budgetary/operating costs point of view. However, a small number of these aircraft could be very potent if used properly.
    If the RCAF had this latest F-15, then it would only make sense to have an affordable, practical and capable plane such as the Gripen in large numbers.
    One may also argue that a Growler/ASH-18 mix with Gripens also makes sense. Maybe even more sense.

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  6. The Gripens data links and advanced network capabilities aren't mentioned either. Gripen has been world leading in this area for a long time. Sweetman has written about how the Viggen flew with data links long before the F22. I'm talking about the Gripen TIDLS which is something very different from link 16. Gripen E will have next generation TIDLS datalink. This type of link is extremely useful BVR - a clear advantage against the F15. Also, should the F15 light up the sky with its giant radar it would be greeted with a Meteor before it could utter "gallium nitride" (a world first in the Gripen EWS).

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  7. I said that along time ago but you say it better. :)

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  8. Get the Gripens first, build them here and when it becomes apparent that we need top cover, heck buy 10 to 12, 3 per squadron and some for a rotation ... but if we have Growlers ... I guess it will depend on the RCAF's philosophy and budget.

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  9. Gripens & Growlers. The engine tech & operation will be the same. Both versions use the GE414.

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  10. I have to say, the more I learn about the Gripen, the more I like it. I don't see it trying to perform every type of mission, but it sure makes sense in a world that has to be cost conscious and practical.

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  11. I was thinking ... Gripen + 12 Growlers or Gripen + 12 F-15 SE. Was looking into the Growler. “The poor reliability of the ALQ-99 and frequent failures of the Built In self Test (BIT) have caused crew to fly missions with real faults; the ALQ-99 also interferes with the aircraft's AESA radar, reduces the top speed of the aircraft and imposes a high workload on the two man crew
    when employed in the EA-18G Growler.” Ahhhhh not good!

    Anybody got anything on the Gripen NG's EW systems? Not clear.
    Which makes the better combo?

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  12. If you when super hornet and Gripen I would not be to bad, because they have the same jet engine.

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  13. I strongly agree. It doesn't matter if the SE has more bullets, it would never get the Gripen in its sights.

    The wider azimuth of the Gripen's radar is also quite a significant factor in a BVR/jousting battle. Wider azimuth means you can crank farther than your enemy, which slows your closure rate on his inbound missile. Meanwhile the SE is closing on its inbound missile faster because it is unable to crank as far. The Gripen may very well get to its pitbull before the Eagle does.

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  14. If this network works off satellite rely, doesn't your enemy just take out that satellite to blind you? The big powers have probably already figured out how to take out satellites, that all military's rely on.

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  15. MIG 21, 23, 25, 29's
    SU 7, 22, 25's
    F1 Mirage
    F4 Phantom (Iran)
    But you are right these battles would have not been equal and against equally trained pilots.

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  16. I too like the Gripen (much prefer Rafale) but what about it's single engine debate in this vast country of ours and lack of airports?..


    We throw that out the door? Sh!t happens as we all know :)

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  17. Well just remember lower costs don't just equal more aircraft. Best bang for buck (so to speak) can maximize utility in more areas of national defense... additional tools such as long range ground to air missiles or recon drones. Also, it could mean more funding for other military functions besides air defense.

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  18. Considering Doug scored this one a tie 5 to 5, ... I would be more inclined to say Meteor would be the tie breaker. Specially made for bvr and larger no escape zone... This seems more important than reputation since bragging rights can't win a real fighter jet duel.

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  19. Gripen has a higher safety record than the F18. There.

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  20. Agree. And even if Silent E is low observable from front it's very observable from every other angle and in other spectrums like IR. And the Gripen itself is much more stealthy than the legacy teens or Super Hornets. The Gripen RCS is rumored to be 1/10 that of the F16.

    The only Eagle advantages is load capacity, lots of missiles to be able to fire "pushers" BVR. Since Gripen E will supercruise it's weapons will have more energy.

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  21. No, TIDLS is a beamed data link. Very difficult to jam or intercept.

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  22. I not clear, in the 35 vs Rhino, the full capabilities not yet realized of the F 35 were considered but not the advanced Hornet yet the Silent Eagle is not yet fully developed yet the meteor a year away from service was not considered as part of the equation!?!?!?!?!?!? makes no sense......

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  23. I wonder if it'd be the same if the Gripen had flown as much as the F18 especially here?

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  24. So what you're saying is it isn't possible for the Gripen to go down after ingesting a bird?

    That despite the Gripen's better record, in an event where the engine did fail the F-18 would still be up in the air.. what does the Gripen do with it's single engine is out?

    There!

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  25. I guess he wants to stir discussion up?...

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  26. One of the things Volvo did with the RM12 (originally the f404) was increase resistance to bird strikes. I believe GE incorporated some of these improvements in the f414. The RM12 is capable of surviving bird strikes. What happens if a bird hits you square in the canopy? Engines won't save you. Gripen has operated for thousands of hours above the polar circle. North of Sweden might be small compared to vast Canada, but believe me, you're dead if you go down in remote Lapland -45 outside. I see your point though. But consider that there will always be a "what if" with dangerous things. A fighter jet is dangerous business.

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  27. For the price of a small single engine Gripen NG I can buy an stealth advanced super hornet or Growler with two engines.
    Gripen fight is for the 3th World countries with small budgets. It's real competitor is the FA-50 golden Eagle, at half price and with enough bang for the buck.

    http://youtu.be/T7y52AHEb6o

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  28. No, no, not at all. Doug does a fantastic job on this blog, I visit all most everyday. In his Gripen For Canada blog one of the advantages he argues that benefits the Gripen is it missiles and they are assured, but the Silent Eagle isn't, so I just don't get the omission. The big Eagle still may win BVR, and I would love to either in RCAF livery.

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  29. I read that the total hours flown by Gripen times Volvo engine's record make them the one to beat because 0 lost aircraft to engine failure.

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  30. That's an answer I wanted to read, thanks.


    In my opinion, I think it's safer to have two than just one.

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  31. If you take their safety record, their geography as proof -- same birds different language :), our training quality, ... well if we lose 2 or 3 out of 100 we can afford ... sad but I'll take it. And in passing, I once spoke to an air force pilot who gave me a wink and said that we have more landing strips than we think.
    Like Fog said, they made the engine to perform as yo mama's blender!

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  32. I think to get real figurs you should look for figurs on Finlands F18 squadrons. I guess it's quite more similar to SWAF.

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  33. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy this blog, JFFC and Doug's perspective. I'm not attacking Doug intentions but he stated his purpose of these articles was to:
    " 1.Give me something to write about during the often newsless summer months.
    2.Promote discussion."

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  34. Interesting!
    Do you know the range of this beam?

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  35. New engine is said to be reliable and give super cruise.

    "The F414 continues to be improved, both through internal GE efforts and federally funded development programs. By 2006 GE had tested an Enhanced Durability Engine (EDE) with an advanced core. These changes should increase the turbine temperature capability by about 150 °F (66 °C).[6] The EDE is designed to have better foreign object damage resistance, and a reduced fuel burn rate.[7][8]"
    ref : Wikipedia

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  36. Here is the thing, we already do not perform all the missions and this plane will be far better than what we have and then some.

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  37. Sweden and do you mean F-18 in general or cf-188 because I assume they fly those suckers as much as we do and they are used by 5 nations.

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  38. Really interesting which begs the question ...would we need Growlers? Does the ALQ-99 have some kind of "projection" or wider zone than the Gripen's system?

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  39. What is an osynlig? As for fog ... I think I got that part.

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  40. But to be fair ... they are going into harms way!

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  41. Proud to be a citizen of a 3rd World country (Sweden!)... ;-) And I don't mind you claiming Gripen to be useless. Why not ask the Finnish Airforce Hornet pilots? They perform exercises on a regular basis with Swedish Gripens and Norwegian F-16s.

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  42. Ya, I can't wait until the NG is ready. I only wish the sized it up a bit, similar to the F/A 18 to the super hornet.

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  43. Gripen in general is for small countries (geography) with small budgets. Canada and Australia's challenge is big country geographic with some what small to small budget.

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  44. I prefer to ask the Swiss that scored the Gripen even lower than their actual F-18.

    They decide to buy the Gripens for economical reasons, but at the end they discarted it any way for the same reason.. Their F-18 still their main fighter for years to come

    http://www.sonntagszeitung.ch/suche/artikel-detailseite/?newsid=206787

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbZHOm_2ynE

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  45. Damn good question which is related to my question "are Growlers a must?"

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  46. I wonder how much of that is if you do not buy from a major player, you do not other favors? Face it Sweden is not a power broker.

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  47. Personally, I would not mind making friends with Sweden. Being small a close to big heavy neighbors give us common perspective and needs.

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  48. Combat tested? Gripen or F15SE?

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  49. I am no longer so sure about the F-18. 7G limit, some bloggers say it flies like a pig (would not know, not a pilot), jamming on Growler is problematic, maintenance cost, and Canadians can't build them here. I am really starting to like the Gripen. As for cheap plane for cheap nations ... you do not have to pay a lot of money for a good wine. The rule used to be 4 engines to cross the Atlantic, Boeing went down to 2. Bye bye A340 and 747.
    If Gripen's engine reliability is what they say, considering the US flew the F-16, and we were seriously going to get the F-35 ... I think we might want to at least reconsider previously held views on twin engine operation. I'm sorry, call me ignorant, but the Gripen NG seems to me a hell of scrapper that can kick you in the teeth. There are enough of them flying that if they had a serious reliability issue (including eating birds), we would know.
    That said, there is so much pressure to buy American for us Canadians, even with the "we can make it here" Gripen or Rafale, well might very well get the F-18, and at that point, I'd go half way in the budget dip and get the Rafale made in Canada. We win on our terms.

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  50. Agreed, in many regards two engines are safer than one. It should be said that engine safety today is far beyond what it was 40 years ago. In times of war it is much easier to maintain and run single engine fighters in terms of fuel and spare parts. These things need to be able to generate a lot of sorties to safeguard their country. A big military like the US enjoys scale economies and can therefore make good use of low sortie systems like the F22. A high sortie rate is important if you have limited resources.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=49L9BlYQSjw

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  51. From Bill Sweetman's article for JEDOnline:

    The TIDLS can connect up to four aircraft in a full-time two-way link. It has a range of 500 km and is highly resistant to jamming; almost the only way to jam the system is to position a jammer aircraft directly between the two communicating Gripens. Its basic modes include the ability to display the position, bearing, and speed of all four aircraft in a formation, including basic status information such as fuel and weapons state. The TIDLS is fundamentally different from broadcast-style links like Link 16. It serves fewer users but links them more closely together, exchanging much more data, and operating much closer to real time.

    TIDLS information, along with radar, EW, and mapping data, appears on the central MFD. The display reflects complete sensor fusion: a target that is being tracked by multiple sources is one target on the screen. Detailed symbols distinguish between friendlies, hostiles, and unidentified targets and show who has targeted whom.

    Today, Sweden is the only country that is flying with a link of this kind, and will retain that status until the F-22 enters service. The Flygvapnet has already proven some of the tactical advantages of the link, including the ability to spread the formation over a much wider area. Visual contact between the fighters is no longer necessary, because the datalink shows the position of each aircraft. Leader and wingman roles are different: the pilot in the best position makes the attack, and the fact that he has targeted the enemy is immediately communicated to the three other aircraft.

    A basic use of the datalink is "silent attack." An adversary may be aware that he is being tracked by a fighter radar that is outside missile range. He may not be aware that another, closer fighter is receiving that tracking data and is preparing for a missile launch without using its own radar. After launch, the shooter can break and escape, while the other fighter continues to pass tracking data to the missile. In tests, Gripen pilots have learned that this makes it possible to delay using the AMRAAM's active seeker until it is too late for the target to respond.

    But the use of the link goes beyond this, towards what the Swedish Air Force calls "samverkan," or close-cooperation. One example is the use of the Ericsson PS-05/A radar with TIDLS. An Ericsson paper compares its application, with identical sensors and precise knowledge of the location of both platforms, to human twins: "Communication is possible without explaining everything."

    "Radar-samverkan," the Ericsson paper suggests, equips the formation with a super-radar of extraordinary capabilities. The PS-05/A can operate in passive mode, as a sensitive receiver with high directional accuracy (due to its large antenna). Two PS-05/As can exchange information by datalink and locate the target by triangulation. The target's signals will often identify it as well.

    The datalink results in better tracking. Usually, three plots (echoes) are needed to track a target in track-while-scan mode. The datalink allows the radars to share plots, not just tracks, so even if none of the aircraft in a formation gets enough plots on its own to track the target, they may do so collectively.

    Each radar plot includes Doppler velocity, which provides the individual aircraft with range-rate data. However, this data on its own does not yield the velocity of the target. Using the TIDLS, two fighters can take simultaneous range-rate readings and thereby determine the target's track instantly, reducing the need for radar transmission.

    In ECM applications, one fighter can search, while the wingman simultaneously focuses jamming on the same target, using the radar. This makes it very difficult for the target to intercept or jam the radar that is tracking him. Another anti-jamming technique is for all four radars to illuminate the same target simultaneously at different frequencies.

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  52. See, that's what I'm talking about. A 100 degree scan area for the NG due to it's repositioner. Most people don't realize how significant of an advantage that can provide in the geometry battle of BVR combat. (I'm pretty sure the F-15 is only a 60 degree scan area.) The Gripen can crank further than the Eagle which is so important in BVR.

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  53. Brazil is a big country. They bought the Gripen NG.

    With a big country you need lots of "points of presence". If anyone is to attack they need to knock out most of the opposition, see Lanchester Laws. Quantity has a quality all of its own.

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  54. Unsure, but think the E is almost 1 meter longer than A/C.

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  55. Yes, The Gripen will be able to fly slightly away from its target while still providing guidance to the weapon. It just provides much greater flexibility for a lot of tasks.

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  56. Here might be a clue, Swedish "osynlig" means "invisible". As for "fog", it can be a joint, a seam or reason.

    "The invisible reason" would that be right ?

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  57. In the exercises lighting viper in Australia this year the Super Hornets had a kill ratio of 20 to 1 against the agressors f-16 from Alaska.
    In Peru, a single Super Hornet piloted by a woman defeated 3 Mig29 in a single dissimilar dogfight. Those Peruvian Mig29 trained with the USAF f-16 in the past with positive results.
    How come a plane that supposedly flights like a pig can have those amazing results in air to air combat against the best Russian dog fighters or from the USAF ?
    In the transonic envelope the great maneuverability of the Super Hornet allows the airplane to point it's nose anywhere to the sky, or to use its HMD and Aim-9X at will.
    The super hornet is a true balanced stealth 5th Gen fighter that cost less than many actual 4 gen fighters. The cost of maintenance of the Super Hornet is fair, considering all the capacities it offers, including the benefits of two engines.

    http://www.caretas.com.pe/Main.asp?T=3082&S=&id=12&idE=873&idSTo=0&idA=45693#.U7lRX-EalJ9

    http://youtu.be/3gX_vZB-2nE

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  58. Come on! I saw the video and the stats on FA 50. Granted, I did not get to added options section future buyers. It's a trainer!

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  59. How can people call this a poor man's fighter? ... jumping jeez. The bandit is getting it in the butt and does not even know it until the proctologist says there might something going on in there!

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  60. You guys invented Ikea. My wife loves you!

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  61. By the way, "flies like a pig was from several replies" and I will read what you posted as links. And if it is the case, it's all good as I do not dislike any of the fighters that Doug has initially selected. I simply would prefer we rekindle domestic aircraft production. NORAD places pressure on us as does geography. Canada has come along way. I find Fog's comment on single engine fighters being a plus in time of conflict and that engines are much more reliable today and in the end, we will be able to adjust production run and numbers to meet our needs.

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  62. Again, call me an amateur, but small budget airplane looks to have some really good traits (RCS, Data links, agile, $, runway conditions) and packs a good punch! Does it carry less, yes, but if you consider the standard mission with precision weapons ...

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  63. Its a trainer and a light fighter, pretty much as the Gripen in the UK, ut way cheeper.

    http://imagizer.imageshack.us/a/img35/5808/fa50expandedweaponsavio.jpg

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-lb_-Ma1i_BU/UzVFwzKkJSI/AAAAAAAAB1E/RBGuec5vpOQ/s1600/1524778_765067196839062_1281493245_n.png

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  64. Yup, the Ng solves the range issues of the Gripen so I'm not sure why range is being brought up anymore?

    Australia solved the range issue of the super hornet acquisition by supplementing it with long range to air missiles.

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  65. Go to 1:08

    http://youtu.be/Bu8G5ABHKc8

    Btw, we can build the super hornets in mirabel if we make a contract with bombardier. We have already the capacity to fix and upgrade the Hornets not just for us but also as we do for the USNavy. The Super Hornet is the natural replacement of our CF/A-18.

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  66. fyi: Gripen C served in Libya with flying colors.

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  67. osynlig = invisible
    fog = depends on context, but often used in: a joint. the joint part of a welding for instance. Can also be used in: a reason.
    So invisible reason or invisible joint. Hard to tell and I'm a native swede :)
    Definitely not similar to fog as in english!

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  68. ... unless it's Swenglish by purpose...

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  69. Well personally, I would really be happy if there was a fighter procurement competition in Canada and the new Hornets and Gripens were both included for consideration.

    From my perspective, it seems like typical American hubris that one would compare the Gripen fighter to a trainer fighter or even that someone could actually believe 120 rounds from a 27mm cannon wouldn't be enough to take down an American fighter.

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  70. The Gripen is good enough for rich and not so rich. I have even heard a USAF general mention Gripen as a possible fighter for the Air National Guard (built by Boing, i guess). Btw, there is also a poor man's AWACS, the Erieye that could fit well in RCAF. http://www.saabgroup.com/en/Air/Airborne-Solutions/Airborne-Surveillance/Airborne-Early-Warning-and-Control-AEWC/Erieye_AEWC/

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  71. I would prefer to buy 48 Super Hornets 12 growlers and 24 Gripens as fighter/ advanced trainers like in the UK, that could be use at war if necessary in permissive weather areas abroad. They share the same engine any way.

    http://youtu.be/t0C6OfKKQy0

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  72. The Swiss where replacing there F-5 only. They have a mixed fleet, F18's are sticking around. Canada is replacing the entire fleet. Also it should be note that the Korean are buying the F35 to replace there F5 and F4's not there F15's.

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  73. Not exactly, the Koreans are building the T-50 to replace their F-5 and A-37. Except for the single engine, they almost have the same characteristics. The F-35 is to replace the F-4.

    The Swiss should do the same.

    http://www.xairforces.net/newsd.asp?newsid=819&newst=8#.U7mX_PldXwk

    http://www.aereo.jor.br/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/kai-a-50-e-f-5-voo-formacao-foto-kai.jpg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTq-URx15Ek

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  74. I found this video interesting. Since I'm far from being an expert on this stuff I'll just let the vid speak for itself.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-_OWMDN64M

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  75. This one is with another configuration but basically keeps the same maneuverability.


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

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  76. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8l3BLn0V-8

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  77. My alias is not on the topic of Gripen vs Silent Eagle so to avoid further speculation I'll explain. It's from the Swedish translation (Kykeon) of Heraclitus fragments. "Osynlig fog, starkare än synlig" is just one I particularly like. He often deals with the invisible. I'm not sure of the English translation but know it is radically different and I don't like it nearly as much. It uses a completely different analogy and direct translation from Swedish doesn't convey the point quite correctly. But Keatikis translation was right. "Invisible joint/seam, stronger than visible".

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heraclitus
    Apologies to Doug (and everybody else for boring story). :)

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  78. Correction - Gripen was made for a small country with a small budget, this has few limitations when it comes to scaling up though.
    Sweden, much like Australia and Canada - Is a vast country with huge distances between the few airbases.
    The Gripen with its logistical and small economic footprint advantage (and runway takeoff capability) is perfect for countries with small military budget per area.
    That ratio is comparable in Sweden/Australia/Brazil/Canada but not to USA/Germany/France/UK which all have much denser military/area. If anything, Gripen suits the first four countries much better than it suits the latter four. Reverse goes for fighters that are bad in logistical, economical, tough etc aspects such as the F-35...(Or the Growler). Mind you, the range could be a problem, but the increased range in Gripen E + pods will make that problem disappear...

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  79. Sorry. My bad. It just sounded so good.

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  80. They where buying the F 18 until the US got caught listening to Brazils communications.

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  81. I watched the links you put up. Interesting how the Australians say that we mismanaged our budget. Saw the video that Western Observer posted. Very impressive, especially with the added 6000 lbs. If they can make them in Mirabel ... you have made your point!

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  82. Nah, you're crazy. That's like saying a MiG-31 would have an edge over an F-16 in a guns only dogfight because it has an edge in pure power. Instantaneous and sustained turn rates are more important than straight line power. The F-15s airframe was made for interception not dogfighting, and a silent eagle would be even worse off than an F-15C because of the extra weight of the fast packs and 2nd seat. The Gripen on the other hand has "light weight nimble dogfighter" written all over it.

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  83. Serge: I think the Australians and more importantly our Auditor General are right about our government mismanaging the budget. As a matter of fact I'll go one further and say that historically, if you thik about it, our consecutive governments have used the discretionary funds of the defense budget as, shall we say, a sort of legalized slush fund for financing the next election or debt reduction. Three cases in point; the Cretien Liberals and the "decade of darkness", the Mulroney conservatives who have slashed the defense budget as peace dividend after the collapse of the Soviet Union(i.e. selling off the Chinooks) and the Harper government presently shrinking the defense budget to less than what it was in 2008 in real dollars. Our governments nor our society really take defense all that seriously. But to be fair, we do have C-17s, new Hercs and Chinooks but the jury is still out regarding the Cyclones. But, I digress. This blog is about a new fighter for Canada. And an excellent blog it is Doug.

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  84. No worries :-), dude downstairs is doing his absolute best in turning this to a Super Hornet thread anyway, spamming videos off topic. Some moderation Doug?

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  85. This is myth. The Gripen was the Brazilian Air Force favourite since at least 2006. The cigar smoking macho president before Lula wanted the Rafale. The Super Hornet was considered seriously for a while, but the two main contenders in that competition has been the Rafale and the Gripen. I have followed it closely since about 2007. Boeing and a lot of americans found a convenient excuse with the NSA scandal. I'm sure the scandal helped the odds of the Gripen but it was in now way the decisive factor. Gripen has been the choice of Air Commander Saito for over ten years and he and his staff always lobbied for it.


    Buying a large weapons system is not like buying a pair of shoes. A fighter evaluation is tens of thousands of pages long and involves years of research and tests by qualified experts. Gripen E won in Switzerland because it was considered the best system for Switzerland. Gripen E won in Brazil because it was considered the best system for Brazil.


    Dassault will keep saying "they bought it because it was cheap" (note negative adjective 'cheap' rather than 'economical') and Boeing will excuse themselves "they bought it because of NSA". If you think about it you not only see how incredibly silly these statements are but also that they are directly disrespectful of the evaluation in the respective countries.

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  86. You have no idea what you're talking about. Firstly, it doesn't seem like you know what a trainer is. The Gripen would be an awful trainer. The demands from a war fighter are completely different those from a trainer jet. The EPTS is a very renowned school for _test_ pilots. The Gripen is one of the best war fighters out there currently. Many would agree it packs a far higher punch for its size and economy compared to the huge, old and overweight Super Hornet.


    from ETPS web page:
    "Test pilot and flight test engineer students are exposed to this cutting edge aircraft and are able to learn the test techniques required to evaluate this type of complex fly-by-wire aircraft and its associated systems."

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  87. The old Swiss Gripen C eval? Ridiculous to bring that up. A different airplane with different everything.


    Gripen E was judged to be the best fighter and won the competition. Fulfilled 100% of the requirements at less than half the cost of the Rafale. The Swiss people voted no despite the Swiss air force being desperate. I can assure you that if for example Sweden (or Canada) had direct democracy and voted on weapons systems we wouldn't have a military at all. New expensive weapons programmes are usually very unpopular in the public.


    The current F18 serving in Switzerland are not too hot. Can't do ground attack and have horrible availability which is why Swiss airforce recently had to get help from the French for some air policing since their F18's where off-line. The Swiss F18's will be completely worn out and my bets are they'll get the Gripens then.

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  88. Another Gripen advantage I think Doug misses on is that the Gripen E is capable of super cruise with full air to air armament. Neither F35, Super Hornet or the Eagle are capable of super cruise. Not only is high speed good when engaging an enemy but also hugely useful if you want to cover large distances for intercepting for example an unknown aircraft.

    Picard explains the importances of super cruise in this excellent post.

    http://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/supercruise/

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  89. "It is not the world’s fastest, most agile or stealthiest fighter. That is not a bug, it is a feature. The requirements were deliberately constrained because the JAS 39E is intended to cost less to develop, build and operate than the JAS 39C, despite doing almost everything better. As one engineer says: “The Swedish air force could not afford to do this the traditional way”—and neither can many others."

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/24/the-planet-s-best-stealth-fighter-isn-t-made-in-america.html

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  90. Thanks Osynlog Fog, it's always interesting to learn something.

    Besides, your posts are highly instructive.

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  91. Yeah, Gripen is really not a bad plane at all, after reading this article I understand that more than ever. But I have to disagree that it lost. I believe this articles is written in a way to persuade one that the Gripen is superior. Firstly, Doug Allen tied the scores 5 to 5. Secondly, despite this tied score the Gripen was de-clawed by removal of MBDA Meteor in BvR sparring, which Doug claims is "the true tie breaker". (he lists a total of seven points at the end which favour Gripen outside of JFFC) Thirdly, under the dog fight comparison I did not find his analysis very convincing that 120 rounds of a 27mm would not be enough to take down a sturdy F15. Sure some aircraft more than others have been known as scrapper, but one anecdote about landing with a clipped wing isn't strong evidence. So, just how many rounds of a powerful 27mm cannon would it take? Would the Eurofighter be able to gun it down or any aircraft for that matter? The F22 has the weaker 20mm, could the American F22 take it out even though each round has about 1/3 the force of the 27mm cannon? Is the F15 invulnerable to cannons?...

    So what, I think Doug is wrong and Gripen won JFFC this time. Big deal. The truth is Doug is the one who convinced me because I never would have thought that Gripen would win JFFC against the expensive F15.

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  92. "I believe this articles is written in a way to persuade one that the Gripen is superior." Exactly this.

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  93. Well the F-15SE isn't just power like its predecessors. It has its internal weapons bays which allows for better aerodynamics. No the airframe is not worse in a dogfight because fast packs are completely optional. It depends on what kind of mission you go on. Even in the promotional video it states that "Conformal Fuel tanks can be put on for bombing runs" but they're not used for dogfighting. That second seat? That gives it an advantage because the F-15SE despite the drag it adds it has an HMD. Which allows it to target the Gripen

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  94. Even when you have an HMD its good if you're pointing in the right direction. Firing missiles backwards looks cool in marketing material but isn't very practical in reality. Besides, the scenario Doug sets up is a cannons only dogfight so HMD doesn't matter (btw the Gripen has HMD too).

    The F-15 airframe is a lot worse than the Gripen in a dogfight. Being big is a disadvantage in dogfights (or any scenario with heavy manoeuvring).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inertia

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  95. F-18 are awesome and yes they can turn.

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  96. Did a lot of cut and paste from two articles. 3.18 per 100 000 ... what does that equal in terms of our 100 fighters if they were Gripens? (I do not know how often our cf-188 go out).
    Two pilots have died in the past year, An Air Force (US) official said that one factor appears to be human error Pilot error was blamed for three accidents and the Iraq combat crash last year.

    The rate of Class A accidents this year — 3.18 per 100,000 hours flown — was the highest since 2001, when it was 3.85 because of a rash of engine failures.

    The stress of combat is taking a toll on the 1,300 F-16s in the U.S. fleet, and their pilots.

    The F-16 is known in Air Force circles as the “lawn dart” for its tendency to plunge back to Earth when its single engine flames out, and in most years, engine failure causes more accidents than any other factor. But pilot error was responsible for about the same number of F-16 accidents as engine failure in the past year.

    An Air Force official said that one factor appears to be human error, and that pilots and maintenance crews must stay on guard against complacency.

    “We are the most combat-tested, combat-experienced force on the planet, and we learn more about ourselves and our business every day. But still we are human and make mistakes.”

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  97. The best fighter overall in that competition was the Rafale.
    I put the link where they show up how the Gripen was scored lower than the F-18. The new Gripen NG will be heavier, so let's see how it flights once is done with the new engine. I also put you the video of the Axalp exercise where you can see why the F-18 is the most manoeuvrable 4 gen fighter that can turn around and dive so close to the picks and mountains in Swiss. Even their F-5 do it better than the Gripens in that training. The Gripen is nice airplane for small countries. The more expensive Gripen NG with steroids is not in the same league as the bigger Super Hornet, Growler or the F-15 that will be even one step beyond in the advanced stealth versions and almost at the same price.

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  98. I should also mention F-15 can fit 2 seats in its single seat cockpit so it doesn't add any drag. It was designed like that

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  99. Doug Didn't you have a great quote from Chuck Yeager. Something like "give me an F-15 and I will get the job done"

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  100. I posted some info on single engine failures. F-16 in terms of hours per failure and pilot error. It ended up at the bottom somewhere.

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  101. The main problem for a single engine airplane are birds.

    Brazil registered more than 4k incidents last year.


    http://www.defesanet.com.br/aviacao/noticia/15906/Brasil-registra-4-6-mil-relatos-de-ocorrencias-com-animais-em-2013/

    http://www.defesanet.com.br/aviacao/noticia/15906/Brasil-registra-4-6-mil-relatos-de-ocorrencias-com-animais-em-2013/

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  102. No, Rafale was not the best because it did not win the evaluation. Gripen E won the evaluation. Also the link you're referring to is not MS21. It's referring to the Gripen C.
    Instead of just writing "x is better than y" I suggest you give some reasons why. If you think the Super Hornet is more agile than the Gripen then please explain why. I'll tell you why the Gripen E is far beyond the Super Hornet when it comes to agility. It's a simple matter of physics. Compared to the Super Hornet the
    Gripen E has:
    -lower wing loading
    -higher thrust-to-weight
    -faster Instantaneous turn rate
    -higher sustained turn rate
    -lower weight
    -canards
    -more speed
    -better acceleration
    -similar AOA
    -better aerodynamics (lower wind resistance)
    -supercruise


    The F5 is indeed more manoeuvrable than the Super Hornet but not in the same league as the Gripen or Rafale. The Rafale and Gripen have very similar characteristics. The Rafale will be slightly better in some ways while the Gripen is slightly better in others. The Rafale is a better bomber (as is the SH), but thats about it. The Rafale costs three times (3) as much to operate as the Gripen E. Worth it? The Swiss didn't think so.

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  103. All your statistics about the manoeuvrability of the Gripen don't applied when they are fully loaded for war. That's the main disadvantage of the delta designs vs airplanes with extended wings and controls. Don't feel sorry, that's the main advantage of the Hornets and Super Hornet, manoeuvres the same clean or fully loaded at any speed, spetially at transonic speeds where most of the dogfights happens. Delta canard designs needs a lot of speed to have enough lift when loaded. That's why you never see demonstrations of Rafales or Gripens fully loaded as you can see with the Super Hornet or the Eurofighters with much more T/W ratio.

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  104. The only planes that could be built here in Canada would be the Rafale and the Gripen. Since we are so close to the States, they would building then all there. Parts for Boeing products are already manufactured here.
    But, if we did buy something from Europe, I would want it built here. Europe and Asia are always powder cages and you never would want to be stuck with no parts. I would like to see Dassault and Bombardier and even Saab work together on a future fighter.

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  105. It is a trainer, now in times of crisis a countries trainers should be used as well.

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  106. Should have taken the Rafale.
    Better range and can also replace the A4 on the carrier.

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  107. A Gripen with 6 Amraams will be less agile than a Super Hornet with 6 Amraams, and equal if the Super Hornet carries 10 Amraams and as you mentioned, not even close whith bombs. That's exactly why the Gripen is not in the same league of the Super Hornet and the heavier Gripen NG will be even less agile than the Super Hornet when both loaded for war, That's the difference between a real multirrol and a small interceptor.
    The Rafale fully loaded is as good as a Super Hornet but cost way more. I invite you to show me a single demonstration of a Gripen or a Rafale fully loaded. If you find one, we could continue with this discussion based on real facts, not just wishful thinking.

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  108. Umm, am I missing something? I thought the internal weapons bays were contained in the FAST packs. Sure they give it better aerodynamics than a C model with a full load out of external weapons, but I don't care how sleek the FAST packs are, they still produce more drag than a C model with a clean load out. More weight too. No different than a Viper or Rhino with CFTs. They are not as optimized for dogfighting as a non-CFT variant. It doesn't even matter though because a Gripen can outmaneuver even a fully stripped down F-15. The Eagle can't turn with it. It would never get the Gripen in its sights. And that HMD won't do anything in a guns only dogfight. You can't aim guns with an HMD. You have to get your nose on the bandit and pull lead pursuit. Good luck with that in a big heavy Eagle that was designed for interception!

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  109. It adds weight though. Extra seat, extra computers, and an extra person. Every lb counts in a turning battle.

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  110. Actually I think the Eagle does have a higher top end speed when it lights the wick. It probably could run away from a Gripen if it wanted to. And I'd give it the edge in BVR if it wasn't for the Gripen's repositioner.

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  111. I doubt a Gripen with 6 BVR-missiles would be much less agile than a SH. A Gripen full of bombs will be less agile yes. But when do you most need high agility? I would say air-to-air. Weapons are getting more and more precise, and smaller, which favours the design of the Gripen.
    A Gripen with 4 Meteors, 2 Iris-T and drop tank will be more agile than a Super Hornet. After the Meteors have been fired the Gripen can choose to run or choose to hunt the F18 down. The Gripen can always choose to run from a Super Hornet while the SH can't run away from a Gripen.


    I'm sorry but I don't know of any videos with Gripen or Rafale carrying a full bomb load during flight demonstration. Gripen was the first true swing-role system in service. Jakt, Attack, Spaning - a reprogrammable aircraft where the configuration is changed in the air at the press of a button which re-configures the entire system to the desired role.


    As I have previously stated; large and heavy fighters like the F-15, Super Hornet or SU-27 have their advantages and disadvantages. Same goes for medium fighters and light fighters. There will be positives and negatives and it is up to the use to decide what suits them best. In this case Canada. I would argue the Gripen E is the smarter choice. You would argue the Super Hornet. That's fine. I don't think this discussion can go much further. Thank you.

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  112. nEURON is a joint European project which probably points to the future.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dassault_nEUROn

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  113. Brazil's airforce didn't think so and I don't think so either. Networked systems are huge in Brazil. They are world leading when it comes to connecting their military. Gripen is better than the Rafale in this area.


    The Rafale does not have better range than the Gripen E. The Rafale is a fantastic machine but expensive to operate.


    I think it was important that SAAB offered the best transfer of technology. Brazil is a huge country with over 200 million people and have high ambitions. It's only natural that they want to gain as much know-how as possible to be able to further develop their own aircraft industry.
    Brasil has developed air to air missiles with South Africa which uses the Gripen so perhaps there are also some synergy effects.


    I think its important to think about what is 'good enough'.

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  114. Yeah the Eagle is much faster than the Gripen with afterburners. Without afterburners the Gripen is faster. But I'm prepared to agree with you that the Eagle could probably run away. Also its fuel advantage is important.

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  115. Well, to help you a litlte bit and to confirm you wich one is more agile in air to air configuration I bring you a video of two Gripens, one with 6 missiles and a central tank and another with just 4 missiles and a central tank. Not really impressive any more.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjxKPhMXQYU

    Now watch this video o a Super Hornet with 10 missiles. If this doesn't convince you wich one is more agile in air to air configuration I don't know what else could convince you. You can add a central tank if you want and it won't change too much, but really doesn't need that extra gas to have more range than the gripen with a central tank.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t_uw1mGohw

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  116. I'm with you on that. I found some info on F-16 engine failures ... posted somewhere in here at the bottom. The articles say 3.11 per 100 000 hours as high 3.81 per 100 000 on a bad year. USAF states that at least half are pilot or crew error. Any idea on how that would translate to RCAF let's say 90 aircraft in a typical year? I have no numbers to play with.

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  117. You can fit its fast packs on like legos on the F-15SE.

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  118. Why to waste more time and money? the Super Hornet is the natural evo
    lution for the Canadian Air force. We could train our pilots here instead in florida, flying a lot, not just in simulators. We could manage any kind of situation and missions with out problems with the Advanced Super Hornets.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro6dbmMdYUM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZk8wSyuFg0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp6UTP3gNM4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbIECAI3AXY

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  119. I know how they work. I don't think you read what I wrote very carefully. The F15 is not a dogfighter with or without the "Lego".

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  120. F-15 can't outrun the Gripen. It does have higher maximum speed, true, but Gripen has higher cruise speed, and cruise speed is more important than maximum speed. It can't outturn the Gripen anyway, as wing loading isn't that different, but Gripen is an unstable design and has far better aerodynamics. Plus Gripen has far better transient performance than the F-15, except maybe acceleration.

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  121. Found numbers on class A incidents (engine failures) for F-16 over many years. 65 out of 1300 fleet = 5% USAF says half are human error. Worked out to about 1 per 100 000 hours. Assuming that USAF fly a lot more than we do, maybe fly differently (aggressive) ?????, at worst, if we get a fleet of 100 Gripens, that's 5 engine failures over God knows how many years, and Given the Swedes record of 0, we'll half that to 2.5. RCAF has lost 17 F-18s. Also, As Fog points out, engine reliability is up over last 40 years. I really wonder if the 1 engine argument should be put to rest.

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  122. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_MRCA_competition
    Please look at the chart. 40% more fuel may get the range close.

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  123. I have nothing against a mixed fleet. Having a mix could have some advantages and F18 can lug allot of ordinance which could compliment the Gripen. Mind you as you posted earlier there are more cost effective choices than Gripen as a trainer. Unless you are talking about using the the government budget for trainers to purchase full on fighter jets which may also be dual purpose. But that is a question of semantics and politics....

    Then again I'm also a fan of the Rafale ... and I disagree with bypassing a fair competition to select the best fighter mix for our budget.

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  124. That's exactly the point.
    Why to buy an small light fighter (Gripen NG) at the same price of a biger and more capable one (Stealth Advanced Super Hornet) or why to buy fighters like the Rafale that cost almost double as an advanced Super Hornet with less capabilities and not too much diference flight performance fully loaded? Or Eurofighters almost three times more expensive with simmilar results and not even fully develloped for ground or maritime attack?
    Or why to spent for a small Gripen as much as 3 T-50 Golden Eagles that could be used as trainers or ligth attack fighters?

    The most logical option for Canada is to buy Advanced Super Hornets Growlers and some T-50 Golden Eagles that also share the same engine. We already use F-18, thats an expertise that take years to master.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJKvM9laRZs&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1sRKd_uJUQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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  125. Why buy Gripen NG over Advanced Super Hornet?

    How many bomb trucks does Canada need? The Gripen E is simply a better fighter solution for Canadian needs.
    It is more cost effective with lower operational costs. This allows for more flexibility to meet future needs. The larger super hornets also would require new infrastructure investment for larger hangers. The old CF-18's are much smaller in size closer to Gripen NG or Rafale.
    The Gripen has an excellent safety record and is suited to northern cold weather. It is better suited for operating from Canadian FOBs. It can land on small stretches of highways or small airports very easily.
    The new Gripens will have similar range to the Super Hornets but they will be capable of super cruising with modest air to air armaments.
    The Gripens have technology superiority making them far more capable for modern bvr combat: 100degree pivoting AESA radar, IRST and MBDA Meteor. (there is no escaping meteor!)
    Canada has no aircraft carriers and stealthy fighters are dying mules. There has already been quantum radar research been going on for a few years now... The clock is always ticking towards expiration on stealth designs.
    Canada simply is a much more similar military customer to Sweden than the US from many perspectives: budget, climate, mission. This is why Gripen can be considered a good alternative at the same price tag as the ordinance lugging Super Hornet.

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  126. Around the time Australia bought their new F18s, didn't the CEO of Boeing propose that a fleet of F18s for Canada could be manufactured entirely in Canada as an F35 replacement?... I thought I remembered reading something like that but I haven't found the source.

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  127. Canadian CF/A-18 are not stored in bunkers but warehouses, so what's the big deal about its size?
    The Super Hornet is more cost effective than the Gripen. In one sortie it can stay longer and with more weapons than the Gripen.
    Sweden Gripens can flight wiht one engine over it's smaller country. In case of ejection the pilot could use his Nokia to call a cab near by. If a Canadian pilot ejects in the artic its game over for him.

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  128. Obviously you are not familiar with Swedish nature, in the north I assume you could compare it with Canada, and then we do have a lot of water, the whole Baltic. So there will be a bit hard to get a taxi.

    How can The Super Hornet be more cost effective as the Gripen is by far the best in regards to maintenance costs, look at the whole picture please.

    I do not think Nokia is used even in Finland for sure not in Sweden anyhow.

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  129. Obviously you are not familiar wih Canadian geography. Just the province of Quebec is 3 times bigger than Sweden and the great lakes of Ontario are almost as big as the Baltic Sea.
    The Gripen is OK for Sweden, not even good enoigh for Quebec if they decide to separate.

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  130. It is a bit of problem with comparing promised performance but not legally binding. The Americans is always best before the contract and after the signing everything cost extra. As you will never see the source code and are forced to take their upgraded software which only they of course knows what is needed in regards to functionality to put in.

    So there is a huge benefit to choose the Gripen versus any US made fighter.

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  131. Why are there so many videos of the super bug in a f15se vs gripen ng topic? And all of them are just for the consumption of the general public (airshows) and testing. It doesn't prove anything.

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  132. Maybe this link
    http://gripennewsthread.blogspot.se/2013/05/chuck-yeager-om-svenska-flygplan.html
    is the one, some swedish but it links the the statement

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  133. There is of course always the question about the single point of failure, like in this case http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/Fuel_Control_CF18_Crash_207838-1.html with two engines.

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  134. It has faster dash speed, but it drinks fuel like crazy.

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  135. You are confusing force and energy now :)

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  136. Force
    fôrs/noun
    noun: force
    1. strength or energy as an attribute of physical action or movement.
    "he was thrown backward by the force of the explosion"
    synonyms: strength, power, energy, might, effort, exertion; More

    Newton's Second Law of Motion: F = ma. The vector sum of the forces F on an object is equal to the mass m of that object multiplied by the acceleration vector a of the object.

    Sure. Feel free to clear up any confusion Hank. To be honest I plugged the values into a computer program to get a quantitative measure of comparison rather than convert units since I am a Finance guy and not a physics guy. Please make the quantitative comparison better. Thanks.

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  137. Got curious.... By hand using the kinetic energy formula the Gripen cannon has almost twice the kinetic energy measured in kilojoules
    20mm round = 55125 kJ
    27mm round = 104867 kJ

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