Thursday, July 17, 2014

Saab to LockMart: "U MAD BRO?"


It would seem as though Saab AB is taking advantage of the JSF's no-show appearance at RIAT and Farnborough.

While engine reliability issues grounded the F-35, Saab AB wasted no time reminding everybody about the Gripen's history of trouble-free service combined with lower costs.


While most of these statements did not mention the F-35 by name, it should be very clear what they are referring to...





Then again, some of it was not exactly subtle:

Check out the last lines in each column.  Two very different uses of the work "Unbelievable".  



70 comments:

  1. Love the "unbelievable acquisition and operational cost" on both planes

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  2. I think the Grippen team are just telling it like
    it is, and they do it very well too. Now it is up to the LM 'stealth' guys to
    refute the comparisons.

    Many of you might agree the terms, 'stealth',
    'fifth generation','cold war jets' and attendant commentary have been a great
    sales strategy for LM. It makes the public think LM is really with it, and then
    there are the other guys who are not. LM is the future, and the rest are
    sundowners. It has forced other contenders to protest against the
    characterizations, and this in turn generates even more PR for LM.

    Your blog goes a long way to dismantle
    this campaign. Witness the popularity of 'Fighter Jet Fight Club', it is
    powerful information, but also delivered with wit and humour.

    Its great to see Saab Grippen put the light of
    day on this ridiculous myth making, by pointing out exactly what an
    amazing futuristic war plane with a proven track record they have.

    I have a word of advise, perhaps gratuitous, for
    you DND procurement guys: please do not forget that defense budgeting is very
    cyclical in Canada. The cycle stays down a lot more than it moves up. If you go
    with the F35, you have to ask yourself, how many times is the operating
    budget for it going to be starved by your political masters in the coming
    decades? It is just so tempting for a politician to make impulsive decisions and
    go for the grip and grin photo op., rather than make the right
    decisions.












    Perhaps the Grippen could survive these lean
    cycles a lot better than most of the other contenders.

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  3. Cheek level 50,000 achieved. Well played Saab. Well played.

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  4. This was indeed one of the design goals for Gripen as set up by Swedish armed forces; to break the cost spiral.
    Each airplane model got more expensive than the last one - a trend that needed to be broken. Not only is Gripen cheaper to operate than it's predecessor, the Viggen, but Gripen E will be cheaper to fly than Gripen C. This is unique. One of the original goals with the Joint Strike Fighter was precisely to break the cost spiral. How they failed.

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  5. Gripen first with next gen countermeasures:

    "The BriteCloud Expendable Active Decoy (EAD) is a small active DRFM countermeasure that has the capability to defeat the majority of modern and legacy Surface-to-Air and Air-to-Air threat systems.
    Saab is the first to offer BriteCloud as an EW enhancement option on all Gripen aircraft, both new and existing."
    http://www.selex-es.com/-/britecloud-gripen-trials

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  6. Saab is playing up the problems with the F35 and what Russia is doing. But why are only a few nations looking at it? Why are they not being taken off the shelf like hot cakes? Is it because the NG is not ready, Saab is still showing the current version(like the super hornet)?

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  7. It's like a copy paste of what Boeing is saying for years now.

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  8. We got taken in by high tech and the promess to be part of an elite club. Also NATO and the cold war fear factor.

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  9. Hard to break the arms race mentality. The Jones syndrome.

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  10. The Gripen is made in a small country with no political significance. Fighter deals are often about much more than the product. Had the Gripen been made in USA or by EADS my guess it would have sold by the thousands.


    It's telling that the Gripen customers include Switzerland, a neutral country, and Brazil, a huge independent country with ambitions to develop their own industry.


    I am under no illusion that Canada would ever buy the Gripen. Close to zero chance (why Saab didn't provide Canada with info, Canada is so far not viewed as an honest customer but will buy the F35 or possibly the Super Hornet). Hopefully Canada will hold an honest competition in which the fighters can compete but I think there is a very very small chance of that happening. Even in Denmark, Swedens neighbour, the F35 is a massive favourite due to USA alliance.


    It's a political game. Sweden or Saab doesn't have strong cards no matter if the product is excellent.

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  11. You know what? I wonder. Like GM...to big to fail. Make promises, that you know you can't keep ... too late. Who pays? Not the fat cats because they have huge termination bonuses. We get it, which is why this really pisses me off. I live in Quebec and we have the highest taxes and the worst roads ... we got civil servants getting bonuses to their expected jobs...try getting rid of these people. We have created monsters. Which brings me back to Saab (Boeing as well so Super does get mad at me), they improved on something that works. Both systems are plenty fine. Did I say I was pissed off?

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  12. There is still a lot of talk about food and drink, http://www.beeradvocate.com/articles/384/ why so keen of flying around with beer :)

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  13. Do Swedish hockey players drop the gloves often?

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  14. Well, cold war fear factor was already history when X-35 made its first flight in 2000. And NATO isn't an excuse : this alliance has become a big agency to promote US-made defense hardware because of these kind of bad excuses.

    But I agree about the "high-tech" and "elite club" factor. Nevertheless, several countries chose F-35 recently, such as Japan and South Korea, while many old promesses are now very well buried...

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  15. The default Swedish hockey mentality is less aggressive compared to the Canadian (as far as I understand). As you may know the international standard rink is larger than the NHL one and its encouraged to play rather than fight.
    No one is more bad ass than Borje Salming though (just look at his wiki pic) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Börje_Salming

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  16. Its about having an air force that works. A large air force like US can make anything work. Unlimited resources. I would agree the SH may work but I personally don't think its good design at all. Rafale is better at similar economy.

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  17. Look at the "defense industry daily" June edition I think, basically predicts that we painted ourselves into a corner. Stalling appears to be best tactic. They say you guys have mothballed some Gripren Cs and might lease them. Ask your neighbour, the defense minister (you are a small nation after all) how much and if the engines have a tendency to misfire or self combust? :-) You see, the article says that it will cost us 1 billion to modernize our cf-188 to keep them going another 5 years....shit! Maybe Super has some SH lying around, will go check. We are in a big country so it will take a little longer before I can get back to you.

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  18. Hey, got any SHs lying around. Might need them while we stall until LM gets it shit together.

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  19. Left out silent eagle. I really wonder what we will do. Pull an Aussie special with an interim fighter which will make us a two platform force, possibly three if we get growlers. How would the penalties be if we cancelled?

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  20. Unfortunately, you are right. Buying a fighter is about what is right for your country, not politics. Canada still has a bad taste in its mouth from the U.S. involvement in trying to stop the development of the Arrow.

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  21. I think we could buy some Growlers for now. Even if finally they decide to buy the Fck-35 they will need the Growlers to cover them from L-Band radars. BTW I left Montreal 2 years ago. I'm working as crazy in Calgary now but I miss Montreal this time of the year. Enjoy the festivals if you are in Montreal.

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  22. The concept of BriteCloud sounds like a
    relatively inexpensive system to obviate the other fella's expensive air to air
    or surface to air missile. If it were to work very near a 100% of the time, then
    one could envision a scenario where the opponent is bankrupted using all his
    fancy pants SAMs and etc blowing up nothing. Behind the weapons war there is
    usually an economic war.

    I am really spooked today hearing about this
    passenger jet getting shot down in Ukraine. I want Canada to spend a lot of
    serious coin on upgrading our air defense capability, probably a lot more than
    the $ 50 billion figure that is tossed around will be needed. But some of these
    proposed weapons seem to be getting into MAD country.






    Einstein: 'I dont know what kind of weapons WW3
    will be fought with but I know WW4 will be fought with sticks and
    stones'.

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  23. Paul. would you steer me to a site that documents that the US had an actual hand in the Arrow cancelation? From what I've read on tthe subject the Americans were quite helpful. They supplied the interim PW J-75 engines and the loan of a B-47 to use as a test bed for the Iriquois engine development. I think it's simply a blameshift on to the US when it was really a made in Canada disaster. The PM and the head of Arrow hated each other. The RCAF was demanding the Hughs Astra weapon system which was still under development and sending the cost of the Arrow through the roof. Other factors like the belief that manned interceptors were now obsolete was also swaying the government to cancel. Besides, the US companies were large and successful they were bringing some real world beaters on line like the F4. So, I can't see them being threatened to pull anything like that. As I said we Canadians have a history of screwing ouselves without any outside help, thank you very much. But I can't say the US was disappointed when then the Arrow was canceled. They just sat back and waited for it to happen and just cherry picked all our best engineering brains for themselves. Oh Cana-duh!
    But, If I'm wrong on this you will have my humblest apologies.

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  24. You know, I said something along those lines last week that LM would love a crisis to spook people into thinking we need more high priced defense systems.
    At worse, maybe place missile detectors on passenger jets like Israel does, especially when fly over f***ed nations. The 777 is seriously bad news, shocking actually, but it has nothing to do with defense systems. It is more about giving fruitcakes weapons who should not have them. Whether it is some crazy ass separatist, the KGB (forget their new name), or the CIA, fear stimulates the economy but you have to remain logical and pragmatic. Billions in technology won't stop messed up people.

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  25. That diagram is typical USA marketing nonsense. The Typhoon/Gripen/Rafale are far more modern than either the F18/F16. Calling the Super Hornet stealth is laughable.

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  26. Yes, Britecloud is supposed to be very effective. The Gripen E will be equipped with the most advanced fighter link, one of the best HMD's around, the game changing Meteor, the IRIS-T, brand new top modern 100 degree scan area AESA radar, supposedly stealth defeating IRST and other cutting edge weapons like SDB, Brimstone and Taurus.
    -First with Meteor.
    -First with Britecloud.
    -First with swash-plate AESA.
    -First with gallium nitride EWS.


    All while being super manoeuvrable. capable of armed super cruise, STOL, all while demanding far less resources than any alternative. I can't see which competitor being as cutting edge? Possibly the F35 but its systems started development far earlier than the tech in Gripen. The Typhoon will have a similar radar, IRST and HMD and the two-way link with Meteor.


    The incident in Ukraine is indeed terrible. I guess we will see more and more of very advanced weaponry in the hands of incompetent and stupid people. Computerisation enables this.

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  27. You know ... that was truly Canadian ...right until the "if you are wrong we get your humblest apologies" :). I have little recollection of the Arrow beyond what my father might have said a few times. As an aeronautical engineer, he often mentioned the silent pressures of the USA. What do I know about, not much beyond a few books, but I can tell you that Americans play for keeps, not that I blame them, but they do, because they can. There are tons of precedents. As for screwing ourselves, there are also precedents :)

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  28. But you have to admit. We evolve, they evolve, it's kind of a dance. The Growler is a good part of a matrix. They will work out tactics. The Swedish communication system looks interesting.
    PS Did you find out how many Gripens have been mothballed?

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  29. Marketing for Canada. Small print said Boeing.

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  30. You're right Serge. That was truly Canadian. A couple of brewskis for you eh? But I haven't heard enough to convince me of a deliberate American conspiracy. So, apology withheld. As I said, historically, the way we operate our procurements we don't need an outside agent ot foul it up. Given enough time our bureaucracy will do that quite well. And that is such a shame.
    When you think of some of the Canadian developments that did survive the walk through the gamut there certainly no shortage of creativity and innovation. The long gone St Laurent and subsequent classes of destroyers. IT was the RCN that came up with the notion of operating helicopters from the decks of these. The now rusting Tribals were the first to incorporate gas turbine propulsion and variable depth sonar. I won't go any further as this blog probably won't tolerate any more from this "naval gazing" hosehead. Anyway, you get the picture.
    Cheers eh!

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  31. Wow, your points are so very well put Western
    Observer. A person could say, 'thats a damn silly idea, people can talk
    themselves into just about anything' [I include myself in this observation]. All
    these events happened a long time ago. There are endless technical pros and
    cons. Everybody felt they were doing the right thing,-as we all do now-but the
    road to hell is paved with good intentions. I dont know if he originated the
    line, but I have fond memories of PM Jean Chretien, saying out the side of his
    mouth.."Well you know, anybody can play Monday Morning Quarterback".


    Things are a different today however.Back then
    Big Brother was awash in both cash and dubious but beautiful weapons systems
    that they were willing to almost give away. Like the F101 Voodoos, the
    F104s, and the Bomarc SAMS. Today they want us to buy Lockmart 35s in prototype
    form and saddlebag us with the testing costs because-well you know why
    because..






    If we feel like our Senior is going to Jonestown
    with these addle-brained schemes, then at the very least what we owe to them is
    to enlighten them in plain English, THAT 'we got lots and lots of reasons not to
    drink the Koolaid with you Big Brother, why dont you time out, take a few deep
    breaths, and think it through?'

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  32. Call it whatever you want, but the Super Hornet applies elliptical surfaces to deviate the radar waves. There is no way any radar wave could return directly to the emitter. Even if the wave arrives directly from the sides, the only return will be a single point, perpendicular to a segment of any tangent line. in other words, nothing, pretty much like the vertex on the surfaces of the Raptor. Even the lateral controls of the Super Hornet have a deviation exactly as like the raptor, not like the Gripen and it's single vertical control.

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  33. I agree with all your points Serge. Returning to
    scrutiny of the F35, this so called reasonable tool of war to keep the wolf from
    the door, we cannot afford to blow our budget on it. There has got to be a lot
    spent on monitoring and apprehending 'crazy assed messed up people' too.
    Domestic and foreign. Lets keep our powder dry.

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  34. You know I had the privilege to visit a Canadian destroyer one on one with a master chief. He told me of some great Canadian innovations. In passing, I do not think conspiracies exist. They are simply decisions by important people who feel that little people need not know about. And, so you know, I am off to the fridge for a beer!

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  35. Correct you are CL. Anybody can plan armchair general but when so many say "wait a second here", something has to be wrong. Thank God for the internet, because you and I would not be privy to this kind of information. It would have been a done deal and the media would be spinning out tons of stories from inside sources that it was a good move ...

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  36. Just compare the aplication of composite material between the SH and the F-35

    https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/rbi-blogs/wp-content/uploads/mt/flightglobalweb/blogs/the-dewline/assets_c/2013/07/SuperHornet-greencoat-thumb-560x246-178583.jpg

    http://d2n4wb9orp1vta.cloudfront.net/resources/images/cdn/cms/0909hpc_HPresins5.jpg

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  37. And now watch the aplication on the front edges of the wings.

    http://youtu.be/4zB0ZxBurRc

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  38. Very well put Serge. Now enjoy that beer!

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  39. I do admire this small wonderful country, close to Russia, that has the balls ( these days) to build its owe fighter.

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  40. Call anything truly stealth is laughable

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  41. Watch now a frontal view of the Gripen. The rectancular intakes are vertical as the vertical control. That way the gripen is very observablr from the sides, compared to the diamond intakes of the Suler Hornet paralel to its lateral controls.

    http://files.air-attack.com/MIL/jas39/gripen_c_redf_lag13-2.jpg

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  42. The F35 will be part of there mixed fleet. A PART of there airforce, not all.

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  43. Old Cold War day, the soviets had a mass amount of weapons and the the west could countered with less, but more technology. Now the technology is too much and the basic platform, THE PLANE, is failing. And the the good old SU 27 & SU35 are doing just fine and there to defend there country.

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  44. They are already as capable as mini-Suoer Hornets, so is not too bad idea. If they are trying to wait until the F-35 becomes ready, maybe those 4 years won't be enough.

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  45. If they are going to do that, do what Australia did and get 20 Superhornets with a few stealth weapons racks and maybe 5 Growlers ... 2 billion but well spent as you can retrofit the SH into whatever you need when those "other" planes (hopefully functional) start arriving. Hell, at this point what is 1 extra billion? I'm going to bed!

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  46. Good point.

    http://www.ruaviation.com/images/media/600/572.jpg

    http://intercepts.defensenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/ASH075-130827-Boeing-F18F-ASH-154111.jpg

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  47. Would it? Operational costs are similar.

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  48. *irony on
    Yes, it clearly looks like a B2 or nEURON.
    *irony off

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  49. That's important. The JSF is not a good air superiority fighter. It would be crazy to buy only the F35. It can't keep up with new Sukhoi or Migs.

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  50. If you are using the F-35 as a stealth interceptor then it might be ok if it is taking on a bomber, but a fighter group. Holly crap ! You would have to go up with missiles under the wings, and the will see you. Same goes for a bombing run. A few bombs on the inside and a gun, no missiles under the wings. So you must have pretext ice cover somewhere. Again and again, I hear that the F35 has great technology and sensors. Nothing about going into a fight with a limited weapons load and no manoeuvrability. You get to watch the bad guys coming and can't do much about it. Give me a Rafale, ASH, or a Gripen, with a Growler near by and the job will get done.

    Keep two squadrons of legacy F18's and buy 35 ASH' and about 6 Growlers. If in another 8 years the F-35 has proven itself the buy a squadron or two of them to replace the legacy fighter. If they are crap then buy more ASH or buy the next gen FA-XX.

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  51. Look at this carefully. It's a comparison by Jane's comparing the operational cost of western fighters. It was commissioned by Saab but Jane's is in no way a gun for hire. You won't find a more trustworthy source on anything military.

    http://www.ftm.nl/wp-content/uploads/content/files/IHS%20Jane's%20Jet%20Operating%20Costs%20White%20Paper%20FINAL%2013th%20March%202012(1).pdf

    Saab was probably getting tired of hearing everyone saying they are affordable while complaining at the Gripen's small size. It is a well known fact that weight is very closely and precisely coupled to weight.

    Also take a look at this comparison with the Gripen C. Have in mind that Gripen E has similar performance to the Typhoon with its stronger engine.

    http://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/comparing-modern-western-fighters/

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  52. The Super Hornet is massive compared to the Gripen. The precise Gripen RCS is classified but rumoured to be around 1/10 that of the F16. Because the Gripen is so much smaller than the Super Hornet it is smaller from all angles.
    But we're talking about radar here. And NO ONE would fly around with active radar in a real war (unless they wish for a swift 'death by Meteor' since EWS has much longer range than any radar). Also the Rhino is infamous for its high air resistance (poor aerodynamics). The F18E's size, two engines and high air friction will light up the Gripen Skyward-G IRST like a christmas tree.

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  53. Look at the wing sweep angle of the F-18 vs European canards. You can tell which planes are built for speed. The A-10 like wing of the F18 will be good at very low speeds at low altitude. It will not be at a marked disadvantage in a high altitude, high speed BVR/WVR air battle.

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  54. No, sorry my neighbour the defence minister wasn't home ;). I think we're using most of them. Some are leased. I think the Flygvapnet has about 100. Will unfortunately decrease to 70 with the Gripen E. Gone are the days of Flygvapnet glory (fourth largest air force in the world in the 60's I believe).


    Of course everyone evolves but as soon as I hear "we don't need manoeuvre because stealth" (F35) or "we don't need to manoeuvre because jamming (Growler), I'm pushing the BS-button.

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  55. The F35 is a bad interceptor in vast Canada because of its low speed (no super cruise).

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  56. This is a bit complicated as older versions have been used to build newer versions. But in Svensk Flyghistorisk tidskrift 3/11 the situation is explained but of course in Swedish. It seems that 204 Gripens has been built and Sweden decided the need is 100 but 2 of those has been lost and not replaced so Swed do have 98 or 74 C-version and 24 D-version, Hungary 12 C-version and 2 D-version, Czech Republic 12 C-version and 2 D-version and last Thailand 8 C-verson and 4 D-version all in total 138 Gripen.

    At rebuild several older individuals can have been used so it is a bit hard to sort out how many there is or can be. I assume it is about the Swedish 98 that can be used but the rumor says that there can be possible other that can be interested, lika Malaysia, Croatia and Thailand and Brazil as an interim solution.

    I don't think it is possible to read the pages if added here so I skip it and it is in Swedish also.

    I also saw in the 6/11 number that individual 39113 did collided with a swan and could land motor running but a large part of the power supply was out no radio and degrading control system, a write-off.

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  57. Thanks for looking. Love the part about the swan...sad ... but that is one big ass bird. It the plane came back after that, I'm impressed.

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  58. So? the Raptor is double size of the Gripen and it's RCS is insignificant.
    You mentioned the Super Hornet is not Stealth and I demonstrated you how it has insertions of Stealth technology in its design, thanks to it's unique elliptical surfaces and inclinations in the flight controls and intakes that deviates the radar waves, I even spent time drawing you the tangent lines of it shape. I even show you pictures of the composed materials used by the Super Hornet, exactly as the F-35 and Pakfa. or how they apply radar absorbent materials on the edges of the wings and so on. IThe Super Honet is a low observable fighter, and acting with the Growler is totally Stealth, and I'm not even talking about the Advanced Super Hornet.

    If you don't wanna look as Troll, I challenge you to demonstrate your affirmation about the Gripen having 1/10 RCS of the F-16, having pretty much the same size, one single vertical control, rectangular intakes and so on. I suppose you won't be able to demonstrate it, because the Gripen don't have stealth technology insertions in it's design.

    What is laughable is that you call the Gripen a better an modern desing of the Super Hornet,

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  59. It's not the shape, or even size of the intakes that matter as much as burying the engine where radar can't get at it.


    A visible turbine fan might as well be a spinning disco ball to oncoming radar.

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  60. Didn't you know that what you see there are the radar blockers that deviate the radar waves?

    http://s48.radikal.ru/i122/0912/38/7ba23d14c6c8.jpg

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  61. Indeed I do. The Super Hornet does an amazing job of decreasing the RCS of the Hornet while being considerably larger. The Legacy Hornet's intake is pretty much a straight path to the fan blades.

    I was merely trying to illustrate my point, not dismiss the Super Hornet. Here's the F-16, where the fan is clearly visible.

    http://daytonipms.com/walks/AFTI-F-16/IntakeNoseGear.jpg

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  62. From that angle the ray wll not reflect perpendicular to the emitter but to the outside.
    This is what an enemy airplane will see if faces the F-16 directly at the same level.

    http://i.imgur.com/XkhqN.jpg

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  63. BTW the problem with the rectangular intakes and the verrical flight control of the Gripen is not the front view but the side view, that will return perfectly the radar signal to the emitter, not like the SH/F22/F35.

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  64. So is it a 90 degree angle problem only, otherwise the signal will be reflected away, so how often is that the case then?

    Otherwise it seems that Saab do their thinking http://www.4-traders.com/SAAB-AB-6491624/news/Saab--Patent-Issued-for-Method-and-Arrangement-for-a-Low-Radar-Cross-Section-Antenna-18360364/

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  65. Yep, and when France wants to hand over the first Mistral in the fall, what will people say then?

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  66. At war? all the time.
    Is not just about to fly directly, supersonically easy over the target as if they were the only ones in the sky. The airplane has to do evasive maneauvers, turns, inverted pop ups. during rides or strikes, tie turns, Close Air Support over the same area for a while, or big turns doing CAP over it's own base etc etc. there won't be just other airplanes chasing the fighter, plenty of big and small radars too, AAA artillery, SAM etc etc. That's why to have a Low Observable and extremely maneauverable airplane at transonic speeds when loaded during aggressive turns like the Super Hornet and a Growler it's a winning combination during the chaotic moments of a real war.

    http://youtu.be/HYGM-aB1Luc.

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  67. But you av pointed out that Canada is so big so were is all the people and equipment to be scared for?

    If a lot of maneuvering then how about the RCS of upper and under parts of SH?

    And of course the Gripen do also have its EW to complicate things.

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