Friday, August 1, 2014

Fighter Jet Fight Club: Gripen NG vs. Super Hornet!



I will be honest...  I have been dreading this installment of Fighter Jet Fight Club.  I tend to root for the underdog in any competition, but what happens when underdogs have to compete against each other?  Both of these aircraft have a 0-2 record for FJFC, yet both are clearly crowd favorites in the comment section.

Our contestants today are two of the biggest value propositions in the fighter world today.  Both are "modernized" versions of aircraft that have been flying since the 80s.  Neither make promises of being the most dominant force in the skies, but they do promise a "90%" solution at "50%" of the cost.  Most importantly, both aircraft are "tried and true" designs that have provided years of faithful service.  Despite this, they are often overlooked in favor of newer, flashier aircraft like the F-35 Lightning II.

Which aircraft will see redemption here today?

Just remember the rules.

Air-to-Ground:

Infiltration/Penetration:  In our raunchiest sounding category, both aircraft match up quite closely.  While neither is truly a "stealth" design, both use techniques that help reduce their radar cross section.  They are also both fitted with plenty of electronic countermeasures.  

The Gripen does have its smaller size to give it a slight advantage, not to mention its single engine gives it a smaller IR signature.  It is said to have an RCS of about 1/10th that of a F-16.  All else being equal, I would consider this enough to give it the advantage here...

All else is not equal, however.  The Super Hornet has that tech-savvy variant, the EA-18G Growler.  Normally, this would only add points for this variant under the "Versatility" category.  But Boeing is now offering a "hybrid" Super Hornet that replaces the Super Hornet's wingtip missile launchers for the Growler's ALQ-218 receivers.  While this "Growler Hornet" would lack the EA-18G's jamming capability, it would have a much easier time "seeing" enemy radar coverage.  

With this capability, the Super Hornet comes out slightly ahead here.  Advantage:  Super Hornet

Deep Strike:  Possibly the single most important improvement to the "NG" Gripen is its improved range.  By simply repositioning the landing gear, Saab cleared up enough room to hold 40% more fuel.  Best of all, it did this without adding considerably more weight or drag.  Being a small, single engined fighter, the Gripen sips fuel instead of guzzling it down like larger, twin engine aircraft.

When Boeing set out to improve the range and payload of the F/A-18 Hornet, they did what any typical American would do:  Supersize it!  Bigger aircraft burn more fuel, but they can also carry more of it.  They can also carry more weapons.  Supersizing the Hornet did have a few drawbacks however, weapon separation issues forced a 3° outward cant to the weapon pylons adding considerable drag.  Boeing has proposed two rather elegant solutions to this issue, both incorporated into the Advanced Super Hornet concept.  Conformal fuel tanks and an enclosed weapon pod would likely do wonders for the Super Hornet's range.  Unfortunately, neither proposal has been approved for funding.  

Weapons being equal, I'm inclined to award this one to the Gripen NG.  Weapons are NOT equal however.  The Gripen has access to the 500km range Storm Shadow and KEPD 350, both of which are quite impressive.  The Super Hornet can carry the 1000km ranged AGM-158 JASSM-ER ALCM, giving it a clear win here.  After all, it is best to strike an enemy from a distance where they cannot strike back.  Advantage:  Super Hornet

Payload:  This one is obvious.  The Super Hornet is about twice the mass of the Gripen.  It can carry a substantially larger payload.  Not only this, but an equal payload will have much less effect on the Super Hornet's performance.  Advantage:  Super Hornet, clear winner

Close-air-support:  When it comes to getting down and dirty, both aircraft fit the bill quite nicely.  They each do quite well in the "low-and-slow" regime thanks to their ability to land on short runways or carrier decks.  Both can be fitted with precision targeting pods like the SNIPER XR or LITENING.

Normally, this would come down to weapons, but even then, there is very little difference between the two.  It looks like they will both be capable of using the MBDA Brimstone.  The Brimstone is a "low collateral damage" air-to-ground missile that has proven quite useful for the close-air-support role.  Advantage:  Draw

Air-to-ground winner:  No real surprise here.  The Super Hornet became the direct replacement for the A-6 Intruder after the A-12 Avenger fiasco.  It is a big, burly fighter bomber that was meant to straddle the line between the retired A-6 and F-14.  It is a big fighter because it simply needs to be.  The pint-sized Gripen just does not have the size to compete with it here.  Winner:  F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

Air-to-Air:

First look, first kill:  When Boeing super-sized the Hornet, they neglected to super-size its radar.  Boeing kept the same forward fuselage.  This means that, despite the Hornet getting bigger, its radome remains the same size.  The radar has been updated to AESA standard, however.  No IRST is built-in, but add-on solution has been found in mounted an IRST sensor to the Super Hornet's centerline fuel tank.  While this is certainly a welcome addition, it remains a slightly kludgy fix.  Its position (seen in the photo above) mandates the center fuel tank, adding weight and drag.  It also has an obvious blind-spot both behind and above the aircraft.  

Despite being smaller, the Gripen NG houses a similar-sized (about 1,000 T/R modules) AESA radar to the Super Hornet.  Any criticisms that European AESA radars are lesser than their American counterparts are baseless.  In fact, it seems the opposite might be true as European makers are now using Gallium Nitride instead of Gallium Arsenide.  The Gripen takes it one step further by mounting the radar on a "repositioner" that allows +/-100° scan angle.  Typically, AESA radars are fixed, and "steered" virtually.  It's simpler than it sounds.  Here is the Gripen E's radar:




And here is the Super Hornet:

No video...  it doesn't move.

The Gripen E's built-in IRST is also in a more traditional location at the base of the windscreen.  This allows it to mimic the pilot's head movement more accurately so it can project the image on the pilot's HMD.

If we consider both aircraft to have a similar RCS despite their different physical sizes, the Gripen has a clear advantage here.  It has better radar and better IRST.  Its smaller, single engine design give it a smaller IR signature.  Advantage:  Gripen

Beyond Visual Range:  When the Super Hornet replaced the F-14 Tomcat, it was neglected to carry over the F-14's AIM-54 Phoenix long-range air-to-air missile.  This is a shame.  Instead, the Super Hornet must make do with the ubiquitous AIM-120 AMRAAM medium range missile.  There is certainly nothing wrong with the AMRAAM, it is the benchmark from which all other BVR missiles are compared.  The Phoenix was something special, however.

Then again, maybe the Gripen now carries the "next big thing" in BVR air-to-air missiles.  The MBDA Meteor uses a ramjet instead of a rocket to give it a more controlled flight to the target.  This not only improves its range, but its pK (probability of kill).

Even without the Meteor, the Gripen still has the advantage.  Not only does it boast a higher top speed and rate of climb, but it is capable of supercruise.  This allows it to give its missiles substantially more energy.  It also plays to the cliche "Speed is life...  Altitude is life insurance."

Sorry, Rhino fans, the Saab wins this one.  Advantage:  Gripen

Within Visual Range:  There is no ignoring the laws of physics on this one.  The Gripen is faster and smaller.  It has superior wing loading.  Its inherently unstable, tail-heavy, delta canard layout takes full advantage of fly-by-wire flight controls.  The Gripen wants to constantly change direction, but its on-board computers keep it in check until the pilot wants it too.  If that was not enough, the Gripen comes equipped with HMD's and just about whatever WVR missile you desire.

While the Super Hornet improves on the legacy Hornet in most ways, raw speed and turning power just about equal to, and sometime inferior to, the older model.  The legacy Hornet actually boasts slightly better wing loading, and thrust-to-weight ratios.  Matters are complicated further when he Super Hornet mounts its draggy pylons.  The Rhino does indeed have its kludgy IRST and HMD to help matters somewhat against opponents without such gear, but its not enough to outperform the Gripen here.  Advantage:  Gripen

Dogfight:  When things get up close and personal, the Super Hornet finally starts evening the air-to-air score.  The Super Hornet seems most comfortable when flying lower speeds at high angles of attack (AoA).  The Rhino driver has remarkable control over the aircraft in this regime, able to point the Super Hornet's nose (and gun) wherever they want.  Its 20mm M61 cannon has been around for roughly a half-century now, and for good reason.

The Gripen's close-coupled canards help it when flying high AoA as well.  It may lack the "notability" of the Super Hornet, but it certainly is no slouch.  At the very least, it has the ability to accelerate away from its slower opponent.

The Gripen's 27mm BK-27 Mauser cannon forgoes ammunition and maximum firing rate for hitting power.  While the F/A-18 can "pray and spray" the Gripen prefers to make its shots count.  It should be noted that the two-seat Gripen F goes without a cannon altogether, using that space for co-pilot.  It should also be noted that the EA-18G and "hybrid" versions of the Super Hornet also trade in their cannon for EW equipment.

With no clear winner, this one is a toss-up.  Advantage:  Draw

Air-to-air winner:  While the Super Hornet may have dominated the air-to-ground round, the air-to-air round easily goes to the Gripen.  Again, there is no arguing with physics.  Bigger fighters can carry more stuff, while smaller fighters can be quicker and more agile.  The Gripen is also helped by its sensors.

Flexibility/Logistics:

Flexibility:  Both of these aircraft pride themselves on being "all-in-one" solutions to your combat aircraft needs.  The JAS 39 Gripen's "JAS" acronym translates to Fighter, Attack, Reconnaissance.  The F/A-18E Super Hornet's F/A acronym stands for "Fighter/Attack".  Both aircraft are available in one-seat or two-seat flavors.  

The Super Hornet does have a few other tricks up its sleeve, however.  While Saab is investigating the possibility of a "Sea Gripen", the Super Hornet is already carrier capable.  It can also be equipped with "buddy refueling" gear to act as an aerial refueling asset, albeit a small one.

Of course, no discussion about the Super Hornet is complete without mentioning its nerdy, AV club member brother, the EA-18 Growler.  Different enough to be considered a different aircraft, the Growler is still similar enough that any nation purchasing the Super Hornet would be daft not order a few Growlers as well.  The availability of the EA-18 makes this category pretty much decided.  Advantage:  Super Hornet

Logistics:  One Hercules aircraft.  That is all that is needed to carry the spares and service equipment needed to support a ten-aircraft deployment of Gripens for up to four weeks.  For every three hours in the air, it requires roughly one hour of maintenance (compared to 1:1 or worse for most aircraft).  Turn-around for an air-to-air mission can be done in under 10 minutes by a team of six.  It can land on a decent stretch of road and be serviced from a truck.

The Super Hornet is said to be even simpler to maintain than the legacy Hornet.  Despite being a larger aircraft, it uses less parts in its construction.  It was designed to be maintained within the tight confines of a aircraft carrier.  If it were being compared to any other fighter besides the Gripen, it would likely have the advantage.

Oddly enough, the Super Hornet has helped contribute to the Gripen NG.  It's GE414 engines have proven to be so successful in the Super Hornet that they have been adopted for use in the Gripen with very little modification.  The Gripen's previous engine, the RM12 was derived from the GE404 used in the legacy Hornet, but modified for durability and reliability.  Exemplary service in the Super Hornet proved that such modification were not needed for GE414.

The Gripen would likely get the nod here simply based on using a single GE414 instead of two.  It goes much farther, however.   It is hard to come up with an modern fighter that has a smaller logistical footprint than the Gripen.  Advantage:  Gripen

Versatility/Logistics winner:  The Super Hornet is the more versatile machine, thanks to its smorgasbord of attachments and its electronic warfare variant.  The Gripen is much easier to bring into the action, requiring only a bare minimum of additional support.  What really needs to be said here is that BOTH aircraft are very good in either of these categories.  Winner:  Tie



Final Score:

Air-to-ground:  Gripen = 1  -  Super Hornet = 4
Air-to-air:  Gripen = 4  -  Super Hornet = 1
Flexibility/Logistics:  Gripen = 1  -  Super Hornet = 1

Final Result:  Gripen = 6  -  Super Hornet = 6

Well!  This is a far cry from our decisive knock-out last week.

Both aircraft have their definite strengths and weaknesses.  The Gripen is the better fighter, the Super Hornet the better bomber.  Confusing matters more is the fact that both aircraft offer exceptional value in today's expensive fighter jet market.  Even in this department, they each have their advantage.  The Gripen costs more per unit than the Super Hornet, but it balances out with a lower operating cost.

At this point, you are all welcome to accept a tie as the verdict and read no further...

But those rules!  Rule 5 states "NO TIES"!

It is not too late.  Go ahead, skip the next part...

GET ON WITH IT!

Fine.  This is "Best Fighter for Canada", not "Best Bomber for Canada."  The Gripen is faster, more agile, and has better situational awareness than the Super Hornet.  While it may lack the Rhino's massive payload capability, this is a bit of a non-issue when it comes to air-to-air capability or precision ground attack.  The Growler's EW capability is great, but it really is more of a niche capability.  In trying to fulfill so many roles, the Super Hornet spreads itself too thin.  It can do a lot of different things, but it is hard to think of one single thing it does better than anything else.  The Saab Gripen NG focuses more on the basics.  It simply sets out to do what a multirole fighter should do.  That means that the Saab Gripen NG is the winner of this bout.

But there is one more thing...

Notice, in the scoring, that each aircraft has does quite well in one category?  Can you imagine an air force that utilized the advantages of both aircraft?  The aircraft are different enough to complement each other, yet are similar enough (same engines, etc) to mitigate the cost issue associated with fielding mixed fighter fleets.

Can you imagine if both Saab and Boeing teamed together to build a high performance aircraft?

Oh...  That's right...  They already have.

172 comments:

  1. Again nicely done! I would not mine a mixed fleet of both these aircraft, but I think it would be more likely to see 50 Super Hornets and 18 F-35's on the flight line. (for political reasons). Now that being said having Boeing and Saab work together does put a wrench in things specially if a Canadian company or companies joins the party. The other item is the cost of taking our pilot from one type of Hornet to another. In the 80 's Canada wanted the land version of the Hornet(bigger) and the had to go with the navy version, well the Super Hornet is the land version.

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  2. Maybe that's the origin of your confusion.
    If all that Canada need is the best fighter, well, just buy 54 Eurofighters. What Canada needs is the best multirrol, ergo, the Advanced Super Hornet and Growler. In your evaluation you don't include the beneffit of two engines over the artic, and the beneffit of a big airplane when loaded with bombs and missiles for a multirrol mission. A small grippen fully loaded with missiles is not as hot and agressive as a Super Hornet with the same amount or even more missiles, not to talk when both are loaded with missiles and bombs, and even with the actual engines, just imagine if you put the EPE ones with 20% more trhust. The Meteor is a great missile, but not a silver bullet. The Aim 120D can reach 180 KM ! and if absolutely neccesary, Canada could integrate the Meteor with the Super Hornet, remember Rytheon has a participation in the beginning of it's program. About the AESA radars, the USNavy has already hundred of thousands of flying hours of experience. About low observability, the Super Hornet is already a Low observable airplane by design, if you upgrade it to the Advanced version, is even 50% less observable and in conjunction with the Growler is already an Stealth airplane.

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  3. So is it a fighter you need to combat or is a bombing mission you want? Gripen clear winner in the air doesn't it says it all.

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  4. Good job Doug.
    This "fight" shows us clearly that the difference stays in the primary use by the air force :
    -A little "do it all" Gripen , with a very good "punch for the buck ratio" and with a very efficient EWS , but lacking range and depending on to many suppliers. Perfect for a little european country who need to remplace the old F-16 for air policy( and more if need is).

    -A "big" Super Hornet , very efficient , a strong war horse build for carrier use and hard warfields , with good avionic , great payload and using numerous kind of weapons. But the SH is built to be use in a complex air force with Growler (a navy request because over the see it's impossible to following ground and evade enemys radar ). SH is not the better choice for air superiority particulary against last gen. of russian fighters, but it could be more than enough for Canada.

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  5. Is it not the best fighter for Canada like taking out flying objects which is hard to do with ground ordnance. Isn't it a bit strange that cannot the Hornet-family do something today it is a piece of a cake to add whatever extra functionality but only for the Hornets. As Canada is not allowed to do anything by themself it is not that sure it will happen, not when or what it will cost if it happens.
    Then there is the funny issue about two engines or one, obviously Canada shall not plan for a plane going down at all as that will never happen if there is two engines but which single point of failure, SPOF, is there that can down an fighter. If two engines the probability that one is broken is larger and as a result the availability is worse as one example.
    It is not the range that is the issue but NEZ and PK

    http://www.mbda-systems.com/e-catalogue/#/solutions/air/26/performance http://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/aim-120d-vs-mbda-meteor/
    and it also strang the the range increases from 120 to now 180 km for the AIM-120D in your answers.

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  6. That just goes back to that argument that a country should have a mixed fleet. Like our past but without the crappy equipment. So have a squadron on each coast, of missile loaded interceptors - Gripens. And then have a few squadrons of ground attach aircraft, the F/A 18's and buy a few Growler for help. The thing that Canada has in its back pocket is location.
    Canada can have a fighter that does pretty good with a lot of things, like a navy aircraft would, because you have the direct backing of one of the largest air forces(NORAD). Unless Canada gets back into the aircraft (fighter) building game. Canada will buy American unless there equipment is so crappy(F35) and they have to go elsewhere or buy just a few.

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  7. When you talk about short range of the Gripen, surely you are referring to the Gripen C and older versions? The Gripen NG (E/F) is actually intended to have a much longer range... Check it out.

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  8. Great comparison and an excellent illustration of a complimentary mixed fleet for Canada! I wonder how much of a cost saving synergy this mix would have compared to other alternatives considering the shared GE414 engine? From superficial considerations it seems as though it could be an effective mix fleet on a budget.

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  9. You base the advantage of the Gripen in the use of the Meteor? As I told you the AIM-120D can reach up to 180KM depending of the speed and altitude it's launched. But if you want to use the Meteor, no problem, EADS will integrate the Meteor for the British F-35, so it won't be a big deal to integrate it with the Advanced Super Hornet if Canada buy it. The Advanced Super Hornet and Growler won't be detected by the Gripen at very long ranges to justify the Superiority of the Gripen using Meteors, but the Gripen will be detected by the Advanced Super Hornet and Growler at very long ranges.

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  10. The score is tied & yet you fail to take into consideration the advance Super Hornet upgrades. 1) Like a newer 20% more thrust in the engine. 2) The use of stealth Pod will reduce its RCS in BVR engagements 3) The New touch screen cockpit that will improve situational awareness. 4)The internal IRST set up 5) The Conformal fuel tanks 6) How about the Growler. Besides the Meteor can easily be integrated with the Hornet. Even the JSM missile is integrated with the Hornet. Meteor will be integrated with the F-35

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  11. Maybe this http://gripen4canada.blogspot.se/2013/02/more-myths-and-misconceptions-gripens.html from Doug's other blog can be of interest about the range it compare against the SH in a positive way for Gripen and introduces a possibel design work for Canada.

    I think I have seen radiuses on a map of Canada also but did not find it.

    Why shall it be negativ with "too many suppliers"? Is it not better to buy the best than wasting time and own resources to redo things, there is always an option to do it yourself or buy from someone else?

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  12. Paul, I might be dreaming in color, but I like to think Canada could still dodge out on the F35 acquisition if we have to. Don't count out the power of Canadian financial stinginess... :p

    That being said, you're probably correct.

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  13. Yup, he was comparing the SH not the more attractive ASH.

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  14. You might want to be careful with the Gripen.its a marketing giant of a company alright but the Gripen is actually 25 year old platform with zero operational experience excluding those photo recon missions in Libya....That does not impress me.

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  15. X=ASH=(stealth?, super manueverable?)=LOL
    (X)(said over and over)=GODZILLA FACEPALM

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  16. I is of the impression that is the Russians that is the enemy for Canada will they have the SH or what, have you not mix things up, it is the best fighter for Canada against the Russians?

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  17. What do you mean with "marketing giant of a company" ?


    "zero operational experience" ? It's got lots of operational experience. Are you referring to "war experience" as in 'combat proven' maybe?

    The small amount of time in an actual war-zone (not simulated battle) has nothing to do with the aircraft itself, but with the country (Sweden) it comes from - Its a peaceful country that doesn't invade other countries left and right.

    Every possible aspect of "war" is tested carefully in exercices (both small ones testing one single aspect and big ones testing the whole 'system' under stress), and its usually scoring very good in those, and has been for 15 years. I'm not talking about test from the company but from the different militaries who have been operating the aircraft for years, such as the Czech fleet - Who are very active users and very pleased with the performance, maintenance, price, reliability etc.

    Article about Czech Gripen usage:
    http://airheadsfly.com/2014/02/26/ahf-inside-the-czech-prize-fighter/

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  18. Who said it was super manueverable? Sorry excuse me I must have entered the worship the Gripen forum.

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  19. Sweden is a peaceful democratic country with many values that align with Canadian values. It also just happens to be the the second largest weapons exporter per capita in the world! But when shopping for fighter jets I don't think we should hold that against them. ;) :)

    The fact is, the range of the old Gripen fighters prevented them from being a valid option to defend Canada. With the new Gripen NG, range is no longer a problem.

    Now as a customer Canadian needs should be much more similar to Sweden than the United States. We can't afford not to consider the Gripen when selecting the best weapon for defense.

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  20. With due respect Sir exercises and actual combat operations are two different things just take Murphy's law Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

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  21. Yeah as exercises wear more on the equipment than fighting a war I assume it is better to go to war, ironic if not understood.

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  22. Read rhino's comment up there^

    Sorry for trolling. Gripen NG will fit the bill well enough and its obviously my favorite as my username implies. But the SH just as awesome and the most logical choice for Canada.
    Its just that he's trying far harder than Boeing, LM, and Doug in selling their aircraft of choice.

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  23. You're the one who seem confused to me:

    Please tell me what benefits there are with two engines flying over the arctic:
    Note that the Gripen has 100% engine reliability despite being operated frequently in the arctic for decades, with thousands and thousands of flight hours.
    If a single engine fighter had a much lower reliability than a double engine fighter, I could see the point, that is not the case here.

    The swedish fighter is designed specifically to be operated within the arctic circle and in extreme weather, the weather in Sweden is very similar to that of Canada. One of the largest fleets of Gripens is even situated close the the border of the arctic circle which makes flying in those conditions basic while being a mouthful for other fighters.

    Your talk about performance in "full load" is strange, its already properly mentioned in the article. Its simple, if you want a heavy bomber Gripen is not your choice, but if you want a multirole with a heavier focus on air2air than bombing, Gripen is perfect.

    "About the AESA radars, the USNavy has already hundred of thousands of flying hours of experience."
    -Other people have "experience" of the AESA radars as well, whats your point? Saab has extremely capable radar systems in their portfolio, and the international collaboration on the GaN AESA proves to sport an extreme product.

    "If you add a rotation to the radar, you add complexity too for a marginal benefit."
    -Wait...what? So you think its a "marginal benefit" with 100degree scan angle vs 60degree? Yes you add complexity, man you must dislike the F-35 btw, but what is your point exactly? That the radar of the Gripen is more complex?


    I've got a similar view on most double engine fighters, it adds complexity and costs (and other problems) for a marginal benefit. If you're building a highly specialized aircraft, such as a extreme fighter or an heavy lifter I get it, but that is not the case here.
    To put it in perspective, I've heard (note heard, no source) that >70% of the thrust of the second engine is eaten up by the extra weight + other negative factors that come with it, such as extra fuel for same range etc. Which means a small share of the thrust can actually be used for more speed and acceleration (not mentioning reliability since the competition (Gripen) has 100%).


    "Super Hornet is already a Low observable airplane by design, if you upgrade it to the Advanced version, is even 50% less observable and in conjunction with the Growler is already an Stealth airplane."
    -Wow, you're using terms such as "low observable", "even 50% less" which means Nothing at all without comparison. The Gripen is simply stealthier.

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  24. "too many suppliers" can make the deal less interesting. The more foreign suppliers you have (with their own money) the more risqued is the deal. A state can cancel a delivery or the autorisation to product the part (or spare part), and fluctuations of money can (sometime) dangerousely increase the price. That's a very important thing to be considered. To me , it's the Gripen major issue (in a general case , not especialy for Canada).

    As for the Gripen NG range , i appoligise , i had Gripen C range in mind.

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  25. About number of suppliers I think the most troublesome is any supplier from the US as it often ends up in politics. If US does not like what happens in a country it can boycott deliveries in any form like if there is a SW-program that happens to have an American citizen involved in the coding even if the coding is done in a different country for a non-American company.

    Some old Swedish/Saab experience in this area is when a possible selling of Viggen to India was embargoed due to the "military engine" which is a commercial version of Pratt & Whitney JT8D which Volvo adapted for Viggen.

    A way to favor an American company refusing export licence.

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  26. Super Rhino.
    The Growler is a crutch for the SH. It's a piece of nonsense to imagine a SH with a Growler patroling over the north of Canada.
    The Growler is made for massive air attacks during first days of a war.
    His jamming is useless for the RCAF main mission : intercept and escort russian fighters or bombers.
    The best western fighter made for this kind of job is (in theory) the F-15 last gen. , too much expensive for Canada.
    SH and ASH are very good planes , but i can't imagine them escoting a SU-35, especialy with a Growler handicapated by his weight.
    A good modern fighter NEED to be autonomous.

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  27. It's super maneauverable in combat configuration. Show me a single video of a Sukhoy or Gripen doing the same in this configuration, and when I say the same, I mean doing real combat maneauvers and not cobras or instant turns that need 1000 ft to recover after plunging lika a stone like in the case of the sukhoys.

    http://youtu.be/pz2Cl3TnRyM

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  28. 20 degrees each side is a marginal benefit when you are detecting airplanes at very long range at 240 KM.
    60º covers the hole battle space in front of you. To add rotation to the radar increase the necessity to maintenance. If you need to cover 100º with the Super Hornet radar all you have to do is to maneauver 20º each side for 2 seconds.
    To have 2 engines allows you to come back after one of them is impacted by a bird, or a mampad like a hornet did in Irak.
    Yes, the Advanced Super Hornet is an effective stealth fighter all around, the Gripen is not.

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  29. I agree, to intercept Russian bombers all you need is the Low observable advanced Super Hornet with the Gripen sensors if you want.

    http://www.boeing.com/assets/images/Features/2014/05/corp_superhornet_700.jpg

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  30. Hmm... "20 degrees to each side is a marginal benefit" erm.. the effective scan angle is actually +200 degrees with the Raven radar, it actually lets you look sideways, behind you, & the benefits of that in for exemple air combat, is far from marginal..
    The argument that a second engine lets you get back home after a bird strike is obviously flawed, Gripens have haid their share of bird strikes; "they chew them up..." it's built to handle that, & the design obviously works. +200k fh without enginefailiure is proof to that.
    And no, the ASH hasn't shown anything that would make it more stealthy than a Gripen E/F as of yet..

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  31. What kind of air combat? BWR? WVR?
    For BWR 60% covers a huge area in front of you. For WVR the AIM-9X and HMD display covers more than those 200º. The USNavy will receive new AIM-9X2 with the same range of the AMRAAMS. The Gripen is not a stealty airplane, specially not from the sides and even worst when hanging weapons. The advanced Super Hornet is a stealth Low observable ariplane. just revise again the links I just put.

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  32. Great comparison between two very practical and capable aircraft. The issue however, still goes back to "What is the mission of the RCAF?". Pure fighter, interception, both, attack, something else, all of the above? Look at how the F-35 fits in to these categories and the CDN gov't was hell bent at one point to simply buy them based on Lockmart's promises. It's clear that some planes are better at some roles than others, so ultimately I don't see any other option going forward than buying different aircraft types. The 65 min number for the F-35 is a pure farce. The RCAF fighter/attack requirement is probably more like 100 aircraft. We get away with cheaping out because we have our big brother American friends to the south, but we should really be spending appropriately and doing our own work for sovereignty rather than just relying on the US.

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  33. I didn't include the ASH as it is far from a sure thing and there are simply to many unknowns regarding its performance. It just isn't feasable to do a comparison using so many that many hypotheticals and estimations. I'm already using plenty!

    For a more detailed reason, check here: http://bestfighter4canada.blogspot.ca/2014/06/why-i-didnt-include-ash-in-fjfc.html

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  34. Another reason why 2 engines is better than one.

    http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/design/survivability/f18.jpg

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  35. And three engines are better than two ? Sometime one is enough.

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  36. And sometime the pilot is happy to have a little more punch !

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

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  37. Hmm.. A stealthy weapons pod could be mounted to either aircraft, so that can hardly be argued as a key point to stealthyness, & the pictures you've linked.. are you serious..?

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  38. Absolutely serious. The elliptical shapes of the super hornet apply the same principle of stealth design of the B2. No one single part of the fuselage has the same size or radius in any 3D direction, to deviage the radar waves. Even the "elliptical" cone of nose do not offer a bigger point of return from the sides than a small perpendicular point of a tangent. In each view try to find any surface perpendicular to the point of view the camera.

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  39. Interesting tie breaker. You cheated with the Growler.

    Given that the NG is a better “fighter/interceptor”,
    and can carry 16 000 lbs of precision weapons (which is no chump
    change) ... and if you can carry a full load, you
    better have air superiority or you are screwed ... unless you are
    bombing the Maldives. Sorry, but SH does not cut it, even if it is a
    bomb truck. Less is often better.

    Now if the ASH gets the go ahead, possibly as the result
    of a confirmed order from Canada for 100-120 , then … who the hell
    knows. I like the bird.

    The real problem, is nobody knows what Canada really “wants”, notice
    I did not say “needs.” Domestic assembly? Keystone pipeline?
    NORAD buddies? Rights? Mad cow? Soft wood? Jim Cary?

    The politics are bigger than the acquisition (minus the 65 F-35 which I
    still say is crazy and I do not even want 15, sorry Paul). For that kind of
    money, give me 4 good D/E subs with AIP propulsion armed with cruise
    missiles (which Canadians can easily modify) and I can guarantee you
    that arctic sovereignty will no longer be an issue. The snowmobiles
    and riffles are cheaper.

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  40. No. 16 000 lbs of weapons + air says it all.

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  41. Willing to forgive if it is ASH.

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  42. Imagine Canadian pilots behind the stick of the NG ... Shiiiiiiiit!

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  43. When Canada chose the F-35, the single engine argument went down the toilet.

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  44. I think you are being kind. The ASH maybe, not the SH. And truth be told, the only way to really know is to get 50 of each, given them equally good pilots, fight a bunch of battles against God knows who, for God knows how long, and see how they do.

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  45. 100 NG or 100 ASH and get Growlers. They will forgive us because we have oil and hockey.

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  46. Why settle for SH? I agree with most of what you say but the NG is better than SH. I saw pics of fully loaded F-15E with 500 pounders. Looks impressive but we do not fight in their conditions. We work in conjunction with them. I do not think total weapons load is the most important. A couple of NGs configured for air to air to escort a couple more NGs with 4,6, or 8 precision bombs is a world of hurt. And i want the code! They are offering. Through in some American assembled Growlers! As for the Russians, you have to be pragmatic. We may produce problamatic aircraft, there shit has the same issues. They have other issues such as training that compound their problems.

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  47. The Russians have a theory..they like two engines and spread apart. The theory is that if one gets shot up they have the other one to get home on. Remember that the Russians believe in dogfighting. The F14 was the only fighter in the west like that, I think.
    I will alway be in favour of two.

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  48. Ask the pilots of Vietnam . The missiles crapped out a lot, thus gun pods on an F4 and Top Gun school.

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  49. With interest in F-35, Canada through out the 2 engine requirement.

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  50. Come on . The NG is a lot hotter! Like comparing Raquel Welch and Barbara Bush.

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  51. It's well known that's very hard to manage a plane like F-14 or SU-27 just after an engine breakdown. Bigger the gap between engine is , the more probability to get into a spin the plane has.
    And you are right , in dogfight two engines are better than one. Besides the fact that you have more instantaneous thrust , you can act (with a modern avionic) on each engine thrust for a greater maniability.

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  52. As an other example, when France put a vato on the second war in Irak , USA stopped arms supply. Even the fourth (and last) Hawkeye for the french navy was not supplyed.
    Nerver trust with the US.

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  53. So who do you intend to go after with that minimal weapons load the box contains 6 SDBs and 2 AIM-120? Do you intend to have AIM-9X on the wing tips or will it take away the stealth they are not present in your pictures?

    Is the release of weapons from the box working or even tested?

    Trying to compete with the F-35 about which is the worst fighter?

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  54. I am not settling a plane over another. All those planes are very good and efficient. As you said in another post , the two big questions are : what the country realy want ? and : what is the budget ?

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  55. Well done Doug. A couple of things in my opinion:
    - Gripen wins dogfight with superior cannon. Instantaneous fire important for split second kills.
    - No mention of TIDLS 2, the Gripen E datalink. Since this link is highly classified I can understand your exclusion.
    - Gripen wins flexibility. Famed for ease of weapons integration. Full access to blueprints and source code with no black boxes meaning Canada can fully customize the aircraft.
    - Canada could build the Gripen in Canada. Made in Canada. Where would F18 be built?
    - Gripen costs half as much, or less, to operate meaning more flying hours for pilots. Ergo, Gripen pilots superior.

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  56. Why would an ASH be any better? It's just a Rhino with conformal tanks. Even the F/A-18C is a better dogfighter.

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  57. And its doing it with a full A-A load....

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  58. It is also possible to use the improved engine in the Gripen, maybe something for Canada to implement.
    The IRST in the ASH is placed has bad as in the F-35 looking down.
    The stealth pod is a joke with 6 SDBs, Small Diameter Bombs and 2 AIM-120?
    Touchscreens but is it the HMD of more interest?
    The Growler is more for attack.
    So who will order the Meteor work as it is not invented her, NIH, from an American point of view it can be a political. circus.

    A nice summary for Gripen http://www.saabgroup.com/en/Air/Gripen-Fighter-System/Gripen-and-Switzerland/Gripen-E/Gripen-E-features-at-a-glance/

    As can be seen Gripen do have a lot integreated from scratch with its nice set of datalinks for instance.

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  59. Branding me "fanatic-a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause" yet here you are saying "amen" to the head of the "SH lords over every jet" cult showing airshow videos equating it to real combat?
    LOL.

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  60. The SH is here and it fits the bill. The ASH isn't and may never be. Plus it keeps big brother down south off Canada's back.
    SH= better choice in the real world.
    NG= ideal world's choice

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  61. As I say before, the 100 degrees vs 60 is marginal when you can have 360 coverage with IRST missiles like the Aim-9XII with the same range of the Amraams like the ones the USNavy will receive. Radar guided missiles can be jammed and the new Aim-9X will change the geometry of the BVR engagements, not the gripen radar. Somethimg like the Python 5 ks doing already.

    http://youtu.be/nWG2PkwKiaQ

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  62. The british will use their F-35 with Aim-9X hanging from raks. The way the Super Hornet carries the Aim-9X is cleaner and stealthier. The Advanced Super Hornet flight already with the enclosed weapons pod. To make it functional is a piece of cake compared with make 100% functional the new Gripen NG.

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  63. Nice that you are such an expert with all your statements but of course you did forget to do a statement on the "heavy" load the pod can deliver.

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  64. Funny you should mention D/E subs with AIP propulsion, just as SAAB has taken over Kockums, masters of that specific "art"... & on the verge of brining about Swedens "Next Generation" sub, A26.. ;)

    http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/saab-story-swedens-new-submarines-024760/

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  65. Dont worry, The Advanced Super Hornet will be able to carry more than one enclosed weapons pod.

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  66. Sure, to home in a a Gosth. There is nothing easier to avoid than a long range radar guided missile.

    http://youtu.be/gO8I7mdPIhY

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  67. You are correct. It was my response to the F-35. You get super cruise, and more "stealth" with 20% more power. It would be a better dog fighter than the F-35 and a heck of a lot cheaper.

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  68. My point was also about the perception of defense as opposed to the reality of defense. Screw the F-35, get SH (ASH) or NG, and get a few strategic weapon platforms with long range missiles and if things get that ugly, well if you can't beat them in the air, get them on the ground.

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  69. I had the impression they were now heading into the production mode in South America.

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  70. If Canada orders 100 - 130 ASH, I would think the line would continue long enough for other orders to come in. If no ASH, personally, speaking as a simple peasant, NG all the way because as many Australians say, they are outclassed in their geopolitical sphere, and the Growler, is a first strike platform, and I don't see them flying around on patrols.

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  71. Absolutely. Gun is in. It was a little tongue and cheek on the reliability on the Gripen power plant.

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  72. Or it could lunch this monsters missiles.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=zpFkYmwh0SQ

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  73. All long/medium range weapons are easy to avoid...if you avoid them. You have to disengage and turn away to move outside of the WEZ. The 40 extra degrees of crank (both left and right) available to fighters with repositioners is more than a marginal advantage in this arena. Fighters without them will always have to turn cold first, and each time they turn back in hot they're even worse off than before.

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  74. II clearly mentioned the RADAR guided missiles can be fool and jam. The IRST missiles like the long range Aim-9X don't need you to stay in the area and you can move any were 360° not just 100° and the missile will continue to the target.
    Now imagine the Big Super Hornet carrying two extremely long range Stunner or similar missiles with dual Radar/Heat seaker like in the video I just showed.

    http://pvo.guns.ru/images/expo/eurosatory2008/DSCN1054_DCE.JPG

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  75. ASH is the only way to go, now. You can't turn your back on more fuel, sensors and more power.

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  76. Sweden is peaceful but they live really close to the BEAR and you never know what a bear is thinking and about to do. Specially the current boss bear. So it is a smart idea to develop a really good weapons platform to defend your people. Think how different Canada would be sitting next to North Korea.

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  77. No, but it is a heck of a lot closer to reality than the Advanced Super Hornet.


    The Gripen NG demonstrator has been flying with almost all of the mods planned for the Gripen E/F. This includes the GE414, IRST, and relocated landing gear allowing for more fuel. The Gripen E also has a confirmed buyer (Sweden) as well as another waiting on paperwork (Brazil). The Gripen E is going to happen. Saab has also released full specs on the Gripen E (speed, thrust-to-weight, etc)


    I give the Silent Eagle a pass, only because its performance has been stated to be equal to that of a F-15E.


    The Advanced Super Hornet has flown with mock-up CFTs and EWPs, but these are mock-ups only. No actual weapon testing has taken place out of those EWPs.


    The biggest factor is the engine. The GE414-EPE doesn't fully exist yet. It certainly hasn't been fitted or tested with the Super Hornet. As tempting as it would be to simply add 20% to the current thrust of the Super Hornet and extrapolate from that, getting accurate performance figures just isn't that easy. You certainly can't assume that the extra power will result in a supercruising Super Hornet, as aerodynamics have a huge role to play.


    If the Advanced Super Hornet gets a buyer, and full specifications are published, I would love to give it a rematch in each and every FJFC.

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  78. I think you've consumed so much Boeing kook-aid that it's replaced the blood in your veins. Either that or you work for Boeing. It's the only way you could possibly brush off such deficiencies as "marginal".

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  79. As much as we criticize our neighbours, we are very lucky to have them there. Look at Israel, they have modern weapons and older modified weapons ... actually, anything that can shot. Its about numbers

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  80. There is a lot of truth about what you are saying but what really puts a wrench in all your propositions is that you are unfortunately not in the cabinet because what they will ultimately purchase as weapons (consider we got rid of our TOW2 antitank missiles and they are damn good) is anybody's guess. Fact is, it is almost as if they know we will never go to war so lets get a few cool "semi-armed" machines.

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  81. I did not have the nerve to ask if he worked for Boeing :)

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  82. Seriously, I do not want the SH. The fact that they are talking ASH, displaying a mock-up, tells you, me, and everybody else, that they put a 120 HP engine in the body of a Formula 1. Adding the IR on the front of the center line tank is but another example. ASH is different story.

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  83. They play for keeps. Hence our political situation. Well, I hope they block keystone. Might motivate a little bit of self reliance.

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  84. Chant this lines first and say amen from deep in your soul after each:
    1. The super hornet, especially the ASH, lords over every other jet.
    2. The super hornet, especially the ASH, is super maneuverable even if it's limited to 7.5 in combat configuration.
    3. Any breakthrough development in other aircraft is marginal when compared to the super hornet, especially the ASH.
    4. Whether in bvr, wvr, dogfighting and AIRSHOWS, the super hornet is the best. Especially the ASH.
    5. The ASH is stealth, and is actually flying now but its so stealthy no one can see it. The only reason Boeing doesn't say it is is neither they can find it.
    6. The super hornet cost $55m a piece cause that's what Gibbon(s) says even though Australia paid $2.9B for 24 bugs and had to pay another billion+ to get them flying.

    Now keep chanting those until you believe.
    Only then will you become a lord of the Super Hornet cult.

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  85. WHAT IF... we wait for the technologies to mature: the engines, the sensors, the software, the weapons systems. "Try after you buy" should not be in our procurement plan. We must make our own list of requirements and give that wish list to the bidders. Why only take whatever they have to offer? What if we wait until the Gripen builds a track record in combat? (that may be never) Do we wait until the U.S. Navy irons all the kinks out of their ASH? Even with the Eagle's air-to-air track record, I don't think it would fare well in a knife fight with the Gripen or our upgraded CF-18A.

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  86. Selling your ideas of what? The Super Hornet?Selling my Ideas in a Gripen fan page hahaha are you out of your mind? No your the one being stupid. Im just trying to correct this one sided bias article over- zealous & full of Gripen fanatism....lol

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  87. I have full confidence in the F-18 SH as the tip of the spear Strike fighter of the US forces. & the US Navy's Fleet protector. F-18 SH is also the platform of the most capable electronic warfare aicraft in the world the Growler. You compare that to a 25 year old untested aircraft you out of your mind?

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  88. A rather interesting thinking, I wonder what's qualifies for a new entry then? As it happens technology has a tendency to take leaps but in your case I assume it will not happen. When the Hornet was introduced there was other more combat proven fighters so ...?

    Compare for instance the telecom industry in US and Canada where there were a lot of companies that is more or less non existing today.

    And one small comment about the navy's fleet protector, it cannot protect from under the water, so some out of the box thinking can sink the carriers and its protector.

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  89. Hey Serge, Tony just provided the SH creed here.

    Like I said, I have nothing against the SH.
    Sure its capable but not as much as you dream it is.
    No, its not super maneuverable.
    No, its not stealthy, even with the growler or ASH, its not. Boeing doesn't even say it is.
    Yes, its the best but only in strike, and that is if it is a SH-Growler combination. Going solo? It gets beaten by another strike aircraft, the rafale.
    Its not an air superiority or a multi-role fighter.

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  90. If you're trying to correct the article then focus the topic and don't start branding people as fanatics when your facts or the one's you believe in gets check.

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  91. Was the VP of Super Hornet, now moved on to be the head of the F15 program. Not sure this is a promotion?

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  92. Whatever Canada does, it should by a few Growlers. Buy 65 Gripens and have a few Growler along side. Will Canada ever launch it's own strick on another nation? I would think not and typically the US would be there to do all the electronic warfare stuff. But then again they left the Lybia campaign.

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  93. The SH is a ok, but the ASH fits the bill for Canada. Must have the new engines, fuel tanks, and the IRIS.

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  94. In passing, I just took my kids to Universal studios and did Harry Potter after my nephew promised me it was no big deal. When I look at the Saab radar video that Doug posted, I feel like I am going to puke! I prefer the SH radar that is just sitting there.

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  95. Already announced upgrade of the A. I can bet you that the bugs in the Gripen NG and the ASH will be peanuts compared to the F-35. As for combat, it's not the machines that are the problem, it's the countries that use them (i.e. Gripen) because they do not often go to battle like the USA, France or the UK.

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  96. Here is the thing. The USA has one big son of a biscuit of a spear, so the "tip" is big in case they are somewhat off target. We do not have that luxury. The ASH will go a ways to help that. As of now, the NG is a better A2A aircraft/interceptor in terms of systems and efficiency (we are a frugal nation). I would not call the SH crap, but like I said, the fact that they are talking ASH tells you something.

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  97. From a geopolitical perspective we are very lucky to have the US. Countries prosper or fall depending on their "position". Having a friendly, same language speaking big neighbour, with oceans all around us, allows us to live in "La La" land.
    This has caused Canadians to be lazy about defending their sovereign rights. The US can't do everything, nor should we expect them to. Time for us to buck up.

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  98. Given GE's track record, it's believable that the EPE will be an operational engine. As far as what the 20% increase will achieve? I doubt supercruise will happen, and I guess it depends on what the definition is. The biggest benefit of the EPEs will be the transonic interface performance. An area where the SH has been weak in the past. In addition, I would expect time to altitude numbers to be better.
    What I expect that we will find is that the EPEs will make the ASH version an even better mainstay jack of all trades aircraft than it already is.

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  99. The spreading apart also allows for weapon stations to be located underneath in between.

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  100. Some how "try after you buy" has become concurrency. There will always be an element of new features in anything. I don't think we should stop that. What we need to do is to regain some critical thinking skills in how we do things, so that we can see the difference between "it's reasonable to achieve" vs "pure marketing speak and faith based wishful thinking".

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  101. I agree with you but there are different views on this, and it is hard to say I told you so in this kind of decision. Human nature as it is, with all the dirty tricks that are played out there, I think we should have our own procurement policy that promotes independence as specially as we slowly creep up to the 40 million population mark.

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  102. I can see this one happening. The stretch between both aircraft is not that great.

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  103. Nice video. If you were to guess, what speed? 250 knots?

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  104. I'm not sure. What I found amazing is the capacity to take off in less than 100ft with all kind of weapons. If you like the video probably you will really like this one. A Super Hornet supermaneauvering at different speeds with 10 missiles. There is not other airplane able to do it like this with out loosing altitude. This is the purpose of super maneavuering in combat fully loaded.

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

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  105. It appears a few have painted themselves' into a corner by supporting the F-18E especially naming your tag name after it. Let's just stop and consider what a single type or a mix fleet purchase including the Gripen E could offer Canada? And also what capabilities Canada would not have with the Gripen E? It certainly will offer Canada a competent air asset less costly to buy and fly then any other option. Yes I know Doug does not want to talk money with this comparison but it is the costs that really tips the scales in favor of Gripen.


    Gripen E is based on a proven platfrom with what we all know is about reversing the costs curve of purchase and operational costs. It is a full mach 2 capable dash, 6 missile armed mach 1.25 super cruise as well as it has a 1,500 km combat and 4,000 km ferry range. It will carry more then enough smart bombs to perform precision ground operations. Gripen E has comparable avionics suites and in some cases at this time superior systems. It was designed in it's architecture to be a very easy jet to upgrade / change systems. Like other options it has many other capabilities like a buddy refueling system when air tankers are not in the area.


    If flies at 1/2 the cost per hour of the F-18E with a requirement of one trained tech, a couple helpers, a tent and a road to operate. It has a small logistical footprint. Maybe the F-18E will be chosen but consider every hour the F-18E flies the RCAF budget would save around $12,000 for every hour if it was flying Gripen E instead that can to the same job faster with better range.


    With Gripen E Canada would have a jet that will be a competent air defense / air superiority fighter. Saab has officially said a customer could have an EPE Gripen if they want it. Maybe an opportunity for Canada to be the lead user of the Super Gripen.


    Forget the small size of Gripen E. That was an intentional smart design choice on the part of Saab. If single engine reliablity was an issue Sweden would not have designed a single engine Gripen. In North America we are a bit slow to pick up on the Gripen concept. It is small in size but offers very big benefits for Canada. The small size has proven to be a great attribute to the effectiveness as a fighter in exercises. Hell even the cockpit of Gripen is bigger then the F-18. I do not think Canada could go wrong with Gripen E as part of the RCAF. What does Canada need and what does it require to spend to have a competent fighter? A jet that also Canada will cost effectively be able to continuously upgrade to stay effective leads to a fleet of Gripen E.

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  106. Doug: Just wanted to say how impressed I am with your blog. Your easy way of explaining all the various aspects of this BFFC issue makes things a whole lot easier to understand. I wish the politicians would read your stuff, especially your post on stealth. It might actually give them a better educated view of this procurement. But, alas, i just don't hold out much hope. I think no matter what, in the end this country is going to be the proud owners of 65 tempermental high maintenance hangar queens with sensitive skin and (if the engine issue isn't dealt with) a bad case of burnin' hemorrhoids. I sooo hope I'm wrong.

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  107. For Gripen NG lovers,I was looking at smart bombs. If you consider the GBU 39 with its stand off range of 60 miles, that weigh 285 lbs and can be carried by the GBR 61 in 4s a NG a full load. That is 40 bombs of precision munitions from 60 miles away. Accrate to 5 meters.

    Still worried about having to be built tough for close air support? The GBU 53 will be accurate to 1 meter from 45 miles away.

    So you can still be nimble and support the troops.

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  108. Very fun to watch. I will shoot straight. I love the Gripen. Perfect, never is. But data link, domestic assembly, and maintenance cost are good points. I think it is plenty. That said, the ASH would be just fine for me. Final outcome, who knows, maybe Canada will play a deciding factor by placing an order. But as long as we get out of this F-35 crap. Both the Gripen and the ASH are impressive for what they cost. I just hate my tax dollars wasted and I am not very fond of "suits" telling me that crap is filet mignon.

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  109. You are still trying to create a non existent situation as it is the best fighter for Canada and then you need to compare the fighter against the threat for Canada and not SH against Gripen so please stop trolling, anyhow some comment.

    More a social kind of video have you gone soft? Anyhow Gripen do also have HMD and better weapons in the Meteor even if you try to give the SH's missiles credit the Meteor is a technology leap the obsoletes the AIM-120. With Gripens data linking between the Gripens on top of that will be a killer.

    If you now change to prefere the AIM-9X it is on the Gripen too.

    Nice try to state an exercise as something that is valid in hot engagement, exercises is set up so Blue will win and there was no Gripens included.

    So the Aussies have had there SH longer than the Thais have had there Gripens so maybe the learning curve is different but as you then also compare SH against Gripen C and not Gripen E it is once again a try from you.

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  110. Gripen E has four hardpoints for heavy missiles as AGM-158 and can carry four heavy missiles. How many can Super Hornet carry?

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  111. Stop dreaming. Your Meteors will be useless against the stealth low observable advanced super hornet that will destroy your non stealth Gripens with the AIM-120D at 180 KM.

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  112. And yet everyone of there fighters is like that.

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  113. Doug,

    I am curious to where you will be taking us. You have dissected the the birds pretty well and in a fair manner. At this point we are down to favourites and jovial bickering. News updates? Probably charts based on election results? Total cost projections? Insider information? Educated guesses? Industrial espionage? Ranking from the most likely to the least likely? More face slaps (nice effect)?

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  114. There just isn't much happening in the summer (apart from Farnborough). That's part of the reason I started FJFC, just so I'd have some content to post.


    I do have a few "educated guesses" that I'm willing to make.

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  115. Agree Serge, both planes come out with flying
    colors in FJFC and are impressive, but the important background theme should
    be to at least get out of as you say,the F35 crap. IMO it is also important for
    Canada to get away from any 'secret code' stuff so on that account the Gripen
    wins. I dont like 'made in USA' code of any stripe. They got themselves into a
    real pickle with their ponzi scheme casino style banking/trading adventures,
    which came home to roost in 2008. Now with this sequestration thing looming
    the LockMart inbreds are trolling around looking for cash grabs to pay for the
    endless patching and workarounds which are sure to keep erupting like
    pestilential sores on their Jonestown jet. Where to grab? Get the partners to
    sign firm orders and drink the koolaid with them on their pilgrimage of folly,
    and please do supply a few blank checks along with the one for the so
    called 'fly away sticker price' while you are at it.

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  116. http://news.usni.org/2014/07/29/chinese-russian-radars-track-see-u-s-stealth

    Article describes how stealth fighters are becoming obsolete against russia & china but also data links in a heavily jammed environment... So yeah we want the best data link we can get.

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  117. I have been looking for test on the proposed upgrade power plant on the ASH. No one is taking about super cruise. They talk about the CFTs and stealth. Any news on that? Concrete? Or is too soon.

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  118. I have doing some digging and have no test results on the ASH supercruise. Has it simply not happened yet?

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  119. It was mentioned by a Canadian journalist as a possibility in a blog in favor of the ASH.

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  120. What Boeing says about the CFT according to the test with the current engines is this.

    The CFTs produce no drag at subsonic cruise speeds up to Mach 0.84, he says. In fact, at M0.6, the CFTs actually produce less drag than a clean aircraft.

    Drag does rise at supersonic speeds, says Mike Gibbons, Boeing's vice-president for the F/A-18 and EA-18G, but only to a level comparable with that of a single 1,817litre (480USgal) centerline drop tank.

    What I understand of this is that the goal is not super cruise but extended ranges at high subsonic speeds.

    Mach 0.84 with a conformal fuel tanks and the enclosed weapons pod with 4 amraams inside gives you more than 700 NM.

    The Gripen or Typhoon with external misiles and no external gas tanks super cruising at Mach 1.20 or 1.15 how much range give you? This is something to be evaluated. Stealth and range at high subsonic speed vs non stealth and less range supercruising.

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  121. You are still trying to troll, it is still the best fighter for Canada so do you think the Russians are going to buy the Gripen and they do not have radars?
    There is a lot of statements from you which you do not confirm in any way but should be believed is the truth.
    You will not see the difference in the Meteor missile and the AIM-120D with a running engine and able to accelerate when hitting the target against a glider missile which some maneuvering will easily taken care of. And the Metor does have 320+ km rage against the poor 180 km.
    The Gripen is able to handle any incoming threats so you do not need to worry

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  122. Hahaha And I thought the F-18 is the Grandfather's axe. Maybe the Grippen id the Grandmother's rocking chair......

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  123. Thats what Saab officials will always say that I guarantee. What about Boeing's lol

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  124. Nobody cares about your Troll acusarions.
    As I told you, if your superiority is based on the Meteor, that's a poor superiority because it will be integrated for the F-35 and easily for the SH if the Navy wishes. But the USNavy is more interested in the Aim-120D and Aim-9X2 with extended range. the SH and Growler have great data link / satellite comunications and it's in the process to adquire even better ones with the new computer and system s is receiving. They are bigger airplanes with more room and electronic power to grow. The Gripen is just an overrated small airplan that can impress some small or 3th world countries interested more in the budget than in real defense. The Gripen would never be flying in Canada. Way more chances have the Advanced Super Hornet if the conservatives allow an open competition.

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  125. You are so funny that you probably do not notice, you twists statements the whole time if something is better in Gripen then it will be put into the SH but that is just the question you cannot put in anything as you are not allowed to do it and do not have any control whatsoever.
    I recommend you to look at the Gripen presentation at FIA http://wms.magneetto.com/saab/2014_0714_webcast2/view and then you can ask yourself if you are betting on the right horse. It will be interesting if you will find something that SH or the systems around is in any regards better for Canada.

    As Meteor from an US point of view is not invented here they will not include the Meteor, if the British put it in the F-35 is a different issue. In the US it is all about politics so from your point of view it would be better to grew up and take control instead.

    Dont forget that Boeing teamed with Saab to learn how to design better.

    As you are dependent of big brother you will not in any way control the development process as an example look at the F-22 that only can talk to itself so why should you think big brother can handle tactical data linking.

    And yes I think you will continue with you trolling.

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  126. You know, I do not think we are slow to pick up on any concept. I now believe our "free" economy, is not so free (actually I knew this a long time ago but the internet just puts it in the mainstream). A lot deal making behind the scenes and the tax payers pay... they just say it is for our own good. Listened to a documentary on WW1 propaganda on CBC. The Germans had propaganda, we had "information" to help guide the populace. Scary actually. The F-35 is a perfect example of what is "good" for us.

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  127. "Dont forget that Boeing teamed with Saab to learn how to design better."


    And then you accused me of Trolling?


    You Swedish are so inflated and overrated that you believe you invented the wheel.


    This will help you to understand what is Boeing.

    http://www.boeing.com/boeing/product_list.page



    If they invited you to participate in a small project for a Trainer is because you are more in that range than a in a Big league.

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  128. What are Canada's requirements. Is interception one of them? Shouldn't interception be a key point in FJFC?
    By interception I also mean identification of unknown flying object. An unknown radar blip enters Canadian territory requiring fighter jets to start and visually ID the intruder. It's usually civilian aircraft with malfunctioning transponders (which is why you can't just shoot down unknown intruders).
    Good climb, acceleration, weather resistance and high cruise speed is required. The F18 and F35 are the worst options for interception and identification due to their slow cruise speed.

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  129. That's a great article! Thanks.

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  130. An air to air missile kill from 180 km. That would prove that the ASH is the best fighter not only for Canada but also the best there ever was and ever will be until laser technology catches up.

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  131. I have to tell you, first, this is off topic, second, that after seeing a couple of scandinavian blonde-blue eyed beauties this summer in the states, one of which made my nephew almost pass out, you have the right to be at least a little inflated.

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  132. That's nothing, the Divine Gripen can destroy a fighter from 340KM with the Space Meteor

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  133. So your only response to my request of considering the Gripen E for Canada is by laughing at your own attempts to make a joke? And I note you make sarcastic remarks about others on this blog. Show a bit of respect and class! If you cannot make an intelligent rebuttal on this blog you have lost the argument. The ASH is not an improved F-18E, it is an F-18E with aftermarket add on accessories. I was just asking you to think a bit our of your box but you do not seem capable of that.

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  134. Nope it won't. Unlike the ASH the 100km range meteor is the best the gripen has and it won't attempt to fire one in that distance. Coz any fighter with good maneuverability can run away from a missile if it can detect it from at least 60 km. At least that's what I heard from people who've been flying.
    But of course I'm not talking about the ASH which gets an exemption since according to you it can destroy a gripen from 180 km with aim120d. Maybe US made a mistake with the F22 that can't even do that wonderful feat.

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  135. I take the super cruise back, because nowhere can I find documentation that this will be the case.

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  136. I sent this message to myself, oops. There is no documentation on ASH being able to super cruise. I take that back. They do say better range and more fuel efficiency in sub-sonic mode. Smaller RCS by 50%. The super cruise issue takes one point away from the ASH in my book.

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  137. The USN is really interested in the ASH. They leased a SH to Boeing so they could play with it. I think it will see the light because the F-35 will have more issues to come and they do not want to rely on one aircraft, especially the F-35. That said, who knows.

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  138. Consider this your warning Super Rhinoceront.


    Using terms like "You Swedish" or any other nationality, creed, etc in a derogatory fashion will get you banned.


    You are already treading a fine line. Tone it down.

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  139. If Canada gets over the any-aircraft-as-long-as-its-called-f35 and US navy gets ASH, then it becomes the best contender for the replacement of cf18.

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  140. Obviously Boeing do not manage to do it by itself so why blame the helper.

    In the US there is mostly politics that reigns. Companies do place its manufacture to gain maximum political support and the threat is otherwise unemployment and on top of that there is the money contributions to politicians in elections. So it is no drive to lower cost even if seems that some politicians want to reduce spendings it is not aim at military spendings but instead against social support.

    If the export support via the EX-IM Bank is not reauthorized http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-08/boeing-faces-credit-risk-if-ex-im-bank-closed-s-p-says.html Boeing will have problems selling its products.

    So it is hard to reduce cost if you are not forced to it as Saab has been.

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  141. This reply I out of order. I believe the NG is the best aircraft for the buck. Not to poop on the ASH , but we do not need a bomb truck because of GBU 39 and 53. As for single engine issue, stats prove otherwise. As for arctic, wether an airport is 200 or 1000 miles away, the end result is the same. I am of the wasp philosophy: small, fuel efficient, plenty of sting and flexible. It is a fantastic airplane.

    Politics included, we will more likely get ASH. That is okay. Fine aircraft. But I wanted to stress my preference. A2A , data link, with precision bomb is the way to go.

    I have walked into a wasp nest, it is far from pleasant.

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  142. I share your reason and that's why I see the SH or ASH as the best fighter for Canada and that is geopolitics. Without it I would have taken the streets for the gripen NG to be considered.

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  143. I disagree. It's not politics that reigns in the US but the profit hunger of large corporations. Saab was reigned in by the Swedish government. Politics is exactly what broke the cost curve. Not Saab. Sweden told the Gripen developers exactly what their budget was. Break that budget and Sweden would have bought another fighter. This is the important difference and part of why the Gripen's design is successful. Limitation forces invention and innovation.


    The US has cancelled projects in the past. When politics was allowed to function as it is supposed to. Giant companies are given far too much power in the USA.

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  144. If someone else's comments make you so upset that you reply with sarcasm its often a good idea to just be silent.

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  145. An interesting article http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/14/why-the-world-s-armies-don-t-want-u-s-tech-anymore.html about US versus Europe by Bill Sweetman. Maybe something for Canada to think about?

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  146. According to Wikipedia the Meteor's range is 320+ km and as it uses a ramjet it is able to accelerate when hitting the target instead of the free gliding AIM-120D which is started as a rocket and then losing speed all the time.

    By the way Gripen do have the possibility to use the AIM-120 and when the D is ready, with its Norwegian motor that can handle cold temperatures, it will be on the Gripen also.



    Both the PK and the NEZ are better on the Meteor so Gripen is the winner here.

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  147. Super, you should go over to the Canadians for the F35 facebook page. There's a guy dissing the super hornet using a lot of assumption BS and I thought you would be perfect to debate him. I don't have all the links and sources you have so it takes me too long.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/139081659453701/

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  148. Very interesting. Many firms have larger revenues than nations. Remember GM , "to big to fail".

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  149. Will try that but can't promise to stop.
    Thanks for the advice.

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  150. Possibly 6 may be carried for Gripen E.

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  151. Hi Shawn, honestly I prefer not to go to that Forum. It would be easy to discuss with Heovahs' Witnesses than with them. I suggest you not to waste your time in that facebook page. Thank you any way for the suggestion.

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  152. Yes, I saw the demolishing comment about the EF against the F-35 and they ignored the facts. Another funny moment was when they discredit Mr. Wheeler denying the true cost of the F-35C.

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  153. Maybe this picture can be of interest from the web with indicated weights on the different positions and twin store pylons for different weapons for Gripen.

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  154. Dough time to revoke one point for the SH about the ALQ-218 receivers now that Gripen E will use GaN in its EW http://www.defensenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014307150033 and declare Gripen as the winner?

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