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  • That's really not a fair way to price how much an actual aircraft cost. That's dividing the overall package cost by 40,which is very inaccurate, as this type of package is over 20 or thirty years. The physical aircraft is about $5M per engine, if not less; maybe ten for the hull and 10-15 for the electronics and a few more for sundries like ejection seat,canopy, undercarriage and pylons. Even the computers, their price drops dramatically the more they manufacture and you can be sure that they all operate in a spares pool so that when a part goes for overhaul, a fresh one is issued and fitted and the old one goes back into the pool. Its the only way to economically operate these things. The downside is that the really critical stuff like the radar is always in short supply so otherwise serviceable aircraft are grounded for want of them. Also, a significant amount of the hardware is lifted directly from civilian aircraft, to save building costs. So,the true cost of an aircraft is really whatever you can beat the manufacturer down to. One of the reasons why the Rafale hasnt been more successful is that Dassault won't ease up on the price, at $60M a pop, which is a bit cheeky when air arms can get Sukhois or Migs for much less and a lot of the equipment is single-source (French), which annoys potential buyers no end.

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    • You mention Radar and I am immediately reminded of the infamous "Blue Circle" radar of Tornado F2.

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      • That's right! I saw the real creature in the RAF Museum in Hendon last year. It was truly the maddest looking piece of hardware Ive set my eyes on. Imagine nine PCs in a radius around a central core, all about the side of a washing machine and that's before you add the actual scanner and wave guide on the front. It must have weighed several hundred pounds at least.

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        • Originally posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post
          That's right! I saw the real creature in the RAF Museum in Hendon last year. It was truly the maddest looking piece of hardware Ive set my eyes on. Imagine nine PCs in a radius around a central core, all about the side of a washing machine and that's before you add the actual scanner and wave guide on the front. It must have weighed several hundred pounds at least.
          Blue Circle was a lot more sophisticated than that.
          https://www.diy.com/departments/blue.../135767_BQ.prd

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          • LOL!!

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            • US intention to sell Finland Fighter jets has been published by DSCA.
              Not unlike the Swiss proposal, F35 and F/A-18 being offered, with the Super Hornet again coming in second best, (Finland currently operate Hornets).
              https://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sale...and-air-ground
              https://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sale...ft-and-weapons


              64 F35A plus ordnance and spares for an estimated $12.5bn
              or
              58 F/A-18E/F and 14 EA-18G plus spares and what appears to be a much wider selection of Ordnance for an estimated $14.7bn

              To me the Super Hornet deal is better, the F35 offers no EW capability, and Finland is right next door to Russian snooping. Plus, I fear the sell is too heavy with F35, great deals are being made to make it appear successful, but it is still a relatively untested combat aircraft, with a limited payload.
              Gripen is still in the Finnish competition of course, and is presenting Saab GlobalEye as part of their deal.

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              • Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post
                US intention to sell Finland Fighter jets has been published by DSCA.
                Not unlike the Swiss proposal, F35 and F/A-18 being offered, with the Super Hornet again coming in second best, (Finland currently operate Hornets).
                https://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sale...and-air-ground
                https://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sale...ft-and-weapons
                64 F35A plus ordnance and spares for an estimated $12.5bn
                or
                58 F/A-18E/F and 14 EA-18G plus spares and what appears to be a much wider selection of Ordnance for an estimated $14.7bn
                To me the Super Hornet deal is better, the F35 offers no EW capability, and Finland is right next door to Russian snooping. Plus, I fear the sell is too heavy with F35, great deals are being made to make it appear successful, but it is still a relatively untested combat aircraft, with a limited payload.
                Gripen is still in the Finnish competition of course, and is presenting Saab GlobalEye as part of their deal.
                I would suggest doing a little research on the F-35, the little information available in the public domain suggests it brings capabilities to the table that even the combined F18E & G could only dream about.

                With the A Model the advantages start with Stealth, Range, Endurance, Speed and sensor fusion that is game changing.

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                • The Yanks are pushing the F-35 hard, both in their pitch to Finland and the one to Switzerland, it might be to help make-up for throwing Turkey out of the project. But the F-35 can be best considered as a multi-role aircraft, a fighter it is not. Stealth it has but EO can easily defeat that, as for speed it is one of the slowest aircraft on the market today. 10 or so years ago it did have the advantage in sensor fusion but the competition has caught up on that one.

                  When it comes to a fighter the same parameters have held sway for the past 70 years, that is thrust/weight and wing loading, here the F-35 comes almost bottom of class. It is what gives a fighter its ability to climb fast and maintain an advantage in a fight, a lesson that has been learnt again and again.
                  F-35 Eurofighter Rafale Gripen F/A-18E Su-57
                  Thrust/Weight 0.88 1.09 1.02 0.83 0.92 1.04
                  Wing Loading 106.2 66.4 67.8 82.6 96.2 75.1
                  Weight is 100% internal fuel, 2x AAM-(Radar), 2x AAM-(IR).

                  If the plane is to defend against a Su-57 then the last one I would want to be in is a F-35, however if you want to do a sneaky attack then a F-35 might be what you need!

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                  • All valid except the F-35 carries everything internally, so in combat fit its kinematics far exceed any of those aircraft laden with external stores and fuel.

                    F-35 carries 18000lbs of gas internally and can super cruise at M1.4, these other machines couldn't keep up with all their external stores.

                    Stealth and senior fusion give first look, long before EO joins the game

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                    • Originally posted by Charlie252 View Post
                      All valid except the F-35 carries everything internally, so in combat fit its kinematics far exceed any of those aircraft laden with external stores and fuel.

                      F-35 carries 18000lbs of gas internally and can super cruise at M1.4, these other machines couldn't keep up with all their external stores.

                      Stealth and senior fusion give first look, long before EO joins the game
                      The last info I had was that the F-35 was incapable of true super-cruise. It can do a 12 minute supersonic dash but need afterburner to push it past the sound barrier.

                      The figures I quoted were all with only internal fuel and armed for a similar fighter mission. A Eurofighter without tanks would have no problem running rings around a F-35. To make thing even I only considered the maximum arm-out of the F-35, as it is limited to 4 internal hard points, thus four missiles. The internal bays do have some advantages but they also have drawback, they do limit the size and number of weapons that can be carried which is why the F-35 retains under-wing hard-points

                      As for "Stealth and senior fusion give first look", if it turns it radar on it lights up like a Christmas tree and if it cannot use its EO then it relies on another platform for a radar picture. If the enemy take-out that platform (AWACS) then the F-35 would be blind. It cannot fuse together a tactical air picture out of thin air. As I said 10-15 years ago it was the leader in sensor fusion, no the competition is catching up and it will no longer enjoy the advantage it once had. Remember the first flight of an F-35 proper was 2006, that is 14 years ago, the X-35 first flew in 2000.

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                      • I have a suspicion that a lot of the negativity around the F-35 comes from some early development aircraft that had restricted flight envelope and the fact that the B and Particularly the C have significantly reduced performance due to the various adaptations around STOVL and Carrier use.

                        I was also skeptical but after spending some time researching, there is strong evidence to the contrary.

                        No 4th of 4.5 Generation aircraft operates on only Internal Fuel etc, they always have tanks, and if they are operating as a strike aircraft or in a swing role they will also carry a designator pod. The F-35 carries all this internally, my understanding is the F-35 has more Supercruise persistence then the fuel limited F-22, Although slower.

                        The Figure of 1.4 is apparently comfortable for the A, a stretch with AB acceleration for the B and almost impossible for the C due to its big wing.

                        18K of Fuel internally and one very advanced mixed cycle engine gives significant range, I've seen a number of 4.5 per hour at Mach 0.85, so three hours at 500knots on internal gas is very impressive.

                        The reporting from Red Flag etc supports the belief that the F-35 shoots targets before they know it is there, they apparently don't use the radar very much, they have some other classified abilities, and then stay in the fight and direct the 4th Gen assets towards the targets.

                        Theres a reason so many nations want the abilities the aircraft brings, the costs are huge though and its not clear they will reduce even with a huge worldwide fleet.

                        In my view I am surprised the Typhoon is not in the mix for Finland, its kinematics particularly in the transonic area are way ahead of the super bug!!

                        In Clean airshow fit the other aircraft run rings around the F-35, but remember its airshow fit is its war fighting fit!
                        Last edited by Charlie252; 10 October 2020, 20:01.

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                        • Originally posted by Charlie252 View Post
                          I have a suspicion that a lot of the negativity around the F-35 comes from some early development aircraft that had restricted flight envelope and the fact that the B and Particularly the C have significantly reduced performance due to the various adaptations around STOVL and Carrier use.

                          I was also skeptical but after spending some time researching, there is strong evidence to the contrary.

                          No 4th of 4.5 Generation aircraft operates on only Internal Fuel etc, they always have tanks, and if they are operating as a strike aircraft or in a swing role they will also carry a designator pod. The F-35 carries all this internally, my understanding is the F-35 has more Supercruise persistence then the fuel limited F-22, Although slower.

                          The Figure of 1.4 is apparently comfortable for the A, a stretch with AB acceleration for the B and almost impossible for the C due to its big wing.

                          18K of Fuel internally and one very advanced mixed cycle engine gives significant range, I've seen a number of 4.5 per hour at Mach 0.85, so three hours at 500knots on internal gas is very impressive.

                          The reporting from Red Flag etc supports the belief that the F-35 shoots targets before they know it is there, they apparently don't use the radar very much, they have some other classified abilities, and then stay in the fight and direct the 4th Gen assets towards the targets.

                          Theres a reason so many nations want the abilities the aircraft brings, the costs are huge though and its not clear they will reduce even with a huge worldwide fleet.

                          In my view I am surprised the Typhoon is not in the mix for Finland, its kinematics particularly in the transonic area are way ahead of the super bug!!

                          In Clean airshow fit the other aircraft run rings around the F-35, but remember its airshow fit is its war fighting fit!
                          The Rafale and Eurofighter are in the "mix" for Finland.

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                          • Originally posted by Charlie252 View Post
                            I have a suspicion that a lot of the negativity around the F-35 comes from some early development aircraft that had restricted flight envelope and the fact that the B and Particularly the C have significantly reduced performance due to the various adaptations around STOVL and Carrier use.
                            My negativity is that the US pushed everything on Stealth and at the same time tried to make 3 aircraft out of one basic airframe. There were just too many compromises to be made in order to get any of them to work, plus this drove the size of the aircraft to be the same size as the F/A-18E. I have always been a supporter of the "fighter Mafia" and the original idea of the F-16, a lightweight, relatively low cost fighter, design 1st and foremost for air-to-air combat. That it expanded to be a multi-role aircraft was because of the good basic design.

                            IMHO a fighter must have the basic performance characteristics of a fighter, relying on technology alone to give it an edge is only ever a short term advantage.

                            Originally posted by Charlie252 View Post
                            The reporting from Red Flag etc supports the belief that the F-35 shoots targets before they know it is there, they apparently don't use the radar very much, they have some other classified abilities, and then stay in the fight and direct the 4th Gen assets towards the targets.
                            Not using radar leaves only a number of options to find, identify and track an enemy aircraft:
                            (a) IRST: this the F-35 does have, the Lockheed-Martin AAQ-40 and it has a good one but so do other fighter aircraft.
                            (b) Datalinked targeting data from AWACS, but this is also available on other fighters. The Northrop AN/ASQ-242 Communications, Navigation and Identification (CNI) avionics suite uses a number of sensor links to give the pilot the tactical picture.
                            (c) EW: the BAe Systems ASQ-239 Barracuda electronic warfare system. This not only allows for jamming but even an aircraft with its radar turned off will still emit an EM signature, even if small.

                            The problem is that all these systems are passive, this is OK in a war game like Red Flag when you know that any aircraft coming from a certain direction is an enemy but real world is not so simple. If the approaching Su-57 is being also quiet and does not have its transponder or radar on how do know it is there and that it is a bogey? This means getting to radar where the IR system can identify the target and as long as no friendly forces have that type you can engage. But he will by now also see you!

                            I have always thought the F-117A was a great aircraft for its mission, a first strike aircraft and one it performed well. The same seems to be the thinking of the Israelis on the F-35, they also think the F-35A make a great first strike weapon, which is why they would like more F-15i aircraft to complement their F-35s and why they are against selling F-35s to the Gulf states.

                            As for cost the flyaway cost of the F-35A is now down below $80m per unit, which is less than both the Eurofighter and the Rafale, it is also getting close to that of the JAS-39E. What is unlikely to reduce much is the cost per hour until a more maintenance friendly RAM coating is developed. Even then its fuel costs will remain high due to its large engine which burn nearly the same amount of fuel as the two on a F/A-18C.

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                            • Is the F35 Price Coming down just for exports (subsidised by US)?

                              I assume like the Gripen the F35 shares it “electronic picture” with the rest of the aircraft on the mission? So only 1 aircraft needs to turn on its radar but all can see the picture?

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                              • Originally posted by EUFighter View Post
                                My negativity is that the US pushed everything on Stealth and at the same time tried to make 3 aircraft out of one basic airframe. There were just too many compromises to be made in order to get any of them to work, plus this drove the size of the aircraft to be the same size as the F/A-18E. I have always been a supporter of the "fighter Mafia" and the original idea of the F-16, a lightweight, relatively low cost fighter, design 1st and foremost for air-to-air combat. That it expanded to be a multi-role aircraft was because of the good basic design.

                                IMHO a fighter must have the basic performance characteristics of a fighter, relying on technology alone to give it an edge is only ever a short term advantage.



                                Not using radar leaves only a number of options to find, identify and track an enemy aircraft:
                                (a) IRST: this the F-35 does have, the Lockheed-Martin AAQ-40 and it has a good one but so do other fighter aircraft.
                                (b) Datalinked targeting data from AWACS, but this is also available on other fighters. The Northrop AN/ASQ-242 Communications, Navigation and Identification (CNI) avionics suite uses a number of sensor links to give the pilot the tactical picture.
                                (c) EW: the BAe Systems ASQ-239 Barracuda electronic warfare system. This not only allows for jamming but even an aircraft with its radar turned off will still emit an EM signature, even if small.

                                The problem is that all these systems are passive, this is OK in a war game like Red Flag when you know that any aircraft coming from a certain direction is an enemy but real world is not so simple. If the approaching Su-57 is being also quiet and does not have its transponder or radar on how do know it is there and that it is a bogey? This means getting to radar where the IR system can identify the target and as long as no friendly forces have that type you can engage. But he will by now also see you!

                                I have always thought the F-117A was a great aircraft for its mission, a first strike aircraft and one it performed well. The same seems to be the thinking of the Israelis on the F-35, they also think the F-35A make a great first strike weapon, which is why they would like more F-15i aircraft to complement their F-35s and why they are against selling F-35s to the Gulf states.

                                As for cost the flyaway cost of the F-35A is now down below $80m per unit, which is less than both the Eurofighter and the Rafale, it is also getting close to that of the JAS-39E. What is unlikely to reduce much is the cost per hour until a more maintenance friendly RAM coating is developed. Even then its fuel costs will remain high due to its large engine which burn nearly the same amount of fuel as the two on a F/A-18C.
                                I know we are miles off topic, but it is interesting.

                                As I said the Negativity around the Performance of the F-35 is multi faceted, and I agree Fighters should exceed the Kinematics of the previous generation. And in this case there is evidence to suggest that the F-35 does just that.

                                From another forum:

                                "F-35A has two 2,000 lbs class weapons or 8 SDBs, two AMRAAMs and targeting pod, in that configuration it's a 9G, Mach 1.6, 50 degree AoA aircraft with well over 600 nm combat radius. AFAIK, no other aircraft is even close in those configurations. F-22 can't carry similar loadout and even Dassault Rafale is only 5.5G, 20 degree AoA, subsonic aircraft in equal configuration"

                                From a Dutch F-16 and F-35 convert the following:

                                "The aircraft is faster, more maneuverable, has more range and, can carry a significantly higher payload and provides the pilot with a significantly better situational awareness than what we are used to from the F-16"

                                Thats compared to a F-16MLU with the 220 engine.

                                The Details form the Dutch are quite telling:

                                "Depending on the mission, the F-35 enjoys a 30-70 percent higher combat radius
                                - In Libya, operating from Crete, F-16 typically had to refuel several times - the F-35 would have done the whole mission without refueling

                                - In a similar full combat configuration F-35 cruises comfortably 10-15000 feet higher in MIL power than the F-16
                                - F-35 has a 50-80 kts higher cruising speed in this scenario
                                - F-16 needs full AB in order to turn at high altitude whereas F-35 can operate in MIL
                                - F-16 has to use AB to gain speed to extend missile range where as the F-35 cruises higher and faster and thus doesn't need too."

                                Its worth having a look at the Drag Index charts for the F-16 and particularly the F-18E/F with its canted rails and you will see that in combat fit these aircraft are carrying huge drag. These charts are publicly available. F-35C eats the F-18E for breakfast as both are firmly subsonic when combat loaded.

                                Apparently the B-1B can run rings around a fully loaded F15E, such is the drag penalty, clean the Mudhen is a beast and has put up some ridiculous numbers in the Korean flyoff.

                                From what I've read most USAF F-15 pilots have rarely if ever been above M1.4.

                                Even standard QRA fit has external tanks and rails and missiles, all creating drag.

                                Whats not publicly available is the means in which the F-35 snoops out Electronic emissions from other aircraft and builds a picture of their location.

                                USAF is somewhat reticent around the area of F-35 performance as it has a direct relation to how do they justify 120 Combat Coded F-22's, but the uttering are quite telling, stating the F-35 has a lower RCS then the F-22 and better sensors, it just doesn't operate above 50K ft the way F-22 does.

                                IMHO the recent purchase of new build F-15's is directly related to the F-35 and its capabilities, the F-15's will be missile flingers and carry something like 14 AIM-120's, the F-35 will be out front remote aiming the weapons, at the moment the potential adversaries have nothing to match these capabilities.
                                Last edited by Charlie252; 12 October 2020, 12:30.

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