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Author Topic: Super Duper Hornet
TWalt
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posted 07-25-2000 09:59 AM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
All right!
All you Hornet cynics fess up! The Navy has just inked a 5 year production contract for 222 Super Hornets for 8.9 billion (that's just a bit over $40 million per). It has been confirmed that the IOC of the first squadron will indeed be 2002. All versions will initially deploy with ATFLIR, IDECM Block I, and the APG-73. Around 2003, LRIP of the AESA will begin, replacing the APG-73. A total of around 50 AESA sets will be installed on this first production run with the next fully equipped with AESA. (This means about half of the Super Hornets will have this radar once production is complete.) IDECM Block II production which includes the AN/ALQ-214 transmitter should start around 2002-2003 pending tests.
So, for $40 million the Navy has an operational aircraft ready to begin replacing older squadrons by 2002 and is capable of filling any gaps should the JSF stumble on any hurdles.

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mbaxter
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posted 07-25-2000 06:41 PM     Profile for mbaxter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
$40 mil for the SuperHornet? We're talking about the F/A-18E, yes? If that's true, that's an amazingly low price. The vastly inferior Mig-29K and SU-33 both have a much higher unit cost than that (somewhere around $50 mil) and they're made in Russia (which theoretically should be cheaper).

[This message has been edited by mbaxter (edited 07-25-2000).]


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bob671
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posted 07-25-2000 08:51 PM     Profile for bob671   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I think that you've mixed up the versions, the "Super" Hornet is about $84m. "548 F/A-18E/Fs are estimated to cost $46.1 billion"

http://www.clw.org/ef/fa18ef.html

The Mig-29K is not in production, never has been, so how do you know the price? Considering that the Su-35 is being offered for export for only $20m each, I find it hard to believe that the Su-33 would cost 2.5 times more than them. You might want to have a look through the "Future of our military" thread, where the F/A-18E was discussed at one point.

http://www.combatsim.com/ubb/Forum18/HTML/000377.html

[This message has been edited by bob671 (edited 07-25-2000).]


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Johnny
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posted 07-25-2000 09:06 PM     Profile for Johnny   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
First of all Russia is offering Australia Su-35 and Su-32FN at $35 million (Australian). Where did you get $50? Both aircraft are way better then super hornet.

Second Mig-29K is actually a Mig-29M adjusted for carrier usage with phase array radar modern cockpit and more powerfull engines. It is for sure not inferior to the hornet. Su-33 is different matter it has restricted ground capability but in the air to air engagements it is way superior to super hornet.


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bob671
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posted 07-25-2000 10:13 PM     Profile for bob671   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Yes, $AUS35m, which works out to be about $US20m.

If the Mig-29K was ever to go into production, it is most likely to be to Mig-29SMT standard, as that is what the Indian pilots were given training in. Russian Su-27s and Malaysian Mig-29SEs beat RAAF F/A-18s in excercises, and the F/A-18E has very little in increased combat potential over the original F/A-18s.

Point out some of the features of the F/A-18E that make it so good compared to its competition.


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TWalt
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posted 07-26-2000 08:58 AM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Gents,
The contract is a five-year, 8.9 billion for production of 222 F/A-18E/F's. This comes out to right at $40.3 million per aircraft. That 60-70 million stuff is a bunch of hyped press crap!
As far as it's competitors, I don't see any MIG-29 as a threat except to countries who absolutely can't afford anything else. For $20 million, I guess it's affordable at least but it has proven itself unreliable (engines last only a few hundred hours before requiring full depot repairs, go see Indian MIG-29 mess!!). Although customers can configure it with decent avionics, the MIG-29 does not match the E/F, even in the latest spec SMT. Range, only recently does the MIG-29SMT/35 with it's 3,000 lb increase in fuel make inroads on what is a glaring shortcoming. In air to ground capability, the MIG's don't have a comparable FLIR (in capability) or the impressive weapons suite of the Super Hornet. With the addition of an external hardpoint on the MIG-29SMT + MIG-35, the MIGs offer what looks like similar weapons carriage although this is questionable. At least the customer is now offered a few quality standoff weapons including the AS-17 Krypton ARM, and AA-12 for air defense. About the only plus the MIG's have are an improved radar that finally offers full A/G capability and is actually slightly better than APG-73 but not the AESA, and their reknowned agility. The MIGs also have horrible maintenance records including some of the worst engines in the industry for reliability and very limited 4-6,000 hour airframes. This means replacement much sooner than western aircraft. It is also a given that maintenance in general for the MIG is nowhere near any western standard both in access standards and overall reliability of components. So yeah you're getting a cheap fighter with solid aerial performance. Not really a great overall bargain though. Maintenance and daily operating costs are much higher than the E/F.

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_ALEX_
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posted 07-26-2000 10:28 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I'd hazard a guess that 222 planes will be considerably cheaper per plane than 30 or 40 planes. That's because of very heavy R&D component in the cost structure.

Therefore, there should be no surprise that smaller batches of SuperHornets were on offer at 60 mln per unit, while Pentagon managed to bargain down to 40 mln.


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Zed
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posted 07-26-2000 10:44 AM     Profile for Zed     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Well some of the comments about are only partly true. Avionics harmonisation have come along way in Russian compared to the systems that are currently in service (and hence we are familiar with). For instance the displayed on the -29SMT are of the 'ultra-thin, high-speed, LCD' type, of Malaysian design (derived from Japanese design) and Malaysian manufacture - said to be the very best currently manufactured globally. This offers a level of clarity above that of US LCD display types (also offering better visibility in high glare environments). Whether or not this is useful or even necessary is a different matter. The processor gap has shortened to very little are more & more generic DSPs are being sources from outside the FSU (mainly SEA & France). These systems are at least comparable to all of our in service systems.

In addition, the comment about serviceability of engines in IAF service is very true...but for those in RMAF service, the opposite is true - it may be that Russia is using the RMAF as a 'showcase' customer (one who would normally buy western equipment), to show that they are capable...
The Malaysians set out some very harsh capabilities of the aircraft they received, that had to be met to ensure a purchase. These place their capability far above that of any other operation MiG-29 type currently in service (until the -29SMT-m1 appears in number). These have more or less been meet (i say this as some of the operational capability that was required and not present on delivery has been added during overhauls). This consists of airframe & engine life extension programs. Much has been learned from DASA in this extent, while extending the operational life of the LW's -29As. The culmination of the engine life extension program is the RD-133 & RD-333, designed specifically to meet western overhaul and operational life values (plus adding such thing as smokeless combustor, considerably higher trust & and TVC mountability). What is interesting is that this engine is completely retofitable to existing MiG-29 airframes.

A final point to consider in this discussion is that quoted prices for Russian equipment normally cover the gross unit cost, while those for US equipment cover net cost. Hence when Poland was being offered used F-16As at a unit cost of $16m per unit - this is the cost per airframe; training, logistics, spares, maintenance, etc...are all an addition cost. When sell F-16 globally, they have generally been sold at a loss per unit...as this is recouped by transferring this to the additional support 'services' that will be required...very shrewd marketing I say...

Z


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TWalt
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posted 07-26-2000 11:49 AM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Alex,
AAAHHNNNNNHHH (buzzer!!).
This same $40-$45 million price tag is what the export models will be toting depending on equipment chosen. The Navy saved $700 million by using the multi-year approach but this only works out to about $3 million per aircraft. Since the AESA radar won't be available until at least 2003-04 (yes about 50 are to be included in this first production run), I'd say there won't be a significant price increase unless this radar is specifically chosen and it will only add . Also, the "heavy" R&D you refer to was actually one of the cheapest in modern aviation at only $5 billion. Compare this to the Eurofighter/Typhoon, Rafale, F-22 or JSF (JSF is costing us $2.2 billion just for the technology demonstrator/contract award phase, that's almost half of all E/F R&D with EMD still to come!!). So yeah, I'd say who are the real competitors? Then there's the fact that both aircraft require significantly higher maintenance costs, operating costs, and last about 2,000 hours less per airframe (mandating quicker replacement or expensive overhauls). Throw in the horrible reliability of the engines and shoddy production quality (again just ask India) and this question of who can compete is over!
The Su-30/37 is a better option but even it cannot compete in maintenance, operating costs and reliability. Also it is priced very near the E/F at around $35-37 million for the Su-30MK. It has superior range, maneuverability, power and plenty of hardpoints. Also its avionics are closer with a powerful array of radars to chose from. In a A/G role, only the lack of some western weapon choices hurt it. In reliability, the engines are a far cry from the RD-33's of the MIG family but still lacking in both engine life and maintenance. Avionics are also more prone to failures but much closer than the MIG. The E/F has better ECM, an optional superior radar in the AESA, and believe it or not, is still a better dogfighter at slow speeds (although this is much less important with BVR emphasis in today's missile climate). E/F also has a superior FLIR targeting system.
On costs alone, I would rule out the Typhoon as you can almost purchase the E/F 2 for 1. Rafale is closer at around $50 million. For a small export buyer, though I'll take a slightly dip in dogfighting performance (who dogfights again?) for a bunch more airframes.

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TWalt
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posted 07-26-2000 12:11 PM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Zed,
Maybe that was the case with the Malaysian units (they were hand built and the only MIG-29's produced at the time) but I certainly doubt that they are completely satisfied! Where do you hear this? As far as the avionics, the E/F has superior LCD's to anything flying today! The touch screens and ease of all functions are truly class leading. Also, the weapons systems are still easier to use in any of the western aircraft. I'll be the first to say that the Russians have made great strides but take a look at the MIG-29SMT. There's still plenty of switches and analog guages, enough to make a pilot dizzy learning proper switchology.
You also stated that the RD-133 and 333 are able to match western standards. First off the RD-133 is merely the RD-33 with vectored nozzles. SO it is a proven headache. The 333 is supposed to be a whole new design. Both engines are still limited to a 2,000 hour design life. What the 333 is hoping to match is life between maintenance overhauls. The 33 and 133 are almost laughable with overhauls required at 300 hours but are really closer to 100. In 98 Jane's reported that the Russian MIG-29SMT were receiving modified RD-33 (RD-43) engines with the same modification done by the Germans which cuts power by 10% to increase lifespan.

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Zed
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posted 07-26-2000 01:36 PM     Profile for Zed     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote

quote:
Maybe that was the case with the Malaysian units (they were hand built and the only MIG-29's produced at the time) but I certainly doubt that they are completely satisfied!

...humm, that's why they have stated that thye wish to make a repeat purchase...seeing as they bought F/A-18s simultaniously, i wonder...

quote:
Where do you hear this? As far as the avionics, the E/F has superior LCD's to anything flying today!

Well this is quite well documented in the trade press (i'm suprised you haven't come cross it), and i remember reading something about this in WAPJ. Also what you say is related to ease of use not clarity (my point)...as functionality of the systems are the same as those in the west i expect it top be no more than comparable...

quote:
There's still plenty of switches and analog gauges, enough to make a pilot dizzy learning proper switchology.

...err those are back-up dials, not primary light instruments (that's called redundancy). As for learning, how hard would it be for someone coming form the MiG-29A or the F-4E. Add that to the 'Sniper' cockpit, and the Israelis are quoted as being conformtable with it (thats good enough for me)...

quote:
Both engines are still limited to a 2,000 hour design life.

...could you tell me your source for this, as what i remember being told & reading, the RD-333 was to meet the design life (or there abouts) of western units. Also the RD-133 is not the RD-33 plus TVC, but the RD-43, which would bring the 20% increase in design life from the 10% detuned RD-33s of the LW. The RD-43 is also an uprated unit over the RD-33, being rated at +22k lb compared to 18k lb. And as all good aero-engine engineers know, when maintaining dimemsions, addition of thrust comes at expense of design life (as related to TET)...

You must please note that at no point during this discussion, did i take anything away from the F/A-18E/F. My personal opinion is that the F/A-18 has proved to a successful and capable aircraft (maybe more-so than the F-16). But neither do i think that the total development potential has been fully rung-out of the MiG-29 platform. The -29M was a good starting point in addressing it deficiencies; unfortunately it does not look like this direction has been chosen. But then again the -29SMT supports MIL STD-1553B, so you can hang any western munitions off it you like, given a rail adapter.

Look, in reality it would really make no difference if we were using theirs and them ours...the record would still be the same...

Z


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TWalt
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posted 07-26-2000 02:40 PM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Zed
As far as the engines, FLight International reported the engine life as early as 96. The RD-133 is in fact a slightly modifed RD-33 with TVC but is not de-rated for increased lifespan. That is the RD-43. The RD-333 is supposed to be in the 22,000 lb thrust class, not the RD-133.

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Rosco
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posted 07-26-2000 03:27 PM     Profile for Rosco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
What does the sluggish E/F, with its rather weak radar, average RCS and still not overly impressive range do for you that the Rafale, Typhoon and even Gripen can't? Also by going with the {superior} European systems, you're not required to sell your soul to Uncle Sam, be subject to the whims of Congress and still recieve downgraded equipment for your trouble.

The Gripen will have already been in service for 5 years by the time the Sue-per Hornet makes it's debut and the Rafale M will be operational next summer, a year earlier than that faulty, slothlike '70's retread.

Also, what's to say the initial E/F's won't prove to be lemons over time like the original A/Bs were? I'm talking about the corrosion and fatigue problems that even land based F/A-18s have suffered from, the late-stage unforeseen wingdrop fiasco of the E/F really makes you wonder what other serious problems you might come across.

------------------
"And if you don't like it, eat a gun"


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Zed
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posted 07-26-2000 04:13 PM     Profile for Zed     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
hmmm this is strange indeed the RD-333 had not been convied in '96 - it hasn't even finished testing now. The RD-43 is not derated...it is the 22k lb engine (22,040lb to be exact); this is from Air Internation '00 - so i would view this latr data as more accurate. WAPJ '99 states RD-333 is of the 22,050lb class. The RD-43 & RD-333 are the smokeless engines, with the -333 inclusive of TVC...hope that clears it up.

Z


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DR2
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posted 07-26-2000 06:04 PM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Indian Mig-29s had teething problems when they were bought...almost 10-12 years ago. I don't know what their status is today and what corrective measures were taken.
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TWalt
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posted 07-27-2000 08:36 AM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Zed,
Whoa, I was out of date on the RD-43. Thanks! I also spotted it has digital control, less specific fuel consumption and the 22,000 lbs thrust you indicated. As far as the RD-133, I've seen differing opinions but most agree it is a slightly modified engine with the thrust nozzles attached. I'd be surprised if the RD-133 was rated at the same power level.

As far as the Typhoon is concerned, the export price of $80+ million puts it in an elite league. Personally, though it may be a better dogfighter, in BVR and air to ground roles it is very similar. It's current radar ECR-90 is no better than the APG-73 and both aircraft will be recieving phased arrays later in production. Both aircraft utilize the AMRAAM and their ECM is similar (both utilizing towed decoys complimented with active jamming). In a close in fight, sure the Typhoon should win with higher specific thrust to weight and a big delta wing with canards but who dogfights?? I'd much rather have 2 E/F in a mutual support role in any scenario vs 1 Typhoon and it is a given how much more effective 2 E/F are against any ground target. Until the Meteor is produced, there is no real advantage in BVR and by that time, Raytheon will have a similar weapon for the market. What makes the Typhoon so great??
Rafale is only marginally cheaper and offers similar performance. It does sport a phased array radar but also requires the MICA (inferior to the AMRAAM) although IR versions are available, one of the first western medium range IR seekers. Still, you can almost buy 2 E/F and this makes either of these birds a pricey option. This is precisely why JSF sounds so interesting. Priced below even the E/F, it offers better stealth than all but the F-22.
If you have to buy now, I still beleive the E/F offers the best bang for your dollar. If you can wait a few years, JSF is a definite contender. If you have a large wad of cash, go with the Typhoon or save a few million and get the Rafale. As far as the Su-30/37, they do offer low initial costs but maintaining these birds can be troublesome and expensive. The MIGs are so poor that this is not a very competitive choice. Both offer marginal air to ground choices in weaponry with the Sukhois at least giving solid range advantages. Air to air is pretty decent, with the AA-12, R-73 and excellent dogfighting performance (not that this is very relative).

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bob671
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posted 07-27-2000 10:21 AM     Profile for bob671   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Where did you find the article stating that the 222 "Super" Hornets are going to cost 8.9billion? Everything I've seen about the F/A-18E has always listed a considerably higher price tag than the current F/A-18C, generally around (from memory) $67-90 million, depending on the source.
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TWalt
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posted 07-27-2000 10:42 AM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Bob,
It has been all over the news. Here's the poop straight from Boeing:

Boeing Awarded Five-Year Contract for Super Hornet
ST. LOUIS, June 16, 2000 The U.S. Navy has awarded a multiyear contract to The Boeing Company for the production of 222 Super Hornets. The $8.9 billion contract ensures continued production of the Super Hornet at Boeing facilities in St. Louis for the next five years.

Under the terms of the contract, the Navy will purchase 36 aircraft in fiscal year 2000, 42 aircraft the following year, and 48 aircraft for each of the following three years. The multiyear agreement builds budgetary flexibility into the contract by allowing the Navy to increase or decrease the quantity of aircraft on order, except for the first year, by as many as six aircraft.

"A key benefit of the multiyear contract is that Boeing and our suppliers now have a predictable workload enabling us to better plan our work force," said Pat Finneran, vice president and general manager for U.S. Navy and Marine Corps programs. "With 284 aircraft under contract, we will be able to invest in more processes and production improvements that will pay off in the future."

Although the United States has historically procured most of its defense systems for only one year at a time, Congress can authorize an exception when a commitment to a longer-term buy makes good economic sense. The Super Hornet multiyear is expected to save U.S. taxpayers more than $700 million over the traditional, single-year procurement.


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Rosco
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posted 07-27-2000 04:17 PM     Profile for Rosco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
TWalt >

For starters, the ECR-90 radar is twice as powerful as the APG-73 and has a maximum detection range of fully 200 miles. It's "agilty" is incredible for an old-style mechanically steered antenna system and it can detect and track both air and ground targets *simultaneoususly* when flying at low level, try that with an APG-73.

The ECR-90 is probably almost or just as good as the AESA let alone the dated APG-73, and the Typhoon's future AMSAR active modular array radar should restore it's edge.

As for flight performance, I'll agree with you that the classic dogfight is dead, though a "postmodern" dogfight is what argueably took place between 2 F-15's and 2 MiG-29s just last year over Bosnia, this was a turning fight but where the combatants were several miles away from each other and moving at supersonic speed. The issue was decided by pure high speed performance and medium range missles, not helmet sighted dogfight weapons.

This type of encounter might be the future of close air combat. The E/F Hornet will be at a severe disadvantage in any situation calling for post-supersonic maneuverability or even supersonic speed. High speed performance is also extremely important for BVR combat, the faster aircraft will impart more energy to its missle and will be much harder to hit by return fire. The Typhoon is outstanding in these catagories, the Super Hornet barely rates.

Another thing the Typhoon has going in it's favor is radar cross section, which is reputed to be in the cruise missle class in the forward quarter, while the E/F is no stealthier than a late model F-16, guess who's gonna be seen first? While the Typhoon is not a true stealth design it's softer signature will make it's onboard defencive system's job a lot easier and thus more effective.

Regarding MICA vs AMRAAM, well, all I can say is that AMRAAM is an underachiever and it's no wonder that the Euro's decided to go with Meteor rather than be stuck with AMRAAM or a derivative thereof. The MICA weighs in at a mere 250 lbs, the AMRAAM at 350 and it only has a few more miles effective range and it gives up heavily in the agility department at 30G's maximum versus 50G's for the MICA.

The MICA is a dual range missle that can be used anywhere from close-in dogfighting distances to it's maximum range. It's vectored thrust and far superior aerodynamics make this possible. Missle thrust vectoring comes at a price in range which makes the AMRAAM's minimal range advantage even more puzzling.

The MICA is also capable of shooting down incoming AAMs and SAMs if it's parent aircraft supports this capability, {Rafale} and as mentioned earlier, no AMRAAM has a passive seeker. The MICA will make an excellent secondary weapon when Rafale gets the Meteor as is planned.

Regarding price, you get what you pay for in this instance, there's very little the E/F can do that the other aircraft can't do better, and a whole lot it will do much worse. Heck, the Rafale M is even better at carrier landings {120kt approach speed} and has superior low speed agility to the low speed compromised Hornet. All I have to say is the JSF better be better than advertised or the U.S. Navy will probably suddenly lose interest in manned fighters.

------------------
"And if you don't like it, eat a gun"


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TWalt
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posted 07-28-2000 09:14 AM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Rosco,
First of all, the ECR-90 competed with a modifed version of the APG-65, not the APG-73. It won this competition based on superior performance (it was close!!). It does offer a faster, more efficient mechanism for steering that allows simultaneous air and twice the radiated energy of the APG-65 which helps it attain only marginally better performance AA than the APG-73. The APG-73 design took the approach of using a more sensitive receiver and better filtering through a powerful computer and software. Remember, radiated energy is usually detected about twice as far as is useful. Not the case in the APG-73, as it doesn't require boosted power to detect/track/prosecute it's targets at longer ranges than the APG-65. The non-classified numbers of the ECR-90 are very debatable. Do you really think Raytheon would have offered the APG-65 variant if the ECR-90 was soo superior? Let's be realistic. I do like the dual scan capability and power but it's just a different approach.
As far as the AESA and AMSAR, both are in development and I would imagine once again it will be close to parity. Rafale's RBE.2 may be an active array but it is not solid state so it has some major limitations in comparison. It does offer dual scanning and is plenty faster than either the APG-73 or ECR-90 in scan speed (obviously). Typhoon and Rafale also offer IRST systems capable of passive detection/track at very useful ranges.

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TWalt
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posted 07-28-2000 01:14 PM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Also,
The AMRAAM AIM-120C-5 has extended range (larger motor), improving both range and endgame performance, and seeker improvements over the AIM-120B you keep refering to. MICA doesn't match C-5 in ECCM (unless it is the IR version), range (this isn't close anymore), or seeker envelope. C-5 also carries an improved warhead over the already superior AIM-120B. Follow on variants will considerally improve the seeker in both sensitivity and ECCM. A next generation development (Meteor's competitor) with a new (improved alternative to RAMJET) powerplant and design will evolve from the C-7 about the same time Meteor is deployed. So no, the US isn't just sitting by letting it's competition and enemy gain advantages.
As far as dash acceleration, yes this is a sore spot for the Hornet but we're talking about a few nautical miles in difference. The C-5 AMRAAM already makes up for this and then some. I'd much rather accelerate slower and carry a bigger stick! Also, Typhoon won't have a fully operational squadron til mid-2005, fully 3 years behind the Hornet. Rafale C will have an operational squadron a few months earlier (Rafale M formed an initial squadron for air-intercept only and full versions will actually be delivered later) but still years behind the E/F. Both aircraft cost significantly more in development and unit cost so I would hope they have some sort of advantages. Excepting speed/acceleration and sustained turn rate, the E/F is their equal for billions less.

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Rosco
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posted 07-28-2000 06:22 PM     Profile for Rosco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
TWalt,

When's this C-5 supposed to come out, 2005? By that time the ramjet R-77 will probably be available, in both radar and IR versions, and also the even better Meteor will only be three years away at that point. Any follow-up to C-5 will probably take to the middle of the next decade *at least* to make it's appearance. Also, the versatile MICA will still outrange the parts bin special AIM-9X by a huge margin.

Regarding the E/F, it also falls well short in sensors, stealth and developement potential versus its competition. The Rafale, Typhoon and Gripen will have received the Meteor, more powerful engines with TVC and more stealth features, including "cocooned" weapons carriage, for an even lower RCS by the time the E/F's wheezy engines are replaced with a less inadequate version.

------------------
"And if you don't like it, eat a gun"


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Zed
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posted 07-30-2000 01:11 PM     Profile for Zed     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
OK, i saw the aircraft in question (F/A-18E & Typhoon) in the air at FI2000.

How much bearing air-show performance has on actual capability is arguable, but the Typhoon was the better hands down....they were not even close.

The Typhoon was a development article and was limited to only 7G, but it was still one of the best things in the sky on that say. By comparison the F/A-18E was the worst...

...landing speed was higher than even the F-16, but sink rate was higher...my friend put it best when he said that it was 'crying out for more power'. It was in a completely clear configuration and acceleration was mot very impressive; the pilot would 'back-out' of high alpha manoeuvres, where as even the Su-32 fighter-bomber would just pull through the alpha. And BOY is it noisy - i think that it was the noisiest thing there no the day...the Su-32 was the quietest of the 'fast jets'.

The turns were not even tight [F/A-18]...the Typhoon on the other hand had an endless supply of energy, and it had stores...the manned missile had to be the Grippen, but it looked like someone had used a shrink-ray on it...i swear i could get that thing inside my garage!

For me the F/A-18 was the most disappointing aircraft on that day; the Typhoon was most impressive and reaffirmed some lost enthusiasm in it...but most of all, one cannot appreciate just how beautiful the Flanker is until you see it in the skin...

Z


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TWalt
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posted 07-31-2000 05:19 AM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Rosco,
The C-5 variant started production this year. C-6 begins production in 2002 and C-7 around 2004 until the current production run ends 2009. With the Meteor not scheduled for service til 2007, I'd say the E/F will be able to outshoot it in BVR til at least then. Now, the Meteor should have an advantage in 2007, but Raytheon will be moving to an all-new missile by that timeframe.
As far as airshow performance, the E/F show isn't very aggressive and yeah the Typhoon should be able to outmaneuver it and put on a better show but at nearly half the cost, I'd say the E/F's a bargain considering combat compability is very close.

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Rosco
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posted 07-31-2000 05:56 AM     Profile for Rosco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
TWalt >

Taken from Raytheon site;
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
07/24/2000 16:15:26

Latest version of AMRAAM available to U.S. allies

The U.S Air Force and Raytheon Company have announced that the latest Advanced
Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) configuration will be available to U.S
allies and security assistance partners for future procurement.

"This initiative is important to our air superiority plans and will enhance
coalition capability while ensuring continued interoperability," said Judy A.
Stokley, director of the Air-to-Air Joint Systems Program Office, U.S. Air Force
Air Armament Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

This latest AMRAAM, designated AIM-120C5, incorporates lethality improvements
and a five-inch longer rocket motor. The bigger rocket motor allows faster
intercepts and improved launch range. The control section has been shrunk,
keeping the missile the same length (12 feet) and retaining aircraft
compatibility. This improvement also will benefit the ground-launch capability
of AMRAAM. The AIM-120C5 is configured with clipped wings and fins to comply
with the internal carriage requirements of the Joint Strike Fighter and the
F-22.

"This latest missile configuration can be procured beginning with our next
production contract," said Charles D. Anderson, vice president of Raytheon
Missile Systems air-to-air product line. "We expect the next award in March
2001, which will provide our international customers the opportunity to procure
at that time."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well I suppose the Eurofighter nations could purchase the new improved AMRAAMs but given the Typhoon's advantages in stealth, ECM and high speed BVR relevant agility over almost anything I think they'll wait for the Meteor instead of going with moderate missle upgrades. I'll bet this C-5 only matches the basic R-77 in range at best and falls short of the improved R-77M version anyway.

I wonder if the U.S. future BVR missle will really be better than Meteor? I mean, look at AIM-9X, the U.S. would have been better off on the whole with the AIM-132.

------------------
"And if you don't like it, eat a gun"

[This message has been edited by Rosco (edited 07-31-2000).]


Posts: 984 | From: Hazzard County | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
TWalt
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posted 07-31-2000 07:15 AM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Rosco,
I dunno. It looks like they won't offer it til the C-6 is ready for the U.S. as your quote states availability for production contract in 2001 (this means you can order it starting in 2001 but production will take a while). As far as the R-77M, with roughly 85 NM range, only the Phoenix will have a better standoff and only the US will retain this until 2010 or so. At that point the follow on AMRAAM will enable superior performance to the R-77M. Even the Meteor is hard pressed to match the R-77M so what do you do until then?? This is a major reason our F-14's will be sticking around! By the time the F-14 retires, over 50% of the E/F will have an AESA radar to match this new Raytheon missile.
Your previous statements about the RCS of the E/F being nowhere near the Typhoon are very suspect. Russia's data shows the E/F significantly below the Rafale which is already considered in the Typhoon's class.

Detection Range Performance Curves N-011 and R-77/R-77M
http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~carlo/archive/MILITARY/AA/n011-adder.html

As is clearly shown, the N-011 can't even see the E/F til about 40 NM. Even the APG-73 will sufficiently allow the E/F to take the first shots at any of the Su-30/35/37 family. This clearly negates full use of the R-77M's range and puts the Sukhois in trouble at BVR due to their large RCS. With AESA and an all new Raytheon missile (Meteor competitor), the E/F will maintain BVR superiority with any current threat aircraft. (Russia's only major advance in RCS is the MIG MFI/1.42 design which is currently mired in development for lack of funds. This aircraft does offer some significant RCS reduction although it is nowhere near F-22/JSF, closer to Typhoon. Navy JSF would be key to opposing this aircraft, if it is ever produced.)


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bob671
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posted 07-31-2000 08:00 AM     Profile for bob671   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
It's a little unfair to be using the Su-27's radar with which to make comparisons. You should be using the Su-35's...
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TWalt
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posted 07-31-2000 10:28 AM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Bob671,
No, the Su-37/35/30MKI utilize the N-011. The Su-27 uses the N-001. Check the numbers a little closer next time. Seriously, it's easy to get them confused so I can see where you thought it was the original Phazatron unit. The N-011 is one of the latest sets produced and it is a full phased array unit (you can see does a very good job against traditional targets). This is why RCS is a critical component of any modern fighter (the BS about carrying a few AMRAAMs makes RCS pointless is just that, BS).

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Avatar
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posted 07-31-2000 10:55 AM     Profile for Avatar   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
TWalt,

Fess up, you have some sort of stock option on the Hornet family.

Your obsessive support for this aircraft borders on pathological.

Why such a hardon? The Hornet will never make the list "World's Top 10 Fighters."


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TWalt
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posted 07-31-2000 11:19 AM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Nope,
Nobody is paying me yet, I just want to get the word out on this plane as previously a bunch of posters made a vandetta against it. (Rosco and Nick Moyrand primarily)! In the interest of keeping everyone accurately informed here, I just want to make sure this aircraft is accurately represented. Same goes for any other info I've given.

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mbaxter
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posted 07-31-2000 04:02 PM     Profile for mbaxter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Just for the record, I know for a fact the Mig-29K, the Super Hornet's Russian counterpart, costs over $45 million apiece. The Russians, by the way, don't see fit to build the Mig-29K for themselves. It will be go into production for the first time for use with the Indian Navy. The deal is $1 billion for 22 aircraft. That works out to $45.5 million for each plane. Picked that up off a net search: http://www.expressindia.com/news/daily/20000731/03102400.htm

The SuperHornet is a far, far better deal than that.

[This message has been edited by mbaxter (edited 07-31-2000).]


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_ALEX_
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posted 07-31-2000 04:28 PM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Russian army basically does not procure anything except Topol-M ICBMs these days. They have too much hardware from old times. And there is no plan to fight a major war with NATO any time soon. Besides, defence budget is minimalistic.
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posted 08-01-2000 05:58 PM     Profile for Rosco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
{message preceded by loud, pompous rendition of the French national anthem}

TWalt >

Questionable info notwithstanding, the Rafale's radar signature is one-third smaller than that of the E/F, and that's before the SPECTRA nullification is considered. The E/F is no better than some exsisting fighters in this regard.

Regarding the Sue-per Hornet's cost, guess what? It loses out here also, excerpt from article;

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"The (Not So) Super Hornet

Why the Navy is spending billions on a fighter jet with flaws that costs twice as much as its predecessor

By Stan Crock in Washington

Pentagon analyst Franklin C. Spinney remembers the conversation with crystal clarity. Over dinner with a Marine flier in late 1991, talk turned to Navy plans for a new version of the F-18 Hornet. Earlier in the year, the Pentagon had killed the new A-12 bomber. Other Navy planes were decades old. And the service thought existing F/A-18s couldn't fly long-range missions. To fill carrier decks, the Navy decided to rely on an upgrade of the F-18 used by the fabled Blue Angels. ''We've got to have this even if it doesn't work,'' the pilot confided.

How prophetic. On Nov. 16, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet finished operational-evaluation flights, the last step before full production, set for this spring. And Congress in September approved a five-year, $9 billion authorization for the fighter-attack aircraft, which will cost $47 billion through 2010. But by many accounts, the $53 million-a-
copy plane is only slightly better than its predecessor, the F/A-18C/D (table, page 136), which costs half as much. And the E/F's flying performance ''is almost unambiguously a step backward,'' says Spinney."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hmmm $53 million USD en? That is a bit more that the $51 Eurodollars a Rafale will cost you, though I admit the E/F has the edge on the Mirage 2000-9 when it comes to cost/performance. The '2000-9 is a better comparison to the E/F than the Rafale.

As for radar performance, this AESA will probably beat the RBE2, but, will it beat the AMSAR?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AMSAR RADAR OF FUTURE GENERATIONS

To overcome the limitations of conventional mechanically scanned radars, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) is working in the field of future airborne active phased array radars.

Active electronically scanned antennas performance are a solution to the problems of reliability with conventional TWT-based radars and promise higher antenna levels due to mission/threat-adapted antenna scanning. The benefits of active electronically scanned antennas are improved power efficiency levels using GaAs MMIC's for Transmit/Receive modules, higher reliability and "graceful degradation", zero-inertia beam agility and beam pattern shape flexibility. In cooperation with the EADS foundry service centre, also located in Ulm, we design and produce solid state gallium arsenide MMICs for T/R modules. The T/R module technology, together with modern digital beamforming using Modular Signal Processors, will form the basis of our cooperation in active phased array radar with GEC Marconi Avionics (UK) and Thomson-CSF (F) in the GEC-Thomson-Dasa-Airborne Radar (GTDAR) consortium. AMSAR would succeed the Euroradar (ECR 90) and the RBE2 systems which are being developed for the Eurofighter and Rafale respectively.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regarding the Meteor, it is reported to have a maximum range of 125 miles, possibly more, putting it well ahead of the R-77M and AMRAAM updates, not bad for a 350 lb package. Hopefully the U.S answer is truly an all-new effort and not a late coming stopgap like the AIM-9X.

All-in-all, I'd say the Rafale is a much better aircraft and better looking too!

Rosco

Shameless Dassault shareholder

[This message has been edited by Rosco (edited 08-01-2000).]


Posts: 984 | From: Hazzard County | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Div
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posted 08-01-2000 11:34 PM     Profile for Div   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
There is no doub that the Rafale is a good looking plane. I've been peddling this pic around for a while.



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Div
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posted 08-01-2000 11:36 PM     Profile for Div   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote

ooops...sorry about the dupe.

[This message has been edited by Div (edited 08-01-2000).]


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Someone
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posted 08-02-2000 02:34 AM     Profile for Someone   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote

What do you think of that???

LOL


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Rosco
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posted 08-02-2000 03:05 AM     Profile for Rosco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
That's blatant Boeing sales propaganda, just as bad as this from BAe;

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Eurofighter Typhoon benefits from a number of advances in technology and engineering. The aircraft makes extensive use of composites in the airframe with only 15% of the surface comprising metal. The newly developed EJ200 powerplants combined with the aircraft's aerodynamics allow it to cruise supersonically without the use of reheat for extended periods of time even with a normal weapons load. The advanced flight control system and pitch unstable design impart great manoeuvrability at high and low speeds. These, combined with; cutting edge automated defences, advanced active and passive sensors, leading cockpit ergonomics and a reduced RCS instil Eurofighter with more than an even chance of success against most competing aircraft.

OpEval

The Eurofighter project has been subject to several operational evaluations. These have been carried out, independently from the Eurofighter consortium, primarily by Britain's DERA, the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. Unlike many previous theoretical operational capability studies, the Eurofighter analysis utilised a true simulation approach. This was achieved through a number of networked battle simulation computers, termed JOUST, each of which can be flown by human pilots.

BVR Combat Rating

F-22 91%

Typhoon 82%

Rafale 50%

F-15 43%

F-18+ 25%

F-18 21%

F-16 21%

This system was used to comprehensively evaluate the BVR (Beyond Visual Range) performance of the Eurofighter and other aircraft against an upgraded Su-27 Flanker (comparable to an Su-35 Super Flanker and its equivalents). The studies investigated all aspect best performances from the major systems on each aircraft; avionics, structure (including RCS data), engine performance (including fuel usage), defences and man-machine interfaces. In these tests the French Rafale utilised the Matra-BAe MICA air to air missile (which is the primary AA weapon of the French airforce) while the other aircraft used the Raytheon-Hughes AMRAAM.

These simulations concluded that Eurofighter has a win rating of 82% (100% equals always win, 0% equals always lose, 50% equals parity) against the target aircraft. A more typical way to present this data is as a combat exchange ratio, for the Typhoon this equals 4.5:1. In other words one Eurofighter can theoretically handle 4.5 Su-35 fighters and survive. This compares extremely favourably to the other aircraft (see also the BVR Combat Rating table); F-16C Falcon (0.3:1), F-15C Eagle (0.8:1), F-18C Hornet (0.3:1), F-18+ (0.4:1, NB this is not the current F-18E/F which is apparently a downgraded version of the F-18+ used in the studies) and Dassault Rafale (1:1). Only the LM/Boeing F-22 Raptor bettered the Eurofighter's performance with a combat exchange ratio of 10.1:1.

In addition to these overall combat performance results a number of individual comparisons have been made available. Of enormous importance for BVR combat is acceleration at medium altitudes and here the Eurofighter's acceleration at Mach 0.9 and 22,000ft equals that of the F-22A. At supersonic velocities (Mach 1.6 and 36,000ft) the sustained turn rate of the Eurofighter betters all but the F-22, while its instantaneous turn rate is superior to the F-22. At low altitudes, Eurofighter can accelerate from 200kts to Mach 1.0 in under 30 seconds. In a similar vain to its supersonic performance, the sustained and instantaneous turn rates of the Eurofighter are bettered only by the F-22. Only the Rafale comes close to the matching the Eurofighter's capabilities in these comparisons.

An important point to keep in mind when examining this data is that full details on the simulations has not been released. Without this information it is not possible to determine whether Eurofighter optimal profiles were examined at the expense of more varied combat missions. However these studies do give some indication as to the potential of the Typhoon.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BTW, just why are there so many more Super Hornet critics than is the case with other new fighters? There must be a good reason for it!


------------------
"And if you don't like it, eat a gun"

[This message has been edited by Rosco (edited 08-02-2000).]


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Zed
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posted 08-02-2000 03:57 AM     Profile for Zed     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
That assessment of the Typhoon is BS; i used the simulation while at university and the values that go into it are arbitrary with respect to the user. Hence how do you generate a value of cockpit effectiveness based on where the MFDs are placed?!...this just makes it open to be rigged...just as is the case with the F/A-18 rigged bar chart above. At the end of the day, a good pilot will negate all of these figures. The simulation's usefulness is limited.

Look at it this way: in the exercise where the RMAF MiG-29As beat F/A-18Cs of RAAF, considering a closure rate of 1000km/h (slow) the range advantage showed by the MiGs on a fox3 call was about 2-4 seconds. You could loose that by fumbling a switch!...or having to re-adjust the range on an MFD to gain clearer view of the target, as it switches from one range to the next...

One other point; as far as Carlo Kopp is concerned, i view several of his assessments as highly unreliable - a friend of mine went through some of his stuff with me and pointed out the many errors; this assessment is no better as he provides very little source information and he appears to have no contact with the Russian mil-industrial complex or any of its personnel; he appears to increase or decrease the threat that RuAF systems pose as per 'what the RAAF should acquire'...

...so why am i questioning the figures he puts up? cos i think these are for the N-001, not the N-011...if the Russians are to be believed (and this is not for sure either) then the processing power is up by a factor of x100. Seeing as the scanner is both slightly larger and of the planar array type, and the addition in processing, i cannot see how it could be possible that the figures for the N-011 can be lower than those of the N-001, as has been published in book after book and magazine after magazine...did none of these people check or make an assessment of their figures?...all very strange to me...

Z

[This message has been edited by Zed (edited 08-02-2000).]


Posts: 866 | From: Midlands, UK | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
TWalt
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posted 08-02-2000 08:43 AM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Rosco,
As I stated plenty of times, the information on the E/F in most publications are very exagerated. The RCS of all 3 aircraft (Rafale, Typhoon, and E/F) are in the same ballpark, but I would give the nod to Rafale in a pure head on aspect due mainly to its much smaller dimensions. From any other angle though, the E/F kills both these aircraft due to lack of any horizontal structures. All three provide excellent SA, automatic or manual employment of expendables, and auto or manaual jamming. The DASS system on the Typhoon and the IDECM Blk 3 offer similar performance in integration and control of precise rather than blanket jamming. All 3 also incorporate advanced IRCM systems and towed decoys. The only advantages I see here are if Thompson-CSF actually has enabled Spectra to utilize the jammer as a wavelength modulator and the fact that Spectra incorporates electronically steered jamming arrays. The concept of wavelength modulation is that once the system recognizes a specific enemy wavelength attempting acquisition, the jammer then mimics the echo out of phase which hopefully confuses the enemy receiver into thinking there is no return (the major problem with this is that a proper filter in the receiver can actually ignore this "mimicked" phase shift and still pick up the orginal signal that is also coming back). Personally, the superior power of the E/F's AN/ALQ-214 IDECM suite is more apropriate in a non-stealth airframe, especially against the newer Russian phased arrays.
As far as max loading, yeah the Rafale can hold 16 500 lb bombs (only 8,000 lbs) but try 12 1,000 lb bombs or JDAM (no problem on E/F). The Brimstones on the Typhoon are a joke considering they are limited by a puny warhead and range. I love the Rafale's navigation system for low altitude penetration but this is becoming extremely dangerous with the proliferation of advanced IR systems. At low altitude, even shoulder-fired weapons are capable of knocking out the Rafale. Advances in imaging seekers are making flares futile even when deployed in sufficient time. As lasers are incorporated into the IRCM suite of fighters, aircraft again will be able to attack from low level. Also, optical systems (2S6, SA-3 with Low Blow, SA-4, SA-6, SA-8, SA-11 etc) render all current countermeasures useless. This makes low level attacks for even stealth aircraft with excellent IR suppresion dangerous (Bosnia's F-117A shootdown?). If you've got enough cameras staring up over critical target areas, suplemented with IR and radar, low level is very scary! This is the reason for the push to long ranged smart weapons. This area is another advantage to the E/F as it is the only strike fighter able to guide it's munition (SLAM-ER) from the cockpit using the seekers image. Autonomous attack is also available as in other weapons but the ability to actually take multiple looks at the target area, and actually change to alternate areas is unbeatable, especially considering SAM's like the SA-11 can go from mobile to launch in under 5 minutes and then dissappear before a countering weapon arrives.

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Jussi Saari
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posted 08-02-2000 09:13 AM     Profile for Jussi Saari   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Zed, where did that MiG/Hornet data come from? I thought the MiGs had only been tested with RMAF F/A-18Ds and RAAF F/A-18As, but no F/A-18Cs, and both with only AIM-7 with about 10km range advantage for the MiG.

Jussi


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