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Thread: Future of Belgian Air Component

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBW View Post
    Not what Halloweene was talking about. He was talking about different modes operating simultaneously
    I beg to differ. See 1:32

  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by mig-31bm View Post
    I beg to differ. See 1:32
    It uses interleaving, it is near simultaneous (nanoseconds). The array is not divided and tasked in different modes at the same time, the fast switching is one of the advantages of an AESA set.

    From SLD- presentation by Michael Skaff (principle engineer on the F-35) https://www.slideshare.net/robbinlai...ne-for-the-f35

    APG-81 Radar Active Electronically Scanned Array Interleaved Search and Track Data Link Air-to-Air Target Detection/Track Synthetic Aperture Radar With Effective BDA Ground Moving Target Detection Cruise Missile UCAV 231© 2011 Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT
    Last edited by FBW; 31st March 2017 at 03:46.

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loke View Post

    F-35 will be the next Belgian fighter jets; that's for sure. Rafale may be able to handle most (or even all?) of the missions however it will be more expensive than F-35 and it will be less capable. Add in the added value of operating the same a/c as most of NATO (and the Netherlands in particular) and it becomes a no-brainer.

    Gripen NG is not for countries that consider the F-35 -- it is for countries that do not consider the F-35 and want something Western but cost-effective. E.g. Switzerland (and I guess also Austria, when they need to replace their Typhoons 15 years from now).
    There was some political tension about the F 35 in Holland and there was and continues to be a 4 alarm poltiical inferno for the F 35 in Canada. These new prices being thrown around for the F-35 are not cash and carry costs. They are numbers put out there by PR teams and politicians to calm things down a bit.

    Isn't the French jet faster, more maneuverable and better rate of climb ? And it looks better. Way better. And its built inside the EU. It wouldn't surprise me if the Belgian economy is somehow connected to the the French jet.

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBW View Post
    It uses interleaving, it is near simultaneous (nanoseconds). The array is not divided and tasked in different modes at the same time, the fast switching is one of the advantages of an AESA set.
    I see your point. But if the interleaving mode has such short time difference then what is the point of dividing the array into sub-arrays for different tasks ?. You will lose out on accuracy and detection range
    Last edited by mig-31bm; 31st March 2017 at 03:53.

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBW View Post
    Not what Halloweene was talking about. He was talking about different modes operating simultaneously,. The APG-81 can't do that (according to open source material), neither can the RBE2. They use interleaving which is pretty much the same thing to the user- generating a SAR map and track while scan for example, the switch is measured in nanoseconds so I'm not convinced it's that imperative
    Fair enough. But since we know AESA can form multiple beams, i think this is a software problem rather than hardware problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by mig-31bm View Post
    I see your point. But if the interleaving mode has such short time delay then what is the point of dividing the array into sub arrays for different tasks ?. You will lose out on accuracy and detection range
    Interleaving mode leads to high duty cycle.
    Last edited by garryA; 31st March 2017 at 03:51.

  6. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by mig-31bm View Post
    I see your point. But if the interleaving mode has such short time different then what is the point of dividing the array into sub arrays for different tasks ?. You will lose our on accuracy and detection range
    That's what I was saying. In any case, Halloweene was pointing this out as a future advantage of the Rafale. The use of the array as a data link while performing sensor functions as demonstrated by Raytheon, NG, and L-3 communications does sound promising. There has been nothing else reported on this since the testing. Does make one curious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TomcatViP View Post
    I think that at the end, the image of US as a functioning democracy will be reinforced. .
    I don't think you appreciate what everyday Europeans think about the election of Trump. The guy is the antithesis of what Europeans think a public figure should be. And they didn't know an American existed that was so stereotypical of what they think Americans are like.

    The whole election right from the primary season till now was one big dumpster fire and its still not over.

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolf View Post
    Oh please, the Rafale and F-35 arent even playing in the same category. The technological gap between the two is real. Its useless to deny it.

    The Rafale has a higher flyaway cost (~$110 millions) than the F-35 ($85 millions and shrinking) and has high operating costs too. It will most likely be more expensive to upgrade as well since there is only a handful of Rafale operators and relatively few aircraft in use (compared to projected F-35 numbers).
    The higher tech jet is not at all practical for small country and air force. You don't have economies of scale to deal with the problems that are going to come with the F 35 nor would you want the hassle. I dont think Belgium is that involved in war games either. So many of these features wont be used. If there is a tech gap, its on things that you wont be using anyway.

    As far as flight and maneuverability, I think there is a gap in the Rafales favor.

    But I get it. You want the shiny new toy along with the status symbol that is stealth.

  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBW View Post
    It uses interleaving, it is near simultaneous (nanoseconds). The array is not divided and tasked in different modes at the same time, the fast switching is one of the advantages of an AESA set.
    I don't get it. What's the advantage of a split array? The radar beams aren't really 'beams' anyway - just high frequency pulses. Emitting actual beams would make the emission susceptible to DRFM spoofing. So as long as you can shrink the mode switching time to close to the pulse frequency, it should be nearly indistinguishable from a physically split array. ??

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by halloweene View Post
    Well hint : type NATO MACE Xii and Rafale about S300. About RBE2, it evolves constantly. Yes when it was inducted they decided to stay on same modes as the PESA. Do you really think it is a static config? NEw modes are arriving next year. Anw, we should have a fair comparison here. We will see. EPAF was nice. Training in France also. Where will pilot train? . Remember "5th Gen" is a LM gimmick about F-22 (and it is true in US context, it is THEIR 5th Gen). (And btw, F-35 do not comply with LM's own definition of 5th Gen). Citing data fusion and data links as revolutions is maybe true in US context. It is not worldwide. Oh i forgot! µIt US so it is uber alles.
    We only have rumors, no hard facts regarding the Rafale's performances during those exercices. Keep in mind too that Slovakian S-300s used in those exercices are early 90s models (S-300PMU). I dont think they are truly representative of current or upcoming "double-digits" SAM systems.

  11. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolf View Post
    We only have rumors, no hard facts regarding the Rafale's performances during those exercices. Keep in mind too that Slovakian S-300s used in those exercices are early 90s models (S-300PMU). I dont think they are truly representative of current or upcoming "double-digits" SAM systems.
    True. same can be said about F-35 and double digit SAMs. anw doctrines are very different. Rafale will be more prone to use stand off AASM. (including during very low altitude high speed) than F-35. (less needed probably)

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolf View Post
    We only have rumors, no hard facts regarding the Rafale's performances during those exercices. Keep in mind too that Slovakian S-300s used in those exercices are early 90s models (S-300PMU). I dont think they are truly representative of current or upcoming "double-digits" SAM systems.
    True; otoh Rafale F4 will be quite different from the Rafale at that time; and also very important the missiles and targeting pods will also be very different from that time.

  13. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vnomad View Post
    I don't get it. What's the advantage of a split array? The radar beams aren't really 'beams' anyway - just high frequency pulses. Emitting actual beams would make the emission susceptible to DRFM spoofing. So as long as you can shrink the mode switching time to close to the pulse frequency, it should be nearly indistinguishable from a physically split array. ??
    As said above, higher duty cycle. And think about the future. What can you do with a radar with physically separated antennas? (especially if you master ttile modules architecture, which Thalès do?)

  14. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by halloweene View Post
    As said above, higher duty cycle.
    How so? The limiting factor here is frequency agility, which is a function of the TR module characteristics, the software architecture and availability of processing power.

    And think about the future. What can you do with a radar with physically separated antennas? (especially if you master ttile modules architecture, which Thalès do?)
    Well auxiliary antennas like on the PAK FA would allow for a much wider FoV but I don't see how it would augment the capability of the primary radar (i.e. the forward facing one).

  15. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loke View Post
    True; otoh Rafale F4 will be quite different from the Rafale at that time; and also very important the missiles and targeting pods will also be very different from that time.
    That would be a sensible move. It could explain the increased engine power.

  16. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomcatViP View Post
    That would be a sensible move. It could explain the increased engine power.
    Increased engine power?

  17. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolf View Post
    I stand corrected.

    By 2019, its fly away cost is expected to fall to $85 million though.
    True, the recurring Fly Away Unit Cost for circa 2019 is expected to be around 85 million US$. I was pretty sceptical of that particular goal for quite some time, but lately things are turning pretty decent on the costs control front.

    Cheers
    Last edited by Sintra; 31st March 2017 at 17:09.

  18. #108
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    It eats me up to say they will go with 34 F-35's however did like the idea of a hi-low mix and if they went for 24 F-35's and 26 FA-50's the cost would be around the same giving them 50 jets instead of 34. The FA-50's could be used for training- QRA/air-policing- and dropping bombs in low end conflict they could transfer 90% of the kit they hang off their F-16's including targeting and ECM pods and allow new pilots time to learn before moving on to F-35

  19. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest414 View Post
    It eats me up to say they will go with 34 F-35's however did like the idea of a hi-low mix and if they went for 24 F-35's and 26 FA-50's the cost would be around the same giving them 50 jets instead of 34. The FA-50's could be used for training- QRA/air-policing- and dropping bombs in low end conflict they could transfer 90% of the kit they hang off their F-16's including targeting and ECM pods and allow new pilots time to learn before moving on to F-35
    They would also need two training pipelines, two sets of maintainers, two sets of every tool and spare part, almost certainly two sets of management/overhead for those two sets of everything.

    For a small force it just doesn't make any sense to divide things up like that. In a really huge force you can have some number of lower end fighters dedicated to peacetime tasks, but the math will never work for a force like Belgium.

  20. #110
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    that will depend on if they want to replace the alpha jets with a new lead in type but I did say they will go with a every low number of F-35's

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    as i said before, the Aplha Jets will be retired in 2018 with NO replacement, as pilot training will then be conducted in the US.

    as for the F-16 replacement, its to early to tell and a choice is to be made by end 2018, although i can see this getting delayed.
    that the F-35 is a favorite is a bit obvious, especially as Lockmart is doing some heavy lobbying for the F-35 in Belgium for the past years.

    as for the Rafale, i say the chances are slim, the aircraft isnt exactly NATO compatibel in terms of inter-operability and weaponry, witch kinda limits cooperation to France only.
    a better choice would be the Typhoon, as 4 other NATO members (+Austria) are already operating the type, and as Belgium is a Pro-European nation, and prefers European equipment, i take the chances of the Typhoon are high, although the high price tag and maintainance costs could make it difficult.
    the Gripen could be a good selection, in terms of operating and acuasition costs, they could work together with current (and possible future) European Gripen operators, but the Nuke option could kill its chances. the F/A-18E/F is one of my favorites, its affordable, low maintainance costs, growth potential and its proven in combat, and its capable of carrying nukes (B61) so that makes it the best alternative to the F-35, the only downside is that we would be the only operator of the type in Europe.

    what i could recommend is a possible lease of new aircraft, and join Germany in the developent of a new strike aircraft, but that could turn out to be more expensive then buying off the shelf.

    as for a mixed fleet idea (F-35 + FA50), forget it, its not going to happen, as its cheaper to operate a single type then 2 types, thats the reason the F-16 also replaced the Mirage 5 in the mid-1990's.

  22. #112
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    lol, by the time we get those F-35s flying they'll be obsolete, and handed their asses by unmanned outdated Migs

    and people ask me why I avoid paying taxes in Belgium

  23. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanem View Post
    lol, by the time we get those F-35s flying they'll be obsolete, and handed their asses by unmanned outdated Migs

    and people ask me why I avoid paying taxes in Belgium
    Dumbest post in this thread so far. By a long shot.

  24. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nils View Post
    as i said before, the Aplha Jets will be retired in 2018 with NO replacement, as pilot training will then be conducted in the US.

    as for the F-16 replacement, its to early to tell and a choice is to be made by end 2018, although i can see this getting delayed.
    that the F-35 is a favorite is a bit obvious, especially as Lockmart is doing some heavy lobbying for the F-35 in Belgium for the past years.

    as for the Rafale, i say the chances are slim, the aircraft isnt exactly NATO compatibel in terms of inter-operability and weaponry, witch kinda limits cooperation to France only.
    a better choice would be the Typhoon, as 4 other NATO members (+Austria) are already operating the type, and as Belgium is a Pro-European nation, and prefers European equipment, i take the chances of the Typhoon are high, although the high price tag and maintainance costs could make it difficult.
    the Gripen could be a good selection, in terms of operating and acuasition costs, they could work together with current (and possible future) European Gripen operators, but the Nuke option could kill its chances. the F/A-18E/F is one of my favorites, its affordable, low maintainance costs, growth potential and its proven in combat, and its capable of carrying nukes (B61) so that makes it the best alternative to the F-35, the only downside is that we would be the only operator of the type in Europe.

    what i could recommend is a possible lease of new aircraft, and join Germany in the developent of a new strike aircraft, but that could turn out to be more expensive then buying off the shelf.

    as for a mixed fleet idea (F-35 + FA50), forget it, its not going to happen, as its cheaper to operate a single type then 2 types, thats the reason the F-16 also replaced the Mirage 5 in the mid-1990's.
    Reading through the RFP, several things stand out:
    1. Belgium does not want to acquire all of the infrastructure and faculties to operate, upgrade, or maintain the new aircraft without a partnership. That would favor the aircraft with a broad user base in Europe, or in close proximity. That would seem to favor the F-35 or Rafale.
    2. The strict need to know, and non-disclosure aspects make it unlikely that comparison data with be shared with the general public (barring a leak like in the Swiss competition)
    3. Internal systems and software have to be at contract agreed upon level by end of transition period (assuming FOC around 2030). Considering the current block 4 increment schedule, who knows where the F-35 will be in 2030 (notional block 5? 6-7?), the Rafale should be at F4 standard provided schedule holds.
    4. The requirement for external targeting pods, EW, and IRST (where applicable) is interesting. It would seem to favor the F-35 as these are baked into airframe costs (depending on what the EW self protection requirement is).
    5. Mission data generation- (section 15.1.2.2 ) seems to be written with the requirements of the F-35 in mind. Belgium is not seeking control of MDF.
    6. Average monthly serviceability to be 70%. That will be interesting, in the case of both the Rafale and the F-35 are they able to use predicted serviceability? Or demonstrated.
    7. Production line lifeline and planned production capacity, estimated production closure based on current and expected orders would seem to greatly favor the F-35

    About halfway through the document, it would seem to be a two horse race so far.

    Edit- (con't)
    Appendix 2-
    8. The combat radius flight profiles are all at mid-high level. External tanks allowed for sample missions (this part is confusing, it says configurations cannot be changed). When considering the energy-manuverablity plots, it states 50% of total fuel in the scenarios. I assume this means that the data can be submitted with or without EFT (where applicable) when considering the E-M and acceleration times per the scenario. Meaning the RFP is taking into account the impact of EFT on performance (unless I am reading that part wrong).
    Last edited by FBW; 3rd April 2017 at 20:32.

  25. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanem View Post
    lol, by the time we get those F-35s flying they'll be obsolete, and handed their asses by unmanned outdated Migs

    and people ask me why I avoid paying taxes in Belgium
    There´s absolutely no public information about a Russian (?) program for "unmanned outdated Migs"...
    Actually the only funded program for transforming 4ºth generation fighter jets into unmanned "thingy´s" is for flying targets.

  26. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sintra View Post
    Increased engine power?
    yes from 75kN (~7.6t) to 8.2t (~80.5kN)

  27. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest414 View Post
    It eats me up to say they will go with 34 F-35's however did like the idea of a hi-low mix and if they went for 24 F-35's and 26 FA-50's the cost would be around the same giving them 50 jets instead of 34. The FA-50's could be used for training- QRA/air-policing- and dropping bombs in low end conflict they could transfer 90% of the kit they hang off their F-16's including targeting and ECM pods and allow new pilots time to learn before moving on to F-35
    If they want to go for the low-end conflict, they could simply boost a fleet of turbo props and dual use it (training/expeditionnary). That would add a lot of realistic training and flying hour to their pilot. Imagine also Brussels ordering a Turkish design, that would probably spare us from all the heated argumentation for half a decade.

  28. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nils View Post
    the F/A-18E/F is one of my favorites, its affordable, low maintainance costs, growth potential and its proven in combat, and its capable of carrying nukes (B61) so that makes it the best alternative to the F-35, the only downside is that we would be the only operator of the type in Europe.
    The Super Hornet would be an absolutely terrible choice. Its a souped-up 70s design for Christ's sake. Do you really think this is the answer to our needs considering we are gonna fly those fighters until 2058?

    "its affordable"

    Not really. Flyaway cost in FY17 is ~$78 million IIRC. Add items like targeting pods and external fuel tanks and the price goes up even further. Meanwhile the much more capable F-35A is scheduled to cost $85 million in 2019. And you dont have to buy targeting pods or EFTs with that one since its sensors are built-in and it has enough internal fuel.

    "low maintainance costs"

    I have no data on this but the simple fact that the SH is twin-engined makes me seriously doubt your claim. And lack of a userbase in Europe would undoubtedly make it harder to get spares...

    "growth potential"

    You mean the ASH? Why buy a b*stardized "stealth" aircraft when you can get the real deal for likely cheaper? (the ASH is hardly affordable AND we would have to pay for its development costs to boot)

    "its proven in combat"

    Really? Bombing some wackos in the Middle East in low-threat, uncontested airspaces doesnt mean much to me. Put the SH against a well-equipped and well-trained opponent with 5th gen fighters and an integrated air defense system and see how well it will fare...

    "and its capable of carrying nukes (B61)"

    No, it isnt. It could potentially be but we would probably have to pay for its integration thus raising the cost yet even more. So much for the affordable argument...

    "the only downside is that we would be the only operator of the type in Europe"

    Only downside? Lets see...

    Inferior kinematics to all other options.
    Oldest design. Likely soon out of production. Limited growth potential.
    No stealth.
    Inferior radar and sensors to F-35.
    No commonalities with our closest allies and partners.
    Likely more expensive to upgrade.
    etc.

    Still think the Super Hornet is so "super"?
    Last edited by LoneWolf; 4th April 2017 at 13:59.

  29. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomcatViP View Post
    yes from 75kN (~7.6t) to 8.2t (~80.5kN)
    Is that official?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolf View Post
    The Super Hornet would be an absolutely terrible choice. Its a souped-up 70s design for Christ's sake. Do you really think this is the answer to our needs considering we are gonna fly those fighters until 2058?
    If your measuring stick is the F-35 then of course the SH falls short.

    If you compare the SH to the Eurocanards, in terms of RCS reductions my guess is it's the same ballpark. The ASH suggested by Boeing also demonstrates a significant growth potential (which of course pales in comparison to the growth potential of the F-35).

    Cost wise it seems to be cheaper than both Rafale and Typhoon... I am not sure how it compares to F-35, Boeing seems to be challenging the conclusions made in Denmark.

    I saw a Belgian poster suggesting that Belgium should go for a mix of SH and Growlers, arguing that operating costs of F-35 is still a bit of an unknown, and that Europe will in any case have a significant number of F-35 whereas Europe has very limited stand-off EWS capabilities.

    He actually does have a good point... Even tiny Australia has infinitely larger numbers of Growlers than Europe (which currently has 0). And for Europe (or NATO) whether Belgium adds 34 F-35 or not does not really make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things.

    Both France and Sweden probably has the know-how to develop a Growler version of either Rafale or Gripen but it has not yet happened.

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