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Thread: US Adversary/Red Air contracts

  1. #1
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    US Adversary/Red Air contracts

    Hi guys, I've just got a couple of questions regarding the USAF/USN/USMC Red Air contracts that are coming up this year.
    Based on reading of interviews with Draken International, ATAC, TacAir & Top Aces (DADS) it appears as though most of the suppliers will need approx. 150+ aircraft to fulfil the requirement (if it is awarded to one supplier).
    It seems as though most of the suppliers are intending to offer 3rd Gen aircraft that feature 4th gen features, noting that they have all indicated they aren't looking at former Eastern Bloc aircraft, I was wondering what does this leave in the 2nd hand aircraft market?
    Top Aces has indicated they are looking at 10-20 former Israeli F16A, but then Draken, ATAC & TacAir have stated these might not be profitable to operate.
    TacAir has purchased F5E's from Jordan but these are in need of fitting with a newer radar & avionics.
    Likewise ATAC with their purchase of Mirage F1's from France & they say they need to upgrade the radar etc to be suitable.
    With the recent purchases by Draken of Mirage F1M's from Spain & the Denel Cheetahs from South Africa, Draken has indicated that these don't require an upgrade.
    It seems as though suitable 2nd aircraft that fulfil the requirement are a bit light on, especially if early F16, F18 models are too expensive.
    What does this leave, the only few that I can think of is ex-Singapore F5S/T, ex Chile Mirage M50 Pantera (similar to the Cheetahs) & maybe ex-German F4 ICE, though these might be expensive to operate as well.
    I'd be interested what other peoples' thoughts on this are, namely are there any other 2nd hand aircraft, currently not in use, that would be suitable.
    Cheers

  2. #2
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    from western air forces? difficult to say..

    there probably are a bunch of old airframes tha may be brought back to flyable status for not too much cost in arizona, but then again, if it's to fly against US aircraft, the USAF/USN/USMC may just as well do it by themselves.

    other than that, maybe they could get the old Mirages from Pakistan. there are about 150 airframes that Pakistan had rebuilt and by now would like to retire of they can replace them... as they get more and more JF-17s, these airframes may be interesting maybe (Mach2 capable fighters, that should come so cheap that it would be possible for a reasonable budget to fit them with more modern avionics and make an interesting oponent

  3. #3
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    If you have to go derelict why not get some upgraded mig21 with Slovakian/Indian support?

  4. #4
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    Draken International did buy approx. 25 ex-Polish MIG-21Bis a few years ago. Since then they're remained in storage & Draken has indicated they will remain so for the foreseeable future. This primarily due to them having a quite short endurance & limited modern avionics eg radar, cockpit ECM etc. The Pakistani Mirages are also starting to get quite long in the tooth & would require a bit on an upgrade to bring them up to standard I imagine. The main reason why this Red Air seems to be taking off is due to the cost of utilising USAF/USN assets as adversaries. Apparently F16/F18/F15 cost so much per flight hour that this is why the services are turning to contractors. This is also why most of the contractors, bar Top Aces (Discovery Air Services), aren't looking at used F16's. It seems as though the services have specified a basic level of equipment they want provided, a supersonic fighter with 1-2 hour endurance, 4th Gen avionics with BVR capable radar, HUD, HOTAS, MFD & MILSTD 1553 as a nice to have. Cheers

  5. #5
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    I've always wondered what tactical value an older-generation Red Air adversary could provide. To what end could an upgraded F-5 or Mirage F.1 simulate more advanced platforms like the Su-30/35, J-10/20, or even the Rafale. If USAF/USN/USMC aviation does face off against China, or Russia, those parties will send something more potent than an upgraded MiG-21.

  6. #6
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    They must provide some value.
    The USN has already bought 44 ex-Swiss Tigers and it seems they are interested in another batch of 23 aswell (53 still in Swiss AF inventory, 26 to stay, 4 to museums, 23 to be sold). Report in German: https://www.srf.ch/news/schweiz/schw...chweizer-tiger
    How can less be more? It's impossible. More is more.
    Yngwie Malmsteen

  7. #7
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    older generation fighters are what they are most likely to encounter. What's more, if they are well flown, they still are quite potent adversaries ( a thingy going supersonic isn't easy to intgercept by any standards )

    as for the migs or mirages being old and needing upgrades, if they are bought really cheap, it allows for upgrades to be bought more easily. even the F-16A that you might buy second hand would need some upgrades, but as the airframes won't be cheap already, it would only make them hardly usable from a financial PoV...

  8. #8
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    Is it known what type of jet the USAF test pilot was killed in some time back?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by haavarla View Post
    Is it known what type of jet the USAF test pilot was killed in some time back?
    He was squadron commander of what used to be “red hats” squadron. Odds are it was built where the vodka flows like wine.

  10. #10
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    It has been suggested that it may have been one of TACAIR's two Su27s that crashed.

  11. #11
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    It has been suggested that it may have been one of TACAIR's two Su27s that crashed.
    Doubtful, those are two seaters (former Pride Aviation aircraft?), and privately owned (so I doubt a USAF Lt. Col would be flying them) . The ones seen above Groom around the time of the crash were single seat aircraft.
    Su-27's were spotted over NTTR prior to 2009, so there are likely a few Su-27 bouncing around the US (Belarus?).

    There hasnt been any more information released about the crash, but considering his position within the 53rd TEG, and the fact that the USAF confirmed that the lost aircraft was assigned to Air Force Material Command, all points to it being foreign.

  12. #12
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    I'm surprised they couldn't use instructor guided drones with radar reflector-enhancement to simulate a fair spectrum of threats. Would be interesting to see what a skunkworks program could come up with.
    Go Huskers!

  13. #13
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    Cheaper that way (manned airframe)

  14. #14
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    What other suitable airframes?

    - italian AMX

    - singaporean F-5S (with grifo radars)

    - saudi F-5E (need serious upgrades)

    - korean F-5E

    - swedish gripen A/B??

    - malaysian Hawk 200 (with apg-66h radar)

    - oman Hawk 200 (with apg-66h radar)

    - chinese brand new FTC-2000 (has the short legs of the MiG-21)

  15. #15
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    I still lean heavily to a drone flown by instructors using some kind of cockpit emulation. There is no reason a 65 year old expert - that couldn't possibly handle 9 G's on a regular basis - should need to enter a live cockpit to demonstrate advanced skills, strategies, and tactics. We retire guys with mountains of experience way too early.

    Some kind of over-powered canard-equipped flying delta wing (with a saw-tooth trailing edge) drone with an adjustable radar reflector would be dandy. Single engine. Give it tri-paddle option to mimic 4th generation TVR-equipped fighters. Single engine. Maybe give it ability to avoid collisions with other aircraft so it helps minimize potential accidents. Minimal wave drag because it shouldn't need anything resembling a cockpit.
    Go Huskers!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadRat View Post
    I still lean heavily to a drone flown by instructors using some kind of cockpit emulation. There is no reason a 65 year old expert - that couldn't possibly handle 9 G's on a regular basis - should need to enter a live cockpit to demonstrate advanced skills, strategies, and tactics. We retire guys with mountains of experience way too early.

    Some kind of over-powered canard-equipped flying delta wing (with a saw-tooth trailing edge) drone with an adjustable radar reflector would be dandy. Single engine. Give it tri-paddle option to mimic 4th generation TVR-equipped fighters. Single engine. Maybe give it ability to avoid collisions with other aircraft so it helps minimize potential accidents. Minimal wave drag because it shouldn't need anything resembling a cockpit.
    Your solution requires spending billions building bespoke UAVs just for training. The main reason for contractorized adversaries are to save money in the 1st place.

  17. #17
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    Or I described HiMAT...
    Go Huskers!

  18. #18
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    I like the idea air to air is a aspect where UAV development has lagged. This would be good idea to allow development in that area.

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