Showing posts with label F15. Show all posts
Showing posts with label F15. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Goldie Oldie takes a hit from rank newbie

Last month, it looked like South Korea was going to buy 60 F15's.  Now we are not so sure.  The Koreans have announced they have re opened the competition, with the F35 and the European Typhoon back in the running.  The Korean Defense Minister said, "There is a consensus that South Korea needs the 5th generation fighter jet to deter the growing threat posed by North Korean".  Aviation Week says this means the F35 will win.
   This is a tremendous disappointment for Boeing, they were hoping for a big order to keep the F15 production line running.  But it's understandable, the F15 is old, and the South Korean Air Force really wanted to be flying something up to date.  Fifteen former Korean air force chiefs wrote an open letter to the Korean president  supporting  the F35.  On the other hand, it's a great boost for Lockheed Martin, who needs the sales.
  F35 isn't getting any cheaper.  Last month Aviation Week quoted the cost as $97 million.  This week they report that negotiations the Low Rate Inital Production batch 7 will be $96.8 million, LESS engines.  That's a biggy, engines are usually 25% of the cost of an aircraft, so with engines, the F35 is hiked up to $125 million. Each. Ouch.
   Plus, F35 is a totally software product.  The software to launch missiles, aim guns, jam enemy radar and drop bombs is still under development.  Only the basic "aviate and navigate" software is actually running in the aircraft.   Until that software is finished, the F35 is not a warplane, it's just an expensive trainer.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Do stealth fighters need active radar jammers?

Some say no.  The idea of stealth is to become invisible on radar.  If the stealth aircraft starts radiating, it can be a give away, similar to violating radio silence at sea.  Jamming can give your position away.  On the other hand,  stealth or no stealth, there comes a point when enemy radar sees you, and is guiding missiles your way.  In this case a range gate stealer, an angle track deflector, a sidelobe jammer, or what ever else has been dreamed up since Viet Nam, can save your bacon.  If you have the equipment on board that is.  If you don't, best to check your ejection seat. 
   The Aviation Week article goes on to criticize the F16 for lacking internal jammers,  and the F15 for having old internal jammers.   Back when I was on the flight line, you put your jammers in pods under the wing.  That way you could upgrade your jammer to meet new threats by just loading a new pod, rather than rewiring the entire aircraft to install new internal jammers. The jammers are most effective against missiles.  A good radar man can often sort the target out from the jamming.  Missiles are dumber than radar men.
  What set off this Aviation Week commentary?  The Malaysian Air Force showed up with new model Russian jamming pods on their Russian built fighters.  The accompanying photo shows a Sukhoi 30 fighter so old that the twin rudders are mounted straight up and down.  The simplest stealth design would have canted the rudders off the vertical, so radar reflections would go down toward the ground, rather than straight back to the enemy radar set.  This bit of stealth has been well known, even to Russians, for at least 10 years, maybe longer. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Goldie Oldie still competitive

South Korea is shopping for 60 new jet fighter planes.  There were gonna buy the brand new F35.  But the Boeing salesman have been active and for the last round of Korean competition, the trusty F15, which first flew in 1972, is in the competition.  The Korean purchasing board has disqualified the F35 as being too expensive ($96 million), and disqualified the Eurofighter Typhoon for "bidding irregularities."
    The purchasing commission decision will be reviewed by a top bracket committee chaired by the South Korean defense minister.  Korean news media say that the Korean Air Force is unhappy, they wanted the newer F35, but the finance minister is holding firm on the budget which was $7.4 billion.  Some explaining is due here, 60 F35's at $96 million apiece comes out to $5.7 billion, well with in a $7.4 budget.  Either the $7.4 billion has to pay for a few things besides new fighters, or Lockheed Martin did a LOT of marking up.
   The "bidding irregularities" is difficult to understand as well.  The Koreans had agreed with Eurofighter to bid 45 single seaters and 15 twin seat models.  The Korean's beef is that Eurofighter changed the deal to 54 single seat and only 6 single seat models, with out telling 'em.  This was supposed to save money.   Any salesman worth his salt would know that changing the customer's specs on a bid is suicide.  I guess Eurofighter has a death wish.  Granted 2 seaters are more expensive 'cause you have to build two cockpits, which costs twice as much as one cockpit, but when we a doing a deal for 60 planes,  the extra cost is too small to jeopardize the deal.