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Gripen vs F16 - Croatian Air Force

Discussion in 'The Americas' started by Picard, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. Picard

    Picard Lt. Colonel RESEARCHER

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    Recently, Croatian Government has decided to shortlist Saab JAS-39 Gripen and General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) F-16 Falcon for selection of a new fighter-bomber for Croatian Air Force. It has to be fast, highly manouverable, multirole and cheap – both to buy and to maintain – airplane.

    AIRFRAME AND ENGINES

    Both Gripen and F16 are highly manouverable airplanes, utilizing a relaxed stability design. Gripen's wing loading, however, is at 283 kilograms per meter square only 66 % of F16s wing loading, which is 431 kilogram per meter square (both for loaded weight). Another thing that Gripen has going for it is its close-coupled canard design, which additionally increases manouverability of airplane, allowing it to pull tighter turns as well as sustain it for a longer period, as well as increasing its carrying capability. However, thrust-to-weight ratio of Gripen is inferior to that of F16 – 0,97 as opposed to 1,079 – which means that it will be harder to Gripen to recover energy lost during the turn.

    Gripen is also far lighter fighter – 8 500 kg versus 12 000 kg for F16, loaded weight; base weight is 6 800 and 8 570 kg, respectively – and can carry 5 897 kg of external stores as opposed to 7 711 kg for F16. Slightly greater carrying capability of Gripen relative to its weight, as noted above, can also be attributed to both its lower wing loading and its close-coupled canard configuration. All of that also means less fuel expenditure. However, combat radius is lower – 3 000 km vs 3 900 km for F16.

    Gripen NG upgrade installs a new engine with 20 per cent more thrust, allowing for supercruse at speeds of Mach 1,2. It also increases fuel capacity 40 %, to 3150 liters, bringing combat radius to 1300 km with 6 AAM, drop tanks and 30 minutes at station, and adds two more wet pylons for a total of 10 pylons. With full set of drop tanks, its combat radius is expected to reach 4 075 kilometers.

    Moreover, with 20% increase in thrust, its thrust-to-weight ratio will increase to 1,06 with fuel, two WVR and 4 BVR weapons. Fuel fraction is 0,30 for JAS-39, 0,32 for Gripen NG, and around 0,3 for F16.

    While both Gripen and F16 have a reduced RCS, in F16s case RCS reduction was largely unintentional, and Gripen has advantage in that regard.

    WEAPONS

    Going from simplest part of fighter's armament – its cannon, Gripen has advantage here. While F16 uses M61 gattling cannon, Gripen uses revolver cannon BK27, same as Eurofighter Typhoon's. While M61 has greater maximum firing rate, it has a delay before it even starts firing, and additional delay before it reaches maximum rate of fire. Revolver cannon, on the other hand, allows for maximum rate of fire to be reached instantaneously, which is critical for hitting another manouvering fighter plane.

    In missile department, Gripen has advantage. While F16 can carry proven Sidewinder, as well as IRIS-T, and Python IRS missiles, as well as Sparrow, AIM120 and Python radar-guided missiles, Gripen can carry IRIS-T and MICA IR missiles, and AIM120 and Meteor BVR missiles. Unlike F16, Gripen also can carry RBS-15 anti-surface, anti-ship missiles, which are already in use in Croatian military.

    F16, on the other hand, has much larger arsenal of bombs avaliable; both can carry Paveway II laser-guided bombs, but F16 can carry Paveway III, as well as deploy mines from GATOR mine system. Gripen can carry cruise missiles as well as use AGM-65 Maverick missiles for ground support – and here, its low wing loading and canards will allow it to slow down more than F16, allowing for more precise munitions delivery, althought it can't beat A10 when it comes to CAS missions.

    AVIONICS

    Both JAS-39 and F16 use pulse Doppler radars. F16s AN/APG-68 radar has longer range than Gripens PS-05/A (296 vs 120 km) which means less relying on ground systems during airspace patrols, but Gripen can be equipped with AESA radar, which is of swashplate design, allowing up to 200 degrees horizontal coverage; it is also LPI and has capacity of jamming, but usefullness of both will depend on how advanced opponent is.

    Unfortunately, neither of them has an IRST system, but Gripen can be equipped with it as a part of NG upgrade.

    OPERATIONS

    It should be noted, however, that JAS-39 was designed to be able to operate from dug-into-mountains shelters as well as take off from most flat surfaces – it is unknown wether it can take off from frozen lake or pasture as Russian airplanes can, but it can take off or land on any free 600-800 meters of asphalt road.

    MAINTENANCE

    Gripen's operating cost is 2 000 USD per flight hour, and MTBF (mean time between failure) is 7,6 hours, as opposed to F16s operating cost of 4 600 USD per flight hour, and MTBF of 6,8 hours.

    COST

    Cost of "full package" – that is, airframe, electronics, weapons and training – is 68 million USD for Gripen, and 74 million for F16 (costs are for single aircraft).
     
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  2. smestarz

    smestarz Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    It is not that the Croats are going to war with anyone soon,
    So in that case Gripen is an excellent choice, it is capable, low price of the package and low maintenance.
    F-16 is more capable than Gripen, but considering the package and price and considering that croats are not going to war with anyone, their choice should be Gripen.
     
  3. Picard

    Picard Lt. Colonel RESEARCHER

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    In what regard? I'd say that Gripen is more capable in everything except radar and maybe AtG department.
     
  4. Jungibaaz

    Jungibaaz Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    I understand the Croatian Air force is looking to replace its Mig-21s.
    Most of which held the fighter/interceptor role.

    Which F-16 and Gripen variant are they pursuing?
     
  5. Wolf 9

    Wolf 9 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    MiG-21 replacement acquisition :

    Due to the global economic crisis which also affected Croatia, the decision on which fighter type should eventually enter service has been deferred until 2011, rather than by 2009 as was initially planned. This will see new aircraft enter service no sooner than 2012-2013. At the same time, after years of research and discussions, Air Force experts have released the study on new fighter procurement which states that Croatian Air Force needs at least 16 to 18 fighters in order to fulfill all its duties. As an interim solution the possibility of reactivating six to seven MiG-21s (out of 12 stored a few years ago) was mentioned in 2009 by some media. Similarly, there was also the possibility of one additional overhaul to the existing MiGs which was to prolong their life for another five years facilitating thus the burden of the fighter procurement costs on the country's budget. However, this possibility was officially rejected and on April 11, 2011 the Minister of Defence confirmed that Croatia will maintain a fleet of fighter aircraft and that it will not relegate its airspace control to any of the NATO membering countries. He also added that the decision on which aircraft to obtain will be brought in the upcoming months but having in mind not only the needs of the military but also of the entire country's economy.

    In March 2011 a new information appeared in the Croatian media citing that Germany was prepared to donate (or sell cheaply) up to 20 of its F-4 Phantom II fighters to Croatia.[6] Soon after, a similar offer was proposed by the Swedish Air Force which is willing to donate a squadron of its second-hand Saab Gripen aircraft free of charge to match German offer.[7] Both proposals along with numerous other possibilities are currently under revision. The last one, from February 2012., speculates about F-16 Block 15 fighters from the Dutch Air Force.

    full article : Croatian Air Force and Air Defence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  6. Wolf 9

    Wolf 9 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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  7. Wolf 9

    Wolf 9 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Sweden Offers Gripen to Croatia

    14 October 2011, in News

    Today, the Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency (FXM) invited Croatian media to a press briefing in Zagreb to present the Swedish Gripen offer that has been submitted to the Croatian government.

    Through FXM, the Swedish Government submitted an offer including the sale of either twelve or eight of the latest version of Gripen C/D. The offer also includes a support and training agreement for pilots and technicians.

    In order to ensure that the Croatian Air Force remains operative without interruption when its current MiG-21s are decommissioned, Sweden is initially offering a loan of older Gripen-A aircraft until the delivery of the Gripen C/Ds.

    Linked to a possible Croatian acquisition of Gripen fighters Saab offers an industrial co-operation package. Supported by the combined experiences and resources of its strong industrial network, Saab and the Gripen supplier base offers Croatia a partnership through a new generation defence and industrial co-operation programme. Saab is ready to commit to an industrial co-operation obligation valued at 100 percent of the contract value.

    “Saab has an excellent track record of delivering on our promises in Czech Republic, Hungary and South Africa. We offer Croatia industrial co-operation programmes designed to create and sustain high tech jobs, delivering investment and generating sustainable export growth thus generating means to finance the acquisution of a new fighter systemâ€￾, says Pierre Gauffin, Marketing Director Gripen Croatia, Saab.

    Gripen News - the latest news about the multirole fighter Gripen
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
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  8. Gessler

    Gessler Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    I feel like Croatia should go for Gripen. F-16 is good, but
    Gripen would prove better for them since its from a fellow european country
    and the operating costs are lower. Gripen would fulfill their required role very well.

    Plus in future they might wanna upgrade it to Gripen NG or something if they need,
    will be adequate for them for future needs as well:tup:

    Little Q, would there be some continued evalution/testing of the two aircraft or not? The
    results might give Picard something based on which he can make another thread;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
  9. Picard

    Picard Lt. Colonel RESEARCHER

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    I hope there will be evaluation, but I'm sceptical. I'm afraid that end result will depend more on who can pay larger bribes to Croatian politicians. Until now, it didn't seem to have played part... Typhoon is really too expensive, Russian planes are... well, Russian, incompatible with NATO, and maintenance isn't cheap, I found recently article in which Croatian pilots say that F18 would be best option for HRZ, but article is low resolution screenshot in JPG, and it is from 1998.
     
  10. MAFIAN GOD

    MAFIAN GOD Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    The capabilities of both F-16 and Gripen do not vary much.
    So, I think Croatia should go for the more cheaper fighter.
    It will give your country a good chance to operate more fighters in the same money.:agree:
     
  11. Picard

    Picard Lt. Colonel RESEARCHER

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    MiG-21s were designed for interceptor role, but were used extensively in CAS missions throught the war.
     
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  12. Wolf 9

    Wolf 9 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Dude , they offered SEK 1 billion for one Gripen NG to Swiss . That is nearly $102 million US .
    After French cut the price , SAAB also reduce it .
     
  13. G777

    G777 Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Gripen is AWSUM

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Picard

    Picard Lt. Colonel RESEARCHER

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    We're not buying NG, we're buying older version which can be upgraded to NG standard later.

    For perspective, original F16 would cost bit less than 40 million USD in inflation-adjusted US dollars, while last version costs 60 million USD.
     
  15. halloweene

    halloweene Major MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Picard, is it the lates iteration of Gripen C/D with heavily modernized Raven radar?
     

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