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Belgian F-16 Replacement RFI To Be Issued Soon  
User currently offlinefvtu134 From Russia, joined Aug 2005, 172 posts, RR: 1
Posted (5 months 5 days ago) and read 4816 times:

Some interesting process coming up.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...h-f-16-replacement-process-393103/

Obviously the original 160 F-16's have been reduced to a current active fleet of 54 and there has been talk for numerous years of one active base to be cut. While there may be a lot of discussions across the language barrier about which base that should be (Florennes in the south, and Kleine Brogel in the north - which also has the US Nuke presence), it is clear that as with many air forces these days the budget available and the cost of flyaway aircraft, the result will be a smaller number of active aircraft.

At the same time, the various influences will come into play again. BAF has had a lot of cooperation with the Dutch Air Force, doing joint F-16 operations in Serbia and now in Afghanistan. On the other side, Belgium has all but handed over its entire Alpha Jet fleet to the French under the joint Fighter Training program which is at Cazaux. This means that both the cooperation with the Dutch (who have recently confirmed going ahead with the F-35) and the French (who will undoubtadly strongly push for the Rafale) will mean that some strong lobbying will take place.

While in my personal opinion and in view of other European/Nato partners, the F-35 seems the logical choice, and at the same time the Rafale, being a twin engined aircraft, seems to much aircraft, recent competitions have shown that the actual price difference is minimal. As such it will make for an interesting competition where politics and lobbying will never be far away.

Finally, for a while I have thought that Belgium might take the decision to go for budget and end up with Gripen (NG) as there is NATO precedent with Czech and Hungary, and even further cooperation possibilities with Swiss and Swedish air Forces also operating the type.

Obviously I'd be interested in getting other views on this subject without drifting to much into the politics. We are here for the love of aircraft (even if some of them look a bit funny) so lets stick to that.

FVTu134


who decided that a Horizon should be HORIZONtal???
46 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12061 posts, RR: 52
Reply 1, posted (5 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 4703 times:

The choices depend on how many engines they want.

Single engine candidates are;

JAS-39E/F (Gripen NG)

F-16E/F/V

F-35A

FS-2020

Twin engine fighters include;

Rafale

Eurofighter

F/A-18E/F

F-15SE

TFX (Turkey)

Out of these choices, the JAS-39E/F may be the lowest cost option.


User currently offlinemrg From Germany, joined Jul 2013, 43 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 4292 times:

I think that the Belgians should keep their F-16s flying as long as possible, or at least until the Yanks and perhaps the Brits can put forward some real life data regarding F-35 operating costs. Everything I've read thus far indicates that the F-35 is going to be significantly more expensive to maintain than the F-16. Having that data will allow planners to decide how many planes they can realistically afford to buy and operate. Other than going for the F-35, the Rafale might be a good choice.

User currently onlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 6663 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (4 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 4272 times:

The other questions worth asking, do the Belgium's actually have a real requirement for an air combat force, just keep some helicopters and transports.

User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3212 posts, RR: 26
Reply 4, posted (4 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 4231 times:
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Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 3):
The other questions worth asking, do the Belgium's actually have a real requirement for an air combat force, just keep some helicopters and transports.

what they need is a few P-8s equipped with missiles


User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4071 posts, RR: 19
Reply 5, posted (4 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4137 times:

The F16 is tough act to follow, in fact I think the best replacement is an updated version.


The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlinePowerslide From Canada, joined Oct 2010, 556 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (4 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3927 times:

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 3):
The other questions worth asking, do the Belgium's actually have a real requirement for an air combat force, just keep some helicopters and transports.

The Belgium's? Who are they? 
Quoting Max Q (Reply 5):
The F16 is tough act to follow, in fact I think the best replacement is an updated version.

Yup, it's called the F35.


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 873 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (4 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3843 times:

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 3):
The other questions worth asking, do the Belgium's actually have a real requirement for an air combat force, just keep some helicopters and transports.

NATO obligations would say they do.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1556 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3842 times:

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 7):
NATO obligations would say they do.

And with how closely the Belgians work with the Dutch under the Deplayable Air Task Force agreement, very likely that the Belgians will purchase the F-35 to remain interoperable with the Dutch Air Force.


User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4071 posts, RR: 19
Reply 9, posted (4 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 3836 times:

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 6):

The F16 is tough act to follow, in fact I think the best replacement is an updated version.

Yup, it's called the F35.

Disagree, the F35 is not an answer, it's a problem.



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlinePowerslide From Canada, joined Oct 2010, 556 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (4 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3730 times:

Quoting Max Q (Reply 9):
Disagree, the F35 is not an answer, it's a problem.

In internetland it seem to be. In the real world it's the answer to a viable replacement for legacy fleets.


User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (4 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3684 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 8):

that's exactly what I think. This might allow for a larger buy from the Netherlands, who knows together with Norway and Denmark as well to keep price down (just like with F-16 back in the day).

The Belgian Air Force has a very good track record with their F-16s during a number of deployments. Unlike those European nations that fly Gripen, they are actually willing and able to send out fighters and make a difference in conflicts.


User currently onlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 6663 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (4 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3658 times:

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 7):
NATO obligations would say they do.

NATO obligatrions haven't stopped them from cutting there navy back to nearly nothing, so I can't see why supplying transport aircraft wouldn't be enough to meet this apparent obligation?


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1556 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 3587 times:

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 12):
NATO obligatrions haven't stopped them from cutting there navy back to nearly nothing, so I can't see why supplying transport aircraft wouldn't be enough to meet this apparent obligation?

Benelux Deployable Air Task Force obligations.

Belgium has pooled parts of their air force with the Netherlands, meaning close cooperation exists between the operations and maintenance units exist between the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Both the Dutch and the Belgian air forces had accomplished aircraft and weapons upgrades on identical schedules, so the aircraft were completely interoperable. This allowed DATF pilots to plan their missions together and enabled maintenance specialists to pool their expertise for solving system anomalies. This enhanced flight-line operations and generated higher mission-capable rates for both forces.

The DATF between the Belgians and the Dutch requires that when there is a need for fighter jet deployment, it is agreed that both the Belgians and the Dutch mutually deploy their fighters together. Basically, on deployment, Belgian and Dutch F-16's operate together as one unit, although Belgian F-16's will be flown by Belgian pilots, and vice versa. Luxembourg provides the security detail for the deployment as part of the DATF.

This agreement is best shown during Operation Joint Forge. During Operation Joint Forge the Dutch and the Belgians worked side-by-side to staff operating rooms, intelligence cell, maintenance shops, cook house, security patrols, bomb dump, and flight line. The only area not shared is the photo reconnaissance interpretation cell, since the Belgians did not bring reconnaissance aircraft. The Dutch and Belgian pilots, however, still fly aircraft only from their respective air forces. Cooperation is simplified because of similarity in aircraft type, both air forces operate the F-16.


User currently offlineart From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3342 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 3462 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 13):
Belgium has pooled parts of their air force with the Netherlands, meaning close cooperation exists between the operations and maintenance units exist between the Netherlands,

I think it makes sense to operate the same type as the Netherlands. Unfortunately I don't think it makes sense for the Netherlands to operate the F-35. Still, if the Netherlands wants to downgrade its defence capability by spending an inordinate proportion of its defence budget on F-35, Belgium will need to do the same to maintain interoperability.

Of course it is possible that Belgium may decide it does not want to skew its defence towards an offensive air capability at the cost of other army, navy and air force capabilities due to the overall defence budget being finite.


User currently onlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 6663 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (4 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 3436 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 13):
Benelux Deployable Air Task Force obligations.

So really its got nothing to do with NATO at all.


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 873 posts, RR: 11
Reply 16, posted (4 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 3371 times:

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 15):
So really its got nothing to do with NATO at all.

That is a very simplistic view of things. NATO has requirements for all of its members to contribute based on the language of article 3 and supported by many subsequent agreements on just how that will be done. It took a special agreement for NATO to extend air policing services to the Baltic states, which have no air force. To suggest that Belgium, a rich nation by any standards, would not meet with resistance from other NATO members if they simply decided not to contribute in kind to the integrated air defense of Europe is not really based in reality.

At some point decisions like those would bring into question the overall integrity of NATO. It would presumably bring back to the table numerous agreements between the various NATO powers that cover air and missile defense and would be met with a very hostile response from everyone. Can Poland opt out too? They have the same GDP and a lot more mouths to feed.

As you point out Belgium has basically no navy. It basically has disestablished its Army. If it were to get rid of its air force too then what message does that send to the rest of NATO? At some point it ceases to become an alliance and becomes a series of military welfare cases.

As it stands now the Air Force in Belgium is their one real buy into NATO. I don't see dumping that capability going over well at all either in Europe or outside of Europe.


User currently offlineart From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3342 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3326 times:

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 16):
To suggest that Belgium, a rich nation by any standards, would not meet with resistance from other NATO members if they simply decided not to contribute in kind to the integrated air defense of Europe is not really based in reality

I take a contrary view. It would be a squandering of defence finances for each alliance country to have a scaled down version of the USAF eg 2 C-17, 2 F-22, 8 F-35, 10 F-15, 10 F-18 etc That would be stupidity in the extreme. It makes far more sense for countries to procure equipment to suit their own defence needs and budget and to make those resources available to NATO. In the case of Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands the sensible F-16 replacement would be F-16 or Gripen (since F-35 has proved to be far costlier than expected - it was supposed to have roughly the cost of the F-16 that it would be replacing in these countries).

What is so precious about small countries having a first day strike capability when the largest NATO member can provide the F-35 in large numbers? It's not as if NATO operations would have to be curtailed because Denmark or Belgium or Netherlands could not lend a handful each of F-35's.


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 873 posts, RR: 11
Reply 18, posted (4 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3305 times:

Quoting art (Reply 17):
In the case of Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands the sensible F-16 replacement would be F-16 or Gripen (since F-35 has proved to be far costlier than expected - it was supposed to have roughly the cost of the F-16 that it would be replacing in these countries).

The problem is that I take issue with your basic presumption that something else (in this case Gripen) is inherently a "better" or more "sensible" F-16 replacement. You offer absolutely no support for that position. Is it based only on cost because a Gripen NG is not actually all that much cheaper than an F-35.

Even if I were to accept your presumption that Belgium and the Netherlands have no need for first day strike capability (which I really don't) what if they simply assessed that the F-35 was a better and more survivable options as an air defense fighter and offered them better protection even in marginally smaller numbers? Is that really out of the realm of possibility?

Perhaps they took into account that they would not be buying a lot of any fighters (again the NG is not projected to be that much cheaper) and that they wanted to be able to add on later if their security situation changed and thus the F-35's much longer production run appealed to them.

Maybe they looked at the munitions integrated on the Gripen and decided they were uncomfortable with it. Belgium in particular maintains basically very small war stocks and relies upon allies (read the US) to provide weapons when needed so this could be a very major issue for them. They might be uncomfortable that weapons integrated with the Gripen will be readily available 15 years from now.

Beyond people just saying so until they are blue in the face I fail to see what makes the new model Gripen a better solution for these nations and I object on many levels to the presumption that everyone involved with making these decisions in these nations (Norway, Netherlands, Japan ect) are either incompetent or I suppose corrupt. If someone is going to make those claims, which you are when you basically claim they made a poor decision, then you need to back that up with something more than your claim that a "first day of the war" strike plane is not needed.


User currently offlineart From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3342 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (4 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3252 times:

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 18):
The problem is that I take issue with your basic presumption that something else (in this case Gripen) is inherently a "better" or more "sensible" F-16 replacement. You offer absolutely no support for that position. Is it based only on cost because a Gripen NG is not actually all that much cheaper than an F-35.

Gripen not much cheaper than F-35?

A new Gripen E has a price tag of about $60 million. A new F-35 is >$100 million.

There are no absolute figures for CPFH but figures available indicate that the Gripen number is considerably less than $10,000 while the F-35 is more than $25,000.

Based on those figures acquisition and use of aircraft for 6,000 hours numbers are:

F-35: more than $250 million

Gripen: less than $120 million

Compared to the Gripen E the F-35 will make about twice as big a hole in an air force's budget.


User currently onlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 6663 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (4 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3213 times:

Quoting art (Reply 17):
In the case of Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands the sensible F-16 replacement would be F-16 or Gripen

Add Norway to that list.

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 18):
Is it based only on cost because a Gripen NG is not actually all that much cheaper than an F-35.

As far as I know the only people who have said Gripen is as expensive as F35 are the Norwegians, but we know (gotta love wikileaks) the Americans basically blackmailed Norway into buying F35, so any comments Norway makes aren't to be trusted.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1556 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3159 times:

Quoting art (Reply 19):
Gripen not much cheaper than F-35?

A new Gripen E has a price tag of about $60 million. A new F-35 is >$100 million.

Ask the Swiss that:
http://www.nyteknik.se/nyheter/fordo..._motor/flygplan/article3601869.ece

The Swiss are paying $110 million per Gripen E, the Swedish are apparently paying anywhere from $127 million to $143 million.

Quoting art (Reply 19):
There are no absolute figures for CPFH but figures available indicate that the Gripen number is considerably less than $10,000 while the F-35 is more than $25,000.

The Swiss also disagree with that number:
http://www.bernerzeitung.ch/schweiz/...ute-OccasionsGripen/story/18471087

The Swiss are saying $26,800 dollars per flight hour.


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 873 posts, RR: 11
Reply 22, posted (4 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3120 times:

Quoting art (Reply 19):
A new Gripen E has a price tag of about $60 million. A new F-35 is >$100 million.
http://www.thelocal.se/20131009/50684

This story would indicate the Swiss are paying a unit price for each fighter of $122.5 million. This story is from the perspective of the selling side of the transaction and for what its worth it suggest that the zero profit construction price is $119 million per unit. $60 million per plane is a nice thought but I don't think anyone is getting that price. That is more in line with the price of Gripen C/D I believe.

Moreover you fail to address any other point than cost (and you addressed that point poorly as you provide zero sources at all for your price figures yet you state them as fact) that was raised. It seems your stance boils down to F-35 = Bad. Your inability to even consider that their might be merits in an F-35 purchase for those nations makes me wonder if you really are taking an honest intellectual look at things.


User currently offlineart From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3342 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (4 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 3089 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 21):
The Swiss are saying $26,800 dollars per flight hour.

IIRC correctly historical CPFH figures sourced from Swedish AF records are less than $5,000 for Gripen C. I tend to believe the Swedish air force records (records=facts rather than fantasies). However I would find a full account of how that grows to $26,800 for the Swiss to operate Gripen E extremely entertaining to read. So would the Thais, Czechs, Hungarians etc no doubt.

My opinion? Any source that claims a single engined light fighter costs more than $25,000 per flying hour is talking nonsense.


User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 790 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (4 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3055 times:

Quoting art (Reply 23):

IIRC correctly historical CPFH figures sourced from Swedish AF records are less than $5,000 for Gripen C. I tend to believe the Swedish air force records

The problem with CPFH is how a nation operates an aircraft can significantly adjust the CPFH. The USAF has a CPFH for the F-16C Blk 52 as being approximately 21K. Why so much? Because the USAF is the most operationally proficient air force is the world by regularly flying more hours and training in a more realistic environment that anyone else.

If you fly an air force the way the Swedes do, not much training, minimal flight hours, small mission scope, then you can get lower. Also pretty sure that Gripen 5K CPFH figure comes from the Empire Test School and therefore not representative of aircraft in true air force service.

Quoting art (Reply 23):
Any source that claims a single engined light fighter costs more than $25,000 per flying hour is talking nonsense.

When you add enough stuff to make Gripen E comparable to an F-16 Blk 52 then you raise the cost per flight hour significantly!


25 ThePointblank : Indeed, as Ozair said, how an operator flies their aircraft will GREATLY affect the CPFH numbers. The Swedes don't fly as much as other nations do, n
26 art : The value of the contract is reported as being 3.1 billion Swiss Francs ($US 3.2 billion). If the unit price for each Gripen were $122.5 million that
27 BigJKU : Again, the source I reference has the cost to build the jets at $119 million a piece to build. Another source quoted states the prices as $110-$147 m
28 Post contains links art : Spent some time looking for sources: 2008 Babelfished from interview with Marketing Director Bob Kemp. Surprisingly he said that the future Gripen NG
29 ThePointblank : Key Publishing forum isn't the most reliable source. And even then, many of the users who saw that post doubted the numbers. Doing the conversion, th
30 BigJKU : So we have a 5 year old price proposal that was rejected and then when the aircraft were actually sold they went for a much higher number. We have a 2
31 SAS A340 : FXM writes in their press release: "Media information today on (Feb 2013) alleges that Switzerland total project budget of 3,126 billion Swiss francs
32 art : Our proposal of 48 Gripen NG went to Denmark by 20 billion Danish kroner (U.S. $ 3.39 Bi), including training , Spare parts and logistics - SAAB Marke
33 SAS A340 : If I do not remember totally wrong,the Netherlands has greatly reduced the number from 85 to 37 in order to stay within budget right?
34 art : I think you are right. It would make sense to operate the same type as the Netherlands and save as much money as possible by pooling resources but I
35 BigJKU : Again, there were two different 2013 sources on prices quoted above. These would easily trump anything in 2008 since we are 5 years down the road and
36 fbwless : The offer to Norwegian air force was fixed price with fixed configuration. Cost increases had to be dealt with by SAAB and Swedish Gvmt. The LM F-35
37 BigJKU : Actually their worries remain well founded. They were worried they might not end up getting anything at all out of the Gripen NG program. It was clea
38 art : "According to the terms of a deal struck between Sweden and the Swiss government, Switzerland has set aside a total project budget of 3.1 billion Swi
39 BigJKU : Art, Do you have any intention of addressing anything but price? I think we can all agree that the price of aircraft is not easy to determine. They ke
40 art : Not really. I think what matters to Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands etc governments is to acquire an F-16 replacement at an affordable cost - not somet
41 Post contains links BigJKU : The problem here is that the basis on which you address this is one that is not in line with reality. Yes, the flyaway cost of 1 Rafale is just under
42 F27Friendship : Even though a Gripen C/D is less capable than our current F-16AM and the Gripen E/F might get close to what we already do with our 25 year old fighter
43 fbwless : The offer from Sweden/SAAB was binding and as government backed it would have been a PR super disaster to get the order only to refuse to fulfill del
44 fbwless : Good argument! But it is necessary to have a firm political agenda other than defending your homeland, and getting your taxpayers to agree with it. T
45 BigJKU : It is a less complicated platform because it has a legacy engine and thus did not also require the management of a new engine development program. It
46 F27Friendship : This is what has been and is the agenda of the Netherlands. Sure, but that's part of the game. Look at Boeing's video of 2 boys talking about what th
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