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Super Hornets For Bulgaria? (F-5's Too!)  
User currently offlineAirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 5
Posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 6619 times:

I'm guessing that the used Super Hornets would be non-AESA equipped units the the USN initially took delivery of and that perhaps the new-builds would be the latest and greatest? Note the possibility of some new-build F-5's as part of 2 of the 3 offers the US made.

Sounds pretty cool to me, Super Hornets in Bulgarian colors, I'd like to see that!

Quote:


Boeing F/A-18 is among options being looked at by Bulgarians
By Tim McLaughlin
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Tuesday, Mar. 21 2006

Boeing Co.'s St. Louis-made F/A-18 Super Hornet figured largely in a recent
offer by the U.S. government to supply American-made fighter jets to Bulgaria.

One option would provide the former Soviet bloc country with 16 new Super
Hornets in a deal that could approach $1 billion. To date, Super Hornets, a
staple of the U.S. Navy, have not been sold to international customers.
Bulgaria, which joined NATO in 2004, is among several countries interested in
buying the plane.

Earlier this month, the Navy delivered pricing on three fighter jet options to
the Bulgarians, a Boeing spokeswoman confirmed. One package would include 16
new Super Hornets, which cost about $54 million each, and 12 used F-5s made by
Northrop Grumman Corp.

A second package would include 12 used Super Hornets and 12 used F-5s. The
third option would include 12 used Super Hornets, Boeing spokeswoman Patricia
Frost said.

Over the next eight months, Bulgaria will weigh the Super Hornet options and
evaluate other packages from rival airplane manufacturers. Boeing's competition
is expected to include Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-16, the Eurofighter and
Dassault Aviation SA's Rafael jet. Last year, Boeing's F-15 beat the Rafael in
a competition to supply fighters to Singapore.

First delivery of the combat planes selected by Bulgaria is expected to happen
by 2010. The U.S. government will handle any negotiations concerning
American-made planes.

Slightly larger than Tennessee, Bulgaria is expected to use the jets to patrol
the Black Sea region. The country is making plans to upgrade its fleet of
Russian-made combat planes.

The Super Hornet also is being considered by Malaysia, India, Japan and
Switzerland, Frost said.

The first production model of the Super Hornet was delivered to the Navy in
1998. The Navy plans to buy a minimum of 460 of the planes through 2012.

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/bus...8E828862571390012A775?OpenDocument

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSovietjet From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2003, 2603 posts, RR: 17
Reply 1, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6600 times:
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Well there are several planes being considered. Although there is not an official contest for what plane would be chosen both Lockheed and Boeing have contacted the Bulgarian military. Bulgaria at first was being offered 20 F/A-18Es for the sum of $1.73 billion which includes everything needed(pilot training, infrastructure, simulators, spare parts...). On the other hand Lockheed is offering the F-16 at around $72 million per plane (again that includes everything except pilot training AFAIK) which is about $14 million cheaper. Also the Gripen is being offered but as of now it isn't as serious as the F/A-18 and F-16. Don't forget there still is a high chance that Bulgaria will elect to modernize the Mig-29s. A graph I saw in a Bulgarian flight magazine said that modernizing and operating Mig-29s would end up about five times cheaper than F-16s. The F/A-18 IMO is too expensive and unneeded for Bulgaria. maintenance would be more expensive and it is a heavy fighter...it would be more comparable to a Su-27. Look at Poland it bought F-16s and still uses the Mig-29s.

I think the Mig-29 should be used. We have the infrastructure, pilots and experience with it. Sure the above figures represent some estimated cost but the pilots and tech staff would need to relearn. In fact we should buy new Mig-29s. But if not, I still vote F-16 or Gripen.

Otherwise it is obvious that the upgrading of the Mig-29s is the best option. However this is not being done for several reasons. First, this was attempted in 2002 with OKB Mig being responsible for modernisation. The deal fell through because of misunderstandings. However more importantly the reason the Mig-29 might not be modernised is the well known reason called POLITICS. If Bulgaria is to join NATO, there is a lot of pressure to buy Western equipment. Unfortunately the Bulgarian government is easily pressured and will probably buy into the BS reasons about why the used F-16s or F/A-18s are better. This personally angers me very much. Why throw away all the Mig-29s(and experience along with them) and start all over, wasting more money to accomplish the same purpose? With the money saved, not only would all our Mig-29s be flying and modern, we could also do the same to the aging Mi-24 fleet. The Bulgarian government has made mistake after mistake concerning the armed forces. Mainly we retired Mig-23s but kept -21s which are much less capable. Also the Su-22s were retired leaving us without any recon/strike aircraft(unless you count the Su-25).


User currently offlineAirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6593 times:

I think the F-16's are too small of an airframe to do the mission that the Super Hornets could, and the service life is less as well. You usually get what you pay for. The MiG-29's are great but I think their service and maintenance would be more expensive than either the Super Hornet or the F-16, and so in the long-run your not really saving as much money as you thought. Look at Germany when they retired their MiG-29A's that went back all the way to when they were East Germany - they were super sexy aircraft no doubt but their time had past.

But who knows, as you said politics and money are usually deciding factors and in this case, that may not bode so well for the MiGs and when it's all decided, the Super Hornets might actually provide for a better bang for the buck in the grand scheme of things.


User currently offlineSovietjet From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2003, 2603 posts, RR: 17
Reply 3, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6592 times:
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The Super Hornets are just too big. It would be overkill. We dont need heavy fighters we need light aircraft such as the F-16/Mig-29/Gripen...You dont even see much bigger countries like Poland or Germany use such planes let alone a small country like Bulgaria. If we are looking to buy Super Hornets we might as well look to buy Su-30MKs. Trust me on this though because I have followed the Bulgarian aviation developments for many years day-to-day and the -29s are the best option. Just not politically.....

Germany's Mig-29s went to Poland which hasn't had any problems with them. I think Germany needed to clear them out because of the upcoming Eurofighter. Poland also bought F-16 and is using them alongside the -29s. Poland's -29s will be flying for quite some time to come.


User currently offlineAirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 6531 times:

Quoting Sovietjet (Reply 3):
Germany's Mig-29s went to Poland which hasn't had any problems with them. I think Germany needed to clear them out because of the upcoming Eurofighter. Poland also bought F-16 and is using them alongside the -29s. Poland's -29s will be flying for quite some time to come.

If I remember correctly Germany gave these elderly MiG's to Poland for about the price of a case of beer and since they were soon to be in need of some major attention, has Poland even competed this on the MiG's?

The Super Hornet isn't near as big as a Sukhoi 27 series aircraft, and given the geographic location and size of Bulgaria the Super Hornet would give you a lot more than does a MiG-29 and it's even shorter fuel range/loiter time. And when you weigh into the longterm support costs associated between maintenance labor and training, the Super Hornet total outlays become cheaper and cheaper.


User currently offlineSovietjet From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2003, 2603 posts, RR: 17
Reply 5, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 6464 times:
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AFAIK Poland restored or is restoring the German Migs. There's never a downside to maintenance on a brand new aircraft(F-18) as opposed to a 15 year old aircraft(Mig-29) but I guess we just have to wait and see. The thing is while maintenance might be cheaper the initial cost of an F/A-18 + training and infrastructure would be well above $54mil per plane. And modernizing and renewing the service life of a Mig-29 shouldn't exceed $5-7mil per plane. If you think the maintenance difference between the planes will exceed $50mil then yes the F-18 is better. However let me throw in that Bulgaria isn't the richest country and also doesnt need the top of the line fighters. We don't have any real threats and modernized Mig-29s would do the job very well. Therefore there has to be a balance between price and effectiveness which the Mig fills very good. Sure we can throw all the money in one pot and buy the Super Hornets and then leave our helicopters and Su-25s with an uncertain future.
Loiter time is less on a -29 however a drop tank should help. Either way there's a lot of factors involved in this and I think if we must buy new planes we need to buy something a little lower class like F-16 or Gripen. And if we do buy the "new plane" the Mig-29s have to stay and replace the -21s still flying as those are virtually ineffective and reaching the end of their lives by now.


User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4802 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 6411 times:

Quoting AirRyan (Thread starter):
Note the possibility of some new-build F-5's

The two options were clearly for 12 used F-5s. Wonder where those could be assembled if new-build F-5s were really offered? This is one instance when the user requires less sophisticated aircraft and would have been ideal for the F-20 if it still existed.

[Edited 2006-03-25 18:28:24]

[Edited 2006-03-25 18:30:07]


"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineSovietjet From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2003, 2603 posts, RR: 17
Reply 7, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 6398 times:
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We're not going to get used F-5s. They might be offered but that's like replacing the Mig-29s with -21s.

User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4802 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 6395 times:

Quoting Sovietjet (Reply 7):
They might be offered but that's like replacing the Mig-29s with -21s.

I agree.



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineAirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (8 years 5 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 6374 times:

Witht the latest stink out of Russia in regards to Iraq, look for anyone wanting to get cozy with the US (like Condo Rice signing the agreement today that will let US operate out of Bulgarian air bases) to snub Russian equip whenever possible. Bulgaria may not buy Super Hornets but I don't think they buy or do anything with their Russian equipment.

User currently offlineCTR From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 303 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 5 months 6 days ago) and read 6321 times:

Sovietjet,

What is the status of Bulgaria's aerospace industry? Boeing is well known for their industrial offset deals with foreign buyers.

This does not necessarily mean building parts for F/A-18s. It could be anything from 787 to CH-47 parts.

It has been a tie breaker with many prior competitions against the F-16.

Have fun,

CTR



Aircraft design is just one big compromise,,,
User currently offlineSovietjet From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2003, 2603 posts, RR: 17
Reply 11, posted (8 years 5 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6315 times:
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Well we don't really have much of an aerospace industry. We used to build planes several decades ago but it has pretty much died. The last plane I remember being built was a DAR-21 in the late 90s/early 2000s. I don't know too much about Bulgaria's aerospace industry but I do know it is in a very weak state. An offset program would be great however the Swedish with the Gripen have offered the biggest ones at least in the Czech Republic and Hungary AFAIK.

User currently offlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3567 posts, RR: 29
Reply 12, posted (8 years 5 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6242 times:

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 4):

If I remember correctly Germany gave these elderly MiG's to Poland for about the price of a case of beer and since they were soon to be in need of some major attention, has Poland even competed this on the MiG's?

Yes, that is true, I think they were sold for one Euro per plane, and Poland after that started with a major overhaul. I still think this deal was extremely stupid, because Poland did not choose a German company for overhaul (something which usually is done when you get planes for free).

But I think Germany never was too happy with the Mig. They were used for evaluation against NATO planes, but other than that, they were not that useful, because they could not be refueled inflight (I don't know why this could not be integrated into the planes).

However, they were brought to complete NATO standard, so Poland certainly got planes which are worth overhauling.


User currently offlineSovietjet From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2003, 2603 posts, RR: 17
Reply 13, posted (8 years 5 months 4 days ago) and read 6213 times:
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Yes refueling isnt hard to implement. Mig itself has done it with several new versions. Either way Poland got a super deal. I wish Bulgaria would buy Romania's retired Migs for a low price and modernize them.

User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12135 posts, RR: 51
Reply 14, posted (8 years 5 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 6166 times:

It seems to me the best way for Bulgaria to go is to upgrade their Mig-29s. It is still a very capable aircraft. With it already in the AF inventory, their should be a significant knowledge base for pilot and maintenance skills. The Super Bug is a very complex aircraft that the USN is still having operational problems with, and they have years of (earlier model) Hornet experience. The F-16 may be more airplane than needed.

I agree that the re-manufactured F-5s (E & F models, I assume) would not be any better than re-manufactured Mig-21s. How about placing the first order for the F-20?


User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4802 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6149 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 14):
How about placing the first order for the F-20?

Would an order for, say 24 aircraft be sufficient to revive the program and start production? What would the long-term spares and service support scenario be like? How easy would it be to adapt to NATO's interoperability requirements? And most importantly, would their Air Force want the Tigershark and what the entire package amount to and the per unit cost?



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12135 posts, RR: 51
Reply 16, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 6115 times:

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 15):
Would an order for, say 24 aircraft be sufficient to revive the program and start production? What would the long-term spares and service support scenario be like? How easy would it be to adapt to NATO's interoperability requirements? And most importantly, would their Air Force want the Tigershark and what the entire package amount to and the per unit cost?

An order for 24 aircraft could be enough to revive the program. It could also generate additional orders, as the F-20 Tigershark was a great aircraft, and it was very advanced for the 1980s. It would not take much to update the capabilities to something acceptable today. As for if Bulgaria wanting that aircraft, I really cannot say. They know what their future requirements would be and which aircraft would best fit them. But, the F-20 was a relitively low cost fighter, mush les than even the F-16 at the time it was offered. I would guess the Tigershark would cost about $30M-$40M US, today on a fly away per unit cost.

As for the NATO interoperability requirements, not many really pay much attention to them. There are many Mig and SU fighters, as well as Gripens and Marage, flown by the different countries of NATO. The F-16, F/A-18, Tornado, EuroFighter/Rafel, C-17, C-130, E-3, and NimRod are not exclusive aircraft in NATO.


User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4802 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 6103 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 16):
It could also generate additional orders, as the F-20 Tigershark was a great aircraft, and it was very advanced for the 1980s. It would not take much to update the capabilities to something acceptable today

I think its avionics and capabilities should be upgraded to take into account not only the emerging realities in the European theater but future worldwide scenarios in its projected service life, for it to attract buyers and follow-on orders. Apart from this, there is also the matter of the production and export license to contend with, which politicians and interest groups allied with the competition would try to block.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 16):
I would guess the Tigershark would cost about $30M-$40M US, today on a fly away per unit cost.

Were the original (inflated?) development costs cited written-off as losses, so anything that might come after be considered povidential? If not, at that estimated price, it would have to sell like hotcakes to recover costs and have something left after investors and creditors would have collected.



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlinePhantomphixer From Greece, joined May 2005, 18 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5936 times:

Obviously Bulgaria's westernisation has to start from somewhere. You have to give something in order to take something back. Meaning, they will probably have to buy something made in the US for political - diplomatic reasons. It's not wrong or bad... it's just how alliances are made.

Now if you want to talk about which fighter is the most suitable for them I think they have to decide first who their enemy is and/or will be. You start from there and build your long term strategy. I personally think that in a pessimistic scenario for the Balkans in general, the "enemy" of the years to come will be the so-called "ethnic rebel", like the case with the FYROM. So I would shop for something with good air-to-ground capability air superiority coming a distant second. After all even if they would want to take on lets say Turkey for example they would need far more than just a handful of (downgraded for export) Hornets. Also the first purchase has to be something easy for their existing infrastructure to operate and exploit. A transitional stage from their Soviet system to a Western type Air Force.



Hellenic Aviation Enthusiasts Society "Air-Born"
User currently offlineMigFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5575 times:

I posted a topic on this subject a few months ago and everyone said that I was crazy. The super-bug may be a bit much, but I hope Bulgaria goes for it...

The folding wings may allow it to fit into existing hardened aircraft shelters...

/M


User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4802 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 5451 times:

Nice article by Jon Lake in the May 2006 Air Forces Monthly surveying F-5s still in use with different air forces worldwide. Also a snippet on how the single F404 engine on the F-20 improved climb rate by 550%! And how 320 Tigersharks were offered to the US at what was then US$15M apiece.

Latest news on this is that Bulgaria has opted to upgrade the Mig 29s for $48M. (Or Euros.)



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineSovietjet From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2003, 2603 posts, RR: 17
Reply 21, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5429 times:
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Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 20):
Latest news on this is that Bulgaria has opted to upgrade the Mig 29s for $48M. (Or Euros.)

Tis true...good choice for us.


User currently offlineCF188A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5415 times:

Im sure Canada would be willing to accept those used FA-18 Super Hornets to replace our 30+ year old CF-18A/Bs, as we wait for the F-35  Smile

User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4802 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (7 years 11 months 18 hours ago) and read 4993 times:

Quoting Sovietjet (Reply 1):
Also the Gripen is being offered but as of now it isn't as serious



Quoting Sovietjet (Reply 11):
An offset program would be great however the Swedish with the Gripen have offered the biggest ones at least in the Czech Republic and Hungary AFAIK.

Update:

Looks like the Swedes are definitely more serious.....

http://www.gripen.com/en/MediaRelations/News/2006/060823_bg_rfi.htm

They're offering a 100% offset commitment and delivery of first aircraft within two years of contract signature.



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineMigfan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 4744 times:

It might look something like this...

http://www.airliners.net/uf/view.fil...7843&filename=1160486546476Lyt.jpg

/M


25 Post contains links and images DEVILFISH : Or like these if Iran decides to bid..... http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/shafaq.htm http://www.payvand.com/news/06/sep/1068.html ht
26 OD720 : Let's assume there's a buyer for F-5s, can Northrop even build new ones? The plant has probably been closed for ages now.
27 Migfan : I don't think so. I would suspect new(er) F-5s for any nation would come from surplus stocks. /M
28 DEVILFISH : All the tooling probably had been scrapped. They would likely be hard-pressed producing even the much later F-20 Tigershark.
29 KrisYYZ : Hungary got the Gripen as a replacement for its old Mig-21s which were retired. About a dozen Mig-29s have undergone an overhaul to extend their serv
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