Sponsor Message:
Military Aviation & Space Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Croatian AF Fighter Competition: The Plot Thickens  
User currently offlineTripleDelta From Croatia, joined Jul 2004, 1096 posts, RR: 6
Posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 4560 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

An interesting news item caught my eye while browsing the morning papers. The ongoing competition for the new fighter type to replace CroAF's aging MiG-21s has seen its fair share of twists and turns, with the F-16 and JAS-39 being the prime - and at times only - candidates for the role. However, this article (in Croatian only so far) mentions that several other types are in the running as well, with interesting "catches" and "bonuses":

- Lockheed Martin is offering free (my jaw dropped for a second there) second-hand F-16s - with limited active life remaining and in need of an expensive upgrade. Another option mentioned is buying such aircraft off Netherlands and Belgium (I presume these are the MLU aircraft). The article also reports that LM is loosing interest in this competition.

- Dassault offers pretty much the same package for the Mirage 2000 and F.1

- MiG is offering the new MiG-29M2 / MiG-35, along with financing a regional maintenance center in Croatia. People in some circles have expressed fears that, while viable, this aircraft would be overkill for a country the size - and financial capability - of Croatia.

- SAAB is offering 4 Göteborg class open sea ships should CroAF opt for the Gripen

According to the prime minister, the decision should be made in early 2008.

Personally, I humbly think we should stick with the Gripen. It's the right size for the country, it's easy to maintain and relatively cheap to operate, plus a number of countries in the region either already operate it or look like good future operators. The MiG-29 would indeed be too much for us, while the "second hand" options aren't really viable in the long run, especially for a financially constricted country like Croatia - though I wonder what are the experiences of the Poles with the "1 Euro + a lot of mx" Luftwaffe MiG-29s...

I invite your thoughts, opinions, suggestions  bigthumbsup 


No plane, no gain.
29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSAS A340 From Sweden, joined Jul 2000, 764 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4493 times:

Quoting TripleDelta (Thread starter):
SAAB is offering 4 Göteborg class open sea ships should CroAF opt for the Gripen

Pictures of it here: http://www.4sjostridsflj.mil.se/article.php?id=13129

Quoting TripleDelta (Thread starter):
The article also reports that LM is loosing interest in this competition.

Well,they offer free second hand F-16........  thumbsdown 
MIG 35 is overkill for sure. Even EF would be IMO.
Best choice for Croatia in the long run would be new F-16,s ore the Gripen.



It's not what u do,it's how u do it!
User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4693 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4460 times:

Quoting TripleDelta (Thread starter):

- SAAB is offering 4 Göteborg class open sea ships should CroAF opt for the Gripen

[.....]

Personally, I humbly think we should stick with the Gripen. It's the right size for the country, it's easy to maintain and relatively cheap to operate, plus a number of countries in the region either already operate it or look like good future operators. The MiG-29 would indeed be too much for us, while the "second hand" options aren't really viable in the long run,

Well, since "used" airframes are already being considered, as those come, the CroAF can't do much better than getting some of the JAS-39s that Sweden had declared surplus to its needs. The CroAF would be lucky finding a more affordable 4th Gen option - while the MLU'd Falcons had their best years behind them already. The 4 ships could just be icing on the cake.



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineTripleDelta From Croatia, joined Jul 2004, 1096 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4445 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 2):
Well, since "used" airframes are already being considered, as those come, the CroAF can't do much better than getting some of the JAS-39s that Sweden had declared surplus to its needs. The CroAF would be lucky finding a more affordable 4th Gen option - while the MLU'd Falcons had their best years behind them already. The 4 ships could just be icing on the cake.

Given SAAB's - and Sweden's for that matter - increasingly close ties with Croatia, and SAAB's attempts at a breakthrough onto our market (which may influence countries in the region), it could just happen. But it does sound like a great option - personally, I didn't even know some Gripens have been declared surplus. Do you maybe know which versions are they? A/B or C/D?

The corvettes would be welcome as well, we have a shortage of such ships as it is. Plus, judging by the pictures provided SAS A340, the corvettes have SSM capability and the Cro Navy does some Swedish RBS 15B SSM systems... I wonder if they're compatible?

EDIT: to answer my own question, checked on Wikipedia. The Cro Navy apparently has 75 RBS 15 units stored "for future corvette use". Anybody see a pattern here? Big grin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RBS15)

[Edited 2007-09-11 09:06:26]


No plane, no gain.
User currently offlineSAS A340 From Sweden, joined Jul 2000, 764 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4399 times:

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 3):
Do you maybe know which versions are they? A/B or C/D?

They are A/B,s ore could be a "upgraded" A/B like south africas.

Info in pdf. http://www.f7.mil.se/attachments/facts-and-figures-2007.pdf

Gripen homepage. http://www.gripen.com/en/index.htm



It's not what u do,it's how u do it!
User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4693 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 4343 times:

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 3):
I didn't even know some Gripens have been declared surplus.

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...eden-to-decide-on-gripen-cuts.html

Quote:
"Debate on JAS39 numbers as budget constraints loom under the Swedish government's national defence planning bill. The Swedish air force is expected to have its order for Saab JAS39 Gripen fighters cut below 200 under a new national defence planning bill to be released on 17 September. The bill seeks to reduce Sweden's defence spending by as much as SKr3 billion ($400 million) by 2007, pending parliamentary approval in mid-December.

Saab, Gripen International and the Swedish government say talks on JAS39 numbers are under way. Government officials say they want to scale down the existing order for 204 aircraft, with a preference for continuing production of JAS39C/D versions to replace existing A/B-series aircraft, which could be released for export sale."



http://www.flightglobal.com/articles.../27/207404/swedens-new-vision.html

Quote:
"However, if adopted, a proposed reduction to just 100 Gripens under the so-called “100 programme” will still leave Sweden with a credible capability and reflect a long-held policy of placing 'quality before quantity,' says air force chief of staff Maj Gen Jan Andersson."


http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...006/06/06/207002/resale-value.html

Quote:
"Longer-term, new operators could emerge for the Saab Gripen, following Sweden’s recent decision to further cut its active combat fleet to just 100 aircraft."


http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...ments-escape-swedish-cutbacks.html

Quote:
"Approved by parliament earlier this year but subsequently held up by a government-wide spending review, the project will result in Sweden operating a common fleet of 100 Gripen C/Ds, with additional surplus aircraft to be made available for sale or lease"

[Edited 2007-09-11 20:20:04]


"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineTripleDelta From Croatia, joined Jul 2004, 1096 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (6 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 4314 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

Devilfish, thanks for the links! Pretty interesting, I wonder if the SAAB delegation has mentioned this option to the airforce and government... nothing about it has leaked out to the press, just the new-built aircraft deal.

But judging by the data provided by SAS A340, these A/B versions should work fine for our own needs, even un-upgraded.



No plane, no gain.
User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4693 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (6 years 7 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 4163 times:

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 6):
I wonder if the SAAB delegation has mentioned this option to the airforce and government... nothing about it has leaked out to the press, just the new-built aircraft deal.

It's understandable that they would push for the brand-new fighter deal as they stand to gain the most from it. OTOH, if it becomes clear the deal wouldn't progress due to costs, they could propose the upgrade path - and if that still proves unaffordable, then they might negotiate a deal to recondition their excess fighters for onward sale to the CroAF

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 6):
But judging by the data provided by SAS A340, these A/B versions should work fine for our own needs, even un-upgraded.

The Gripen A/Bs are good multi-role aircraft for those not requiring the highest levels of capability and performance. They are fine as they are, however, the practical principle of "caveat emptor" still applies. The CroAF must carefully examine that what they're buying are working properly and pay only the commensurate price.



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineCancidas From Poland, joined Jul 2003, 4112 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (6 years 7 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4143 times:

Quoting TripleDelta (Thread starter):
- Lockheed Martin is offering free (my jaw dropped for a second there) second-hand F-16s - with limited active life remaining and in need of an expensive upgrade. Another option mentioned is buying such aircraft off Netherlands and Belgium (I presume these are the MLU aircraft). The article also reports that LM is loosing interest in this competition.

WOW! how much would the MLU program cost if they decided on the F-16? anyone know how many actual airplanes they're looking for?



"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
User currently offlineTripleDelta From Croatia, joined Jul 2004, 1096 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (6 years 7 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 4017 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

Quoting Cancidas (Reply 8):
WOW! how much would the MLU program cost if they decided on the F-16? anyone know how many actual airplanes they're looking for?

From inside the Croatian scene, the answer to both is a collective shrug. Thou, there were some rumors a few years back, when the modernization of the AF really came into public light, of buying 4 F-16s and 2 F/A-18s, which would be used for duties down by the coast. If the CroAF does indeed decide on the F-16, from this info I'd extrapolate about 6-8 examples. But that again depends on the upgrade cost, the overall cost of re-equipping airbases and the retraining of pilots and ground crew and so on...

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 7):
The Gripen A/Bs are good multi-role aircraft for those not requiring the highest levels of capability and performance. They are fine as they are, however, the practical principle of "caveat emptor" still applies. The CroAF must carefully examine that what they're buying are working properly and pay only the commensurate price.

For a country the size of Croatia, where you proverbially light the reheat and you're out of the country in 5 minutes in any direction, the Gripen is quite enough. Reading about its easy mx and low costs in various aviation magazines, as opposed to the F-16's higher stated requirements on the ground, I'd say the Gripen would be a good bet for an airforce the size - and economic and operational capability - of the CroAF.



No plane, no gain.
User currently offlinePADSpot From Germany, joined Jan 2005, 1676 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (6 years 7 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 4000 times:

Quoting TripleDelta (Thread starter):
- Lockheed Martin is offering free (my jaw dropped for a second there) second-hand F-16s - with limited active life remaining and in need of an expensive upgrade.

Well, then they are not for free.

Quoting TripleDelta (Thread starter):
- MiG is offering the new MiG-29M2 / MiG-35, along with financing a regional maintenance center in Croatia. People in some circles have expressed fears that, while viable, this aircraft would be overkill for a country the size - and financial capability - of Croatia.

Most countries opt for Russian equipment because it is not the financial overkill that western products are?! Capability-wise there is no such-thing like an overkill as long as you want to afford it. See Austria and the EF.

I think the Gripen would be best. Compared to early-80s built F-16s they have a lot more life left in them and an enormous growth potential.


User currently offlineTripleDelta From Croatia, joined Jul 2004, 1096 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (6 years 7 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 3946 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

Quoting PADSpot (Reply 10):
Most countries opt for Russian equipment because it is not the financial overkill that western products are?! Capability-wise there is no such-thing like an overkill as long as you want to afford it. See Austria and the EF.

In our case, the MiG-35 option would be more viable (hardware-wise) in both the short and long run, on account of the regional maintenance center - in addition to the originally lower acquisition costs, compared of course to a new aircraft of a similar caliber. The prodigious fuel consumption however is another issue altogether.

Secondly, drawing on that, operationally it would be overkill as well, since we do not need - at the present moment and probably not in the near future - the extended capability of the MiG, nor do we have the funds to finance capability we don't need. Unlike Croatia, Austria has the funds, the military system and the logistical and resource infrastructure to support Eurofighters both on home ground and eventually on long-lasting operations in distant theaters as part of international forces and/or similar. In Croatia, sending a SINGLE An-32 transporter to Afghanistan - much more useful than a Eurofighter/MiG-35/F-16/Gripen to our troops on the ground at the present moment - is becoming a logistical and financial nightmare.

EDIT: To clarify the above: with the current lack of funds, personnel and infrastructure for effective "overseas" deployments, these high-performance MiGs would essentially be tied to Croatia and/or its surroundings. In this setting, a Gripen/F-16/Mirage/whatnot would perform the same roles, with pretty much the same performance, for just a fraction of a cost, sacrificing capability that would not be widely used anyway.

[Edited 2007-09-17 15:53:04]


No plane, no gain.
User currently offlinePADSpot From Germany, joined Jan 2005, 1676 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (6 years 7 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 3920 times:

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 11):
Secondly, drawing on that, operationally it would be overkill as well, since we do not need - at the present moment and probably not in the near future - the extended capability of the MiG, nor do we have the funds to finance capability we don't need.

Well, finally you're not going to know what you need until you need it. So better take too much than to less.

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 11):
Unlike Croatia, Austria has the funds, the military system and the logistical and resource infrastructure to support Eurofighters both on home ground and eventually on long-lasting operations in distant theaters as part of international forces and/or similar.

Austria could have the funds if they wanted to spend it. Instead they went schizophrenic and bought a small number of high technology jets and subsequently stripped it from all what make it the great fighter it is. Please do not imitate ...

I don't know much about MiG-35, but what about NATO interoperability with those birds?


User currently offlineTripleDelta From Croatia, joined Jul 2004, 1096 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (6 years 7 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3902 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

Quoting PADSpot (Reply 12):
Well, finally you're not going to know what you need until you need it. So better take too much than to less.

That all stands. But you're still missing the point:  dollarsign   dollarsign   dollarsign  - or the lack of thereof.

1.) the country's SAR helicopters can be numbered on the fingers of one hand.

2.) every year there's a chronic lack of firefighting aircraft.

3.) there are no funds to immediately replace aircraft lost in accidents. Two Mi-8s and an AT-802 that were lost in the last 2 years have yet to be replaced. The AT-802 loss represents a 50% fleet loss.

4.) what we do have is run almost on shoestrings.

5.) many pilots can be happy if they make 50 flight hours (or something round that number, 80 also comes to mind) a year.

6.) pilots initial training is still done - though that's changing - on old UTVA 75 trainers, for which pilots will say, when asked how do you take one out of a spin: "with a shovel".

Spending big bucks on "what ifs" and doubtful "maybes" and "better be prepared"s with an airforce in this current state would be illogical - I'd dare say criminal - even by the standards of our current government Big grin . While a MiG-35 would be an sweet toy - no matter how much I adore the aircraft - it'd do next to nothing for the day-to-day ops of the airforce, and would do it at a greater expense than say a Gripen - expense that can better be spent on firefighting and SAR/EMS aircraft that directly influence - and save - people's lives and properties. In the greater scheme of things, their actions would help save the country money, not just blow it out the jet pipe(s) for preparedness sake.

To answer your other question, according to Wikipedia, the MiG-35 was built for the Indian MRCA competition. Does it fit in with NATO tech I personally do not know.



No plane, no gain.
User currently offlineTripleDelta From Croatia, joined Jul 2004, 1096 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (6 years 7 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3900 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

And I also wanted to add, should the question of Croatia participating in future NATO operations - and requiring aircraft for that - pop up, what would 7-10 (I'm optimistic today) MiG-35 possibly add to the accumulated airpower of NATO? To send these aircraft would be a political goodwill move, but spending cash on political goodwill with an airforce in the state of ours would be a shotgun shot in the foot.


No plane, no gain.
User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3727 times:

At this article in Nacional the figure mentioned is 12 airframes.

I personally think the CroAF modernization is quite interesting. Croatia is oriented mostly towards the US and aspires NATO and EU membership at the same time. (how much longer will it take??) So considering their US policy, F-16's make sense, as Croatian pilots have already trained and flew on them during joint excersizes. Also I think the F-16 is a very capable aircraft, more capable than a gripen (if we are talking newly built frames).

Then there is ofcourse Russia, which also is not completely unimportant to Croatia and the AF has ofcourse years and years of experience with Russian equipement. Placing a regional centre also sounds interesting (however I still can;t understand how they managed to feck up the Lufthansa technic center which is now sitting in Budapest). Nevertheless, as was already stated, the MiG-35 is overkill and on the long run extremely expensive. There are probably still enough veterans in the CroAF that know how unreliable the old JNA MiG-29's were.

A good deal with the Swedes sounds very smart. The aircraft are state of the art, and supposedly other interesting deals or bonusses can emerge from this. Also it would be an EU product which would strengthen Croatia's aspiration for EU membership. What was already mentioned: neighbour Hungary also has them.

There is one last thing which I would like to know more about if anyone has information. What I understood is that when Croatia eventually IS in NATO, they would also be responsible for the airspace of Slovenia (as they don't have fighters, as much as they are unable to build decent roads  Wink). Also there was the story of upgrading the secret air base in the mountains near Lika to make it a new main NATO base. If this is somehow true, and Croatia does aspire some kind of role in NATO, 12 frames might be too low a number.

I do hope BTW that new firefight planes (didn't Russia offer Berievs to cover old depts, as they paid off old depts with the Mi-171?) will be bought quickly.


User currently offlineTripleDelta From Croatia, joined Jul 2004, 1096 posts, RR: 6
Reply 16, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3644 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 15):
So considering their US policy, F-16's make sense, as Croatian pilots have already trained and flew on them during joint excersizes. Also I think the F-16 is a very capable aircraft, more capable than a gripen (if we are talking newly built frames).

Having spent a few hours with an IP is not a measure of experience. Fighters are not Cessnas. USAF pilots spent a few hours flying CroAF MiG-21s, but that doesn't automatically make them expert fliers on the thing.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 15):
(however I still can;t understand how they managed to feck up the Lufthansa technic center which is now sitting in Budapest)

The maintenance center would be for military aircraft - MiG ones to be exact - not for civil aircraft, as MiG has nothing to do with either Airbus or Boeing or any other civil manufacturer whose aircraft are operated in the region. Probably a move to challenge Aerostar in Romania (that has a MiG-21 (and -29) upgrade program running).

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 15):
I do hope BTW that new firefight planes (didn't Russia offer Berievs to cover old depts, as they paid off old depts with the Mi-171?) will be bought quickly.

The Be-200 was found unsuitable to our needs, since it is "too much of aircraft" and cannot be operated in tight environments as successfully as CL-415s or AT-802s can. Many fires down by the coast are in inaccessible places, where an aircraft the size of the Be-200 would not be of much use.

[Edited 2007-09-29 18:11:14]


No plane, no gain.
User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3638 times:

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 16):
Having spent a few hours with an IP is not a measure of experience. Fighters are not Cessnas. USAF pilots spent a few hours flying CroAF MiG-21s, but that doesn't automatically make them expert fliers on the thing.

I understand, but it does give the Croatian pilots an idea what the aircraft is capable of. I believe the pilots prefer F-16.

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 16):
The maintenance center would be for military aircraft - MiG ones to be exact - not for civil aircraft, as MiG has nothing to do with either Airbus or Boeing or any other civil manufacturer whose aircraft are operated in the region. Probably a move to challenge Aerostar in Romania (that has a MiG-21 (and -29) upgrade program running).

I know, I was simply reffering to the fact that Croatian politicians didn't handle previous economic opportunities very well in in the Aerospace field (Diamond, Lufthansa). My point was merely that a MiG maintainance center wouldn't be that much of a bonus, as the previous (civil) centre's were much more interesting economically. As you said, it would also have a hard time competing with Aerostar.

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 16):
The Be-200 was found unsuitable to our needs, since it is "too much of aircraft" and cannot be operated in tight environments as successfully as CL-415s or AT-802s can. Many fires down by the coast are in inaccessible places, where an aircraft the size of the Be-200 would not be of much use.

thanks for the info,


User currently offlineTripleDelta From Croatia, joined Jul 2004, 1096 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3626 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 17):
I understand, but it does give the Croatian pilots an idea what the aircraft is capable of. I believe the pilots prefer F-16.

Though I'm just a Skyhawk "driver", I'd say it'd take more than a few hours to get the idea of the capabilites of an entirely new aircraft type. From my point of view, I can take a ride in, say, a Mooney and the instructor can pull all the maneuvers he's got, but it won't give me the complete idea of the capabilities and faults of the aircraft. In the same manner, the USAF pilots that flew on the -21 got a partial view of what it was capable, but by no means everything it was capable - and what it wasn't.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 17):
As you said, it would also have a hard time competing with Aerostar.

What I meant is that Aerostar currently holds a lot of the MiG maintenance market in this region. MiG's "pedigree" - after all, they are the manufacturer, not just a third-party company - could potentially wrestle the market away from Aerostar. But, I agree, the Cro Gov't tends to be a bit clumsy with aviation deals...



No plane, no gain.
User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3619 times:

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 18):
Though I'm just a Skyhawk "driver", I'd say it'd take more than a few hours to get the idea of the capabilites of an entirely new aircraft type. From my point of view, I can take a ride in, say, a Mooney and the instructor can pull all the maneuvers he's got, but it won't give me the complete idea of the capabilities and faults of the aircraft. In the same manner, the USAF pilots that flew on the -21 got a partial view of what it was capable, but by no means everything it was capable - and what it wasn't.

A well, I understood they flew more than just a few hours on F-16's.

BTW, is that a Douglas Skyhawk or a Cessna?  Wink

[Edited 2007-09-29 20:28:15]

User currently offlineTripleDelta From Croatia, joined Jul 2004, 1096 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3613 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 19):
BTW, is that a Douglas Skyhawk or a Cessna?

Sadly enough, the latter Big grin. I would like to have a go at the former as well...



No plane, no gain.
User currently offlineMgoran From Croatia, joined May 2007, 17 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 3535 times:

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 17):
I understand, but it does give the Croatian pilots an idea what the aircraft is capable of. I believe the pilots prefer F-16.

From what I can read on Croatian forums (where pilots post) and hear from the people that are connected to the air force Croatian pilots prefer Gripen.


User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 3535 times:

Quoting Mgoran (Reply 21):
From what I can read on Croatian forums (where pilots post) and hear from the people that are connected to the air force Croatian pilots prefer Gripen.

ok, very interesting. Could you give me some links?


User currently offlineTripleDelta From Croatia, joined Jul 2004, 1096 posts, RR: 6
Reply 23, posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3535 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 15):
Also there was the story of upgrading the secret air base in the mountains near Lika to make it a new main NATO base. If this is somehow true, and Croatia does aspire some kind of role in NATO, 12 frames might be too low a number.

Only noted this part now, wanted to reply to it, but forgot Big grin. If you're referring to the Zeljava airbase near Bihac, there are three things that make its upgrade highly unlikely:

1. only 1/3 of the base is on Croatian territory. The remaining 2/3 are in Bosnia, so we have a diplomatic problem before we start.

2. the base had - in its heyday - more than 3 km of underground passageways and five exterior runways (which can still be easily seen with popular satellite imagery programs like NASA's WorldWind or GoogleEarth). The whole complex could house I think 120 fighters - only MiG-21s, since the main blast door design allowed only single-tailed aircraft to pass. A twin-tail, like the -29, couldn't get past them, though there were plans in place to modify the doors for -29 operations. The whole base was extremely extensive, with complete infrastructure located underground and designed to be fully autonomous for 30 days (fuel, food, water and so on). Guaranteed 20 kT nuclear bomb resistant.

Even more than buying MiG-35s, maintaining this would be total overkill. The base is a project of the scope of NORAD's Cheyenne Mountain complex - with most of the bells and whistles - and servicing it would bring our airforce to its knees very soon. Just for comparison, in the 90s, the cost of the infrastructure of the base was estimated to be between 4 and 8 BILLION dollars. Maintaining only a part of the base sufficient for our operations is again more complex than simply using existing bases already (more or less) tailored to an airforce the size of ours.

3. the final problem is that the retreating Yugoslav National Army blew the entire base up with 56 tons of explosive in 1992. What's left of the base - as told by people who visited it in recent years - are only empty, wrecked tunnels, in which - it is said, though this was a report from 1995 - there are still chemicals in dangerous quantities left from the blast.


If you are referring to Udbina (LDZU), that strip requires some work, as the pavement is in a pretty bad state - since trucks use it as a road. Last I heard of it, it's full of potholes and usable only by light aircraft with short stopping distances.



No plane, no gain.
User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 24, posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3535 times:

thanks for the info! I guess I meant the first one, as it was located under a mountain.

I didn't know the biggest part was lying in Bosnia or that it was destroyed. What I understood it would be a NATO base having for example a lot of US planes stationed or something like that. After reading your story I must conlcude it had to be a fairy tale.


25 Post contains links and images TripleDelta : If you're interested, here's a very good site devoted to the base, with lots of pictures and videos - both past and present, so you can see what stat
26 Post contains images F27Friendship : thanks! This is really fantastic! I have no problems reading Croatian
27 Post contains links Mgoran : These are forums where aircraft enthusiasts, pilots and former pilots post. http://www.avijacijabezgranica.com/forum/ http://forum.croplus.net/index.
28 N74jw : I would like to see the Croats go with the Mig-35/Mig-29M2, but think the Gripen is best choice, logically.
29 F27Friendship : thanks for the links!
Top Of Page
Forum Index

Reply To This Topic Croatian AF Fighter Competition: The Plot Thickens
Username:
No username? Sign up now!
Password: 


Forgot Password? Be reminded.
Remember me on this computer (uses cookies)
  • Military aviation related posts only!
  • Not military related? Use the other forums
  • No adverts of any kind. This includes web pages.
  • No hostile language or criticizing of others.
  • Do not post copyright protected material.
  • Use relevant and describing topics.
  • Check if your post already been discussed.
  • Check your spelling!
  • DETAILED RULES
Add Images Add SmiliesPosting Help

Please check your spelling (press "Check Spelling" above)


Similar topics:More similar topics...
IAF Lightweight Fighter Competition posted Wed Sep 6 2006 08:28:23 by DEVILFISH
Croatian AF To Acquire New Mi-17s - Finally posted Thu May 25 2006 09:15:38 by TripleDelta
Which Fighter Has The Worst Safety Record? posted Mon Mar 6 2006 00:59:01 by TheSonntag
Polikarpov I-16: Best Fighter Of The 30's? posted Sat Jan 24 2004 06:10:13 by RayChuang
Singapore AF A.J.T. Competition posted Sat Aug 25 2007 09:02:03 by DEVILFISH
The F-22 Is One Incredible Fighter posted Mon Jun 11 2007 10:51:26 by AndesSMF
Will The USN Ever Have A Real Fighter Again? posted Mon Apr 16 2007 02:57:16 by 747400sp
The Meanest Fighter Bomber, Not From Here? posted Sat Aug 26 2006 01:29:24 by Keesje
What Is The Deadliest Russian Fighter? posted Thu Jul 27 2006 06:10:51 by ThirtyEcho
What Replaces The F-5 Freedom Fighter? posted Mon Apr 10 2006 22:16:18 by Art

Sponsor Message:
Printer friendly format