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Vio
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New Aircraft For The New Nato Countries

Tue Mar 30, 2004 4:55 am

Hi,

Now that Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia will become part of NATO, do you think they'll buy new aircraft from the west?

Being Romanian and having my dad serve in the Romanian Airforce (during the "good ol` communist" times) I know that Romania operates Mig 21s and Mig 29s.

I've had the oportunity to talk to a mechanic who used to be in the airforce in Romania. (NO, NOT MY DAD) He sais the new upgrades (after the fall of the regime) to the Mig 29/21 is like "putting makeup on an old lady..." You draw your own conclusions...


So... I have no clue if my motherland will buy anything new. ANybody know anything? Any of these new NATO countries planning to buy new aircraft?
Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
 
LY744
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RE: New Aircraft For The New Nato Countries

Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:41 am

Actually, leasing might be more of an option to obtain high quality new hardware for the new NATO members. A few of the above countries (Romania and Slovakia for example) operate the MiG-29, which will not be replaced anytime soon. The MiG-21's (and -23's to a lesser extent) do have to go however. One thing is certain: there will be quite a bit of downsizing going on in these air forces. Only a small number of fighters will be procured if any at all. I don't see any of the countries getting more than 2-3 dozen new(er) machines. This is indicative of an approach that favours quality training of a select few members of the military on cutting edge equipment. Also, the fighters may very well be second hand. For example, the USAF converted a good 200+ block 15 F-16A/B's to the ADF (air defense fighter) standard 15 years ago, most of these are now in the desert, with only a few in service with select ANG units, Italy, and Jordan. These could be quickly (and affordably) refurbished to suit the basic needs of a small NATO ally. Some of Canada's (and the USN's I believe) F-18's are also up for sale. All in all these are very fine candidates for a country with modest defense needs and a corresponding budget. Some of these countries will probably end up with no fighter jet capability whatsoever. I'm thinking the baltic countries in particular, whose skies are going to be patrolled (rather symbolically) by Danish F-16's starting within the next few weeks.


LY744.
Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
 
cloudy
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RE: New Aircraft For The New Nato Countries

Tue Mar 30, 2004 2:56 pm

Romania and several other ex-warsaw pact countries have actually modified the avionics of soviet-era jets in order to bring them up to western standards and to make them more interoperable with NATO. This process will probably continue. The airframe and even the engines of such planes as the Mig 29 and the Sukhoi-32 are actually pretty good. They are also cheaper than their western counterparts. The main qualitative edge non-stealth western planes have over comparable Russian planes is in the avionics, the radars, and the weapons fitted. It is not easy or cheap to change these( I am guessing it would be 2-3 million per fighter ) but it can be done and it would almost certainly be cheaper than buying and retraining on second-hand F-16's.

The Russians are always eager for business and so my guess is that they will do everything they can to easy the conversion process.

In short, the planes themselves do not neccesarily need to be compatible with NATO standards. What needs to be compatible are the avionics, training, and weapons. This is still a tall order but there will be a lot of demand for conversions of this type so with time the costs will go down.

 
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Vio
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RE: New Aircraft For The New Nato Countries

Wed Mar 31, 2004 1:26 am

Cloudy,

Yup, you are 100% correct, but these upgrades, (in colaboration with the Israelis) are not really that good. Like that guy said "It's like putting makeup on an old lady"... really doesn't change "her" much.



Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
 
jwenting
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RE: New Aircraft For The New Nato Countries

Wed Mar 31, 2004 3:02 pm

It's better than nothing though.
Most of them cannot afford to buy significant numbers of Gripens or F-16s so they have no choice but to upgrade what they have.
I wish I were flying
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: New Aircraft For The New Nato Countries

Thu Apr 01, 2004 1:25 am

I know the Romanians just got done receiving the MiG-21s they upgraded to the Lancer standard. If memory serves, the pilots are somewhat happy with the Lancers, but regret the retirement of their -23s and -29s. They also recently finished a cooperative training exercise with the RAF and were proud of how the Lancers held up against the Harriers, so Romania will probably be the last European nation to operate a variant of the -21. I do believe they've expressed interest in eventually getting their hands on F-16s, though.
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