mig21umd
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:37 am

Nicoeddf wrote:
I am pretty sure it got discussed here already, but wouldn't it be overall more efficient and cost effective to out-source the air policing? Because

- In a war scenario, a fleet of 12-16 A/C wouldn't make any difference, so easy of a target
- upholding a fighter force has huge cost associated
- and in such a tiny country you basically crossed the country in 10min with a fighter, so no operational viable area

Outsource it to Austria, e.g.. They would benefit from added flying hours for their crews and Croatia could use the money for far better things...


Apparently the fee's involve in outsourcing are still very high and in a way contribute to the argument for maintaining their own jet fighter capability. Also, because of Croatia's geographical location it is actually in a position to outsource air policing itself to surrounding countries like Nato Montenegro and Slovenia (maybe even Albania) and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Regarding crossing the country in only 10 minutes is not entirely true when you consider the length of the coastline and the east west expansion from say the northern coast to the Danube river. You are looking at distances of about 500 km and 350 km respectively. Given that a fighter jet can't fly Mach 2 forever otherwise it will burn all its fuel in minutes than you can see it will take a bit more than 10 minutes to cross the country. :D
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:58 pm

Nicoeddf wrote:
I am pretty sure it got discussed here already, but wouldn't it be overall more efficient and cost effective to out-source the air policing? Because

- In a war scenario, a fleet of 12-16 A/C wouldn't make any difference, so easy of a target
- upholding a fighter force has huge cost associated
- and in such a tiny country you basically crossed the country in 10min with a fighter, so no operational viable area

Outsource it to Austria, e.g.. They would benefit from added flying hours for their crews and Croatia could use the money for far better things...


In a number of critical respects - and IF played properly - no. The first issue is of geography; it takes far more than 10 minutes to cross Croatia even on maximum reheat. Zeltweg (the Austrian AF's main base) to the southern tip of Croatia at its border with Montenegro is 900 km as the crow flies (avoiding the airspace of Bosnia & Herzegovina). Even for a Typhoon at full blow, that's a tall order in an air policing intercept scenario. Conversely, if the fighter wing is re-based back to Zadar (which appears to be the plan), no part of the country is more than 300 km away - and at airliner cruising speeds, even that's tight for a proper interception.

The second reason is that shutting down the fighter wing would mean wasting an immense amount of hard-won experience - including in actual combat operations against an adversary of superior numbers, something that only a handful of Europe's biggest air forces can claim to have. As a result, the standard of flying is still pretty high, and there have been multiple instances of Brick-21s wiping the floor with more modern Western machinery in joint exercises. Given that, even upgraded, Croatian MiGs have an avionics fit that a Cessna 172 wouldn't be seen with, that says a lot about the quality of the flight crews. If Croatia has this very valuable (and VERY, VERY expensive) asset at its disposal, why throw it away and pay someone else to do the job?

All of these issues - the people, the geography, the cost - can be satisfied while keeping the wing operational (such as using supersonic armed trainers like the F/A-50); given these new developments and still more turbulence in the current government, there's still hope this can be achieved :).
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:49 pm

TripleDelta wrote:
Nicoeddf wrote:
I am pretty sure it got discussed here already, but wouldn't it be overall more efficient and cost effective to out-source the air policing? Because

- In a war scenario, a fleet of 12-16 A/C wouldn't make any difference, so easy of a target
- upholding a fighter force has huge cost associated
- and in such a tiny country you basically crossed the country in 10min with a fighter, so no operational viable area

Outsource it to Austria, e.g.. They would benefit from added flying hours for their crews and Croatia could use the money for far better things...


In a number of critical respects - and IF played properly - no. The first issue is of geography; it takes far more than 10 minutes to cross Croatia even on maximum reheat. Zeltweg (the Austrian AF's main base) to the southern tip of Croatia at its border with Montenegro is 900 km as the crow flies (avoiding the airspace of Bosnia & Herzegovina). Even for a Typhoon at full blow, that's a tall order in an air policing intercept scenario. Conversely, if the fighter wing is re-based back to Zadar (which appears to be the plan), no part of the country is more than 300 km away - and at airliner cruising speeds, even that's tight for a proper interception.

The second reason is that shutting down the fighter wing would mean wasting an immense amount of hard-won experience - including in actual combat operations against an adversary of superior numbers, something that only a handful of Europe's biggest air forces can claim to have. As a result, the standard of flying is still pretty high, and there have been multiple instances of Brick-21s wiping the floor with more modern Western machinery in joint exercises. Given that, even upgraded, Croatian MiGs have an avionics fit that a Cessna 172 wouldn't be seen with, that says a lot about the quality of the flight crews. If Croatia has this very valuable (and VERY, VERY expensive) asset at its disposal, why throw it away and pay someone else to do the job?

All of these issues - the people, the geography, the cost - can be satisfied while keeping the wing operational (such as using supersonic armed trainers like the F/A-50); given these new developments and still more turbulence in the current government, there's still hope this can be achieved :).


Thanks for your reply, much appreciated.

You are right about Austria of course, that was a bit of a misplaced hipshot by myself. :)
However, I am still not convinced of the actual value of keeping an own fighter wing, esp. considering opportunity cost.

If it is tight in any case intercepting any airliner, where lies the value of being "just" be able to do so. If I understand that correctly (and I might not), the moment you have been able to intercept you are at the edge of your airspace with the airliner already being VERY close to leave Croatia. Where is the advantage of being able to accompany the last few minutes?
All other scenarios (misusing an airliner to attack 9/11 style) strike me as not interceptable anyway.

Regarding the experience: I have no doubt to believe there are highly skilled pilots flying the MiGs. However, those combat proven surely slowly come to an end of their duty time and with every generation, by default, experience cannot be transferred by more than a small amount.
Sooner or later, CroAF will be on the standard peace time level, more sooner than later, in my opinion.
From that point on, a dozen aircraft, regardless of type, wouldn't make a difference one way or the other.

Hence, the billions might be better spent on education, infrastructure or even the ground based military.
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:32 pm

Nicoeddf wrote:
If it is tight in any case intercepting any airliner, where lies the value of being "just" be able to do so. If I understand that correctly (and I might not), the moment you have been able to intercept you are at the edge of your airspace with the airliner already being VERY close to leave Croatia. Where is the advantage of being able to accompany the last few minutes?


There's a broader aspect to air policing than just reaching an intruding aircraft. Even if contact can be maintained only for a couple of minutes, that is enough for at least a basic assessment of the identity and state of the aircraft - information that can then quickly be passed to neighboring countries so they can scramble their own QRA jets in time and take over escort. This works both ways; more than once advance warning from Austria and Slovenia (both of which were faced with the same problems as listed above) had enabled the Croatian AF to preposition its MiGs to meet an unresponsive airliner and escort it through Croatian airspace in a timely manner.

Nicoeddf wrote:
Regarding the experience: I have no doubt to believe there are highly skilled pilots flying the MiGs. However, those combat proven surely slowly come to an end of their duty time and with every generation, by default, experience cannot be transferred by more than a small amount.
Sooner or later, CroAF will be on the standard peace time level, more sooner than later, in my opinion.
From that point on, a dozen aircraft, regardless of type, wouldn't make a difference one way or the other.


Direct experience no - but the lessons learned (most of which the hard way) yes. Flight preparation, tactics, crew and air-to-ground coordination, maintenance, operational flexibility, training programs... all of these benefit greatly from the lessons passed down by wartime pilots still in service. So even though the newer generations have never fired a weapon in anger, they'd been trained to operate and function in a manner developed during the actual shooting match. In the same manner airlines model their training programs based on previous experiences; many line pilots will never experience the kind of emergencies faced by "oldtimers" in the 80s and 90s... because lessons learned then are being used now to teach them to try and avoid the same problems.

Nicoeddf wrote:
Hence, the billions might be better spent on education, infrastructure or even the ground based military.


While I've gone on record numerous times in this discussion for saying that it'd be better to buy an armed trainer and invest the rest into civilian programs, getting rid of fast jets altogether could very easily become a huge expense in the long run. Contracting out air policing is not cheap; off-the-record information from Slovenia indicates that it could have easily raised and operated its own basic squadron for less than they'd paid Italy over the years to provide two-three sweeps a month. So if you have to do it anyway, why pay exorbitant sums to someone else, when you have the capability and (most) of the infrastructure to do it yourself?
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:25 am

Nicoeddf wrote:
I am pretty sure it got discussed here already, but wouldn't it be overall more efficient and cost effective to out-source the air policing?


There's another issue with outsourcing air policing that could become problematic: Croatia's croissant shape and its location at the edge of NATO space. To reuse bits of my previous reply, Austria could easily cover northern Croatia; but the southern tip is more than 600 km away (not 900 as I wrote previously, misread the total on the Great Circle Mapper :banghead: ), and Austria is not part of NATO, which could further complicate things. Hungary - as the immediate NATO neighbor - is even worse off, with Kecskemet to Montenegro (again avoiding Bosnian airspace) coming out to roughly 750 km - far, far too much for the short-legged Gripen to manage.

On the other hand, Italy has the entire Dalmatian coast within easy reach; but the eastern tip of the country is as near as makes no difference 750 km away from the nearest Typhoon base at Grosseto.

So to provide adequate and timely cover of the entire country, you'd have to contract TWO separate air forces to do the work for you... and I doubt that even many Western European countries could sustain this financially.
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:44 pm

CX747 wrote:
Training, parts, interoperability and an extensively proven combat track record all come with the F-16. The Gipen just can't compete with that. Spend enough time in the squadron bars and you learn that the Gripen is a dud. Put that together with the fact that the F-16 will continue on with the USAF/USAFR/USANG for at least another 20+ years and the choice is a no brainer.


You must be joking, the F16 couldn't even keep up with our SAAF Mirage Cheetahs in dog-fighting, losing 2 nil, while the F15's managed a draw. The Gripen is even more agile and can out turn just about anything except maybe the SU35 or Mig29. The Gripen has quicker turnaround time and costs less to run and maintain. Why didn't they consider the BAE Hawk?
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:52 am

Balerit wrote:
CX747 wrote:
Why didn't they consider the BAE Hawk?


It's pretty much useless for the air policing role - which is what this entire issue is about.
Hawkeye: "It doesn't make any sense."
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mig21umd
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:14 am

Probably late to the party and I don't think this would be considered too seriously by Croatia anyway based on the way they want their military to look (NATO / western focus) but Hungary 'apparently' recently approached Croatia offering them 12 1990's vintage Mig-29s which they have in storage for $90 million. That's $7.5 million per aircraft. Not sure how much money will be needed to get them flying but this would be the cheapest option on the table to date.

Bit of a curve ball..... don't think anything will come out of it.
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:38 pm

TripleDelta wrote:
Balerit wrote:
CX747 wrote:
Why didn't they consider the BAE Hawk?


It's pretty much useless for the air policing role - which is what this entire issue is about.


The Hawk is ideal in the police keeping role and reconnaissance role, that's one of the main thing it does in the SAAF, as well as a lead in fighter trainer.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6639:fact-file-bae-systems-hawk-mk120-&catid=79:fact-files&Itemid=159
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:52 am

Balerit wrote:

The Hawk is ideal in the police keeping role and reconnaissance role, that's one of the main thing it does in the SAAF, as well as a lead in fighter trainer.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6639:fact-file-bae-systems-hawk-mk120-&catid=79:fact-files&Itemid=159

That the SAAF uses in that role doesn't make it ideal, it just provides an example of one user who finds it can fulfil that mission. If we look at who was originally provided with an RFP for this tender, it was F-16, F/A-50 and Gripen.

What do these aircraft have over the Hawk?
- All are supersonic (the Hawk is in reality not a supersonic aircraft)
- All have a good rate of climb (Hawk less than 12k ft per minute)
- All have a BVR missile option (no radar and only the Hawk 200 version has a radar/BVR option with the Hawk 200 seeing limited production and is not in service with a European Nation)

Additionally, the primary target of Croatian Air policing won't be the same types of aircraft that SAAF Hawks would typically intercept over South Africa, probably less smaller turbo prop aircraft and more large turbofan aircraft.

mig21umd wrote:
Probably late to the party and I don't think this would be considered too seriously by Croatia anyway based on the way they want their military to look (NATO / western focus) but Hungary 'apparently' recently approached Croatia offering them 12 1990's vintage Mig-29s which they have in storage for $90 million. That's $7.5 million per aircraft. Not sure how much money will be needed to get them flying but this would be the cheapest option on the table to date.

Bit of a curve ball..... don't think anything will come out of it.

Would be the cheapest option but probably not provide much increase in overall capability. The MiG-29A that Hungray operating are quite limited in range and have a poor radar. They were designed as point defence fighters and not well suited to an interceptor air policing role.
They may be able to be upgraded but I’d suggest the cost to do so would be excessive for little overall gain, especially as the Croatians see these airframes potentially operating in a NATO capacity, something that would be easier and require less extensive modifications on the three original candidates.
 
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:01 am

Can't Croatia get some used Swedish JAS-39 Gripen, when the Swedish Air Force takes delivery of its new Gripen NG?
 
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:02 am

Balerit wrote:
The Hawk is ideal in the police keeping role and reconnaissance role, that's one of the main thing it does in the SAAF


Against the types of aircraft it is sent to deal with in SA maybe (especially since the SAAF has a proper fast jet fleet to use for high performance threats); but in the type of interception common in Croatia, it would be worse than useless.

The 100 series Hawk is stated as having a maximum level flight Mach No. of M0.88; most jet airliners seen around here cruise in the M0.75 to M0.85 range. So the Hawk would have to scramble from an airbase that is up to 400 km away from the furthest end of the country, climb into the rarefied air at higher levels (FL300-FL400) where its climb & acceleration performance would suffer greatly - and then chase down an unresponsive airliner within the confines of the country with, at best, a 90 km/h speed advantage. This is not doable by any stretch of the imagination. Even eliminating transit (say an unresponsive aircraft at altitude in the immediate vicinity of the base), catching up in the Hawk would be very, very tight.
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:03 am

FW200 wrote:
Can't Croatia get some used Swedish JAS-39 Gripen, when the Swedish Air Force takes delivery of its new Gripen NG?



It is decided that Sweden will keep every Gripen C/D (about 100) until about 50 Gripen E/F is completed so they will not be available for quite some time. There are also proposals from Parties in the Swedish Parliament that says we should keep all C/D on top of the new E/F which means that we would have an air force consisting of about 160-170 Gripen, but that proposal has no majority at this stage.
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:25 am

@ SAS A340:

Thanks, I wasn't aware of this.
 
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:36 am

FW200 wrote:
Can't Croatia get some used Swedish JAS-39 Gripen, when the Swedish Air Force takes delivery of its new Gripen NG?

No used Gripen are available and I don't think the Swedish will have any when new Gripen E are delivered.

The Swedes have changed their minds a couple of times now on what happens with Gripen C when Gripen E arrives. The plan was originally new build E, then to essentially cannibalise Gripen C to make E (when there was little actual commonality anyway), but now the plan again is to new build all Gripen E.

In the face of that, Sweden intends to keep all Gripen C available now until sufficient Gripen E are available, and has suggested that Gripen C may stay around for a period while both are in service.

As for Gripen A, which would probably be sufficient for Croatia, there are none available. All have been converted to Gripen C (which was two Gripen A for one Gripen C).

Some recent info on their latest decision is here, http://www.janes.com/article/76467/gripen-e-contract-amended-to-new-build-rather-than-remanufactured
 
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:39 am

@ Ozair:

Thanks a lot for your information.
 
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:00 pm

TripleDelta wrote:
Balerit wrote:
The Hawk is ideal in the police keeping role and reconnaissance role, that's one of the main thing it does in the SAAF


Against the types of aircraft it is sent to deal with in SA maybe (especially since the SAAF has a proper fast jet fleet to use for high performance threats); but in the type of interception common in Croatia, it would be worse than useless.

The 100 series Hawk is stated as having a maximum level flight Mach No. of M0.88; most jet airliners seen around here cruise in the M0.75 to M0.85 range. So the Hawk would have to scramble from an airbase that is up to 400 km away from the furthest end of the country, climb into the rarefied air at higher levels (FL300-FL400) where its climb & acceleration performance would suffer greatly - and then chase down an unresponsive airliner within the confines of the country with, at best, a 90 km/h speed advantage. This is not doable by any stretch of the imagination. Even eliminating transit (say an unresponsive aircraft at altitude in the immediate vicinity of the base), catching up in the Hawk would be very, very tight.


I doubt Croatia could handle any threats from any of the larger countries around it, it's no bigger than one or two of our wildlife parks put together. :) Any threat or airliner cruising over Croatia would be long gone before even the most potent fighter could take off and reach it.
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:29 pm

Balerit wrote:
Any threat or airliner cruising over Croatia would be long gone before even the most potent fighter could take off and reach it.


Not in the least; the MiG-21s easily handle most of these interceptions (with plenty of time and airspace to spare) when the need arises. And that's even in their QRA configuration with two IR missiles and an 800 liter droptank, all of which measurably impair their performance. From their main base at Zagreb, they have 400 km to work with to the south, 300 to the west and 250 to the east; sufficient for a meaningful intercept for anything that can sustain both high subsonic Mach and high vertical speed in the climb, and M1.0+ in the cruise.
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:31 pm

Balerit wrote:
I doubt Croatia could handle any threats from any of the larger countries around it, it's no bigger than one or two of our wildlife parks put together. :) Any threat or airliner cruising over Croatia would be long gone before even the most potent fighter could take off and reach it.


Croatia handled herself pretty well against a decent size threat in the 90's. :box: :D

But this is irrelevant to this discussion as is the Hawk because it doesn't meet the criteria Croatia set out for what they want to replace the mig-21s. This is why South Korea in the end did not submit a bid with the FA/50 which everyone expected them to.

Also, Croatia mig-21s have successfully intercepted at least 2 airlines which lost contact with air traffic control in recent years.
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:59 pm

TripleDelta wrote:
Balerit wrote:
Any threat or airliner cruising over Croatia would be long gone before even the most potent fighter could take off and reach it.


Not in the least; the MiG-21s easily handle most of these interceptions (with plenty of time and airspace to spare) when the need arises. And that's even in their QRA configuration with two IR missiles and an 800 liter droptank, all of which measurably impair their performance. From their main base at Zagreb, they have 400 km to work with to the south, 300 to the west and 250 to the east; sufficient for a meaningful intercept for anything that can sustain both high subsonic Mach and high vertical speed in the climb, and M1.0+ in the cruise.


:bigthumbsup: I hear you.
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Re: Croatian Gov't issues RFPs for MiG-21 replacement - again

Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:59 am

News Flash!!!

Israel media is reporting that Croatia has selected the Israel offer for 12 second hand F-16. The deal is worth around $500 million USD and would mostly probably (me speculating based on previous announcements) include a pretty comprehensive training and support package. In saying that the deal has not been announced yet so we don't know the complete details of it yet but this seems to be a done deal.

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-isra ... 1001221264

In my opinion this is the best option of what was offered to Croatia in terms of costs and capability they will get. The Gripen would have been great but probably would have cost closer to 1 billion.
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