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F27Friendship
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European Air Forces Top 10

Sat Aug 18, 2007 1:07 am

Allthough I'd like to focus on the European air forces in this thread, everyone is invited to pitch in ofcourse  

Traditionally, public opinion would suggest that the UK and France have the most capable and well trained air forces in Europe. Is this the case? Additionally, I've found there are quite some smaller countries with impressive equipement.

The biggest eye-opener for me is the Hellenic (Greece) Air Force, which continously modernizes it's fighter fleet and currently has about 300 fighter jets, including the latest block 52+ F-16's, 'normal' F-16C/D's and Mirage 2000's.
Another air force which is packing quite a punch is the Polish air force, which also received new F-16's, has Su-22's and MiG-29's

With respect to training and deployment in conflicts, I guess some other smaller countries are also high on the list, like Norway and the Netherlands (the latter being the second or third largest European contributor in operaton allied force in 1999).

I hope people will find this an interesting discussion and I am looking forward to your input.

To kick off, I'd like to propose the following list:

#1 UK
#2 France
#3 the Netherlands
#4 Germany
#5 Italy
#6 Greece
#7 Norway
#8 Poland
#9 Sweden
#10 Spain

[Edited 2007-08-17 18:07:36]
 
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vanguard737
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Wed Aug 22, 2007 4:45 am

Well, the Luftwaffe has 273 operational fighters at the moment (25 Typhoons, 65 Phantoms, and 187 Tornado's). Given this inventory and the undeniable skills and training of the Luftwaffe, I do not see how it could occupy any position below 3rd place. Also, a further 125 Typhoons are scheduled to replace the Phantoms and most Tornadoes .The Royal Netherlands's Air Force, while I do not doubt their skill or training, has just 90 F-16's to its inventory. Therefore, I would rearrange the ranking as:

#1: UK
#2: France
#3: Germany
#4: The Netherlands

I do not know much about the other air forces of Europe, so I cannot comment.
 
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SAS A340
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Wed Aug 22, 2007 10:29 am

Quoting Vanguard737 (Reply 1):
#1: UK
#2: France
#3: Germany
#4: The Netherlands

sweden has about 100 gripens at the moment,......# 7 on the list?
 
KevinSmith
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Wed Aug 22, 2007 10:58 am

Not bad. What would you consider Russia though, European or Central Asian?
 
hunterson
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:40 am

Quoting KevinSmith (Reply 3):
Not bad. What would you consider Russia though, European or Central Asian

How about neither European nor Asian, but "Global", just like the United States.At least this what it used to be in the Soviet era , and certainly it is what Mr. Putin is trying to make it again!
 
steman
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:03 pm

The Italian Air Force (AMI) has received some Typhoon out of a total of 121 examples and employes 34 F-16A ADF, around 80 Tornado IDS and ECR and a similar number of AMX Ghibli.
The total count is around 200.
If the list above regards the number of combat aircraft in the inventory then I guess you should move my Country a bit up.

Ciao


Stefano
 
TheSonntag
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:14 pm

The Phantoms really do not help Germanys reputation right now, despite AMRAAM...

I think in some years, after Typhoon is introduced, the list will be like that:

1. UK
2.Germany
France
4. Italy
5. Netherlands
6. Sweden
7. Austria (no, not really  Wink )
 
pelican
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:00 pm

Quoting Vanguard737 (Reply 1):
Given this inventory and the undeniable skills and training of the Luftwaffe, I do not see how it could occupy any position below 3rd place.

Is the training really that good? I don't know, but from time to time I read reports that the Luftwaffe pilots don't get enough flight time. I've read they only get 120-150hrs/year instead of the NATO recommendation of 180.

pelican
 
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autothrust
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:23 pm

Quoting F27Friendship (Thread starter):
To kick off, I'd like to propose the following list:

#1 UK
#2 France
#3 the Netherlands
#4 Germany
#5 Italy
#6 Greece
#7 Norway
#8 Poland
#9 Sweden
#10 Spain

Well IMO this list is very odd.

For example Swedish Airforce has bought 204 Saab 39 Gripen, but at the moment they have 70. The rest of their fleet is old metal. (36 SAAB AJS-37, 14 SAAB SK-37 133 SAAB JA-37)

Netherlands have 87 F-16AM/BM at the moment , Norway Airforce have 57 F-16, please explain me how they can be "better" as for example Spanish Airforce with :

67 F-18M
22 F-18A
20 Tranche 1 EF
33 Tranche 2 EF
34 Tranche 3 EF

Apart the skills and units we should compare what generation of fighters are. Or how stand the chances for a SU-22 against a EF even the SU-22 pilot would be a top gun pilot???  no 
Specially if we take in consideration that one EF engaged 3x F-16D in Singapore and the Rafale not...
 
F27Friendship
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Thu Aug 23, 2007 2:02 am

Quoting Vanguard737 (Reply 1):
Well, the Luftwaffe has 273 operational fighters at the moment (25 Typhoons, 65 Phantoms, and 187 Tornado's). Given this inventory and the undeniable skills and training of the Luftwaffe, I do not see how it could occupy any position below 3rd place. Also, a further 125 Typhoons are scheduled to replace the Phantoms and most Tornadoes .The Royal Netherlands's Air Force, while I do not doubt their skill or training, has just 90 F-16's to its inventory. Therefore, I would rearrange the ranking as:

#1: UK
#2: France
#3: Germany

aha, I was waiting for someone to come with this argument, but I sincerely believe the amount of frames might be the least dominating factor. If you look at operations, the German Luftwaffe hasn't contributed in a similar manner as did the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

Quoting SAS A340 (Reply 2):
sweden has about 100 gripens at the moment,......# 7 on the list?

Did they do anything with it lately?

Quoting SAS A340 (Reply 2):
Not bad. What would you consider Russia though, European or Central Asian?

I was kind of thinking to leave them out of this, mainly because they consider themselves Russian and not European  Wink

Quoting AutoThrust (Reply 8):
Netherlands have 87 F-16AM/BM at the moment , Norway Airforce have 57 F-16, please explain me how they can be "better" as for example Spanish Airforce with :

The Netherlands and Norway have specific NATO tasks with which they are able to operate under much more straining conditions. At NATO excersizes not so long ago in Norway, most air forces had to wait for better weather, while the Norwegians and Dutch could fly on.

As for the Spanish, can you tell me where they deployed their fighters lately?
 
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SAS A340
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Thu Aug 23, 2007 4:54 am

Just because you deploy some fighters in a conflict, doesn't makes it to a low number in a "top 10 list" It,s a lot more to it than that! To be fair,this list is imposable to make! It,s like you See on the discovery interviewing fighter pilots thats fly different fighter's and all of them say that they fly one of the best fighters in the world. There are to much to consider so this can be discussed until hell freeze to ice!  Cool
 
zak
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Thu Aug 23, 2007 5:40 am

i think it is a bit of a conceptual dilemma. if you apply the logic that force should only be the last of all options, and not using military power to achieve goals, the means of air power actively used actually implies the opposite: on a global scale, a lesser ability to reach its goals without resorting to that last option.
now, some countries are indeed politically more inclined to use military options over politicals, such as the traditional superopowers, simply due to them being used to it due to the traditional cold war proxy wars.
generally speaking, it seems difficult to measure a top10 within europe, simply because there are different area of focus in regard to strategical projection of force, strategical transport or tactical elements.
not considering current differences due to delivery slots/delays etc that are only of very short term nature, i would consider UK FR and DE as the three top nations, due to the numbers of craft deployed+on order combined with a very diverse range of capabilities from nuclear missions to significant air superiority capabilities alongside with tactical interdiction. they are the only three european airforces that cover this spectrum (or as soon as they recieve their current orderbook).
 
F27Friendship
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Thu Aug 23, 2007 8:31 pm

Quoting SAS A340 (Reply 10):
Just because you deploy some fighters in a conflict, doesn't makes it to a low number in a "top 10 list" It,s a lot more to it than that! To be fair,this list is imposable to make! It,s like you See on the discovery interviewing fighter pilots thats fly different fighter's and all of them say that they fly one of the best fighters in the world. There are to much to consider so this can be discussed until hell freeze to ice!

Well.. having planes stored in a hangar and flying some QRA and test sorties over your own territory does hardly weigh up against a smaller airforce being deployed in 5 conflict area's over the past 15 years. Add the important NATO tasks it performs to it and you have a winner.

The combination of having the proper equipement, proper training and experience is I think the deciding factor.

Quoting Zak (Reply 11):
they are the only three european airforces that cover this spectrum (or as soon as they recieve their current orderbook).

The Luftwaffe does not cover this spectrum at the moment (as you correctly said). It will take a while untill they have received all their Typhoons and have trained with them.

In Afghanistan the Luftwaffe is only doing recon missions with 6 Tornado's, while the Dutch and Norwegians are providing close air-support with F-16's together with Harriers from the RAF. Also, the Dutch have 6 apaches for close air support deployed with ISAF

Could you point out which capability the Luftwaffe has, which the RNLAF does not have? Both can deliver nuclear payload. I'd say the Dutch still have the upper hand in air superiority (which will change when the Typhoons get fully operational) and can do strike missions just as good at least.
 
TheSonntag
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Thu Aug 23, 2007 11:28 pm

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 12):
Could you point out which capability the Luftwaffe has, which the RNLAF does not have?

ECR Tornados. Probably the only thing which really is something other countries do not have. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to engage the RNLAF with our ancient F-4s...

Also recon is something where Germany is better, although probably not so much.

The passive role of Germany in Afghanistan mainly has political reasons. Nevertheless I think the mission is not as "peaceful" as our government tries to sell ist to the people...
 
F27Friendship
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Fri Aug 24, 2007 12:32 am

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 13):
ECR Tornados. Probably the only thing which really is something other countries do not have. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to engage the RNLAF with our ancient F-4s...

Do you have some more info on the capabilities of these aircraft?
You could be right about the recon, allthough we also have some specific photo-recon-F-16's

I agree that the situation in Afghanistan is politically driven, however the F-16's seam to be very suitable for the close air support role, while the Tornado is much more a strategic strike aircraft.
 
KevinSmith
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:10 am

Quoting Hunterson (Reply 4):
but "Global"

Never quite understood how that was defined. Does that mean that the power in question has a global presence or a global reach? What is the criteria?
 
F27Friendship
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:25 am

Quoting KevinSmith (Reply 15):
Never quite understood how that was defined. Does that mean that the power in question has a global presence or a global reach? What is the criteria?

as the topic starter I can reveal it was my intention to leave the Russians out of this one, so we're discussing European Air Forces here.
 
ebj1248650
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:25 am

Some time ago, I read a book about the F11F-1F and in it were comments about the pilots from the Swiss Air Force. They came over to evaluate the airplane, and during their evaluation they took standard F11F Tigers into the air, evaluated flight characteristics and later flew a gunnery sortie. The pilots scored incredibly well; better than most pilots the Grumman people had seen, and their performance was all the more impressive because they hadn't flown the Tiger in the gunnery circuit before. The impression I got was that the Swiss Air Force is very professional, regardless its size. It'd deserve being listed among the top 10.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:48 am

Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 17):
The impression I got was that the Swiss Air Force is very professional, regardless its size. It'd deserve being listed among the top 10.

I think I have to agree with you here, can you give a suggestion for a top-10?
 
KevinSmith
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Fri Aug 24, 2007 3:36 am

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 16):

roger  thumbsup 
 
GDB
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:22 am

I would use the following considerations;

Do they have a reasonable number of new generation types on order/in service. By that, I mean post F-16 designs-which I regard as the (still highly effective) template of multi role combat aircraft since?

Does the AF have at least plenty of reasonably modern/effective types in full operational service?

Do they have a robust training programme-what's the average annual flight hours of operational crews?

Do they have recent combat experience?

Do they have these core capabilities-
1) AD against SU-27 series aircraft.
2) Ability to deliver PGM's against at least reasonably well defended targets-that could include just decent SAM's, as well as fighters.
3) Ability to deploy at least one squadron (let's use an 18 aircraft baseline for that) rapidly, well outside the NATO area, with the ability to be operational if not on arrival, then at least within a few days.
4} Ability to support this sort of deployment with only minimal use of leased/ friendly forces support aircraft.
5) Ability to do as 4), with at least a battalion of ground troops.
6) Even if operated by the Army, not the AF, a modern generation attack helicopter capability.
7) For nations with substantial coastlines, do they have a decent maritime aircraft? Baseline here being post Atlantique 1/P-3C, or fairly recently and modernised earlier versions of the Orion.
8) Do their combat aircraft have decent EW/countermeasures-that is, established use of ECM pods, decoy dispensers, a bonus for ARM capability.
9) Do their combat pilots regularly take part in exercises, that includes instrumented air to air combat ranges, against other AF's with dissimilar types, use of NATO facilities/large exercises, is a bonus here.
10) Has the AF active programmes in the following;
A) UAV/UCAV
B) Network enabled ability

The UK and France has all of the 10, the UK with more combat experience, a bigger transport capability, the BAe ALARM ARM is better (and proven) , than anything France seems to have right now.
Germany has them too, but with far less combat experience, like France, until A400M arrives in numbers, transport ability is substantially less than the RAF's. Germany scores above France with Tornado ECR.
Tornado also giving them (and the UK and Italy), a better longer range strike ability, even allowing for Tornado's age now. Within that, the UK has the most modernised, most combat used fleet, Germany though is doing upgrades, Italy is starting too.
Italy has all the above too, Spain mostly so, but not quite all.

Clearly smaller European nations, are at an in built disadvantage, so another category, we'll call 'ability to punch above their weight!'
Meaning not only national size, but even with a quite small front line fleet, a demonstrated ability to deploy often and effectively on operations.

The Netherlands does really well here. Cold War, they had just a very small fleet as F-27's as transports, now KDC-10's, C-130's. Helicopters like CH-47, Super Puma, AH-64D. Cold War, aside from the Navy, they just had Alouette III's.
So critics of the much reduced F-16 numbers, I think are missing the point, why have 'enough' but meaning investment in post Cold War assets, means you cannot easily deploy them out of area.
As well as more funds for weapons, like modern PGM's.
Had all smaller European AF's, done similar since 1991, the general European ability to deploy would be much better.
Denmark and Norway, smaller still as nations, are honourable mentions here too.

So, my rankings;
1) RAF
2) French AF
3) German AF
4) Italy (actually not much between them and Germany).
5) Netherlands
6) Spain
7) Denmark
8) Norway
9) Greece
10) Turkey.
Greece and Turkey being at the bottom, is due to combat/operational experience being limited to each other flying similar types, so far lack of real experience in deployments, less use of NATO major exercises.
As I have said, this for me is not a numbers game, clearly the very possession of both's mainly modern fleets, general NATO infrastructure, what operations they have done, as worldwide top ranking AF's by any measure.

To be fair, non NATO nations are at an inbuilt disadvantage in respect of operational deployment/combat experience, as well as not, until quite recently, not being involved as much in large scale exercises, dissimilar air to air.
That is all changing, but here is my 'Non NATO' top 3;
1) Swedish AF
2) Swiss AF
3) Austria.

Austria made it, due to doing live CAP's during Yugoslavia conflict, additions to transport fleet, Typhoons.
Finland has a very competent AF, but was edged out due to Austrian developments.
I would fit, within the NATO list, (jointly with NATO ones for comparison), Sweden with Spain, Swiss AF with Denmark and Austria with Greece.
 
hunterson
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:06 am

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 16):
Never quite understood how that was defined. Does that mean that the power in question has a global presence or a global reach? What is the criteria?

[
Both. The good old Soviet Union was certainly a "global" power trying to compete "globally" with the United States.They failed of course, and Russia went to sleep after that for a while.
Now, I think Mr. Putin has certainly decided that it is perhaps time to re-awaken the "Bear", and try again to re-establish Russian position as a "Global" power.
I agree they are not exactly there yet, but they certainly have the hardware, and the money( thanks to oil and gas), as well as the technical and industral expertise.
On the other hand , I also agree with F27FRIENDSHIP that it would be a better idea to leave Russia out of this (at least for the time being), and look at the other European nations.
My choices , based on a combination of quality of equipment, human resources, combat experience, strategic projection and, of course , quantity of available and reserve potentials, would be as follows:
1- RAF
2- French AF
3- German AF
4- Italan AF
5- Spanish AF
6- Turkish AF
7- Greek AF
8- Swedish AF
9- R Netherland AF
10- Polish AF

( One last note of interest here is: what about Turkey? should it be included in Europe, or is it just a NATO member which happens to be " bordering " Europe? ) .
 
F27Friendship
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:24 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 20):
The Netherlands does really well here. Cold War, they had just a very small fleet as F-27's as transports, now KDC-10's, C-130's. Helicopters like CH-47, Super Puma, AH-64D. Cold War, aside from the Navy, they just had Alouette III's.
So critics of the much reduced F-16 numbers, I think are missing the point, why have 'enough' but meaning investment in post Cold War assets, means you cannot easily deploy them out of area.
As well as more funds for weapons, like modern PGM's.
Had all smaller European AF's, done similar since 1991, the general European ability to deploy would be much better.
Denmark and Norway, smaller still as nations, are honourable mentions here too.

How come you put RNLAF under Italy then? I can somewhat understand you put Germany in 3 (while I think they still need another 5 years to be in that spot, because then they will have Tigre's and Typhoon's in greater numbers), but Italy got a bunch of old F-16's to maintain a QRA because only a few years ago they were still flying F-104's! Also, they are only recently phasing in their Typhoon's.

Again I'd like to mention Kosovo where the RNLAF was the FIRST to enter Serbian air space and downed a MiG-29. How many air forces made a confirmed AA kill recently? They contributed with 20 F-16's and a KDC-10 tanker. I can't find the numbers that quickly, but I believe their contribution in sorties was the 3d or 4th largest (1)US, 2) UK, 3) I think NL

Quoting Hunterson (Reply 21):
- Italan AF
5- Spanish AF
6- Turkish AF
7- Greek AF
8- Swedish AF
9- R Netherland AF

Could you clarify why you put RNLAF so low? they have a LOT more experience recently than Sweden, Spain, Turkey and Greece in conflicts are capable of deployment all over the world in 48 hours.

Quoting Hunterson (Reply 21):
One last note of interest here is: what about Turkey? should it be included in Europe, or is it just a NATO member which happens to be " bordering " Europe? ) .

I say Turkey is IN this discussion
 
hunterson
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Sat Aug 25, 2007 1:24 am

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 22):
Quoting GDB (Reply 20):
The

Believe me I do not under-estimate the efficiency or proffessionalism of the R Neth AF, but as I said earlier my selection was based on a combination of factors , including quality as well as quantity, size, human resources,geographic and strategic posture..etc.
You may be right about the Swedes, although we must remember that they have always done it on their own since the end of WW2, and all through the Cold War ,so they amassed a huge amount of operational experience. The same also applies to the Swiss and the Spanish .
As for the Greeks and the Turks, well these guys have been , and probably will always be, on a constant "war-footing"for rather well-known reasons, so they have also managed to accumulate a huge amount of operational and professional experience, in addition to sheer size of their air forces ( rather like the Indians, Pakistanis and, of course, the Israelis).
 
GDB
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Sat Aug 25, 2007 2:23 am

F-27, really since while RNLAF will likely get F-35's a decade or so hence, Italy has Typhoons now.
They'll be getting F-35's as well.
Also, the Tornado IDS gives the Italians a longer ranged strike ability, which they are enhancing with Scalp/Storm Shadow weapons. As well as some ECR versions.

It was a close run thing between Italy and the Netherlands though.
In some areas, as you say, the RNLAF edges it, but the rankings reflects all factors.

RNLAF experience is really good, but Italy has done operational deployments too, I count relevant operational deployments as the 1991 Gulf War onwards.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Sat Aug 25, 2007 8:28 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 24):
RNLAF experience is really good, but Italy has done operational deployments too, I count relevant operational deployments as the 1991 Gulf War onwards.

just want to pitch in a figure here from this website

almost a 1000 aircraft were deployed (roughly 700 US 300 other NATO allies). The BAF and RNLAF had a joint air wing of 34 F-16's

They did 11,6% of all sorties. This is really an amazing figure.

Quote:
During Operation Allied Force, the Dutch/Belgian DATF flew 11.6% of the total number of allied fighter missions, with a 95% degree of readiness. The DATF F-16s were mostly used in the swing-role concept, where patrolling aircraft could be used against both air and ground targets. Typically, some 32 missions were flown a day. About 20-30% of the total number of missions was flown at night.



Quoting GDB (Reply 24):
It was a close run thing between Italy and the Netherlands though.
In some areas, as you say, the RNLAF edges it, but the rankings reflects all factors.

I can understand your motivation here, but just take operation allied force and the Germans don't come close to these figures. Today, again the Dutch in ISAF have a substantional role (relativly the biggest) both on the ground and in the air)

Quoting Hunterson (Reply 23):
As for the Greeks and the Turks, well these guys have been , and probably will always be, on a constant "war-footing"for rather well-known reasons, so they have also managed to accumulate a huge amount of operational and professional experience, in addition to sheer size of their air forces ( rather like the Indians, Pakistanis and, of course, the Israelis).

Thanks for explaining, but why did you put the spanish that high on the ladder?
 
GDB
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:50 pm

I don't disagree F-27, in fact, the Netherlands armed forces as a whole, often put much larger European nations to shame.
Taking Afghanistan as an example, you can add others like Canada (not of course Europe, but with much smaller armed forces than the 'big 4' European NATO nations), as well as Norway, Denmark and newer members like Estonia, along with the usual commitment of the Netherlands, as totally shaming 3 of the 'big 4' European NATO nations, in actually living up to their commitments beyond the bare minimum, and being flexible about the realities on the ground too.

But you cannot get away from the size and inventories of those I ranked above the Netherlands, the problems are political, all are democracies so subject to political change.

So, here is another ranking, the 'being prepared to back up words with deeds' European NATO list, not just about air forces, but all arms.
It is, perhaps, the most relevant and important ranking of all;
1) UK
2) Netherlands
3) Denmark
4) Norway
5) Estonia
6) Poland
7) Italy
8) France
9) Germany
10) Spain

Of course, Germany has constitutional issues here, however if this ranking is about NATO/UN deployments (which understandably is the only route they can and will deploy), then it still stands.
Of course, I have in mind to a large extent, Afghanistan here. And why not? It's a vital show of NATO force and commitment, a tough, difficult operation, which has traditional peacekeeping, to the most intense fighting at either end of the spectrum, (the latter even for the British, whose armed forces, have been in action somewhere every year from 1945, except for 1968).

Afghanistan is not like Iraq, there is a unanimity of purpose (supposedly), and arguably, post Sept 11th, it is not a war of choice, unlike Iraq again.
Something like this, is the real test, of the equipment, professionalism and political will, behind the armed forces.
Way beyond what types of aircraft are in service or or order.

On the above list, Denmark and Norway are close, Denmark only slightly edges it. So too are the new members Estonia and Poland, two very different nations, but in the list since they are ex Warpac nations that I'm aware of taking part in NATO 'out of area' ops, if I left any out through ignorance, apologies.

Italy edges France, partly due to the Lebanon situation last year. Italian commitment to peacekeeping post conflict made the initial paltry offer by France of troops, (despite loud proclamations by their politicians about how committed they were), look very silly.
Italian commitment influenced a more 'robust' French commitment, which to be fair, they've stuck to.

Germany just beats Spain, this is not to say the Spanish do not commit, they do, but factoring everything in, German commitment to the former Yugoslavia, including Operation Allied Force in 1999, just pulled them ahead, as well as early commitments to Afghanistan post Sept 11, but they are almost neck and neck.

Some might say, 'where is Belgium?'
Belgium aircraft have taken part in Afghanistan after all, also providing CAP's over newer Eastern members airspace.
But then have all the others.
Black marks include (with France), Rwanda in 1994.
The refusal to allow coalition NATO partners to use some stocks of artillery shells, for the (UN backed) 'Desert Storm' in 1991, has not been forgotten either.
As well as the seeming determination of their politicians to turn their forces into almost a total peacekeeping force, with some armour and F-16's.
We need forces to do that, but bitter experience shows that a peacekeeping force has to be able to go into a war-fighting mode, if needed.
 
Bengan
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:22 am

Quoting AutoThrust (Reply 8):

For example Swedish Airforce has bought 204 Saab 39 Gripen, but at the moment they have 70. The rest of their fleet is old metal. (36 SAAB AJS-37, 14 SAAB SK-37 133 SAAB JA-37)

The SwAF phased out Viggen in 2005 and is meant to be operating 100 39C/D in the future, current numbers are however difficult to find.

/Bengt
 
sandrozrh
Posts: 2419
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Mon Aug 27, 2007 3:03 am

Can't we compare Country size to Air Force size?

#1 The Netherlands
#2 Switzerland

 duck 

I kid, I kid Big grin
 
RIXrat
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Mon Aug 27, 2007 5:37 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 26):
and newer members like Estonia,

I would respectfully like to remind you that Estonia, or for that matter of fact, neither do Latvia or Lithuania, have an air force. All three of these countries pay for overflights to keep the Russians out of their neck of the woods to NATO flyers.
 
NoUFO
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:55 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 26):
Of course, Germany has constitutional issues here, however if this ranking is about NATO/UN deployments (which understandably is the only route they can and will deploy), then it still stands.

Sorry, but I have to disagree. Not that I feel pissed reading your list, but Germany is one of the largest contributors to UN missions, I believe the second largest only after the U.S. So the willingness to deploy forces is certainly there.
Don't let the discussion concerning the deployment of more forces to southern Afghanistan fool you. Germany expanded its mandate more than once, whereas other NATO member countries contribute nothing at all.

Minister Jung does have an argument when he says that against the backdrop of Germany's very limited force projection abilities, the large number of soldiers already deployed across half the globe on behalf of other UN peacekeeping missions and the fact that Germans have basically no say over the strategy according to which German soldiers would be employed, it's now the duty of other NATO member countries to show a little more commitment, rather than nagging Germans to do more.

[Edited 2007-08-27 00:00:25]
 
sandrozrh
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:13 am

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 29):
I would respectfully like to remind you that Estonia, or for that matter of fact, neither do Latvia or Lithuania, have an air force. All three of these countries pay for overflights to keep the Russians out of their neck of the woods to NATO flyers.

I'm sure i saw a Lithuanian Air Force transport aircraft at the Paris Air Show, i might be wrong though?  Confused
 
GDB
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:46 am

RIXrat, the list in reply 26, was not just about air forces, with jet combat aircraft or not.

NoUFO, it was a difficult one, who should be be a higher ranking, Germany or France.
Germany is of course, operating under political restraints, however on the Afghan issue, it does not look good over here when German politicians say they cannot, if need be, go to a combat role in the country, citing those restraints, which are understood, then trying to blunt criticism by saying they had small numbers of SF forces doing just that at times.
Which is it?

German forces do of course provide valuable peacekeeping elsewhere in country, they have lost personnel, most recently in Kabul. But the whole NATO mission there is under great strain right now, but I don't regard Germany as the main offender in not supporting fellow NATO allies, I can think of two others far mo.

On ease of German deployment, once enough A400M's are in German service, that should improve dramatically.

France does not have the legitimate constitutional excuses here, however what clinched it for that list, was trying to predict the near future too, meaning letting the new French government get settled into power and possibly, start to make some adjustments here.
Certainly the very public gestures by the new President to mend fences with the US, with a senior minister commited to humanitarian intervention, might show a change of posture could well be on the way, if only gradually.
 
hunterson
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Mon Aug 27, 2007 10:46 am

With all due respect to all,
I fear that this conversation is turning into somekind of a joke, which is quite unfortunate, and certainly not what F27Friendship must have had in mind in the first place.
I can understand people having a"soft spot" for different airforces of their choice, and I do respect that. I also respect differing view points, and diverging opinions. After all thatis why we are here for.
However , I beg to disagree with the notion of making fun of what should be (ultimately) an intrlligent and interesting debate about a very important subject.
I do not think that to degrade this discussion to somekind of a satirical exercise , citng nations which do not even have a proper airforce is a very clever idea. Nor do I think that having our personal emotions clouding over our better judgement is conducive to the purpose of this debate.
I do believe that it is quite important to have a serious ,and constructive , exchange of views about European Air Power in the current world situation . After all, it is a tough neighbourhood out there, and it is only getting tougher!!!
 
F27Friendship
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Mon Aug 27, 2007 8:12 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 26):
But you cannot get away from the size and inventories of those I ranked above the Netherlands, the problems are political, all are democracies so subject to political change.

I apreciate your opinion, and you are right about the larger numbers the other air forces have, nevertheless, they score extremely lousy in deployability. When you look at the EU, we have 1,5 million personell in all armed forces summed up. 1% is deployable overseas (150,000 troops). The Netherlands has a total of 60,000 personell in their armed forces (not that big), but 33% (30,000) is deployable overseas. In other words, 20% of all deployable EU troops are Dutch.

I think the same goes for our air force. I do agree with you, that in 3-4 years time, Italy and Germany will have passed the Netherlands on the list, but we were discussing the situation today.

Quoting Hunterson (Reply 33):
With all due respect to all,
I fear that this conversation is turning into somekind of a joke, which is quite unfortunate, and certainly not what F27Friendship must have had in mind in the first place.

Thanks for your concern. I do agree we might want to bring the discussion a bit back to the air forces in stead of politics.
 
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SAS A340
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:17 pm

maybe we should make this list a little bit shorter? I,ve now seen 4 or 5 different lists. Some due to history,some to inventory ore what to come ore what they are capable of! I would set a top 3

#1 RAF
#2 GERMANY AF
#3 FRANCE AF

The rest could probably swap places among themselves on weekly basis.  bomb   Wink
 
F27Friendship
Topic Author
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:25 pm

Quoting SAS A340 (Reply 35):
maybe we should make this list a little bit shorter?

that's a negative. I started the topic as a top 10 on purpose

Quoting SAS A340 (Reply 35):
#1 RAF
#2 GERMANY AF

can you explain why you put the luftwaffe above the armee de l'air?
 
GDB
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Tue Aug 28, 2007 1:26 am

F-27, (and Hunterson), citing politics again I'm afraid, in my ranking in reply 26, had the French Presidential election this year gone the other way, I'd have put Germany above France.
To try and illustrate what my thinking was for that list.

Not about relative AF strengths and weaknesses I know, but politics is the force that drives the forces posture, both in equipment and deploy-ability.
So for me, 'top European AF's' does not just mean who has what in pure hardware terms.
 
NoUFO
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:32 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 32):
when German politicians say they cannot, if need be, go to a combat role in the country

They don't say so.
They already had agreed a combat role before and more than once. The actual argument was outlined here:

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 30):
Germany expanded its mandate more than once, whereas other NATO member countries contribute nothing at all.

Minister Jung does have an argument when he says that against the backdrop of Germany's very limited force projection abilities, the large number of soldiers already deployed across half the globe on behalf of other UN peacekeeping missions and the fact that Germans have basically no say over the strategy according to which German soldiers would be employed, it's now the duty of other NATO member countries to show a little more commitment, rather than nagging Germans to do more.

In addition, Germany would need a new mandate for Afghanistan and it's highly questionable if Bundestag would grant permission to go ahead and send forces into designated combat zones. Only here's were our history comes into play. But the same happened when former Chancellor Schröder put his (newly gained) career at stake when he requested combat forces (and keep in mind that he offered a couple of thousand soldiers to Pres. Bush, an offer the President rejected). So there's actually no difference in said reluctance; not one member of the parliament scanted 'Hurray, Germans to the front' in the direct aftermath of the horrid attacks.

And now, 2001 dates 6 years back. Six years of ongoing war with little perspective in the south have made many people think that we need a new and different strategy than "dropping smaller bombs". Hence, members of the parliament would demand detailed information on strategy, outlook and German involvement in command structures, and I doubt the majority will be pleased with what NATO has to offer here.

To claim Germany ranks low when it comes to 'being prepared to back up words with deeds' would only be justified had Germany vacate previously given promises, and you'll will be hard pressed to substantiate this claim, let alone that deeds are not always of military nature.

Quoting Hunterson (Reply 33):
I can understand people having a"soft spot" for different airforces of their choice,

I for one don't have soft spots for any air force, and I think the discussion is pretty civil.
 
hunterson
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Tue Aug 28, 2007 10:31 am

[ In reply to the "soft spot" issue, I do think that all of us have personal preferences, based on our own different criteria in measuring different performances, and assessing different capability profiles. This applies to everything in our lives, be it a style of music , or movie- making, or a sport, or indeed the performance of acertain weapon system, or an aircraft, or ,to that matter, the capability of an air force. Certainly there is nothing wrong with that, and I would quite proudly claim to have a huge "soft spot" for the RAF, for example.
However, I believe that to be quite different from turning what should be a serious, informed and constructive conversation about European Air power in our time and age into a joking exercise trying to score points, and telling us what great and glorious air forces nations like Estonia,Latvia and macedonia, amongst others , happen to have !
And this is at a time when brave young people are risking their lives doing their job, and performing their duties on our behalf all over the world.
I have all respect for nations which have chosen to keep a low defence profile, prefering instead to rely on their more militarily-capable allies, such as all the above-mentioned countries. But I also respect and admire those nations who are prepared to keep up their self-defence capabilities and pay for them whatever it takes. And I believe that countries like Sweden, Switzerland and Finland are a case in point here.
As for the discussion being civil, well , of course it is, otherwise we would not have been here taking part in it , would we?
 
F27Friendship
Topic Author
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:58 pm

Quoting Hunterson (Reply 39):
This applies to everything in our lives, be it a style of music , or movie- making, or a sport,

I guess this discussion can be, compared to the examples you mentioned, somewhat more objective. There are things you can measure here
 
GDB
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:35 am

NoUFO, I did say before that Germany was not the worst offender, I can think of two others in this case, they have a substantial presence in Afghanistan.
My point is really, peacekeeping as it is evolving in many cases, needs more flexibility, fewer caveats, 'if's and buts'.
If that means new legislation, so be it. It will be a help to the troops, whatever the circumstances
Have we learned nothing from the former Yugoslavia, where Europe massively failed in their own backyard?

However, if you look the sizes of some forces, their contribution to Afghanistan does not look good.
If it is the case that forces are deployed so much elsewhere, then it comes down to priorities.

As I alluded to before, pending improvements to sustainability, airlift, will of course change things, if it makes some more confident to do more, that's all to the good.
 
NoUFO
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:56 am

GDB,
The trouble I still have with your argument is that you focus on Afghanistan so much. If you say that some countries need 'to back up words with deeds', you have to take crisis regions across the globe into account, not only Afghanistan, and you'll find German troops in many places -despite very limited force projection abilities.

Quoting GDB (Reply 41):
If it is the case that forces are deployed so much elsewhere, then it comes down to priorities.

But Germany can not simply pull out of Kongo or Bosnia or Sudan without violating their mandate or without neglecting previously given promises and thus do what would qualify as "not backing up words".

Quoting GDB (Reply 41):
As I alluded to before, pending improvements to sustainability, airlift, will of course change things,

Yes and no. Germans will, for historic reasons, still be a lot more reluctant to deploy soldiers into combat zones than most other Europeans. Others have to accept that those feelings are no bush we hide behind; they really exist.
And, if Americans (first) and British (second) continue to consider command structures and strategies two hills which they have occupied, put a flag on and defend against their allies, then they don't make things easier.
 
GDB
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:07 am

Yes I do focus on Afghanistan, since a failure is effectively the end of NATO, quite apart from the other implications.

Some nations, Bangladesh for example, get of lot of vital foreign currency for their large commitment to UN peacekeeping, as time goes on, they of course get more experience of these missions too.
I think that the more traditional UN ops, should more and more be the territory of nations like this, they have the manpower, increasing experience, but for ops like Afghanistan, you need well equipped, first world nations.
That's what I mean by priorities, true it won't happen overnight.

Darfur is a disgrace, but here had a proper peacekeeping force been deployed sooner, (I guess Iraq meant two nations at least were busy elsewhere), that would be able not just to keep the peace, but enforce it, given the nature of the regime in Sudan, to really get anywhere here an aggressive posture would be needed-an example of what I mean by not the traditional UN role.
We've seen how they have refused, then delayed, then messed around the UN and the ineffective AU force, whole the innocents suffer.

The seeming excessive use of air delivered weapons in Afghanistan, in which a mistake killed 3 British troops last week, are largely driven by the sheer lack of manpower in the regions under heavy combat.
If not troops, then more helicopters, here Germany is not yet a prime candidate, not until more NH-90's at least are operational.
(Those new French AF Super Pumas, or whatever Eurocopter calls it now, fitted out for CSAR, would be a real boost. Not much chance of that, after even the small number of their SF troops in action there, were withdrawn presumably to avoid casulties during the recent election)

I for a long time on here, criticised the US turning down the offer of a large number of German mountain troops in Afghanistan in 2001.
But after what has happened with Afghanistan since 2006? You can perhaps understand it, again, despite the example, I do not see Germany as the main offender here, but with the experience of the former Yugoslavia, you can see what drove that refusal.
I do know that the US was partly culpable in the Former Yugoslavia at times, and so was the UK under John Major to a point (or rather his Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd).
It was however, Europe's backyard, we should have been grateful the US was prepared to involve itself at all here.

Europe's military in general, needs to excise these ghosts of the 1990's, Afghanistan is the place to do it.
Since in itself, a vital mission, a mission which NATO requested a major role.
Not the troops of course at fault, but their political leadership, you can hardly expect either the US or UK being leery of joint command structures.
The hard facts are, they have the most experience in these things and there is that issue of NATO nations proving themselves first.
 
hunterson
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon May 28, 2007 2:02 am

RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Sat Sep 01, 2007 12:54 pm

Perhaps it is time to go back to the basics.

From the outset this was supposed to be a debate about the "top ten European Air Forces", based , presumably, on a cool-headed and objective analysis of the facts, figures and factors affecting such a compilation, rather than some emotional,sentimental and sometimes irrational criteria used, or rather abused and misused to score a few silly and , ultimately meaningless and futile points.

The main issue here is who, from all the European nations, is prepared to foot the financial, political, social and strategic bill, rquired to build and maintain Armed Forces in general, and Air Forces in particular, which are willing and ready and capable of fighting a war , in a credible, sustained and and effective way whenever the need arises, and whenever they are called upon, before they have to hurry back to the "Good Old US of A", asking for urgent help and support ?

And which European nations, or governments, or political parties, or media outlets, or the "great and glorious movers and shakers of public opinion", would be prepared to risk their reputations and campaign on a platform of the need to maintain and develop a credible and viable war-fighting and self-sustaining defence capability, at some miniscule increase in tax-payers burden ?

And can anyone explain ,or justify, the painful, and in many cases inexplicble cuts which we have been witnessing for more than a generation now in the defence postures,both quantitavely and qualitatively, of ALL European Armed Forces, some of which have bordered on the ridiculous, on the assumption that WE have WON the " Cold War ", and that , as a result , there will never be a need for a sustainable and durable self-defence and war-fighting capability to spend on anymore ?

Maybe we should all take a deep breath and look at the state of our Armed Forces and military arsenals as they stand at the moment, and compare them to what they were 20 or 30 years ago ?

Or maybe we should remember how stretched, and thinly spread our forces are every time we call upon them to fulfill an operational requirement, or a crucial overseas deployment, even in the name of "Peace Keeping" or "Humanitarian Relief". Or shall we just say to ourselves : Let us wait for the Americans, and then we can join them and offer the obligatory token support, simply fqr PR purposes ?

Or even better, shall we just condemn the Americans as " trgger happy gung-ho cowboys " who are only after world domination, against the " Good Boys ", such as the Saddams, and the Ahmadi-Nejjads, and the Talibans, And the Hizbullahs, and the Bin-Ladens, and theTalibans, and the Kim Jong Ils, and the Hugo Chavezes, and ultimately all those loving, democratic, civilized, peacefull and mis-understood leaders of nations who want nothing in life but to be lleft alone in peace and harmony ?

Let us,for once, go back to the basics, and really think about what is the required measure in determinig the TOP TEN
list of European Air Forces, and which candidates are really worthy of that exclusive membership.
 
GDB
Posts: 15168
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Sat Sep 01, 2007 7:12 pm

I still stand by my first overall ranking, in reply 20;
1) RAF
2) French AF
3) German AF
4) Italy (actually not much between them and Germany).
5) Netherlands
6) Spain
7) Denmark
8) Norway
9) Greece
10) Turkey.

And the 'will to do it' list stays the same too;
1) UK
2) Netherlands
3) Denmark
4) Norway
5) Estonia
6) Poland
7) Italy
8) France
9) Germany
10) Spain

Again, I'm sure some will pick holes, like 'what about French aircraft in Afghanistan?'
But, as before, I'm trying to judge by a broader picture.

Despite what the press, and the often rather absurd opposition Defence spokesman says, since 2000, UK defence spending has first levelled out, now is in an upward curve.
Not by much, it's also true that the costs of new systems is as difficult to absorb as ever, as well as the forces being much more active than was ever envisaged 10 or even 5 years ago.
Even so, image how worse the cuts and strains would have been had not the Contingency Fund not being paying for much of the operations in Irag and Afghanistan.

Prior to this, defence spending in the UK, started to dip after 1986, three years before the Berlin Wall fell.
In fact, the boost of the early/mid 80's, was as part of a NATO agreement from 1978, for increases over the next several years, since it was felt that the USSR had reneged on detente and many of the provisions within that.
So the UK increase then, predated the government that took credit for it, but who also could not wait to start cutting it again after the NATO '3% agreement' lapsed.
Much greater cuts came-with cross party support, after 1989/90, the big failure in the UK at this point, was not to have a full scale Defence Review, to see what the likely future scenarios were, what is the appropriate equipment now and for the future etc.

A junior Defence Minister tried a modest position paper on this, in July 1990, with the focus of the ability to 'get to and reinforce the Bahrain Corridor'.
It caused an unholy stink, all those generals with their career paths built on the North German plain, those Admirals coming up through their expertise of Cold War anti sub warfare, they saw this kind of talk as a threat to their empires.
So what happened was a wishy washy, across the board, salami slicing 'Options For Change' review, no matter that indeed the 'Bahrain Corridor' area did need massive deployments, just a month after the paper was written.
Not until 1998, was there a proper post Cold War Strategic Defence review, imperfect, as ever not fully funded, but that was the genesis of the CVF project, that has recently got the green light-now try and get two 60,000 ton aircraft carriers in a defence programme 20 years ago-no chance!


The trouble with comparing forces now, and 20 years ago, is that most of them, certainly in the UK, true of Europe as a whole too, were only really good for fighting WW3 in Europe.
The RN was bigger, but with much less amphibious assets than it now has, the RAF had a large force of dedicated interceptors-not 'fighters'- the distinction is important, the much bigger strike aircraft fleet, shockingly, had very few PGM's, the Army a very powerful Rhine Army, but one that would have taken a very long time to move anywhere else, the RAF's transport assets for beyond NATO use, were less than now too.
If Saddam had not stopped, or not even stopped for long at Kuwait in 1990, he would have taken Saudi long before any meaningful forces from the UK and even the US were deployed.

Overall though, the Cold War was an anomaly, defence spending was lower proportionally in the UK, between the wars, compared to post Cold War.
This is when the UK still had the world's largest empire and navy.

The largest spending post war in the UK, was the rearmament linked to the UK's part in the Korean War, (as well as all the other worldwide responsibilities).
This caused a political crisis at home, caused ministerial resignations (over very minor pruning of the then new NHS), caused economic damage in an already fragile situation, (even with US Military Aid funds), was a factor in the final collapse of the Attlee government.

So the history of non world war surges in UK spending is not good, from a politicians point of view, and if the truth be told, from the view of the general public too.
That one was also in an era far more deferential, with conscription meaning much more of the public had first hand experience of the military, it was only 5 years after WW2 as well.

If that seems off topic, then it's just my way of trying to explain how decisions are reached,
 
hunterson
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:32 am

Replying to GDB,

I agree with most of what you said in you analysis, and I think you make quite a sound and convincing case on the general political and strategic level.

I still cannot believe that you place airforces such as Norway and Denmark, with their remarkably limited resources, above far more capable ( both qualitatively and quantitativly) airforces, such as those of Greece and Turkey.

Can you please explain your criteria, or is it just the usual North/ West Europe v/s South/East Europe bias?

Look at the facts and figures, as well as the politics and the history and I am sure you will reach a different conclusion.
 
GDB
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:58 am

That's why I did a separate 'will/operational experience' list too!
But I know I also rated the Southern European AF's lower in my 'general' list too.
Until I see Greek and/or Turkish AF aircraft in action, the same way that those of smaller Northern European AF's are, I think that ranking is fair.
Being fair still, I think the Turkish AF has done some 'out of area' stuff.

I said from the start, that I did not regard size of fleet, or if one has more shiny new stuff than another, as just the only factors.
Greece in particular, has been rapidly modernising, but this process takes time to bed in, those shiny new later model F-16's, more capable than the MLU upgraded ones from other NATO AF's in theory, would not go straight into a deployment right after delivery from the US, as an example.

In my first post on this thread, I pointed out that size and pure inventory were not everything, as I mentioned before in passing, the size of the RAF Tornado IDS fleet, 20 years ago, looks most impressive compared to today.
But the only PGM's they then had, were a few 1970's Paveway early model LGBs, which needed some of the Buccaneer force-when not doing their primary maritime strike role, to designate for them, using the daylight/clear weather Pave Spike only lasers.

ALARM was coming, the 1991 Gulf War brought it into service early, as well as two prototypes of the TIALD pod.
But in 1987, the weapons of the RAF Tornado force, were mostly 'dumb' 1000lb bombs and the specialised JP233 anti runway, non stand off, mine dispenser.
Even with the available weapon options on the market, in service then, this was shocking.

AF's doing regular, out of area, operational deployments, will have the edge, while the plethora of mods, add ons, that RAF strike aircraft had to get before being deployed, first in 1991, to a lesser extent for later ops, was done quickly, it does point to the work needed to go from a peacetime force-even within the NATO context, to an operationally demanding role.

But in the scheme of things, my 'lower ranking' AF's are still among the top AF's in the world, it's all relative really!
 
deltadc9
Posts: 2811
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RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Thu Sep 13, 2007 3:55 am

Quoting SAS A340 (Reply 35):
#1 RAF
#2 GERMANY AF
#3 FRANCE AF



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 36):
can you explain why you put the luftwaffe above the armee de l'air?

Thats the way I see it too. Additionally, one thing to keep in mind is interoperability with US forces, which IMO gives Germany a one up. Another is training, which IMO Germany is better trained.

Quoting GDB (Reply 45):
And the 'will to do it' list stays the same too;

Very interesting.....
 
hunterson
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon May 28, 2007 2:02 am

RE: European Air Forces Top 10

Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:04 pm

This whole exercise seems to have turned into some kind of a competition in wishful thinking , not to mention jingoistic and emotionally-driven nit-picking.
Please, Please, Please...Let us get back to our senses, and let us remember the facts and the figures, as well as the politics, ecnomics, strategies and histories.
This is not about who has got the latest mark of this type of aircraft, or the most recent upgrade of that fighter. Of course that is important, but it certainly is not the whole picture. Otherwise, the Saudi Air Force would now rank amongst the top five in the world, thanks to its amazing arsenal of turn-key top- of the range equipment_ 75 F-15 Eagles, 72 f-15E Strike Eagles, 96 Tornado IDS, 48 Tornado ADVs, E-3 AWACS , KC-707 and KC-130 tankers, not to mention 72 soon to be ordered Eurofighter Typhoons.
Is that the case ? Of course not. Or what about the UAEAF, with its 60+ F-16/ Block60 and 36+ Mirage-2000/9s , armed with long range Storm Shadow and Al-Hakim ASMs? Are they also ,according to this definition, in the top league ?
Certainly not.
As for the German Air Force ( of which I have always been a huge admirer ), I must say that there is no way I can see it above the French Air Force...Not in combat experiense, nor in qualitative or quantitative parameters. And when it comes to the so-called " will ", well, can anybody please tell me when was the last time the German Air Force fired its guns in anger since 1945 ?

There are European Air forces which have fought gallantly and honourably whenever the need called upon them to do so, and there are European Governments who have demonstrated the will to spend and build and maintain and even use their Armed Forces and Air Forces , even at the expense of a few votes in the next general elections . We all know who they are, so let us give credit where credit is due. After all we all know that defence is an expensive and more than often a rather un popular business !!!

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