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TripleDelta
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:16 pm

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 49):
Those Phantoms must be older than the F-16s and could be the same age as their MiG-21s.

As per the local news, the CroAF's operational -21s are generally 1975-78 vintage (though there are a couple from the early 80s lying around, but these have been deemed to be beyond repair by MiG techs). How old are the German Phantoms anyway? The mid-80s keep floating in my mind, but I'm far from certain on that...

While it is a very good aircraft for the money, I personally am of the belief that the F-4 is just "too much aircraft" for Croatia - basically more of an overkill than even the Typhoon. And while I've always been an advocate of twin engines when operating over extended coastal areas with sparsely-located airbases, the Phantom just comes with too much "operational baggage" - including, but not limited to, quite a thirst   (then there's also the question of the backseaters: training them would involve yet more expenses and operational changes - even though the upshot would be that it'd get more low-time pilots back up in the skies).
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:39 am

The F-4's would bring a nice capability in the AMRAAM's that it is fitted to utilise, but is a BVR missile needed for the 'air policing' mission that the Croatia AF does? I think that the age, fuel consumption (feeding twin J79's), and maint/operating costs would make this a cost-prohibitive A/C to fly for a cash-strapped Air Force.

In an *ideal* world (yes, I am surely dreaming here   ) I should like to see the mighty USA donate a squadron of early F-16's to Croatia and help 1) the USA rid themselves of surplus airframes sitting at KDMA and 2) help the Croatia AF get a reasonably modern and capable light fighter!


*edit* Auugh, I just re-read TripleDeltas post from Feb where he addressed this situation. My apologies, I had forgot about your post when I made this post!

[Edited 2011-03-21 23:42:26]
 
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:31 pm

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 50):
How old are the German Phantoms anyway? The mid-80s keep floating in my mind, but I'm far from certain on that...

According to Wiki, the first F-4Fs were delivered to the Luftwaffe in '75-'76.

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 50):

While it is a very good aircraft for the money, I personally am of the belief that the F-4 is just "too much aircraft" for Croatia - basically more of an overkill than even the Typhoon. And while I've always been an advocate of twin engines when operating over extended coastal areas with sparsely-located airbases, the Phantom just comes with too much "operational baggage" - including, but not limited to, quite a thirst

A pity that the RAF do not intend to resell the Tornado F3s they're retiring.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tornado.ze342.arp.jpg

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2011/03/22/354597/video.html

Quote:
"The UK Royal Air Force will stand down its last Panavia Tornado F3-equipped unit on 22 March, with the type having completed a service life spanning 25 years.

[.....]

'From the 1980s, the F3 has been the cornerstone of the RAF's air defence capability,' says Wg Cdr Mark Gorringe, officer commanding 111 Sqn. In addition to having protected the UK since providing its first period of QRA cover from Coningsby in Lincolnshire in 1986, periods of duty over Bosnia and Iraq also followed.

The aircraft also helped to police the no-fly zones over Iraq between 1999 and 2003, logging over 5,000 flight hours, and provided air defence cover for the Falkland Islands for many years.

Developed from the Tornado GR1 ground-attack aircraft, the air defence variant (ADV) used more powerful Rolls-Royce RB199 turbofan engines, had 600kg (1,320lb) of additional internal fuel and a Foxhunter fire control radar. Problems with the latter led to an early batch of F2-standard aircraft being delivered from 1984 with only ballast in the nose, earning the nickname 'Blue Circle'.

[.....]

Despite the teething problems encountered early in its career, Gorringe says the type's final configuration, which combined the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System with Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM and MBDA ASRAAM air-to-air missiles, made it 'a very capable platform'.

The RAF's last Tornado F3s will be flown to its Leeming base by 31 March, where they will be broken down - or 'harvested' - to provide spares for the service's Tornado GR4 fleet. Four of its remaining aircraft took part in a media day staged at Leuchars on 17 March, performing several formation flypasts."



Apart from being younger, those air defence variants could be more suited to the CroAF's requirements.



[Edited 2011-03-22 09:32:02]
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:45 pm

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However, their variable wing geometry and complexity will be expensive operation and maintenance liabilities.
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TripleDelta
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:02 pm

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 52):
A pity that the RAF do not intend to resell the Tornado F3s they're retiring.....

It too is an excellent and very capable aircraft - but as an interim type for the CroAF it still suffers from some of the same "problems" that plague the Phantom... most notably the backseater. While there would be no shortage of candidates for the role (with many low-time fast jet pilots just waiting to get back in the air), the whole concept of a two-man crew has the potential to cause more problems than it's worth.

Namely, all combat fixed-wing aircraft that the CroAF had ever operated were single-seaters, and all the crews were trained accordingly; that is, to basically to manage their aircraft themselves, without outside assistance. With the Phantom or Tornado, you'd have a second guy telling you "what to do" - and this would involve a lot of communication and effective information sharing. And, as I'd witnessed and heard from my instructors during my Multi-Crew Coordination course, for a seasoned single-seater pilot the transition is not always smooth.

Of course, this issue is not insurmountable by any means, and given a bit of time - and the crews' ever-present elan to master the challenge - I'm certain this would eventually become a non-issue. But, the question is whether the CroAF would even bother with this, given the relatively short time these aircraft would be in the fleet - and the overwhelming possibility that whatever comes next will be a single-seater again.

From my armchair general perspective, an ideal interim type would be a light (and ergo economical) twin-engine single seater - for example an A model Hornet. It's a tough, durable and proven design, just the right size, doesn't burn as much as a Phantom, but still has that twin-engine safety - and, last but not least, is far more salt-resistant than comparable land-based aircraft, something that is much appreciated when operating from the coast  .
Hawkeye: "It doesn't make any sense."
Radar: "Well, none of it makes any sense. You just have to send in the right number of forms." - MASH 4077
 
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:08 pm

Tornados, F-16s, F-18s ??

Really, the Croatian AF needs such aircraft? For what? If I were Croatian, I would be very angry if the government spent its limited financial resources on sophisticated jet fighters. How about something more modest, and much less expensive, like the BAE Hawk or the Italian AMX?
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:29 pm

Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 55):
Tornados, F-16s, F-18s ??

Really, the Croatian AF needs such aircraft? For what? If I were Croatian, I would be very angry if the government spent its limited financial resources on sophisticated jet fighters. How about something more modest, and much less expensive, like the BAE Hawk or the Italian AMX?

The key issue here is air policing - and given the size of Croatia, you need something that can climb quickly and still be able to carry a missile or two. A LIFT Hawk would be, by most accounts, an excellent solution; but could it both climb and fly fast enough to intercept an airliner before it leaves Croatian airspace? As a "standalone solution", this option carries with it the real possibility that you'd end up with an aircraft that can't do its job - and having to pay someone else to do its job for it  .

I've also thought along similar lines, and have mentioned in a previous thread on the topic that a good compromise could be an armed M-346 (or, latterly, the T-50): you'd get an agile, advanced transsonic trainer that can climb quickly and carry light munitions - just enough for its intended mission. But the question here is how much would such a solution cost - and more critically, how close would its price come to that of the significantly more capable Gripen (for example)?  
Hawkeye: "It doesn't make any sense."
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:46 pm

I really think those bisons ought to be a good interim solution. As with many temporary solutions, they later may become permanent.
 
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:55 am

If air policing is the task, would a sub/transonic trainer really do the job? Intercepting incoming aircrafts in time might be difficult if you lack good climb performance and high top speed.
 
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:34 pm

Quoting TGIF (Reply 58):
If air policing is the task, would a sub/transonic trainer really do the job? Intercepting incoming aircrafts in time might be difficult if you lack good climb performance and high top speed.

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The KAI T-50 is claimed to be capable of supersonic flight with a touted top speed of 1.4-1.5 Mach. Four prototype F/A-50 fighter attack variants are supposedly due next year.....

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...ght-attack-fighter-prototypes.html

Quote:
"South Korea has asked Korea Aerospace Industries to develop a prototype of a light attack version of its T-50 advanced jet trainer, with a production contract likely to be awarded after the aircraft has been tested by the nation's air force.

Under the 400 billion won ($306 million) contract, KAI will upgrade four T-50s to the F/A-50 standard and deliver them to the South Korean air force by 2012. It then expects the service to order around 60 F/A-50s for delivery from 2013 to replace its ageing Northrop F-5s, and to eventually buy up to 150 of the type."
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:45 pm

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 54):
It's a tough, durable and proven design, just the right size, doesn't burn as much as a Phantom, but still has that twin-engine safety

Why do you put so mch emphasis on the "safety" of a twin engine when countries with a very similar geographic profile to that of Croatia, namely Norway, Thailand and Sweden seem to do just fine with a single-engined aircraft?
 
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:02 am

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 60):
Why do you put so mch emphasis on the "safety" of a twin engine when countries with a very similar geographic profile to that of Croatia, namely Norway, Thailand and Sweden seem to do just fine with a single-engined aircraft?

For two main reasons: firstly, while the countries you've mentioned do have significantly longer coastlines than Croatia, they do not have nearly as much islands - islands which can be some distance away from the coast (with honorable mentions to Gotland). So if you wanted to police such an area, you could very well stick to the coastline, or a few miles out to sea; and should your engine quit for any reason, you can be sure you can make land easily. Conversely, if you wanted to patrol the "outer" Croatian islands, you could have a problem: while these islands are not that far from the coastline - the furthest one is just 70 km from the mainland - that's far enough for a combat jet with a poor glide ratio (as demonstrated by the dozens of single-engine jets lining the Adriatic seabed).

The second issue is that there are very few runways on the coast - and none on the islands - that can accept a single-engine fighter in an emergency. The only runways remotely usable are PUY, RJK, ZAD, SPU and DBK - half of which are so busy during the summer that it would take far more time to clear all traffic than the stricken aircraft would have left. So even if it sticks close to the coast, in any emergency requiring an immediate landing a single-engine jet would be left with preciously few options...
Hawkeye: "It doesn't make any sense."
Radar: "Well, none of it makes any sense. You just have to send in the right number of forms." - MASH 4077
 
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:48 am

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 49):
Another offer.....this time, F-4s from Germany.....

A few more details on this have surfaced recently (no doubt spurred by the ASDA Defense Exhibition currently "in progress" at Split): though nothing yet is fully official, it is said that there is a real possibility that Germany will donate there aircraft to Croatia, and that the Geman government had already made this proposition to the Croatian government.

The article in the news which had brought this up also states that this offer does not carry with it the obligation to eventually buy Typhoons, but is merely a "helping gesture of a NATO ally".
Hawkeye: "It doesn't make any sense."
Radar: "Well, none of it makes any sense. You just have to send in the right number of forms." - MASH 4077
 
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:19 pm

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 62):
though nothing yet is fully official, it is said that there is a real possibility that Germany will donate there aircraft to Croatia, and that the Geman government had already made this proposition to the Croatian government.

The article in the news which had brought this up also states that this offer does not carry with it the obligation to eventually buy Typhoons, but is merely a "helping gesture of a NATO ally".

This BBC News article talks precisely of such arrangements - as you also had in Reply 47.....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11888443

Quote:
"Practices such as loans, credits and even donations are used all over the world, says Paul Holtom, director of the Arms Transfers Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

He points out that the US, the ultimate leader of the weapons market, has special funds to help its clients buy US arms, including military aid to the Middle East.

Donations to other countries to be used for arms purchases usually come with a catch: you get your systems now, but then you will have to pay for future upgrade, modernisation and training and to purchase replacement parts."


   No such thing as a "free lunch".   

Anyway, to inject some levity for tomorrow's observance, mayhaps these two might be joined by the remainder of the 20 Dassault F1s....

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(with at least a pair of two seaters for training) that Malta could auction off to defray parking and storage costs.  

Just a slight problem.....how do they sneak through the "no-fly zone"?   



[Edited 2011-03-31 10:35:54]
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:46 pm

The F/A-50 could perhaps do the job since it is not classified a sub/transonic trainer. Personally, I'd still go for a real fighter though.
 
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:16 am

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 63):
No such thing as a "free lunch".

Indeed; fresh reports from the morning newspaper state that, in response to the German offer, SAAB too is willing to donate a couple of older Gripens (the article mentions "Swedish or Hungarian examples", which I presume would be A/Bs in the former case, and C/Ds in the latter... at least when their lease agreement expires   ). In return, Germany and Sweden are asking for rights to use the coastal Zemunik airbase (ZAD) for exercises - much in the way the Luftwaffe uses the Decimomannu airbase on Sardinia.

On the face of it, the tradeoff doesn't sound half bad. There's ample space on ZAD's military aprons (which are near-empty even at the best of times  ), and the local economy as a whole could benefit greatly from month-long deployments of foreign crews. However, there are two major issues here that could be potential showstoppers: the first, and most direct, is noise. While ZAD itself is some distance from the city of Zadar, all takeoff paths leading from it in any direction cross residential and tourist areas - and often at lower altitudes. And we'd heard numerous complaints by both tourists and residents of being woken by MiG-21s taking off from ZAD and PUY, so a fleet of 10+ Gripens or Tyhoons and Tornadoes surely won't go down well.

The second issue could have greater repercussions. Namely, Germany and Sweden are offering 10+ aircraft for free - aircraft which they'd paid, maintained, flown and sunk tons of funds into (especially Sweden) - just for a few square kilometers of tarmac and permission to fly in training zones which are in regular use. The price and reward seem to be quite disproportionate, which makes one wonder about the quantity of fine print attached to the whole deal...
Hawkeye: "It doesn't make any sense."
Radar: "Well, none of it makes any sense. You just have to send in the right number of forms." - MASH 4077
 
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:20 am

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 65):
in response to the German offer, SAAB too is willing to donate a couple of older Gripens (the article mentions "Swedish or Hungarian examples", which I presume would be A/Bs in the former case

Assuming it's not an April 1st prank, how useful would two old frames be? Both must be part of the 66 JAS-39A/Bs they had been trying to dispose of for a long time now.

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 65):
and C/Ds in the latter... at least when their lease agreement expires

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Doesn't the HunAF plan on renewing the lease? If not, new lease terms ought to be more favorable.   

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 65):

On the face of it, the tradeoff doesn't sound half bad.

Well, the other half could be good.   

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 65):
Sweden are offering 10+ aircraft for free - aircraft which they'd paid, maintained, flown and sunk tons of funds into (especially Sweden) - just for a few square kilometers of tarmac and permission to fly in training zones which are in regular use.

Then, those are not really free.

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 65):
The price and reward seem to be quite disproportionate, which makes one wonder about the quantity of fine print attached to the whole deal...

The CroAF cannot be too hasty. A big magnifying glass might be required.   


In the spirit of the day...the Colonel's birds look positively more appealing compared to the F-4s, about the right number, widely used, meet the flexible, lightweight, gas-sipping(?) if not the twin-engine criteria...and for an interim solution, uniquely matched to the air policing mission....and possibly the budget too, sans the strings. If only those were available, not grounded or extensively cannibalised (per Wiki, 12 were contracted for refurbishment) to let the others fly and make the daring duo's trip to Malta possible.   
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:35 am

How about the UAE Mirage 2000's? Or even French examples for that matter...
 
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RE: Croatian AF To Possibly Stick With The MiG-21?

Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:09 am

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 66):
Assuming it's not an April 1st prank, how useful would two old frames be? Both must be part of the 66 JAS-39A/Bs they had been trying to dispose of for a long time now.

I meant "a couple" as an undefined smaller number - presumably in the 8-12 range - rather than just two aircraft  .

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 66):
Doesn't the HunAF plan on renewing the lease? If not, new lease terms ought to be more favorable.

I'd heard rumors last year that the HunAF was not overly satisfied with the Gripen, and were thinking of going for something else when the lease expires... how much truth - if any - there is to this is open to discussion... maybe some of our Hungarian members could shed some light on the issue  .

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 66):
Then, those are not really free.

I should have phrased that somewhat differently in my previous post: what I meant to say is that Sweden/Germany are not asking for exclusive use of ZAD, but the rights to visit occasionally and operate from the base alongside the Croatian AF. Even though no information is currently available on whether the visiting AF would participate in ZAD's maintenance, an arrangement like this could very well bring an overall profit to Croatia: you get good, solid aircraft for free, in return for which you give a foreign air force partial use of your under-used facilities - and then to top it all off, they come and bring dozens of crews and support staff that need to be fed with local food, and thirsty combat jets that need to be fueled by local fuel... it sounds too good to be true. Hence I personally am even more apprehensive of the fine print that would be involved...

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 67):
How about the UAE Mirage 2000's? Or even French examples for that matter...

Dassault did offer the 2000 during the cancelled fighter tender of a few years back... but apart from that, nothing had been heard from them...
Hawkeye: "It doesn't make any sense."
Radar: "Well, none of it makes any sense. You just have to send in the right number of forms." - MASH 4077

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