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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:47 am 
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Talking of which the Hunter seems to be a fairly popular aircraft now for threat simulation duties.

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:11 am 
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Bernard Woolley wrote:
Talking of which the Hunter seems to be a fairly popular aircraft now for threat simulation duties.

Not surprising; its solid, reliable, at the bottom of the depreciation curve, cheap to run and reasonably docile. It's a sort of Mr Average. If it was a car, it would be a favorite with driving schools. There's also quite a few of them.

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:38 am 
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I've read somewhere that it is cheaper to operate than the BAe Hawk.

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:15 am 
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Bernard Woolley wrote:
I've read somewhere that it is cheaper to operate than the BAe Hawk.


Isn't it also the case that it's got enough engine power to fit a decent amount of telemetry to, and that it's been around for so long it is cleared for a surprising amount of different ordnance types so using it for different duties (DACT, A2G trials) doesn't take much work?

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:24 am 
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I expect so. The ex-Swiss AF Hunters were extensivley modernised in the, IIRC, '80s. They have a lot of airframe life left and can carry a lot of different weapons.
Of all the operators, Hawker Hunter Aviation also has an Su-22 and a Buccaneer. I'd love them to get a contract that needed them to use those two aircraft. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:58 am 
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Bernard Woolley wrote:
I expect so. The ex-Swiss AF Hunters were extensivley modernised in the, IIRC, '80s. They have a lot of airframe life left and can carry a lot of different weapons.
Of all the operators, Hawker Hunter Aviation also has an Su-22 and a Buccaneer. I'd love them to get a contract that needed them to use those two aircraft. :D

The way I understand it, effectively the Hunter doesn't have airframe limitations. They do of course but they are so long that the aircraft could be flying for decades before it becomes a problem. The Buccaneer, on the other hand, is a problem. The last ones in RAF service were getting life-expended and IIRC one of them came apart in midair over Red Flag due to that. The Su-22, well, its not the sort of aircraft one wants to have flying overhead. It might get sociable and drop in for a visit.

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:46 pm 
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IIRC the Buccaneer that came apart at Red Flag was back in the '70s. The RAF grounded the entire fleet for major work to be done on the fleet. The Buccaneers did, however, need a major rebuild at around the time they were retired in 1994.

HAA do mention that in terms of airframe life their Buccaneer is 'relativley young'. Knowing the CAA HAA will have had to prove that neither the Bucc, or the Fitter are likely to 'drop in' on anyone. It does mention on their website what regulatory approvals the company does have at the moment.

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:53 pm 
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Besides the US services, how many countries maintain a dedicated aggressor force?

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:32 pm 
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Bernard Woolley wrote:
IIRC the Buccaneer that came apart at Red Flag was back in the '70s. The RAF grounded the entire fleet for major work to be done on the fleet. The Buccaneers did, however, need a major rebuild at around the time they were retired in 1994.


It was in 1980. The entire Buccaneer force had to be grounded and by the time a full structural evaluation was done, only sixty were considered worth repairing and they needed a lot of work. The other problem they had was that they never got the electronics upgrade they needed. When the last ones went in 1994, they still had what the USAF considered a "pre-Vietnam" EW fit supplemented by Vietnam-era pods.

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HAA do mention that in terms of airframe life their Buccaneer is 'relativley young'. Knowing the CAA HAA will have had to prove that neither the Bucc, or the Fitter are likely to 'drop in' on anyone. It does mention on their website what regulatory approvals the company does have at the moment.

Do remember than the HAA site is selling their services. However, they are a very reputable and prestigious group so we can be reasonably sure that their aircraft are as well maintained as is possible. I used to have a report on the Su-22s flying habits. I'll try and dig it out.

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:21 am 
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It's pretty common to look back through British post-war aviation history to see aircraft go through service without the upgrades they needed. Often because for all of their service they were seen as a 'stop-gap' (Lightning), or were the RAF's third choice (Buccaneer).
I believe there was a plan to give the Buccaneer a major upgrade but the end of the CW intervened. I've also read that at one point there was a plan to turn a dozen Buccaneers stored at RAF St. Athan into 'Wild Weasal' type aircraft.

IMVHO a Buccaneer with Tornado electronics may well have been an excellent aircraft.

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:55 am 
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Bernard Woolley wrote:
It's pretty common to look back through British post-war aviation history to see aircraft go through service without the upgrades they needed. Often because for all of their service they were seen as a 'stop-gap' (Lightning), or were the RAF's third choice (Buccaneer). I believe there was a plan to give the Buccaneer a major upgrade but the end of the CW intervened. I've also read that at one point there was a plan to turn a dozen Buccaneers stored at RAF St. Athan into 'Wild Weasal' type aircraft. IMVHO a Buccaneer with Tornado electronics may well have been an excellent aircraft.

A part of the problem was that the British tended to design their aircraft "tight", that is the minimum airframe that they could wrap around the desired engine, crew etc etc. This mean that modifying them was an "interesting" and expensive exercise. The problem was more a volume issue than a weight one but one of its effects was that placing new equipment within an existing airframe was more an issue of "where can we put it" rather than "what is the best place for it". With EW equipment where the placing of the antennas etc is critical, that can be a real issue. Its notable that the most successful British aircraft designs (the Hunter and the Canberra) were actually designed quite loose with room for additional equipment. I also get the feeling that British designers used to create the aircraft's structure first and then fit the mission equipment around it. They weren't unique in that of course, the Mirage III series was notoriously difficult to upgrade a since its internal volume was already tightly packed,

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:21 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
I also get the feeling that British designers used to create the aircraft's structure first and then fit the mission equipment around it. They weren't unique in that of course, the Mirage III series was notoriously difficult to upgrade a since its internal volume was already tightly packed,

That was a common complaint from the RAF evaluation teams at the time - the airframers didn't understand the weapon system concept, and instead would design an aircraft with the required performance and cram in whatever electronics would fit.

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:30 pm 
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I suspect that the Tornado might well have been the first aircraft the RAF operated that used the weapon system concept.

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:51 pm 
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Bernard Woolley wrote:
I suspect that the Tornado might well have been the first aircraft the RAF operated that used the weapon system concept.

Even so, it was very badly cramped inside and upgrading it wasn't easy. Installing (one particular) piece of kit involved fitting the antenna forward, running the signals to a processing box in the tail and then taking the product forward to the rear cockpit.

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:57 pm 
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Bernard Woolley wrote:
I suspect that the Tornado might well have been the first aircraft the RAF operated that used the weapon system concept.

Being cynical I'd suggest that the JSF will in fact be the first aircraft to use it. Certainly there was a very long time between the RAF asking for aircraft using the concept and them not complaining that they aren't getting it.

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:07 am 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
Bernard Woolley wrote:
It's pretty common to look back through British post-war aviation history to see aircraft go through service without the upgrades they needed. Often because for all of their service they were seen as a 'stop-gap' (Lightning), or were the RAF's third choice (Buccaneer). I believe there was a plan to give the Buccaneer a major upgrade but the end of the CW intervened. I've also read that at one point there was a plan to turn a dozen Buccaneers stored at RAF St. Athan into 'Wild Weasal' type aircraft. IMVHO a Buccaneer with Tornado electronics may well have been an excellent aircraft.

A part of the problem was that the British tended to design their aircraft "tight", that is the minimum airframe that they could wrap around the desired engine, crew etc etc. This mean that modifying them was an "interesting" and expensive exercise. The problem was more a volume issue than a weight one but one of its effects was that placing new equipment within an existing airframe was more an issue of "where can we put it" rather than "what is the best place for it". With EW equipment where the placing of the antennas etc is critical, that can be a real issue. Its notable that the most successful British aircraft designs (the Hunter and the Canberra) were actually designed quite loose with room for additional equipment. I also get the feeling that British designers used to create the aircraft's structure first and then fit the mission equipment around it. They weren't unique in that of course, the Mirage III series was notoriously difficult to upgrade a since its internal volume was already tightly packed,


The SAAB J35 was another, and the 1st generation Harrier (but for different reasons).

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:30 am 
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The pieces to the puzzle may be starting to fall into place. This production facility in the US would likely produce some of the parts for a Gripen Aggressor bought by the US.


Quote:
SAAB OFFERS U.S. BASED PRODUCTION CAPABILITY FOR T-X TRAINER AIRCRAFT

PRESS RELEASE
18 September 2017
Defence and security company Saab together with Boeing are competing to win the tender process to supply the United States Air Force with an advanced trainer aircraft. Saab will establish manufacturing and production capability in the United States for the T-X advanced trainer aircraft, should the Boeing and Saab solution be selected.
Developed in partnership with Boeing, the T-X advanced trainer can provide a new highly capable training solution for the United States Air Force, USAF. Saab has started the process to evaluate and identify potential locations for production.
“The Boeing and Saab T-X is designed and purpose built for the USAF training mission, so we believe that the entire aircraft, including our part, should also be manufactured in the U.S.” states Håkan Buskhe, President and CEO of Saab AB. “Saab has already invested in the development of the T-X Advanced Trainer aircraft and if Saab and Boeing win, Saab will carry that commitment a step forward into manufacturing and production in the US.”
“The United States is a strategic market for Saab and the company plans for continued growth in the country. The establishment of this type of production capability in the U.S. would be another step forward in Saab’s objective to grow its national presence and to create strong organic capabilities for the development, manufacturing and sales of its products”, continues Håkan Buskhe.
The final choice regarding location for production in the U.S. would be made based on what best serves the needs of the program as well as Saab’s own long-term strategy for growth.
The establishment of a new production capability would add to Saab’s presence in the U.S. which includes solutions for radar and sensors, signature management, training and simulation, and support services as well as for high resolution 3D mapping, air traffic management and homeland security. Saab currently has seven operations in four states and the District of Columbia.
Boeing T-X is a training system designed specifically for the U.S. Air Force training mission. If Boeing and Saab win the competition, T-X will replace the service’s fleet of aging T-38 aircraft. An award is expected at the end of this year. :ugeek:

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:41 pm 
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Micael wrote:
The pieces to the puzzle may be starting to fall into place. This production facility in the US would likely produce some of the parts for a Gripen Aggressor bought by the US.

One of the advantages that Saab have is that they're putting Gripen back into production anyway for the Brazilian order - the company I work for makes some of the sub-systems, and I was actually looking at one of those today in fact. We've been told that in the event that they get the T-X contract to expect our subsystem to be used with few or no changes (cost reductions only). That means the engineering costs are already paid for by the Brazilian order, and they're going to be able to come in quite a lot cheaper than anybody else. This is likely to be where the renewed Gripen sales push is coming from too - they've only got a hot production line for a short period of time, and want to make the most of it while it's available.

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:08 pm 
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pdf27 wrote:
Micael wrote:
The pieces to the puzzle may be starting to fall into place. This production facility in the US would likely produce some of the parts for a Gripen Aggressor bought by the US.

One of the advantages that Saab have is that they're putting Gripen back into production anyway for the Brazilian order - the company I work for makes some of the sub-systems, and I was actually looking at one of those today in fact. We've been told that in the event that they get the T-X contract to expect our subsystem to be used with few or no changes (cost reductions only). That means the engineering costs are already paid for by the Brazilian order, and they're going to be able to come in quite a lot cheaper than anybody else. This is likely to be where the renewed Gripen sales push is coming from too - they've only got a hot production line for a short period of time, and want to make the most of it while it's available.

Well, the Gripen itself has never been out of production. As far as I can tell the current Saab plan is to have the C/D and the E remain in production side by side on the same production line in Sweden and have the E/F in production in Brazil.

There are likely a few more C/D orders close to being signed and a few more likelies a bit further down the road. The E/F I suspect will also see more orders, the current hottest candidate is probably Finland but that's naturally far from a given deal, India is interested but the market there is very complex and hard to predict. There is a fairly good likelihood that there will be more E/F sales to Sweden in the coming years as well so I think they can keep going for a while.

Since Saab has also admitted that they have a team working on a next generation fighter design I think the basic idea is to keep the Gripen in production until the new design is ready to enter production. That's naturally dependant on sales continuing to be closed for the Gripen.

Not sure if you're able to answer but, is the sub-systems your company deliver only intended for the Brazilian E/F models or the Swedish ones as well?

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 Post subject: Re: Gripen Aggressor
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:24 pm 
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Micael wrote:
Not sure if you're able to answer but, is the sub-systems your company deliver only intended for the Brazilian E/F models or the Swedish ones as well?

It was originally provided for the very first Gripen aircraft, and has been fitted to all of them since then. We haven't manufactured any for some years however (~10), so a number of suppliers and components are no longer available and as a result Saab are paying us a tonne of money to restart production and requalify the system where appropriate - the man-hours we're spending on it is well into 7 figures. Any production aircraft built since we supplied the last system will have been using stored parts from a last-time buy prior to production being shut down.

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