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Royal Norwegian Air Force news and discussion

This is a discussion on Royal Norwegian Air Force news and discussion within the Air Force & Aviation forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; This thread is being opened to be a General Discussion thread on the Royal Norwegian Air Force. Following the closure ...


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Old November 12th, 2008   #1
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Royal Norwegian Air Force news and discussion

This thread is being opened to be a General Discussion thread on the Royal Norwegian Air Force. Following the closure of other threads that touch upon the RNoAF, make sure that when posting, one properly supports a position taken with accurate and relevant facts. Considered debate does not consist of fitting facts to ones viewpoint, rather it is to develop a viewpoint based upon facts.
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Old November 13th, 2008   #2
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Wink Royal Norwegian Air Force

Some time ago I wrote a letter to the Aftenposten English news page on the web in response to the first paragraph quoting Espen Barth Eide. My views on the subject have not changed as regards the F-35, however the SAAB Gripen is the only competitor now and it would not surprise me if Norway were to go the Swedish route. Something to get this thread started and quite topical in view of other threads such as a Nordic Alliance, something which I do not think will happen.

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''Espen Barth Eide, State Secretary in the Ministry of Defense statement in your paper, ''A small country like Norway cannot afford more than one type of fighter aircraft. Unlike larger countries, we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of having specialised single role planes," is quite right. So, it is extremely important that the choice of fighter aircraft for the Luftforsvaret/Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) is the correct one for the following reasons; militarily, politically and monetary''.



The RNoAF F-16's has many roles to fulfil, Air Defence, Air Surveillance and Escort duties (for Russian aircraft and other interlopers), Maritime Strike, Ground Attack, Close Air Support and Reconnaissance and so it follows, that if the new fighter requires the same or better capabilities then the choice must be carefully made.



The JSF program is currently attracting a great deal of attention. The cost is rising and it's hard to find a specific projected cost figure (http://www.armedforces-int.com/news/...ion-mark.asp); also as an aircraft in development it still has a long way to go before it is operationally ready so it is sure that the final cost per aircraft will have substantially changed by the time it reaches the squadrons.



JSF is stealthy but only carries 2 x 2000lb bombs and 2 x AMRAAM air to air missiles in its specially designed internal weapon bays in the version that Norway is considering, the CVOL (Conventional Take Off and Landing). If you hang additional weapons or fuel tanks under the wing then the aircraft it is not stealthy which is most of it's attraction. JSF probably would not be able to carry out all the roles that are currently filled by RNoAF F-16's without carrying external weapons/pods/tanks.



JSF will be full of new technology but I have seen it reported that export JSF aircraft will not be of the same equipment standard as US aircraft, hardly attractive if true.



JSF seems to me to be a first strike ground attack weapon with a self defense capability, but Norway never strikes first, only defends the Homeland, unless we include Squadron 338 of the NATO Reaction Force at Ørland Main Air Station which operates under NATO command when deployed.



Stealth will not last forever, even as I write this scientists in other countries will be searching for ways to counter it and a way will be found eventually.



If Norway were ever attacked (Heaven forbid) what use would JSF be carrying just 2 air to air missiles in a stealthy configuration whereas the F-16 can carry at least 6 air to air missiles and therefore has much more combat persistence.



Do I seem to be anti JSF? No, not a bit, it will serve very well in those forces that mount expeditionary operations, against terrorist targets and in first strike situations, in my opinion I don't think it's ideal for Norway or Denmark for that matter, not unless both countries decide to increase their contributions to NATO and Coalition operations abroad.



So, what are the alternatives?



1. New build, latest version F-16's, the basic infrastructure to support such aircraft is already in place although I expect changes would have to be made as the F-16 is continually going through a modernisation process. Another advantage is that they may be relatively cheap to buy.



2. SAAB JAS 39 Gripen Next Generation fighter. The Swedish fighter is such an attractive option although it has only just made it's first demonstrator flight. It will be full of modern technology with a brand new state of the art radar, but not yet, the full up version will not be ready until 2015. Reports suggest that the version now flying has acquitted itself very well in Air Defence exercises, carries a useful air to ground weapon load, has a good data link system and can easily cope with Northern Hemisphere operations. Furthermore should Norway venture into a Scandinavian Alliance with Sweden which I have seen spoken about in the press then it would be a definite advantage for all members to operate the same weapon system.



3. Eurofighter Typhoon. Eurofighter had withdrawn from the fighter competition but some reports suggest that it has been called back in - I hope so. Typhoon would be my fighter of choice for Norway, it's in squadron service, has just achieved multi role capability with the Royal Air Force, carries a very impressive air to air and air to ground weapons load, it's built to last, it's performance envelope in all regimes of flight is very impressive, reputedly runs rings around F-16's and F-15's (as it should do) and is an immensely powerful aircraft well suited to look after the SU-27 and SU-30's of your Russian neighbours. The technology in Typhoon is very modern and more will follow. Typhoon provides a powerful, versatile, heavyweight punch to those who operate it and it is European. Typhoon will fulfil all the roles that your current F-16's carry out but it will do so with a much greater capacity and weapons persistence.
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Old November 13th, 2008   #3
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Newbuilt F-16's or Typhoon's is not an option, the norwegian parliament will have to choose between the Gripen or the F-35.

When flying counter air - Why would you carry bombs?

As part of its spiral development, it is expected that F-35 Block 4(the version that Norway is considering) will be able to accomodate 6 AIM-120's internaly. Furter development should allow for more than 8 JDRADM as it becommes available. The weaponbays is huge!! If need be, you can always carry eight more AAM's externaly as well.

Using the total number of AAM's it can carry as a deciding factor seems a bit odd and "Carlo Kopp-ish"!
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Old November 13th, 2008   #4
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I believe Gripen NG can reach 80 percent of F-35s capability, way ahead of future Ryssian and chines platforms.

but Gripen is more cost effective easy to maintain. for small countries.

Gripen have made a quantom leap away from Gripen C and the C version is still state of the art and will be around for many many years thanks for the supreme uppgrade path SAAB offer their customers.

F-35 will be an overall better platform, but "the best" is not always the "the best"

second.
Gripen wins 2 out of 3 main factors, prise and offsets, and will probably have 80 per cent of F-35 overall capability.

for small countries like Norway and Denmark. yes Gripen NG is by far the best option. but thats my person opnion. what ever they choose. they will end up with some cool stuff
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Old November 14th, 2008   #5
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JSF is stealthy but only carries 2 x 2000lb bombs and 2 x AMRAAM air to air missiles in its specially designed internal weapon bays in the version that Norway is considering, the CVOL (Conventional Take Off and Landing). If you hang additional weapons or fuel tanks under the wing then the aircraft it is not stealthy which is most of it's attraction. JSF probably would not be able to carry out all the roles that are currently filled by RNoAF F-16's without carrying external weapons/pods/tanks.
That is a baseline configuration used by L-M to show the aircraft's performance and range capabilities. It is a "representative" multi-role loadout and basically similar to the loadouts carried by legacy combat aircraft in multi-role configurations.

It is NOT representative of an F-35 configured for ATA combat. L-M has already confirmed in the documents they have submitted to Norway for their replacement fighter project that the F-35 WILL carry 4x AMRAAM or a mix of AMRAAM and BVR weapons (such as Block II AIM-9X, ASRAAM or other weapons with "lock on after launch" and ejector carry capability) in ATA configuration, from Block 3 jets onwards.

Block 4/5 jets WILL have the capability to carry up to 6x AMRAAM missiles internally. Greater internal carriage with new missiles (JDRAAM etc) is also being explored. It is entirely possible that up to 8x wingless JDRAAM type missiles will be carried internally in later block aircraft.

The F-22 can carry 3x AMRAAM missiles in each of it's "big" internal bays. The F-35A's internal bays are deeper, longer and wider than the F-22's AND has a 2500lbs rated hardpoint AND an ejector rail per bay. Why anyone thinks these bays can NOT hold as many, if not more missiles, than the F-22 is beyond me.

It is simply an engineering challenge to create the necessary ejector technology. Such a challenge was overcome to allow the F-22 to carry 8x internal missiles. That it can't apparently be done on an F-35 too (with the aforementioned bigger internal bays), seems like a VERY weak argument to me.

Don't believe what you read in newspapers. Read what L-M has actually promised Norway.

http://norway.usembassy.gov/root/pdf...rt-1_dista.pdf

As to the idea that the F-35 is not "stealthy" when carrying external weapons, what a load of shite. What external weapons, rails/ejectors and hard points will do, is increase the F-35's radar cross section somewhat. The Infra-Red signature and the emissions control features of the aircraft will not be altered one whit, by external weapons carriage. (UV reflection perhaps?)

What does this mean? A threat aircraft "may" get an extra 10k's or so detection range as compared against a full VLO F-35. How often in reality, will this truly matter? The F-35's detection range advantage would hold even if it WASN'T a VLO aircraft. The APG-79 radar as fitted to the Block II+ Super Hornet is rated by many as THE most capable fighter sized fire control radar in the world and the APG-81 as fitted to the F-35 will be a generation BEYOND this radar system. The idea that the US lead in AESA radar systems will be overtaken by the time the F-35 is in-service is most unrealistic in my opinion. The F-35 will also have the benefit of EOTS/DAS system which NO other fighter in the world will possess.

EOTS/DAS will provide a 360 degree IRST system. The F-35 won't even need to bother with maneuvering at the "merge" with "over the shoulder" missile shot capability (with ASRAAM).

However VLO and non-VLO aircraft options, open up intriguing possibilities tactics wise. How keen to prosecute an engagement is an enemy going to be when "F-35's" start "popping up" on their radar system? Might Norway be smart enough to include "sleeper" VLO aircraft in their mission packages to start killing enemy aircraft whilst the "visible" F-35's are lighting up the enemy?

That F-35 only "intra-flight" data-link has to be useful for something, doesn't it?

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JSF will be full of new technology but I have seen it reported that export JSF aircraft will not be of the same equipment standard as US aircraft, hardly attractive if true.
And those reports are 100% true. Lucky Norway is not contemplating buying "export" F-35's though, because it is a partner nation. "Export" F-35's will be delivered to those who buy the aircraft (as Finland is now interested) but who didn't join as an SDD partner.

In any case, no-one EVER gets an aircraft of the same exact standard as the US. What foreign Countries get is an aircraft that meets their requirements. Not necessarily the USA's requirements. Radar and EW modes, for instance are usually somewhat degraded. LO features are likely to be degraded somewhat in the F-35 too.

Of what concern is this though, provided the aircraft still meets Norway's requirements? As an example, Norway's F-16's right now are NOT as capable as USAF ones. Does that mean the whole Norwegian F-16 fleet should be scrapped?

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JSF seems to me to be a first strike ground attack weapon with a self defense capability, but Norway never strikes first, only defends the Homeland, unless we include Squadron 338 of the NATO Reaction Force at Ørland Main Air Station which operates under NATO command when deployed.
Absolute rubbish. It is a multi-role strike fighter. Thanks to LO, and it's radar, EOTS/DAS system and USABLE (ie: not hindered by drag incurring external weapons, sensors and fuel) aerodynamic performance, it is likely to prove superior in the ATA role, to ANY aircraft in the world, besides the F-22.

Another interesting thing the "anti" JSF brigade have come up with recently, is the apparent susceptibility of the AMRAAM missile (which variant of course is not actually mentioned) to off-board jamming (particularly DRFM based systems).

I find it amazing how this is an issue for the F-35, but not for the F/A-18 A/B/C/D Hornets, Super Hornets, F-15, F-16, F-22, SAAB Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon, Kawasaki/L-M F-2, RAF F-3 Tornados and upgraded F-5 variants, that ALL use the AMRAAM as their primary BVR ATA missile system.

Truly amazing... What is even more amazing is that despite the fact that this weapon is SO susceptible to Israeli made jammers, the Israeli's themselves use AMRAAM as their primary ATA weapon.

Seems a bit incongruous doesn't it?

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Stealth will not last forever, even as I write this scientists in other countries will be searching for ways to counter it and a way will be found eventually.
Which is why, thank god, the F-35 can be upgraded. Just like ANY other aircraft.

However answer me this.

Are you more likely to survive in a reduced radar cross section aircraft, against new "anti-stealth technology" or in a legacy aircraft WITHOUT a reduced radar cross section?

On top of this, this argument is a non-sequitor. VLO aircraft can be tracked at present. There are several technologies that have done so already. Australia's JORN "over the horizon" radar system is reportedly one of them.

However there is ALL the difference in the world between detecting a VLO aircraft and actually guiding a weapon near enough to the aircraft to kill it.

Unless the sky gets smaller, IRST systems are ALWAYS going to have to be cued into the right area of the sky to "see" a VLO aircraft. On top of which, IRST systems are ALWAYS going to have limitations because of weather conditions (unless Norwegian pilots can see through cloud) and the need to employ a laser range finder, because IRST has limitations with range finding.

ESM will only ever work if an F-35's radar, communications (voice and data) are detectable. Thus it presents an on-going battle between an F-35's Emcon (Emissions control - radar, radio, on-board jammers etc) and the defenders ESM (Electronic support measures - systems designed to "harvest" electronic signals). Even then, the ESM is only useful for cueing other systems.

Which leaves radar. Now the limitations of the other detection methods are well known, which is why VLO aircraft currently employ so much effort to reduce the aircraft's radar cross section.

Radar's MIGHT become more powerful, meaning the F-35 can potentially be detected further away, which means it again comes down to an on-going battle of whose radar is more powerful and whose weapons have a longer reach.

Two other problems then present themselves however. Even IF a more powerful radar CAN detect an F-35 further away, the weapons employed to destroy said F-35, are not going to have the same capability. The tiny radar in an actively guided missile can only detect a target from a few kilometers away. That is why any good active guided missile has a two way data-link to the launching aircraft, because without the data-link to the launch aircraft, when an active AAM is launched at extreme range the missile is effectively "fired blindly" towards the target, until it gets close enough that it's own tiny radar can detect and track the target. A VLO aircraft has obvious utility against such a low powered radar system.

Because on-board electricity generation/storage capacity and radar size are constrained within an ATA or SAM, (because of the small size of the missile's airframe) the likelihood of radar power overcoming VLO measures on an aircraft is VERY low, in the forseeable future.

The other problem with such high powered radar systems has already been mentioned. ESM. ESM is a two-way street. The more powerful a radar the more likely it is detectable by an ESM capability. The F-35 will have an EXCELLENT ESM capability. You can bet your house on that.

Given that the detection range of ESM is conservatively guesstimated (because such things are classified) at possessing an effective range of roughly double that of the most powerful fighter fire control radars, I'm certain an F-35 pilot would LOVE his opponents attempting to employ the world's biggest, most powerful radar against his F-35.

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If Norway were ever attacked (Heaven forbid) what use would JSF be carrying just 2 air to air missiles in a stealthy configuration whereas the F-16 can carry at least 6 air to air missiles and therefore has much more combat persistence.
I think I've already addressed that above... It wouldn't be much use, which is why the F-35 can and will carry more than 2.

Quote:
Do I seem to be anti JSF? No, not a bit, it will serve very well in those forces that mount expeditionary operations, against terrorist targets and in first strike situations, in my opinion I don't think it's ideal for Norway or Denmark for that matter, not unless both countries decide to increase their contributions to NATO and Coalition operations abroad.
It will serve very well for ANYONE who buys it. They will receive the most capable multi-role fighter aircraft ever built.

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So, what are the alternatives?
Less capability.


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1. New build, latest version F-16's, the basic infrastructure to support such aircraft is already in place although I expect changes would have to be made as the F-16 is continually going through a modernisation process. Another advantage is that they may be relatively cheap to buy.
And offer increasingly diminished returns against the investment as the years go by. By 2025, legacy fighter aircraft will offer marginal capability against the threats at that time. (IMHO).

Quote:
2. SAAB JAS 39 Gripen Next Generation fighter. The Swedish fighter is such an attractive option although it has only just made it's first demonstrator flight. It will be full of modern technology with a brand new state of the art radar, but not yet, the full up version will not be ready until 2015. Reports suggest that the version now flying has acquitted itself very well in Air Defence exercises, carries a useful air to ground weapon load, has a good data link system and can easily cope with Northern Hemisphere operations. Furthermore should Norway venture into a Scandinavian Alliance with Sweden which I have seen spoken about in the press then it would be a definite advantage for all members to operate the same weapon system.
But think of what Norway would bring to the table in a Scaninavian Alliance with the F-35? A VLO strike fighter capability. Sweden already has an advanced Gripen capability. A few more planes isn't going to add much more to that.

Quote:
3. Eurofighter Typhoon. Eurofighter had withdrawn from the fighter competition but some reports suggest that it has been called back in - I hope so. Typhoon would be my fighter of choice for Norway, it's in squadron service, has just achieved multi role capability with the Royal Air Force, carries a very impressive air to air and air to ground weapons load, it's built to last, it's performance envelope in all regimes of flight is very impressive, reputedly runs rings around F-16's and F-15's (as it should do) and is an immensely powerful aircraft well suited to look after the SU-27 and SU-30's of your Russian neighbours. The technology in Typhoon is very modern and more will follow. Typhoon provides a powerful, versatile, heavyweight punch to those who operate it and it is European. Typhoon will fulfil all the roles that your current F-16's carry out but it will do so with a much greater capacity and weapons persistence.
But against - it ain't a VLO strike fighter.

It's withdrawn from the competition and from what I've read from the Eurofighter Consortium is unlikely to re-bid.

It's likely to be much more expensive.

It's vaunted performance is hinded by the need to carry heavy external stores. A clean aircraft can do all sorts of wonderful things. It just can't take part in combat.

With the types of loads you've probably seen (5-6x 2000lbs bombs, 3x external tanks, a Litening AT pod and 3x AMRAAM missiles) which give it that "weapons persistence" it won't be "running rings" around anything performance wise and it's RCS will be enormous.

But, each to their own...
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Old November 14th, 2008   #6
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Since this thread seems to refer to not just the purchase of new fighters jets but also other aspects of our Glorious Air Force:

Right now Norway considers to operate only one air base in the future. I am wondering if this is a good idea, in particular if facing a potential foe with VLO missiles and perhaps even VLO planes? Imagine: Year 2025, a ship sailing in international waters just outside Bodø, then suddenly and without prior warning firing several salvos of stealthy cruise missiles targeting Bodø air base. Will the NASAMS II succeed in intercepting all those stealth missiles? If the answer is No, then what use does the grounded F-35 (or Gripen) have?

Facing an enemy with stealth weapons, would it be better to rely on a distributed approach? Norway has some 70 paved runways and another 30 unpaved, some of which could probably be paved. In a critical situation, one could start to distribute the few aircrafts to some of them -- moving at night making it difficult for the enemy to track them and determine at which airports they would be at any time. Or even better: Fly some of them to Sweden and Denmark.

It would of course not make it possible for Norway to "win" a military conflict against Russia (that would be impossible in any case) however it would make the price of attacking Norway much higher, and hopefully an attack would never happen.

For instance, if Russia had to attack a large number of civilan airports in addition to the one military, the political cost would be much higher, and perhaps the chances of NATO engaging would increase dramatically (compared to a limited strike on a single military installation -- probably after several provocations and a long propaganda war)

Being a complete amataur my example probably looks very naive -- I hope the experts will forgive me and take this more as a starting point for a discussion. Please suggest changes in the above scenario or another more realistic scenario as you see fit.


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Old November 16th, 2008   #7
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"Block 4/5 jets WILL have the capability to carry up to 6x AMRAAM missiles internally. Greater internal carriage with new missiles (JDRAAM etc) is also being explored. It is entirely possible that up to 8x wingless JDRAAM type missiles will be carried internally in later block aircraft."



When will we exactly see those Block 4/5 upgrades?
Long after 2018 or?
I hope sooner than later, A2A(stealth)mission with 4x AIM-120C-7 internaly and 2x AIM-9x on the wing tip isn't that great in my opinion.

Why, because who know what nasty radars Russia will R&D in 10-15 years from now..

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Old November 17th, 2008   #8
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"Block 4/5 jets WILL have the capability to carry up to 6x AMRAAM missiles internally. Greater internal carriage with new missiles (JDRAAM etc) is also being explored. It is entirely possible that up to 8x wingless JDRAAM type missiles will be carried internally in later block aircraft."



When will we exactly see those Block 4/5 upgrades?
Long after 2018 or?
I hope sooner than later, A2A(stealth)mission with 4x AIM-120C-7 internaly and 2x AIM-9x on the wing tip isn't that great in my opinion.

Why, because who know what nasty radars Russia will R&D in 10-15 years from now..
the block 4/5 is the one Norway will get. and if i remember correct Norway will get 2 a month from 2016 to 2018..

why dont you think thats great? is far better than previously blocks.

one thing to remember. no platform is perfect. and compared to your F-16 its pretty damn good because you still have the wings..
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Old November 17th, 2008   #9
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and compared to your F-16 its pretty damn good because you still have the wings..

??? The missile still has wings - they are conformal and pop out when ejected.

thats why you can pack and stack more missiles - and not carry them externally where they disrupt the platforms signature footprint even further.

it's actually the same tech thats used for all up cannister launches - so it's proven technology (and has been for over 8 years) on various launch systems.
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Old November 17th, 2008   #10
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??? The missile still has wings - they are conformal and pop out when ejected.

thats why you can pack and stack more missiles - and not carry them externally where they disrupt the platforms signature footprint even further.

it's actually the same tech thats used for all up cannister launches - so it's proven technology (and has been for over 8 years) on various launch systems.
whats your point?

what i meant was, when needed - you still have the ability to carry external load. in other words, - your payload is not limited to the internal bay.
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Old November 17th, 2008   #11
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whats your point?
My point was I obviously did not interpret your response as it has now so clearly been explained

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what i meant was, when needed - you still have the ability to carry external load. in other words, - your payload is not limited to the internal bay.
Thanks, and don't get testy - it's not a useful tool at this point in time.

If you have a need to continue your point of view you can PM me - but it's all done in here.
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Old November 17th, 2008   #12
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the block 4/5 is the one Norway will get. and if i remember correct Norway will get 2 a month from 2016 to 2018..

why dont you think thats great? is far better than previously blocks.

one thing to remember. no platform is perfect. and compared to your F-16 its pretty damn good because you still have the wings..

I was refering to the block 3 witch is in the preproduction stage now..

Another thing, how will they accommodate the extra 2 missile(Internal)?
Enlargen the Fuselage even more?
That would not be good for RCS.
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Old November 18th, 2008   #13
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EOTS/DAS will provide a 360 degree IRST system. The F-35 won't even need to bother with maneuvering at the "merge" with "over the shoulder" missile shot capability (with ASRAAM).
A missile burn out in ~4-7 seconds, which means that a paraglider can both out-manouver and out-run that missile if it had to make a U-turn to begin with.
I'm surprised you dont know/understand the issue of energy in ATA.


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In any case, no-one EVER gets an aircraft of the same exact standard as the US. What foreign Countries get is an aircraft that meets their requirements. Not necessarily the USA's requirements. Radar and EW modes, for instance are usually somewhat degraded. LO features are likely to be degraded somewhat in the F-35 too.
I believe the shape will be the same, it wouldn't make economic sense to build two sets of bodies, but the current and future "paint" will be kept in USA if it is the latest and greatest discovered. Radar and EW modes will also differ as you said.
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Of what concern is this though, provided the aircraft still meets Norway's requirements? As an example, Norway's F-16's right now are NOT as capable as USAF ones. Does that mean the whole Norwegian F-16 fleet should be scrapped?
It is not a concern. To my knowledge, only USAF has LO as requirement worldwide.
Norway may in fact be better off doing away with LO, special paint, and its costly and time consuming maintenance altogether.
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Old November 18th, 2008   #14
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I was refering to the block 3 witch is in the preproduction stage now..

Another thing, how will they accommodate the extra 2 missile(Internal)?
Enlargen the Fuselage even more?
That would not be good for RCS.
Block 3 wouldn't be in production when Norway takes delivery and if F-35 is the choice. It'll be block 4/5 and possibly 6.
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Old November 18th, 2008   #15
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Originally Posted by stigmata View Post
A missile burn out in ~4-7 seconds, which means that a paraglider can both out-manouver and out-run that missile if it had to make a U-turn to begin with.
I'm surprised you dont know/understand the issue of energy in ATA.
The missile is pointed before primary burn.

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Originally Posted by stigmata View Post
I believe the shape will be the same, it wouldn't make economic sense to build two sets of bodies, but the current and future "paint" will be kept in USA if it is the latest and greatest discovered. Radar and EW modes will also differ as you said.
F-35 uses adhesive films and some radar absorbent materials, not paint.

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Originally Posted by stigmata View Post
It is not a concern. To my knowledge, only USAF has LO as requirement worldwide.
If there was a VLO requirement, Norway wouldn't be able to have a competition. Thus the entry level treshold is set low.

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Originally Posted by stigmata View Post
Norway may in fact be better off doing away with LO, special paint, and its costly and time consuming maintenance altogether.
The secret about modern VLO is not the materials themselves - it's the affordable manufacture and maintenance.

Gripen NG is the only non-VLO fighter that will enter service in the West after the F-35.

Because with increasingly sophisticated detection and kill methods, stealth is set to increase its importance on the ground, in the air and on/under the sea.
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"Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the world, eh?"
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