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appropiate technology for poorer nations

This is a discussion on appropiate technology for poorer nations within the Military Strategy and Tactics forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; I will start with a few examples. Uganda has bough Su-27 fighter jets from Russia. Obstensibly to counter the Mig ...


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Old August 17th, 2012   #1
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appropiate technology for poorer nations

I will start with a few examples. Uganda has bough Su-27 fighter jets from Russia. Obstensibly to counter the Mig 29 jets from South Sudan. Now as best as I can tell Uganda has no real issues with South Sudan so why buy the Su27s? I guess the air force people said they had a 'need' (read essential) requirement to counter the Mig 29s. My hypothetical question is what would have happened if they bought no jets.

No doubt they would save a small fortune in capital costs, operating costs, maintenance costs etc etc. My guess is costs over several years would be several hundred million dollars.

My assertion is that these jets were not needed. Yes maybe south sudan has jets and Uganda does not, but does that have to be an issue. Diverting millions of dollars to these jets means that less money gets spent on roads, healthcare, education, agriculture etc etc. End result thousands of additional deaths from things like malnutrition, TB etc etc.

The main threat to Uganda has come from guerilla forces, LRA etc. The appropiate air power for such opponents is light planes (COIN), even off the shelf Cessna 172s as reconaisance, cheap strike aircraft, like a modern Hs 123 Biplane, or a modern IL-2 russian ground attack aircraft

When these large jets are sold, money goes from poor countries to rich countries. Additionally they can generally only get a handful in the air at any one time (if any at all) because modern jets need a lot of maintenance. Additionally with such purchases bribes and corruption are common place

Ethiopia used russian jets against eritrea in the 1990s, and lost. In my view they would have been better off with hundreds and hundreds of WW2 era biplanes,(seriously), but no, they bought the glossy fast jets... and lost

South Africa bought 26 Gripen fighters from BAe, plus Hawk trainers (total cost 4.8 billion dollars) These planes cost multiples of the other alternatives. Also, take a look at the map, is there a fighter jet within a thousand miles to threaten South Africa, no. Their strategic safety from enemy jets is better than almost any other country on earth (maybe NZ and Iceland excepted)

My understanding is that there have been allegations that BAe paid llegal commissions. Now only a handful of the Gripens are airworthy. The Air force wanted a dual training and attack aircraft (the alphajet) which was also much much cheaper. The billions of dollars spent on these planes could have been used for antiretroviral medications for those with HIV in South Africa. Because this was not done 350,000 south africans died unneccessarily.

For me, I would have thought the welfare (non-death) of 350 thousand south africans was more important than having a dozen Gripens available at any one time, which have no threat within a 1000 miles. (do the BAe Hawks of Botswana pose a threat to south africa?) I have not even gone into the BAe deals with Saudi Arabia (the figure I read was 6 billion dollars in 'commissions'). Please dont get me wrong, I am not against BAe, what I am getting at is that when poor countries buy flash military equipment it diverts money from programs that save thousands of lives. Sometimes they would be better off with less flash equipment that they can afford to maintain

link - no money to fly Gripens
What is Happening in South Africa: No Cash to Fly Gripens

link - south africa to reopen investigation for 1999 arms deal
BBC News - South Africa reopens 1999 arms deal investigation
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Old August 19th, 2012   #2
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I see the point about the fast jets the grippens would be good if they were been deployed to back up African union forces on operation in say Somalia or maybe UN missions but AFAIK they are not in fact very few if any African nations deploy serious air assets outside of their national borders South Africa is not a poor country just a badly run one it had quite a capable defence industry because of the sanctions imposed by apartheid so you would have thought it would have had a good stable of affordable equipment to sell to other nations on a budget
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Old August 19th, 2012   #3
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The 1st post set the context for this thread.

IMO, there are no easy answers to the question posed. Every country have their own defence needs and go about fulfilling it in their own way.

Whilst the point about HIV deaths in South Africa vs high-end MRFs is valid, similar arguments can be made for many countries with significant defence outlay.

For example, the US military spends hundreds of billions every year, whilst the country has the largest public debt on earth and the unemployment rate has been above 8% for several years already. With the Atlantic and Pacific oceans on either side, and no military threat to its homeland, does the US need to spend such vast sums on its military?

Contrast that with the Europeans, who for the 1st time in modern history are not facing any external military threats. And in light of the tight national finances, European countries have decided to cut defence spending so as to put their public finances in order.
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Old August 19th, 2012   #4
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I will start with a few examples. Uganda has bough Su-27 fighter jets from Russia. Obstensibly to counter the Mig 29 jets from South Sudan. Now as best as I can tell Uganda has no real issues with South Sudan so why buy the Su27s? I guess the air force people said they had a 'need' (read essential) requirement to counter the Mig 29s. My hypothetical question is what would have happened if they bought no jets.
The Mig-29’s belong to Sudan (north), not South Sudan. Uganda and Sudan have been waging proxy war against each other since 1990, so it was not an idle threat. South Sudan was only formed in 2005.
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My assertion is that these jets were not needed. Yes maybe south sudan has jets and Uganda does not, but does that have to be an issue. Diverting millions of dollars to these jets means that less money gets spent on roads, healthcare, education, agriculture etc etc. End result thousands of additional deaths from things like malnutrition, TB etc etc.

The main threat to Uganda has come from guerilla forces, LRA etc. The appropiate air power for such opponents is light planes (COIN), even off the shelf Cessna 172s as reconaisance, cheap strike aircraft, like a modern Hs 123 Biplane, or a modern IL-2 russian ground attack aircraft.
Uganda only had to fight guerrilla as proxy forces for Sudan because their conventional defenses were sufficient to deter direct attack. Without that defense things probably would have gone much, much, worse, both in Uganda and South Sudan. Sudan still funds the Lords Resistance Army to bedevil both countries.

As for “ a modern Hs 123 Biplane, or a modern IL-2 russian ground attack aircraft”, the biplane is too slow and unarmored to survive in the presence of mass ground fire from automatic weapons. The IL-2 would be a good choice, but where are you going to get some? It is not like they were recently being manufactured.
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South Africa bought 26 Gripen fighters from BAe, plus Hawk trainers (total cost 4.8 billion dollars) These planes cost multiples of the other alternatives. Also, take a look at the map, is there a fighter jet within a thousand miles to threaten South Africa, no. Their strategic safety from enemy jets is better than almost any other country on earth (maybe NZ and Iceland excepted) .
There are up to 20 jet fighter or attack aircraft in Namibia and up to 40 in Zimbabwe. Both are just next door.
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Old August 21st, 2012   #5
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HI My2cents

Some good points you brought up there

My mistake in thinking the Su 27s for Uganda were to deter the Mig 29s of South Sudan, it seems they were purchased earlier to deter Mig 29s when Sudan was one nation.

A little anecdote, many many years ago, when Sudan was about to get its independence, the South did not want the British to go, because they did not feel an afinity with the more muslim north. However the British wanted to keep on good terms with President Nasser of Egypt (this did not last long as the Suez incident wsa to show), and hence supported a single nation . The southerners kicked the muslims from the north out (well actually they killed them), then asked the british to come back. The British repsonded by saying they would come back and then they filled their transport planes with fighters from Nothern Sudan and flew south. Anyway, that is all much much in the past now.

As to South Africa, I have no arguement with them having jet fighters, I think they can afford them, however the dual training/fighter aircraft in the Alphajet would have been more appropiate and additionally cost less than half. The 350,000 avoidable deaths from HIV is a true figure, more to do with president Mbeki's pride and stubborness in not admitting the problem (to me this is a big number,, especially if it was one of your freinds or relatives that died). South Africas defence budget seems to be between 1 and 2 percent of GDP, which seems reasonable as they have massive economic, health, housing and social issues to deal with. If however there was some insurgency say 10 years from now, they seem to lack the affordable COIN aircraft to deal with them well.

Forgot about Zimbabwe, apparently they have some F-7 fighters from China (licence produced Mig 21s), I would be doubtful given how well Zimbabwe has stuffed up its economy if many of those are airworthy today though. Zimbabwe also has some Cessna 02A Skymasters and some Aermacchi F-260 look like much more suitable aircraft for their needs. My reference to Hs123s and IL2s was because I could not be bothered to look up modern COIN aircraft like the Rockwell Bronco etc etc. I think that the airforce of Tanzania has about 8 aircraft total. I was looking at the airfroce of Papua New Guniea and at first glance it seemed that almost every sinlge aircraft was non-serviceable (I think they had one that was working)

Another little anecdote, I read that when Zanzibar became independant (became part of Tanzania) it spent a lot of money building the worlds largest outdoor swimming pool, in a swamp. It promptly sank as it was heavy and made of concrete. When Mozambique became independant there were less than ten college graduates in the entire nation, no wonder why good governance there was relatively scarce.

Another little anecdote,, probably does not belong in this forum,, but anyway. There are two opthamologists in Zambia, one of whom is the minister of health. There is a big issue with poor countries spending a small fortune training up local doctors, for them to be poached by countries like Australia, where they can earn many multiples more (my apologies for going off topic here)

I have read some good news lately about some african nations that are slowly getting their act together. The Ethiopian economy is doing very very well (some very good investment opportunites for those interested... no joke,,, very good country to invest in). Kenya is still hobbled by massive corruption (not feeling optomistic about that nation)

The LRA is no longer in Uganda (the YouTube film Get Koni was out of date in that respect), why they had so much trouble 'taking out' a band of a few hundred fighters armed with only small arms is beyond me. If it were me, I would have invested in scores and scores of light aircraft, and continually harass and harass the LRA. The LRA is an organisation with few positive attributes, apart from being good at killing, kidnapping and raping, it does not and has not had few if any redeeming features.

My main point is that most armed conflicts in poorer nations are guerillas whose aim is to destabilise the economy and government, as opposed to all out war between nation states. In my opinion when it comes to fighting insurgent groups larger numbers of propeller driven attack aircraft are more suitable than a few jets which cost a fortune to run (600 dollars an hour vs 16,000 dollars an hour), and are usually out of service. I have zero issue with nations with advanced economies buying jets.
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Old August 21st, 2012   #6
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Forgot about Zimbabwe, apparently they have some F-7 fighters from China (licence produced Mig 21s), I would be doubtful given how well Zimbabwe has stuffed up its economy if many of those are airworthy today though. Zimbabwe also has some Cessna 02A Skymasters and some Aermacchi F-260 look like much more suitable aircraft for their needs.

As to South Africa, I have no arguement with them having jet fighters, I think they can afford them, however the dual training/fighter aircraft in the Alphajet would have been more appropiate and additionally cost less than half.
Sure wouldn’t want to take an Alphajet up against an updated Mig-21, Zimbabwe is having them overhauled in Israel. And you cannot depend on them have lousy maintenance to give you victory, especially if they use one just back from that overhaul.
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The 350,000 avoidable deaths from HIV is a true figure, more to do with president Mbeki's pride and stubborness in not admitting the problem (to me this is a big number,, especially if it was one of your freinds or relatives that died).
It wasn’t Mbeki not admitting it was the problem, it was his insistence that it could be solved with folk remedies and refusal to allow the importation of antiviral medications. And he had the money (at least on paper, wouldn’t surprise me if it had disappeared into someone’s overseas bank account), and huge discount offers from the manufacturers, and the UN’s AIDS organizations begging for permission to supply them at even bigger discounts.
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South Africas defence budget seems to be between 1 and 2 percent of GDP, which seems reasonable as they have massive economic, health, housing and social issues to deal with. If however there was some insurgency say 10 years from now, they seem to lack the affordable COIN aircraft to deal with them well.
That percentage is low for an active defense budget, and made worse by corruption and the military being used as a jobs program for his cronies. As you have noted, most of the Air Force is grounded. I imagine the Army is not much better with the officers stealing it blind. They don’t even participate in the various peace keeping missions that other African nations do.

The real problem is the Navy. Apparently they cannot keep more than one patrol boat at sea at a time, and the subs have not left the dock in over a year due to lack of trained crews. I can understand the subs being of limited use, but the patrol boats main responsibilities are preventing piracy and policing the fisheries in their economic zone, both extremely important economically.
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My reference to Hs123s and IL2s was because I could not be bothered to look up modern COIN aircraft like the Rockwell Bronco etc etc.
The Rockwell Bronco hasn’t been manufactured since 1995, and few remain airworthy. Current alternative include T-6B Texan II, A-67 Dragon and EMB 314 Super Tucano.
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A little anecdote, many many years ago, when Sudan was about to get its independence, the South did not want the British to go, because they did not feel an afinity with the more muslim north. However the British wanted to keep on good terms with President Nasser of Egypt (this did not last long as the Suez incident wsa to show), and hence supported a single nation . The southerners kicked the muslims from the north out (well actually they killed them), then asked the british to come back. The British repsonded by saying they would come back and then they filled their transport planes with fighters from Nothern Sudan and flew south. Anyway, that is all much much in the past now.
Uhm … there must be something missing, that doesn’t make sense.
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Another little anecdote, I read that when Zanzibar became independant (became part of Tanzania) it spent a lot of money building the worlds largest outdoor swimming pool, in a swamp. It promptly sank as it was heavy and made of concrete. When Mozambique became independant there were less than ten college graduates in the entire nation, no wonder why good governance there was relatively scarce.
Concrete pleasure boat hulls are not rare, and the offshore oil industry uses a variety of floating production facilities with concrete hulls or floatation. What is more likely that they did not put enough water in the pool and its buoyancy caused it uplift, buckle, and fracture in the middle, this is very a common error. Then it would have flooded through the breach and sank.
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Another little anecdote,, probably does not belong in this forum,, but anyway. There are two opthamologists in Zambia, one of whom is the minister of health. There is a big issue with poor countries spending a small fortune training up local doctors, for them to be poached by countries like Australia, where they can earn many multiples more (my apologies for going off topic here)
None of those doctors are trained locally, they all go overseas for it. After training they then find that they not only cannot get the resources to work back home, but any foreign funding to support it gets stolen, and give up in disgust.
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The LRA is no longer in Uganda (the YouTube film Get Koni was out of date in that respect), why they had so much trouble 'taking out' a band of a few hundred fighters armed with only small arms is beyond me. If it were me, I would have invested in scores and scores of light aircraft, and continually harass and harass the LRA. The LRA is an organisation with few positive attributes, apart from being good at killing, kidnapping and raping, it does not and has not had few if any redeeming features.
They are operating in the triangle formed by the borders of Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan, skipping across the borders whenever the military response in one location gets to strong. Classic criminal behavior. If you want another example, look up Bonnie and Clyde and the other US depression era highway bandits that would cross state lines to escape pursuit.
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My main point is that most armed conflicts in poorer nations are guerillas whose aim is to destabilise the economy and government, as opposed to all out war between nation states. In my opinion when it comes to fighting insurgent groups larger numbers of propeller driven attack aircraft are more suitable than a few jets which cost a fortune to run (600 dollars an hour vs 16,000 dollars an hour), and are usually out of service. I have zero issue with nations with advanced economies buying jets.
The thing you are not considering is that most of those guerilla movements trying to destabilize the government of a country are proxy forces supported by and have safe base areas in a neighboring country that would like to invade, but is worried about getting into a conflict like the Iran-Iraq or Libya-Chad wars. A big part of that is that the defending country has jet fighters that can mount a limited defense of the capital and some of the major population centers from aerial attack.

The next is that fixed wing aircraft are of very little use in a guerilla war unless you have ground forces that can locate and communicate the guerilla forces for them. Without high tech sensors it is nearly impossible for them to find and confirm targets. The aircraft of choice for lowtech COIN warfare is the transport to keep troops supplied in the field. If you still feel a need for an attack craft the best choice is not a fixed wing design but the Hind series of helicopters, which is a armored gunship, troop transport, and cargo transport all in one.
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Old August 21st, 2012   #7
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Where do you learn all this stuff.. must say you seem very well informed,,, you have a pHDs is economics, history and politics?

There are a few COIN aircaft,, when I googed the term a few came up. Yes the Bronco is a little old, there are some newer ones though. I think helicopters work well. I know the LRA is moving around a bit, either way a pretty awful organistation. A private South African company is now making a COIN plane called the AHRLAC, though I was suprised by the cost of 10 million dollars each, apparently they have an order for 50 planes for some undisclosed african country.

Yes, bad governance is a huge issue, was not very impressed with Mbeki, maybe the money was there for the discounted drugs, however the prime minister for whatever reason did not want to get them.

The example of the oudoor pool in Zanzibar was that it was a large expenisve project of limited utility,, whereas funds could have been spend on lots of smaller projects, like building roads, grain storage sites, funding nurses, schools, small damns for irrigation etc etc. Either way that was in the past,,

The story with South Sudan was that when it first became independent, the North is more muslim and the south is more Christian/animist. The british wanted one country, whereas the people in the south did not want a lot to do with the people from the North. There were officers from the North in the South, and when indendance was declared, the troops from the south shot their officers which were from the North. They then contacted the British,, asking them to come back. however the British double crossed them and flew troops from the North down south to restore order. They did this to get on good terms with Nasser, which seemed a good geopolitical ploy at the time. Longer term it did not work as later Nasser tried to nationalise the canal

When the French were fighting in Algeria they used a lot of light aircraft

I do take your point that jets have a strategic defence value, however when it comes to fighting light infantry forces, which seems the norm for africa, larger numbers of small propeller aircraft are more suitable as they have longer loiter time, and have a lower speed, which gives more time to select the target (euphamism for people)
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Old August 21st, 2012   #8
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Where do you learn all this stuff.. must say you seem very well informed,,, you have a pHDs is economics, history and politics?
Of those 3 only history is respectable. But I am an engineer who is just well read. Engineering gives you a certain perspective – How can I make this work? What are the alternatives? Which is the cheapest overall alternative?
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When the French were fighting in Algeria they used a lot of light aircraft
The question is were they effective? They also used a lot of aircraft in Indochina (Vietnam). In both countries they were ultimately defeated.

You also might consider that when Executive Outcomes took on the RUF in Sierra Leone their air support was 1 Hind, 1 transport helicopter, 1 medevac plane, and 2 cargo planes.
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I do take your point that jets have a strategic defence value, however when it comes to fighting light infantry forces, which seems the norm for africa, larger numbers of small propeller aircraft are more suitable as they have longer loiter time, and have a lower speed, which gives more time to select the target (euphamism for people)
You are missing the point. They are having to fight guerillas because the jet fighters make the outcome of a conventional attack to uncertain. If they did not have the fighters for defense, the neighbor that is supporting the guerillas could stage air raids at will, then invade with regular troops. It doesn’t matter as much if the jets are poorly suitable for COIN work, you have to have the jet fighters because the COIN aircraft cannot take on the enemy fighters. Ideally you would have some of each, but budget limits seldom allow it, so the nice-to-have prop jobs get left out for the got-to-have jet fighters.
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Old August 25th, 2012   #9
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hi, i think the reason why countries tend to buy expensive/advanced aircraft is as a deterrant, if they have air superiority then a neighbouring country is unlikely to attack or become aggressive, and africa is a pretty volatile, and situations can change rapidly, but i do agree that a country should buy what it actually needs to combat any threat, and that up keep/maintainance should be a factor also, theres no point in buying expensive/advanced aircraft if u cant maintain them and they become totally useless, and as a result u have no or limited air force. there is many types of aircraft that can be used to effectively that dont cost hundreds of millions to maintain. i am string believer that soviet/russian aircraft fit this catergory very well, there cheap, effective, easy to maintain, parts are plentiful, and very robust, and can have various upgrades and each aircraft can carry out a huge variety of roles with certain upgrades. a few examples are:

mig 21 fishbed
SU-25 frogfoot
mig 23 fencer
mig 25 foxbat
SU-17/20/22 fitter

and some non soviet/russian aircraft

BAE hawk
AMX A1
cessna A-37 dragonfly

plenty more out there, so theres plenty of choice, the russian/soviet era stuff is always getting upgrades mainly by Russian, Belarusian, croatian, bulgarian, and serbian companies who will openly sell the upgrades, and all the russian aircraft have all had some battle proven experience.
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Old August 25th, 2012   #10
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hi, i think the reason why countries tend to buy expensive/advanced aircraft is as a deterrant, if they have air superiority then a neighbouring country is unlikely to attack or become aggressive, and africa is a pretty volatile, and situations can change rapidly, but i do agree that a country should buy what it actually needs to combat any threat, and that up keep/maintainance should be a factor also, theres no point in buying expensive/advanced aircraft if u cant maintain them and they become totally useless, and as a result u have no or limited air force. there is many types of aircraft that can be used to effectively that dont cost hundreds of millions to maintain. i am string believer that soviet/russian aircraft fit this catergory very well, there cheap, effective, easy to maintain, parts are plentiful, and very robust, and can have various upgrades and each aircraft can carry out a huge variety of roles with certain upgrades. a few examples are:

mig 21 fishbed
SU-25 frogfoot
mig 23 fencer
mig 25 foxbat
SU-17/20/22 fitter

and some non soviet/russian aircraft

BAE hawk
AMX A1
cessna A-37 dragonfly

plenty more out there, so theres plenty of choice, the russian/soviet era stuff is always getting upgrades mainly by Russian, Belarusian, croatian, bulgarian, and serbian companies who will openly sell the upgrades, and all the russian aircraft have all had some battle proven experience.
Not sure how you arrive at “cost hundreds of millions” to maintain, unless you are assuming that they are ordering B-2 bombers, or measuring the cost over the life of the aircraft.

In the later case, it gets real questionable. Russian stuff is cheap to buy, requires LOTS of maintenance, and has a shorter life (in terms of number of hours in the air). Russian design philosophy was that you needed a lot of cheap aircraft to attrite the enemy, but doesn’t take into account the need for training to make them effective. NATO aircraft are much more robust in the long run, and actually cheaper to operate over a period of say 20 years, as many of the Russian’s customers are discovering the hard way.

And the simple fact is that none of the 3rd world countries seem able to maintain aircraft very well, with availability numbers dropping 5% to 20% per year. Part of this is the lack of technically educated people (who can much better paying, and safer, jobs in the west or middle east), but mostly because the maintenance and training funds are stolen by the higher ups in the bureaucracy.
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Old August 25th, 2012   #11
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the costs i was mentioning would be for the whole fleet, when i was in int. the remember danish air force guys saying how they regretted getting f-16 as the maintainance was very expensive, the russian kit is less maintainance cost wise than u think, and and training costs arent as high as western counter parts, i remember a report i read when i was in int, that with alittle upgrading some soviet era kit could be run on other kinds of fuel other than aviation fuel, but didnt get as miles per tank, the soviet era kit is very robust, some of the longest serving aircraft is soviet origin. in terms of lots of upgrading and maintaining depends on the requirement of the air force and the how long they leave it in between maintainance, i would have to disagree when u say that western aircraft are more cost effective in over 20yrs as i personally know during my role in the army, that the cost to maintain eurofighters are far more expensive than any russian counterpart the aircraft themselves cost £64 million, each and then theres maintainance, the more advanced the system the more maintainance it actually requires, and the i know the eurofighter is much butter than mig 21, mig 23, etc but this is what the whole post is about the need for aircraft which the country actually needs to protect its self, and spending the money elsewhere. i agree most african countries neglect there aircraft, i believe if u where in charge of a countries military budget/spend, and need an air force which was suitable for there current needs and maintanance budget soviet/russian would most likely be an option, not mention that most african countries couldnt afford western aircraft mainatance costs nevermind buying the aircraft, and most western countries wouldnt sell them to them anyway.

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Not sure how you arrive at “cost hundreds of millions” to maintain, unless you are assuming that they are ordering B-2 bombers, or measuring the cost over the life of the aircraft.

In the later case, it gets real questionable. Russian stuff is cheap to buy, requires LOTS of maintenance, and has a shorter life (in terms of number of hours in the air). Russian design philosophy was that you needed a lot of cheap aircraft to attrite the enemy, but doesn’t take into account the need for training to make them effective. NATO aircraft are much more robust in the long run, and actually cheaper to operate over a period of say 20 years, as many of the Russian’s customers are discovering the hard way.

And the simple fact is that none of the 3rd world countries seem able to maintain aircraft very well, with availability numbers dropping 5% to 20% per year. Part of this is the lack of technically educated people (who can much better paying, and safer, jobs in the west or middle east), but mostly because the maintenance and training funds are stolen by the higher ups in the bureaucracy.
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Old August 25th, 2012   #12
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A little example, Uganda spent 750 million US dollars buying around 8 Su27s, now this is a lot of money, thus I assume it includes training, spare parts, maintenance etc etc. These jets were bought in 2011. This information was from Wikipedia and also from Flight magazine of 2 weeks ago. The Su 27s were bought after South Sudan became independant. Thus there is a buffer state between Uganda and Sudan North.

Deterrent is good, however my taking of history is that in conflicts in africa, very very rarely have jets from one country bombed the capital of another country. Instead there are hundreds of examples of land forces fighting land forces. With so much money spent of fast jets, leaves little for anything else. Thus all the money seems to go into deterrance, and little into aircraft that would make a difference on the ground.

I know this is getting into opinion, I think this and you think that. So the agro goes back and forth etc etc.

The LRA was once supported by Sudan, it now seems to have gone rouge. The Uganda-Tanzania war (the one that got rid of the homicidal maniac and canibal Idi Amin) there was no bombing of cities.

South Africa going 300km into Angola, but they did not bomb Lusaka, and that was a full on war.

I am not saying fast jets (deterrance) do not have their place, but it seems the focus is too much on deterrance, and too little on aircraft that could make a difference in the battlefield.

The 750 million US dollars Uganda spent in 2011, might well buy one thousand small aircraft (light trainers with rockets and machine guns)

I know the argy bargy will continue... . am getting a bit over it,,
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Old August 26th, 2012   #13
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Originally Posted by d_taddei2 View Post
the costs i was mentioning would be for the whole fleet,
So 6 aircraft are better than 24 of the same type?

You have to use per unit costs to make any real comparison you or you get irrational results like the previous proposition. 6 are certainly cheaper than 24.
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when i was in int. the remember danish air force guys saying how they regretted getting f-16 as the maintainance was very expensive, the russian kit is less maintainance cost wise than u think, and and training costs arent as high as western counter parts,
But what is the basis of comparison? Per flight? Hours in the air? Cost per overhaul? How about fuel?
  • On a per hour of air time Russian engines have to be replaced at least 3x more often than western engines.
  • Russian engines have a higher fuel consumption than western engines. Most Russian aircraft have a shorter range than their western counterparts.
  • Russian training only allows a fraction of the flight hours as western training. Gets into the old quality vs. quantity arguments. But if you go with quantity you need to include the cost of more jets, pilots, maintenance, and fuel for a true comparison.
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i remember a report i read when i was in int, that with alittle upgrading some soviet era kit could be run on other kinds of fuel other than aviation fuel, but didnt get as miles per tank, the soviet era kit is very robust, some of the longest serving aircraft is soviet origin. in terms of lots of upgrading and maintaining depends on the requirement of the air force and the how long they leave it in between maintainance,
So can western aircraft, for a while. Turbine engines can burn a wide variety of fuels, that is one of the reasons they used one in the M-1 tank. But non-standard fuel does wear them out faster, even the Soviet designs, because the heat distribution in the engine is wrong. Also, they are probably talking about gasoline, and the higher vapor pressure causes problem in a stall, and turns the aircraft into a bomb when hit.
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i would have to disagree when u say that western aircraft are more cost effective in over 20yrs as i personally know during my role in the army, that the cost to maintain eurofighters are far more expensive than any russian counterpart the aircraft themselves cost £64 million, each and then theres maintainance, the more advanced the system the more maintainance it actually requires, and the i know the eurofighter is much butter than mig 21, mig 23, etc
So are admit you are making an apples and oranges comparison?

What good is the aircraft, except for air shows, if it gets slaughtered in air, or cannot hit the targets on the ground? Those more advanced systems make a big difference.
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but this is what the whole post is about the need for aircraft which the country actually needs to protect its self, and spending the money elsewhere. i agree most african countries neglect there aircraft, i believe if u where in charge of a countries military budget/spend, and need an air force which was suitable for there current needs and maintanance budget soviet/russian would most likely be an option, not mention that most african countries couldnt afford western aircraft mainatance costs nevermind buying the aircraft, and most western countries wouldnt sell them to them anyway.
Actually, the thread is about whether or not countries should buy defensive fighters, instead of just CAS aircraft because they are only fighting guerrillas, not another air force. There are other threads for comparing overall aircraft acquisition costs.
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Old August 26th, 2012   #14
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so would u buy eurofighter for example to tackle guerillas on the ground????? i think not, why i was in int we had an american int major who said that even though russian/soviet era aircraft are not as good as theres said they are still a considerable threat and are still a usefull fighter today, and said that some can even take off from rough landing strips, and amazingly said some frogfoot in iraq where using all kinds of fuel from parafin to vegetable oil mix, he said that if russian aircraft are maintain which isnt as expensive as there aircraft and pilots have good training and are armed with decent munitions they can be a real threat and combat multiplier, he even said that alot of people right soviet/russian aircraft off as useless which in some cases could be right in terms if they were fighting eurofighters etc, but but an african nation vs. another african nation it normally boils down to mainatance of aircraft and pilot training, and something interesting he did say was that an upgraded mig -29 was a serious threat to some american aircraft and one in particular he said the usa air force would not deply if it were up against it but refuse to comment which aircraft. another point is there is no point an armed force having eurofighter for example if they cant afford to maintain it or provide enough training for pilots its becomes useless its far better having some maintained soviet/russian aircraft which pilots have had training on than no airforce at all. at the end of the day an african nation couldnt afford western aircraft to buy or maintain it, nor would a western nation sell it to them, and russian/soviet kit is within there budget and maintance budget, and they can get the parts easily, and they can find countries willing to sell them to them, and the main point is that they are fit for purpose, a purpose that they need it for, try and think within the box i.e constraints, budgets, needs, purpose to fully answer the question of the original post.

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Originally Posted by My2Cents View Post
So 6 aircraft are better than 24 of the same type?

You have to use per unit costs to make any real comparison you or you get irrational results like the previous proposition. 6 are certainly cheaper than 24.

But what is the basis of comparison? Per flight? Hours in the air? Cost per overhaul? How about fuel?
  • On a per hour of air time Russian engines have to be replaced at least 3x more often than western engines.
  • Russian engines have a higher fuel consumption than western engines. Most Russian aircraft have a shorter range than their western counterparts.
  • Russian training only allows a fraction of the flight hours as western training. Gets into the old quality vs. quantity arguments. But if you go with quantity you need to include the cost of more jets, pilots, maintenance, and fuel for a true comparison.

So can western aircraft, for a while. Turbine engines can burn a wide variety of fuels, that is one of the reasons they used one in the M-1 tank. But non-standard fuel does wear them out faster, even the Soviet designs, because the heat distribution in the engine is wrong. Also, they are probably talking about gasoline, and the higher vapor pressure causes problem in a stall, and turns the aircraft into a bomb when hit.

So are admit you are making an apples and oranges comparison?

What good is the aircraft, except for air shows, if it gets slaughtered in air, or cannot hit the targets on the ground? Those more advanced systems make a big difference.

Actually, the thread is about whether or not countries should buy defensive fighters, instead of just CAS aircraft because they are only fighting guerrillas, not another air force. There are other threads for comparing overall aircraft acquisition costs.
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Old August 26th, 2012   #15
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