Luftwaffe/German Air Force News, Discussions & Updates

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
Let's compare that against a Tornado, shall we?

Tornado IDS (1 aircraft)MQ-9 Reaper (2 UAVs)
Notional cost to get four B-61 to 1400 km€28,000€22,000
Annual training flight cost€6,500,000€1,000,000
Procurement Cost€60,000,000€64,000,000
Chance of Interception due to flight profileModerate (<75%)Abysmally High (>90%)
Post-Sortie ReusabilityGood (>25%)Low (< 10%)
Investment cost to bring 40 nukes on target once within one 40-year lifecycle of airframes€1,811,520,000€23,064,800,000
I have a question, does the final cost to bring 40 nukes include the cost of losing the aircraft based on interception chances? In a scenario where Germany is dropping 40 nukes all in one go, will the aircraft have bases to return to? I guess with shrinking arsenals today it's likelier then say 40 years ago that a nuclear exchange won't torch civilization completely even on the European continent. But I still have some doubts about this aspect of the calculation. Also the chance of interception, how is that calculated, and against what opponent? Or does it represent a ration of survivability between the MG-9 and the Tornado? I.e. the Tornado is 2.5 times as likely to survive as opposed to a MG-9 in this given scenario and against the same opponent?
 

Mochachu

New Member
While Super Hornet is a good plane, Germany simply has no money for a fighter jet buy in the foreseeable future due to pandemic. There's imply no money for it.
 

kato

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Or does it represent a ration of survivability between the MG-9 and the Tornado?
It represents the notion that a seemingly minor difference in survivability of a system for such use easily induces an order of magnitude difference in lifecycle cost.

Tornado numbers based off of actual assets available and assigned to the strategic strike task, Reaper numbers based off of giving it at least a remotely reasonable hope of a chance. Of course a nuke carrier would never be a Reaper. Think of it as a simple cost-standin vehicle for an unmanned system with a capability set comparable to a Reaper - as what's available on the MALE UAV market as an unmanned combat platform capable of carrying payloads of the required size - dedicated to achieving the same level of ambition.

Realistically, to even get to those numbers against a full IADS with rapid reconstitution capability including shifting multi-layered mobile units on non-overwhelmable scales, one would have to quite brutally breach an approach path with a DEAD cone ahead of any nuke carriers alongside diversionary deceptive multiple angles of approach and a dedicated information battlespace campaign against the hostile assets, as well as requiring realtime INT on the state of the hostile IADS to be breached. Which all induces immense costs beyond the scope of just the delivery system.


An unmanned drone system carrying nukes to their target would have to be an actual consideration for the next iteration, with FCAS/NGWS, as the real Tornado successor. However, in a NGWS "combat cloud" approach dedicated to a nuclear strike mission, the unmanned weapon deployment companion systems would likely be designed to be notionally survivable - against interception - on a parallel scale with the host control aircraft, and factually in operation - from a cost perspective - more comparable to the control aircraft employing a standoff weapon.

Germany has more money than any other European country. It can afford fighters.
Germany ran a surplus in tax intake pre-pandemic, for which to cease existing the economy would have to contract by at least 10% long-term. The current stimulus and recovery package amounts to about the amount of that nominal surplus over a three-year period. The F-18 buy relatively amounts to about 3% of that. In other words: Not a relevant amount.
 

Mochachu

New Member
What is with the constant negativity? You have a consistent theme.

Germany can afford the proposed numbers of F-18Es & additional Typhoons without strain. As Kato says, it's been running a budget surplus, & post-Covid that can be expected to resume.
Covid is going to last years. Germany ain't going to massive spend on defense until at least 2025.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
It's not "massive spend". Buying replacements for the Tornados was already planned & budgeted for.

And you have no idea how long covid-19 will be a major threat. It could be years, or it could all be over (at least, in developed countries) by the end of this year, if one of the many vaccines being worked on comes good. Nobody knows, & you certainly don't.
 

Mochachu

New Member
It's not "massive spend". Buying replacements for the Tornados was already planned & budgeted for.

And you have no idea how long covid-19 will be a major threat. It could be years, or it could all be over (at least, in developed countries) by the end of this year, if one of the many vaccines being worked on comes good. Nobody knows, & you certainly don't.
Canada planned to replace CF-18 for years and look where we are. Planning and actually doing it are completely different things. Planning can take years without actually happening. It all depends on economy, how the funds are going to be allocated.
 

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
It represents the notion that a seemingly minor difference in survivability of a system for such use easily induces an order of magnitude difference in lifecycle cost.

Tornado numbers based off of actual assets available and assigned to the strategic strike task, Reaper numbers based off of giving it at least a remotely reasonable hope of a chance. Of course a nuke carrier would never be a Reaper. Think of it as a simple cost-standin vehicle for an unmanned system with a capability set comparable to a Reaper - as what's available on the MALE UAV market as an unmanned combat platform capable of carrying payloads of the required size - dedicated to achieving the same level of ambition.

Realistically, to even get to those numbers against a full IADS with rapid reconstitution capability including shifting multi-layered mobile units on non-overwhelmable scales, one would have to quite brutally breach an approach path with a DEAD cone ahead of any nuke carriers alongside diversionary deceptive multiple angles of approach and a dedicated information battlespace campaign against the hostile assets, as well as requiring realtime INT on the state of the hostile IADS to be breached. Which all induces immense costs beyond the scope of just the delivery system.


An unmanned drone system carrying nukes to their target would have to be an actual consideration for the next iteration, with FCAS/NGWS, as the real Tornado successor. However, in a NGWS "combat cloud" approach dedicated to a nuclear strike mission, the unmanned weapon deployment companion systems would likely be designed to be notionally survivable - against interception - on a parallel scale with the host control aircraft, and factually in operation - from a cost perspective - more comparable to the control aircraft employing a standoff weapon.
A few points. I understand why you simplified it but I want to draw out this distinction. Any strike platform, within an airforce as small as anything outside the US, China and maybe Russia, would have to be multi-mission. Germany can not and should not spend on a dedicated platform solely for nuclear missions. And in that regard you are correct to factor in the cost. However if we're looking at the nuclear mission specifically I suggest we consider it from the angle of actual use. Not cost of maintaining assets for 40 bombs, but the cost of getting say 10 bombs on targets, reliably. With Tornadoes and given your numbers, that means 40 bombs and 40 jets. But with the UCAV approach it would mean 100 bombs, and 100 UCAVs. I.e. the costs actually get even higher, if we look at it that way.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Canada planned to replace CF-18 for years and look where we are. Planning and actually doing it are completely different things. Planning can take years without actually happening. It all depends on economy, how the funds are going to be allocated.
Germany isn't Canada.
 

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
But not this many fighters.
How many can they afford, and how did you arrive at this conclusion? You're fond of categorical statements backed by nothing, and consistently dodge any detailed replies or thorough examination.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Neither is attempt to drop a B61 bomb. These days cruise missiles armed with nuclear warhead can strike thousands of km. Dropping a nuke bomb at point blank range is a suicide mission. That's why B61 is outdated.

B61 may have been state of the art in the 1960s. But these days? There are way better options. Introducing: Stand Off Munitions.

YOU HAVE BEEN MAKING MANY UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS IN YOUR POSTS. OTHER POSTERS HAVE ASKED YOU TO PROVIDE SOURCES TO SUPPORT YOUR CLAIMS , WHICH YOU HAVE IGNORED. THE MODERATORS HAVE HAD COMPLAINTS ABOUT YOU, SOME ALLEGING THAT YOU ARE A TROLL. EITHER YOU ABIDE BY THE RULES AND IMPROVE YOUR POSTING BEHAVIOUR SUBSTANTIALLY, IMMEDIATELY OR YOUR TIME ON HERE WILL BE VERY SHORT.
 

kato

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Any strike platform, within an airforce as small as anything outside the US, China and maybe Russia, would have to be multi-mission. Germany can not and should not spend on a dedicated platform solely for nuclear missions.
While all German Air Force combat wings have been renamed "Tactical Air Force Wing" infering a multirole function, the current function of Tactical Air Force Wing 33 is - officially and publicly stated - solely to provide "air attack" in the form of "employment against hardened, deep and distant targets" with a secondary role of "close air support".

It is the only wing in the air force to have this specific mission, and it is equipped specifically for this role. The role of "employment against hardened, deep and distant targets" is two-fold: nuclear, using B61 bombs, and conventional, using Taurus cruise missiles.

In order to find a replacement for Tornado only these two missions were decisive, with selection of possible aircraft restricted to exactly those that have had Taurus already integrated on a model and would be available for integration of B61. That's, to be exact, other than Tornado: F-15 (K) and F/A-18 (C/D). Taurus is tested for carriage, but currently not integrated on Eurofighter.


An optimal solution to minimize platform-related cost of nuclear deployment would probably have been to instead integrate a US-provided nuclear warhead of B61 dimensions - i.e. a new production run of W80 - into Taurus instead and go on with integration of Taurus on Eurofighter, in particular since Taurus is - separately from the carrier platform - being continuously upgraded to provide improved penetration of fully symmetric hostile environments protected by advanced IADS.
 

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
While all German Air Force combat wings have been renamed "Tactical Air Force Wing" infering a multirole function, the current function of Tactical Air Force Wing 33 is - officially and publicly stated - solely to provide "air attack" in the form of "employment against hardened, deep and distant targets" with a secondary role of "close air support".

It is the only wing in the air force to have this specific mission, and it is equipped specifically for this role. The role of "employment against hardened, deep and distant targets" is two-fold: nuclear, using B61 bombs, and conventional, using Taurus cruise missiles.

In order to find a replacement for Tornado only these two missions were decisive, with selection of possible aircraft restricted to exactly those that have had Taurus already integrated on a model and would be available for integration of B61. That's, to be exact, other than Tornado: F-15 (K) and F/A-18 (C/D). Taurus is tested for carriage, but currently not integrated on Eurofighter.


An optimal solution to minimize platform-related cost of nuclear deployment would probably have been to instead integrate a US-provided nuclear warhead of B61 dimensions - i.e. a new production run of W80 - into Taurus instead and go on with integration of Taurus on Eurofighter, in particular since Taurus is - separately from the carrier platform - being continuously upgraded to provide improved penetration of fully symmetric hostile environments protected by advanced IADS.
This makes a lot of sense. I'm not well versed in Bundeswehr procurement decisions. Why isn't this option being pursued?
 

kato

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Why isn't this option being pursued?
There is no current production of W80 in the US since 1990, and remaining units are all mounted on ALCM for the US strategic bomber fleet.

In theory one could latch something for this onto W80 Mod 4, which is nominally planned to be produced from 2025 to 2031 refurbishing 500 expired W80 Mod 1 warheads for use on LRSO. However, the entire LRSO development (replacement of ALCM) was delayed several times over the past 5-6 years, and a design selection for LRSO won't be taken before 2022 (... current plan). That also makes the W80 Mod 4 production timeline (see link above) not quite that secure.

It would also constitute a politically complicated solution in Germany since switching from simple gravity bomb delivery to standoff weapons would indicate veering off the status quo on nuclear weapons. There are also some political problems with such an integration effort on both sides due to technical issues (having to divulge technical blueprints from the German side; Taurus being planned to switch off of US navigation dependence with the next upgrade for the US side).
 

Terran

Active Member
It would also constitute a politically complicated solution in Germany since switching from simple gravity bomb delivery to standoff weapons would indicate veering off the status quo on nuclear weapons. There are also some political problems with such an integration effort on both sides due to technical issues (having to divulge technical blueprints from the German side; Taurus being planned to switch off of US navigation dependence with the next upgrade for the US side).
Then You have the two killers of the scheme.
First who makes the Warhead? It’s not a German bomb until the US unlocks it and hands it over. Ordinary the Nuclear nonproliferation Treaty steps in. Basically as a NPT is supposed to block the transfer of Nuclear weapons. Handing a W80 to Germany would be a transfer. The Sharing agreement is on thin ice as the loophole it built on is that the weapons are American not The sharing nation’s and would only be handed over in the event of full nuclear war. As such the 20 B61 are stored under USAF guard in a USAF base.
As a US warhead It’s harder to justify mounting into a weapon not in US inventory. The Taurus is a joint Swedish German weapon not used by any of the other Sharing states. Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium or Turkey nor the US the nation who is the basis of the sharing.
 

kato

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
As such the 20 B61 are stored under USAF guard in a USAF base.
German base and guard, with a USAF munitions support squadron controlling the weapons. Same arrangement in Belgium, Netherlands, Italy.
The USAF base arrangement as a sole solution is present in Turkey.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Germany approves billion-euro purchase of 38 Eurofighter jets | News

The Bundestag, the German parliament, approved the acquisition of 38 Eurofighters for the Luftwaffe — These new aircraft will be equipped with the E-Scan Radar 1 active electronically scanned array (AESA) sensor, ‘future proof’ hardware, and updated software.

Q: How does this purchase affect the discussion on the timeline for the acquisition of replacement fighters for the Luftwaffe’s Tactical Air Force Wing 33 here?

According to the above link, this 38 Tranche 4 Eurofighter contract with Airbus is part of the German Defense Ministry's long-term plan to gain at least 93 Eurofighters, along with 45 block 3, F-18E/Fs (or Growlers) from Boeing. Decisions on the purchase of the remaining jets are expected after Germany's federal election in 2021. Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer also wants to replace the oldest Eurofighter jets of the German fleet with new jets.

“The order, also known by its project name Quadriga, covers the delivery of 30 single-seater and eight twin-seater Eurofighters. Three of the aircraft will be equipped with additional test installations as Instrumented Test Aircraft for the further development of the Eurofighter programme,” Airbus said.

Janes also reported that Project Quadriga will see the Luftwaffe replace 38 Tranche 1 Eurofighters, which will be sold to the international market, with newbuild Tranche 4 aircraft (previously these had been referred to as Tranche 3B or Tranche 3+).
 
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