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Special Report

High Performance Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft Technology

Gripen – The Birth of a Modern Fighter Command of the Air and the Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft The Technology Challenge to Piloted Aircraft Multi-Role Aircraft in Action A High Performing Future…

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Published by Global Business Media



High Performance Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft Technology

Gripen – The Birth of a Modern Fighter Command of the Air and the Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft The Technology Challenge to Piloted Aircraft Multi-Role Aircraft in Action A High Performing Future…

Contents Foreword


Mary Dub, Editor

Gripen – The Birth of a Modern Fighter


Saab UK

JAS 39 – Gripen A(single seat)/B(two seat) Sponsored by

Gripen C/D Sea Gripen

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom

Gripen in Peace Support/NATO Operations – Libya Gripen NG The Future

Command of the Air and the Multi- Role Fighter Aircraft 7

Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: Website:

Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

Publisher Kevin Bell

Brazil’s Place in the Market for Aircraft

Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks Editor Mary Dub

The Case for Multi-Role Combat Aircraft Technological Change and a Highly Competitive Market Place The History of the Sale

The Technology Challenge to Piloted Aircraft

Senior Project Manager Steve Banks

The Advent of New Technologies

Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes

The Demand for Early Adoption of New Technologies

Production Manager Paul Davies For further information visit: The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles. © 2013. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.


Mary Dub, Editor

The Importance of Stealth and Lethality How this Plays out in the Market Place in South America

Multi-Role Aircraft in Action


Mary Dub, Editor

The Sale of Gripen to Switzerland The Swiss Government Position The Indian Government Position on Defence Offsets

A High Performing Future…


Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

The Declining Importance of Air Superiority But the Arguments for Airpower are Still Much More Powerful The European Austerity Consensus and its Consequences

References 15 | 1


Foreword T

he high performance multi-role fighter aircraft

The paradoxical conclusion is that the mutual

has a critical role in securing air superiority

restraint between China and America may lead to

for any nation requiring the high technology

increasing instability and a heightened demand for

capabilities of a 21st century aircraft without the

multi-role aircraft to establish air superiority in the

long lead times and extortionate cost of a 5th

south Asian market.

generation fighter airplane. This Special Report

The third piece looks at the manner in which new

explores the highly differentiated global market for

technology has changed the way that air superiority

multi role aircraft where some markets require more

is established and how flexible multi-role aircraft

than low lifetime costs and superb engineering.

are now important in the global market place. The

The Report opens by looking at the history of

article reviews the fiercely competitive aircraft market

Saab’s unique role in producing multi-role aircraft

in Brazil and explores the way that global political

with formidable firepower, technical excellence

allegiance plays a critical role in closing deals on

and flexibility. The article goes on to describe the

fighter aircraft.

background to the development of the multi-role

Multi-role aircraft in action is the theme of the fourth

fighter, the JAS 39 Gripen fighter in the 1980s.

article. It assesses the rigorous emphasis the Swiss

Advances in electronics and avionics design enabled

Ministry of Defense placed on engineering excellence

the JAS 39 to carry out air intercept, attack and

and lifetime maintenance costs when buying multi

reconnaissance missions, in one sortie, if needed.

role aircraft. The article also contrasts the way that

Subsequent models were developed to meet the

an established European country like Switzerland

potential for the aircraft to enter the fighter export

approaches the purchase of aircraft against the

market, and to participate in coalition operations

method of a strong regional power with an emerging

under UN or NATO command and in peace support

defence industrial base, like India.

operations. Using modern materials, integrated

The future is the final topic of the report. The future

computer systems and advanced aerodynamics, it

is built on the present, and the current austerity in

has been possible to achieve a high performance

the NATO area and the faster growth in the BRIC

weapon system based on a fighter with very low life

countries and south Asia lead to the conclusion that

cycle costs.

these areas will drive market growth in the short term.

The second article dives into the strategic debate about the rise of China as a global superpower and its impact on regional instability and the need for conventional deterrence in Asia and other regions.

Mary Dub Editor

Mary Dub has covered the defence field in the United States and the UK as a television broadcaster, journalist and conference manager.

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Gripen – The Birth of a Modern Fighter


hroughout the Cold War, Sweden, as a non-aligned nation, was squeezed between two very large and powerful military organizations – the Warsaw Pact and NATO. In order to provide the best possible national defence and security for its people, a new and radical strategy was required. As a result, the Swedish Air Force (SwAF) adopted a concept based on operations conducted from a large number of dispersed airbases, where the aircraft could be well hidden when not airborne. This was complemented by an extensive chain of air surveillance radars along the east of the country, connected to a highly efficient network of command posts for rapid reaction and ground controlled intercept. In the 1960s and 70s, with 55 operational squadrons, the Swedish Air Force was one of the largest and most powerful air forces on the planet. Swedish fighter aircraft stood on Quick Reaction Alert around the clock, ready to launch within 60 seconds. The aircraft used in the early days of the Cold War were versions of the Saab 32 Lansen and the Saab 35 Draken. It was in the Draken that Saab initiated the technology of sharing real-time operational data between aircraft in a fighting unit, using radio frequencies. Critical information could now be passed between fighters, allowing the majority to engage the enemy whilst remaining

radio and radar silent. This in turn led to the development of new fighting tactics that gave the Swedish fighters a key advantage over their opponents. Over the next 30 years, this technology was to mature into the most sophisticated internal fighter to fighter data-link in the world, and forms an essential element in the fighting capability of all Gripen aircraft in service now and in the future. During this period of intensive Cold War flying operations, it became clear that it would be more cost-effective if each aircraft was capable of conducting several roles. At the same time, there was a pressing need to reduce the maintenance cost which could only be achieved by operating a unified fleet with a single design. The resulting conceptual study for a new aircraft, the Saab 37 Viggen, came up with the vision of a common aircraft type, capable of fully operational use from unprepared road bases. Operational from the 70s, the Viggen fighter system eventually matured into three versions – each of them with a clearly defined and developed secondary role. The Viggen, although a very powerful and successful combat aircraft, was, like so many other fighters of this generation, too expensive to replace on a like-for-like basis. The need for a true multi-role fighter that combined all the roles carried out by the Viggen variants led to the development of the JAS 39 Gripen fighter in the 1980s.

Gripen nG


Gripen in Production | 3


It was clear to Saab that advances in electronics now enabled the design of avionics that could fully support the vision of a true multi-role aircraft Saab JAS 39C Gripen in-flight

JAS 39 – Gripen A(single seat)/ B(two seat) Early in these studies, it was clear to Saab that advances in electronics now enabled the design of avionics that could fully support the vision of a true multi-role aircraft. This enabled any fighter in the fleet to carry out air intercept, attack and reconnaissance missions – in the same sortie if required. The result of working to produce an aircraft that could replace the Viggen fleet with one type, at half the weight, was the multi-role Gripen. The Swedish Air Force’s denomination of Gripen is JAS 39. JAS stands for “Jakt, Attack och Spaning” – fighter, attack and reconnaissance. Gripen, with a huge increase in performance, capability and supportability, meant the SwAF required fewer aircraft to meet the same threats, resulting in both consolidation and optimisation of the SwAF. A lot of effort was also spent on a robust design that reduced technical failures to an absolute minimum, and allowed for easy and rapid maintenance and support of the aircraft. One of the key design goals of the Saab team and its partners was to produce an aircraft that was not only a quantum leap forward in every aspect of multi-role combat operations, but also broke the cost escalation trend that was clearly unsustainable for all nations. The fact that they succeeded with such success is testament to the expertise and intelligence that went into the original design. JAS 39 Gripen first flew in 1988, and entered full operational service in the SwAF in 1997. A total of 118 Gripen A and B aircraft were produced.

Gripen C/D In order to enable the SwAF to fully participate in peace support and coalition operations under UN or NATO command, and to meet the clear 4 |

potential for Gripen to enter the fighter export market, Gripen C and D aircraft were developed from the initial Gripen A/B. This development programme retained all of the unique capabilities of the original Gripen design, and, in addition, provided full interoperability with NATO and all air forces worldwide. It included the incorporation of the NATO wide area data-link (Link 16), NATO compatible communications and identification systems, and in-flight re-fuelling capability. Gripen C/D was designed to meet the demands of all current and future threat scenarios for the SwAF and global export market, whilst at the same time meeting stringent requirements with regards to flight safety, availability, training efficiency and life cycle cost. Like its predecessor, Gripen C/D is optimized for all roles and can be used autonomously or as part of a wider defence network. In peacetime, or for peace support operations, Gripen is mainly used in reconnaissance and air policing roles, but in conflict situations it serves as a fighter with outstanding capabilities in air intercept and surface attack. Air forces can prioritise whichever function is appropriate to a particular mission. One of Gripen’s special qualities is that it can change its role in flight at the push of a button. This makes it an extremely simple aircraft to fly to its limits in all combat operations, while at the same time retaining exceptional cost-efficiencies in terms of maintenance and support. The human-machine interface gives the pilot extremely good, clear, situation awareness, which allows for rapid pilot analysis of the tactical situation. The system provides all possible courses of action available at every stage of an attack in all roles, and supports the pilot’s decision- making process to achieve optimum results at minimum risk.


Gripen aircraft since introduction into service. In addition, a wet-lease agreement is in place with the UK Empire Test Pilot School in the UK to train the best of the world’s test pilots on an annual training camp basis. This has been running very successfully for 10 years.

Sea Gripen

Sea Gripen taking off

Gripen has inherent suitability for carrier based operations built into the original design, largely due to the operational requirement of all Swedish fighters to be able to operate from short road strips in regular STOL field deployments (Gripen requires only 800m of strip without arrestor hooks or brake chute for full load operational flying). Outstanding flight control qualities, excellent overthe-nose field of view properties, low approach speed at constant angle of attack and a no-flare touchdown make the Gripen ideally suited to the carrier environment. This inherent strength of the Gripen led many to believe that the aircraft could be successfully modified to operate from an aircraft carrier. A study in 2006 indicated no major problems with the concept and in 2009 Saab answered an RFI from the Indian navy for a maritime version of Gripen. In 2011 a major study commenced in the Saab UK London office, bringing together UK maritime technical and design specialists with the Swedish based Gripen engineers, to conduct the final design for a carrier version of Gripen E/F. In August 2012 the study was completed, and Saab was able to state that, with a customer on board to share development, a maritime version of Gripen could be offered. Sea Gripen has been designed to operate from catapult launched, arrested recovery (CATOBAR) carriers at the maximum take-off weight of 16,500 kg, and a max landing weight of 11,500 kg. The same basic design parameters make it well suited to short take-off and arrested landing (STOBAR) operations, with a reduction of approximately 25 percent in maximum launch weight.

Gripen nG

As previously stated, and with increasing importance in this new age of global austerity, Saab has with the Gripen C/D continued to lower the cost of acquisition and operations over the life of the aircraft. The breaking of the cost escalation curve has not simply levelled off with the C/D version of Gripen, but has reduced even further. Modern materials, integrated computer systems and advanced aerodynamics have made it possible to achieve a high performance weapon system based on a fighter with very low life cycle costs. Smart solutions and the latest technology have been used that intelligently combine hardware and software systems. New functionality can be introduced into the aircraft by installing new software, and hardware components can be changed without affecting the rest of the aircraft. This separation of safety and mission functions allows tactical functions to be upgraded rapidly. In addition, modularisation enables integration of customer programmes and software to meet the specific needs of our growing export base. More use has been made of components off the shelf (known as COTS) that are available internationally, rather than going through the expensive process of developing everything in-house. This use of COTS components from third party suppliers reduces the risk of systems becoming obsolete, and allows Saab the opportunity to select the best components worldwide, and at the most competitive price. Saab continues to strive in its aim of driving down cost at every level, and this will continue as a fundamental element of the Gripen programme in the future. Maintenance is also state-of-the-art. A turnaround of Gripen in preparation for a fighter mission takes less than 10 minutes for a conscript crew of 6, and if needed, the engine can be replaced hot to hot, and the aircraft can be airborne again in less than one hour. Health and usage monitoring of all key components in the airframe and engine systems produces data that is checked through a sophisticated maintenance ground support system that stores every piece of data from every Gripen sortie. This allows for a very cost effective support system based on knowledge, not time. Put simply, if the aircraft is working as it should, leave it. If it requires some attention, do it. This system, known as maintenance on demand, has resulted in a radical new approach to the costly supply and storage of spare parts. Gripen C/D fighters are currently in service with two NATO member nations – Czech Republic and Hungary (14 each), as well as South Africa (26) and Thailand (6 + 6). Gripen, with its inherent growth capability will remain the backbone of these air forces for the next 30+ years. A total of 187,000 hours has been accumulated by all AnTiCipATe TOMOrrOW

Gripen in Peace Support/ NATO Operations – Libya The recent NATO peace support operation in Libya was supported by a squadron of Gripen | 5


Modern materials, integrated computer systems and advanced aerodynamics have made it possible to achieve a high performance weapon system based on a fighter with very low life cycle costs

Gripen NG

C/D fighters from the Swedish Air Force, flying out of Sigonella, Sicily. In the course of this complex campaign, Gripen flew over 2,000 reconnaissance missions, and took over 250,000 very high quality photographs that were of critical value to the successful outcome. The NATO Commander of the mission declared that the Gripen recce results were outstanding, and this operation confirmed the capabilities of Gripen in coalition operations under very demanding conditions.

Gripen NG To meet the changing needs of the Swedish Air Force and export customers who require more range and a larger weapon payload, a decision in 2009 was taken to design a new generation of Gripen, Gripen NG, denominated Gripen E in Sweden and Switzerland. This modification allows for more internal fuel, and the addition of two pylon stations providing 10 external hardpoints for the carriage of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, additional fuel tanks, surveillance pods and targeting pods. A new and more powerful engine has been installed (General Electric’s F414G), the same as that used by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The increased thrust will enable faster acceleration, super cruise and the ability to use less fuel at supersonic speeds. The E/F is fitted with the latest generation Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system produced by Selex Galileo. With an upgraded ability to track many different targets, it provides far longer range target identification and classification and higher angular coverage than any current generation airborne system. The AESA radar is also more resistant to disruptive enemy action. Passive Infrared Search and Track (IRST), also made by Selex, can detect targets by their 6 |

emitted heat signature, allowing Gripen to achieve early situation awareness without emitting its own radar energy. In addition, the new aircraft offers advanced avionics systems for electronic warfare, a more powerful computer, and fast new communications systems. All users of the highly capable Gripen C/D aircraft will be able to integrate the new developments that will enter service with Gripen E/F through a planned update package programme. This will allow those customers who wish to increase capability in one or more areas the opportunity to do so at a time to suit them. Saab has recently signed an agreement with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for development of the Gripen E fighter to equip the Swedish Air Force during the period 2013-2026, and a possible order for new production Gripen E from Switzerland. SwAF expect to receive the first of these new fighters into operational service in 2018.

The Future The future of this outstanding fighter is thus assured, and Gripen is globally recognised and accepted as the most cost effective and capable fighter of its generation. Saab anticipates that Gripen E/F will secure many more export orders in the next 15 years.

Saab Gripen NG


Command of the Air and the Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft Don McBarnet, Staff Writer


1st century command of the air through the use of the very latest and most expensive technology is no longer the first principle of many ministries of defence who are in the market to buy enhanced air power to defend their nation. Why? This Report is going to explore the many facets of the answer to this question, which relate to the strategic change in perception of power and vulnerability among regional powers, and the new global bi-polar balance of power which may be leading to increased global stability but also to the decoupling of regional restraint, leaving emerging countries vulnerable to threat. This will lead them into the market to enhance their nation’s defence capabilities.2 Perhaps the most cogent example of this rising regional instability is the tension in East Asia, where Chinese and American interests are increasingly at odds. Now in 2013, China aspires to be preeminent and the United States is anxious not to relinquish its interests. Furthermore, since China now has a number of longstanding territorial claims in South Asia, there is regional vulnerability and instability. The paradox of power is where the growth wealth and economic power in China is accompanied by growing vulnerability because of current nuclear weapon proliferation, rapid technological change and the potential use of space. Consequently, military modernization and operational-contingency planning are intensifying stoked by technological change.

The Case for Multi-Role Combat Aircraft The strongest argument for multi-role combat aircraft is the economic one. By being capable of taking on multiple roles they are a relatively low cost option compared to fifth generation fighter aircraft. What roles can this aircraft perform?

Multi-role combat aircraft, first developed in the late sixties, were capable of tactical strike, air reconnaissance, air defence and maritime roles. Specifically, the airframe can be adapted to produce a number of different variants, specifically the primary air-to-air combat role, and a secondary air-to-surface attack role. But with new technology other functions can be added: such as air reconnaissance, forward air control, and electronic warfare. Attack missions include air interdiction, suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD), and close air support (CAS).

Technological Change and a Highly Competitive Market Place Given the dramatic slowdown in economic growth in Western Europe and the sequestration of defence budgets in the United States, the strongest markets for multi role aircraft are in the emerging and fast growing BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. However, the purchase of a high technology aircraft also comes with political diplomatic strings attached. Because the sale of an aircraft also involves the transfer of classified technology, political and regional allegiances are important in limiting who can buy the latest technologies developed by NATO aligned countries.

Brazil’s Place in the Market for Aircraft

Gripen nG

“The contest for air superiority is the most important contest of all, for no other operations can be sustained if this battle is lost. To win it, we must have the best equipment, the best tactics, the freedom to use them, and the best pilots.” General William W. Momyer, USAF1

Brazil has been in the market to update its aging air force for some time. What does Brazil need to protect? Brazil can depend on its sheer size and the barrier created by its geography to shield its population centers from many threats. The same is not necessarily true of its military installations or economic interests, which require either air superiority, or air denial from mobile and effective defensive missiles. Airpower’s flexibility

AnTiCipATe TOMOrrOW | 7


Airpower’s flexibility also makes it a uniquely useful deterrent and response to threats and coercion, while it is perfectly suited to the job of patrolling vast areas

Gripen C and Gripen NG in-flight

also makes it a uniquely useful deterrent and response to threats and coercion, while it is perfectly suited to the job of patrolling vast areas. Unfortunately, the high end of the FAB’s (Força Aérea Brasileira) fighter fleet is inferior even when judged by regional standards. After its existing Mirage IIIs simply wore out and had to be retired at the end of 2005, FAB Command worked out a plan to find an emergency interim replacement. The final choice was 12 second-hand French Mirage 2000Cs. The airframes selected by Brazil were produced for France between 1984 -1987, and began arriving in Brazil in 2006.

The History of the Sale In January 2008, Brazil’s President Lula authorized Brazilian Air Force Commander Juniti Saito to restart the long-delayed F-X fighter replacement program. “F-X2 aimed to acquire 36 next generation fighters for the Brazilian Air Force. A previous 2001 F-X competition was put on hold in 2003, and then cancelled in February 2004 due to budget difficulties and political issues. The initial budget for the current iteration is said to be $2.2 billion, but is likely to end up being two to three times that figure. The Request for Proposal leaves the door open for future buys, which could raise that total to 120 aircraft. The

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Saab Gripen is a strong contender in the field because of its specifications. Saab’s deal includes an AESA radar developed with Selex Galileo, leveraging that firm’s successful radar history with Brazil’s F-5BR (Grifo-F) and AMX (Scipio) fighter programs. The Raven is an unusual combination of an AESA radar that can be mechanically pivoted, offering more points of failure but widening the radar’s scanning cone versus other competitors. The JAS-39BR’s avionics suite will be sourced entirely from Elbit’s Brazilian subsidiary AEL, giving it commonalities with the FAB’s other fighters. These factors make Gripen a strong contender. Its F404/F414 engine offers the advantages of certain performance and a very broad customer base. However, it is subject to US export approvals if that’s an issue for Brazil. Another potential weakness may be the fact that each plane only has one engine, since Brazil combines vast over-water areas and even vaster wilderness areas to patrol. Those requirements usually translate into a focus on range and two-engine safety, which have worked against Gripen in other competitions. While the other two Brazilian finalists are both two-engine planes, it’s worth noting that most of Brazil’s other fighters (Tucano ALX, AMX, Mirage 2000) have just one engine.


The Technology Challenge to Piloted Aircraft Mary Dub, Editor

Gripen C at sunset


SAF (the United States Air Force) or any other air force is not now limited to dominating the battlefield by command of the air through manned aircraft, as a range of key technological changes challenge the supremacy of the manned piloted craft. Until the end of the 20th, century air-to-air combat was assumed to be the primary method of establishing air superiority. The manoeuvrability and lethality of air-superiority fighters has advanced quickly as technology has played an important part in the evolution of air combat tactics. For decades during the 20th century in World War Two and in Vietnam, success in dogfights was a direct result of aircraft designed specifically to enhance aerodynamic performance, size and visibility. As advanced technology changed tactics to allow for the potential to employ radar missiles beyond visual ranges, the design requirements for airsuperiority fighters changed also; high altitude, high-speed interceptors with avionics that allowed

for long-range target detection, identification, and destruction were available. Combat experience proved that interceptors and bombers alone could not secure the skies. Air-superiority fighters today are designed for extreme manoeuvrability to ensure success in a close engagement, and stability as platforms that combine superior detection systems, weapons and stealth.4

Gripen nG

“The (US) Air Force has executed its responsibility to control the air so effectively over the past decades that this superiority is often taken for granted as an American birth-right. Unfortunately, this is not so. We must be prepared to win freedom of action in any arena – against any adversary. We have no intention of creating a fair fight.” General Ronald R. Fogleman

The Advent of New Technologies Air-to-air combat is not now the predominant way of delivering air superiority. The developments of smart missile technology have been game changing. The constant improvements of methods of precision guidance of missiles now mean that direct air-to-air combat has been marginalised as a role, although it can never be ruled out as a potential vulnerability or threat. The list of methods that have improved the precision targeting of missiles is a long one: from radio-controlled weapons, to infraredguided technology, laser-guidance systems, electro-optical guidance, millimetre-wave AnTiCipATe TOMOrrOW | 9


By incorporating low observable technology, an aircraft minimizes its electronic returns and delays or degrades the adversary’s ability to discover and engage it

Two Gripen C in formation

radar and satellite-guided weapons. This has meant that fighter aircraft have become a high technology platform for a range of sensing devices and missile launching systems. In parallel to these developments has been the emergence of unmanned aerial vehicles capable of firing these same missiles without risking a pilot’s life in the face of combat. And the cost difference between the manned and unmanned craft is huge, and even greater if the cost of training the pilot is included.

The Importance of Stealth and Lethality But whether opposed by manned or unmanned aerial vehicles, the presence of new technologies prevails in the battlefield. In the age of radarguided missiles, the aircraft’s radar-crosssection correlates directly to an enemy’s ability to detect and thereby shoot at it. By incorporating low observable technology, an aircraft minimizes its electronic returns and delays or degrades the adversary’s ability to discover and engage it. While proceeding undetected, the stealthy aircraft can get closer to his enemy to identify and shoot first, thereby greatly enhancing the probability of victory. The same stealth advantage applies against both surface and airborne adversaries. Reducing the exposure of friendly aircraft to enemy threats greatly increases their survivability and lethality in air combat.

The Demand for Early Adoption of New Technologies While new missile technologies and their counter measures and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver these missiles is now a present threat in 21st century air space, there is an understanding that, when powerful regional nations like Brazil or India buy new aircraft they also buy access to new technologies 10 |

that allow them to compete and win in the battlefield.

How this Plays out in the Market Place in South America In South America, Boeing’s Super Hornet, the Rafale, and the Gripen are finalists in a competition to replace Brazil’s Dassault Mirage fleet. Brazil in mid-December 2012, had not yet chosen a manufacturer for what could ultimately become a 120-aircraft purchase, although the Brazilian government has indicated that it favors the Rafale. Robert E. Gower Jr., Boeing’s VP for F/A-18 programs, said Brazilian officials have “been insistent” that “they do not want to buy an aircraft, they want to buy technology.” Last summer, Obama Administration officials traveling in Brazil outlined a proposal for unprecedented transfers of F/A-18 (Fighter Attack) technology, in order to give Boeing a better shot at the multibillion-dollar contract. “The transfer ... would be something that we had never done before, and specifically because [the relationship] with Brazil is so prized, so significant for us,” said Ellen O. Tauscher, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, during the trip. Senior Pentagon weapons buyer Ashton B. Carter, also on the trip, said, “this is just the first step” in a technology relationship with Brazil that “gets deeper and deeper with ... time.” Boeing’s Gower said industrial offsets are a significant part of the Boeing package. For example, all of the final assembly work will be done in Brazil, if Brazilian officials choose to go with the Super Hornet.5 When any country is competing in the market to sell an aircraft there is much more at stake than qualities and specifications of the aircraft itself. With the purchase go regional political alliances, permitted technology transfers and most importantly long standing ties with the country selling the aircraft.


Multi-Role Aircraft in Action Mary Dub, Editor

Gripen NG in-flight


here is a critical change in the character of the 21st century defence market: tight budgets. In the United States this is seen as sequestration where un-negotiated cuts are made in previously established budgets. Defence cuts have also critically changed the nature of the multi-role aircraft market because whereas, in the past, defence ministries have been able to argue for the latest technology within a relatively big budget, budgets and time horizons have become smaller and shorter. This has offered advantages in the market place for skilled engineering that has proved its worth in the field.

The Sale of Gripen to Switzerland The Swiss government’s decision to choose to buy the Swedish Saab Gripen fighter jet, rather than the Eurofighter or France’s Rafale, gave a much-needed boost to Saab of Sweden. The decision to purchase 22 Gripen fighters to replace the Swiss air force’s antiquated Northrop Grumman F-5s was a huge disappointment to the European consortium behind the Eurofighter and an even bigger blow to Dassault, manufacturer of the Rafale.

The Rafale, one of a handful of fighters being considered by India, has so far failed to win any export orders. The Gripen is already in service in the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa and Thailand, apart from its native Sweden, but Håkan Buskhe, Saab’s chief executive, admitted that the victory was “a little bit of a surprise for us”. “The Swiss ... selection confirms that Saab is a market leader in the defence and security industry and that Gripen is a world-class fighter system that provides the best value for money.” All three aircraft had been under exhaustive tests for a number of years, and the Swiss air force is known to be particularly exacting. Moreover, Switzerland is seen as a market in which political factors, although never negligible, are secondary to pure performance and economic considerations. Switzerland is known globally for applying the highest procurement standards and requesting state-of-the-art technologies – Saab is both proud and delighted that Gripen has been chosen as the Swiss air force’s future multi-role fighter aircraft, Saab said in a statement.

Gripen nG

“Victory smiles upon those who anticipate the changes in the character of war not upon those who wait to adapt themselves after the changes occur.” General Guilio Douhet6 AnTiCipATe TOMOrrOW

The Swiss Government Position The Swiss government said all three contending aircraft had clearly met their technical | 11


The Swiss selection confirms that Saab is a market leader in the defence and security industry and that Gripen is a world-class fighter system that provides the

Gripen in production

best value for money requirements, and could have been purchased. But the Gripen, which has one rather than two engines and is therefore lighter, was not just the cheapest of the trio, but also the jet with the lowest expected running costs over its lifespan. Bern said the cost factor was particularly important in the context of extremely tight military spending. The Swiss parliament has acknowledged the need for constraints, but simultaneously pushed for a 100,000-strong army and improvements to various weapons programmes. “Financial considerations played a decisive role in the selection decision,” said the government in a statement.

The Indian Government Position on Defence Offsets But while, for a European government like Switzerland, ‘lowest expected running costs over lifespan’ are the key feature of any sale, for a country like India with rapid growth and expansive regional ambitions and long standing territorial disputes, the technology transfer element in a sale of aircraft and defence offsets are the critical factors. Dr Joann Spear at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute writes insightfully about this feature of the international market. She argues that a rising power in possession of a good fortune must be in search of a strong defence industry. In the case of India, a country now responsible for 10 percent of global defence exports during 2007-11 and whose future spending is estimated to exceed US$80 billion to US $100 billion during the 12th plan period

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(2012-2017) the problem is becoming acute, with ample evidence that the long-term investments made in state run defence enterprises and previous attempts at procurement reform have not yielded a defence industrial base capable of producing technologically advanced defence systems in a timely fashion. These shortcomings have become ever more obvious as India seeks major defence platforms that are far beyond the scope of her defence industrial base.7 To solve this problem and to help develop the high technology industrial base she needs, India has adopted an offsets policy. In many ways, defence offsets are the means to marry these two interests and India is keen to ensure that her activities as a recipient serve her development as a producer. Although India has been receiving de facto defence offsets since the 1960s in forms such as licensed production and technology transfers, it is only since the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) of 2005 that she has had an explicit offsets policy. India currently requires a 30 per cent offset on any deal over Rs. 300 million (around US $55 million). Large procurements carry larger offset obligations; the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft deal secured by Dassault in February 2012 involves a 50 per cent offset.8 While it is easy to look at the sale of an aircraft in terms of the capabilities it delivers to the buying nation, this would be a mistake. The sale of an aircraft is not a freestanding package – it comes with a host of complex concomitants, which can almost equal the importance of the aircraft itself.


A High Performing Future… Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

Sea Gripen


eering into the future is a high-risk mission with the only certainty being high levels of uncertainty. But it would be a significant oversight to ignore the increasing use of unmanned aerial vehicles in combat. In 2013, their use by the CIA has been noted over Pakistan and outlying areas of Afghanistan. They have also been used by Israel. They are not and could not be a direct replacement for multi-role aircraft; however, in some circumstances and at a much lower price they can deliver the same capabilities as a medium range multi-role aircraft. It is a cliché to quote the phrase that drones perform the dull, dirty and dangerous tasks that piloted aircraft might not wish to perform. However, their availability and frequent use in the defence field limits some of the potential future roles of piloted aircraft.

The Declining Importance of Air Superiority There is an important and controversial school of thought about airpower lead by the Israeli strategist, Martin Van Creveld. He argues that the high point of air superiority is passed. US

Marines Corps Scott J Kinner summarises Van Creveld’s argument: Van Creveld seeks to demonstrate that airpower reached its high point in World War II and, relative to the promises of its proponents, is in a period of decline and increasing ineffectiveness. He argues that due to nuclear deterrence, conventional warfare amongst superpower competitors is extremely unlikely. But he points out that it is the anticipation of this type of conflict that drives airpower strategy and procurement in developed nations, resulting in dwindling airpower assets that are too expensive to maintain, that are too expensive to risk or lose in combat, and that are wholly ineffective against the types of actual conflicts encountered by today’s militaries.10

But the Arguments for Airpower are Still Much More Powerful

Gripen nG

“Extremely long lead times in the acquisition and procurement of new technologies mean that now, as the F-22 begins to replace the venerable F-15, the next generation aerospace superiority fighter is entering development. Technology is advancing rapidly, but costs are skyrocketing. Unmanned air vehicles (UAV) should be considered as an alternative to manned aircraft for effective and efficient completion of this critical mission.”9 Colonel William K Lewis (USAF) AnTiCipATe TOMOrrOW

This sounds like a strong argument. However, the converse may well be a much stronger argument. Despite a solid foundation, conventional deterrence, not just nuclear deterrence, is also important in giving peer states pause before launching proxy wars or limited operations. It is a critical component in reassuring allies and | 13


The low lifetime cost of quality medium range multi-role aircraft has rarely had a more critical role to play in Europe, Asia and the Americas

Gripen NG

in dissuading hostile actions by nonnuclear states. Although drones, satellites, and missiles have certainly altered the landscape and calculus of some types of manned flight, their presence and capabilities indicate that the role of airpower itself remains crucial. While the ability of precision munitions to be effective is beholden to properly finding and identifying the threat, the employment of tactical air at the small unit level remains a significant force multiplier regardless of the operational environment. Even Van Creveld admits that it would be foolish for a commander to undertake any operation of meaningful size without at least local command of the air.11 Indeed, as an Israeli, his own country’s experience of warfare – the quick pre-emptive strike against Egypt that won Israel the Six-Day War of 1967; the surprise attack of Yom Kippur 1973 by Egypt and Syria that gravely jeopardized the Jewish state; the 1976 hostage rescue at Entebbe, Uganda; the 1981 raid against Iraqi nuclear facilities at Osirak; and the similar raid against Syria in 2007, would all indicate that there remains a powerful case for multi-role aircraft despite recent technological challenges.12

The European Austerity Consensus and its Consequences While the emerging world seeks to enhance its technological capabilities, many NATO countries are slashing their defence budgets dramatically. Maintaining current capabilities rather than modernisation and acquiring new capabilities has changed the political landscape for contractors. The New York Times describes the picture from the American perspective: alarmed by years of

14 |

cuts to military spending, the NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, issued a dire public warning to European nations, noting that together they had slashed $45 billion, or the equivalent of Germany’s entire military budget, endangering the alliance’s viability, its mission and its relationship with the United States. That was two years ago. Since then, with the Afghan war winding down and pressure from the European Union to limit budget deficits, Europe has only cut deeper. In 2012, for the first time, military spending among Asian nations, in particular China exceeded that of the Europeans. “We are moving toward a Europe that is a combination of the unable and the unwilling,” said Camille Grand, a French military expert who directs the Foundation for Strategic Research. “European countries are continuing to be free riders, instead of working seriously to see how to act together.” Even as Britain and France have boasted of operations in Libya and Mali, those interventions have revealed Europe’s weakness more than its strength. In Libya, the United States supplied intelligence, drones, fighter and refuelling aircraft, ammunition stocks and missiles to destroy air defences, and in Mali the French required American intelligence, drones, and refuelling and transport aircraft. Senior American officials have warned that, unless European countries spend more on defence, they risk “collective military irrelevance.”13 The low lifetime cost of quality medium range multi-role aircraft has rarely had a more critical role to play in Europe, Asia and the Americas. But their strongest future market will almost certainly lie in Asia and the Americas in the short-term future.


References: 1

 General William Wallace Momyer (September 23, 1916 – August 10, 2012) was commander of the U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Command.


The Paradox of Power: American Strategic Restraint in an age of Vulnerability By David C Gompert and Phillip C. Saunders 2011


Retired General in the United States Air Force who served as the 16th Chief of Staff of the Air Force from 1994 to 1997,


UCAV – THE NEXT GENERATION AIR-SUPERIORITY FIGHTER? By Major William K Lewis: A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the School of Advanced Airpower Studies for Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama June 2002


The Air Force Magazine


General Giulio Douhet (30 May 1869 - 15 February 1930) was an Italian general and air power theorist.


RUSI India Defence Offsets


The Implementation of India’s Defence Offset Policy RUSI Analysis, 31 Jan 2013 By Dr Joanna Spear, Senior Visiting Fellow RUSI India Defence Offsets The Implementation of India’s Defence Offset Policy RUSI Analysis, 31 Jan 2013 By Dr Joanna Spear, Senior Visiting Fellow


Major William K Lewis:USAF


Scott J. Kinner (Major, USMC, Retired) is an operations analyst/doctrine writer for the Marine Corps Tactics and Operations Group (MCTOG).


Scott J. Kinner (Major, USMC, Retired) is an operations analyst/doctrine writer for the Marine Corps Tactics and Operations Group (MCTOG).


By MICHAEL BESCHLOSS Published: April 22, 2011 13

The New York Times: Sequestration By STEVEN ERLANGER Published: April 22, 2013 | 15

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