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SAAB to complete Sea Gripen in the UK.

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posted on May, 24 2011 @ 08:13 PM
Hi all, well it seems a few air framer's out there are smelling blood in the F-35's water and are starting to circle for the kill, which in my opinion and probably that of a good many others, is a good thing as it stimulates diversity rather than the half assed McDonaldsizing that is the F-35. Which would have swamped markets and strangled good competition, on the assumption it would ever work and cheaply enough.

Interesting few tidbits given out here I thought as well. First the design work is to be conducted in the UK due to the perceived expertise, funny how neither the MoD or the British Govt can see this but some how SAAB can, good on them.

Second, it will be done by a very small team of just 10. That to me is a very positive move as it follows a classic model set out by the likes of design greats like Ed Heinemann. Keep the team small, hand picked and manageable and you will get good, reliable and quick results (they are talking of deliveries from 2018).

Third, they are going ahead with this after consultation with the MoD, and the SAAB head quips that they are "looking for competition". That has to mean the F-35, and the competition they talk of is probably the navalized Typhoon concept and Rafale. It could even be an outbreak of common sense that see's the return of more than one airframe type to cover all rolls which in my opinion has been a blind cost saving alley. Hence one of the reasons for the complexity, supersonic cost's and failure of the F-35.

Fourth, this is claimed as being just the first project to be undertaken by this team with other designs presumably to follow, now I wonder what they could be? Perhaps a new fighter airframe altogether?

Fifth, I was rather surprised that they are designing it to work on carriers with as little as 25,000t displacement, to me that implies that they intend on keeping the weight down and trying to avoid the classic fighter problem of "middle aged spread" that has affected types like the F-16. If achievable then it will open up markets to small carriers that other designs just wont be able to fill due to their size exceeding deck weight, catapult and takeoff landing length limits. And of course if operated from larger carriers like the RN/s forthcoming Elizabeth class then there would be much more generous bring back restrictions available which is another bonus. Smart move I think.

Lastly my favourite part of this is the last line in the third last paragraph,

We believe we have a gap to fill, and that we can show that it's possible to acquire extremely fine products that are affordable.
If they can pull off these goals they wont just have a winner, I believe they will force a change in the way other airframe manufacturers do business, and that can only be a good thing.

See the Link

edit on 24-5-2011 by thebozeian because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 25 2011 @ 09:21 AM
Looking at this and reading the other thread about doubts surrounding the f 35, gives me the idea that maybe we could halve our purchase of f 35's and get a few of these in instead, the variety would be good and the investment Saab would bring would certainly be welcome.

posted on May, 25 2011 @ 12:16 PM
reply to post by thebozeian

Excellent post. Its funny how the Gripen has been something of a dark horse until defence budgets started being slashed. Saab make fantastic aircraft which can be deployed in nearly any environment, not to mention the programme has been on schedule in way that its competitors could only dream of.

What makes the British influence curious is that originally BAE and Saab formed a company together to market the aircraft internationally (BAE seeing it more as a lower end product than a competitor to the Typhoon). This agreement ended 6 years ago. Since then they have not been overly successful in finding punters and perhaps are now looking to pick up on British arms dealing skills.

@MoneyRain, that's assuming that we get any F-35s at all. This could offer a good value and well sized plane for the QE Carriers, also with the potential for British jobs and profit.


posted on May, 25 2011 @ 05:12 PM
reply to post by jensy

There is a carrier-bourne version of this type, maybe for the new carrier(s) that we are building,could be positioning themselves to provide an alternative to the F18 E/F or F35C, However, i think that we would consider the French Rafales if we are to be carrier sharing with the French which is on the cards at present.

Either this or they adapt the euro-fighter to play ball off of a carrier, would be a similar setup to the rafales in any case

Wee Mad Mental.

posted on May, 26 2011 @ 05:41 AM
reply to post by weemadmental
The problem with the Rafale is that it is pretty steep on price, much more so than a Block II Super Hornet. Not that it isn't a good airframe it is in fact an excellent package, at the very least it has two engines (unlike the F-35 and the Gripen) and proven operational and combat performance, but you could probably buy almost two Gripens to every Rafale. Now if Dassault were to build a stretch version with more fuel and up-rated engines I could see that as a seriously good aircraft for the price, especially if purchased in a Hi-Lo mix with Sea Gripens but that isn't likely to happen. And at that point you run into the same type of design modification risks as a proposed Navalized Typhoon so you would be better off going with that for commonality with the RAF fleet and amortised costs through greater family production numbers of the Typhoon.

Yet this is all speculation though without taking into account the very large Elephant in the room, namely Britain's credit crunch which is precisely the reason the F-35 will never be wearing RN or RAF colours. This is why a concept like Sea Gripen is likely to be the end result with either Navalised Typhoon or distantly Super Hornet as either an alternative or perhaps heavier weight compliment to such.


posted on May, 26 2011 @ 05:53 PM
reply to post by thebozeian

I have a much more depressing vision;

The withdrawal of the Sea Harrier was followed by the transference of two squadrons of Harriers to the RN, this was followed by the total withdrawal of the Harrier from service removing fixed wing ops from the RN completely for the first time since 1980. The abandonment of the Harrier also meant the abandonment of the requirement for any sort of STOVL combat aircraft, such as Britain pioneered in the 1960's and had pursued in great hope through many unfulfilled design projects ever since until JCA became merged with Americas JSF.

This in turn has resulted in the switch from the STOVL F-35B to the CTOL F-35C, in my view, a good choice.

However the next logical stance for the UK is to ask, as we are building Typhoons of our own design and are brassic lint, why are we buying any other aircraft at all? The Typhoons we have will do, the RN doesn't need any planes as "the RAF will always be available to provide support" as if anyone believes it.

posted on May, 27 2011 @ 04:13 AM
reply to post by waynos
Waynos I can understand you pessimism and frankly the loss of not just the Harrier in general but in particular the Sea Harrier was without question not just stupid but in postwar Britain a sadly typical short sighted unmitigated disaster. Cheer up at least the bastards are consistent!

However I think you discount the fact that "something" has to sit on the decks of the QE class carriers and we are not talking of helicopters. Whether it be F-35C, F/A-18E/F, Rafale M, Sea Gripen or Fairey Swordfish is unknown but it wont be nothing I believe. If it were then the carriers would have been cancelled forthwith. And if they do get laid up after completion and offered for sale I can think of a certain former antipodean penal colony that would be happy to carry the torch and take good care of them. After all we just bought HMS Largs Bay. Maybe one day we could play an Ashes test on there flight deck's if it came to it? But in the meantime nothing is set in stone so dont despair the Royal Navy has had its proud white ensign dragged through muddier water's than these and survived.

My belief is that a fighter will once again wear the Fleet Air Arm red and blue bulls eye and it may just be a certain scandinavian fighter, something of a little jet that could.


posted on May, 27 2011 @ 11:13 AM
reply to post by thebozeian

Regarding what will sit on the decks of the new carriers (well, one of em) I notice that the RAF is forming a second Reaper squadron and bringing control of the ops from the USA to the UK, at Waddington. Given this and the apparent continuation of the Taranis UCAV, maybe that will be the answer? Maybe not entirely the right answer, but an answer of sorts.

posted on May, 27 2011 @ 11:42 AM
I reckon they are more likely to end up on something along the lines of the UXV concept. I hate admit it but I reckon the new carriers will be sold or tasked to some kind of EU fleet with little British influence over their deployment.
I do like the idea of Fairey Swordfish.......


posted on May, 27 2011 @ 12:01 PM
hi there,

i tend to agree with Waynos,
the Taranis is being `whispered ` about in some circles as now being adapted for carrier work.
i feel that is the way it will be going in the future.


posted on Jun, 6 2011 @ 09:58 AM
There is an interesting article on the BBC website today looking at the Gripen. Obviously few startling facts for the residents of this board. However what is interesting is how much it reads like a paid advert for the aircraft.

BBC Article on Gripen

Raising advantages of it low cost and good performance in the Empire Test School, one wonders if Saab is looking to build up support for this aircraft, either in part or entirely, to replace the projected F-35s for British service.
Personally I support this entirely, we have a reasonable number of Typhoons still rolling off the production line.
Why do we need to purchase a plane which America thought the World needed 15 years ago, yet seems unlikely to be available till the beginning of the next decade.



posted on Jun, 6 2011 @ 10:12 AM
reply to post by jensy

I read that like a paid advert to, I liked how they crowbarred into the article the implication that the SAAB was already in use within the UK as a trainer.

As to the Sea Gripen my hope is that she will be a good contender, as the best I can see right now is for a few navalised Typhoons bulked up with the cheaper Gripen..

edit on 6/6/11 by thoughtsfull because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 03:40 AM
reply to post by thoughtsfull

I like the idea of mixed groups on the carriers, but I fear that there might be a couple of issues which stand in the way:

1) Cost. The idea of only preparing a few Sea Typhoons would undoubtedly result a huge increase in cost per airframe as the UK would be the only buyer, and there would be no economies of scale to take advantage of.
The solution would be if India decided to chose it for their forthcoming aircraft carrier, and potentially shaft the MiG out of the picture on their refurb job.

2) Capability. Annoyingly the Sea Typhoon which is being suggested, that of STOBAR (Short take off, bar assisted recovery), would not work on either of the carriers now that they are both being built to CATOBAR (Catapults) standard. The ramp which is ironically only now being removed form the design prevents these aircraft from operating STOBAR.

New Carriers to be Built CATOBAR

As far as getting a solution for this, I am unsure. Perhaps the MoD has been smart enough to maintain both the ramps and fit the new catapults, this filling in a hybrid capability for the future. But such optimism is usually misplaced.
Its times like this that we should really regret not going with the French and building a carrier capable Typhoon, which would have lowered the costs and quite possibly have prevented the F-35 from ever being considered. Heck, we might even have gotten out hands on a real strike aircraft instead.


posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 12:39 PM
Thanks for the response
and information.. I know on my part it was wishful thinking that we would get a decent carrier with mixed capabilities.. and even more wishful thinking that the MoD actually had a plan in place.. hearing the news about the options for a navalised Typhoon and then the Sea Gripen really got my hopes up and I should know better..

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