Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Fly on the wall: Eurofighter and Saab make their case to Canada in 2010.

You guys want to buy some jets?
Here is an interesting record of presentations made to the Standing Committee on National Defense in the House of Commons.  Representatives from both Eurofighter and Saab are making their case for their fighters, the Typhoon and the Gripen, respectively.

"How about this sporty little number?" The Eurofighter Typhoon.

Here are some highlights; first from Mr. Andrea Nappi, Head of Eurofighter Export:

The Eurofighter Typhoon has also been designed to be reliable and easy to maintain when operating from forward operating bases with limited facilities, and this gives extremely high levels of fleet availability and competitive life-cycle costs. You may not be surprised to hear, therefore, that we pay little attention to the fourth-generation versus fifth-generation debate that seems to have become fashionable. We prefer instead to focus on delivering a mix of capabilities that not only meets our customers' requirements but also optimizes their chances of surviving the battle. This mix includes, for example, our super-cruise capability, extreme agility, sustained supersonic and high-altitude operations, fighter performance with a full missile load, integrated sensor fusion, network-enabled operations, low observability, and an ability to change roles in flight.
Perhaps I could also point out that the Eurofighter Typhoon meets all three of the key capabilities highlighted by General Deschamps as essential for the next-generation fighter--interoperability, sensors and data fusion, and survivability.
In addition, all four Eurofighter partner companies have outstanding track records in meeting industrial participation and offset obligations around the globe. Between us we have the ability to offer Canadian industry an unprecedented and unique level of access to key fighter technologies covering manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul, capability development, and systems integration.
Of course Canadian industry would be more than welcome to participate in two elements of the future Eurofighter Typhoon, should Canada enter the program. These would include participation in the manufacturing of components and the final assembly line, because with the size of fleet Canada would need, it would be economically convenient to have a final national assembly line.
Mr. Christian Worning, Typhoon test pilot, had this to add:
The design goal for the Eurofighter was really air supremacy. For modern BVR combat, as we see with the air supremacy airplane of the United States, the F-22, it is about speed, altitude, and weapons load, but it is primarily about the air-to-air role.
In terms of air defence itself, I am absolutely convinced that the Eurofighter is the superior airplane, surpassed only by the F-22, which is unavailable to all of us.
A lot of effort has gone into reducing the frontal radar cross-section, also, of the Eurofighter. But I underline that it's only one of the attributes. There are other means of increasing survivability, such as missile warning systems, towed decoys, electronic warfare, and of course performance and agility, particularly in the supersonic region. They are all building-stones towards survivability.
I have done above Mach 1.6 for a total of 15 minutes with three tanks on, but that was with heavy manoeuvring in between. (Mach 1.6 is the F-35's top speed, without external stores.  The fact that the Typhoon can match this speed with 3 heavy tanks and heavy maneuvering is astounding!)
"Or how 'bout this hot little number?"  The Saab Gripen F.
 Next, comes Mr. Antony Ogilvy, Vice-President, International Sales and Marketing, for the Saab Gripen:
Saab is well established here in Canada. We have key technologies in service in the Canadian army, navy, coast guard, air force, and universities.
With regard to range and endurance, Gripen can fly farther and stay airborne longer than any of our competitors' aircraft. As an example, un-refueled, it has a range of 4,000 kilometres. That's from Goose Bay to Inuvik. On full alert, the aircraft can be airborne in less than 60 seconds. A turnaround in the field in air-to-air role will take just under ten minutes. And a hot-engine change in the field takes less than an hour.
Gripen is fully operational within NATO, and fully interoperable with our NATO allies. As to Arctic operations, the Swedish air force operates one of its three Gripen wings in a location farther north than Alaska, so we are well versed in extremes of temperature, because we have operational aircraft in service in all climatic zones worldwide.
We employ a balanced survivability concept with very low audio, visual, radar, and infrared signatures, plus an extensive suite of on-board integrated defensive aids. Gripen has for decades matured a highly sophisticated interflight data link that complements the wide-picture information incoming from Link 16.
With the current procurement schedule, Saab can confirm deliveries to Canada of the Gripen NG in 2016.  In fact, we're ahead of our development program for the next-generation fighter. We can confirm that we will meet the in-service dates, as required by the Canadian air force, of 2016. We have no delays at the present. We foresee no delays in the program. 
The in-service cost per flight hour for Gripen is between $4,000 and $4,500 in Canadian dollars. So for a full fleet of 65 Gripen NG, the cost per year would be between $44 million and $50 million Canadian for a full fleet of 65 aircraft.  It does include spares, first- and second-line servicing, fuel, oil, and off-base servicing, all the maintenance you need. The only thing we don't include in that, as I say, is the labour costs. Labour costs vary so much around the world, sir, that we take out labour costs. 
We also recognize that Canada is very closely involved as an export customer in the JSF program. Now, we obviously wish to enter a full and open competition to meet 100% of the requirement for the future Canadian air force, i.e., for all 65 aircraft. Should this prove too complex, we would offer for consideration a fighter fleet of JSF and Gripen, as an option. I can assure all those who balk at this proposal that Gripen has an extremely low support footprint, which would require minimal change to existing Hornet facilities. Further, the Gripen can integrate fully with the F-35. After all, that is what NATO has striven to achieve with its allies.  (A mixed fleet of F-35s and Gripens?  Why not?)
Saab will transfer all—and we mean all—technologies required by Canada, including all source, single first-line code data. This will enable full national and functional control to be exercised over every element of the aircraft's offensive and defensive systems now and in the future.
All we ask is for the chance to properly demonstrate our capability to Canada and the Canadian air force, through an open and competitive process.

Mr. Patrick Palmer, Executive Vice-President, Head of Saab Technologies Canada, added:
We will commit to 100% IRB(Industrial Return Benefits). But more important than that is our technology transfer program--what we're willing and what we're able to do and what we need.
...we've had discussions with some industries in Quebec as well as in other regions of the country. At this time it's not right for me to mention the names of those industries.  (Bombardier?)
It must be noted that the timing of this testimony, December 7, 2010, was during a time that the F-35 was all but decided on already.  Mr. Oglivy may have suspected this, resulting in his suggestion for a mixed F-35 and Gripen force.

Many questions are asked by opposition members regarding the fact that Saab and Eurofighter were not given a serious consideration over the F-35.  But we all know that story.

[NOTE:  I am trying to locate similar testimony regarding the F-35, Rafale, and Super Hornet.  If anybody can find it, please let me know!]


  1. Many questions are asked by opposition members regarding the fact that Saab and Eurofighter were not given a serious consideration over the F-35. But we all know that story.

    Because the RCAF wants the F-35?

  2. Hey!

    There is a similar testimony regarding Rafale and Super Hornet.
    That was less than a month before, November 4, 2010, in the same Standing Committee on National Defence!
    If you want, I have the link.

    1. Thanks! I appreciate the offer, but I have already got the link from a member of the Facebook group!

      That's where I got the original link, actually...

    2. Yeah, I have seen that. We have a complete picture now.

      I'm not surprised by the Typhoon's performance : especially in high altitude, that bird seems to be a REAL killer.
      (that's no surprise RAF and French Air Force are working on Rafale-Typhoon cooperation, I let you imagine the potential...).

      However Saab claiming that "Gripen can fly farther and stay airborne longer than any of our competitors' aircraft" is a bit too much : there is no official figure but I'm pretty convinced a Rafale with full fuel load and four fuel tanks (4700 + 5200 kg!) can outfly the Gripen E/F quoted range of 4000km...

  3. Why would the RCAF want the F-35? Because it is the best!
    Why would Canadian Industry want the F-35? Because it offers the most!

    1. Those are pretty broad terms!

      Care to elaborate? Or is my sarcasm detector on the blink again?