back to article Raptor and Eurofighter go head to head

There were a lot of things on show today at Farnborough, but probably if they were honest there was only one event which absolutely everyone here was determined not to miss. That was the first ever overseas (public) appearance of the F-22 Raptor, the latest, most unbelievably expensive uberfighter from the USA. In a scheduling …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Hot?

    "The Raptor is hot - the press gallery was packed out for its appearance, whereas the humdrum Eurofighter drew a fairly small crowd."

    Or, the Eurofighter is in service, so the press would have much less interest in a fighter they have already seen before, in action, rather than the F-22 on its first ever visit to Europe?

    In a test in the US the F-22 went up against the Eurofighter, the EF gained lock BVR, the Americans cancelled the test then claiming "ohh, stealth wasnt turned on, unfair test, we're taking our ball home".

  2. Rob Briggs

    @Lewis: Export sales?

    Whilst the West may not be expecting to assert air dominance in conflict any time soon, there are plenty of export markets (India, Taiwan, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia etc) who are actively seeking to acquire so-called 5th generation aircraft. It's sales to these markets where the agility and the equipment will make a difference.

  3. Frank Bough
    Unhappy

    Why?

    Do you keep telling us the same thing? We KNOW that F-22 / EF2000 are fighting the last war and we know why - because they were designed in the past for a future that never came (or, at least, hasn't come yet). Are you seriously expecting us to swallow your hindsight as though it were insight? Do you really believe that the wars of the future will emulate the Iraqi and Afghan campaigns? You're THAT confident that Russia and China won't be threats?

  4. Peter Rowan
    Thumb Down

    Lewis Page and the Eurofighter/Typhoon

    We know Lewis Page's views on these jets as he keeps on going on about them every single article he writes lately. It is so predicable and getting boring to read. Firstly, the Typhoon is now been used again by the RAF to intercept Russian air force jets on a daily basis. Also these jets have been planned for the next 25 years of usage, just because today there is no threat, who knows in ten years time. Mr Page, start writing more originally please in the future.

  5. Mr Chris

    US Navy

    "The USN has not bothered to replace its F-14 Tomcats with a new generation of ultrafighter. Instead, the Top Guns of the future will fly in an enhanced version of the trusty F-18 multipurpose jet."

    Er - except for the F-35, of course.

  6. Stuart Van Onselen

    Tornado F3

    Does anyone know where I can find an analysis of the Tornado F3? Lewis insists it's crap, and I've heard the same from other airplane buffs, but being the inquisitive little git I am, I'd love to know *why* it sucked.

    If Lewis's articles are so predictable, why do his detractors still read them? You claim to know what he's going to say anyway. Oh wait, maybe they *don't* read them. They skim them, so they know what keywords to include in their replies, which are at least as predictable as they claim Lewis' articles to be. Irony much?

    And I have yet to hear a single commentor share Lewis' concern for the foot-soldier. Do you guys consider them to be nothing but meat-shields who's pitiful salaries are getting in the way of the West buying still more wank-tastic uber-weapons?

  7. Marky W
    Paris Hilton

    Yawn

    To echo many of the other comments, the coverage of these once-interesting topics is becoming repetitive and stale.

    We are all aware of Lewis' prejudices and opinions on these matters, so could another writer have a go at the Farnborough military articles? Pretty please? With sugar on the top?

    Paris - because while she's repetitive, she remains interesting (in a can't-take-my-eyes-off-the-car-crash-that-her-life-is-becoming kind of way).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    cost versus Chinook choppers

    ah yes, each fighter may cost seven times more than a hugely useful Chinook chopper, however, if you have no fighters and only choppers, then it doesn't matter how many choppers you have if the enemy has a fighter or two... your choppers will get slaughtered

  9. Mike Richards Silver badge

    And the winner is...

    ...on stylistic grounds, the F22 - handsome beast. No TSR-2 I grant you, but it doesn't look like it was designed by a committee.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Depends on your Point of View

    Well, you have to understand Lewis' point of view ..... spending many months away from home on long deployments in the RN, while the RAF boys are home every afternoon for tea and crumpets. And in training, do you think you can ever get a RAFie in the exercise area long enough to actually practice anything? Hell, no. "Aircraft on task .. <one minute later>.... bingo fuel, RTB". They're lazy sods, the lot of them. And the money is such a waste ... GBP175m for a Euro Fighter? That would buy *a lot* of champers for the in-port cocktail parties.

  11. Zimon
    Alert

    Avenger II!

    "The USN has not bothered to replace its F-14 Tomcats with a new generation of ultrafighter. Instead, the Top Guns of the future will fly in an enhanced version of the trusty F-18 multipurpose jet."

    The SuperBug is very different to the first Hornet (the airframe being constructed very differently), so much so it was called Hornet II (The scapped Hornet 2000 being the enhancment program to fix the orig Hornet).

    Of course after the A-12 Avenger II, no one trusted the navy to develope it's own aircraft from scratch again, so a little cover was needed; result Hornet E/F not Hornet II A/B

    The USN was not pragmatic just incomptant!

    The Australian buy hardly suggests the Superhornet would be a bargin for the UK! (certainly not a saving after you account the damage to home industry)

  12. Roy Stilling

    What I don't understand is

    That here Lewis is disparaging the Raptor and Eurofighter as white elephants, and over on Trousers Brown Counterpoint: Is Gordon right? <http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/13/trousers_brown_counterpoint/> he's telling us we shouldn't be buying gas from the Russians as they'll use the money to finance their all-powerful war machine.

    So which is it Lewis?

  13. Dalen
    Black Helicopters

    Chek your spellink, Komrades!

    It's actually "Voiska Protovovozdushnoi Oborony".

    Black helicopter 'cause none of them ever made it past the Soviet AA guns.

  14. Dave
    Boffin

    Amazingly short memory..

    Ah, but this all sounds so familiar. To those who spout "visualize world peace" I reply, yes, and ignore world history. Every time there's a lull in world conflict (believe it or not, now's such a time) there's a tremendous uproar on the expense of weaponry. Fast forward a few years or decades and it's always been prudent to remember how to fight and have the means to do so.

    So, make choppers, not war is a great slogan but will help little when the next warlord armed with oil money decides his kingdom is too small. Times change, people don't. We'll always need this stuff. Fatalistic? Maybe. Historically accurate? you bet.

  15. Wonderkid
    Stop

    A load of leftist tosh...

    ...but one only realizes in the last few paragraphs, ruining and otherwise interesting article. Defense is what it says, being prepared. Because while the past is stone, the future is fluid...

  16. Hud Dunlap
    Thumb Up

    F15 is worn out

    The F15's are falling apart in mid air from Metal fatigue. And forget the Russians. It is the Chinese that is going to be the problem.

  17. DS

    Hmmm

    The Tornado like the hawk was somewhat hacked together to provide air defense. The hawk got tweaked with twin sidewinders and a 30 MM Aden, and the Tornado got a mix of close in Sidewinders, and stand off Skyflash missiles.

    Previous to this, how deeply do you want to examine the hacked together area defense of the UK in the NATO Umbrella? Blood hound missiles? Rapier point defense round the airfields and certain other facilities, Phantoms with hacked RR engines, Lightning, which while utterly awesome in a sort of sports car fantasy, had the range of a Mosquito if you happened to open it up fully.

    The Tornado F3 was not designed to be a close in dogfighter, and any pretense or attack on it in that guise is misleading and unfair. In its role, ie UK air defense, it was hackery accepting, a reasonable stand off fighter, with some half decent missiles. It was good enough to take down Soviet bombers, and that was its primary goal.

    Most aircraft are irrelevant, the pilot training makes up a much more serious potent in the mix.

    Now back to the EF. Its stupid to argue the EF should be cut off because you can't see a use for it *within* current boundaires. Defense is not merely the wars you fight today, but also tommorow. And we will need these aircraft just like we really could have used to TSR2.

    Blaming the EF for lack of choppers or air support in Afganistan is STUPID. We are at war, and trying to run things on a peace time budget. Period. Thats your starting problem. The choppers like some of the vehicles could be bought, we just have some miserable rabble now who won't pay for their actions.

    In the meantime, we're mothballing continually aircraft that provide air support. In theory you have enough Harrier and Tornado aircraft to provide utterly enough air power for NATO in Afganistan, but then you hit the other problem. We and the rest of NATO won't commit to this. So you get a constant grind about who does what, and who pays for it.

    Personally, instead of bitching about the supposed failings in the EF - which was NEVER by design meant to provide the job you whine about, you should focus on the British PM NOT sending the Harriers, Tornado's and Chopper forces our troops need.

    Its patently stupid to say the EF is not dropping bombs on the Taleban, because the Harriers and Tornado's are not there in real numbers either, and they were built by design for the job.

  18. Henry Cobb
    Thumb Down

    Brits loosing battles?

    Sure the Limeys are throwing their lives away every day over there, but when was the last time the Brits lost a battle?

    On land that it is, we all know how much Britannia fears the waves in these post-RN days.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    second appearance for F22, not solo

    I saw it only last Thursday when it did a validation flight over Farnborough in preparation for today. It was a very impressive display today, almost the whole office was on the roof to watch :)

    On the enthusiasm for the Typhoon vs Raptor, I think it is more novelty value. The Typhoon has been a regular at these events for several years and we've seen what it can do lots of times, the Raptor is brand new and shiny. (and LOUD)

    One thing we're missing this time round is the MiG 29 pilot from 2006. He gave an incredible display. see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHAXZy6ujtQ&feature=related

  20. Chris G Silver badge

    Raptor vs Eurofighter!

    For those who , like Neville Chamberlain was, are under an impression of lasting peace, just stop and have a little think. In 2010 the Russian Federation may be a probationary member of the EU. With a population of 145 million ( approx ), 6·5 million square miles of largely untapped resources and an economy that is currently about 7th in the world, it is going to make a considerable difference to the strategic and economic power that the EU is able to wield.

    Now , bearing in mind that the USA's notion of national security is 99% about their cost of living remaining low at other people's expense and the fact that they may well be competing less successfully against the new, larger, more resourceful Europe, it could be that we are going to be considered a threat to America's security and suitable subjects for occupation. So stuff the extra Chinooks and bring on a few more Eurofighters before we are the victims of less than friendly fire.

    Signed: Ever so slightly paranoid

  21. Bounty

    why are we still putting pilots in these things?

    people just take up space that could be used for fuel.. plus we can't handle as many G's.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A good use?

    So now we have a deterrent against any of the smaller nations (or even Russia) using the last generation fighters, we know there is a significantly lower chance of them trying to take on the big guys.

    Five years ago, Russia was a zero threat since they couldn't even aford the fuel. Now they are back on the rise with a rebuilding economy. If we didn't have these jets now, we would certainly be trying to build them as soon as possible, before Russia reached a big enough strength. Even if it had no intentions of attacking western nations directly, there are plenty of western interests out there.

    China is next on the radar. They are not really going to try anything for a while, at least until they can come up with something to beat the Typhoon or Raptor (or even Raphale). The benefit of the delay is still a benefit.

    Of course, if the Euro government sees it as safe, they could sell Typhoons to China and Russia (they already sell them to slightly scary middle eastern countries, even just the trainer aircraft). If anything, it will annoy the Americans and recoup some of the cash.

    This article is just like the last Typhoon one but with the Raptor appearance tagged on. What's the next one? Nuclear weapons, complete waste, 1940s technology, no one has used one for years...

  23. James Pickett

    Raptor vs Eurofighter?

    My money's still on a Mig or Sukhoi in a real fight. Simpler, more robust, designed to be flown.

  24. Chris Byers

    Why the F3 was not very good

    'Does anyone know where I can find an analysis of the Tornado F3? Lewis insists it's crap, and I've heard the same from other airplane buffs, but being the inquisitive little git I am, I'd love to know *why* it sucked.'

    Because the wings kept falling off, it didn't go around corners very well and for years the radar in the front was actually a lump of cement due to the one it was supposed to have not working, although this may have been on an earlier variant.

    Still, I have to stay loyal to British Aerospace as I live under the flight path in to their Warton plant and get very interesting things flying over every now and again.

  25. jens moewes
    Coat

    We did it ourselves

    luckily we had not to rely on the french or england to get rid of the commies - we did it ourselves and overrun them in good old saxony without any anglo in it. and i dont remember that relying on [the] french was ever on our agenda - except for reciting poems in 18th century prussia.

  26. Joe Cooper

    Superjets

    @Lewis Page

    Ironically, assuming that the next war will be just like Iraq or Afghanistan is just as misguided. These wars are winding down, and it's unlikely the government is going to convince anyone to do any "regime change" again for a good long time.

    Meanwhile, Russia is becomming much more agitated, getting back on the ball and is now in control of a lot of oil. They're flying their bombers around Alaska again, taunting their neighbors, suggesting they'll put those tanks and jets BACK ON THE BORDERS if Poland brings in those SAM sites.

    Russia does make it's neighbors quite nervous. Neighbors like Poland who are in NATO.

    Add to that, if anything this Raptor and EF situation has shown that modern fighter jets are so complicated that you can't just drop them and whip one out in two years if we suddenly need them.

    Sound planning for a better tomorrow.

    @Bounty:

    Pilots can make intelligent decisions on-site. Remote control would come with a satellite delay, and computers are... Astoundingly stupid, even if they can perform all the basic maneuvers now.

    The current UAVs don't actually have to make any tactical decisions.

  27. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Boffin

    RE: Stuart Van Onselen

    As said above, the Tornado F3 was originally developed from the Tornado GR1 bomber. The reason was the Tornado (after they kicked the French off the project) had actually evolved into a very useful tactical bomber with good dash performance, high speed and engines that were very fuel-efficient. In its NATO role, the RAF needed a long-range interceptor to tackle Soviet bombers coming into the North Sea and North Atlantic, so what was needed was a big radar, a good range, a lot of both BVR (Beyond Visual Range) missiles backed up by a couple of dogfight missiles and a gun. The role had previously been fulfilled by Phantom IIs, so the design was always going to be a big fighter, not a little F-16. BAe had the idea of making an interceptor - not an air superiority fighter - out of the Tornado, much in the same way as the old de Havilland Mosquito was first a bomber but became a long-range fighter too.

    The F2 was poor (mainly because its swing-wing could only use a few preset angles of sweep, and many did not have radar!), but the F3 was right on the money for the intended role. The Skyflash that made up the BVR part of the missile load was a better seeker on an improved Sparrow motor, and was years ahead of the USAF's Sparrow. It was so good, given the choice, the Swedes bought it, and the Yanks eventually copied the seeker design for later versions of Sparrow.

    Now, everyone compares fighters in the classic dogfight, in which case the Tornado was only middling in ability despite its swing-wing. However, a lot happens before you get down to the close turning combat, and (when it was sorted), the match of Skyflash and Foxhunter radar meant the Tornado in its early years actually had an advantage in hostile ECM enviornments (as would be expected over Europe) over the F-15 with the old Sparrow, and could knock the F-16 down before the latter could get close enough to kill the Tornado (the F-16 didn't finally get a long-range kill capability until AMRAAM arrived). It was also reasonably handy in close manouvering with enough power to keep itself out of trouble, and usually had enough fuel to keep turning until an F-16 driver would have to break off or risk running dry.

    Personally, I'd be happier if the RAF had half the number of Typhoons and made up the remainder with Hawk 200s with AMRAAMs. The latter is also a quite capable ground-attack fighter, has good enough capabilities (F-18 radar included) to allow it to deal with the odd Third World MiG, and would be a lot cheaper to operate! The savings could go on more Merlins (not Lewis's fave Chinooks).

  28. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    Oh well

    Oh well , time to build the less expensive unmanned "Robotech" aircraft with enhanced AI to learn from their cousins and fellow clones mistakes thus allowing G force limitations on the aircraft rather then delicate human pilot limits of between six and nine gees absolute to blackout and death , but as for the other two one my money is on the cheaper Russian built MKI in any fight by at least ten to one !

    There are countermeasures which can negate all low observable Stealth technology we know today long before the incoming craft can deploy countermeasures , some are cheap and one is very expensive to own and operate and can be easily blindsided too !

    But alas "Starfish Prime" test results of July 9th 1962 shows that all things electronic will die in a large radius without destroying the ground infrastructure (much like the opening scenario in the TV show 'Dark Angel')

    Sadly though , in the age of "Oppenheimer's Toys" , within thirty five minutes of any war scenario plan using conventional weapons of any description with those so equipped the silo and sea launched MIRV birds , they would be flying on their one way trip for "MAD" and long after the first wave of destruction the much slower cruise missiles will be dropping their additional destructive loads thus oops , we just lost six billion casualties in the first hour , so we have the Curtis Lemay nightmare becoming reality , life can be really mean for the so few who survived the first wave !

    Sadly though , a number of examples exist in history of a supposedly inferior under trained and lacking in a tactical air superiority and lower ranked equipment have often turned the tables on their supposedly superior enemy , using underhanded differential but very aggressive tactics !

    In any war , one should never count one's chickens and claim victory as the supposed underdogs always have a hidden surprise or booby trap ready for the alleged victor to swallow in a costly bitter pill format , as we have already seen in this new 21st century of propaganda in two or more countries supposedly liberated by technically superior forces and the biggest most lethal killer is the most simplest of low technology weapons any fool can put together with minimal of training , very nasty a weapon indeed as it kills sophisticated modern main battle tanks with ease too(go ask US Army about their daily huge but still growing junk pile of the trashed latest generation modern infantry and armored vehicle inventory since the supposed victory day speech from an aircraft carrier ) !

    One truly has to love these armchair flying generals make much crow talk , but as always most of their arguments are either locked into a fixed loop of my tool is always better then yours or other endlessly loopy arguments not based on fact !

    In any war there are no real winners but simultaneously every one becomes the loser at the same time , as all wins become pyrrhic victories at the end point for all parties involved !

    But as always, for some people where the means justify the ends and the ends justify the means will always waste other peoples time and money , for such is life !

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Why don't we just...

    scrap these and carry laser pointing devices?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    More hot air than a Pratt and Whitney F199-PW-100

    I assume the esteemed Mr Page is paid for his opinionated style and not his factual knowledge.

    The Tornado wasn't laughable in it's role as an interceptor. The UK's not in Central Europe so we didn't need an air superiority fighter. One of Britain's key Cold War roles was protecting the UK-Iceland-Greenland gaps, which you need a long-range interceptor for, and for protecting the UK against long range bomber attack. There are horses and there are courses.

    As for the US Navy not getting a next generation fighter, well they're buying hundreds of F35s. The F14 wasn't replaced by a fifth-gen fighter because they Navy started gradual replacement in mid-80s with the F/A18. The F/A18 is being replaced by the F35 (with Super Hornets remaining in service).

    And for the last time stop going on about Chinooks - there arn't any available for the UK to purchase. The MoD have approached Boeing abouting buying somemore (actually ones we can give air worthiness certificates to this time) and they haven't got any available.

  31. CTG
    Happy

    Top Gun reference...

    ...in the alt tag of an image? Nice, Lewis, nice.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ain't necessarily so

    "nowadays the Russian design bureaux must live on gas revenues and export sales to the cheaper end of the Third World market, rather than the focused revenues of a vast empire."

    Money was never the point anyway. While the Yanks, British, French, Germans, etc. were spending vast sums doing R&D, the Soviets sensibly stole all the former nations' plans and then distilled the best of them.

    Besides, you don't need money to do good design. The Spitfire was designed and built on a relative shoestring, and plenty of useless white elephants have proceeded from heavily funded projects (no names, no packdrill).

  33. wim
    Stop

    first time overseas ?

    If I am not mistaken I think the Raptor has been stationed in Japan for a while. For training together with the Japanese Airforce.

    So unless you don't count the pacific ocean as a sea I guess that it is the first time it was visible in Europe but not out of USA.

    yes slightly pedantic but I really wish we could get some press people to try to tell the truth or as much as possible.

    Yes, that is slightly naive

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Stop giving away our friggin money...

    It might cost more, but it stays here. buy British.

    Are Merlins available in Black?

  35. Bruce Sinton
    Pirate

    Oh well

    Dear Heystoopid,

    Your argument is then that we should never get into a war at any time.

    I expect that you think the world would be a better place if Adolf Hitler and his murderous shit Nazis ,had been allowed to subject Europe to the genocidal , enslaving principles of the Master Race. Genocide of all Slavic people and anyone else Adolf didn't like.

    Now people like you can now go on talking crap, without learning the lessons of history.

    Our governments do make things seem more peaceful now, like the organisation that prior to WW2 was called the War Department, is now called the Defense Department.

    Peace and Joy man.

  36. Stuart Van Onselen

    Just like I expected

    Fap! Fap! Fap! Oooooh, MY jet has stealth! Ooooh, but MINE is faster!

    Just like I predicted: Lots of post-hoc justification for more fighter-porn. And STILL no mention of the ground-hogs.

    Let's put it another way, for the guys who are nostalgic for the Cold War: YES, it is good to be prepared. NO, it is not good to go all Neville Chamberlain. (But didn't N.C. buy the UK some time to frantically build up its forces? Let's not blame him entirely for WWII.)

    BUT, no-one has an infinite budget for war. Priorities must be set, and a balance between current activity and future threats must be sought. And there is a lot of pressure to build fancy high-tech weapons, not so much because they're needed, but the manufacturers make a mint out of it.

    And this means that YOUR taxes are wasted on over-priced crap that often doesn't work!

    So if Lewis overstates the case against Eurofighter, maybe it's because he's trying to compensate for the pressures from EADS/McD/Boeing etc to screw YOU, the taxpayer.

    Unless, of course, half of you are teenaged boys (fap! fap! fap!) who don't pay tax yet. In which case, fap away! No-one gives a shit about you until you get your first job, at which point you too get to feed the Military Industrial Complex.

    Welcome, Citizen XP1104-567 - deposit your pay-cheque here...

  37. Wesley Parish Bronze badge

    white elephants, blue moon

    firstly, jens, Go Saxony!

    Getting back to business, an airforce is a somewhat/significantly more able artillery division. You use them to hammer the enemy either on the battlefield or their ancillary support functions.

    Now what are the primary defense requirements in Europe today? What sort of EU would exist if the Russian Federative Republic was allowed in, and the Republic of Turkey?

    That's the sort of question that needs to be asked, not the fluffy-bunny "Which set of white elephants best match my blond eyes and blue hair?"

    As far as Afghanistan goes, let it go. Afghanistan is not a threat to Europe so much as the rabid unbalanced ravings of the current recumbent in the US Hot Seat is. I mean, it is a certain individual's repudiation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the enunciation of certain "rights" of the United States of America to preemptively strike other nations, that has stirred up trouble with the Russians.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Re: Tornado F3

    Someone further up was asking about the Tornado F3. So, the reason the F3 is so badly derided is because it was designed for intercepting Soviet fast bombers. The supersonic bombers that threatened the northern flank of NATO are a huge threat, and the F3 was designed to just be a very fast interceptor. Also, the dual use airframe was first designed as the ground attack variant, which it is far better at really. Basically the F3 has the turning circle of a cruise liner. Now, in the last few years of the F3 I saw it do very well against the US aircraft simply because the avionics had been so massively improved - especially things like JTIDS. These days, turning and burning is much less important than top notch avionics. In most "dogfights" in this day and age you expect to engage way before the turn and burn stage.

    Now I come onto Lewis' article. Unfortunately, I have to disagree with his sentiment that things like Eurofighter and Raptor are useless. The reality of it is, we have gone up against major air forces in recent times. The Argentineans had an extremely capable air force during the Falklands, and Saddam had a top air force during the first Gulf War. Fortunately, in the latter case he decided not to use it, but we did expect significant losses had he flown his air force anywhere except Iran. Now, the key part which will win any future air superiority battle in the future is better avionics than the opposition. The old fighters (like the F3) are an absolute nightmare to retrofit avionics into, usually requiring very expensive projects to do so. And in many cases there just isn't space in the airframe for the new avionics (try retrofitting a new radar for example). What the Typhoon and F22 both provide is a highly capable avionics platform. The turning and burning is an aside, and in reality is only a small part of the development cost.

    In my opinion there is a good chance that the Typhoon or F22 will see real operational service in their lifetimes. Of course, getting rid of the maintenance burden that the F3 has become will be great, and it will be nice having a quick jet like Typhoon on QRA both in the UK and down on the Falklands.

  39. MarkW
    Thumb Up

    Control.

    <rant>

    "The West" needs enemies to fuel the spiralling costs of keeping the rich, rich and poor, poor. Lewis is spot on. You military fan boys and girls can enlist and serve a few terms in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The UK should get off its high horse as she supplies dozens of repressive regimes with high-tech weaponry. Every penny wasted on upgrading the Trident white elephant, new aircraft carriers and secret military training camps* in Wales is a penny not spent on health and education.

    </rant>

    * http://www.no2militaryacademy.com/

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Foresight

    > these planes will never fight an equal battle

    I for one welcome our new I-can-predict-the-next-thirty-years-with-absolute-certainty leader, and hope that he will bless me in return with advance notice of this weekend's lottery numbers.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tornado fighter...

    ...imagine fighting the Battle of Britain with Bristol Blenheims (converted light bombers) instead of Spitfires and Hurricanes and you'll get the picture.

  42. Ivan Headache

    @first time overseas ?

    He did say 'public' - but what does that actually mean?

    Anyway, the BBC showed footage of the Raptor flying at Fairford on Friday last. Even though the tattoo was cancelled, plenty of people saw it practising.

    So he was wrong (I think).

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Chinooks...

    ...The new Metric Unit for fighter plane cost?

    Given that one of the most important discoveries the world has ever seen may run out within the typhoons and raptors operational lifetimes, they might end up paying for themselves many times over.

    Wonder how many chinooks a black helicopter costs.

  44. Echowitch
    Thumb Up

    @ heystoopid

    I presume your reference to Robotech is not a reference to Robot Technology, but the Robotech TV series, which was the americanised version of the Macross TV series, (and its follow on's.)

    In Macross the Ghost Fighters, (AI Controlled fighters,) were excellent as a first line of defence and the Macross Plus OVA 4 parter covers the possibility of the new Ghost X9 replacing all living pilots and their fighters. But as Macross Plus shows, the AI controlled fighter was taken control of by another, more malevolent Artificial Intelligence with its own plans.

    In the new Macross Frontier TV series there are the newest model of Ghost fighters which are sent against the Vajra, (the new enemy in that series,) and they are all neutralised by ECM and EMP.

    Both of these instances show where living pilots will always have the edge over an AI controlled fighter. Although I certainly think that the Armed Forces of the future will like in Macross, make much more use of AI controlled attack fighters as they are a quick, cheap and disposable alternative to expensive to train human pilots.

  45. Stuart Van Onselen

    @Wesley Parish

    I think you meant "incumbent", not "recumbent".

    On second thoughts, maybe you didn't. Excellent pun, actually. :)

  46. John Wilson
    Black Helicopters

    First appearance? Not.

    If Farnborough was the first appearance of the F22 in the UK, then how did I manage to snap about 30 shots of it doing a practice performance over Fairford on Friday?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Yes yes Lewis we get you.

    Now get another tune.

    Having the capability oftens means that it wont need to be used.

    Look at what happened down in the falklands when we got rid of our capability.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Hallo Gallo

    "Does anyone know where I can find an analysis of the Tornado F3? Lewis insists it's crap, and I've heard the same from other airplane buffs, but being the inquisitive little git I am, I'd love to know *why* it sucked."

    Lewis Page covers this in his book, "Lions, Donkeys and Dinobots". Off the top of my head, the main deficiency he cites is poor high-altitude performance and a limited ceiling. As I recall from reading the book whilst high on mescaline, the Tornado was designed for low-level operations, and its engines have poor thrust and fuel economy at fighter-type altitudes. NB this is a poorly-recalled summary of Page's book, not my own opinion.

    I'm sure I remember reading something in Hansard to this effect, but I can't find it and I'm still trying to cope with the withdrawal symptoms and stop.

  49. Steen Hive
    Black Helicopters

    Well Lewis

    "About the only way either could really pay its way would be in a fight against the other."

    Probably the most likely way they will be used too - and don't think the Septics haven't modeled the scenario either. You are Nostradamus and I claim my £5.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Stuart Van Onselen

    We read these articles because we are interested in the technology. As I am sure you are aware national security is very important and how we are provided with this is something that we should all be interested in.

    However Mr. Page has a tendency to flesh out the real information with his own ideas, which I can summarise as:

    -Buy American

    -Buy American helicopters

    or occasionally (usually when the story is about buying American or helicopters):

    -Buy something else other than what you are buying because it must be wrong because I say so

    Regarding foot soldiers: this is a piece about gen 5 air superiority fighters and as such foot soldiers are not relevant. Why bleat about just foot soldiers and not medics, or seamen or tank drivers? Air superiority is pretty much a necessity in warfare and has been pretty much since war took to the skies. The better the aircraft then the safer it is for the foot soldiers, just look at the havoc the Argentinian air force wreaked on the UK forces in the Falklands.

    What is more worrying is the statement: "not when cheaper jets could do the job without more than minimal losses" which implies to me that the author believes minimal losses and cheap planes are an acceptable trade off to zero losses and expensive planes.

    Finally: regarding your teenage boys gibe, you are acting like it will be a few years before you yourself reach your teenage years. Sorry, just because no-one took your think-of-the-children sorry, think-of-the-foot-soldier crusade seriously it does not make us all pubescent onanists. Remember, the article *is* about combat planes after all.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Those costs.

    Much as I enjoyed the Ladybird book of Military Procurement the £175M per aircraft flying is a seriously disingenuous figure. I presume that ignoring the hypothetical attrition spares is done just to give a bigger number? Surely the point of them is to take the place of aircraft that get wrecked so the fleet doesn't reduce with age? The idea that in the next 20 odd years no one will right off a Typhoon and those attrition spares will sit pristene and untouched is frankly stupid.

    Also, doesn't the Typhoon cost include the ground installations, supply chain, maintenance, technical support and repair? This inservice support is easily the most expensive element of an aircraft through it's life and is unlikely to be factored into the cost of the F22 as I don't think they have a contractor support solution planned.

    Many of the points are quite valid, just let down by exaggerating the numbers for effect.

  52. Yorkshirepudding
    Black Helicopters

    easy prey

    there's no fighter alive john McClaine can take out!

  53. DS

    In reply to:

    Original comment in ""

    "Someone further up was asking about the Tornado F3. So, the reason the F3 is so badly derided is because it was designed for intercepting Soviet fast bombers."

    It was not really 'designed' but rather hacked together. And it should not be derided, overall the F3 served its function. People seem not really to understand its operations.

    "The supersonic bombers that threatened the northern flank of NATO are a huge threat, and the F3 was designed to just be a very fast interceptor. Also, the dual use airframe was first designed as the ground attack variant, which it is far better at really. Basically the F3 has the turning circle of a cruise liner. Now, in the last few years of the F3 I saw it do very well against the US aircraft simply because the avionics had been so massively improved - especially things like JTIDS. These days, turning and burning is much less important than top notch avionics. In most "dogfights" in this day and age you expect to engage way before the turn and burn stage."

    It was in principle meant to be a stand off platform, with a fall back to close in fighting with sidewinders. One has to remember, the all aspect sidewinders in the era reached a stage where they mattered rather more than the agility of the plane carrying them. As part of the air defences of the UK, a mish-mash was built, including the Hawk being used as a point defense platform. The F14 Tomkat was in some ways similar to the F3, it was not a great close in fighter, and its stand off design worked. If you get the Missiles right on such platforms, and in both cases I believe that was roughly correct, the platform works, and works well most of the time.

    "Now I come onto Lewis' article. Unfortunately, I have to disagree with his sentiment that things like Eurofighter and Raptor are useless."

    Indeed. They are fine aircraft. I believe Lewis is arguing about what the can be used for rather than purely attacking their existence. His attacks are of some value, however, he does not really account for the large picture that exists. The UK's largest failings are political in nature. Not funding enough, and badly thought out and considered strategies where everything you want to do relies on third parties. Afganistan is showing how frail such planning can be. Europe has 3000 + choppers, yet hardly any lift cap is available in a NATO op. In the meantime, the UK gov continues to play off and meddle in EU/NATO affairs, instead of telling the EU to go get stuffed. The EU military nonsense is screwing with NATO, and making a mess of any defense planning, and that's bad enough as it is with the mess NATO is today.

    The Largest problem we have is a patch piece quilt defence idea, where an assumed coverage is provided by third parties. This leads to serious reduction in capability and capacity, industrially, politically, actual, and real. Someone else will provide the ships. Someone else will provide the men. Someone else will provide the tanks. Someone else will provide the fighters. Someone else will provide the bombers. Someone else will provide the helicopters. And this nonsense, because that's what it is, is squarely why we are losing in Afganistan. And it runs deeper, because this is even why as someone said, you go to a supplier, and they can't give you some Chinooks (example). They are either fully booked on capacity, or have stopped making the gear. For YEARS in the UK, we followed this. So in Afganistan we have not enough air, not enough choppers, and still drive round in snatch Landrovers. We built tiny production runs of top line gear, because *everyone* will pitch in. Only they don't. And our price per unit costs the earth. And as with Chinooks and other equipment, because the whole NATO thing is like this, its very hard to rustle up equipment to order. Its years rather than weeks, and the whole thing is a shambolic mess.

    You can bet your bottom dollar, that in we were to follow Lewis's theory of purchase, the time you would go to the US needing a number of something, they would actually be flat out producing it for their own force, probably first.

    It is not like Lewis's ideas have not been used previously. Its how the RAF and Government wrecked TSR2, and went off to buy cheaper 'F111' bombers.

    Personally, if I were going to bitch about something it would be the F35. I'd have never started that damn thing, and would have continued developing the Harrier program, and Harrier joint strike force. The Harrier has some flaws, but its a seriously proven battlefield design and simply works. I frankly dread to think what a mess the F35 may end up being.

    "The reality of it is, we have gone up against major air forces in recent times. The Argentineans had an extremely capable air force during the Falklands, and Saddam had a top air force during the first Gulf War."

    I have to take issue with this. The Argentines were poorly trained, but brave. And their equipment of Skyhawks, Mirages, Super Etendards, and a mixture of other stuff paid a really heavy price in a situation where in most cases they had a strategic and tactical advantage. And anyone doing serious evaluation would question the idea that they could class as major, or capable.

    Saddam's 'air force' had fancy aircraft, and little else.

    "Fortunately, in the latter case he decided not to use it, but we did expect significant losses had he flown his air force anywhere except Iran. Now, the key part which will win any future air superiority battle in the future is better avionics than the opposition. The old fighters (like the F3) are an absolute nightmare to retrofit avionics into, usually requiring very expensive projects to do so. And in many cases there just isn't space in the airframe for the new avionics (try retrofitting a new radar for example). What the Typhoon and F22 both provide is a highly capable avionics platform. The turning and burning is an aside, and in reality is only a small part of the development cost."

    Air warfare will always, always have variables that have to be considered. Avionics are for sure, one key area. So are weapons systems, platforms, service availability, and performance in all flight envelopes, and pilot training. The US went to Vietnam and despite having a technical advantage on paper, it came out the other side having to reshape its *entire* training system. It had bet the farm on missiles and got it all wrong.

    "In my opinion there is a good chance that the Typhoon or F22 will see real operational service in their lifetimes. Of course, getting rid of the maintenance burden that the F3 has become will be great, and it will be nice having a quick jet like Typhoon on QRA both in the UK and down on the Falklands."

    In *any* theatre apart from bottom end ones like Afganistan, you will need air capability. Period. Its an absolute requirement. So I think you are right, it will see action, and we'll need the capability.

  54. Charles Tsang
    Black Helicopters

    The Chinese threat...

    A lot of momentum has been building up over the Chinese threat in the context of a World Super Power.

    It's been posited in numerous recent games (like Battlefield 2) and books (the tin foil wearer in me sees this as civilian indoctrination).

    People in this thread are mentioning it too.

    One thing though. How many Aircraft carriers does China have? How many do the USA have? (ok, that was two things!)

    China only has one and that's a bit of a shaky claim ("Shichang Multi-Role Aviation Ship is one of the largest vessels in the People's Liberarion Army Navy fleet, it would be a bit of a stretch to class this ship as an aircraft carrier." globalsecurity.org)

    The USA has 24.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/carriers.htm

    One in every Sea of importance. Yes, Sea, not Ocean.

    Aircraft carriers are all about projection of power.

    And the USA has a fleet (gotta protect that aircraft carrier baby!), in every major sea from the Arabian gulf, to the Indian, to the Mediterranean etc.

    So whilst China is an Economic power, I'm not sure about the World power. Definitely an East Asian power, but World threatening?

  55. b
    Thumb Up

    ready for the chinese?!

    everything that's said i agree with.

    these things are monstrously expensive and borne of questionable reasoning, but world geo politics is not stationary, so despite the long lead times for development, we cannot really blame anyone for the end of the cold war. (but don't get me started on the galactic wastes of money world militaries are, for mankind!)

    but what of the future?

    what if the chinese "communist" (i.e. fascist) mafioso start building factories which can churn out mig-copies for peanuts?

    individually, as stated would not be much of a threat, but what if china could put up thousands upon thousands of average air assets?

    the development has been done, even if we don't produce them en masse, there may come a time when we will be grateful for the development of these beasts!

    cheers,

    bill

    http://www.eupeople.net/forum

  56. Stuart Van Onselen

    @Lee

    No, it's not just about airplanes.

    Lewis' articles routinely discuss the negative effect that overspending on "prestige" projects has on the rest of the armed forces. And since a lot of posters here are not discussing this article in isolation, but are referring the Lewis' entire posting history, I felt it fair to do so myself. So I brought up the subject of foot-soldiers, which I used to represent *all* non-pilot, low-ranking and underpaid servicemen and women. (Geez, don't be so literal!)

    And yes, air support / air dominance is vital. But I don't see anyone advocating going back to Sopwith Camels here, just a bunch of people reacting as if that were the topic at hand. There are other options besides "buy whatever crap Boeing makes" and "buy whatever crap EADS makes." If you don't like Lewis' suggestions, try coming up with others!

    Lewis explained the bit about "minimal losses" versus "no losses". By overspending on planes, there's less money for everybody else, which means that personnel in less glamorous arms are going to die. And those lives are not less valuable, in a human sense, than those of pilots. It's right there in TFA.

    And soldiers *are* dieing right now because of the lack of appropriate gear, as has been highlighted in the other articles in this series.

    As I said before, any military budget will be finite. (The Cold War arms race nearly bankrupted *both* superpowers). So there needs to be a careful apportionment of funds between "super-weapons" and "grunts" (who remain vital to this day.)

    And there needs to be a balance between current needs and future threats. A lot of posters here have bleated about the need to be prepared for a possible war with China or a resurgent Russia. But the Brits and Yanks are *also* are fighting wars right-frigging-now, and those fighters need support, too.

    And there also needs to be more focus on the actual needs of the armed forces (present and predicted) rather than the profiteering of the suppliers, and the higher ranks' own obsession with bigger and better toys.

    Of course, a better solution, instead of pacifism on the one side, and over-expenditure on the other, would be to elect leaders who don't think with their dicks, and don't start unnecessary wars at the same time as they are already fighting arguably-necessary ones.

    And I admit I went over-the-top with the masturbation quips. (Please don't call it 'onanism' - Onan was struck dead by God for another reason entirely. Only one ancient and agenda-driven exegesis claims he was masturbating at all.)

    I was just annoyed at the number of posters who refused to see the bigger picture, and who seemed to blinded by the gee-wiz technology. So I lashed out inappropriately. (OTOH, is there such a thing as "inappropriate" on The Register comments pages? ;-)

    I'm a computer geek myself - I like gee-wiz technology, too. But I also get angry at the blatant waste of *my* tax money. My country is also spending mega-bucks (compared to our tiny economy) on weapons that are a gross overkill given our potential enemies. And two people have already gone to jail because of blatant corruption, committed in collusion with European (esp. French) companies.

    And in the meantime, our infrastructure, health-care, housing and education all crumble.

  57. Charles Tsang
    Boffin

    The currency of Fighter Planes?

    I thought due to the prevalence of the F16 in exports, it was the de facto currency of air forces (sorry Lewis, Chinooks lose to the air superiority that the fighters provide). Wikipedia tallys 6000+ built and about 25 "operators". LOL, does anyone else think of Fork Lift Trucks when that term is used?

    Seems that the F16 cost is about 25m USD (from Singapore exports) but I'm not sure if that includes contract costs for the spares for X years.

    So getting back to the topic, my literature from the F22 game from DID posited that the F22 cost two F16s, whereas the Eurofighter cost one F16. But that was pre 2000.

    The issue here is whether that cost for the Eurofighter remained static. Wikipedia lists the F22 flyaway cost as 161m USD (from US Forces aircraft procurement 2009 cost estimates) and the Eurofighter at 122.5m USD (based on sales to Saudi).

    So is that flyaway cost the budget overrun, or the "on the road" equivalent in cars :-)

  58. The Serpent

    Godwin's Law

    Woo hoo, anyone spot us reaching 1 back there? Good, we can stop now then.

  59. Not That Andrew
    Joke

    Proposal For New El Reg Units

    I hereby propose a new El Reg unit. The Chinook. Used for measuring the cost of fighter planes and other similar government project with a tendency to cost overruns. Example: "You could buy 20 Chinooks for the cost of one Eurofighter!

    Other suggested units are the Eurofighter, NHS IT Project, and London Olympics.

    A rough conversion table:

    1 London Olympics = 5 NHS IT projects

    1 NHS IT project = 200 Eurofighters

    1 Eurofighter = 20 Chinooks

  60. Smallbrainfield

    To all the folk worrying about Russia and China

    Why do we always assume someone else will be the aggressor?

    Russia are more likely to be invaded by us for their gas and oil resources (and China aren't going to attack anyone as long as they can sell us stuff). So on reflection, we probably do need those Eurofighters after all.

  61. Jolyon Ralph
    Alert

    @ bill

    >what if the chinese "communist" (i.e. fascist) mafioso start building factories which >can churn out mig-copies for peanuts?

    They've been doing this for decades.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenyang_J-5

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenyang_J-6

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chengdu_J-7

    etc. etc.

  62. Steve Evans

    How about...

    We see just how good value they really are, and we chuck the EF and F22 up against a current Russian plane... The SU37. We even have some in NATO thanks to our continual expansion eastwards.

  63. Glen Turner

    Sitting in your safe UK armchair...

    "It is true that Western air forces might conceivably have to fight developing-world air forces equipped with exported Russian machines; but it's hardly the likeliest of missions for them."

    Written from the safety of the UK. You'd have an entirely different view of affairs from Australia, sitting at the edge of SE Asia with developing-world nations stocking up on cheap MIG-35 and Su-27. We're feeling the lack of an exportable F-22 and the lack of any F-35 somewhat keenly. At the northern end of SE Asia, Japan has similar concerns.

    Australia almost came to blows with Indonesia over its army's destruction of East Timor after the UN-sponsored vote for East Timor's independence. Australian airpower, and thus control of shipping to the island, was a major factor in Indonesia's determination that it should conceed to the UN's wishes. Airpower was the major protection against heavy equipment for the lightly armoured UN (predominately Australian) force. As you can see, an edge in airpower over emerging nations can determine the course of a conflict.

    The MIG-35 and Su-27 threat have lead Australia, Japan and Singapore to spend large sums on money on interim aircraft prior to the availability of the F-35 for moderate (but hopefully sufficient) enhancements in air combat capabilities.

    If the F-35 is a dud then there will be a serious change in the balance of military power in SE Asia.

  64. Charles Tsang
    Black Helicopters

    @bill

    It doesn't matter on a Global scale if China has lots of airplanes.

    It needs aircraft carriers to project it's power into the rest of Asia and the world to become Global Enemy Number One.

    Yes, there is mid air refuelling, but doing something like the Vulcan 5000 mile refuelling exercise is not something future world dictators want to do....

    So unless some giant laser is installed on the moon, China will remain locked in Asia (which is probably their plan anyway). This only conflicts with the US on the Taiwan front (which funnily enough has lots of F16s) and there are regular US Naval exercises in or near the Taiwan Straits (except when they don't know where the Chinese submarines are - purportedly)

    Note to self:Don't mention the Chinese plans to put a manned laser on the moon.

  65. Seán

    Stupid old losers

    See how they live in the past, pathetic. The bang bang zoom whoosh machines of the stone age are a joke. All that needs to be done these days is for China to halt exports to a country for a couple of weeks. No need for rockets or knuckledraggers with guns or stupid expensive flying machines. All the WWII types are dead so the only clowns still interested in this kind of bullshit are victims of too much Victor and Battle Action as children. And of course the american criminals who make money from fear, an apparently endless resource in the failed ex-colonies.

  66. DS

    STOP WITH THE CHINOOK Price comparisons dammit

    If the UK Gov wanted Chinooks, it could go out and get them. Just like if they *really* wanted to, they could abandon the use of snatch landrovers.

    And yes, Money will always be finite, but the peace budget being used in wartime, has a deeper effect, than merely not buying a modern air superiority fighter and instead buying a bunch of chinooks.

    The failures in theatres like Iraq and Afganistan are really quite easily solved. The problem is a lack of desire to actually do so, in case it costs a few bob. These two theatre's in terms of the UK are not vastly huge, and getting a few things down pat is not beyond the wit of men. Get the troops the base equipment, body armour, personal weapons, replace the snatch landrover, and buy some second hand chinooks, or lease, or borrow similar. Add in a serious increase in available air power care of Harriers.

    We fight these wars on the cheap, and cutting projects like carriers, or EF, or subs is just another nasty cheap method.

    In the meantime, morale in all three forces is sinking, and is already seriously low, we're going to lose a much larger chunk of good people in the near future, and despite what is being said about Navy and Air Force, their morale is lower than the Army. Its the worst political leadership in modern times over the forces and it shows absolutely everywhere.

    What is worse than all of that, is that Iraq might long term turn out ok. But the situation in Afganistan is dire, and getting worse each day. That too is a symtom of the diabolically poor political leadership this country has had overlong now.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Proposal For New El Reg Units

    You missed out..

    1 Chinook = 150 Dead squaddies.

    I'm not sure that one is even a joke though.

  68. ratfox
    Thumb Down

    @DS

    > The failures in theatres like Iraq and Afganistan are really quite easily solved.

    The USSR also thought they could solve the problem, once... Spent many more times the budget in money in human lives, too.

    The problem is not invading the country, the problem is holding it.

  69. Stuart Van Onselen
    Unhappy

    @JonB

    You're missing the point. We're only talking about jets here. Don't mention anything else. Anyway, we NEED super-jets to preserve our Way Of Life! Any talk of soldier's lives is cheap moralistic "think of the children" dramatics and not relevant here. So get with the program!

    At least, that's what they tell me.

  70. Aitor

    Human life value

    If you ask them, the human value is the replacement value, and a pilot is VERY expensive.

  71. DS

    re ratbox:

    I said failures in theatre. ie equipment failings and generic stupidity.

    Winning in AFGANISTAN is a different subject altogether.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @DS and the rest of the Arm Chair CDPs

    "The problem is a lack of desire to actually do so, in case it costs a few bob."

    We are currently spending about £4B per year maintaining and enhancing UK military forces in Iraq and the 'Stan. Want more money spent? Ask for tax increases. Please don't imagine buying a fleet of armoured vehicles, body armour, etc is like buying yourself a Dell Computer, if you think you can do better, please apply at MOD Abbey Wood, we need more confused blow hards (sorry Lewis, not you personally).

    "These two theatre's in terms of the UK are not vastly huge"

    Please feel free to hop on the regular train services in Helmand, or just call a cab in dowtown Bsara. In fact after you have got your job at Abbey Wood apply to go onto operations and work in Basra like I did for the last 6 months. You'll never whinge about the UK again.

    "getting a few things down pat is not beyond the wit of men"

    Less typing more action please. Clearly an organisational genius like yourself is wasting themselves in the UK. Head to the 'Stan and you can have it all fixed in a few days.

    And in general to all you arm chair generals (and those Junior Officers I tried to teach but were too self important to listen), when you next run a high tech military system production contract, or try to take a cold war army to war in the desert, spare athought those who have gone before.

  73. Simon Says

    @The currency of Fighter Planes

    Well the $161m quoted for the F22 (and £61.5m for Typhoon) are basically the unit procurement cost (i.e. based on latest production order of the aircraft and generally excluding the R&D and other ancillary costs) and is basically the marginal cost of additional aircraft.

    Depending on what you are trying to illustrate, a generally more useful benchmark number is one that includes the whole program (program unit cost) - i.e. R&D, spares, support etc. all included and then divided by the entire production run number; that is where you see the cost of F22 really starts ramping up in comparison to Typhoon.

    A study by defence-aerospace in 2006 estimated program unit cost for Typhoon at $143.8m compared with $338.8m for Raptor.

    http://www.defense-aerospace.com/dae/articles/communiques/FighterCostFinalJuly06.pdf

    All cost comparisons of this nature are invariably inaccurate however as you can never compare like with like and there is plenty of "creative accounting" involved when it comes to presenting the various figures for these things. Also exchange rates have of course gone a bit crazy in the past couple of years which throws things somewhat.

    They are both certainly very capable aircraft however, and I have no doubt that both will no doubt see frontline action at some point.

  74. Wesley Parish Bronze badge

    @Glenn Turner

    Oh dear, you'd put a short-range strike fighter with the Achilles' Heel of needing airtankers to go any serious distance - the F-35 -, up against a long-range air-superiority/strike fighter armed with HARMs - the Su-30?

    I have suggested at least once, to the Australian and New Zealand governments, that ANZAC needs the Su-30. And that given the minor geographical details surrounding Australia and New Zealand - the Ocean Moat - it would make more sense to standardize on a cheap long-range strike fighter family - the Sukhoi S-30, Su-33UB, and the Su-34 - and manufacture it in Australia. Then once manufacturing had settled down, buy development rights to the airframe and turn it into a stealth strike fighter. It's already a strike fighter, a strike bomber-shturmovik, a carrier-borne naval defense fighter, and goodness knows what next it can be, so why not turn it into a stealth fighter.

    Neither Canberra nor Wellington were impressed - mostly because it meant not buying USAmerican. Religious, in other words, not rational - like vi versus emacs.

  75. Mr Chris

    @ A good Use (AC)

    "China is next on the radar. They are not really going to try anything for a while, at least until they can come up with something to beat the Typhoon or Raptor (or even Raphale). The benefit of the delay is still a benefit."

    The J-10 is fairly contemporary with the Typhoon and the Raphale.

  76. DS

    Response

    @DS and the rest of the Arm Chair CDPs

    By Anonymous Coward

    Posted Wednesday 16th July 2008 01:02 GMT comments in ""

    "We are currently spending about £4B per year maintaining and enhancing UK military forces in Iraq and the 'Stan. Want more money spent? Ask for tax increases."

    You don't need tax increases. All you need to do is trim some stupid fat in the worst government we have had in decades. Not hard when you spend your time infesting our streets with parking wardens who get more money than soldiers. 4£ Billion per year spread across two full theatres of war, and an armed forces stretched to breaking point. And yes, bottom line I want more money for it. If thjese buffoons put people - presumably people like yourself in harms way, I want you to get looked after. I am sorry if that offends your sensibilities.

    "Please don't imagine buying a fleet of armoured vehicles, body armour, etc is like buying yourself a Dell Computer, if you think you can do better, please apply at MOD Abbey Wood, we need more confused blow hards (sorry Lewis, not you personally)."

    If you'd bother to read anything I have said, I stated its exactly not like buying a Dell computer, and we make damn sure we can't do it with current methods. However, THAT is no frigging excuse seeing as they have for example still got snatch Landrovers and have had YEARS to replace it with something viable. Again, whining at me with your arm chair bluster is pointless.

    "These two theatre's in terms of the UK are not vastly huge"

    "Please feel free to hop on the regular train services in Helmand, or just call a cab in dowtown Bsara. In fact after you have got your job at Abbey Wood apply to go onto operations and work in Basra like I did for the last 6 months. You'll never whinge about the UK again."

    Fine, YOU give me the job and the authority and funding and I WILL fix the issues. But we know that's a fantasy. In Iraq at this time we have 4,000 troops. Equipping 4000 people by a country like the UK is beyond us is it? Its 8,000 in Afganistan. 8000 men properly equipped is beyond us. Historically and by many a measure, that's a small operation that we should be able to equip and run properly. Again, I am so sorry its so mortally offended you that I feel you should be equipped fully and properly, have proper air cover, lift and the rest. We are at war in two theatre's, 4 Billion is peanuts.

    "Less typing more action please. Clearly an organisational genius like yourself is wasting themselves in the UK. Head to the 'Stan and you can have it all fixed in a few days."

    Its not going to be fixed, because the Politicians here have no stomach for fixing it. They prefer people like you die, than find the funds and money.

    "And in general to all you arm chair generals (and those Junior Officers I tried to teach but were too self important to listen), when you next run a high tech military system production contract, or try to take a cold war army to war in the desert, spare athought those who have gone before."

    We have been in the desert for years. Apparently, years is still too short a time for a modern, industrially capable nation to actually build, make, pay for and equip people properly. Again, I am so sorry you feel offended that someone should call it how it is.

  77. heystoopid
    Happy

    @glen

    @glen surely you jest about East Timor , for real history tells us a totally different take on both the events of the year 1975 and that of which you inferred about in 1999 and sadly you have forgotten much about what really happened in those two or more particular years of some very world shattering events which shaped peoples and countries reactions as well !

    Now post 1945 WW2 , the US has maintained and operated two very powerful Naval Nuclear Armed and Equipped Battle groups in both the Indian Ocean and the South China Seas or better known as Indonesia's front and back doors respectively . They have always since independence from the Dutch in 1945 influenced either directly or indirectly much of what happens in the country in question since then !

    Now let us add a few dates like August 9th 1974 the day Tricky Dicky fell on his own sword , a year of continuing massive stagflation in the US , add April 30th 1975 , the day Saigon fell creating massive numbers refugees who could only seek comfort mostly in the US or Oz as every other country slammed doors in their face ,! After the fall of Tricky Dicky the out going US foreign interventionist/domino theory was discredited and thrown into the waste paper basket due to a small problem as it had been proven as more fiction then fact and out of control stagflation was now a real killer , so thus the country went into a form of comatose sleep and became introverted as they had a lot of internal problems to fix awaiting the arrival of fixit now not later ,a man called Jimmy Carter !

    Next in July 1997, Asia went into total economic melt down , and then in Indonesia which was for intents and purposes absolutely bankrupt at every level of it's society an evil dictator who had personally organized the East Timor grand larceny scheme and was responsible for ordering the deaths of untold thousands was tossed out of his own office on May 21st , 1998 and finally who supported and championed the East Timor UN resolution but one US El Presidente called Bill Clinton who also had the keys to biggest loaded arsenal known to man !

    As always rose coloured glasses tend to cloud ones view of real events in real time ,looking back in hindsight is good though !

    As for the Oz military having absolutely no ability to guard or protect even it's own coastline and absolutely minimal offensive capability past a maximum of seven days on a ten square mile area , man what brand of interesting pills do you use ? , may I have some too please !

    For the others the words they have forgotten in this debate is "Mutually Assured Destruction Absolutely To The Point Of No Return !" , for those so equipped with "Oppenheimer's Toys ! "

    As W.O.P.R. or Joshua would say "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play." . Or Stephen Falken "The whole point was to find a way to practice nuclear war without destroying ourselves. To get the computers to learn from mistakes we couldn't afford to make. Except, I never could get Joshua to learn the most important lesson." or "Futility. That there's a time when you should just give up."!

    Have a nice day you all !

  78. Jerry Adamson

    Lewis Chambelain

    Surrender Minkey and Western Civilisation self loather from the land where noone can have guns and end up slaughtering each other with knives. Obama '08.

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