Competitors to the Gripen?

zen

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To get back to Lavi and NoviAvion.
I don't think both Lavi and NoviAvion could have gone into production anyway.
Not because they couldn't design it, but because their respective country aviation industry , let alone aero engine industry, wasn't developed enough . So the respective "godfathers" planes makers, US for Lavi and France for NoviAvion, helped for a while, selling some expertise up to prototypes stage in case of Lavi, but when the point of getting to production came, then strategic thinking starts :
"Hey we are helping building a competitor here, even if maybe not on this product, but we are helping building a possible competitor industry !"
And that's were it stops.
The difference with Gripen, is that Saab was already there, building jets planes for decades already. So sweden could do it alone, the airframe at least.
I think for Yugoslavia to have gone ahead, it need firstly to not to have broken up, and secondly to find another supplier for key components.

Irony is after the collapse of the USSR, Russian suppliers could have been accessed and they had no direct Mig21 successor. Only Mig29s and Su27s.

For Israel, they needed to license their design to a US firm. As a Skyhawk/Starfighter successor and a rival to the F16.
 

galgot

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To get back to Lavi and NoviAvion.
I don't think both Lavi and NoviAvion could have gone into production anyway.
Not because they couldn't design it, but because their respective country aviation industry , let alone aero engine industry, wasn't developed enough . So the respective "godfathers" planes makers, US for Lavi and France for NoviAvion, helped for a while, selling some expertise up to prototypes stage in case of Lavi, but when the point of getting to production came, then strategic thinking starts :
"Hey we are helping building a competitor here, even if maybe not on this product, but we are helping building a possible competitor industry !"
And that's were it stops.
The difference with Gripen, is that Saab was already there, building jets planes for decades already. So sweden could do it alone, the airframe at least.
I think for Yugoslavia to have gone ahead, it need firstly to not to have broken up, and secondly to find another supplier for key components.

Irony is after the collapse of the USSR, Russian suppliers could have been accessed and they had no direct Mig21 successor. Only Mig29s and Su27s.

For Israel, they needed to license their design to a US firm. As a Skyhawk/Starfighter successor and a rival to the F16.
True, for Yugoslavia, it was more the broke up of the country than the lack of aero industry there.
 

Archibald

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The timing for a RN CATOBAR vs Typhoon was all wrong.
- the Invincible class were entering service (Illustrious 1983 ?)
- the SHAR mk.1 had worked extremely well in the Falklands
- the SHAR mk.2 with the Blue Vixen / AMRAAM (terrific combination) was to enter service soon.

As of 1985 - no chance for British Rafale-M, unfortunately.

Now the real missed opportunity was in the 2000's, CVF.
Charles de Gaulle decided the carriers would be different
F-35 decided RN Rafale M wouldn't happen (plus CATOBAR refusal).

I have little love for Sarkozy (booh !) but his decision not to buy a Q.E or a Q.E derivative as a MN second carrier, in 2008-2011, was the correct one.
- Q.E was no longer CATOBAR
- even CATOBAR, being non nuclear and 100% different from CdG would have make it troublesome for the French Navy.

Last chance for joint RN - MN carriers was PH-75 / Invincible merge-up in the 70's.

Rafale-M for the RN / FAA, along RAF Typhoon and instead of F-35, is technically possible, but politically impossible because
a) special relationship
b) F-35 steamroller
c) CATOBAR Q.E difficult decision
d) bitter feelings remaining over the 1985 split

Sorry for the off topic drift !
 

galgot

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I think for Yugoslavia to have gone ahead, it need firstly to not to have broken up, and secondly to find another supplier for key components.

Irony is after the collapse of the USSR, Russian suppliers could have been accessed and they had no direct Mig21 successor. Only Mig29s and Su27s.

For Israel, they needed to license their design to a US firm. As a Skyhawk/Starfighter successor and a rival to the F16.
Indeed, they could have gone for a cooperation on this :
Although, the end of NoviAvion correspond also to the end of USSR , so I don't think it would have gone very far anyway, given the shape of USSR/Russia at the time.
It took time for them to recover. And even now are still living a lot on stuff developed during Soviet era.
Plus had it started earlier, Soviets weren't especially keen in helping others develop possible competitors, just like US and Fr.

...

Rafale-M for the RN / FAA, along RAF Typhoon and instead of F-35, is technically possible, but politically impossible because
a) special relationship
b) F-35 steamroller
c) CATOBAR Q.E difficult decision
d) bitter feelings remaining over the 1985 split

Sorry for the off topic drift !
If I may , I would add :
e) "buying the Typhoon rival ? ARE YOU MAD ?"
 

Archibald

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As if the F-35 wasn't a Typhoon rival, too ?

...but Special Relationship, so, in the words of Philip J. Fry "Shut up, and take my money".
 

zen

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I think a host of countries did various upgrades and life extensions to their Mig21 fleets.
So had the option existed for a reasonably priced alternative offering a much longer life/relevance. Then this would have sold.
Sweden however limited themselves not just with a US suppliers veto, but their domestic politics made export to certain countries a virtual impossibility.
 

Archibald

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Romania did a pretty outstanding upgrade of the MiG-21.
 
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red admiral

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Could someone effectively do a JL-9 or JF-17 back in the 80/90s? Almost definitely the Soviets if they didn't run out of money. I think that's the most likely Gripen competitor - which is partly what we've seen anyway. Countries that have previously bought western aircraft buying either second hand, or eastern aircraft. But there doesn't look to be large numbers or value in this sector.
 

Archibald

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Could someone effectively do a JL-9 or JF-17 back in the 80/90s? Almost definitely the Soviets if they didn't run out of money. I think that's the most likely Gripen competitor - which is partly what we've seen anyway. Countries that have previously bought western aircraft buying either second hand, or eastern aircraft. But there doesn't look to be large numbers or value in this sector.

For a start, a Yak-41 "Freestyle" (geez, those NATO codenames !) without the lift jets. Keep the moving exhaust for manoeuverability and STOL.
 

zen

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I did rather like the Su.32 concept. Single large engine, blended wing body, cranked arrow delta wing, canards.
Very much a sort of Soviet Viggen.
But without a Soviet or Russian order it was always going to remain just a brochure.
 

zen

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The RoAF MiG-21 received major upgrades during the past years to be in compliance with the NATO requirements. They include HOTAS system, multifunctional color display (MFCD), multifunctional display (MFD), Elop 921 HUD, DASH helmet, hybrid navigation system (HNS), radionavigation system (RNAV), IFF Plessey transponder, improved armament system, MMR radar, CHAFF and FLARE defence.

I seem to recall that Russia claims to have flown a Mig21 with the RD.33 engine.
Kopyo radar was the centerpiece of several upgrade packages.

So virtually a new aircraft bar the fuselage.

So I can see a state like Yugoslavia buying components to pile into a new airframe instead.

I also seem to recall that South Africa flew a RD.33 in a Mirage F1 as part of possible upgrades.
 

zen

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In fact expanding on this a moment.
We have Blue Vixen and later Vixen 500e (AESA) from the UK.

Griffo and Griffo-F from Italy
Kopyo from Russia
EL/M-2032 from Israel
GD-53 radar from Taiwan
AN/APG-67 from the US
AN/APG-69 from the US
 

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For Israel, they needed to license their design to a US firm. As a Skyhawk/Starfighter successor and a rival to the F16.
Grumman was already heavily involved, and their ATF designs had large canards as well, so I don't think it was just composites they were providing. I also believe I've read that the Lavi was mooted as an A-10 replacement, since it was designed from the beginning with high-threat CAS in mind. It might not be as good a COIN-CAS platform as the A-10, but speed, maneuverability, and Israeli EW would make it harder to hit with manpads and battlefield SAMs.

A Grumman built Lavi for the U.S. it could work as an A-7, A-10, and if navalized even A-4 and F-18 replacement for the USMC. It could also replace Jaguar, a navalized version could work on the French carriers, and it could even replace Tornado is some roles.

Although personally I don't see it as a replacment for Gripen. A mixed Gripen (air to air) and Lavi (swing role and attack) fleet would be just about ideal for a more economically minded air force.
 

tomo pauk

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Although personally I don't see it as a replacment for Gripen. A mixed Gripen (air to air) and Lavi (swing role and attack) fleet would be just about ideal for a more economically minded air force.

For what kind of air-force is that suggestion for? That of a 'small' power (Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Peru, NZ, Norway), medium (France, Germany, Italy, UK, Australia, Canada, Sweden), or an air force that is big or strives to be big (USA, China, Russia, India)?
 

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British Aerospace discussed their P.106 with Sweden and India.

p-106-jpg.562838
1980-p106b-1-jpg.1038
1980-p106b-3-jpg.1042
The P.106B is truly one of the most beautiful looking projects. Would have been great to see it fly.

Can’t help but wonder what would have happened if someone other than SAAB had started studies on canard fighters in the early 60s. Imagine BAE/Breguet picking such a state-of-the-art configuration for Jaguar or Dassault for Mirage F1. With a Spey or Atar engine and service entry in the early 70s… would have been a real winner on the export market IMHO.
 
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Archibald

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Kfir or Milan development, maybe ? Also Mirage III-NG, perhaps a decade earlier than 1982.

Analog FBW came a little late, however, at Dassault and elsewhere.

Had the Arrow not been canned, it could have come in the 60's... the documents I've unearthed from the Canadian NRC clearly show it was very similar to Concorde or Mirage 2000 or F-16, some decades before them.
 

zen

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Can’t help but wonder what would have happened if someone other than SAAB had started studies on canard fighters in the early 60s.
Errr....others did, but there are trade-offs in every configuration and low level flight was forcing certain solutions with the technologies of the times.
Hence why VG became a big thing.

Convair 200 in I think the 70's did offer a sort of proto-Gripen.
 

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Considering the post-Cold War market environment that has continued up till today I wonder if Northrop's F-20 was simply a decade too early. Could it have earned some customers from the various Eastern European countries?
 

apparition13

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Although personally I don't see it as a replacment for Gripen. A mixed Gripen (air to air) and Lavi (swing role and attack) fleet would be just about ideal for a more economically minded air force.

For what kind of air-force is that suggestion for? That of a 'small' power (Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Peru, NZ, Norway), medium (France, Germany, Italy, UK, Australia, Canada, Sweden), or an air force that is big or strives to be big (USA, China, Russia, India)?
Small, I'd say pick Gripen or Lavi depending on whether you want to focus more on air-to-air or air-to-ground. Both can do both, but each has a different emphasis. Of those I'd say Belgium is the only one that would be better off with Lavi (although Norway is close, and could really use both) given it can use Lavi for air policing and integrate into NATO as attack assets since Lavi had the range to operate from Belgian bases.

Medium, both, but it depends.. Sweden typically had two types operating at once. Lavi could be a more fighter like Lansen to the Gripen as Draken. The same for Germany and Italy. The UK could use both plus something like Typhoon or Tornado ADV to patrol the North Sea. France could use both, plus something much longer ranged for nuclear delivery, plus a carrier capable aircraft, so Rafale actually makes more sense. Australia and Canada are smaller economies with huge borders, so both need range and numbers but don't have big budgets to work with. It's too bad the F-16xl never went anywhere since it would have worked for both as an interceptor and long range strike asset.

Large, both, as the Low end of a High-Low mix.
 

tomo pauk

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Medium, both, but it depends.. Sweden typically had two types operating at once. Lavi could be a more fighter like Lansen to the Gripen as Draken. The same for Germany and Italy. The UK could use both plus something like Typhoon or Tornado ADV to patrol the North Sea. France could use both, plus something much longer ranged for nuclear delivery, plus a carrier capable aircraft, so Rafale actually makes more sense. Australia and Canada are smaller economies with huge borders, so both need range and numbers but don't have big budgets to work with. It's too bad the F-16xl never went anywhere since it would have worked for both as an interceptor and long range strike asset.

Introducing both Gripen and Lavi in a post-1990s world would entail two different engine types to have logistical tails, plus the airframe. Electronics - again different types, from different manufacturers. All in all, very unlikely with budgets of the era. Germany off-loaded their MiG-29s, even gifting them.
Sweden haven't introduced same generation of jets in the same time, they went with Gripen as a multi-role aircraft after the Viggen of late 1960s.
France makes/buys Lavi instead of Mirage 2000, or Lavi is too late for that?
Canada and Australia probably buy Lavi if indeed it has longer range, the Gripen became a long-range aircraft after the redesign that enabled increase of internal fuel tankage.

Large, both, as the Low end of a High-Low mix.

USAF did't buy the F-20, for them the F-16 is the end of the low-high mix. Soviets - well, they certainly missed the 1-engined modern fighter idea. Their budget in 1990s was pennies, though.
China - again no buy for the FC-1, they went with Su-27 family as much as possible, and J-10 as the low-end part of the mix.
India - money for buying a few hundred of each in the 1990s, with each having no parts commonality? Perhaps the better idea fromm their point of view is 'lets buy a few dozen of this type, and then licence-produce it'?
 

Hood

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Can’t help but wonder what would have happened if someone other than SAAB had started studies on canard fighters in the early 60s. Imagine BAE/Breguet picking such a state-of-the-art configuration for Jaguar or Dassault for Mirage F1. With a Spey or Atar engine and service entry in the early 70s… would have been a real winner on the export market IMHO.
Maybe if British designers hadn't been so obsessed by variable geometry they might well have tinkered more with canards and taken closer note of what SAAB were doing with the Viggen studies in the mid-60s.

(Dare I go as far to say that British combat aircraft wing design stagnated post-1955 until the mid-70s?)
 

zen

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Folks the Viggen has a fairly low wing loading if memory serves, it's good for STOL, and lugging heavy loads. But smooth flight at low level isn't so great.
It's got a big wing.
UK firms knew about canard advantages.
P.177 was tunnel tested with one to poor results but the paper notes a different design could benefit immensely.

Earlier UK firms did look at canard configurations. Because they wanted good performance up high.

Though I seem to recall Bristol and Fairey did propose canard designs to OR.339 (TSR.2), both I think used a lot of blow over the wing and yhe canard is there to help STOL performance.

Folland offered a canard VG design foyhthe supersonic trainer.

And Avro did to the low level V-Bomber Pathfinder.

Canards are not a panacea.
 

Hood

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Folland offered a canard VG design foyhthe supersonic trainer.
More like a rotating tailplane stuck under the nose!

Though I seem to recall Bristol and Fairey did propose canard designs to OR.339 (TSR.2), both I think used a lot of blow over the wing and yhe canard is there to help STOL performance.
In Bristol's case to aid trimming of the gothic delta in the 204 and for Fairey's Project 75 with those podded engines and small wing there was nowhere else to stick a tailplane (apart from a T-tail). So nothing to do with STOL at all.

I think my point is that post-1955-57ish canards vanished from British designs - before that they had been only used for higher-Mach cruisers (those pesky straight-wing RAE 'ideal' Mach 2 studies that were imposed on the designers).
I can't think of any British combat wing during 57-70 that you could say was innovate outside of the VG stable, certainly not in terms of combat agility. Look at the monstrosity of the BAC P.45 with a shrunken TSR.2 wing! The Hawk began from Sea Hawk wing profile sections and Hunter leading-edge curves, did the job from a high subsonic trainer point of view but it was hardly cutting edge stuff (I'm no expert on the Sea Hawk but presumably Camm's Sea Hawk wing would have linked back to earlier Tempest wing sections?).
 

zen

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I seem to recall studies that showed the benefits of canards trend for high altitude and agility. But tailed designs tend to be slightly better for low altitude and Attack.

If my memory is working this rather answers the issue. Because UK firms were focusing on low level operations.
And in turn the refocus on fighter design during the 70's explains the return of the canard. As does the development in RSS CCV technology.

Down low at transonic to low supersonic speeds, the tailed design wins out.

As for the mini-TSR.2 winged P.45. 'Monstrous' is bit extreme.
 

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this rather answers the issue. Because UK firms were focusing on low level operations

Yes. My point is that for the export market a more balanced design with a good mix of high-altitude performance, maneuverability, air-to-ground capability etc would have been successful, as evidenced by the Mirage III and F-104 series (despite obvious flaws such as long take-off and landing distances). A canard would improve on both.
 
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helmutkohl

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To be honest. I feel the Gripen.. or something Gripen sized is the most appropriate aircraft for most European air forces..
MAYBE an exception to the UK and French air forces given their distant territories and interest in overseas conflicts.. (although I think such a size is still more useful for them too)

other wise countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Romania, etc.. all their main problems are next door and most of these countries don't really need the range, complexities and operational expenses of a larger twin engined combat aircraft.
Arguably the same could be true for most other air forces in the world outside of the asia-pacific region.

Gripen is the perfect size, but I guess one factor against it is it being Swedish (less political influence).
Had the British marketed it, or something similar, it could have been more successful I bet.

Beyond that I think one aircraft not mentioned as a competitor is the Mirage 2000. Its often compared to the F-16, and for good reason. But its length, empty weight, and operational costs.. put it much closer to the Gripen than the F-16. If it was a bit cheaper, perhaps it could have been more successful in global exports. I feel a heavily upgraded variant could still be very competitive today too.
 

tomo pauk

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Beyond that I think one aircraft not mentioned as a competitor is the Mirage 2000. Its often compared to the F-16, and for good reason. But its length, empty weight, and operational costs.. put it much closer to the Gripen than the F-16. If it was a bit cheaper, perhaps it could have been more successful in global exports. I feel a heavily upgraded variant could still be very competitive today too.

Bingo.
The Mirage 2000 base, with better intakes and canards would've give Grippen a run for it's money. Cost was probably close to the F-16, but there is no political baggage as it was the case with F-16. Political baggage was a problem for a lot of possible buyers of modern military aircraft.

Question what about the British Aerospace EAP, could it also be adapted int a regular fighter.

Another great suggestion.
If I may say, a real missed opportunity for the UK to corner the market before Grippen, Rafale and F-18E materialize.
 
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