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Countries with no Fighter aircraft

uk 75

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Apart from trainers, Ireland did not operate any fighters to defend its neutral airspace during the Cold War and still does not.
New Zealand has also given up its old A4 Skyhawks and had no air defence patrol aircraft.
Within NATO, Luxembourg and the Baltic States rely on other members to defend their airspace. However, Iceland now has no permanent NATO fighter squadron.
The obvious candidate aircraft for these countries to provide a limited air patrol themselves ( for example to assist airliners in alerts or ward off straying Russian aircraft) would be surplus F16s. However, politics and austerity makes this unlikely.
Are there other developed countries in a similar position?
 

uk 75

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I had not realised that Mexico only got F5s in 1982. The air arms in Central and South America are all faced with budgetary pressures and internal security responsibilities. I assume the F16 point above applies to them, though Mirages and Russian types are an option too.
 

riggerrob

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Many Central American countries are so unstable that the last thing they worry about is invasion by foreigners. Countries like Mexico, Panama, Columbia, etc. are so riddled with narco-tranfficantes that elected governments barely struggle to survive. They depend heavily on (American) Drug Enforcement Agency support (training, helicopters, electronics, etc.) to keep criminal gangs at arms’ length.
 
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riggerrob

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Following a brief civil war in 1948, Costa Rica abolished its army, making it one of the few independent nations without defence forces.

You will also find many small nations have small fleets of airplanes, but shortages of spare parts grounded them years ago.
 

Grey Havoc

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Apart from trainers, Ireland did not operate any fighters to defend its neutral airspace during the Cold War and still does not.

Actually, post-War we had a few Seafires and Spitfires (replacing some early model Hurricanes that Britain rather understandably quite begrudgingly supplied to us around 1943), and in the 1950s some Vampires (mostly T11s, though I think we got some Sea Vampires as well). The Magisters which the Irish Air Corps got in the 1970s for light strike, aerobatic displays, and training, could in theory carry out the point air defence role in a pinch. They were retired in 1998 without replacement (we had a particularly corrupt government at the time). It is a matter of some embarrassment that we were/still are primarily reliant on the RAF for general defence related monitoring of our airspace (the civilian side is handled by our own IAA and Eurocontrol), despite the fact that until recently we were supposed to be a neutral nation.
 
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GTX

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The obvious candidate aircraft for these countries to provide a limited air patrol themselves ( for example to assist airliners in alerts or ward off straying Russian aircraft) would be surplus F16s.

For many of these countries, there is no obvious need and indeed, having such would be an extravagant waste of money for limited capability in return. That said, if one was truly interested in a limited capability for some sort of 'air policing' style role such as the roles you have mentioned, why not look at a trainer aircraft with limited capability (maybe a gun at most and, maybe, a limited air-to-air missile or maybe even just a guided rocket such as DAGR)? Most airliners are operating in the 850 - 950km/h range so platforms such as the BAE Systems Hawk, Aero L-159A, KAI T-50 or Boeing-Saab T-7A would all be plenty capable and far more cost effective. One could even fit them with something such as the night identification light on the RCAF CF-188s and similar specialised air policing equipment. Having a back seater in such situations would also be quite useful IMHO..
 
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uk 75

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I am reminded of the scene in the film version of Ian Fleming's On Her Majesty's Secret Service where a Fouga Magister buzzes the helicopters raiding Blofeld's Lair ( it is standing in for a Swiss AF Mitage in the book).
 

kaiserd

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Apart from trainers, Ireland did not operate any fighters to defend its neutral airspace during the Cold War and still does not.

Actually, post-War we had a few Seafires and Spitfires (replacing some early model Hurricanes that Britain rather understandably quite begrudgingly supplied to us around 1943), and in the 1950s some Vampires (mostly T11s, though I think we got some Sea Vampires as well). The Magisters which the Irish Air Corps got in the 1970s for light strike, aerobatic displays, and training, could in theory carry out the point air defence role in a pinch. They were retired in 1998 without replacement (we had a particularly corrupt government at the time). It a matter of some embarrassment that we were/still are primarily reliant on the RAF for general defence related monitoring of our airspace (the civilian side is handled by our own IAA and Eurocontrol), despite the fact that until recently we were supposed to be a neutral nation.
The Magisters were directly replaced by PC-9s.

An interesting article to give a bit more realism to discussions.

 

uk 75

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I had been reading the article above and a number of other articles and it gives a good account of the complexity of providing even a limited anti-snooper capability.
Austria is a good example of how difficult it all is. The treaty that allowed Austria to end occupation after WW2 circumscribed the weapons it could have. This was intepreted as denying.all missiles. Austria operated the Saab J26(Barrel) fighter for many years and then replaced it with Saab 105 trainers. EU membership and the end of the Cold War allowed the purchase of Saab Drakens. Then Austria looked at the Saab Gripen, at the same time as the Czechs and Hungarians. For some reason the Austrians bought Typhoons instead. This has not gone well and is discussed elsewhere on this site.
 

uk 75

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The Baltic States offer an interesting alternative. After joining NATO the three have been protected by air patrols conducted by various NATO air forces.
The United States demonstrated in 2001 that even the most sophisticated air forces do not always have aircraft ready to sortie.
New Zealand is fortunate in that apart from long range airliners it is far enough away from hostile snoopers.
 

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A incomplete list

Luxembourg has no Airforce, Belgium and Netherlands protect Luxembourg Airspace
the Luxembourg Army got transport aircraft but they stored and maintain in Belgium
and AWACS fleet is registers in Luxembourg but not station in Luxembourg.

Andorra and Monaco has no Military and is under Protection of France military
Lichtenstein consider it to costly despite a Swiss "invasion" several years ago.
Vatican City under protection of Italian Military
San Marino has no Air force neither any aircraft for selfdefense force.

Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia has no air force, but are under Regional Security System

Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomons, Tuvalo have no military and under protections of Australia and New Zealand
Micronesia and Palau like wise but under Protection of USA

Costa Rica, Republic of Mauritius, Panama and Vanuatu, no military, no protection treaty
 

Justo Miranda

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A incomplete list

Luxembourg has no Airforce, Belgium and Netherlands protect Luxembourg Airspace
the Luxembourg Army got transport aircraft but they stored and maintain in Belgium
and AWACS fleet is registers in Luxembourg but not station in Luxembourg.

Andorra and Monaco has no Military and is under Protection of France military
Lichtenstein consider it to costly despite a Swiss "invasion" several years ago.
Vatican City under protection of Italian Military
San Marino has no Air force neither any aircraft for selfdefense force.

Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia has no air force, but are under Regional Security System

Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomons, Tuvalo have no military and under protections of Australia and New Zealand
Micronesia and Palau like wise but under Protection of USA

Costa Rica, Republic of Mauritius, Panama and Vanuatu, no military, no protection treaty
Vatican Air Police
 

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GTX

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longish account of NZ air power which underscores Overscan's conclusion above.

Unfortunately there is a lot of idiocy to read through in that link. To boil it down though, it comes down to a combination of financial restrictions and lack of real threat. New Zealand currently has an annual GDP of a bit over NZ$200B but realistically, no direct threats. Apart from incursions from illegal fishing or even illegal immigrants, terrorist/non-state group action there is little in the way of direct military threats to New Zealand. Moreover, in such cases fighters are hardly the best defence.

More likely are deployed operations such as UN style operations - in such cases, having adequately equipped ground forces, maybe some ships and transport aircraft (just as the Kiwis have focussed upon) is more useful.
 

GTX

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Actually, another thought in relation to this thread: now days, if countries felt a need for a cost effective, limited air defence capability, especially the smaller ones such as Ireland, New Zealand etc, they might as well invest in a capable drone system and a mobile SAM system, probably combined.
 

uk 75

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Actually, another thought in relation to this thread: now days, if countries felt a need for a cost effective, limited air defence capability, especially the smaller ones such as Ireland, New Zealand etc, they might as well invest in a capable drone system and a mobile SAM system, probably combined.
The only real role I can think of for manned jet fighters is checking out stray aircraft like airliners. The RAF seem to do this quite a lot
 

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They are also kept quite busy intercepting Russian incursions and probes into airspace around the British Isles, not to mention their NATO commitments.
 

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Another role is interdicting drug runners, which is what Mexico uses its fighters for, although in that case the much more numerous fleet of T-6Cs and PC-6s are just as capable.
 

GTX

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All roles a suitably equiped/capable drone would be ideal for...and at a far less expensive total cost given things such as pilot training could be essentially foregone. Something such as the Kratos XQ-58 or even a modified target drone such as the BQM-167A/i or BQM-177A/i might suit.
 

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Being from the U.K. I immediately thought of the Republic of Ireland for this thread.
 

uk 75

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GTX I agree with the NewZealand decision ( none of my business I know). But I do wonder what a straying airliner especially if its a non terrorist stray (radio failure or passenger incident) does when a drone rocks up alongside. A trained pilot can do hand signals or use the presence of the Air Force to influence a troublesome passenger.
 

Arjen

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Influence a troublesome passenger - I would think that can best be handled by cabin crew.
 

GTX

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GTX I agree with the NewZealand decision ( none of my business I know). But I do wonder what a straying airliner especially if its a non terrorist stray (radio failure or passenger incident) does when a drone rocks up alongside. A trained pilot can do hand signals or use the presence of the Air Force to influence a troublesome passenger.


I am sure there are ideas that could be developed - maybe a electronic sign panel on the flank of something like the XQ-58? Think this:

1586811028759.jpeg On the side of this:
XQ-58A_Valkyrie_demonstrator_first_flight.jpg




I would also be interested in how often such a scenario is likely.
 

Pioneer

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The obvious candidate aircraft for these countries to provide a limited air patrol themselves ( for example to assist airliners in alerts or ward off straying Russian aircraft) would be surplus F16s.

For many of these countries, there is no obvious need and indeed, having such would be an extravagant waste of money for limited capability in return. That said, if one was truly interested in a limited capability for some sort of 'air policing' style role such as the roles you have mentioned, why not look at a trainer aircraft with limited capability (maybe a gun at most and, maybe, a limited air-to-air missile or maybe even just a guided rocket such as DAGR)? Most airliners are operating in the 850 - 950km/h range so platforms such as the BAE Systems Hawk, Aero L-159A, KAI T-50 or Boeing-Saab T-7A would all be plenty capable and far more cost effective. One could even fit them with something such as the night identification light on the RCAF CF-188s and similar specialised air policing equipment. Having a back seater in such situations would also be quite useful IMHO..

"..the BAE Systems Hawk, Aero L-159A, KAI T-50 or Boeing-Saab T-7A would all be plenty capable and far more cost effective. One could even fit them with something such as the night identification light on the RCAF CF-188s and similar specialised air policing equipment. Having a back seater in such situations would also be quite useful IMHO."

You took the words out of my mouth Greg!
I think the reality is that most Air Forces could get away with such levels of fighters/intereceptors, when one considers how many of these expensive state-of-the-art air-superiority Fighter's fielded by nations arn't actually used in a 'shooting war'. Call me cynical, but I'm of the opinion that many Air Forces are played by clever and lose pocketed salesmen or in the case of questionable and dubious regimes, a combination of hubris, compensating for something and collusion and corruption.
Saying this, I would have liked to have seen New Zealand at least have retained its Aermacchi MB-339's (perhaps fitted with a basic radar), employed as a multi-role light-weight fighter. Especially when it was exceptable for the RAF during the Cold War to employ it's BAe Hawk trainers as secondary clear weather interceptor.....

Regards
Pioneer
 

uk 75

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I think the two seater trainer option is actually better for many countries and row back on the F16 comment (though they do look good in the various camo schemes on the Beyond the Sprues website).
 

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Another nation which doesn't have a fighter fleet is my home country of Malta, as the Air Wing is mostly used for search and rescue duties and maritime patrol, two things which came in extremely handy during the Migrant Crisis a number of years back, where AFM helicopters and planes would vector ships onto the location of the migrant vessels.

Another place which doesn't have a fighter fleet is Albania, which parked up its fighter fleet and abandoned them and an airbase in the 90s. Others are Papua New Guinea, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro along with many African nations.
 

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The Magisters were directly replaced by PC-9s.
The PC-9s were only originally supposed to replace the Marchetti Warriors and I think a couple of surviving Bull Dogs in the Pilot Training and COIN roles; they only had the CAS (originally Light Strike) role tacked on prior to delivery when the Magisters were unexpectedly retired without replacement and even that was 'meant' to be just an interim measure. As to the the Magisters secondary air defence role, well, it was only going to be a 'short term' capability gap, and it wasn't like we even really needed even bare bones day/point interceptors now that the Cold War was over, or so it was claimed. It was the much hallybalooed 'End of History' era after all. Eternal Peace in Our Time and all that rubbish. The fact that things like drugs & weapons smuggling into the country by various routes including air was increasingly out of control thanks in large part to cuts to both the Defence Forces and the Guards didn't figure into our politicians calculations at all (of course).

Yet another great loss was the disbandment of the Air Corp's well regarded Silver Swallows aerobatic team.
 
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zen

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Some states can get away without airpower due to proximity to one that has. In this the weakness of one's neighbour becomes your problem. Such it is in your interests to defend them, even at your cost.

Other states being so distant from a threat have little need of airpower.

Then there are states that may feel threatened by a neighbour, but it is so much more powerful that there is little hope in contesting this dimension.and precious resources are better spent in other dimensions.

So states that have the resources, and the threat are the most likely to expend such resources to control their airspace and contest control over others.
 

kaiserd

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The Magisters were directly replaced by PC-9s.
The PC-9s were only originally supposed to replace the Marchetti Warriors and I think a couple of surviving Bull Dogs in the Pilot Training and COIN roles; they only had the CAS (originally Light Strike) role tacked on prior to delivery when the Magisters were unexpectedly retired without replacement and even that was 'meant' to be just an interim measure. As to the the Magisters secondary air defence role, well, it was only going to be a 'short term' capability gap, and it wasn't like we even really needed even bare bones day/point interceptors now that the Cold War was over, or so it was claimed. It was the much hallybalooed 'End of History' era after all. Eternal Peace in Our Time and all that rubbish. The fact that things like drugs & weapons smuggling into the country by various routes including air was increasingly out of control thanks in large part to cuts to both the Defence Forces and the Guards didn't figure into our politicians calculations at all (of course).

Yet another great loss was the disbandment of the Air Corp's well regarded Silver Swallows aerobatic team.
Well those politicians made the entirely correct decision.
Having Hawk-equivalents for air policing would have done absolutely zilch re: preventing drugs and weapons smuggling and drawn (in relative terms) massive resources away from roles/ actives that actually had some utility for Ireland in this regard.
 

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I've read this about the armed forces in general for New Zealand and the doctrine is that we fight as part of an alliance, providing either specialised support within a larger command (e.g. SAS) or filling in for assets that have been diverted from normal duties to a conflict.

The recent definition of Zealandia as a continent may have significant legal and geopolitical ramifications, probably placing a greater importance on long range maritime patrol by sea or air. Fighters would still not be a priority.
 

uk 75

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Distance and or being a generally rather well liked and respected member of the international community is a pretty good alternative to fighter jets.
 

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Distance and or being a generally rather well liked and respected member of the international community is a pretty good alternative to fighter jets.

In that case, if somebody really wants what you have, it also helps if you have friends who are willng to send trained people to kill and die for you.
 

zen

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Distance and or being a generally rather well liked and respected member of the international community is a pretty good alternative to fighter jets.
Nothing ensures security more than the resources and will to act assertively.

How many divisions does 'like' add?
 

zen

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Distance and or being a generally rather well liked and respected member of the international community is a pretty good alternative to fighter jets.

In that case, if somebody really wants what you have, it also helps if you have friends who are willng to send trained people to kill and die for you.
The more you rely on another, the in their power you be.
 

uk 75

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The reality of international relations is such that only a few countries have the advantages of remoteness and or being generally rather well liked. New Zealand and Ireland are two such.
 

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