US Army decided the FIN/SWE armie’s next gen assault rifle caliber.

SIG Spear, joka tulee olemaan ko aseen siviiliversio. SIG kuva

We heard today that SIG Sauer has been given the nod for the US army next generation squad automatic weapon. So congratulations are in order for SIG! The round that Next gen squad automatic weapon will cycle is 6,8x51mm catridge, or 6,5mm Creedmoor or good ole 7,62mm NATO. The new .277 FURY round will be known as 6.8mm Common Catridge Family, or 6.8mm CCF. The development means replacement for M-16/M-4 series of assault rifles and M249 Squad Automatic Weapons.

This makes the choice for FIN/SWE next caliber a rather easy one: It will/should be 51mm case. What will top it is a bit different matter: Either 6.5mm 6.8mm or 7,62mm. IMHO 7,62 NATO is over the hill, (And I cannot really fathom WHY it was chosen for the common support shooter platform: It just doesn’t have the stats needed for 2020’ies battlefield), so real choice is between 6,5mm Creedmoor or the 6,8mm SIG FURY. Both are ballistically advantageous modern bullets, that retain energy well. This is needed as the 5,56mm NATO and 7,62 NATO have trouble punching through modern Russian protective gear. As a historical note last time there was common caliber for Swedish and Finnish regimets of foot it was whopping 20,44mm ball weighting 1,4 uns (39,9 grams).

US Next generation squad weapon will be made with option to change muzzles thus the three different toppings for the said 51mm brass. The 6,8mm bullet chosen for SIG FURY is Nosler Accubond at 150grains. It is not as I write this commercially available, but 6,8mm accubonds at 110 and 110 grains give ballistic co-efficients of 0.323 and 0.37 respectively. With introduction of 140 grain bullet the ballistics will get significantly better, to the neighborhood of 0.5 Respective Nosler accubond 140 grain 6.5mm and 150 grain 7,62mm bullets give G1 BC’s of 0.509 and 0.435 respectively. So the oldie is found ballistically lacking. So the choise between the 6,5mm and 6,8mm variant really comes into their performance against bodyarmour.

So As both nations are joining NATO in 2023, it makes perfect sense to pick either 6,5mm Creedmoor or 6,8 FURY for SAKOs next assault rifles. Changing from 5,56 NATO to 7,62×39 Soviet doesn’t make sence for the Swedes, nor does it make sense for the Finns make the change other way around. 5,56 NATO is at the end of its run, so it really doesn’t make sense to cling into it. The way forward seems to be with the Sig-Sauer Spear rifle and what ever calibers it will feed.

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Suomi tulee rakentamaan uutta korkeatorjuntakykyä israelilaisohjuksin

Perjantaina Puolustusministeriö antoi tiedotteen, jossa kerrottiin, että Israeli Aerospace Industries ja Rafael Advanced systems on valittu jatkoon ilmatorjunnan korkeatorjuntakyvyn kehittämisessä. Rafael Advanced systemsin tapauksessa sopivaksi tuotteeksi on ilmeisesti ajatelty Spyder tai Spyder ER ohjus systeemi.joka tarjoaa eri ohjuskonfiguraatioilla 40km vaaka- ja noin 12km pystykantamaa tai 80km vaaka- ja 20km pystykantamaa. Israeli Aerospace Industriesin tuote kansiosta löytyy monenlaista ilmapuolustusvempainta, mutta jos olemme tiukasti sitoutuneet ItO järjestelmiin kyseeseen tulee BARAK ohjusjärjestelmä. Perusohjus BARAK MRAD antaa vaakakantamaa 35kilometria, mutta lisä buustereilla vaakakantama kasvaa aina 150 kilometriin ja pystykantama 30 kilometriin.

Molemmilla ohjussysteemeillä siis puolustaa melko henkilökkään alan Suomea. Vaikkapa Seinäjolle sijoitettu Spyder peittäisi suojansa alla periaatteessa koko entisen Vaasan läänin Ähtäristä Vaasaan ja Kokkolasta Pirkanmaan pohjoisiin pitäjiin asti. BARAK antaisi myös kyvyn torjua taktisia ballistisia ohjuksia, kuten Venäjän Iskanderia. Tällä systeemillä suoja ulottuisi Seinäjoelta Uumajaan asti, joten puhutaan vieläkin suuremmista, ainakin teoriassa, puolustusaloista.

Spyder Systeemi

Kaappasin Rafaelin Spyder brösyyristä mielenkiintoisen kuvan: Tässä näkyy sievästi miltä eri konfiguraatioilla näyttää Spyderin torjuntavolyymi. Samoin näkyy kuinka perusohjuksen kantamaa kasvatellaan lisäämällä buustereita ohjuksen perään. (Kuva Rafael , Spyder perheen tuotevihko)

SPYDER järjestelmässä on kaksi hakupäätä: Lyhyemmän kantaman ohjukset perustuvat PYTHON 5, ehkä maailman edistyneimmän, ilmataisteluohjuksen käyttöön varsinaisena taistelukärkenä, ja pitemmän matkan ohjuksissa pohjana on DERBY aktiivisen tutka hakupään ohjus. Tämä hakupään kahtalaisuus vaikeuttaa lähinnä lentokoneiden vastatoimia. Ohjuksissa ja lennokeissa ei yleensä ole soihtuja tai silppua hakupäätä häiritsemään.

Systeemi on kuorma-auto laveteilla, ja sillä pystytään ampumaan pystyasennosta koko ympyrän alueelle, mikä nopeuttaa toimintaa vähän maalirikkaammassa ympäristössä. Patteriin kuuluu komentoajoneuvon (CCU jossa pitkänmatkan tutka ohjaamaan ER ohjusten toimintaa) lisäksi erillinen tutkaajoneuvo ja kolmesta kuuteen ampuvaa ajoneuvoa (Missile Firing Unit, MFU). MFUissa on lisäksi oma elekto-optinen sensorinsa, joten ilmeisesti itsenäinen toiminta on jossain rajoissa mahdollista. Parhaan suojan saamiseksi samassa patterissa on eri ohjuksia, niin että torjuntaan pystytään optimaalisella aseella ja ohjuksen terminaaliliikehtimiskyvyllä.

Yllä olevasta kuvasta näkyy myös hienosti, kuinka ohjuksen kantama on huonompi lähellä maata kuin keskikorkeuksissa. Tällä on merkitystä, kun mietitään SPYDER patterin omasuojaa matalalla ja hiljaa tulevia vihulaisia vastaan. Samoin maan lähellä olevat kohteet on huomattavsti vaikeampi saada piikille, kuin korkeammalla lentävät. Brösyyrin perusteella vaikuttaa, että PYTHON 5 pohjainen ohjus on tarkoitettu patterin omasuojaan(vihreä alue), ja muut, siis DERBY pohjaiset on tarkoitettu suojaamaan muita.

Pythonilla on 11 kilon taistelukärki, ja Derbyllä 23 kilon. NASAMS systeemin AMRAAM ohjuksella kärki on myös noin 23 kiloa, joten samankaltaisissa suuruusluokissa liikutaan.

Israeli Aerospace Industries BARAK systeemi

BARAK syteemillä on tarjolla kuorma autoilla siirrettävä systeemi, mutta ampuu “kiinteistä asemista”. Toisin sanoen BARAK tuodaan tuliasema-alueelle kuorma-autoilla, jonka jälkeen kuormista lasketaan jalat ja ne jäävät jököttämään omille jaloilleen. Tarkoitus on todennäköisesti saada tukevampi lavetti, mutta asemiin ajoja tämä tietenkin hidastaa jonkin verran. Toinen mahdollisuus on kuorma-autoihin asennettu systeemi.Vaikka en usko että kuorma-auto asenteisenakaan lähtö olisi mitenkään haukimaisen nopea asemista. Brösyyri lupaa myös liikeestä ampumisen kykyä, mutta en usko sen tarkoittavan muuta kuin kykyä ampua lyhyimmän kantaman ohjuksia (MRAD) omasuojaksi.

BARAK tarjoaa ATBM kykyä, Sillä voidaan torjua taktisia ballistisia ohjuksia kuten Iskander. Tämä olisi toki hyödyllinen ominaisuus. Tämä ominaisuus on tarjolla tietenkin kaikkiin BARAK ohjuksiin, mutta vain pisimmän kataman ER ohjuksilla ominaisuudella lienee käytännön merkitystä. Vaikka BARAK ohjus liikkuu liukkaasti ja pystyy liikehtimään 50g rajuudella, syö jokainen ylimääräionen liike ohjuksen kineettistä eenergiaa, ja lyhentää siten kantamaa. Edelleen Iskender liikkuu 6-7 Machin nopeudella ja käy kääntymässä ylhäällä noin 50km korkeudessa. Taistelukärjellä, joka on liikehtimiskykyinen, on runsaasti kineettistä energiaa polttaa liikehtimiseen tilassa. Ohjuksella joka on tulossa torjumaan alhaaltapäin ei ole samaa kineettisen energia säilöä, vaan se joutuu taistelemaan joka metristä ylöspäin, ja kun ohjuksen kineettinen energia on syöty, sitä ei enää mistään tule.

Varsinainen ohjus on BARAK systeemillä koko ajan sama, mutta liittämällä siihen erikokoisia buustereista, saadaan kantama halutunlaiseksi. Taistelukärki on hyvin suuri, 60 kiloa. Suurempi taistelukärki (joka on tietenkin räjähdysainetta ja esisirpaloitua terästä) tuo paremman tuhoamistodsennäköisyyden kuin pienempi kärki, koska ilmassa lentää enemmän romua joka suuntaan kuin pienemmällä kärjellä. Tällöin se ei ole niin nöpön nuukaa nopeammankaan maalin kohdalla missäkohtaa lataus räjähtää. Ideana on tietenkin aina, että torjuttava kohde joutuu lentämään ohjuksen räjähdyksen aiheuttaman painen ja metallipilven läpi.

Liikenopeudet torjuttavilla kohteilla ovat kuitenkin niin suuria, että pienikin reikä kohteen pinnassa aiheuttaa sen, että ilmavirta repii kohteen kappaleiksi.

IAI kehyy systeemiään hyvin modulaariseksi, johon on helppo liittää erilaisia sensoreita, joiden atama tieto yhdistetaan taistelunjohdossa, Itseäni alkoi heti kiinnostamaan ilmapallokannatetut sensorit IAIn repertuaarissa. Tämä toisi asejärjestelmällä ainakin jonkilaista look down kykyä.

Yhteenvetoa

Pyysin molemmilta valmistajilta lisätietoja järjestelmistä, mutta näin 6.3.2022 minusta näyttää että BARAKin vahvuudet ovat erityisesti kantama ja taistelukärki ja SPYDERIN joustavammat ohjusvalikoimat. Odotan mielenkiinnolla mitä uutta tietoa järjestelmistä tulee.

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A bit of pillow talk about of HX-program part II

Me ready to fly F-35 in Kuopio 2016.

Minister of defense Antti Kaikkonen‘s statement along the lines that “industry co-operation, war time security of supply, and foreign policy aspects were gateway to capabilities evaluation”, and “we went military capabilities forward” never rang well to my ears and after reviewing DCA and OCA scenarios I had run I never quite could believe that in those cases (comprising 50% of evaluation points, I wish to point out) F-35 could clearly be the winner.

After this had been nagging me, I decided to contact Mr Lauri Puranen, the point man of the HX-fighter replacement program. Mr Puranen was kind enough to get back to me and gave me a few pointers about the matter I will discuss here. I will first put the points he made in here for quick reference:

1.) Dassault and Eurofighter did not disclose how many fighters their bid included for the public, unlike SAAB Boeing and Lockheed-Martin. Nor did Mr Puranen tell me now.

2.) All other HX hopefulls did include at least some of the sensors or countermeasures in pods, F-35 has them all built in.

3.) and considering simulations: commercial contra government simulations and using simulation for long runs contra single scenario runs

4.) There was not a “users choise” in HX campaing, but rather there was much different opinios on what would be “the bestest Finnish Air Force next gen fighter” in squadrons

About previous post Mr Puranen mentioned that “well yes you could make that kind of conclusion”. This was about was the best plane REALLY picked? If you needed to pass the industry/security of supply gateway to enter into the evaluation. This is quite reassuring, as mentioned, as I could not see how F-35 beat Eurofighter Typhoon in OCA/DCA scenarios.

Here facts end and speculation begins:

So as the simulations ran for about a week of air warfare, so it would be inevitable that there will be casualities during the run. (As it happened in my simulations too, but inRL these would accumulate). The simulation may be better than the Command modern warfare (likely) or not, but the fact remains that with modern air warfare tempo of 3-5 missions a day for 7 days per fighter would eat into available fighter force quite fast. Lets say with “sustainable” casualty rate of 1,5%-2% /mission at 50 fighters, you would be loosing 3-4 fighters a day, so by the end of the week you would be down at 20-25 fighters. In reality attrition could well be higher. (50 fighters * 7 days * 4 sorties*0,02.) This is the reality of modern war. you will need to fight the war through with the assets you have in beginning. There will not be, in all likely hood, time to drive up production and start outproducing the other side like in WW II.

This in turn would imply with the fact n:o 1 and that the were not found to be supply secure enough to get out from the gate, that Dassault and Eurofighter offerings were less than 64 fighters. While 64 is not a magic number. (Right number for area size and shape of Finland right number is around 100 fighters) So my guess is that Eurofighter and Dassault offered quite significantly lower numbers of fighters. Say in the neighbourhood of 48 planes, four western squadrons.

As FAF is doomed to fight at it alone, the attrition rates and secure of supply are really a big things to consider. Even nations with their own aeroplane production capability will mostly need to see the war through with the fighters they have at the beginning rather than ramp up the production and start outproducing the enemy. But when you are at the far end of the supply chain boy do you need to take that into conclusion.

The presence of sensors and ECM equipment in pods is both boon and hindrance: On one hand, when you hang something outside of your fighter it creates right angles and extra surface to bounce off radar radiation. On the second hand it is much easier to upgrade pods than it is upgrade complete fighters. Also they create parasitic drag. So even when fighter, which maybe on paper can do about mach 2 when clean or in light A2A mission, will not be able to do so when loaded up with fuel, missiles and different sets of pods. Same time F-35 does 1,6 mach clean and still able to do the same in A2A mission as all weapons are stored internally.

considering simulations I’m still not 100% convinced that Finnish non-commercial simulations would wipe the floor with CMANO. CMANO also has restricted use simulation environments for govts and official use, so I am willing to go as far as “data might not be as accurate, and the simulation may be more streamlined for the sake of faster running.” In calculating RCS this is of course a big point of importance, The RCS of fighter is not a neat square but rather a spagetti thrown to the wall type of picture. So I concur that their simulation may be 75-90% accurate compred to CMANO’s 50-65%

Now it is time to move on to other things…

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Last thoughts about the HX-program

23.12.2021 I’m sorry this post was long in making but I was hospitalized for a week, and unabvle to acces my computer.

The winner F-35 A. This time as a mock up in Jyväskylä. Own photo

So dust is settling and F-35A has gotten the nod to be the next combat edge of Ilmavoimat. I’m going to go over the last funny developements of the said HX program, and discuss my impressions of it. This in not to say Lockheed-Martin F-35A shouldn’t have been chosen, but just “funny things” around the program.

Here is the Gov’t announcement of the HX winner. in finnish.

Here is link to the Valtioneuvosto (government) communique about the HX fighter. In Finnish naturally. there is a trove of materials behind that link, so it might be interesting to go through.

One funny thing is that MD Antti Kaikkonen said “we go the military capability forward”. Ie the the military capabilities matter the most. but THEN in the HX briefer he said that Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon “didn’t qualify through the industrial co-operation phase of the program.” REALLY? So it would seem that FAF went Industrial co-operation forward rather than military capability forward.

MD Kaikkonen says in video on about 28min that: “Into military evaluation got, JAS Gripen, Lockheed Martin F-35 A and Boeing F/A-18E/F/G Super Hornet.” Ok SO to get into the military evaluation, you had to push through the economical evaluation. SO HOW can Mr Kaikkonen justify that Finnish Air Force cababilities were the primary concentration? So if for example Typhoon beat F-35 in eval, but was not up to snug in industrial co-operation part, it would not really mean that the most capable won. So I’m wondering this for quite a bit.

Military capabilities weight in evaluation were as follows: DCA/OCA 30%, Ground support, Army 20%, Ground support, Navy 10%, Deep strike 20%, ISTAR 20%, According to General Timo Kivinen. This seemed to be pretty much right. although Army can and will produce much more targets that FAF can strike. So in that way I think ground support Army is overrated. They will not be able to pull it off. This might of course be my bias as an artilleryman.

Swedish Broadcasting corporation had gotten the scoop that SAABs JAS-Gripen E was the third in competition. Which would put Boeing’s F/A-18 E/F/G trinity as the second. This was a bit surprising in the sense that Boeing offered the Loyal Wingman capabilities in near future. It does however put keen edge on the need to have stealth approach for Finnish Air Force.

I thought in my hearth of hearts that the 60% Rhino/Growler dynamic duo would get the nod or 40% SAAB Jas Gripen E and Global Eye would: This is not that I saying that F-35 is inferior pick, but as I fear that 10 GHz stealth will not be very effective means of protecting the aeroplane in mid to long future. My ex wives told I’m wrong sometimes, so maybe I overestimated the future radar capabilities of Russia and China. Time will tell.

Even thoug the JATM AIM-260 will be in near future, Finnish F-35s will tart by carrying the AMRAAM D as main BVR missile. Own photo

As I did the simulations for the fighters in different scenarios it seemed that F-35 was hard pressed especially in OCA/DCA scenarios. This is partly because in simulation F-35 only has four BVR missiles. The block 4 fighters Finnish Air Force is going to get are going to be carry 6, which seems to be the industry standard. (Well Rafale could do 4 METEOR plus 4 near BVR MICAs so that sort of took the gold.) Also Command Modern Warfare seems to use quite simplified model of RCS (it is sort of rhombus, instead of the real spaghetti splash type of pattern.) so that might have hurt the F-35 in simulations.

Merciful and merry birthday of our Redeemer to all readers and Happy new year!

Posted in HX-ohjelma, ilmavoimat, in English, simulaatio, Sotapelit | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gripens’ “cold boys polka” in Kannas

First a couple of disclaimers and or notifications on subject: I do not have any knowledge what the HX scenarios used in evaluation might be. Thus this scenario is just my personal view what HX scenario OCA/Deep Penetration scenario might be. This scenario is called Walz in Carelia

Second I have used commercial simulation program Command Modern Opertaions to run these scenarios, so there is problems with accuracy of the software. I suspect it gets things about 50-65% right. So you would get around 2-3 out of six level of performance in school. So OK, but not good.

Third: I do not have NATO weaponeering manual, so there might be cases of wrong kind of ordnance used to targets, so without further ado to business at hand:

Fourth: This post is one I loathe to make: it is not really fair to Gripens. This is because Command Modern Operations database does not carry all the equipment necessary to run this scenario: For example SAAB Gripen E is missing AREXIS pods and stand in or missile jammers, the LAMD. Thus I have stooped of using the Eurofighter Typhoons with SPEAR EWs to provide stand in jamming for the named fighters. This of course degrades the reliability of the simulation further.

Gripen E mockup in Kauhava 2020. While some disrespect the JAS 39 E/F Gripen and american DIY buildup. it IS a very potent fighter tailored to take down Suchois. Own photo

Another note is that while Rafale and Typhoon with Spectra and Pretorian seem to be pretty immune to S-400 system, Gripen seemed to be quite vulnerable to it. which might be bias against AREXIS self protection system, or it might just be that CMANO has not yet gotten around of updating the database from 2019 new generation Gripen.

Also: We know that FAF is getting for example BLU-109 2000lb (or 1000kg) bombs that are meant for bunker and hard target and structures busting as per DSCA papers. So putting JAS-39 E Gripens away with 500 lb mk 82 bombs is not really fair. The difference in destructive capability is considerable. run of the mill mk 82 500lb bomb has 87kg os explosive matter where BLU-109 has 240kgs (BLU-117 has 202kg, so it might offer the best combo. It is also included in DCSA permit)

So enough of the gripes in into the business:

SAAB JAS-39 E/F Gripen and GlobalEye

GlobalEye is not a great asset in this scenario, and in fact was lost to S-400 system in bit under half of the runs I did. It did reveal all the VVS air assets from Kola peninsula to Carelian Isthmus in one sweep, so it is helpful. As mentioned even though I kept Global Eye quite a ways back, namely on the line from Pirkkala to west shores of Oulujärvi, but S-400 still managed to shoot it down. S-400 has been named AWACS killer for a reason.

As mentioned AREXIS system in CMANO had hard time protecting the Gripen E’s against S-400 system. I may be alone in this, but I think it is undervalued system by CMANO currently and more likely than not just Gripen C/D system exported to E/F. Thus relatively old system. Neither did SAAB Gripen E sport company’s own AREXIS jammer pods nor their stand in Jammer/expendaple decoy missile EAJP. Without these kinds of tools it is a fools errand to go against most integrated air defense /area denial system of the world, namely Russian S-500/400/350 on their home turf. Thus I included some Typhoons for SPEAR EW shooting.

JAS-39 Gripen has frontal RCS of about 0,5m² so it should be able to stay hidden from S-400 to about 100km out (depending external stores and actual angle to radar of course). But as mentioned, besides SDBs there is no stand off range SEAD armaments. (SPEAR 3 is included in HX proposal, which would be usable, but it is not in CMANO database Gripen loadouts) This brings us to Gripens major problem in this respect: Pylon room. IF you want to take apart integrated AA/AD system, you have to resort to saturation attacks for some degree. In this scenario where number of flights is limited it is questionable are you able to carry enough ordnance to field to be able to achieve your goals. So greater portion of platforms is tied to SEAD/DEAD missions.

Gripen is quite capable of carrying a pair of, say, BLU-109s in inner wing wet/heavy pylons, so as an weapons platform Gripen is quite capable of carrying out strikes as described for this scenario. 2000 pounder will usually destroy a bridge without a fail. One might argue that 1000 lb BLU-117 will do the same, and would be right. And what sketches I have seen, there is room for BRU-33/55 type twin pylon underneath the inner wing hard point. So it would be quite feasible to have Gripen E’s with 4 BLU-117 units.

Tämän kuvan alt-attribuutti on tyhjä; Tiedoston nimi on 5M7OYxle-mKrweqaPK8cGOojBKCzjhlh5BgL9m_qWdA.jpg
Gripen E pylon in detail. Gripen Es pylons are produced by RUAG Photo courtesy of Reddit user known unto God.
Tämän kuvan alt-attribuutti on tyhjä; Tiedoston nimi on fjas39_p_05_l.jpg
JAS Gripen C in PAVEWAY loadout. Photo courtesy of SAAB

Gripen E can carry 8-16 SBU-39B units depending of A2A missile load, so saturation attacks against S-400 are on option if done with support of stand in jammer missiles. AREXIS jammerpods or EAJPs and LADM missiles would be really handy here.

Global eye is somewhat useful in this scenario, as it can show you all the baddies lurking in the space, but it is not going to drop bombs. In fact S-400 did manage to shoot down the Globalö eye when it was flying the support route between west parts of Oulujärvi and Tampere. So S-400 has to be recognized as a threat for Global eye as well.

So, Because of this, I have decided not to do walz in Karelia for JAS-39 Gripen E. Not because I feel that it cannot compete in RL, but rather that the value of simulation would be zero or close to it.

But I will give out the winner of mys simulations on Independence day (6th December, for non Finns.)

Posted in HX-ohjelma, in English, simulaatio, Skenaariot, Sotapelit | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Rafales’ Strike Into the Danger

Dassault Rafale is the Strike aircraft optimized multirole fighter of the HX program. It’s vaunted SPECTRE self protection system is really brought forth in this exercise: S-400 has really hard time trying to bring Rafales down. Here rafale demonstrator is in Kauhava airshow in 2020. Own picture

First a couple of disclaimers and or notifications on subject: I do not have any knowledge what the HX scenarios used in evaluation might be. Thus this scenario is just my personal view what HX scenario OCA/Deep Penetration scenario might be. This scenario is called Walz in Carelia

Second I have used commercial simulation program Command Modern Warfare to run these scenarios, so there is problems with accuracy of the software. I suspect it gets things about 50-65% right. So you would get around 2-3 out of six level of performance in school. So OK, but not good.

Third: I do not have NATO weaponeering manual, so there might be cases of wrong kind of ordnance used to targets, so without further ado to business at hand:

Fourth: This post is one I loathe to make: it is not really fair to fighters named in the header. This is because Command Modern Operations database does not carry all the equipment necessary to run this scenario. Dassault Rafale does not have stand in jammers nor ALARM/HARM family of missiles, they do defiantly have. Thus I have stooped of using the Eurofighter Typhoons with SPEAR EWs to provide stand in jamming for the named fighters. This of course degrades the reliability of the simulation further.

Another note is that while Rafale with Spectra seem to be pretty immune to S-400 system, Gripen seemed to be quite vulnerable to it. which might be bias against AREXIS self protection system, or it might just be that CMANO has not yet gotten around of updating the database from 2019 new generation Gripen.

Also: We know that FAF is getting for example BLU-109 2000lb (or 1000kg) bombs that are meant for bunker and hard target and structures busting as per DSCA papers. So putting JAS-39 E Gripens away with 500 lb mk 82 bombs is not really fair. The difference in destructive capability is considerable. run of the mill mk 82 500lb bomb has 87kg os explosive matter where BLU-109 has 240kgs (BLU-117 has 202kg, so it might offer the best combo. It is also included in DCSA permit)

So enough of the gripes in into the business:

Rafale just does deliver!

Two seater Rafale B in Rovanbiemi AFB in 2017 in ACE fighter exercise. I think Dassault has been quite tight lipped about their offer to HX party. Dassault Rafale is certainly a top notch contender in the race, but it really boils down how you value each aspect of the scenarios presented. Own picture

As mentioned above, Rafale does not have in Command Modern Warfare all the tools of the trade needed to punish top notch integrated Air defense area denial system. In the video included Dassault Rafale took more casualties than typical, but also give the good point of having twin engined fighter: You can get home with just one engine. Also there was Typhoons taking care of the SEAD side of things mostly, which is a bit of a letdown in my books.

We know that Rafale is capable of carrying, ALARM/HARM missiles, but Comman Modern Warfare does not have these in database for Rafale. For this reason HAMMER glide bombs are used instead. While not completely inaccurate way of using these weapons, they are not dedicated radar killing kinetick weapons. and as you can see, without the help on Stand in jammers, quite easily shot down by the modern AA systems.

SPEAR EW is distinctly a British solution for this problem, alhough in MBDA brochure, and LADM is SAAB’s in house product for the need. We know that MBDA has the SMARTGLIDER that has this kind of EW solution and in MBDA pictures, lo and behold, it is launched from Dassault Rafale fighter.

SMARTGLIDER infography as can bee seen launched from 6 berth pylons from Rafale. photo courtecy of MBDA

For above reasons I do not feel we really do Dassault Rafale much justice in this post, so this is more of an entertainment. Dassault Rafale is the strike/penetration optimized product of a program that was supposed to bring forth common fighter platform for most European air forces. and Rafale is indeed formidable in strike applications: it has massive load of 9,5 tons and 5 wet/heavy hardpoints (out of total of 14). This means that delivery of punishment is really not a problem for this beauty.

AS evident in scenario runs, Rafales make pigs breakfast of the SU-27/33 fighters send their way, so that kind of capability is not in question. Even in Russia, where they in their latest runs of war fighting drills (Zapad 2021) deemed “Arcticland” to have technically superior Air Forces to theirs.

Run of the scenario that demonstrates the usefullnes of twin engine fighters, and how demanding discipline offensive counter air/SEAD/deep strike are.

This is one run of the Kannas deep strike scenario. you can really see the problems inherited in worlds most demanding air war arena.

Here S-400 and other SA systems recives some punishment from SCALP missiles and HAMMER bombs. Bomb droppers don’t fare that well though.

So again, Dassault Rafale delivers.

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F/A-18 E has it hard over Karelian Isthmus

First a couple of disclaimers and or notifications on subject: I do not have any knowledge what the HX scenarios used in evaluation might be. Thus this scenario is just my personal view what HX scenario OCA/Deep Penetration scenario might be. This scenario is called Walz in Carelia

Second I have used commercial simulation program Command Modern Warfare to run these scenarios, so there is problems with accuracy of the software. I suspect it gets things about 50-65% right. So you would get around 2-3 out of six level of performance in school. So OK, but not good.

Third: I do not have NATO weaponeering manual, so there might be cases of wrong kind of ordnance used to targets, so without further ado to business at hand:

F/A-18E/F/G in Kannas isthmus

Boeing sells F/A-18 E/F/G trinity by easy transition into new iteration of the same fighter and related savings there off a,d by the exceptional capabilities of the Growler platform. The block III brings new doohickeys into the fighter as well so E Rhino is a far cry from C Hornet.

Compared to Lightning II S-400 system and Russian AWACS saw Super Hornets right about immediately they took of from their respective AF bases. This is clearly a minus on F/A-18 block III part, but as they are loaded to the teeth with AA missiles, tanks and such, it is maybe not as big of a minus as it might be perceived to be. This is due that every pylon attached to wing will create a nice straight angle that will reflect the electro magnetic radiation right back whence it came. This makes the detecting much easier, and is a problem for all aeroplanes without internal weapons bays. Other limiting factors are really only the curvature of earths surface

Super Hornet really has strenghts in this scenario with 11 hardpoints and massive 8500kg ordnance carrying capability. The future missile is JATM, (I have to note here that we have no knowledge of what the furute AA missile will be if American fighters are chosen: British F-35 can utilize Meteor, but I’m confident that future missile JATM will be integrated to US air assets. This would be from 2026 onwards. so thus there should be a lot of AMRAAM Ds around still.

When A-100 is only sensor the fighters from Jyväskylä get a nice start

The point here is getting maximum number of bridges down without losing much fighters in process.

S-400 and A-100 help VVS get clearer picture of what is going down but note, they don’t have a clue there is Loyal Wingman over the sea right about where Finnish border meets Finnish gulf.

F-18 Es with 6 JATM make mince meat of the VVS pretty quickly, as the range is such that Suhois are just unable to counter the FAF Super Hornets. If my recollections are correct, in the three scenarios I ran and a couple of paractise runs VVS was able to ground maybe 7 Supre Hornets put together. This leads to my finding that at least in Command Modern Operations F/A-18 E/F/G is really woulnereable against new Russian AA/AD systems, here S-400 and S-350. They also proved to be extremely hard to kill even in heavy electronic war environment provided by MALD decoy missiles and Growlers in this area. FAF didn’t get a many hits on mentioned systems even with newest Anti radiation (AARGM-ER) missiles. The older systems like BUK, PANTSIR and TOR were much easier to kill.

Main point of this sceario was the bridge destruction: That was accomplished quite nicely. As compared to the F-35 A particularly two Super hornets can lug along 20 1000lb bombs and can practically hit all the required targets on one bombing run. This would take 4 F-35s. On the other hand, the vulnerability against S-400 system dictates the need for EW and decoy carrying fighters. So as it turns out in these scenarios, you in the end require around the same number of missions, but they go against different needs. With F-35 you need more OCA fighters, with F/A-18 E you need more EW support (Although I suspect Growler is may by not as potent in the simulation as it is in RL)

The bombing runs went quite smoothly and the run on Poventsa in East was really a cakewalk every time. (Althoug in the second run Rhino pair around Poventsa decided to whack the S-350 system and got killed for their trouble) On the other run they were heading to Kannas, and the same system shot them down a bit further away. The bridges were relaibly destroyed with quite a few missions (in all cases two pairs of two did the actual deed.)

One cannot really sugarcoat this thing: FAF lost many F/A-18s every time: ten on average, plus loyal wing man. They did however also destroy a lot of VVS power about 30 on average. but still the attrition rate would be horrendous (AS noted before, I’m in no way professional in this, so all the pros may be laughing behind their masks on the mistakes I made in placing and loading, but hey. It would be sad, I’f I could beat them in their profession by just being little old me.)

All missiles fired against FAF total on average 155, so the kill probability is 11/155 still around 1/16 so around 7%. I have a gut feeling that is a bit on a high side of things. ill look it up and combine all of this soon. 30/105 Kp for JATM and AMRAAM D are not really flattering either. this gives average kill ratio of 29%.

I was really surprised how susceptible the F/A-18 Es are for the S-400 and S-350 missile systems: in three runs I don’t think Suhois or MiGs managed to get a single kill, but named premier surface to air systems dropped Hornets from sky like nobody’s business. I included a Loyal wingman type UCAV, but it really didn’t make difference in outcome one way or the another.

Video will follow in a few days.

Posted in HX-ohjelma, in English, SEAD, simulaatio, sotapelit, Sotapelit, War in Baltic Region | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How is HX program going?

Finnish daily ILTALEHTI made a nice peace about political ambitions in HX program. Link HERE (in FIN naturally.) There was not really anything new: If you are lefty-greeny, you would prefer the Swedish SAAB candidate to win the race. (Not a bad option of course, SAAB’s bid particular dinge an sich is the Global Eye AWACS) What was a bit surprising was Centrist parties preference for Swedish thing as well.

Another thing a bit surprising is that F-35 and F/A-18 E/F/G are both seen as politically volatile because of US political government. This being post Trump time, this is a bit puzzling. There is of course the “Russian wrath” behind these, but still a rather surprising recurring Finlandizierung.

Some say they feel that “European option” would be preferable. This would mostly play for the french, as they have been quite aggressive in their posturing recently. This is not to say that Rafale would be a bad option. Neither would be Eurofighter Typhoon. in fact if you were looking just air dominance machine the Typhoon would be obvious choise, but in the real life situation this is a bit more murky open-ended choise.

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F-35 A in Walz in Kannas

First a couple of disclaimers and or notifications on subject: I do not have any knowledge what the HX scenarios used in evaluation might be. Thus this scenario is just my personal view what HX scenario OCA/Deep Penetration scenario might be. This scenario is called Walz in Carelia

Second I have used commercial simulation program Command Modern Warfare to run these scenarios, so there is problems with accuracy of the software. I suspect it gets things about 50-65% right. So you would get around 2-3 out of six level of performance in school. So OK, but not good.

Third: I do not have NATO weaponeering manual, so there might be cases of wrong kind of ordnance used to targets, so

And to the business

This scenario should play well into the strengths of Lockheed Martins F-35 A platform: it is low observable, it is designed to be penetrating asset, it should be able to penetrate modern Russian Area Denial systems namely S-350 and S-400 systems. In this scenario named systems are supported by numerous BUK M-1 and Pantsir systems. Targets are numerous railroad and road bridges used to supply fighting north of Viipuri.

VVS fighters in air and missile batteries at ground

The F-35 Lightning II carries quite limited selection of AA missiles. 4 AMRAAM D’s and 2 Sidewinders in Air Superiority configuration, which leads to problems when trying to achieve the dominance over contested aerospace: you need more sorties to carry the needles into firing position. Almost all other HX-hopefulls carry 6 BVR missiles and 2 WVR missiles into the fray. Thus 10 other HX fighters in CAP patrol will be carrying 60 missiles and 10 Lightnings carry 40. This is of course partly amended by the fact that even when carrying other ordnance two bays are dedicated to AMRAAM D missiles.

The FAF flying in

This shows in this scenario, because the OCA element of attack need to fly in from within Finnish home territory. Even when you fly in three pairs for the beginning, the attrition takes its toll, and you have quite little air to air fighting power left quite soon. (This might be problem with Command, as there is development in Lockheed Martin to up the carrying capacity to six)

VVS is really late in noticing the F-35, so they are indeed close before the walz begins.

On the first run I tried to go through the scenario “as it should be run” with BLU-109 2000lb bombs for bridges, and SDB-53s in as SEAD munitions. This worked quite well, but there was quite a few bridges standing after the sortie, and six fighters lost out of 40. (AMG-88ER is not configured to F-35 as of yet in Command)

Second run I carried only SDB-53s for all targets, this was not really satisfactory, and Small diameter bomb II is still only 100 kg (200lb) weapon and 48kg (100lb) of explosives. so you need multiple hits on bridges to bring them down. As one F-35A carries 8 in SEAD configuration, and uses 7 of those against single air defense system, you see that you seem to need a lot of SDBs around to get effect.

After second round you see that disappointing amount of bridges are still up.

Third time I changed 2 BLU-109s to 6 GBU-12 Paveways. So in I had to drop two bombs per bridge, but as I got three salvoes, it made possible to get more targets with same amount of fighters. As a rule of thumb 500kgs ordnance seems to be the right way to go per bridge. The exploding part of Paveway 12 is 227kg or (500lb) mark-82 low drag bomb, which is in itself rather inexpensive, but carries 87kgs (127lbs) of tritonal explosive. SDB-53 is about half of that (93kg/48kg explosives) plus it is of shaped charge type and is not as well suited for concrete buildings. Shaped charge is of course bees knees for bunkers and such, but nice round hole on driving surface is not too devastating a problem.

After round three the bridges in Kannas area are down and only bridges over river Svir are usable for transport.

Really the problem here is the amount of SDB-IIs shot down by S-350 and 400 systems in defense of A2A and AD assets in area. This necessitates destruction of said systems. (As noted in round 2.) Even with jamming the S-350/400 systems you do not get too reliable effects on them. On the other hand they do not really bother the F-35s as long as they keep their distance. But as F-35 is not very highly maneuverable fighter, the BUK M-1 and Pantsir systems are dangerous to them in close range (dropping Paveways)

As can be seen this kind of Offensive Counter air/penetration missions will be expensive on terms of fighters lost. FAF is looking to have around 16% losses. That kind of attrition is not sustainable.

AS you can see from the scorecard, F-35 really did well again against the VVS. The Suhois don’t really get into position for shooting, but when they do get into position F-35 is really vulnerable. Greatest problem from S-350/400 systems was their ability to shoot down SDB IIs from the air before they got to BUK and PANTSIR system on ground. Through attrition you got to point that you could destroy the named systems, but it really took rounds to achieve that. After accomplishing the SEAD mission one could bring in the mud splashers to take care of the bridges.

In the third round, loss of F-35’s could have been 5, but I decided to try to push against bridges on Svir river. But as there was VVS assets close by and they managed to avoid AMRAAMs, we lost two more Lightnings. This would have bumbed kill/loss ratio up to 4,3.

I did not have time yet to edit the video, so that will be available in next few days. So look again in a few days.

Video about the scenario.
Posted in HX-ohjelma, in English, simulaatio, Skenaariot, sotapelit, Sotapelit | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

EU Strategy meeting in Slovenia: Implications to HX-program

EU magnates had a dinner and meeting in beutiful Slovenia. The most pressing matter is European Union’s strategic position within world. EU is mighty weak strategically, because there if many different factions within EU who push and pull into different directions. This leads into EU’s incapability to act, Ability to function strategically in ANY way would meant that EU CAN reach decisions and has force it can project. EU has none of that beside France’s capabilities. But if we listen Mrs Ursula von der Leyen, the things will change: EU has to become strategically more independent.

Enter HX deal. Even though F-35A won and the F/A-18E/F/G was the runner up in SIIVET, THE Finnish aerospace magazine’s, evaluation of HX hopefulls, EU’s strategic companionship may well spill into HX decisionmaking. I will give out my own eval of the matter after I have gamed through OCA/deep strike scenarios.

First. Considering what kind of hissyfit France’s government threw after AUKUS sub deal, I will not be very suprised if there will be payback for Finland if HX deal doesn’t go to Dassault. (Or BAE or SAAB at least). I do not mean that Rafale would be a bad deal, in fact I think it is the black horse of the race tecnically/tactically, but especially politically Rafale is indeed formidable. United kingdom is sort of out EU, but still factors into Finnish defense planning very much. Eurofighter Typhoon is also pushed by Spanish and German Govt’s as main users, but I still think France is the big player in EU defense and strategic partnerships. This was very evident in Kaivopuisto airshow in August.

Second, I don’t necessarily see way forward with F-35A or F/A-18 Block III’s. Strategic difficulities with China and looming war in Taiwan, futures of both US candidates seem unpleasantly murky. There is no clear indication which or maybe neither will be the prime air warfare tool for their respective services. This would leave Finland with obsolete fleet of fighters that will be needed to be replaced too soon.

(EDIT 8.10) Thirdly Mrs Vonder Leyen flashed tax exempt for military buys from EU. This was thought to be foot in the mouth moment, as taxing state would here be Finland, and finland doesn’t tax military sales to FDF. One starts wondering IS European Union going to impose some kind of sales tax Outside of EU defense procurement to boost EU’s own defense companies sales? I decided to have a look and lo and behold: in European Defense Agency’s pages it says: “Together with its Member States and in close cooperation with the European Commission, EDA supports and incentivises cooperative defence procurement programs/projects, based on a case-by-case assessment.” SO, It looks like EU states are going to “support and incentivy” some defense procurement.

This would tie in about noises Finnish politicians making noises about funding the HX-fighters with loans. These three things together would mean that EU states incentify HX procurement from EU sources by financial means. More fighters, which would work great, or at cheaper price point, which would be easier to sell to Finnish public. at the price maybe taking over or taking a role in the Baltic air policing.

So in short, and all in all: seems that British Aerospace, Dassault and SAAB are moving up in the scales. Precisely if EU will want strategic independence from USA.

Posted in HX-ohjelma, ilmavoimat, in English, Suuri peli, TurPo, voimapolitiikka | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment