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armada INTERNATIONAL 3/2003

Complete Guide
Military Aircraft
As the commercial transport market remains depressed, aircraft manufactur-
ers are looking urgently for growth in the military sector to maintain sales
volumes and profit margins. However, current military operations will in
the short-term boost spending on guided missiles and bombs, rather than on
aircraft replacements.
Who, Why, When?
Roy Braybrook, inputs by Eric H. Biass
n the longer term the outlook for new
military aircraft sales is much brighter,
as 21st Century needs trigger booming
sales in long-range transports, tankers, and
both combat and multi-role helicopters,
and as US-led technological developments
such as stealth fighters and sensor plat-
forms result in new types of operational
requirements being generated by medium-
and even small-size air forces.
Why do air forces buy new aircraft?
Sometimes a purchase is made primarily
to eliminate a shortfall in the officers
pension fund, anything up to 25 per cent
being creamed off the top of the contract
value. However, for the purposes of this
discussion, it is assumed that most of the
spending associated with military aircraft
procurement is performed by the major
air forces, which use their funds to
replace obsolescent assets and to exploit
the operational advances made possible
by the latest technologies, allowing them
to respond to developing needs. Smaller
air forces should rationally watch what
their larger counterparts are doing, and
follow suit to the best of their ability, if
necessary forming regional groupings in
such fields as aircrew training, transports
and tankers.
Developing Needs
Each of what might be termed the post-
WW conflicts has significantly changed
the face of warfare. Korea introduced
combat between jet fighters for control of
the air, the small-scale employment of
air-to-surface guided weapons and the
use of helicopters to evacuate casualties
from the battlefront. Frances coin
(counter-insurgency) operations in Alge-
ria saw the first use of turbine-engined
helicopters armed with cannon and wire-
guided, joystick-controlled missiles.
Vietnam brought coin operations into
the jungle, the use of air-to-air guided mis-
siles and laser-guided bombs, SA-2s and
man-portable SA-7s, large-scale in-flight
refuelling for fighters and bombers, the
employment of helicopters to deploy and
extract army combat units, the develop-
ment of tandem-seat dedicated attack heli-
copters, gunship conversions of fixed-wing
transports and the use of long-range sur-
veillance UAVs and AEW&C aircraft.
The Falklands conflict of 1982 demon-
strated the effectiveness of air-launched
Lockheed Martin F/A-22 Raptor
oy Braybrook, a regular contrib-
utor to Armada International,
was formerly a Technical Market-
ing Consultant at British Aerospace,
Kingston, working on both the Hawk
and Harrier programmes.
About the Author
anti-ship guided weapons, and witnessed
the first operations by Stovl fighters
from aircraft carriers and their usage of a
short airstrip. In that same year, the
Israeli invasion of Lebanon saw sensor-
equipped tactical drones playing a signif-
icant role for the first time. Soviet coin
operations in the mountains of
Afghanistan in the 1980s showed the
need for helicopters to be armed with
large-calibre guns to out-range ground
fire (as the US Army had discovered in
Grenada in 1983), and for dedicated close
support aircraft with extensive armour
plating and unprecedented numbers of
decoy flares.
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armada INTERNATIONAL 3/2003
The 1991 Gulf War may be recalled as
a conflict that, being the first out-of-area
deployment for many Nato services,
placed enormous logistic demands on the
air forces of the Coalition, demands that
in some respects could then be met only
by the US Air Force s Lockheed Martin
C-5 or by chartered Antonov An-124s.
However, the capacity of airlift (in tonne-
kilometres per day) is small in compari-
son with sealift. Luckily, Iraq did not seek
to exploit its conquest of Kuwait by press-
ing on to occupy Saudi oil fields; hence
the Coalition had over six months to pre-
pare for the ground war.
In its aftermath, America stockpiled
materiel at depots in the region (and on
islands and vessels in the Indian Ocean),
rather than ordering new-build C-5s. The
experience nonetheless obliged the air
forces of principal European powers to
review their own airlift capacities, the
results of which will appear over this and
the next decade.
In terms of transport aircraft deriva-
tives, the Gulf War also provided a force-
ful argument for the Boeing 707-derived
E-3 Awacs, KC-135/KE-3A tanker and
the Northrop Grumman E-8 Jstars. All
played vital roles, paving the way for sales
of analogous versions of Boeings 767. It
was also a technologically advanced war,
with the Lockheed Martin F-117A
stealth strike aircraft used operationally
for the first time and GPS satellite navi-
gation making its dbut.
Above all, the Gulf War demonstrated
that (in certain circumstances) the over-
whelming use of air power could allow
ground forces to achieve victory in a very
short time (100 hours in that instance)
and with few casualties. It also showed
the value of precision weapon delivery in
minimising collateral damage, and the
need for a foolproof means to identify
Coalition forces from the air, in order to
avoid friendly fire accidents.
Although it lasted only 78 days, and
was geographically and meteorologically
much closer to the all-out war in central
Europe for which Nato had trained, the
Kosovo conflict of 1999 (Operation
Allied Force) provided some important
new lessons. For example, the effective-
ness of Yugoslavias Soviet-style air
being cleared to use non-guided bombs
(BL755 cluster weapons) through cloud,
but only against those targets where the
expected collateral damage was judged
not to be excessive. Most of the 14 non-
US Nato countries that participated
relied heavily on the US Air Force for
Sead (suppression of enemy air defences)
and Csar (combat search and rescue).
Allied Force involved the first use of
GPS-aided munitions, from the 900 kg
Boeing GBU-31 Jdam (joint Direct attack
Munition), of which up to 16 individually-
targeted examples could be delivered by a
Northrop Grumman B-2A flying direct
from the US, to the Boeing AGM-86C
Calcm (Conventional Air-Launched
Cruise Missile) launched in stand-off
attacks by B-52s operating from Britain.
Other examples included the 2270 kg class
GBU-37 hard target penetrator, again
delivered by the B-2A, and the Raytheon
AGM-154 Jsow (Joint Stand-Off Weapon)
glide dispenser launched by US Navy and
US Marine Corps F/A-18s. The Kosovo
operation also marked the first opera-
tional use of the General Atomics Preda-
tor medium-altitude long endurance
drone and of the Boeing C-17. The latter
provided a valuable advance in logistics, in
being able to deliver cargo direct to rela-
tively small airfields. It also provided a fast
turn-round, thus freeing up apron parking
space. The successful debut of the C-17
was not lost on Americas Nato allies.
Another of the lessons of Allied Force was
that the 900-plus Nato aircraft placed
severe demands on airfields in the region.
This resulted in tankers being based fur-
ther back and given increased crew/air-
craft ratios.
Following the terrorist attacks in the
US on 11 September 2001, Operation
Enduring Freedom began with strikes on
targets in Afghanistan on 7 October, in a
campaign that was to be characterised by
even greater basing problems than with
Kosovo, and even greater deployment dis-
tances (and longer strike radii from air-
craft carriers) than in Desert Storm. Just
as the Gulf War had thrown up a need for
penetration weapons to destroy deeply
The Sukhoi Su-25TK is heavily armed and armoured, representing the result of Soviet
experience in Afghanistan in the 1980s. It has provisions for a radar pod under the
fuselage. (Armada/RB)
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will represent an attractive combination
of multi-role operational capability, reasonable cost and stealth, if, in fact, it is ever
released for export. (Lockheed Martin)
the Gulf War
demonstrated that [] the
overwhelming use of air
power could allow ground
forces to achieve victory in
a very short time [] and
with few casualties.
defences restricted Nato air operations to
over 15,000 ft for the entire duration of
hostilities.This, combined with mountain-
ous terrain and adverse weather on all
but 21 days, placed severe restrictions on
air-to-ground operations. Britain, with
only laser-guided bombs for precision
delivery, made its contribution largely by
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armada INTERNATIONAL 3/2003
buried bunkers, Afghanistan demanded
special weapons to attack mountain cave
complexes. Both conflicts demonstrated
the need for aircraft capable of delivering
extremely heavy (two tonne plus) individ-
ual munitions. Enduring Freedom includ-
ed the first operational deployment of the
Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Global
Hawk high-altitude long endurance UAV,
a potential replacement for the manned
Lockheed Martin U-2S. Afghanistan may
also have provided the first opportunity
for Boeing AV-8Bs to be operated close
(65 km) to a front-line, generating the high
sortie rates that Stovl proponents have
always claimed possible.
Lessons Ignored
These various conflicts have produced new
types of operational requirements, but air
forces have not always followed these
through to the procurement stage.
A replay of Vietnam would arguably
have demanded a turboprop Stol coin
aircraft to provide quick reaction from
forward strips against lightly armed
insurgents in jungle, but the war actually
led to the turbofan-powered A-10, which
was literally designed around a massive
tank-killing gun. The A-10 was supposed
to have credibility in the long-awaited
armour battle in Central Europe, but
Euro-Nato air forces were less than con-
vinced. In the event, the A-10 proved use-
ful in the close support and FAC roles
during the Gulf War, but its inability to
strike at second echelon forces made the
concept suitable only for a multi-type air
force such as those of the United States
and the Russian Federation.
The latter has the Sukhoi Su-25 (Frog-
foot), which was undoubtedly inspired by
the A-10, but has a much thinner wing, pro-
viding higher speed and more credibility as
a general-purpose ground attack aircraft.
It also has record-breaking passive
defence measures (armour and flare-dis-
pensers) that in Afghanistan proved their
effectiveness against the best shoulder-
launched surface-to-air missiles. The Su-25
is widely used in the CIS, and has been
exported to Bulgaria, the Congo, Iran,
Iraq, North Korea, Peru and Slovakia.
The Gulf War demonstrated beyond
doubt the value of a stealth strike aircraft
(Lockheed Martin F-117A) in the first
few nights of a war against an enemy with
a modern air defence system. Although it
seems logical to suppose that Britain
admitted by Lockheed Martin to repre-
sent a relatively crude first-generation
approach to stealth design, which would
soon be superseded (thanks to better com-
puters) by a second-generation approach
allowing curved surfaces. Incidentally, the
facetted stealth design of the F-117 is of
Russian origin; however, as it often hap-
pened during the Soviet era, the theory of
its inventor was not deemed credible, and
the then director of the Skunk Works Ben
Rich managed to get the documents
smuggled out of the Soviet Union. The
stealth-related maintenance workload of
this first generation may also have been a
powerful negative incentive. In the event,
the second generation stealthy strike
fighter, presumably to be represented by
the same companys F-35 JSF or the pro-
posed FB-22 development of its Raptor,
has been a long time in coming.
One of the most important lessons of
the Gulf War may have been that low-tech
ballistic missiles pose a threat, not only to
population centres (as was found in
WWII) but also to major military bases.
The American response to this threat was
to improve base defences by the deploy-
ment of Raytheon Patriot systems. As far
as can be judged from TV newscasts, not
even helicopters were dispersed off base,
despite the possibility of Scuds delivering
chemical or biological warheads. Perhaps
wrongly, the Gulf War thus apparently did
little to advance the cause of Stovl combat
aircraft and Stol transports. The US Air
Force has not switched from the Ctol
F-35A to the Stovl F-35B, and the idea of
a tilt-wing Advanced Theatre Transport
remains a Boeing pipe-dream, although
the company hopes to get DoD/Darpa
funding to put a tilt-wing with four turbo-
props and cyclic-controlled propellers on
the YC-15 prototype fuselage.
Paradigm Shifts
The biggest change over the last half-cen-
tury in terms of operational scenarios for
The Sukhoi Su-27/30 series, represented here by an Su-30MK, has so far been
exported on a large scale to China and India. A successful sale to Brazil might open
floodgates. (Armada/RB)
Sales of the MiG-29 have so far been restricted by its limited internal fuel volume and
somewhat dated cockpit, but this extensively redesigned MiG-29SMT has a positive
chance of reviving its prospects. (MiG-Rac)
Incidentally, the facetted
stealth design of the F-17
is of Russian origin
(at least) would have been allowed to
have the F-117, no such contract was
inked, nor did the US Air Force move to
augment its single wing of these aircraft
(currently estimated as having only 52
left from the 59 delivered).
The lack of reaction by Britain may
have been due to restrictions placed on
use of the F-117, meaning that initial
strikes might as well be left to the US Air
Force. Part of the explanation may be that
the multi-faceted shape of the F-117 was
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armada INTERNATIONAL 3/2003
The Alenia/Lockheed Martin C-27J Spartan may sometimes be regarded as but half a
Hercules, in light of its having two of the Rolls-Royce AE2100D engines of which the
C-130J has four. (Alenia/LM)
in the early post-war
era it was taken for granted
that fighters and jet trainers
would be replaced at
ten-year intervals.
The Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules series, exemplified by a stretched C-130J-30 for
Britains Royal Air Force, is now assured of a substantial domestic market, with 168
planned for the US Air Force alone. (Armada/RB)
the leading air forces has resulted from the
comparatively recent disappearance of the
threat of a Warsaw Pact armoured thrust
across the North German plain. Since that
time Nato has found a new role in a UN-
sponsored, world-wide version of old-fash-
ioned gunboat diplomacy. Demands for
ferry range and radius of action have
increased accordingly, and the all-impor-
tant challenge of disabling a main battle
tank (MBT) has been replaced by a
requirement to deal with a wide variety of
targets, representing everything but tanks,
and with increased emphasis on reduced
cost of operation.
Although Nato may continue to pro-
vide the basis for many global policing
operations, the coalitions involved will
inevitably vary in composition, and it will
thus be difficult to ensure interoperabili-
ty and secure communications. Such con-
siderations may appear to favour the
wider adoption of US equipment. It is
certainly clear that - as the result of expe-
rience in the Gulf War - Britain (at least)
is now more willing to adopt American
aircraft, the Boeing AH-64D, Lockheed
Martin F-35 and Boeing C-17 being obvi-
ous examples. The days when the RAF
was obliged to wait years for British
industry to develop substitutes for US
aircraft have clearly passed.
The principal change in the nature of
operational requirements has occurred
relatively suddenly, in the last decade. On
the other hand, some equally important
changes in the military aircraft business
have taken place gradually over the past
half-century. Two obvious examples are
unit cost and service life.
Based on the Pentagons FY2004
budget request, the unit procurement
cost of the Lockheed Martin/Boeing
F/A-22 is scheduled to fall from $ 223.4
million for the 20 aircraft funded in
FY2003 to $ 187.6 million for the 24 air-
craft in FY2005. If the Congressionally-
capped production programme figure of
$ 43 billion is applied to the total run of
276 F-22s for the US Air Force (reduced
from the original 648), the average pro-
duction cost is $ 155.8 million. However,
if the development cost of around $ 20
billion is added, the average unit cost of
the F-22 rises to $ 228.3 million, at which
order of magnitude very few air forces
will be able to afford even one Raptor
squadron. It should be noted that the
domestic production run could increase
beyond 276, if economies can be made.
For comparison, South Koreas order for
40 Boeing F-15Ks in 2002 was worth a
modest $ 4.0 billion with initial spares
and the usual support, implying a unit fly-
away price below $ 70 million.
On the up side, avionics reliability has
improved substantially, and it is argued
(e.g. in the case of the F-35) that, com-
bined with the benefits of a prognostic
health management system, this ends any
necessity to replace legacy aircraft on a
one-for-one basis.
On the matter of service life, in the
early post-war era it was taken for grant-
ed that fighters and jet trainers would be
replaced at ten-year intervals. Todays
products, in contrast, are expected to
remain viable for 40 to 50 years. With due
respect to Northrop Grumman, in 1961,
when the US Air Force began receiving
the T-38 Talon, few people in the jet train-
er business expected it to set records for
longevity. Today, benefiting from major
upgrade and re-wing programmes, the
T-38C is set to remain in service until 2040.
At the opposite end of the size spectrum,
the first US Air Force B-52H was also
delivered in 1961 and is likewise expect-
ed to serve until 2040.
Sellers Viewpoint
The upward trend in costs and the down-
ward trend in numbers of aircraft pro-
cured have been evident since the early
1960s. On a few noteworthy occasions
these trends have been halted by an out-
standing design that delivers excellent
performance across a broad spectrum of
roles, yet is based on a relatively small and
simple airframe/engine combination. The
classic example is the Lockheed Martin
F-16, of which well over 4000 examples
have been built for 22 nations. Although
deliveries to the US Air Force began in
1979, the F-16 continues to sell, the most
recent deal being a $ 3.5 billion contract
for 48 aircraft for Poland (with over $ 6.0
billion in offsets). The company expects to
keep the F-16 production line open beyond
2010, and the US Air Force plans to keep
the aircraft in service until 2030.
Lockheed Martin clearly hopes to
repeat its F-16 success in marketing the
F-35, which is scheduled to reach Initial
Operational Capability (IOC) with the
US Air Force in 2011. In 2002 values, the
Ctol F-35A is expected to cost $ 37 mil-
lion, the Stovl F-35B $ 46 million, and the
USN (carrier-operable) F-35C version
$ 48 million. Around 2500 units are
planned for the US services.
The F-35 programme illustrates many
facets of cost-reduction. One of the funda-
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armada INTERNATIONAL 3/2003
mentals is to maximise the potential mar-
ket through a design that can replace a
broad spectrum of aircraft, and that (for
this and other reasons) will be attractive
to the largest possible number of coun-
tries. The situation that should be avoided
in the future is the present head-to-head
competition between the Dassault Rafale
and the Eurofighter Typhoon, which
reduces the size of the potential market,
increases unit production cost and (from a
pan-European viewpoint) represents a
waste of development funds.
The F-35 development programme is
introducing an innovative way of reduc-
ing the cost to the launch customer, in this
case the Pentagon. Americas own outlay
is being usefully reduced by allied nations
paying part of F-35s non-recurring costs,
in return for limited access to technical
information and the promise of a share in
the development and production work
(and, in the case of Britain, in actually
having some say in the drafting of the
operational requirement). Investors are
also guaranteed a reduced purchase
price. In announcing Australias partici-
pation in the F-35 programme, Defence
Minister Robert Hill stated that the deci-
sion to invest (A$ 300 million) had been
calculated to save the Australian Govern-
ment twice that amount in the countrys
eventual purchase.
The F-35 is currently in the systems
development and demonstration (SDD)
phase, capped at $ 28.3 billion. Friendly
nations have been invited to invest at
three basic levels. Level One, represented
only by Britain, involves taking a 10 per
cent share. Level Two, chosen by Italy and
the Netherlands, is for 5 per cent. Level
Three has Australia, Canada, Denmark,
Norway and Turkey each providing $ 125
to 175 million over a ten-year period.
Israel and Singapore both took part in the
earlier concept demonstration phase
(CDP) as fourth-level FMS (Foreign Mil-
itary Sales) participants, and have been
admitted to the SDD phase as Security
Co-operation Participants (SCPs). This
provides them only with a core data pack-
age, and the ability to order specific mod-
elling and simulation studies.The total for-
eign investment in the SDD phase appears
to be approximately $ 4.5 billion.
It may be noted that the Pentagon now
appears to be demanding a global system
for providing spares for the F-35 family,
with a contractor (possibly in the form of
a financial consortium) owning stockpiles
at various locations around the world,
guaranteeing the delivery of spare parts
on the sort of timescale demanded by air-
lines, and charging the operator on a basis
analogous to engine manufacturers
power-by-the-hour. That the same system
would be available to export customers;
indeed the US services would count on
other operators adopting it. If the F-35
really does result in a production run of
4000 to 5000 aircraft, this could revolu-
tionise military product support.
The F-35 model of development cost
sharing is clearly not applicable to all
Probably the best looking of the new European fighters, the Dassault Rafale was short-
listed in South Korea, but then lost to the Boeing F-15K. Dassault now hopes to grab a
win in Singapore. (Dassault)
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armada INTERNATIONAL 3/2003
The most successful of the present generation of subsonic advanced jet trainers is the
BAE Systems Hawk, shown here in Mk 51 form for Finland. (BAE Systems)
Although backed by extensive experience with the highly successful L-39 series, the
Czech Republics Aero Vodochody L-159 has yet to make a direct impact upon the
international market. (Armada/RB)
projects. Firstly, foreign governments will
only be persuaded to invest if their advis-
ers conclude that the project is in a class
of its own, that it is bound to succeed
technically and that their country will
probably buy it. In addition, future cost-
sharing proposals will depend on experi-
ence with the trail-blazing F-35. If it tran-
spires that investors (at Level Three in
particular) find that they receive little
work from the F-35, they and others will
be discouraged from making similar
investments. Press reports indicate that
Norway is currently disillusioned with
the programme. The Royal Norwegian
Ministry of Defence has consequently
signed an industrial participation agree-
ment with Eurofighter, regarding the
future enhancement of the Typhoon
weapon system.
It is now being suggested that F-35-
style development cost-sharing should
also be applied to the US Navys Multi-
mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) pro-
gramme to replace the Lockheed Martin
P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and
its EP-3 Aries electronic surveillance
derivative. The US Navy currently has
over 300 members of the P-3 family, and
its natural Level One partner (corre-
sponding to Britain in the case of the
F-35) would be Japan, which operates
over 100 P-3s. However, Japan is intent on
developing its own P-X to replace its P-3,
and is unlikely to pour millions into the
MMA. Five other P-3 users (Australia,
Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand
and Spain) are allocating serious money
to upgrading their existing aircraft, and
probably will not have funds available to
contribute to MMA development. How-
ever, Germany and Italy have 18 Das-
sault Atlantics each, and might decide to
replace them with the MMA.
It thus currently appears that few (if
any) foreign countries will provide the US
Navy with significant subsidy in develop-
ing the MMA. Furthermore, whereas the
F-35 may be widely viewed as the only
game in town in its category, some oper-
ators may feel that the P-3 replacement
already exists in the form of the Northrop
Grumman RQ-4A Global Hawk.
Once an aircraft has been developed,
one of the essential factors in achieving
low production costs is to have a single
final assembly line. However, countries
often accept a higher unit cost as the price
of having their own prestigious assembly
facility. The F-16, for example, has been
built not only in the United States, but also
in Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey. In
the case of the JSF programme, considera-
tion was initially given to having assembly
lines at both Lockheed Martin and Boeing,
but the current plan is to have only one line
at Fort Worth. There have been reports
that this line can deal with only 22 F-35s
per month, whereas the demand may peak
at around 30. Whether this would justify a
second line (for example, at BAE Systems
in the UK) remains to be seen.
Users Viewpoint
The operator can respond to the escala-
tion in prices in various ways. One possi-
bility is a buy-to-budget policy, which
has recently cut US Air Force procure-
ment of the F-22 from 339 (itself reduced
from the original 648) to 276 units.
Another approach is to buy pre-used
aircraft, although the wisdom of this
clearly depends on such factors as the
previous owner, how it has been stored,
how much fatigue life is left, the cost of
refurbishing and updating, spares avail-
ability and how long the new operator
intends to use it.
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armada INTERNATIONAL 3/2003
Represented by this mock-up shown at the Farnborough 2002 air show, the Korea
Aerospace Industries/ Lockheed Martin T-50 is most assuredly guantanteed a domestic
market of at least 100 units. (Armada/RB)
From time to time a major operator
phases out a type and there are fears
among manufacturers that the availabili-
ty of low-cost pre-used aircraft will
destroy the corresponding market sector
for years. In reality, such actions rarely
have a serious effect. For example, when
the German Air Force phased out the
Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet close sup-
port aircraft, this had no real impact on
either the advanced trainer or light attack
market. Portugal and Thailand now each
operate around 20 Alpha Jets, but those
countries never represented serious
prospects for a new-build BAE Systems
Hawk (for example). Thailand reported-
ly bought these Alpha Jets for around
$ 27,000 each, and then paid Eads some-
thing in the region of $1.5 million each to
have them refurbished. The United Arab
Emirates had evidently considered the
German Alpha Jets at one time, but
thought better of it.
On the other hand, early-model
F-16A/Bs placed in storage by the US Air
Force are having an effect on the market,
as illustrated by Thailand recently buying
16 to supplement its 36 new-build aircraft
(and substitute for eight Boeing F/A-
18C/Ds that were cancelled due to budg-
etary problems).
As an alternative to buying second-
hand, an air force can critically review (or
dumb-down) its operational require-
ment. Malaysia, for example, was expect-
ed in the late 1980s to buy twelve Torna-
do strike fighters as part of the eighth
production batch, but bought 16 Hawk
200 light attack aircraft instead.
Long-term leasing cannot make finan-
cial sense, but in the short-term leasing
can usefully overcome a budget shortfall,
side-step political objections, give an air
force time to consider what it really wants
to buy and bridge the gap until a new gen-
eration aircraft becomes available.
For example, because the Eurofighter
Typhoon will not be available in signifi-
cant numbers until 2006 or later, the Ital-
ian Air Force leased 24 ex-RAF Panavia
Tornado F3s from Britain, and is now
replacing them with 34 Amraam-operable
F-16A/B ADFs, which will be retained
until 2010. Likewise, Britain is leasing
from Boeing four C-17 Block 12s from the
US Air Force line, to bridge the gap until
the RAFs 25 Airbus Military A400Ms
become available. The C-17 lease will cost
around $ 1.125 billion, and run initially for
seven years. Britain has to decide by
November 2006 whether it wants to exer-
cise an option to extend the lease by one
or two years. The agreement includes an
option to buy at the end of the lease.
Australia and Canada are both study-
ing the lease of C-17s, and in late 2001
Congress gave the US Air Force permis-
sion to lease up to 107 new-build Boeing
767s and four 737s (C-40B/Cs) in order to
address an alleged chronic shortage of
transport capacity. It now appears that
100 767s are to be delivered as KC-767A
Convertible Combi tanker/transports
(able to carry a mix of passengers and
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Featuring a unique sliding hood arrangement, Eads supersonic Mako project could
perform both advanced training and light fighter roles, but needs a launch customer.
freight). The lease agreement (like that
for the C-40B/Cs) has yet to be signed,
but will cost around $ 17 billion for six
years. Deliveries and lease payments are
due to begin in 2006. Post-lease purchase
would cost about $ four billion, but the
US Air Force will have an escape clause
to buy at any stage.
India has leased 16 F-16A/Bs from the
US Air Force since 1997, and is now nego-
tiating the lease of four Tupolev
Tu-22M3s from Russia.
In line with the modern trend to
regional groupings, the best way for a
country to approach the problem of
equipment cost-escalation may be to opt
out of some non-essential roles and act
jointly with one or more other nations in
addressing others.
For example, Belgium has decided to
specialise in humanitarian activities, pre-
sumably in the form of disaster-relief
operations, and is teamed with Luxem-
burg on A400M procurement. Regarding
the training of future aircrew, Belgium is
expected to participate in the proposed
Eurotraining/AEJPT (Advanced Euro-
pean Jet Pilot Training) programme,
alongside Austria, Finland, France, Ger-
many, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Por-
tugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. It is
hoped to launch this programme around
2010 at three bases in northern, central
and southern Europe. Belgium has not
joined the F-35 programme, and it remains
to be seen how (or whether) its 90 remain-
ing F-16A/Bs will be replaced when they
are retired in 2015.
New Zealand has opted out of the air
combat business and, in August 2001,
offered its remaining Douglas A-4Ks and
Aermacchi MB-339CDs for sale. Howev-
er, the RNZAF is to retain and mod-
ernise its transport, maritime surveillance
and utility helicopter assets. Its planning
is integrated with that of Australia to
some extent, notably on upgrade studies
for the P-3 and C-130H.
Denmark, the Netherlands and Nor-
way currently have a Deployable Air Task
Force with 18 F-16s and a KDC-10, based
in Kyrgyzstan. It is proposed to extend the
force to include F-16s from Belgium and
Portugal. Malaysian MiG-29Ns go to India
for maintenance, and the two countries
are discussing a common logistics support
centre in India for the Su-30MK. Gulf Air-
craft Maintenance maintains BAE Sys-
tems Hawks for Abu Dhabi and Dubai,
and this arrangement may be extended to
Hawks operated by Bahrain, Kuwait,
Oman and Saudi Arabia.
One form of operation that especially
lends itself to jointness is pilot training,
provided that language problems can be
overcome. The pioneer in this field has
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been the US Air Force-run Euro-Nato
Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) scheme
at Sheppard AFB, Texas. Many European
air forces have benefited from this pro-
gramme, although the system of tuition
does not suit all tastes (Britains RAF
being particularly critical) and some
operators have complained that they
have to pay for the full syllabus, even if
the student is washed out after a few
flight hours.
Bombardiers NFTC (Nato Flying
Training in Canada) scheme was designed
to supplement the ENJJPT, and is attract-
ing a growing number of users. Aside from
the Canadian Forces, Denmark, Hungary,
Italy, Singapore and the UK have now
signed up for training, which is carried out
on the Raytheon T-6A (CT-156) and BAE
Systems Hawk 115 (CT-155), orders for
which currently stand at 24 and 26 respec-
tively. Interestingly, NFTC allows British
student pilots to fly much more advanced
(glass cockpit) Hawks than the RAF cur-
rently owns.
There is clearly scope for further joint
training operations, aside from the Euro-
training project. Switzerland, Austria and
Germany are discussing combined pilot
training, possibly using the Pilatus PC-21.
One of the Gulf states could (in princi-
ple) start a training system for Arab air
forces, assuming that (as in the NFTC
case) most customers provide their own
instructors. Australia and South Africa
have both the airspace and the weather
for large-scale pilot training.
Further joint Nato operations were pre-
saged at the summit in November 2002, at
which it was agreed to focus defence
spending on critical shortfalls, including
deployability and sustainability. Under this
Prague Capabilities Commitment, Ger-
many is to lease C-17s as an interim meas-
ure and to lead a consortium of nations
aimed at pooling airlift resources and
capabilities. Reports indicate that this pool
is expected to consist of 14 C-17s and two
An-124s. Meanwhile, Denmark and Nor-
way are to contribute tanker assets to
Nato, and Spain is to lead a consortium of
nations that have expressed interest in
pooling their 17 flight refuelling aircraft.
It may just be possible in some coun-
tries to save on expenditure by the
closer integration of its separate armed
service branches. For example, in 2004 the
US Navy and Marine Corps are due to
begin integrating their tactical aircraft
Polands recent purchase
of F-16s was reportedly
helped by Congress
allowing the normal
financing rules to
be bent
Multi-national operations in the Middle East and southwest Asia have served as
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Complete Guide
armada INTERNATIONAL 3/2003
The Antonov An-70 is to be built in both Russia and the Ukraine, and is currently being
offered by Russia to a selection of former Warsaw Pact members to cover payment of
certain debts past due. (Armada/RB)
assets. This is expected to allow several
strike fighter squadrons to be decommis-
sioned and to realise savings of around
one billion dollars per year. Combined
with the effect of reducing the number of
aircraft in each deployed squadron from
twelve to ten, the integration will allow
US Navy and US Marine Corps procure-
ment of the Lockheed Martin F-35 to be
reduced from 1089 to 680, and in this
instance, US Navy procurement of the
Boeing F/A-18E/F would be cut down
from 548 to only 460.
Boosts and Headwinds
Before discussing the various aircraft cat-
egories, it may be worth reviewing some
of the factors that help or hinder military
aircraft sales.
Firstly, it should be obvious that the air-
craft offered must respond to the opera-
tional needs of a large number of potential
users, at an affordable price, with world-
class product support, and that it should
be marketed by an organisation that can
put together an attractive finance package
and suitable offset arrangements.
allowing the normal financing rules to be
bent, so that repayment on principal is
being deferred from five years to eight
(during which time only interest pay-
ments will be made), and the loan period
is increased to a total of 15 years.
However, the US Government is not
always on the side of its exporters. Amer-
ican bureaucracy often delays sales
involving defence-related technology
and the US is well known for refusing to
give customers full access to information
on the equipment they have bought. The
Raytheon AIM-120 Amraam was sold to
Singapore and Thailand on the under-
standing that the missiles would be held
in the US on 48-hour call (despite AIM-
120s having been supplied to Australia,
Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan).
In recent years the US Government
has in some cases adopted a bullying tone,
indicating that US aircraft can only be
The Pilatus PC-21 is a completely new design, one which is aimed at performing a
significant amount of the syllabus normally flown in an advanced jet trainer, thus
reducing tuition costs. (Pilatus)
In a major sale, government assistance
may be of crucial importance. For exam-
ple, Polands recent purchase of
F-16s was reportedly helped by Congress
supplied with US avionics, that a nation
failing to select a US aircraft would not
necessarily be allowed to arm a European
substitute with US weapons, and that fail-
ure to buy specific US products (e.g., air
defence systems and torpedoes) could
have an adverse effect on product support
for that countrys existing US equipment,
and on Americas willingness to assist in
defending that country.
Examples of the Governmental prob-
lems experienced by US exporters
include the failure to conclude the sale to
Turkey of 50 Bell AH-1Z King Cobras
(with 95 more to be licence-built), appar-
ently due to Americas unwillingness to
release information on equipment such
as the mission computer. Australia is one
of Americas principal allies in the Pacif-
ic, yet Boeing was fined $4.2 million for
offering that country a 737-700 AEW&C
with improved transmit/receive modules,
and for releasing classified radar signa-
ture data on various target types. Like-
wise, having selected the Eurocopter
Tiger in preference to the Bell AH-1Z
and Boeing AH-64D, Australia found the
US State Department raising objections
The Raytheon T-6A is in quantity production for the US Air Force and the US Navy as
the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (Jpats), and has been ordered by Greece
and Canadas NFTC. (Armada/RB)
Complete Guide
armada INTERNATIONAL 3/2003
to Hellfire missiles being supplied for use
on the Tiger.
The unreliability of US Government
support for international sales may be
illustrated by its attitude to South Africa.
Most countries ended the UN-mandated
arms embargo when democracy came to
the Republic in 1994, but (to the fury of
several US defence equipment manufac-
turers) America maintained its embargo,
because of alleged infringements of US
patents on fuzes for artillery ammunition.
By the time that Washington realised that
a massive arms deal was going down the
tubes, Pretoria had decided in principle
not to purchase crucial types of defence
equipment from the US in view of the
strings attached.
Several other aspects of international
marketing are illustrated by South Africas
tri-service $ 4.5 billion arms procurement
programme. For instance, it is instructive
that in both the Alafa (advanced light
fighter aircraft) and Lift (lead-in fighter
trainer) evaluations, equal importance was
allocated to scores in three areas: risk-
moderated cost-effectiveness, offsets and
financing arrangements. Offsets were
specified in the form of defence industrial
participation (Dip) and non-defence
industrial participation (Nip).
During 1996-97, the BAE Systems
Hawk (which was eventually chosen to
fulfil the Lift requirement) was removed
from the list of possibles because of its
high cost, and since it did not satisfy the
SAAF operational requirement. The
Saab/BAE Systems Gripen (ulitimately
chosen as the Alfa) was meanwhile judged
to be unaffordable. The Aermacchi MB-
339FD (which was later judged to be the
clear Lift winner in terms of risk-moderat-
ed military value) was likewise dropped in
1996-97 for its low performance and fail-
ure to meet the requirement. The moral is
to never give up hope!
In early 1998, a request for offers on the
Alfa programme was sent to Saab/BAE
Systems (then BAe), Dassault and Dasa.
In the subsequent evaluation by Armscor
the Gripen won. The Dasa AT-2000 (now
Eads Mako) won the Dip contest. Das-
sault scored badly on both Dip and Nip.
Surprisingly, neither the French nor the
German teams submitted detailed financ-
ing proposals, while the UK/Swedish team
scored full marks for a package that pro-
vided 85 per cent financing over 20 years,
and the rest over seven years. In mid-1998,
the final Alfa evaluation placed the
Gripen first, the AT-2000 second and the
Mirage 2000 third, with 300, 138 and 101
points respectively. It may be noted that
the UK/Swedish proposal, costed at
$ 2.234 billion, came with offsets worth
$ 8.743 billion, whereas French and Ger-
man offset packages were each worth less
than $ 1.9 billion. There can be little doubt
that BAE Systems global business and
experience in arranging offsets (starting
with the 1977 sale of 50 Hawks to Finland)
played a major role in this success.
Turning to the Lift contest, when cost-
effectiveness, offsets and financing were
The Eads-Casa/Indonesian Aerospace CN-235 programme was a joint development
that is now built in both partner countries, this Saudi version is an example of one
having been constructed in Indonesia. (Armada/RB)
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armada INTERNATIONAL 3/2003
Following in the footsteps of the Boeing 707, the 767 has now taken over as the basis
for military derivatives, such as the KC-767A tanker/transport and the E-767 AEW&C
aircraft. (Boeing)
evaluated and combined, the MB-339FD
came first with 254 points, the Hawk a
close second with 245, and the Aero
Vodochody L-159 third with 214. Britain
again came first in offsets, with $ 1.278 bil-
lion (over twice the contract value), the
Czech Republic a close second with
$ 1.236 billion, and Italy a poor third with
$ 0.43 billion. Faced with choosing
between the MB-339FD and Hawk, Gov-
ernment ministers preferred the Hawk,
based on national strategic considera-
tions for the future survival of the (SA)
defence aviation sector and the best
teaming arrangements with the respec-
tive bidders. It was also seen as prefer-
able to link the Gripen and Hawk pur-
chases, in order to simplify negotiations
and financing.
The bottom line was a $ 2.2 billion order
for Gripens and Hawks, linked to a BAE
Systems/Saab obligation to provide $ 1.488
billion of defence-related offsets and $ 7.2
billion of non-defence offsets. The con-
tracts include severe punitive measures to
ensure strict compliance with offset guar-
antees. The two companies have met all
Hawk/Gripen offset milestones, and the
offset programme is running on schedule.
The next milestone falls in mid-April 2004,
which is the final date at which the SA
Government could invoke the opt-out
clause regarding tranche three of the pack-
age, i.e., the 19 single-seat Gripens.
billion for the US Army, giving a total of
around $ 23 billion. At least 25 per cent of
that figure relates to modification pro-
grammes and spares production, hence
the net cost of buying new-build military
aircraft in FY2004 will be in the region of
$ 17 billion. Since the US defence budget
equates to roughly half the global total,
world-wide military aircraft purchases
are presumably worth something in the
order of $ 30 to 35 billion. The US Aero-
space Industries Association estimates
that its members will record military air-
craft sales of around $ 39.3 billion in 2003,
but this clearly represents far more than
new-build purchases.
Looking at the value of sales in detail
and purely in terms of flyaway prices,
Richard Aboulafia, Director - Aviation
Consulting for the Teal Group, estimates
that on a similar timescale world-wide
The Eads-Casa C-295 is a stretched derivative of the CN-235. Production of its type
was launched by a Spanish order, but Brazil, Jordan, Poland and Switzerland have
also chosen it. (Eads-Casa)
military aircraft production will grow
from $ 29.53 billion in 2006 to $ 32.39 bil-
lion in 2007. Over the ten-year period
between 2002 and 2011, Aboulafia esti-
mates the total value of military aircraft
deliveries as $ 288.77 billion, compared to
$ 619.36 billion for civil aircraft.
Fixed-wing Combat Aircraft
For FY2004, the US Air Force has
requested $ 4.445 billion for the procure-
ment of combat aircraft. The Teal Group
forecasts global deliveries of fighters ris-
ing from 188 aircraft worth $ 7.92 billion
in 2002 to a plateau of around 350 units,
lasting from 2007 to 2010 (worth $ 16.5 to
17.5 billion), before falling to 311 worth
$15.7 billion in 2011. Over the 2002 to
2011 period, Aboulafia predicts around
3000 combat aircraft with a maximum
take-off weight of nine tonnes or more
being delivered, with a value of approxi-
mately $ 142 billion in 2002 values.
The majority of technical develop-
ments in the fighter business take place in
the US, Europe and Russia, but in mar-
The baseline IAI/Elta Phalcon AEW&C system is configured with a massive amount of
antennas packed onto a B707 airframe, as supplied to Chile. The Phalcon system has
been proposed to India on the Ilyushin Il-76. (Boeing)
What is the sale of new-build military air-
craft worth? The largest single customer
is obviously the Pentagon, which for
FY2004 has requested $12.08 billion for
US Air Force aircraft procurement, $ 8.79
billion for the USN/USMC, and $ 2.13
Complete Guide
armada INTERNATIONAL 3/2003
The latest version of the Lockheed Martin F-16 is the Block 60 ordered by the United
Arab Emirates, which will have conformal tanks, shown here as a trials installation on
a US Air Force aircraft. (Armada/RB)
The four-nation Eurofighter Typhoon benefits from a planned domestic market for 620
aircraft, of which 148 are firm. Two follow-on tranches will each cover 236 aircraft.
(BAE Systems)
keting terms what was possibly one of the
most significant of recent events took
place in Canberra, Australia on 27 June
2002. Just as Eurofighter and Dassault
were launching four-year marketing cam-
paigns to address the Royal Australian
Air Forces Project Air 6000, Defence
Minister Robert Hill announced the
Governments intention to participate in
the SDD phase of the F-35, on the basis
of RAAF advice that it would meet Air
6000 requirements to replace the F/A-18
and F-111. Hill went on to say that,
although the intention was obviously to
acquire the F-35, that decision would not
be made until about 2006.
However, rather than simply announc-
ing Australias F-35/SDD decision (as
expected), Hill continued; So, rather
than investing in an aircraft that may well
be out of date within the next 10 to 15
years, what we are doing is leaping a gen-
eration. In terms of the alternatives that
will be around in the post-2012 era, we
dont believe that there is any other alter-
native that would meet our capability
requirements within the costings that we
have put in the White Paper. Asked how
the F-35 compared with the Rafale and
Typhoon, Hill said, The Air Force gave
us advice that there really wasnt, in terms
of capability, a competition. This aircraft
is at least a generation ahead of the other
In the early postwar period, having
severed its links with Britains RAF, Aus-
tralias RAAF was widely regarded as an
independent market-leader in aircraft
acquisition, its selection of the Aermachi
MB-326 and Dassault Mirage III
undoubtedly helping sales of those air-
craft. Whether the same is true today is
open to debate. It is clear that Australia
has become closely aligned with America
in recent times, as evidenced by its sup-
port for America over Iraq.
The Australian argument is presum-
ably that nothing can compete with the
reduced radar signature (and relatively
low cost) of the F-35. This assumes that a
full-stealth F-35 will be made available
for export, although that decision may be
many years off. It also assumes that no
significant signature-reduction can be
achieved for its European competitors,
although Eurofighter is known to have a
Typhoon Enhancement Programme
(TEP) and Dassault presumably has sim-
ilar plans for the Rafale.
Above all, the Australian Department
of Defence appears to have accepted the
Pentagons view, that F-35-level stealth
will be of overriding importance in air
operations for the next half-century. If
this is an accurate assessment, then five of
the principal European air forces are
either deluding themselves, or are strug-
gling with the temptation to cancel exist-
ing orders.
Before leaving Australias decision, it
may be noted that it abandons the pref-
erence for twin-engined combat aircraft,
which at the time of the F/A-18 selection
was a major factor. The RAAF plan for
the F-35 (to begin replacing the F/A-18 in
2012 and the F-111 from 2015) has forced
the service to launch a two-year study
into the possible need for an interim type.
Leases have been proposed by BAE Sys-
tems on the Typhoon, and by Boeing on
the F/A-18E/F. Significantly, the RAAF
has also had discussions with the US Air
Force on leasing F-15Es.
Around 227 Boeing F-15Es will
remain in US Air Force service until at
least 2030. Production was set to end with
the last US Air Force aircraft in 2004, but
the South Korean order for 40 F-15Ks
(plus 40 on option) will keep the line
open until at least 2008. It is being mar-
keted in Singapore as the F-15T with the
Raytheon APG-63(V)3 AESA radar, and
could attract follow-on orders from Israel
and Saudi Arabia.
Following small-scale sales to Angola,
Ethiopia, Syria and Vietnam, the Sukhoi
Su-27/30 series is enjoying well-deserved
success in China and India. In 2002, India
became the first country in the world to
place in service a supersonic thrust-vec-
toring fighter (Su-30MKI). Brazils pre-
ferred choice was reportedly the Su-35
(formerly Su-27M), but the new govern-
ment has suspended the programme.
Lower down the scale, Malaysia wants
to trade in its eight Boeing F/A-18Ds
against up to 18 F/A-18Fs, but the RMAF
also wants to buy 18 Su-30MKMs, and
have its 16 MiG-29Ns upgraded. The
USN has requested FY2004 funds to
begin the SDD phase of the EA-18G
electronic attack derivative, with 78 air-
craft planned.
Whether the MiG-29SMT with 50 per
cent more internal fuel can breathe life
into the series remains to be seen. The
most interesting order is for 46 carrier-
capable MiG-29Ks for the Indian Navy.
The underrated Dassault Mirage 2000
might yet be the subject of an Indian
order for 126 aircraft, including 90
Based only on French Government
orders, Dassault and its partners are
unable to produce the Rafale at an eco-
nomical rate, and they are now being
obliged to fund development to improve
its chances in the export market. Having
failed to win the South Korean order,
Dassault is hoping for a level playing field
in Singapore.
Complete Guide
armada INTERNATIONAL 3/2003
The Ericsson Erieye AEW&C system, seen here, is used by the Swedish Air Force on
the Saab 340, but can also be carried by the Embraer EMB-145SA, as adopted by
Brazil and Greece. (Ericsson)
The Eurofighter Typhoon appears to
be better powered than the baseline
Rafale and its price should benefit from a
higher production rate. Greece and Aus-
tria have selected the Typhoon, but both
deals have been stalled by funding prob-
lems. Reports indicate the launch of the
second domestic production tranche has
been delayed.
Saab/BAE Systems is also suffering
from its customers funding problems,
which resulted in the Czech purchase of
24 Gripens being cancelled. However, the
Hungarian ten-year lease of 14 Gripens is
going ahead, and the South African pur-
chase of 28 aircraft is looking good.
The Teal Group predicts that deliveries of
military trainer and light attack aircraft
will rise from 148 aircraft (worth $ 1.48 bil-
lion) in 2002 to just short of 200 units annu-
ally from 2006 to 2009, before falling to 154
in 2011. Over that ten-year period, Richard
Aboulafia estimates that global produc-
tion will total 1726 aircraft worth approxi-
mately $ 11.5 billion in 2002 values.
The undoubted leader in this category
is the BAE Systems Hawk. Around 600
Hawks have been ordered, and the com-
pany has a significant production share in
the Boeing T-45 Goshawk. BAE refers to
a market for around 1500 aircraft in this
category over the next 15 years, and
hopes to win sales of 400 to 500 more
Hawks. Like the Aermacchi MB-339FD,
the Aero Vodochody L-159 appears to
suffer unfairly from a dated image.
The twin-engined Aermacchi M-346
has a very high thrust/weight ratio, and a
fly-by-wire control system that can be
modified to simulate specific operational
aircraft. It is also designed to fly to high
angles of attack. Aermacchi estimates that
there are around 3400 advanced trainers
in service, 65 per cent of which have been
in service for more than 25 years.The com-
pany sees a potential market for 2300
replacements over 30 years, and hopes to
win orders for 300 to 400.
The M-346 seems likely to be adopted
as the Eurotrainer. Eads is nonetheless
promoting the supersonic Mako, but devel-
opment is unlikely to go ahead without a
launch order. The other new supersonic
trainer is the Korea Aerospace Indus-
tries/Lockheed Martin T-50, which first
flew in August 2002. A domestic market of
at least 94 is assured, and the manufacturer
hopes to export 600 within 25 years.
In the turboprop trainer market the
standard is set by the Raytheon T-6,
derived from the Pilatus PC-9. However,
Pilatus hopes to leapfrog the T-6 with the
all-new PC-21, which is clearly aimed, in a
first step, at the British RAF market.
Embraer continues to pick up small-scale
orders for the Super Tucano.
Regional transports provide a suitable basis for maritime patrol aircraft, as evidenced
by this Indonesian Navy Aviation CN-235MPA, which was exhibited at the Paris Air
Show of 1997. (Armada/RB)
Dassault has proposed an Atlantique 3 (ATL3) with Rolls-Royce AE2100D powerplants
and a new mission system, but it could possibly eventuate as an ATL2 upgrade.
Over the ten-year period from 2002 to
2011, the Teal Group forecasts that
approximately 542 military transports
will be completed, with a combined worth
of around $ 43.9 billion.
The big winner is the 263-tonne Boe-
ing C-17, of which the US Air Force plans
to buy at least 180 and probably 42
more. As indicated earlier, the C-17 could
well become the standard Nato strategic
transport, if only through leases.
Lower down the turbofan range are
the 200 tonne Ilyushin Il-76MF, Japans
150-tonne C-X project, and the 103-tonne
Tupolev Tu-330, which employs the wing
from the Tu-204. The twin-turbofan
HAL/Ilyushin Multi-role Transport Air-
craft (MTA) or Il-214 is in the 55-tonne
class, which generally uses turboprops for
better airfield performance.
The 124-tonne four-turboprop Airbus
Military A400M (due to be launched
shortly with a seven-nation order for 180)
Complete Guide
armada INTERNATIONAL 3/2003
is a lightweight in comparison with the
C-17, as is the 130-tonne four-propfan
Antonov An-70, which is to be produced in
both Russia and the Ukraine. The Czech
Republic is to accept two An-70s from
Russia under a debt-repayment plan, and
Hungary and Poland may follow suit.
The 80-tonne Lockheed Martin C-130J
was last March the subject of a six-year
Pentagon order for 40 CC-130Js for the
US Air Force and 24 KC-130J tankers for
the US Marine Corps, bringing the global
total to 178. The US Air Force roadmap
calls for 150 Combat Delivery CC-130Js
and 18 Special Missions aircraft (ten WC-
130J Weatherbirds and eight EC-130J
Commando Solos), and at least 280
C-130E/Hs upgraded by Boeing. The US
Marine Corps, the only service to use the
KC-130 series in significant numbers,
plans to buy a total of 59 KC-130Js.
Lower down the turboprop spectrum,
the twin-engined 32-tonne Alenia/Lock-
heed Martin C-27J competes with the 23-
tonne Eads-Casa C-295 and the 16.5
tonne Eads-Casa/Indonesian Aerospace
CN-235. Of the two new aircraft, the C-
27J provides the largest cabin cross-sec-
tion, and powerplant and cockpit com-
monality with the C-130J, but the C-295
(selected by Spain, Switzerland, Poland,
Jordan and Brazil) is less expensive. The
C-27J (ordered by Italy and Greece) was
hurt by the selection of the CN-235-300M
for the US Coast Guards Deepwater pro-
gramme, but there are hopes of a US
Army contract.
In the field of tankers, Boeing is
expected to be the big winner, with the
US Air Force set to lease 100 KC-767As,
based on the 767-200ER. This pro-
gramme was launched by Italy, followed
by Japan, each ordering four. There are so
far three versions, differing in refuelling
provisions and cabin options. In total, the
US Air Force has to replace about 550
KC-135s and 59 KC-10s (not necessarily
with a single type), so the US Air Force
KC-767A lease will be only the start.
tralia and Turkey have adopted the 737
alternative with a Northrop Grumman
Mesa radar. Boeing hopes to sell over 30
more 737 AEW&Cs. The current Ameri-
can alternatives are new-build Northrop
Grumman Hawkeye 2000s and refur-
bished ex-US Navy E-2Cs. This last option
has been adopted by Egypt, and is
believed to have been chosen by the Unit-
ed Arab Emirates. The Hawkeye 2000 is to
be followed in the next decade by the
Advanced Hawkeye, benefiting from a
radar-modernisation programme (RMP),
a glass cockpit and eight-blade Hamilton
Sundstrand/Ratier Figeac propellers.
The other principals in the AEW mar-
ket are the IAI/Elta Phalcon (as sold to
Chile) and the Ericsson Erieye radar, as
used on Swedens Arguses (Saab 340s)
and on Brazils and Greeces Embraer
EMB-145SAs. Although Israel was
forced by the United States to cancel the
sale of four Il-76-based Phalcons to
China (costing $ 350 million in compen-
sation), the sale of three to India seems
likely to go ahead.
The potential market for maritime
patrol aircraft (MPA) may amount
(excluding the CIS and China) to around
400 aircraft worth perhaps $ 40 billion.
This will be analysed in some detail in
issue 6/2003, but (as discussed earlier) the
big winner is likely to be the US Navys
MMA, which could eventuate as a Lock-
heed Martin Orion 21 or a Boeing 737-
700MPA. Japans P-X, Britains BAE Sys-
tems Nimrod MRA4 and Frances
Dassault ATL3 may remain purely
national programmes. There is still a mar-
ket for refurbished and upgraded ex-US
Navy P-3s, such as the L-3 Communica-
tions Procyon QR proposal and the
Eads-Casa reworked P-3s for Brazil.
Meanwhile, maritime patrol versions of
the ATR42/72, C-295 and C-27J will pre-
sumably sell in small numbers. It is antic-
ipated that the Persuader MPA version of
the C-295 will be launched by a UAE
order for four.
The Eurocopter Tiger is available in various versions, with provisions for a mast-
mounted sighting system and advanced guided weapons. The Australian version will
employ Hellfire missiles. (Eurocopter)
The US Marine Corps is to have 100 Bell UH-1N Hueys upgraded to UH-1Ys, with
four-blade main rotors, uprated engines and modernised cockpits and sighting
systems. (Bell)
Facing off in the British contest are ex-
BA 767-300ERs, which are competing
with new-build tanker/transport Airbus
A330-200s. The B767 and A330 will also
compete in Australia.
Turning to AEW&C aircraft, Japan
launched the E-767 (based on the 767-
200ER) with an order for four, but Aus-
The potential market for
maritime patrol aircraft
(MPA) may amount
(excluding the CIS and
China) to around 400
aircraft worth perhaps
$ 40 billion.
Complete Guide
armada INTERNATIONAL 3/2003
Rolls-Royce, teamed with the Teal Group,
recently presented a forecast of turbine
helicopter demands for the ten-year period
from 2003 to 2012, predicting that approxi-
mately 3800 military helicopters would be
delivered new-built, and there would be
just less than 1500 major engine-related
upgrades. Over that period, military heli-
copter sales will be worth almost $ 60 bil-
lion. Expectations have been depressed by
cutbacks in (for example) the Boeing Siko-
rsky RAH-66 Comanche (now down to 650
for the US Army), but paramilitary sales
will benefit from the needs of the US Coast
Guard Deepwater programme (Bell HV-
911 Eagle Eye drone selected) and the US
Homeland Defense Agency.
Global sales of new-build aircraft will
be affected by the US Army retiring 400
Bell AH-1Fs and planning to phase out 700
Bell UH-1Hs. Another factor is a series of
major upgrades. The US Army plans to
have approximately 1200 Sikorsky UH-
60As, 500 Boeing AH-64As and up to 430
Boeing CH-47Ds upgraded to UH-60Ms,
AH-64Ds and CH-47Fs respectively. The
US Marine Corps is to have 180 Bell AH-
1Ws and 100 Bell UH-1Ns upgraded to
AH-1Zs and UH-1Ys standards. New-
build programmes include the RAH-66 for
the US Army and the US Navys Sikorsky
MH-60R and -60S, while the US Air Force
has a requirement to replace 105 Sikorsky
HH/MH-60G Pave Hawks.
Volume 27, No. 3, June/July 2003
is published bimonthly in Zurich, Switzerland.
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The Kamov Ka-50
series has been
selected by Russian
Army Aviation, one
version is also
available as the
tandem-seat Ka-50-2
and the Ka-52 with
side-by-side seating
as illustrated here.
This Royal Malaysian Navy AgustaWestland Super Lynx Mk 100 (with Rolls-Royce
Gem engines) the second of a batch of six is shown here at the Farnborough 2002 air
show just prior to delivery. (Armada/RB)
the Boeing AH-64, []
has so far dominated
international sales but
without new orders the line
is expected to close in
Although trends in combat helicop-
ters are discussed in a separate report in
this issue, mention must be made of the
Boeing AH-64, which has so far dominat-
ed international sales but without new
orders the line is expected to close in
2006, pending a Block 3 upgrade for the
US Army. The Bell AH-1Z was selected
by Turkey and the Tiger by Australia. The
Kamov Ka-50 series are strong con-
tenders: the Ka-50-2 is short-listed with
the AH-1Z in Turkey, and the Ka-52 is
alongside the AH-64 and AH-1Z in
South Korea. In the longer term the
RAH-66 could export well, if available in
full-stealth form.
Operations in Afghanistan have rein-
forced the Vietnam-era need for helicop-
ters to move ground forces over difficult
terrain. The products that may benefit
from such demands include the Euro-
copter EC725 Cougar, NHIndustries
NH90 (now ordered by nine European
countries), EH Industries EH-101 (pro-
moted in America as the US-101), the
Sikorsky S-70A and the new Agusta/Bell
Aerospace AB139, which might be regard-
ed as a true Huey-replacement.
In a naval context, the demand for
multi-role armed helicopters is being met
by the AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300,
Eurocopter AS565 Panther, Kaman SH-
2G and the Sikorsky S-70B. Deployment
of the tilt-rotor Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey
will depend on the results of the current
series of flight trials.