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F 16 block 70/72 VS SAAB GRIPEN E - MMRCA II JET RACE

As mentioned in my previous post "MMRCA II - IS IT NECESSARY?" I mentioned that Indian Airforce needs about 400 jets in next 10 years and this number will supposedly grow. I also mentioned that the MMRCA II tender is for about 150-200 single  engine fighters & that there are two frontrunners when it comes to MMRCA II which are Lockheed Martin's  F 16 Block 70/72 &  Saab Gripen E.

Both these jets are top of the line 4.5 gen fighters (Saab Gripen E is often called smart fighter and has even be called 6th gen as a promotion)



One more thing which is in the contract is that the producer should produce the jets in India under MAKE IN INDIA and Transfer of Technology is also a part of it.

So let's now cut through layers and try to understand which one is  better.

F-16 Block 70/72-




F 16 Block 70/72  is the latest block of F 16 which is one of the best selling fighter jet in the world and is operated by many nations (about 27) and Block 70 is a quantum jump and this variant has 5th gen Radars & sensors.

The block  70/72 fighter has some highly desired features like a very advanced AN/APG-80 AESA radar which is very reliable and has nearly double the range of the predecessor radars. The Electronic Warfare suite is  very advanced and Infra-red Search & Tracker (IRST). The engine produces 145 KN wet thrust & has a modern data-link system which is  on par with that of a 5th gen fighter.

Another thing which favoured F 16 Block 70/72  is that it's purchase cost is lower than it's opponent Saab Gripen E.

F-16 is a combat proven fighter jet & Lockheed officials call it " The most advanced F-16". 

SAAB GRIPEN E-




Saab Gripen E is the latest in the series and is often called the smart fighter because of it's capabilities. It is one of the most advanced fighter jet in the world. It is  compatible with a wide variety  of weapons including Air to Air missiles, anti ship missiles, laser guided weapons and glide bombs etc. It was the platform which was selected for testing Meteor missile.

The Gripen E is equipped with state of the art next gen Selex ES AESA radars and state of art EW suite. Also the data-link used in gripen E is one of the fastest in world & is better than any other 4.5 gen fighter in world.

The GE F414G engine used can produce 98 KN wet thrust and this allows the jet to achieve a max speed of Mach 2 at high altitude, this also allows jet to supercruise at speed of Mach 1.2 which means that the jet can fly at supersonic speed without using afterburner.

It is equipped with retractable air to air refuelling probe, IRST probe, state of  the art communication sensors etc and all these sensors are very effectively fused together and this makes the jet so advanced. Also similar to F-35 the jet has an inbuilt Targeting pod and has provision for adding more pods on other mounts provided if needed.

Saab Gripen E can be compared to  F-35(still has issues) when it comes to datalink and sensor fusion capabilities keeping in mind the costs.

The cost of operating a Saab Gripen E is lower than that of a F-16 Block 70/72.


WHICH IS BETTER FOR IAF? - MY OPINION

In my opinion Saab Gripen E is the better jet and I predict  that it will come out as the final winner. The following are the reasons-


  • Even when F-16 is a proven platform it has already matured and it has no scope for development and upgrades in future. Saab which is a comparatively new platform has the potential to mature and it has scope for upgrade in future.
  • F-16 purchase cost is lower than that of Saab Gripen E but we should  not forget that the operational cost and maintenance cost of Saab Gripen E is lower and so in longer run the Saab will  be more economical.
  • Also not to forget that The contract has term for Make In India.
    Saab has not just offered to Make the jets in India but has aggressively pushed for it's jet  by Promising development of an Aeronautical Ecosystem in India.

    Lockheed earlier had offered to shift production line to India but now has refused to do the same and this means if F-16 is  selected then the jets will  not be made in India (Lockheed may  offer to start a secondary production line).
  • Transfer Of Technology- 

    Saab has not  just offered full TOT for jet but has offered co-development & full TOT of its special state of the art next gen Gallium Nitride (GaN) AESA radars.

    Lockheed
    on other hand has hinted that it will not be sharing all the technology with India. It is ready to  give all basic technologies but will not give special know-how technologies.
  • Saab has also offered maintenance support for it's jets for long run.

Summary - These above reasons make me believe that Saab Gripen E is better jet for IAF and that IAF should select Saab Gripen E because Lockheed is not even following terms of deal by not sharing all technologies  and by not making the jets in India.
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Comments

  1. Nice post! I agree with your conclusion

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    1. Ty mate, do follow to stay updated 😊

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  2. Trump won't allow anyway, now they are thinking to extend f-16's production sales there, so that's a no-go all over it.

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    1. Yeah and same with lockheed on matter of ToT so acc to tender F 16 has been eliminated automatically.

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    2. F-16 will move to Greenville, SC at the same plant KAI T-50 will be built, assembly line will be delivered there in September. Anyway, with the end of the Iraqi contract, except if some countries with low budgets buy some F-16 as replacements for too old ones. The facility is already in charge of F-16 upgrades. Seems that a program to extend F-16 life until 2048 is on the way too. Well, going 100% stealth with the pretty flawed LockMart ways and moreover the plagued F-35 is highly losing ground : an "Advanced" Super-Hornet is on the way, Boeing has begun the study for an F/A-XX and I feel that there might be a re-launch of F-22 with improvements coming from the F-35 R&D as F-35 sucks big league for air-superiority, thus, as the F-22 assembly line has been dismantled and many still consider that YF-23 had more potential but its too uncommon shape rebuked the too conservative military brasses, adding how troublesome F-22 showed to be, well, maybe F-23 in the end?
      Well, US should better go Rafale but they're too proud, nevertheless, their new trainer is very likely to be Korean. What is hilarious is the F/A-XX wishlist as apparently, there's nothing that couldn't be put aboard a Rafale or at worst a Rafale-II that could be optimised for such features and they get rid of the tail to reduce RCS while Rafale's tail is radar-transparent and the amusing point, they are going canard while LockMart was (again lying at) hammering that canards made stealth impossible. Nevertheless, what surfaces from this 6th Gen. project is that US aren't so advanced they brag about, there are even ideas on AMCA wish-list that aren't included.
      Now, it'd be a shame that a country 4x more populated than the USA had to bow to POTUS will. Now, yesterday US armed Pakistan and did sanctions against India amid nuke tests, today, as POTUS is willing some cold-war with China and use India as a proxy, he's proposing to build an i-phone factory which, as soon the current model being scrapped, will surely be closed, LOL! Visibly, the goal is to export what is becoming useless in the US and get both money and also influence/leverage over it.
      As general De Gaulle said : "USA has no friends, only interests."

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  3. We want Saab gripen..I don't like f-16 because even porkistanis use them..🙆🙆

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    1. Actually, it's ridiculous! Gripen-E ends even more expensive than Rafale while Rafale eats both of them alive!
      The definitive Tejas Mk1A is better than Gripen-E too.
      Moreover, Tejas Mk1A and Rafale share versions of the same modular engine.
      The only explanation at pushing into buying either Gripen-E or F-16V is serious briberies as Rafale can compete F-22 and by sharing systems with Tejas Mk1A, this one will be as dangerous in A2A as Rafale with more payload than Gripen-E.

      You know, Mirage-2000 has already shot down F-16 for real, it's the nightmare for Turkish air force and... Gripen is actually the 1980 BAe P.106 project they wanted to compete Mirage-2000!
      Moreover, Brazil pays $1.1bln more than India for 36 Gripen-E with only $1.5bln offset while the Rafale contract has $4bln offset!!!!
      The only thing needed is to order enough units and the factory is on the way. It seems that the former Mirage-2000 assembly line was already Rafale-OK.

      This is ridiculous! Same crap coming that happened with Mirage-2000! India ended with not a lot, bought smth else in // that ended as expensive while M-2000 was no match and proved it! Dassault could be Indian for 30 years. It'd had been useless to buy the troublesome Su-30 and Mig-29K while Tejas Mk1A would be here for 10-15 years too, Rafale has also more payload than Su-30.

      BAe teams with Lockheed on F-35. I smell a shenanigan to have india not ending being able to compete USA in operations!

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  4. They have block 30 and only handful block 42-52

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    1. block 30 can be upgraded as block 60

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  5. Try to publish more blogs on amca deadlines, fgfa deals ,new assault rifle tender for indian army, super sukhoi mki specification, mku kanpur.
    Because there is no source of information on regular basis.
    Thanks in advance.

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    1. sure mate. i willl publish more

      although i do have posts published on
      new assault rifle tender
      super sukhoi
      mku kanpur

      i will publish on amca and fgfa in near future

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  6. Great Indian pilots created history by winning dog fight flying sub standard Folland Gnats now they can win any fight with Gripens and create history India should go for Gripens but it should be ensured that home grown Tejas programme should not be killed. Even better Gripen TOT should be absorbed in Tejas-MK-II and if 120 Gripens made in India another 80 Tejas MK-II should also be made by pvt sector partner.

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    1. @Anonymous : sorry, as I'm not subscriber, I'm anonymous too, LOL.
      So...
      There will be NO Tejas Mk2 for the good reason it has been scrapped as USELESS last spring : Safran (SNECMA) is preparing the M88/K9-Kaveri, an upgraded Rafale engine with 98kN thrust. This is as much as Gripen-E's F414 (97.9kN) but M88 is a much smaller engine, so, the Tejas Mk1 airframe allow to have the additional fuel needed inside without having to do like the Swedes with Gripen-C=>E : stretching the airframe.
      The main drawbacks Mk1 had was to few fuel inside and a little lack of thrust, same for Gripen-C BTW. Tejas Mk1A solves these problems.
      I could also learn through a source that leaks some stuff from Dassault that they're helping in order to accelerate the fielding of Mk1A. Air intakes will be slightly stretched for the new engine, some improvement to the internal structure will also lighten the airframe while making it tougher at the same time.
      In fact, when you know it took 10 years to Saab to have Gripen-E doing its 1st flight, having just switched from GE F404 to F414 and stretched the fuselage, a Tejas Mk2 would kill Tejas

      You won't have any ToT from Gripen : all avionics, ECM etc are made in USA, same for the engine. Moreover, Gripen-E is more expensive than Rafale while much much much less capable.
      If you want some ToT in Tejas Mk1A, lobby to have Rafale's SPECTRA and OSF-IT fit in and Tejas Mk1A will become a 5th generation aircraft.
      You, as many, seem really to underestimate the platform : Tejas Mk1A is better than Gripen-E or F-16V while costing about the half, it will be a perfect replacement for Mig-21, Mig-27 and later for Mirage-2000 while Rafale is here to replace Mig-29 and Jaguar and you have the advantage to share the engines, as Su-30Mk1 will share the Saturn engines with Su-57.

      Note also that Mk1A ends with same thrust as Mirage-2000-9 while being around 1800-2000kg lighter and as much fuel onboard. Even by adding 2300L in conformal tanks, it'll still on par and the 2000-9 has 7t payload.
      Mk1A has even 28% more wing area than Gripen-E.
      Adding this or F-16V to IAF will have no interest but will again make logistics a hell again. Gripen-E could have been interesting, would the price had been no more than $50M/unit and would Tejas Mk2 still considered as it wouldn't be available until 2027.
      I think the RFI has been made either through indecision, or as a security blanket in case Tejas Mk1A wouldn't be efficient or...Well, seems Parrikar wanted to kill Rafale and Tejas... And... I think the reason given to his resignment are BS! All habitual Lockheed trolls on Aviationweek, as soon the Lockheed/Tata agreement was signed, claimed that Indian Rafales were dead and that F-16V was the new IAF aircaft! Usually, these guys get infos directly from LM... You might have noticed that Modi already bypassed him for the Rafale contract and Parrikar announced there'd be no further orders and backed a Tejas Mk2...
      Well, as we say here, there is no smoke without fire...

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