November 16, 2016

The US military should look to Sweden for military innovation and not just IKEA furniture

IKEA is the most influential retailer of the last 25 years.

One of seven major parts of IKEA success is they have pricing that is inexpensive but not cheap.

There are stores that sell products for less than Ikea, like dollar stores and deep discounters like Aldi. But you don’t get the feeling of overly cheap when you buy Ikea products. They are insanely inexpensive when compared to similar products at other stores.

Sweden has used the same model to become a major world supplier of weapons on a per capita basis.

Arms exports top per capita in 2014
1. Israel, $97.7 per capita ($773 million, 8.3 million)
2. Russia, $57.7 per capita ($8.3 billion, 143 million)
3. Sweden, $53.0 per capita (total $505 million, 9.8 million people)

Sweden has weapon systems that are inexpensive but not cheap. AIP diesel submarines and an affordable fighter that can defeat the best Russian planes are systems that the US should adopt to lower the cost of defense while increasing security. The US could buy twice as many submarines while saving half of the cost. The US could buy twice as many fighters while saving five times the cost.

AIP Diesel submarines can be ten times cheaper than nuclear but new AIP versions can match capabilities [inexpensive but not cheap]

Advances in modern, ultra-quiet conventional diesel-electric submarines are a serious challenge to US nuclear submarines and aircraft carrier groups

The threat of super-stealthy diesel submarines being deployed around the world has been present for decades. Still, newer boats are coming armed with advanced anti-ship weapons and are being combined with new air-independent propulsion systems (AIP) making them near impossible to find in the ocean's depths.

In 2005, The HMS Gotland, a modern AIP submarine serving in the Swedish Navy created havok in war games exercise. The Gotland virtually ‘sunk’ many U.S. nuclear fast attack subs, destroyers, frigates, cruisers and even made it into the 'red zone' beyond the last ring of anti-submarine defenses within a carrier strike group. Although it was rumored she got many simulated shots off on various U.S. super-carriers, one large-scale training exercise in particular with the then brand new USS Ronald Reagan ended with the little sub making multiple attack runs on the super-carrier, before slithering away without ever being detected.

The 1600 ton displacement Gotland Class was the first operational Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) submarines in the world. Typical cost for a Gotland class sub is $100 to 365 million. The US is paying $3 to 6 billion for the latest nuclear submarines. A large diesel AIP submarine that matched the most of the capabilities of the big US submarines could cost $500 million to 1 billion.


AIP system can utilize advanced batteries that are charged by 75kw generators. The Gotland has generators run by a pair of diesel and liquid oxygen fueled Stirling Engines. The result of this unique, yet remarkably simple system is two weeks of submerged air independent propulsion while traveling at about 6mph. Kockums' AIP system is virtually silent, even in comparison to multi-billion dollar nuclear powered boats that still have to pump high-volumes coolant to their reactors.

The small and quiet sub is even more deadly with a state of the art combat management system. It features an incredible user friendly interface. During a single attack, the system can guide multiple torpedoes at once, which can result in more than a mission kill for even very large naval combatants like aircraft carriers, with each torpedo striking in a different section of the hull if ordered to do so.

Maneuverability was a key factor in the Gotland Class design and this manifests itself in the boat's "X" shaped tailplane structure. This unique design provides four independent maneuvering surfaces at its stern and is tied to another two planes mounted on the boat's sail. These control surfaces, combined with the sub's advanced and highly automated control system, allows for incredibly tight turns, dives and ascensions even in very close quarters, such as in shallow littoral environments. Due to the boat's size, automation and maneuverability, the Gotland Class has been described as the F-16 Viper of the undersea combat world



Swedish Gripen E fighter jet is better than the F-35 in shooting down Russian Su-35s and costs three times less and operating cost is ten times less

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been hailed as the 'most expensive weapon in history.'
But despite a price tag of $400 billion for 2,457 planes, the fifth-generation fighter has been plagued with issues. The expected operating costs of the F-35 are estimated to over $1 trillion.

Sweden's Gripen is a new generation of multi-role fighter aircraft featuring state-of-the-art technology. It is capable of performing an extensive range of air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance missions employing the most modern range of weapons. Gripen is designed to meet the demands of current and future threats, while at the same time meeting strict requirements for flight safety, reliability, training efficiency and low operating costs.

The Gripen is the only aircraft that meets the selection criteria of the Joint Advanced Strike Technology program that spawned the F-35: that the acquisition and operating costs be not more than 80 percent of that of legacy aircraft.

Gripen has highly developed netcentric warfare capabilities. The objective is to find and exploit information. With this definition every Gripen unit is net centric, considering the high-end sensor suite and strong focus on data links for sharing information within the Gripen Tactical unit. Gripen already has Link 16 which is used for battle space control in large NATO-led operations, as well as digital CAS and video link for cooperation with Forward Air Controllers on the ground.

Gripen is a true multirole fighter, designed as such from the very beginning. This means it can perform missions in all the three roles: air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance. It can change role while airborne, and it can even act in multiple roles simultaneously. This simultaneous capability is likely to grow over time, as the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and other systems are further developed.

Simulation show the Swedish Gripen E fighter shooting down the best Russian Su-35 fighter at almost the same rate that the F-22 does. The Gripen E is estimated to be able to shoot down 1.6 Su-35s for every Gripen E lost, the F-22 is slightly better at 2.0 Su-35s shot down per F-22 lost. In turn the Su-35 is better than the F-35, shooting down 2.4 F-35s for each Su-35 shot down. The Su-35 slaughters the F-18 Super Hornet at the rate of eight to one.

Turning, and carrying a gun, remains as important as it has ever been. Most missiles miss in combat and the fighter aircraft will go on to the merge. Assuming that pilot skill is equal, a 2° per second advantage in sustained turn rate will enable the more agile fighter to dominate the engagement. A high instantaneous turn rate is vital in being able to dodge the air-to-air missiles in the first place. The aircraft on the upper right quadrant of the graph will have a higher survival rate. The ones on the lower left quadrant will produce more widows.

The Gripen E has a U.S.-made engine, the GE F414, which is also the engine of the F-18 Super Hornet. The Swedish Air Force is buying its Gripen Es for $43 million per copy, less than one third of the price of the F-35. Its operating cost per hour is less than a tenth of that of the F-35’s.





The aircraft's sensors include an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Infra-Red Search and Track (IRST), Electronic Warfare (EW) suite and data link technology

Stealth is very expensive and Russia and China are shifting to radar that can detect stealth

Shaping provides 90 percent of the stealth of the invisibility cloak of a stealth aircraft with the remaining 10 percent coming from the RAM coating. The operational doctrine of the F-22 is based on the F-22 flying around without its radar on and not making any other electronic emissions either. At the same time it is vacuuming up the electronic emissions of enemy aircraft, triangulating their position and then pouncing at a time of its choosing. The world has moved on from that. Stealth, as practiced by the F-22 and F-35, is optimized on radar in the X band from 7.0 to 11.2 gigahertz. Detection in other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum has improved a lot over the last twenty years. Chief of these is infrared search and track (IRST) which enables an F-35 to be detected from its engine exhaust from over 60 miles away. The latest iteration of the Su-27 Flanker family, the Su-35, has IRST and L band radar on its wings. L band and lower frequency radars can see stealthy aircraft over 100 miles away. So an Su-35 can see a F-35 well before the F-35 can detect it. Stealth, as an end in itself, has outlived its usefulness, and maintaining that RAM coating is killing the budget for no good reason.

SOURCES - Robin Report, Daily Caller, Wikipedia, national Interest, Foxtrot Alpha, Saab

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