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Proportion of synthetic flying in the future

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Proportion of synthetic flying in the future

Old 30th Jun 2021, 22:47
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Originally Posted by DuckDodgers View Post
So I'm guess that another business jet isn't the answer you are looking for once the current MSASS contract expires in December 2024? Seems understandable to me. Which brings me to the question of what do you want to replace Hawk T1 and Tranche One Typhoon with noting the likely fiscal constraints?
Gripen is the answer, but it’s up to BD of any company to sort out the fiscal constraints. Sweden have a bunch of older Gripens sat around they can’t shift. Lease these, offer at a competitive rate/no profit, get the various Air Forces/Navys hooked and then start to create revenue. I get that it boils down to what the MoD are willing to pay, but unless a company reaches out and grabs the nettle and does something radical with a decent fast jet then we (the UK) will always be stuck with a bit of crap 90s solution to a 2020s+ problem.
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Old 1st Jul 2021, 09:41
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Originally Posted by Foghorn Leghorn View Post
Gripen is the answer, but it’s up to BD of any company to sort out the fiscal constraints. Sweden have a bunch of older Gripens sat around they can’t shift. Lease these, offer at a competitive rate/no profit, get the various Air Forces/Navys hooked and then start to create revenue. I get that it boils down to what the MoD are willing to pay, but unless a company reaches out and grabs the nettle and does something radical with a decent fast jet then we (the UK) will always be stuck with a bit of crap 90s solution to a 2020s+ problem.
Pretty big ask for a private company, especially given UK MoD's reticence to pay big bucks for it (ASDOT collapsed recently, largely on cost grounds). You might be able to get agreement in principle before signing a contract with MoD and making the rest happen, but there's no way something that cost would get through unsolicited and uncompeted.

Plenty of credible partners queued up for ASDOT, so we just need to repeat that with a realistic budget and realistic requirements
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Old 1st Jul 2021, 09:58
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Originally Posted by pba_target View Post
.......... but there's no way something that cost would get through unsolicited and uncompeted.............we just need to repeat that with a realistic budget and realistic requirements
Nail. Head. Hit.
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Old 1st Jul 2021, 12:16
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Originally Posted by pba_target View Post
Pretty big ask for a private company, especially given UK MoD's reticence to pay big bucks for it (ASDOT collapsed recently, largely on cost grounds). You might be able to get agreement in principle before signing a contract with MoD and making the rest happen, but there's no way something that cost would get through unsolicited and uncompeted.

Plenty of credible partners queued up for ASDOT, so we just need to repeat that with a realistic budget and realistic requirements
I agree with your sentiments but, as I said, it’s down to BD of a company to sort the financing of any platform offered. Initially, it doesn’t have to be a big revenue generation exercise. You offer it with costs covered and then you’ll become the preferred solution and then you negotiate follow on contract with the background of a proven solution.

I also wouldn’t be so sure about the competition being uncompeted and unsolicited post ASDOT, the legal aspects is quite a muddy area. There were only 3 companies down selected for ASDOT and all 3 of those got their fingers burned quite badly in terms of expenditure; would they all want to do that again, who knows?

Alas, the MoD do need to stop with the notion that it’ll only pay chump change but want an Aston Martin solution.
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Old 1st Jul 2021, 15:43
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Originally Posted by Foghorn Leghorn View Post
Alas, the MoD do need to stop with the notion that it’ll only pay chump change but want an Aston Martin solution.
I think this is the key point. Operating a fleet of 4/4.5 gen aircraft has a minimum cost associated with it, regardless of size (hence the normal rationale in SDSRs past of chopping entire fleets rather than half of 2 separate ones). If there's no confidence that the MOD has any willingness to spend money, who is going to stump up the cash to run a small fleet?

If your business plan is "we'll start small, and the customer might possibly love us so much they'll pay for more" with all the above evidence to the contrary, that won't make it past most company's boards I'd suggest, especially when the cost of entry, regardless of how small you aim, is inevitably relatively high.

Possibly a bigger company like Draken could detach a small sub-set of aircraft to the UK, but the red tape involved would be massive even though they've already got all the other kit to support the jets (noting they'd probably be reticent to deploy a lot of that overseas). In this we're not helped by having the Atlantic between us and a major consumer of red air!
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Old 1st Jul 2021, 17:04
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Originally Posted by Wrathmonk View Post
Were they a crossover from another FJ type or an ab-initial with only Tucano/Hawk hours?
Crossover as I recall.
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Old 1st Jul 2021, 19:53
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Treble One

I’m not best placed to comment but I wouldn’t be so sure if I were you.

BV
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Old 1st Jul 2021, 20:30
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Originally Posted by pba_target View Post
I think this is the key point. Operating a fleet of 4/4.5 gen aircraft has a minimum cost associated with it, regardless of size (hence the normal rationale in SDSRs past of chopping entire fleets rather than half of 2 separate ones). If there's no confidence that the MOD has any willingness to spend money, who is going to stump up the cash to run a small fleet?

If your business plan is "we'll start small, and the customer might possibly love us so much they'll pay for more" with all the above evidence to the contrary, that won't make it past most company's boards I'd suggest, especially when the cost of entry, regardless of how small you aim, is inevitably relatively high.

Possibly a bigger company like Draken could detach a small sub-set of aircraft to the UK, but the red tape involved would be massive even though they've already got all the other kit to support the jets (noting they'd probably be reticent to deploy a lot of that overseas). In this we're not helped by having the Atlantic between us and a major consumer of red air!
It’s a good job the likes of Draken and similar companies don’t have boards to please! Makes life easier. I still standby my methodology of leasing something like Gripen, minimal profit generation and then grow the contract. If it doesn’t work, toss the keys back to the lease company.

As you point out, the regulatory red tape would be too much for a small detachment to take place.

Interesting times ahead for sure. One thing that is apparent, the European and Middle Eastern aggressor market is there for the taking.
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Old 2nd Jul 2021, 09:51
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Originally Posted by Foghorn Leghorn View Post
It’s a good job the likes of Draken and similar companies don’t have boards to please! Makes life easier. I still standby my methodology of leasing something like Gripen, minimal profit generation and then grow the contract. If it doesn’t work, toss the keys back to the lease company. As you point out, the regulatory red tape would be too much for a small detachment to take place. Interesting times ahead for sure. One thing that is apparent, the European and Middle Eastern aggressor market is there for the taking.
The comment about boards isn't entirely true:

ATAC - part of the Textron Systems BU with Scott Stacy (GM ATAC) reporting to Lisa Atherton as Segment and BU lead who in turn reports to the Textron board. Lots of governance but equally lots of political capital, particularly in DC. Bid low on CAF CAS to secure market share and past performance.
Draken - owned by Blackstone within the Tac Opps business portfolio. Both Ford (CEO) and Tart (COO) report to the board of directors who have the power to remove. Again, have shown willingness to invest significant capital if the recent MLU acquisition is anything to go by.
Top Aces - owned by Clairvest, part of CEP IV whose board Bouchard (CEO) and Toussaint (COO) report too. Clairvest CEO (Ken Rotman) is chairman of the Board. This is how they raised the multiple-hatted $100MM capital to drawdown on for items such as Netz, A-4N modernisation etc.
Tactical Air Support - both Oaktree Capital Management and Meta Aerospace Capital have been involved in funding the acquisition and modernisation of their F-5AT effort. There is a board and all investments need to be approved by it. Shown a willingness to pursue a loss-lead strategy to gain market access, contrast Fallon versus Kingsley Field.

Leasing isn't really an option either unless governments are willing to set realistic budgets for a service provision; for instance a G2PE dry lease arrangement for something like the M-346FA is iro $20,000-$25,000 per hour. Add on gas, overheads, profit etc and you can add somewhat more to that figure.

The European market is certainly expanding and they have a common sense way forward especially regards to certification, air worthiness and mutual recognition thereof. The Middle East is descending into what can best be described as a pissing match between KSA and UAE. For sure, they've got the cash but are they actually willing to pursue the notion especially given the nonsense of Procor......
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Old 2nd Jul 2021, 09:59
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Originally Posted by DuckDodgers View Post
The comment about boards isn't entirely true:

ATAC - part of the Textron Systems BU with Scott Stacy (GM ATAC) reporting to Lisa Atherton as Segment and BU lead who in turn reports to the Textron board. Lots of governance but equally lots of political capital, particularly in DC. Bid low on CAF CAS to secure market share and past performance.
Draken - owned by Blackstone within the Tac Opps business portfolio. Both Ford (CEO) and Tart (COO) report to the board of directors who have the power to remove. Again, have shown willingness to invest significant capital if the recent MLU acquisition is anything to go by.
Top Aces - owned by Clairvest, part of CEP IV whose board Bouchard (CEO) and Toussaint (COO) report too. Clairvest CEO (Ken Rotman) is chairman of the Board. This is how they raised the multiple-hatted $100MM capital to drawdown on for items such as Netz, A-4N modernisation etc.
Tactical Air Support - both Oaktree Capital Management and Meta Aerospace Capital have been involved in funding the acquisition and modernisation of their F-5AT effort. There is a board and all investments need to be approved by it. Shown a willingness to pursue a loss-lead strategy to gain market access, contrast Fallon versus Kingsley Field.

Leasing isn't really an option either unless governments are willing to set realistic budgets for a service provision; for instance a G2PE dry lease arrangement for something like the M-346FA is iro $20,000-$25,000 per hour. Add on gas, overheads, profit etc and you can add somewhat more to that figure.

The European market is certainly expanding and they have a common sense way forward especially regards to certification, air worthiness and mutual recognition thereof. The Middle East is descending into what can best be described as a pissing match between KSA and UAE. For sure, they've got the cash but are they actually willing to pursue the notion especially given the nonsense of Procor......
DD, whilst not strictly true, my point is that Draken (Blackstone) is not run under the traditional board construct and shareholders and they’re significantly more forward leaning when it comes to developing an agile platform solution - build it and they will come mantra is often used. Leasing is an option if BD get their act together. M-346 is well known for its expense so is perhaps not the best example. As I’ve said before, there are many older standard of Gripens sat around that the company couldn’t offload; leasing is a tasty proposition that could work for both parties. Equally, there are countries (Far East) that have developed training/light attack aircraft similar to M-346 that have been unable to sell to market.

I wouldn’t be so certain about the KSA and what’s happening there….
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Old 5th Jul 2021, 16:28
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Originally Posted by Foghorn Leghorn View Post
DD, whilst not strictly true, my point is that Draken (Blackstone) is not run under the traditional board construct and shareholders and they’re significantly more forward leaning when it comes to developing an agile platform solution - build it and they will come mantra is often used. Leasing is an option if BD get their act together. M-346 is well known for its expense so is perhaps not the best example. As I’ve said before, there are many older standard of Gripens sat around that the company couldn’t offload; leasing is a tasty proposition that could work for both parties. Equally, there are countries (Far East) that have developed training/light attack aircraft similar to M-346 that have been unable to sell to market. I wouldn’t be so certain about the KSA and what’s happening there….
KAI's FA-50 is an interesting one and their default position is not to engage with private entity, this is why ITPS in Canada needs to be watched closely as to whether anything comes of the MoU that was signed in November 2020. I presume this is why SkyAlyne are working with LM vice KAI to offer T-50 for FACT to the DND as the owner / lessor will be a private entity? Either way to lease that jet over 10 years at say 300hrs a year and factoring in Direct Platform Costs, Indirect Platform Costs, Other Direct Costs, Labour, Fuel, Profit etc you are still looking at circa $24K per hour which isn't overly stupid for what's a great little aircraft.

Gripen is interesting, we all know the Gripen Aggressor was just marketing nonsense from Saab. What needs understanding is the disposition of the 204 jets built for Sweden which is roughly as follows: 28 leased to CZE / HUN, 12 G2G sale to Thailand, 7 written off, 24 in store for disposal or Sale, 32 dismantled/partially dismantled for spare, 7 in reserve for SWE, 4 used for Gripen NG demos, 2 in museums and 88 in SWE AF. The key is understanding how many of the Gripen C will be retained beyond 2026 and what the drawdown profile looks like for 4 of the 6 current Gripen squadrons.

However, both platforms use the GE F404 engine and tech data transfer could be an issue, particularly to a non-US private entity.


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Old 6th Jul 2021, 12:20
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Originally Posted by DuckDodgers View Post
KAI's FA-50 is an interesting one and their default position is not to engage with private entity, this is why ITPS in Canada needs to be watched closely as to whether anything comes of the MoU that was signed in November 2020. I presume this is why SkyAlyne are working with LM vice KAI to offer T-50 for FACT to the DND as the owner / lessor will be a private entity? Either way to lease that jet over 10 years at say 300hrs a year and factoring in Direct Platform Costs, Indirect Platform Costs, Other Direct Costs, Labour, Fuel, Profit etc you are still looking at circa $24K per hour which isn't overly stupid for what's a great little aircraft.

Gripen is interesting, we all know the Gripen Aggressor was just marketing nonsense from Saab. What needs understanding is the disposition of the 204 jets built for Sweden which is roughly as follows: 28 leased to CZE / HUN, 12 G2G sale to Thailand, 7 written off, 24 in store for disposal or Sale, 32 dismantled/partially dismantled for spare, 7 in reserve for SWE, 4 used for Gripen NG demos, 2 in museums and 88 in SWE AF. The key is understanding how many of the Gripen C will be retained beyond 2026 and what the drawdown profile looks like for 4 of the 6 current Gripen squadrons.

However, both platforms use the GE F404 engine and tech data transfer could be an issue, particularly to a non-US private entity.
It wouldn't in my view make any sense for Canada (SkyAlyne) to go with a platform from around the world, when they have LM lobbying from across the border. SkyAlyne aside, the T-50 is a very interesting proposition and I understand there have been talks to get the platform into use as an aggressor. The T-50 has belly flopped in terms of exporting and it would be a great free advertising of the platform to operate it as an aggressor for Western Air Forces. Which is why there's a potential deal to be had.

There have now been 271+ Gripens produced, so its not a small project and there some C models floating around that haven't been upgraded which would make a fine aggressor platform. Furthermore, BAE Systems have their tentacles in to SAAB over various things which makes for an interesting aspect.

Gripen Cs (Not the the Es or NGs) are powered by the Volvo Flygmotor RM-12 a licence-built derivative of the GE404; so its already exported under license. The bonus being that whilst yes, Blackstone, Draken's owners is a private equity company, it is American which will provide it some leverage. Lets also not forget that the RAF operated the Gripen at ETPS under a wet lease scheme.

So all in all, Gripen is still the answer and its up to BD to sort out the operating deal and costs - though I do concede that a crux of operating the platform within the UK is how much the MoD are willing to pay. We could clearly strike a deal with the Americans to share the cost as they will also be looking for a capable red air platform for USAFE sorties not just within the UK, but into Germany and Italy.
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Old 7th Jul 2021, 11:54
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Going back to the OP, the Israelis have just said that they have a 50:50 split for synthetic to real-life training for their F-35Is - https://www.iaf.org.il/9333-53242-en/IAF.aspx
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Old 7th Jul 2021, 14:33
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Originally Posted by melmothtw View Post
Going back to the OP, the Israelis have just said that they have a 50:50 split for synthetic to real-life training for their F-35Is - https://www.iaf.org.il/9333-53242-en/IAF.aspx
And that is a sensible compromise with regards to the OP. The stated 50/50 split was generally accepted as realistically achievable with people working towards it, however it has morphed into a ludicrous 80/20 split aspiration thanks to a certain 2.5 miles a minute 3* who thinks he should be the next CAS. He has even suggested that live flights should only be "operational".

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Old 9th Jul 2021, 08:58
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Originally Posted by DuckDodgers View Post
And that is a sensible compromise with regards to the OP. The stated 50/50 split was generally accepted as realistically achievable with people working towards it, however it has morphed into a ludicrous 80/20 split aspiration thanks to a certain 2.5 miles a minute 3* who thinks he should be the next CAS. He has even suggested that live flights should only be "operational".
Who is this 3* you speak of?

The 80/20 split is absolutely farcical, but the leadership haven’t got one iota of humility to admit they have this wrong and redress the issue. Everybody knows it is not the correct live:synthetic balance yet this vanity project is just an embarrassing for the hierarchy.
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 07:07
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https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/m...head-n0kfzzw8w

Most RAF aircraft training will be via computer simulations on the ground, says air force head

Nearly all RAF aircraft training will be carried out using computer simulations on the ground, with real-life flying saved for wars and demonstrations of power, the head of the air force has said.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston said he wanted a linked network of simulators at air and naval bases and barracks with “highly classified, ultra-realistic” synthetic environments.

This would allow war games to be recorded and paused, and allow the military to hide tactics from enemy forces, sources said. Some of the hours in simulators will contribute towards the flying hours deemed necessary to qualify as a pilot, although pilots will still have to carry out live training.

Typically a Typhoon pilot will carry out about 30 per cent of flying training hours synthetically and 70 cent of flying training live, and Wigston wants this to be reversed.

Speaking at the global air chiefs’ conference in London, he said: “I can see a future where almost all training, force generation and mission planning and rehearsal is done in a synthetic environment.”

A £36 million simulation system named Gladiator will be at initial operating capability by the end of this year. It replicates real-life scenarios, allowing US and UK aircrew to experience the same environment and threats.

Pilots will be able to carry out exercises and practise tactics and procedures that would be impossible in a live environment as a result of airspace limitations, aircraft availability or security constraints.

Wigston said that while the initial focus for Gladiator had been training the Typhoon force, the RAF was investing £40 million to add training for the Wedgetail early warning and control aircraft, the MQ-9B Protector drone and the Guardian air defence control system, which will protect UK skies.

He said he also wanted to add the Royal Navy’s Type 45 air defence destroyers and other assets to the simulated environment, so they could all train together in the virtual world.

Navy sources said: “People go online and fight with their friends in
Call of Duty. This is like a big, complex version of that, where real airmen operate in a synthetic war without having to leave the ground. You can record and play it back, you can press pause. The enemy can’t watch what you are doing and what your tactics are.”….
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 19:58
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Exclamation

Navy sources said: “People go online and fight with their friends in Call of Duty. This is like a big, complex version of that, where real airmen operate in a synthetic war without having to leave the ground. You can record and play it back, you can press pause. The enemy can’t watch what you are doing and what your tactics are.”….


Hmm 🤔, sounds like a “State Hackers” dream come true! Whilst playing war games online and practicing your tactics, your possible peer enemy states may well be able to watch and record everything without you knowing… 👀

What could possibly go wrong? 😬😯
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Old 16th Jul 2021, 11:07
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Originally Posted by Out Of Trim View Post
Navy sources said: “People go online and fight with their friends in Call of Duty. This is like a big, complex version of that, where real airmen operate in a synthetic war without having to leave the ground. You can record and play it back, you can press pause. The enemy can’t watch what you are doing and what your tactics are.”….


Hmm 🤔, sounds like a “State Hackers” dream come true! Whilst playing war games online and practicing your tactics, your possible peer enemy states may well be able to watch and record everything without you knowing… 👀

What could possibly go wrong? 😬😯
An air-gapped sim is a lot harder to "hack" than watching pilots training in real jets. The sad fact of modern day to day training is that we can't often operate as we would in combat without giving the game away. It's only going to get more complicated in the future.
We absolutely need to continue flying "live" events in a greater proportion to "sim", but current sims are far more capable than many of us have been used to in the (recent?) past. I actually enjoy going to the sim now for the first time in my career - if you'd asked me if that was possible 5 years ago I would have laughed!
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