Timofey Zabaluev The export deliveries of the fighters in the near future will be gradually reduced up to the year 2011, when the countries-demanders of the military aviation technique start the new reequipment cycle of their Air Force

EurofighterThe production of the F-16, F-15 and Mirage-2000 aircraft is being continued, while Rafale, Typhoon fighters are starting to come into service from the assembling departments, the lineup of Su-27 and MiG-29 is renewing and the F/a-22 and F-35 fifth generation fighters are passing the final testing stages. And if in Russia the fifth generation fighter of the Sukhoi company passed only the draft design defense stage and the works on the MiG multifunctional fighter project are fully terminated, at the same time the American F/A-22 and F-35 projects let stridently and with scandal, but soldier on to the production manufacturing.

F-22 (Raptor) aircraft, initially forethought as the taking to the air fighter and designed to stand against the soviet fighters, forfeited the main enemy, became the headache for the American government. To justify the involving expenses, the USAF Command took the decision in 2002 to extend the aircraft combat capabilities charging it with attack functions, which required the additional design works to be performed. It’s suggested that the aircraft should be used as a bomber. The program is behind the schedule and seriously exceeded the budget. In the middle of the year 2004 the Americans testified that the general costs reached $28.7 billions instead of $19.5 billions, which were primarily requested in 1991. In connection to this fact, the first order for F/A-22 aircraft was at first decreased from more than 700 up to 277 aircraft, and in December 2004 reduced up to 181 items.

The first part of the 24 Raptor aircraft is planned to come into service in May 2005, and the first flight of new generation fighters must take part in the combat alert duty in December 2005. As far as F-35 aircraft is concerned, this multipurpose fighter was criticized for the overweight of the construction many times, which is especially critical for the F-35B aircraft version (short take-off/vertical landing — STVOL). However in September 2004 Lockheed Martin announced that it had found the decision, how to decrease the weight of aircraft for 1200 kg and now the aircraft was ready for the test, and all the mentioned characteristics would be confirmed and even exceeded. The aircraft will be designed in the F-35A variant (conventional take-off/landing-CTOL) and in the F-35C (carrier vehicle – CV). At the end of 2004 the USAF announced that they are going to buy 100 F-35B aircraft, which could be placed not far from the combat area or from the fighting front on the unimproved airfield. The USAF primarily planned to buy 1763 F-35A aircraft. However, but for the high price of the F-35B in comparison with F-35A, the total number of aircraft probably will be reduced. The same decision can be taken if the new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can demonstrate the characteristics similar to the new generation manned vehicle. The industrial manufacture admitted that, but for the construction modifying of the F-35B aircraft with intent to unify platforms, the F-35A should be updated, and this will bring to the fact, that the first flight of F-35A aircraft will postponed from autumn of 2005 till august 2006, and the duplicate production firstly scheduled for 2006, will be postponed till 2007. Taking into the account the further reducing of procurements or even the phaseout on the F/A-22, the purchase increase of F-35 aircraft of the USAF is possible.

There are also enough problems in Europe. The multinational program of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter, in which Germany, Italy, Spain and Great Britain take part, is behind schedule, and very much so, it will continue slipping in the future, as the partners try to reapportion the participatory shares in the project. From the total production program, which equals to 620 aircraft, the Great Britain must take the biggest part (232 aircraft), while Germany, Italy and Spain are intended to content 180, 121, 87 fighters accordingly. Interfered into the project in 1998, later Great Britain in every way tried to belittle the obligations taken, but it had to surrender under the pressure of the continental partners at the beginning of October 2004.

The Eurofighter project is of some success on the international market. Austria announced about the purchase of 18 fighters, and Greece assumes responsibility to buy 60 aircraft (with warrant certificate at 30 aircraft) till 2010. However, the new Greece government refuses the decision to buy them, signed by the previous Cabinet Council, referring to the budget deficit. Norway takes the twin position: it simultaneously invest capital both into F-35 and Typhoon. Saudi Arabia and Turkey showed their interest in the European fighter.

The French company Dassault, being in the search for the Rafale new fighter customer, was involved into the discussion with French government with regard to the financing of the program unforeseen costs. In October 2004 the sides discussed the destiny of the further Rafale part for the French Air Force, increased the order up to 120 Rafale aircraft. Evidently Rafael is going to be the last Dassault non-cooperation project. The French performed the preliminary talks with BAE systems company in relation to the future tactic requirements for the new perspective fighter, and more importantly, they signed the agreement with EADS about the co-developing, which will very much so replace Rafale, Typhoon and Gripen. Depending on the type of platform chosen – manned or unmanned – Dassault company could accept responsibility of the main contractor when producing manned or unmanned fighter, while EADS corporate group (concern) could become the main company, when producing the air surveillance drone system.

Both companies: Dassault and Eurofighter are competing with Boeing for getting the order from Singapore for 20 fighters. The Americans proposed the variant of F-15E two-seat aircraft. The analysts suppose, that this is the last chance for Rafale and Typhoon to gain the international market before the market appearance of the F-35 aircraft.

Mirage 2000 was to become the leader of the Air Force Brazilian fighter tender. Envisaging success, Dasault company headed the group of French companies, which bought a lot from Embraer Brazilian enterprise, on the squares of which the serial licensing production of Mirage was planned to be organized and evidently it miscalculated. The unexpected refusal of the Brazilian Government to annul the tender for buying 12 fighters to the amount of $700 millions to renew 70 old-fashioned Mirage 3 aircraft, bring the Mirage 2000 assembling line practically to the closing.

The Brazilians justified their decision, saying that aviation developed very quickly, that’s why the proposals of present participants of the competition till the moment of its termination, can get (go) out of date.

The Su-35 victory in the Brazilian tender, from the very beginning, was estimated by the aviation analyst as improbable. With all its attention value, the project was to face both the strong American resistance and the corporate divergences of Sukhoi and Embraer aviation giants. Till this moment the Brazilians dream of their aircraft prowling unlimited Russian vast, and the Sukhoi company such a development can be in view only in the horrible sleep, as it destroys the Russian regional plane project RRJ. Such an unexpected Pat situation settlement will be useful for national civil service.

In recent years India decided to renew the aircraft park. The MiG-21, MiG-23BN and MiG-27M must replace, according to Indian classification , three types of fighters: light LCA, which are planed to be built by the country itself, medium (there are Gripen, F-16, Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2 and MiG-29M. The struggle is performed around this purchases) and heavy, this question is closed after buying 50 Russian Su-30 MKI and also their license production started at the areas of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

More than 15 years successful exploitation of the 50 Mirage 2000H fighters in India, allows some western analysts forecast the victory of the French for the delivery tender to buy 126 medium fighters for local Air Force. After the purchase of the 20 Mirage fighters, Paris offers Deli to organize the licensing production of the other part at the same factory, where the Su-30MKIis assembled. Only MiG-29M and MiG-29M2, which Russia offered for tender, can interfere with the French confident victory. Several circumstances can cooperate to the success: the long-term MiG practice exploitation of the Indian side, the positive exploitation experience of the MiG-29 in Russia and its reach export list, and also the fact that 16 MiG-29K carrier planes will be delivered to equip first Indian carrier. At that the Russian side offer both the serial license production organization and further modernization of the model line.

Two other participants of the tender: Gripen and F-16 – have few chances to win. Despite the Gripen success in South Africa, with whom India keep in touch with in the defense sector, and its low cost in comparison with similar western aircraft, its characteristic are nearer to the light fighter, the production of which India expects to master up to 2015 independently.

Once Americans let India down laid an embargo on the engine and digital electric remote control system deliveries for local LCA program, and practically failed it and the Indians not in vain are afraid of the similar situation in case of buying the American aircraft. Besides the dalliance with the bitter enemy of India, Pakistan, as the USA delivers there the modern armament, including F-16, make the chances to win improbable.

In the Middle East region, Saudi Arabia bought F-15 and Tornado, and it’s planning 24 F-15 aircraft more. Earlier planned replacement of the 100 F-5 and F-6 fighters is still not realized.

The Gripen International, the joint enterprise of Saab and BAE Systems companies, offered to lease 14 Gripen aircraft to Hungary, 14 – to Check Republic and already sold 28 aircraft to South Africa. It continues to advance its single engine all weather fighter in other countries, while the work at the order of the Sweden Air Force is dragging on.

The export orientation is pertaining to Russia. There is a considerable selling of Su-27 and MiG-29 aircraft to the outer market, but the deliveries to the military units is at extremely low level. With the existing demand of the Russian Air Force, which equals to 200 Su-27 class aircraft, the scale of planned purchases of such techniques in 2004 was 7 fighters, and 10 aircraft are planned to buy in 2005. At that we are speaking not about the production of new techniques and extension of the aircraft park, but we are referring to the current update. If in the USA we speak about the quantitative increase if fighter aviation in 2004 according to F-16 and F-18 equaled to 100%, in Russia exists negative tendency. With considerable fifth generation fighter gap from the USA, the first flight of which is planned for 2007, it’s probable that the enterprises could resume in the emergency order the production of Su and MiG.

In case of good conjunction, by the end of the decade, F-35 project can excel at success, which Lockheed Martin had with its best F-16 fighter (for export – 2100 items, for USAF – 2200 items). The F-35 aircraft joint order for the USA and Great Britain is 2600 aircraft. In case of F-35 project failure because of technical and price problems, the Lockheed Martin production assembly line can continue producing F-16 new modifications, probably basing on Block 60, developed for the United Arab Emirates Air Force.

The Boeing company will probably continue the F/A-18E/F construction and in the second part of decade, and will remain the main tenders of F/A-22. If the delay with F/A-22 project will obtain threatening sizes, Boeing can perform 100 and more F-15E for the USAF.

Export deliveries of Russian fighters in 2004

Aircraft type Quantity Importing country
Su-30MK2 (carrier) 24 China
Su-30MK2 4 China
Su-24MK до 9 Algeria
Su-30MKI 10 India
Su-30MKI (license assembly) 2 India
MiG-29 7 Sudan
MiG-29 5 Yemen

The comparison of the Air Force modern fighters park, Russia and the USA

Aircraft type According to 01.01.2004 According to 01.01.2005
MiG-29 461 449
MiG-31 377 193
Su-27 453 442
F-15 611 220
F-16 735 1361
F-18 815 1592
F/A-22 6 16

The production forecast of the fighters for 2005-2009 of the leading aviation companies

Producers 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Sukhoi 30 62 68 64 58
Boeing 56 62 68 64 58
Eurofighter 48 48 52 60 50
Lochheed Martin 78 82 89 35 24
Lochheed Martin/Boeing 21 24 26 26 30