Sweden's IKEA of Weapons

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

Nickdfresh

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IDK, you could ask that question about the F-35 as well, and a whole host of fighters that haven't seen combat. It is based on simulations... The Swede sub A-26 did cause fits and "demoralization" of U.S. Navy sub-hunters though, that's from a variety of sources... PS: The U.S. Air Force and Naval Aviation should not be putting all its eggs in the stealth basket, IMHO...
 
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OP/Nickdfresh, i see this is another thread on national security/capability. are these a cry "we could do a lot more with a lot less", or "open your eyes and see what else is around" or both? Thank you either way P.S. like HerrStig said, the computed simulation of "killings" may not account for a real skilled/experienced pilot or other real world conditions..... i will stop here and let the real "fliers"/been-there-done-that talk.
 
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Originally Posted By: Nickdfresh
PS: The U.S. Air Force and Naval Aviation should not be putting all its eggs in the stealth basket, IMHO...
crazy idea: since some production/course of action may be politically/election motivated, but seen that some of the Swedish development is US-based-production sponsored, do you think this may be a "covert-sponsored-cheap-buffer" policy? as in let them deal successfully (with technology we help them develop) with first wave of attack while we get them to help them?
 
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Originally Posted By: pandus13
OP/Nickdfresh, i see this is another thread on national security/capability. are these a cry "we could do a lot more with a lot less", or "open your eyes and see what else is around" or both? Thank you either way P.S. like HerrStig said, the computed simulation of "killings" may not account for a real skilled/experienced pilot or other real world conditions..... i will stop here and let the real "fliers"/been-there-done-that talk.
The IDF has proved that more than once.
 

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Originally Posted By: pandus13
OP/Nickdfresh, i see this is another thread on national security/capability. are these a cry "we could do a lot more with a lot less", or "open your eyes and see what else is around" or both? Thank you either way P.S. like HerrStig said, the computed simulation of "killings" may not account for a real skilled/experienced pilot or other real world conditions..... i will stop here and let the real "fliers"/been-there-done-that talk.
I don't think HerrStig acutally articulated anything other than "how many have they actually shot down!?" The answer is the same number as the F-22 Raptor and F-35. In any case, I was Googling USAF research into cheaper "super-maneuverable" alternatives to the Raptor and F-35 weeks ago and was disappointed to see that effectively there was none, and then I saw this and a related article on a news feed. In any case, it makes sense, I'm not saying replace the Raptors, but augment them with cheaper fighters and yes, maybe it might not be a bad idea to have cheap little hi-tech diesel attack subs... In any case, we've been here before where the USAF believed that old fashioned dog fighting was obsolete and new technologies like AA & AAA missiles made maneuverable fighters obsolete. This led to debacles in both Korea and Vietnam. Not saying it's the same now, but there are parallels to the quest for aerial supremacy omnipotence...
 
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Diesel-Electric subs have always provided an issue with defending against them. The success in Naval Exercises to penetrate and simulate a kill on Aircraft Carriers is not limited to the Swedish Navy ... it is similar to the Bosnians shooting down US Stealth Fighters (3 times); the news is buried as it contradicts the invulnerability spin desired to sell spending to the citizen, and is also frankly embarrassing to the Militaries involved. A large part of the advantage is they can run truly silent. A Nuclear powered submarine always makes a small but detectible amount of noise. On the other hand, in Arctic operations, a DE sub must somehow find open water and recharge batteries often ... it varies but if you think once a month you would be close enough ... while a Nuclear sub can remain submerged for many months. A truly well rounded Navy would deploy both types. However in order to do so, if you are not France, the UK, or the US, you would have to either convince the Russians to sell you one of theirs, or develop one domestically, as the US refuses to sell the technology they use to Allies, and due to sharing of technology amongst the three Western nations, vetoes the sale of French and UK made versions to other NATO partners.
 

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Originally Posted By: Johnny2Bad
Diesel-Electric subs have always provided an issue with defending against them. A large part of the advantage is they can run truly silent. A Nuclear powered submarine always makes a small but detectible amount of noise. On the other hand, in Arctic operations, a DE sub must somehow find open water and recharge batteries often ... it varies but if you think once a month you would be close enough ... while a Nuclear sub can remain submerged for many months. A truly well rounded Navy would deploy both types. However in order to do so, if you are not France, the UK, or the US, you would have to either convince the Russians to sell you one of theirs, or develop one domestically, as the US refuses to allow sell them to allies, and due to sharing of technology amongst the three Western nations, vetoes the sale of French and UK made versions to other NATO partners.
Well, Sweden likes selling their stuff, so do the Germans! The exact sub type might not exist, but the technologies certainly do. Canada operates a very effective fleet of diesels...
 
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Stealth and other military technology aside, the cost implications are raising their heads in the President Elects thinking. If he requires 2% spending to maintain NATO "share" as a requirement to have USA backing, and yet the cost for expensive weapons systems is much less, that either enlarges their capabilities or is a false spending threshold ... It'll be interesting to see what can be done with the likely upcoming NATO reviews and such under a new administration ...
 

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Originally Posted By: BrocLuno
Stealth and other military technology aside, the cost implications are raising their heads in the President Elects thinking. If he requires 2% spending to maintain NATO "share" as a requirement to have USA backing, and yet the cost for expensive weapons systems is much less, that either enlarges their capabilities or is a false spending threshold ... It'll be interesting to see what can be done with the likely upcoming NATO reviews and such under a new administration ...
As long as they take into account things like the fact that Germany may not spend 2% on defense, but also spends $1 billion a year hosting U.S. and other Euro forces that's not accounted for in its defense budget. But yes, Europe should spend its fair share...
 
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Originally Posted By: Nickdfresh
Originally Posted By: BrocLuno
Stealth and other military technology aside, the cost implications are raising their heads in the President Elects thinking. If he requires 2% spending to maintain NATO "share" as a requirement to have USA backing, and yet the cost for expensive weapons systems is much less, that either enlarges their capabilities or is a false spending threshold ... It'll be interesting to see what can be done with the likely upcoming NATO reviews and such under a new administration ...
As long as they take into account things like the fact that Germany may not spend 2% on defense, but also spends $1 billion a year hosting U.S. and other Euro forces that's not accounted for in its defense budget. But yes, Europe should spend its fair share...
According to what I've read, WE pay the Germans quite well for the use of their property, and we inject a lot of money into their businesses economy as well. It's an issue often raised by the political class, why should we be paying for the "opportunity" to defend Europe.
 
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Canada operates a very efficient fleet of diesels". Yes, both of them! 😳 AIP subs are quiet. Nuclear subs are noisy, (cooling pumps, etc). Many countries are going with AIP Subs, Nuclear Subs may be better for long range, high seas patrols, but AIP better in more defensive close to shore operations. But then again, what do I know. As quoted earlier,,,,,,, W. E. Demings said. "Without Data, All You Have Is An Openion". If you don't know who W. Edwards Demings was, look it up.
 
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Originally Posted By: Nickdfresh
IDK, you could ask that question about the F-35 as well, and a whole host of fighters that haven't seen combat. It is based on simulations... The Swede sub A-26 did cause fits and "demoralization" of U.S. Navy sub-hunters though, that's from a variety of sources... PS: The U.S. Air Force and Naval Aviation should not be putting all its eggs in the stealth basket, IMHO...
Keeping this at a level suitable for this forum, and as a US Navy sub hunter by trade, I can personally attest that this sub did not in any way "demoralize" myself or my crew. It can be exploited, very effectively. Is it better than a Romeo or a Golf? Sure. Is it un track able? Absolutely not. Can it sprint 30+ knots like a Virginia, Seawolf, or Los Angeles? Nope. It's a great submarine no doubt, but not a match for our nukes by any stretch of the imagination. We operate our submarines VERY differently than they do. This submarine is will suited to littoral combat, not open ocean or out of area deployments where nukes rule the seas. The opinions expressed are my own and in no way reflect the opinions or position of the US Government or the US Navy.
 

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Originally Posted By: FlyNavyP3
Originally Posted By: Nickdfresh
IDK, you could ask that question about the F-35 as well, and a whole host of fighters that haven't seen combat. It is based on simulations... The Swede sub A-26 did cause fits and "demoralization" of U.S. Navy sub-hunters though, that's from a variety of sources... PS: The U.S. Air Force and Naval Aviation should not be putting all its eggs in the stealth basket, IMHO...
Keeping this at a level suitable for this forum, and as a US Navy sub hunter by trade, I can personally attest that this sub did not in any way "demoralize" myself or my crew. It can be exploited, very effectively. Is it better than a Romeo or a Golf? Sure. Is it un track able? Absolutely not. Can it sprint 30+ knots like a Virginia, Seawolf, or Los Angeles? Nope. It's a great submarine no doubt, but not a match for our nukes by any stretch of the imagination. We operate our submarines VERY differently than they do. This submarine is will suited to littoral combat, not open ocean or out of area deployments where nukes rule the seas. The opinions expressed are my own and in no way reflect the opinions or position of the US Government or the US Navy.
All fair enough, and the USN has developed countermeasures and I think we owe the Swedes a bit of gratitude for that since potential adversaries operate attack diesels. But that doesn't mean the USN might not research augmenting nuclear attack subs with longer range diesel ones that could have duel use special ops quiet sneakiness...
Originally Posted By: ctrcbob
Canada operates a very efficient fleet of diesels". Yes, both of them! 😳...
More like four with possible newer ones under consideration...
 
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Sweden has long been forward looking with regard to technology, and along with BAE/GKN in the UK, were early adopters of ring laser gyro based land navigation (directly attached to howitzer gun trunnion on self propelled artillery weapons) and precision land survey. Further, during the development of the GRIPEN, we placed the RLG on that platform. Aside from the guaranteed MTBF of over 8,000 (initially 4000) hours the value proposition was the ability to go from cold airplane to rolling for takeoff in 30 seconds. My team also led the effort to transition the AT-4 antitank weapon to standard US Army use. Initially about $700 each it has since evolved into a family of rounds for uses from bunker buster to firing from enclosed spaces (done with regular rounds is very hard on ears and eyes) and many others. The Carl Gustav buy recently is based on the success of the AT-4 program. Some of the things that led to the continuing success of that relationship was the efficiency of FMV,the Swedish agency that does military procurement, the willingness of both they and Saab to entertain new ideas and Honeywell's unfailing support and performance. Bear in mind that smart countries like Sweden and others take a look at our mature AND emerging technologies to see how they can use it after the R&D has been paid for. We gain in many ways including increased production rates (lower unit costs), more cooperation/interoperability with friends/allies and, in the pricing, recovery of some of that R&D. Note that in this case there is no foreign aid involved, this is a commercial sale, money in the bank. Direct sales by the US prime contractor also allows Honeywell, in this instance, to recover part of the $100M plus of private investment in the technology. Just to come full circle on this entry the BAE/GKN (Brit contractors) built the Warrior Observation Post Vehicle in the mid to late 80's. We put the MAPS RLG on the vehicle so that it could very precisely locate itself and thereby any targets it was observing. It could also do precision survey to emplace artillery batteries (you can't shoot at what you can't directly see if you don't know where you and the target are). At any rate, one nice unintended consequence of this is that during the first Gulf War when the Iraqis didn't believe anything was going to come across the featureless, unsurveyed expanse of their western desert at them, long columns of allied armored vehicles emerged led by Warrior Observation Post Vehicles. And there was steel falling out of the sky on them from precisely placed artillery in previously unsurveyed wasteland. Why rell you this? All of these things happened before the US Army finally got around to buying the same products so sometimes a forward looking small friend (think Israel for instance) can do things faster than us that we then can pick up on.
 
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Originally Posted By: FlyNavyP3
Originally Posted By: Nickdfresh
IDK, you could ask that question about the F-35 as well, and a whole host of fighters that haven't seen combat. It is based on simulations... The Swede sub A-26 did cause fits and "demoralization" of U.S. Navy sub-hunters though, that's from a variety of sources... PS: The U.S. Air Force and Naval Aviation should not be putting all its eggs in the stealth basket, IMHO...
Keeping this at a level suitable for this forum, and as a US Navy sub hunter by trade, I can personally attest that this sub did not in any way "demoralize" myself or my crew. It can be exploited, very effectively. Is it better than a Romeo or a Golf? Sure. Is it un track able? Absolutely not. Can it sprint 30+ knots like a Virginia, Seawolf, or Los Angeles? Nope. It's a great submarine no doubt, but not a match for our nukes by any stretch of the imagination. We operate our submarines VERY differently than they do. This submarine is will suited to littoral combat, not open ocean or out of area deployments where nukes rule the seas. The opinions expressed are my own and in no way reflect the opinions or position of the US Government or the US Navy.
It would be good if the Baltic NATO countries bought a dozen of these subs and learned how to use them, to keep Russia honest on the value of Kaliningrad as a port.
 

Win

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Originally Posted By: Nickdfresh
.... two weeks of submerged air independent propulsion while traveling at about 6mph. ...
Wow, half again as fast as I walk. Hope the war / crisis will wait up for it to get there. Or the intended victims will slow down and wait for it to dispatch them. Your point that "inexpensive" weapon systems can have real merit is well taken, though
 
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Two weeks at 6 mph will cover 2000 miles. Have a little patience and you're 2000 miles into enemy territory and they don't know you're there.
 
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