Should Iraq have bought the Su-30?

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With the Mosul operation nearing an end, I was looking back and wondering if Iraq made a serious mistake in buying the F-16IQ. This because: - High cost, $4+ billion for 38 aicraft + parts and training (I'm guessing) is a lot of money not spent on COIN equipment. - Delayed delivery, especially painful as these might have put a dent in ISIS's advance early on. - Limited weapon outfit, seems the US is selling Iraq only outdated weapons like the Sparrow, greatly reducing the effectiveness of the platform. All this makes me wonder if Iraq could not have spent its money better elsewhere. Russia especially has been very supportive in the fight against ISIS, some might say more so than the Coalition. For example the Su-30MKK would have been an interesting alternative: - Costs about the same. - Two engines. At about double the flight cost per hour, but then you have a greatly reduced chance of losing such an expensive aircraft to engine failure, so I'd say that evens things out. - About double the operational range. - Second pilot, who can operate weapons and act as a C&C node, although the F-16D probably has similar capabilities. - Bigger and more powerful radar, an important advantage in scanning the air since Iraq has no AWACS, but also to map ISIS movement on the ground. - I would say superior WVR capabilities compared to the F-16, because of TVC and HMS. Plus access to more advanced WVR missiles. - Superior BVR capabilities, thanks to bigger radar, more advanced missiles and the weapons operator. - I understand the underwing payload capacity is about the same, but I imagine the F-16 will need to some of this space for drop tanks (by contrast I've never even seen an Su-30 carry drop tanks). - The US is known to block maintenance of weapon systems for political reasons. - Growth potential, Russia is buying and operating the type and still developing it further, so future upgrade programs are ensured (if not China might develop them). Plus it's physically a bigger aircraft in general, meaning it will be easier to incorporate changes without rebuilding the entire aircraft. - Finally there are no other operators of the type in the region, giving it a serious cool factor, and also a possible advantage since potential adversaries might be less familiar with the type. Essentially the Su-30 is an F-15C/E for the price of an F-16.
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Profile picture for user obligatory

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i think Su-30 cost more than 2 times per flight hour, while fuel cost stays at double, maintenance of 2 russian engines is more than twice of 1 american, and they last half as long, paying two officers also cost more than one in order to operate the jet, downtime is higher so more jets are needed to generate same amount of sorties, in short, i think F-16 is more cost efficient, except for that one thing that somehow the iraqi negotiator couldnt tell the difference between an amraam and a sparrow, or he woulda told his american counterpart to cram the sparrow up his ar$e
Profile picture for user MSphere

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Interestingly, the F-16C is more costly to operate than a MiG-29, as Polish AF have found out. If we estimate Flanker cost to be 30% more than for a Fulcrum, then the operating cost of the Su-30MK and F-16C should be about the same (even less given the current RUB/USD exchange rate). Sanem: BTW, the Su-30MK has no TVC. And its N001VEP radar is nothing extraordinary, hardly better than APG-68.
Profile picture for user Sanem

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yeah I guess they're pretty even although with its larger payload, access to more advanced weapons and likely faster delivery, it would have certainly been a more effective bomber to target ISIS

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To target the IS nothing more like that is in need really. http://airheadsfly.com/2014/01/04/armed-iraqi-cessnas-continue-to-attack/ If you do not care about colateral damage or the civilians alongside the IS you can go after some buildings or vehicles and hope for the best result. Just a moral booster for you own militia-style forces claimed as a regual-one national force in the case of the Iraq. In true national forces a Su-30 or F-16C are just worth the money in an ordinary warfare against regular forces at best. Their main task is deterrence capability against adjoining countries. Against someone like IS your deterrence capability does not work whatever fighter you have bought.

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Interestingly, the F-16C is more costly to operate than a MiG-29, as Polish AF have found out. If we estimate Flanker cost to be 30% more than for a Fulcrum, then the operating cost of the Su-30MK and F-16C should be about the same (even less given the current RUB/USD exchange rate). Sanem: BTW, the Su-30MK has no TVC. And its N001VEP radar is nothing extraordinary, hardly better than APG-68.
A seriously writer had noted a multi-role F-16C is more expensive to operate than an AD-fighter like the MiG-29 doing air-policing mainly. So none is surprised about that really. The Iraqis pay for their fighters is USD, whatever the exchange rate is. The Russian bill for material and services are in USD always.
Profile picture for user MSphere

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A seriously writer had noted a multi-role F-16C is more expensive to operate than an AD-fighter like the MiG-29 doing air-policing mainly. So none is surprised about that really.
Multi-role has nothing to do with it, we are not talking about mission cost rather than about flying hour cost. BTW, you're dead wrong on this, everyone was unpleasantly surprised about that, especially the Polish AF.. there were raving about the F-16 using exactly the same rhetoric as obligatory has used - Russians have poor SFC, they take double fuel cost, plus two engines, plus more maintenance, plus half life-span, plus more technicians etc. etc. But all things combined, somehow, the Fulcrum still costs ~15% less to fly (from my heart).. and that was prior to those big ticket JSOW/JDAM ordnance purchases.. As said, I would not be surprised to learn that a Flanker can be flown and maintained for roughly the same cost as an F-16.
The Iraqis pay for their fighters is USD, whatever the exchange rate is. The Russian bill for material and services are in USD always.
The price ticket Iraqis were forced to pay is a shame.. something close to $200mil for a Viper, that is a bright day robbery.. Russian export prices are denominated in dollars, right, but the amount varies with the exchange rate as the lion share of the supply chain is in Rubles. Not much foreign content there, except some French/Indian/Israeli stuff on the MKIs and some left-overs from Ukraine (paid in RUB or USD, BTW?).
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Essentially the Su-30 is an F-15C/E for the price of an F-16.
And does Iraq currently need *any* of those types? If you're primarily concerned with loitering and dropping PGMs in permssive air environment, as Iraq will be for the next decade, a special-missions Gulfstream will do it all more cheaply and probably better. And with more ISAR kit onboard, plus a toilet and oven. Hyper-expensive-per-hour fighters poddling around subsonic on account of big tanks and draggy munitions and having to bug-out of the fight due to fuel levels? Not sure I see the attraction. I think Iraq's mistake was wanting to be back in the fast-jet club.
Profile picture for user MSphere

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although with its larger payload, access to more advanced weapons and likely faster delivery, it would have certainly been a more effective bomber to target ISIS
Nah, quite on the contrary, nothing in existence has a wider inventory of available weapons than a Viper.. the key note is "more advanced".. in fact, advanced is the last thing you need in order to toss bombs on the IS.. you better get six 1,000lb dumb bombs and carry them off your base 1,000 miles away from the next IS stronghold.. and with a Flanker you get a great tool for that kind of job..

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Interestingly, the F-16C is more costly to operate than a MiG-29, as Polish AF have found out. If we estimate Flanker cost to be 30% more than for a Fulcrum, then the operating cost of the Su-30MK and F-16C should be about the same (even less given the current RUB/USD exchange rate).
I am not sure what data you are using, but the one I have seen shows that the MiG-29 is more expensive to operate. Maybe one of the modern ones (SMT is 40% cheaper compared to 9.12A) is comparable. https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-paT8vMGXuvU/WBzbdZS8CAI/AAAAAAAAO8M/LPmKxWw6XFk4Y5NhtOY4MbnkwutHN7mtACLcB/s1600/Polish%2BAir%2Bforce.png http://alejandro-8en.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/flying-cost-of-different-aircraft-in.html
Profile picture for user haavarla

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FFS! Iraq does not need F-16, Mig-29 or Flanker. It needs moar attack helios and throw in some more upgraded Su-25. Seriously!
Profile picture for user JakobS

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And does Iraq currently need *any* of those types? If you're primarily concerned with loitering and dropping PGMs in permssive air environment, as Iraq will be for the next decade, a special-missions Gulfstream will do it all more cheaply and probably better. And with more ISAR kit onboard, plus a toilet and oven. Hyper-expensive-per-hour fighters poddling around subsonic on account of big tanks and draggy munitions and having to bug-out of the fight due to fuel levels? Not sure I see the attraction. I think Iraq's mistake was wanting to be back in the fast-jet club.
This.
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in an apples to apples comparison, mig-29 is not going to be cheaper to operate than f-16, not because of SFC but its two engines vs 1 to nurse, and on top of that those mig engines require more service, and on top of that they last half as long before needing replacement altogether. on the iraq AF job at hand, its still the more cost efficient of the fast jets around, but it cant measure up to a subsonic drone
Profile picture for user KGB

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i think Su-30 cost more than 2 times per flight hour, while fuel cost stays at double, maintenance of 2 russian engines is more than twice of 1 american, and they last half as long, paying two officers also cost more than one in order to operate the jet, downtime is higher so more jets are needed to generate same amount of sorties, in short, i think F-16 is more cost efficient, except for that one thing that somehow the iraqi negotiator couldnt tell the difference between an amraam and a sparrow, or he woulda told his american counterpart to cram the sparrow up his ar$e
maintenance of 2 russian engines is more than twice of 1 american, and they last half as long,
https://images.spot.im/image/upload/q_70,fl_lossy,dpr_1.0,c_limit/v200/a212359e8f9d45efc16e9899c754b0f6 Just stop.
Profile picture for user KGB

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With the Mosul operation nearing an end, I was looking back and wondering if Iraq made a serious mistake in buying the F-16IQ. This because: - High cost, $4+ billion for 38 aicraft + parts and training (I'm guessing) is a lot of money not spent on COIN equipment. - Delayed delivery, especially painful as these might have put a dent in ISIS's advance early on. - Limited weapon outfit, seems the US is selling Iraq only outdated weapons like the Sparrow, greatly reducing the effectiveness of the platform. All this makes me wonder if Iraq could not have spent its money better elsewhere. Russia especially has been very supportive in the fight against ISIS, some might say more so than the Coalition. For example the Su-30MKK would have been an interesting alternative: - Costs about the same. - Two engines. At about double the flight cost per hour, but then you have a greatly reduced chance of losing such an expensive aircraft to engine failure, so I'd say that evens things out. - About double the operational range. - Second pilot, who can operate weapons and act as a C&C node, although the F-16D probably has similar capabilities. - Bigger and more powerful radar, an important advantage in scanning the air since Iraq has no AWACS, but also to map ISIS movement on the ground. - I would say superior WVR capabilities compared to the F-16, because of TVC and HMS. Plus access to more advanced WVR missiles. - Superior BVR capabilities, thanks to bigger radar, more advanced missiles and the weapons operator. - I understand the underwing payload capacity is about the same, but I imagine the F-16 will need to some of this space for drop tanks (by contrast I've never even seen an Su-30 carry drop tanks). - The US is known to block maintenance of weapon systems for political reasons. - Growth potential, Russia is buying and operating the type and still developing it further, so future upgrade programs are ensured (if not China might develop them). Plus it's physically a bigger aircraft in general, meaning it will be easier to incorporate changes without rebuilding the entire aircraft. - Finally there are no other operators of the type in the region, giving it a serious cool factor, and also a possible advantage since potential adversaries might be less familiar with the type. Essentially the Su-30 is an F-15C/E for the price of an F-16.
It was ridiculous for Iraq to buy so many of them to begin with. They should have bought 8 su 35's for air patrol And filled out the rest of their requirements with Russian helicopters, drones and light attack aircraft. Light attack aircraft could hang around at 5-10,000 feet , delivering targeted munitions for way less than any jet. https://gdb.rferl.org/0E1A4599-F64B-4220-AE5C-9DAF8D55CCF1_w987_r1_s.jpg
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The Russian bill for material and services are in USD always.
I doubt for long. Russia and Egypt just made a currency swap agreement. Iraq can't be far away. Egypt plans currency swap with Russia | Egypt Independent www.egyptindependent.com/news/egypt-plans-currency-swap-russia

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Posts: 11,742

Multi-role has nothing to do with it, we are not talking about mission cost rather than about flying hour cost. BTW, you're dead wrong on this, everyone was unpleasantly surprised about that, especially the Polish AF.. there were raving about the F-16 using exactly the same rhetoric as obligatory has used - Russians have poor SFC, they take double fuel cost, plus two engines, plus more maintenance, plus half life-span, plus more technicians etc. etc. But all things combined, somehow, the Fulcrum still costs ~15% less to fly (from my heart).. and that was prior to those big ticket JSOW/JDAM ordnance purchases.. As said, I would not be surprised to learn that a Flanker can be flown and maintained for roughly the same cost as an F-16. The price ticket Iraqis were forced to pay is a shame.. something close to $200mil for a Viper, that is a bright day robbery.. Russian export prices are denominated in dollars, right, but the amount varies with the exchange rate as the lion share of the supply chain is in Rubles. Not much foreign content there, except some French/Indian/Israeli stuff on the MKIs and some left-overs from Ukraine (paid in RUB or USD, BTW?).
You will not change your mind. All the prices fetched in Iraq are with VAT and bribery of cause. http://www.worldcat.org/title/did-iraq-cheat-the-united-nations-underpricing-bribes-and-the-oil-for-food-program/oclc/58550819 .. and nothing has changed in that behavior till today. When after 2003 most of the air defence und support of the Iraq is done by Western air forces and technical support. When the unjustified IS "fever" is gone in the West the Iraq is no longer relieved from that outlays any longer.

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19 years 9 months

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I doubt for long. Russia and Egypt just made a currency swap agreement. Iraq can't be far away. Egypt plans currency swap with Russia | Egypt Independent www.egyptindependent.com/news/egypt-plans-currency-swap-russia
No similar need for that about Iraq. All the oil&gas revenues in mind. Egypt plans to play the Russian card to balance the one sided relations between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Kingdom Saudi Arabia.

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7 years 10 months

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And does Iraq currently need *any* of those types? If you're primarily concerned with loitering and dropping PGMs in permssive air environment, as Iraq will be for the next decade, a special-missions Gulfstream will do it all more cheaply and probably better. And with more ISAR kit onboard, plus a toilet and oven. Hyper-expensive-per-hour fighters poddling around subsonic on account of big tanks and draggy munitions and having to bug-out of the fight due to fuel levels? Not sure I see the attraction. I think Iraq's mistake was wanting to be back in the fast-jet club.
it's called a Scorpion and so far Textron build them without any onboard toilets or oven.
Profile picture for user MSphere

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I am not sure what data you are using, but the one I have seen shows that the MiG-29 is more expensive to operate. Maybe one of the modern ones (SMT is 40% cheaper compared to 9.12A) is comparable. http://alejandro-8en.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/flying-cost-of-different-aircraft-in.html
The data you are using is erroneous. The F-16 flight hour of Polish F-16 goes over 70,000 PLN, assuming pure fuel cost.. This came from spokesman of the Polish General Staff, LtCol. Golawski. BTW, Polish AF are only using 9.12A, they don't have access to SMTs. http://forsal.pl/artykuly/840453,ile-kosztuje-lot-mysliwca-f-16.html https://www.tvp.info/26713279/w-godzine-spala-paliwo-za-70-tys-zl-jastrzab-w-liczbach
Profile picture for user MSphere

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in an apples to apples comparison, mig-29 is not going to be cheaper to operate than f-16, not because of SFC but its two engines vs 1 to nurse, and on top of that those mig engines require more service, and on top of that they last half as long before needing replacement altogether.
Brainless repeating of the same old BS is getting tiresome... especially if it's without a hinch of anything measurable.. cold numbers say the opposite.. I can't say whether the F-16 gulps fuel faster than a MiG-29 or whether the F-34/JP-8 is so much more expensive than Jp54, but the fact is that, despite its two engines, the MiG-29 is still cheaper to fly..