Is there an approximate minimum number of fighter jets that a nation need to own for them to make sense given the cost?

Is there an approximate minimum number of fighter jets that a nation need to own for them to make sense given the cost?
I ask for the following reasons:

>If you take casualties in a conflict and only have a few your capabilities are already fucked
>you will always have some on the ground doing maintenance and shit so to rotate them and have enough in the air you need more
>not only do they cost alot but you have to properly train your pilots (costs)
>maintain them (costs)
>feed them ammo and fuel (costs)
>have stockpiles of ammo and fuel that last you the duration if the conflict or have other means of supplying them (costs)
>have proper supporting infrastructure (hangars, airfields) and equipment (radars, maybe in air refueling, idk maybe other stuff)
>have officers capable of using them and organizing them appropriately (I think of desert storm bombing campaign for example)

So if you don't satisfy these conditions it doesnt matter that on paper you own some planes, in fact I was thinking if all those less militarily important European countries that have fighter jets would be better off not having them and using the money for something else, I read it somewhere recently, idk if it was here or in a video

  1. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous
  2. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    fighter jets have peacetime purposes as well, air policing and enforcement. small numbers might be worth it for sovereignty reasons even if they're not worth much in a real war.

  3. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Yes, and it depends on the mission. Consider if you want to carry out air superiority missions, you would want at least 2 or 4 plane flights carrying out individual missions, a squadron of let's say 3 flights carrying out the task as a whole. You have 6-12 aircraft committed to one aerial mission, and when they land they have a turnaround time of who knows how long, so you wan't to have another squadron or flights in the air, on station providing air cover or whatnot. So even to maintain an air force that only provides fairly minimal airspace protection you'd be looking at 24 planes. Below this and you lose full time readiness. This is very simplified but you get the idea.

    For small countries that accept the fact that they cannot maintain air activities in a war, having just a few planes for interception etc. can still be worth it. All countries must have supersonic interceptors available or they cannot effectively police even stray airliners.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      So then 50ish should make for a competent airforce, right?

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        Perhaps as a minimum but that doesn't take into account attrition. If in a surprise attack you lose a dozen or so on the ground then 10-15 more in the first 2 weeks of fighting your air force becomes a skeleton pretty quickly. At that point it would have to operate as more a guerilla air force.

        https://i.imgur.com/261ZBTp.jpg

        Things like the BAE Hawk are cheap and often used as trainers, but can be equipped with weapons and equipment that would make them semi capable fighters. They wouldn't stand up to an serious jet fighters, but they give you a jet plane that can't just be laughed off.

        They can also equip pgm's freeing up you fighters from ground support missions. A much better role in combat than feeding them to real fighters.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      What is the purpose of interceptors?

      Also if you decide to just keep a small amount of fighters as interceptors do you just renounce having an air force or are there other types of stuff you can use like stealth bombers (I dont think so since they're expensive as fuck plus arent exported so you won't be able to build them since you're too poor) or drones or idk CAS planes like super tucanos but I think that such a slow plane with the presence of manpads or armor with mgs would be fucked, but idk maybe it can fly super high and use standoff weapons instead of strafing runs, like you could have a simple plane that is rugged, cheap and super fast so you can have fast response times for cas but not have the vulnerability of helis in a contested air space, but again I guess if the enemy has SAMs a slow plane (I know I said super fast but for non jet planes standards) would be fucked unless it can have some countermeasures I dont know of

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Drones are competent substitutions for bombers for the poor man's air force, just don't expect them to stand up to any AA. And I mean *any* AA: even ancient WWII flak can swat the best of them out of the sky.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          your brain is as smooth as a cheerleader's thighs

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Predator/Reaper and TB2 class drones fly above the range of shoulder-launched missiles and standard gun-based AA.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Things like the BAE Hawk are cheap and often used as trainers, but can be equipped with weapons and equipment that would make them semi capable fighters. They wouldn't stand up to an serious jet fighters, but they give you a jet plane that can't just be laughed off.

  4. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is joint operations. A nation may not be able to afford much of an air force on their own but they might be able to afford enough to contribute toward joint operations. Consider Belgium and the intervention in Libya for example, or Belgium and their joint agreement with the other Low Countries to share air policing duties over their joint airspace.

    There's also an element of preparing for the future. The world is pretty peaceful right now and it has been for almost a hundred years but that may change. A nation that decides they "can't" afford anything approaching a substantial airforce today may reconsider if the Pax Americana falls. With that in mind, it's much cheaper and faster to expand an existing capability than to create one from scratch.

  5. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Would it make sense to have super simple drones that just run a programmed route with a pre programmed target for standoff munitions and then fire them from a safe distance and go back?

    Basically just extend the range of the missiles to make them less expensive

  6. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Not really. Consider the rule of 3, of which 1 plane is in operation, one under maintenance and one on standby, hence why a country should acquire 12 similar fighter plane at the minimum, divided into 3 flights of 4 planes each

    Some countries bought less than 12 due to budgetary constraint but they were always bought with the assumption that they will get 12 eventually. When this occurs the country will make up the number using their other existing jets or to assign them to special mission squadron, where these jets wouldn't be used as much

  7. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I like this thread anon. You actually put a lot of thought into this instead of repeated “does 5.56 kill people my dad told me it was shit” threads.

  8. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    There are obviously diminishing returns at the low end of the numbers. But most small nations probably don't care, because having token planes for national pride and a "air police" ability is more important than autistically optimizing for a large conventional war.

  9. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Yes, watch this short essay

  10. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Interesting thought. I guess depending on the state it may be more economical to invest in AA and drones if you want to keep unwanted planes out of your skies and drop munitions on people. Granted drones aren't cheap but they're significantly cheaper than a jet. It also depends on the economy and size of that nation but ballpark estimate maybe .35% of the GDP goes to the airforce. However all of this needs to weighed against the actual usefulness of said airforce. For example it makes no sense for Canada to invest into a massive airfleet when we're right next door and anything that threatens Canada probably affects us too. I don't think I can give you a number without an example

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      What about italy for a case example

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        Italy is an F35 and Tempest partner, with a larger economy than Russia. They have no real likelihood of a land invasion, bit they do have the Mediterranean with unstable countries bordering it. It makes sense for them to have a strong navy and airforce to control it.

        • 1 week ago
          Anonymous

          But do they actually have it?

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        >206 fighters
        I think their airforce is slightly undersized for their nation and needs, I'd recommend growing to at least 270. They could also benefit from expanding their ECM and AWACS fleet, sensor warfare is the hot new thing you know. They're smart to jump on the JSF program since the 35B greatly improves their naval aviation abilities as well as construct the Trieste, if they were smarter they'd double down on B orders and start drawing up maybe a third LHD as Italy has a lot of coastline to patrol

  11. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Being as most countries have allies, the combined air forces of several small nations can amount to something useful, even if each individual nation is hopelessly outmatched on its own. You know, since that's why any nation has allies, because you can't make a military to ensure security by yourself.

    If you are not able to contribute a dozen or two jets at any given time (not counting jets in maintenance, being used for training, participating in other priorities, etc) then why would anyone want to be your ally in the first place? You'd be expecting them to protect you for no mutual gain for them.

    There are extreme examples where this logic gets shaky, like Taiwan, but that's an example of Chinese diplomatic policy interfering with what would normally be a sound military and geopolitical decision.

    Also what the fuck is with captcha recently, I know I'm typing these things in right, I'm not even getting the ones with sliding bars so I know what the letters are, but it says I get it wrong like 10% of the time now when I'm clearly doing it right.

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