Sarethani Royal Airforce
|Sarethani Royal Airforce>|
|Active||1922 – present|
(Sky General of the Royal Air Force)
Plans for a Carrier were consistently hamstrung by a lack of funds, and inter-service rivalry between the SRAF and SRN. Plans for the conversion of a cruiser fell through, as this was considered technically unfeasible and would reduce the number of surface combatants Sarethan possessed.
In Yamataian Service
The SRAF provided assistance to North Songthom's airforce. In 1948 a number of engineers were secretly sent to provide technical assistance. It also supplied a number of Yamataian fighters captured during the Endwar. However support remained limited until 1952, when Sarethan followed Nakgaang in offering extensive assistance support to North Songthom. A fighter regiment was deployed in support of the July offensive, and Sarethan rotated large numbers of pilots throughout the course of the war. Approximately 27 SRAF jets were destroyed, 11 by enemy fire, nine by friendly fire, and seven in non-combat incidents. The number of pilots killed is unknown, as the Operation was conducted in high secrecy.
Following the unification of Songthom, Sarethan stepped up aid to the nation, supplying it with surplus military equipment and sending more military advisors. 
With Gaangi assistance, the SRAF introduced its first indigenous designed combat plane, the J-8. The [J-8] was designed as a high-speed interceptor, which the SRAF needed to interdict enemy bombers or carrier-borne fighters around Sarethan. It was thus a major boost against naval power projection by capitalist powers. This also enabled the SRAF to support Nakgaang and Songthom in frontline duties in any future wars. The [J-8] relied on Gaangi engines, weapons and avionics. Its role - to fly at speed in a straight line - also made the design a relatively simple affair, but still represented a major step forwards in capability for Sarethan.
Break with Nakgaang
The 1982 break with Nakgaang caused a considerable issues for the SRAF. Sarethan relied heavily on importing Gaangi planes [EXTEND] and had few other international partners. The new government dictated a policy of "self-reliance", and attempted to end dependence on foreign partners. The SRAF was instructed to develop indigenous aircraft, and develop a domestic industrial base for aircraft production.
Initial efforts were concerned with continuing the manufacture of aircraft already in production. This was followed by a programme to create updated versions of existing designs, largely by retro-engineering Gaangi components. This lead to the J-8II interceptor, which was introduced in 1984. Upgraded versions of the JF-7 fighter, Y-7 utility plane, and the H-6 bomber were also achieved. The [H-6] was also important for Sarethan's attempt at developing nuclear weapons. It was planned as potential delivery platform, particularly for offensive strikes against enemy naval forces. Components for the planes were manufactured domestically if possible, and if that was unachievable, were imported.
Sarethan also planted the seeds for several new projects. In 1984, plans were made for a new aerial-superiority fighter known as the [JF-9]. Over the 1980s, several prototypes would be made, and the design would change radically, from a delta-wing with canards to a more traditional swept wing configuration. Sarethan also begun development of a new tactical fighter-bomber, which would become the [JH-7]. This would also gain the ability to deliver anti-shipping missiles, and would be jointly operated by the SRF and SRAF.
The results of this period was mixed. On the one hand, Sarethan demonstrated that it could survive separation from Nakgaang, and to develop its own aerospace industry. The SRAF proved adept at replicating the ability to manufacture and operate aircraft, and to update existing designs. New projects, although slow and beset with teething problems, also showed some success, with the [JH-7] prototype achieving its first flight in 1988. Sarethan sought to export its products to various nations, such as Songthom to recoup costs, with partial success.
However by the late 1980s, it had become apparent that Sarethan was unable to create the full range of capabilities required for modern plane development, and that international partnerships would be needed. In particular, Sarethan was unable to develop aspects of modern fighter planes, such as fly-by-wire controls. This was made clear in 1988, when the [JF-9] was cancelled, and production [JH-7] was delayed until 1991.
After some deliberation, Sarethan reluctantly sought imports from Gran Altiplano. Delays with the creation of the [JH-7] had already caused SRAF to purchase a number of Su-24 aircraft from the People's Confederation as a stop-gap measure. This process was expanded as Sarethan continued a broader process of opening up, and firms from Yamatai and Chisei were invited back into the country. In 1992, the SRAF ordered 48 [J-11s] from Gran Altiplano. 24 were to be imported directly; the remaining 24 were to be built under license in Sarethan. The deal included an option for another 48 aircraft, and the transfer of some technologies. Sarethan ordered the second batch in 1999, with all of them assembled domestically (though they required Valeyan parts, such as engines). Production continued until 2006, and a total of 125 aircraft were built; 123 remain operational (two crashed). Additional Su-24s were also ordered, totalling 74.
Fourth Dynastic War
The SRAF continued its modernisation, with its industrial base becoming increasingly advanced. Following knowledge gained from the [J-11A], the light-fighter project bore fruit, with the first prototypes being flown in 1999, and production starting in 2001. However, issues with the airframes and manufacturing processes caused considerable delays, and only two squadrons of aircraft were available by 2007. The slow rate of production forced the SRAF to keep a large number of [Q-6] airplanes operational. In 2003, a trainer version of the [JF-17] was introduced.
Sarethan had also been able to retro-engineer the [J-11], unveiling an upgraded version known as the [J-11B] in 2004. The [J-11B] featured air-to-ground (A2G) functions, transforming it into a multirole aircraft. Serial production began in 2007. The [J-11B] prompted an extensive dispute with Gran Altiplano, which accused Sarethan of stealing important technologies. The dispute caused Gran Altiplano to withhold deliveries of engines in 2007-2008, stalling development and prematurely ending production of the [J-11A]. The dispute was formally resolved in 2009.
Advancement since 2008
The Sarethani Royal Air Force started a progressive modernisation program of its fleet and their technical and operational capacities. In 2008, Sarethan formally began talks with Gran Altiplano for [Su-35s], with:
- Enhanced Engine Package (EEP) turbofan engines
- Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFTs).
From 2008 to 2012, the SRAF also started the upgrade program, which has upgraded 23 [J-8] to the level of H. Upgrades were focused on improving survivability. They included :
- New electronics:
- New weapons management system.
- Advanced Radar-warning system.
- New Data Link.
- Improved communications-system.
- Two Dynamic task computer-integrated with a 1553 bus.
The upgrade enabled the use of more advanced equipment as:
- Electronic protection-Pod.
- Capability to carry Advanced Air-to-air missiles, Air-to-ground missiles and guided-bombs :
- [X missile]
The SRAF has considered developing or acquiring a Fifth-generation jet fighter using stealth technology. In April 2008 it expressed interest in joining the development of the Valeyan [Su-57]. Talks continued through to July 2009, when reports emerged that Sarethan had walked away due to disagreements over funding. Talks restarted in 2013, but no progress appeared to be made. Sarethan instead opted for the import of cheaper Su-35s. The decision to reject the Su-57 was justified on the project's cost and high risk, as well as delays in in development; by contrast, the Su-35 could be bought 'off the shelf' and had greater compatibility with the SRAF's existing jets. Analysts also highlighted reports of resistance by the Navy. As of September 2018, the Sarethani government again expressed interest in purchasing the [Su-57] in limited numbers.
Due to the lack of progress on acquiring a 5th Generation Fighter, the SRAF has instead proposed developing so-called 'anti-stealth' technologies. These include the use of Infra-red search and track (IRST) systems, passive ECM, and advanced radars operating at low-frequencies. These have been considered as more cost-effective than stealth, since they are cheaper to develop and integrate. Analysts have doubted the effectiveness of stealth in the long-run.
Another alternative is to incorporate stealth features onto existing air-frames, giving them limited stealth capabilities. In April 2015 the Defence Ministry announced that it had applied several [J-11Ds] with RAM coatings as an experiment into lowering their visibility to radar. In June, the experiment was pronounced successful, though few details were released. In 2016, the state owned [aircraft corporation] publicised a mock-up of a "stealth" [J-11D], which bore considerable visible similarity to the [Su-57].
Aims & Composition
The SRF has three major strategic ambitions. The first and most obvious, is to defend the air-space of Sarethan. This meant maintaining a force aerial superiority fighters, that are kept to modern standards, as well as a number of high-altitude interceptors. More basic patrol duties are performed by lower-cost multirole jets, and surveillance is maintained by a series of AEW&C aircraft. This role is considered vital for deterring 'imperial’ powers or neighbours. Although Sarethan does not seek to match the numbers of foreign aircraft, it does aim to present a sufficient obstacle, which, coupled with the tyranny of distance, would present an unfavourable situation. For its neighbours, Sarethan was more concerned about creating a situation of parity, or even dominance.
The second aim is to provide an air blanket over the Sea of Antar and other strategic maritime zones. This force was initially designed to provide air cover for the ships of the Sarethani Royal Navy, which were thought vulnerable to aircraft deployed from Carriers. As the Navy increased its own air-defences, this goal was altered to encompass a broader range of objectives. To these ends, the SRF employs a number of maritime patrol and strike aircraft, able to deploy anti-shipping missiles and conduct anti-submarine warfare.
The third and final aim is to be able to be able to deploy airpower against ground threats. This necessitated a the retention of low cost ground-attack aircraft and bombers, able to strike both insurgents and conventional ground forces. [EXTEND]
There is some overlap in goals. For instance, ground attack aircraft and bombers have also been equipped with ASCMs, allowing them to strike at both land and sea targets. Interceptors have also received sensors for use over maritime environments. The advent of modern multirole platforms also facilities a greater flexibility of purpose by the same aircraft. Therefore, the Sarethani [J-11] family of planes is able to conduct any one of these roles at a time.
Nonetheless, these three aims resulted in a varied composition. [EXTEND]
Broadly speaking, the emphasis has shifted towards the first aim, as the costs of developing and operating modern aerial superiority fighters has steadily increased. Most recent fighter programmes have been for aerial combat planes with a secondary ground attack role. [FILL IN] the retention of older aircraft for low intensity missions. Typically, older planes are deployed to the mountainous regions (where rebellions are common), and along the northern border with [x]. There is some indication that modern jets are kept in airbases 50-120 km inside Sarethan, to be able to respond to various threats. Some squadrons are also housed near the capital.
The Sarethani Royal Air Force flies a variety of domestic and foreign airplanes, particularly Valeyan built aircraft. The SRAF currently operates approximately 462 active combat aircraft of 9 different types. There are also approximately 233 reserve aircraft, with most not in an airworthy state. There are 11 front-line wings, and 5 reserve wings.
|Aircraft Type||Origin||Role||Number||Status||First Flight||In Production||Notes||Image|
|Combat Aircraft / Fighters|
|(Q-6)||Nakgaang||Multirole / Ground Attack||38||In Service||1978||1980-1985||Based on the Gaangi MiG-23BN. To be withdrawn by 2024.||Image|
|(JF-17)||Sarethan||Light Multirole||86||In Service||1997||2001~||200 planned by 2024.||Image|
|(J-11A)||Gran Altiplano||Aerial Superiority||123||In Service||1990||1992-2006||125 originally produced. License built Altiplaneran Su-27SK.||Image|
|(J-11B)||Sarethan||Multirole||64||In Service||2004||2007~||Developed from the (J-11A). 120 planned by 2024.||Image|
|(J-11D)||Sarethan||Multirole||26||In Service||2012||2016~||Developed from the (J-11B). 72 planned by 2024.||Image|
|Su-35S||Gran Altiplano||Aerial Superiority||42||In Service||2014||2014-2020||License built Altiplaneran Su-35S.||Image|
|Strike Aircraft / Bombers|
|Su-24MK||Gran Altiplano||Fighter-bomber||23||In Service||1985||1985-1990||74 originally produced. To be withdrawn by 2022.||Image|
|(JH-7)||Sarethan||Fighter-bomber||49||In Service||1988||1992-2006||52 originally produced. All upgraded to JH-7A status.||Image|
|(H-6E)||Nakgaang||Strategic Bomber||41||In Service||1986||1989-2001||Based on the Gaangi Tu-16.||Image|
|(H-6K)||Sarethan||Strategic Bomber||10||In Service||2008||2009~||Developed from the (H-6E). 36 planned by 2024.||Image|
|Early Warning Aircraft|
|Reconnaissance / ISR Aircraft|
|Maritime Patrol Aircraft|